Three Letters to Dead White Men

It’s preview time! For EM Zine Issue 5 I decided to turn in the first few bits of work for a large project that I’m working on to submit elsewhere in the coming months. 🙂 These shorts are written in the format of the title–pretty self-explanatory.

And of course, I began with Freud. Click his beautifully instagrammed face below or here to download the preview.

Coffee & Flowers: Interest


Today was a good day. It didn’t exactly go the way I’d planned or imagined: I thought I would be up by 6:30 AM, in taft by 8:00 AM and cool and collected the whole day. But I ended up waking up late, forgetting a lot of shiz and the whole morning avalanched into a hot mess; let’s just say that “breakfast” ended up being at 12 noon–and that’s a big deal for me because I am prone to gastroenteritis if I skip meals.

However, the day did get better as it went on: this is the first time that I’ve ever sold my work at DLSU and only now do I truly understand what they mean by “the home court advantage”. I know how it feels to be at other universities and the thing that makes selling stuff easy in your own university is that you can more or less be a credible witness to what will or won’t sell there. And yeah! I was really surprised at a) how much we sold b) how many times we were approached/talked to and c) the number of new friends we made (hi to the people over at the Art Initiative).

Despite all the disappointments and things that went wrong, today was definitely a good day (for the most part). 🙂

Jan Reads 2014 (Post 1)


I got these books either for Christmas/my birthday and have been reading them. Two of them are short story collections (Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman & Moral Disorder) while one is a novel.

Here are my thoughts, etc. so far:

1.) Moral Disorder by Margaret Atwood

Excellent as usual. The thing I love (or one of the things I love) about Atwood is that the older she’s gotten, the better she’s gotten at writing about youth (and the imminent loss of it). This collection follows just one main character which I really like and which I feel sets it apart from a lot of her short story collections (or short story collections, in general).

I also love how she begins the book by introducing the main character as an old woman. Anyway. I don’t want to give too much away. This is one of my favorite Atwood books, so far. (Admittedly, I’ve only read a few–The Blind Assassin, Wilderness Tips, Betty {this is a short story, though} and Bluebeard’s Egg.)

2.) Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami

I feel like I’ve read enough Murakami to last me a life time, to be honest–I was very into his work back during my early college days. I was hesitant to start this year with yet another Murakami book but I figured ah fuck it: if you genuinely enjoy something then why stop reading it just because you’ve read a lot of things like it before?

Also most of the books of Murakami’s that I’ve read are novels anyway so I don’t think my reading this is being too redundant. I really like it, so far–although (like my friend Trizha and I were talking about a few weeks ago) the thing about translated work is that a lot of the enjoyment factor comes from who/how the story is translated. I am partial to translations by Jay Rubin (Norwegian Wood, After Dark) and Alfred Birnbaum (A Wild Sheep Chase, Dance Dance Dance, Hard-boiled Wonderland & the End of the World) because they’re able to translate in a way that conveys meaning without sounding like a translation but also not sounding very western. I like that subtlety.

And it is this point which gives me a hard time re: which stories I like from this collection. The collection is comprised of very good stories but they aren’t translated by just one translator. Some were done by Jay Rubin, others by Philip Gabriel.

Take the first two stories, for instance: Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman and Birthday Girl. As a story–or as a story in theory, I feel like I would prefer the former because it deals with themes which I really like: the passing of time, the overlapping of time in memory; it’s also written (the structure, I mean) inwardly as opposed to something with a plot that moves forward.

However, I ended up enjoying the latter more even if it’s a little too straightforward (in that the delineations between past and present are very clear) for my taste in short stories and even if it it relies more heavily on mystery than I would usually prefer from Murakami (I say this because when Murakami employs mystery in his books he has a habit of either not resolving the mystery or resolving it in a manner that is so thumpingly calm, it drives me insane) because of how it was written/translated.

Now I’m going to contradict myself and pick a story translated by Philip Gabriel as my favorite, so far–I really enjoyed the story New York Mining Disaster, particularly how it talked about the death of friends, especially when you’re at an age where people are still supposedly beginning their adult lives.

3.) A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

I’m not done with this, yet and so I can’t say much except that it’s very funny and that it’s enjoyable, so far. 🙂

Goals 2014

Painting by Kristine Joelle Pantig

This has been a relatively good year for me. (You can read a little bit more about that by clicking here.) But while I was at my friend Joelle‘s exhibit yesterday (above is her favorite painting of mine from the exhibit–sadly my camera was low-batt so I have no idea what it’s called but I know its tentative title was Elements), I realized that there is still so much to do–so many things to achieve and work hard at. So at the risk of being uber cliche, here are a couple of my goals or ‘dreams’ for the coming year.

1.) Get a job. It sounds simple enough but I know from hearing friends’ stories that it can be harder than just clicking “Apply” on JobStreet. But, yeah. This is a work in progress–I’m keeping my fingers crossed for good news this New Year. (This of course ties in with the fact that the grades haven’t come out yet and I’d like to know for sure if I’m going to be graduating already.)

2.) Get at least 750 likes on MoarBooks/throw more events for MoarBooksEven if I know likes (or the number of them) aren’t everything and I’m grateful for all 236 likes we have thus far, I feel like we need to get to get more likes for no other reason than they would reflect a growing readership and create more interest in what we do. I guess this also means that I need to up my socializing skills. Whew. Okay.

I have a couple of events in the works which I’ve been planning for the latter part of 2013 but which have been put on hold because of issues with timing (all the dates I’ve chosen have coincided with bigger events which seemed worth attending). I want these events to be fun but also more focused on literature–I want to have one for fiction and one for poetry–than on drinking or partying it up (although we can do that after, of course).

3.) Get more things published/get better at writing. I mean this both for myself and for MoarBooks and for EM. I want to put more things out on MoarBooks and be able to have a wider variety of things to sell at events. I also want to get my stuff out there and am preparing work to send out to different publications as well as gearing up to apply to workshops and other things like that which will help me improve as well as open me up to new ideas. As for EM, I’m really looking forward to the (possible) new ways of doing things that we’ve been discussing. I’m also excited for the printing experiments that my friend Ron’s been doing re: the size/binding of the issues.

4.) Help out around the house. As the youngest in my family, I’m usually exempt from helping out with the bills and things (especially because I was still in school) but I’m looking forward to being able to help out financially.

5.) Stay fit. It wasn’t very hard for me to get in shape in that I knew I could do it but it does take work and I want to keep on getting stronger, physically. My initial goal was to get down to 110 pounds and now that I’m at 108, I feel like it wouldn’t be so bad to bring it down to 105 or 100 because I’m pretty short. 🙂 Also, I want to be able to build up my endurance and strength (although I by no means want to become the Hulk). I’ve been taking measures toward this by downloading a lot of exercise programs. I finished Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution a week and a half ago and am two days into Insanity. Yoga really helps on days when I’m not up to rigorous cardio/strength training, too. 🙂

6.) Save more money. Hay. I am a shopaholic. Everyday is a struggle.

7.) Be more honest friendship-wise, both on and off Facebook. One of the excuses I despise is “I have no time” which is the excuse that’s been used on me most often this year. I don’t claim to be the perfect friend and there are times when this excuse is legit but I’m also tired of trusting it’s true when I know that sometimes people just say it because they don’t want to see you or just because they’re lazy. But in a convo I was having with my friend Akire the other day, she said something that I think is accurate–there are some people you don’t stay in touch with for a reason. And I think that’s alright too. I would just like to be more honest about that both to myself and to those (former?) friends this year in that I will not say anything like “I miss you!” or “Let’s hang out!” if I don’t mean it.

I’d also like to be able to tell my friends how I feel when they hurt me or let me down. I have a problem with saying these things because I am scared of a) drama and b) coming off entitled–I hate people like this, who feel like they have a monopoly on other people’s time but also a lot of the people who let me down are people like that so I figure that I shouldn’t be too scared of this.

On the flipside, I’d also like to be able to tell my good friends that they are my good friends. 🙂 Although I think I did a good job on this last year, I’d like to keep it up!

8.) Be shameless. I’ve been following this YouTube channel which has really inspired (gah I hate that word but alas, it’s true) me to be more open to social media and talking to people about events or my work and not being so embarrassed or reluctant about telling people about the things I’m doing.

9.) Get my driver’s license. I’ve been driving for almost two months now (I have a student’s permit, don’t worry) and was supposed to get my license a few days ago but there was a fire near the LTO and they’re closed until the second week of January. So. I can’t wait for that!

10.) Read more. Admittedly, I do read anyway but I feel like I can read more. I’ve been jumping back and forth between different books lately and have effectively been getting nowhere. I’ll post an updated reading list soon. 🙂

And that’s it for now!

I’m going to be at Readercon this December 7th at the Rizal Library in Ateneo De Manila. 🙂 I’ll be there along with Trizha Ko and some other really awesome people (I will post up links soon). I’ll also be putting out a tiny collection of short stories entitled “The Chlorine Atom Girl”, a preview to which I will post up here when it’s ready. 😀

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