TFBS Take 2: Keep It Upstairs

Song referenced here.

We had the second run of TFBS sesh 1 last Saturday, meaning all of the creative writing portions of the workshop have been completed, and now it’s all about writing, refining, and revising our work. I am at once relieved, and also kind of sad at how quickly things have gone by.

Last Saturday was, in a way, in direct contrast with the first run of TFBS. The weather (surprisingly) cooperated, with the rain letting up about an hour before we started, and then again, around 30 minutes after we ended. I was prepared for the worst: cancellations, power outages, flooding, traffic jams, and encountered none of those things.I was there early, got to set up at my own pace. Everyone arrived (+/-) on time, and everybody had their game face on.

Perhaps the most interesting part of last Saturday (aside from the obvious writing, and for the nth time, surrounding myself with Lydia Davis’s beautiful work) was the mix of people who attended. There was so much diversity among the participants, I found myself amazed once again at what a medium for empathy, and friendship fiction can be–and likewise, what a medium for fiction people coming together can become. I really appreciated how engaged everyone was, and how willing to push themselves beyond their comfort zones (it is no easy feat to stay still for an hour and a half, writing). I could see that everyone was both discovering themselves, as well as beginning to separate themselves from their stories, as if to say: I made this, but this is not me. Being as cooped up, and reclusive as I can be, I always find it extremely exciting finding out what other people want to write about. What makes them tick? Last Saturday, we were taken to all sorts of different worlds: thrown into an online affair made physical, pushed through a mysterious door in the ceiling, suddenly sent hurtling toward an alternate reality where a Sandwich superhero exists to battle evil soda, put in the shoes of a hit-and-run witness, stuck in the head of someone who has been left behind.

Now I am excited to begin doing the dirty work: going through drafts, and reading deeply, and trying to get to the heart of the clock that is a story. What does it take to make it tick? One way to find out.

Science Lessons in TAYO Literary Magazine’s 5th Anniversary Issue

Nomenclature Illustration by Diego Ibarra
Illustration by Diego Ibarra

I am very happy to announce that a series of my small stories are available in TAYO Literary Mag’s 5th Anniversary Issue! This has been a long time coming, and it so great to finally see these babies find a home. The physical copies of the issue are now available at Barnes & Noble; I think they might be available locally a little later in the year.

The series is called Science Lessons, and comprises of three stories which talk about the pains of learning through different sciences that we take up as we grow as people. I won’t talk about it so much, as to not take away from your reading. The stories were illustrated by Diego Ibarra, Trizha Ko, and Erika Carreon. Click here for an excerpt!

The Weatherman in Driftwood’s Latest Issue

I am very, very happy to announce that my somewhat morbid obsession with fairy tales has finally paid off. My story The Weatherman–published here in the poetry section, funnily enough, along with an interview about my writing is up and live! I worked very hard on this piece, and am particularly proud of how the narrative rounds itself out, or funnels like an hourglass.

You can click the beautiful photo below to read the issue on PDF (cover by Iryna Lialko & Sabrina Coyle), or you can head over to their website to buy the print copy. 🙂 I hope you guys enjoy this!
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Head First, Fearless Days 5-6: Stop Making Plans, Start Making Sense

Can you have your cake and eat it too?

Even if I still love that song, turns out that you and me—not-so forever young.  As the ins and outs of life progress and I carry myself through work day after work day, I find myself looking back at everything that I’ve done since 2010 and I feel like my main “edge” back then was that I was still a student but I was doing these other things even if really, the fact that I was still a student was kind of sad. It’s funny how life works: if you pair almost any extracurricular thang with at studyante pa siya, it begins to look impressive.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about this whole MoarBooks thing.

Maybe it was a brave thing to set out and do (given my previous experiences with “putting it out there”, this was really an exercise in overcoming trauma) but since then, part of me has become kind of afraid to make plans or to “look ahead” because a lot of the time it can take the piss out of everything and also because you end up disappointed a lot. I’m not good with disappointment: I can handle anger, sadness, stress, anxiety, whatever but disappointment just makes me want to stab someone repeatedly.

Anyway, this fear of disappointment both in myself and in others is what I feel has been holding me back with regard to MoarBooks. I think I went into this whole thing being in denial that I would have to do most of the doing. This is ridiculous because it seems like the kind of thing you should realize as you’re lugging five bags of inflated pillows down Ayala Avenue on a hot, hot summer afternoon in 2012 but hey, if we weren’t kind of naïve at some point, we would never do anything.

While I had previously asked some friends to help me out and they did (do, still) in their own ways (thank you guys!), I think that I had failed to see the limitations that my friends had already let me know they had (however subtly) from the beginning—sometimes with regard to capacity, other times with regard to willingness. Lately I realized that if I want this to work, I have to sort out a way to get it done on my own. I have only recently realized that while my friends are investors, talent, consignees, supporters, fellow-sellers, fellow aspiring writers and artists, ultimately this endeavor is mine. The reluctance to bear that responsibility is also the reason why it is difficult for me to appreciate the good things about it or to properly recognize what it needs to become. I never got what people meant by “own it”—well, I do now.

In the past few days I have begun making plans for my little tsanak business (baby daw eh). I won’t bore you with the details, but I’ve laid down a couple of goals for myself and for MoarBooks to accomplish by the end of June and these were the most difficult bricks to lay out because they include all of the things that I’m terrible with—including having to be stricter with people I like and (even more so) with myself. It’s all still driving me insane.

Coffee & Flowers: Make It Better

Nostalgic trike ride through Tropical Avenue in the village where I went to high school.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the concept of family a lot—and how everything that we do is ultimately influenced by what happens to us when we’re young. In that respect, I think that Freud was most definitely correct. While it is true that we continue to develop throughout our lives, I feel like the core of our lives are determined very early on: the way we think, our knee-jerk reactions, the way we feel about most things and about ourselves. I have a lot of friends who go lots of different ways with regard to self-esteem: some who are very confident despite not necessarily possessing “conventional” beauty attributes, some who are extremely beautiful in the most “objective” sense but have absolutely no confidence in their ability to be attractive and some who are in-between and in most instances I find that these things have a lot to do with the way that they were brought up or their experiences as young children.

Continue reading “Coffee & Flowers: Make It Better”

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