Paper and pen

WritingI have been hearing a voice in my head prompting me to take paper and pen and write.  I don’t quite know what about, but I was told by a friend that if I were to write a book (ambitious!), I should do it on paper.

I don’t know if I’m writing to get the juices flowing for my dream to get published to become a reality — or is it simply another love letter to an older me in the not so distant future.

Maybe.

I used to journal longhand, back in the day when blogging was just in its infancy.  Or maybe even its toddler stages.  I have at least two books (or even three) I had written longhand in — and a third which was a Christmas or birthday present from the ex — once upon a time when he answer to the label “husband” or “honey”.  Then I stopped journaling, only to resume it around a decade later.

But before that, I went online and wrote.. took photos and wrote.. and I am still writing.  Not quite as much as I had hoped, but at least there is that conscious effort to write again.

My return to written journaling was spurred on by my discovery of art journaling.  I picked up a hardbound book and altered it with drawing and color and used it as my canvas.  This coincided with a very tumultuous time in my life which meant there was so much I needed to write down.  Although I have always said I am not an artist, I managed to create an altered book with my own version of artistic expression, filling the embellished pages with journaling over a period of two years.  Then my life somehow settled — some — and the upheaval subsided into a quiet calm.  I came to the end of my altered book.

I have tried to kick start my art journaling several times since, but with no success.  And yet I know I will keep trying.

So here I am now, pen in hand and almost to the third page of my first story.  I feel like that in itself is quite an achievement.  These days, I go with a joyful “yay!” to celebrate joy & Triumph.  And with a smile on my face, I know I am back into my love affair with paper and pen.

Monday Musings: Cold, cold Monday

Monday musingsWhat to do on another cold Monday. Winter has never been my favorite time of the year. I dream of spring and of summer. Okay, I’ll take fall. Then I wish I could wish winter away.

I guess not.

I am yearning for precious sleep. Sometimes I wish I could lay down in bed and just fall into a deep slumber. That has been elusive of late. No matter how exhausted I might feel, it’s as if there’s a switch in my consciousness that just won’t turn off. I did indulge with sleeping in during the weekend. It just wasn’t enough. I am hoping for a swifter transition to sleep this coming week and just wishing my mind would sync with my body pining for rest.

Trying to stay positive. I’d like to think that things are changing for the better. That no matter how challenging the past couple of weeks were, things are turning around and I’m beginning to feel my load getting lighter.

There is the laughter and the cheer and how I try to find the so-called silver lining. And the happy thoughts of bear hugs and laughter and those quiet times when so much is said even without the words.

I am just glad I am in a better place in those parts of my life that matter.

I am grateful.

There is such a fulfillment in the thought that here I am, writing again. Two posts for the day! I didn’t want to do Monday Musings tomorrow — then it will be a Tuesday something or other. I have always loved to write and have regretted not being able to do it more. It really takes a certain kind of discipline and dedication to the idea of putting words together to form a coherent thought. Or not. Just putting words together may be enough sometimes. But writing consistent and more regularly is one thing I hope to do more of this year.

Want vs. wish. Right after I typed the period, I went “hmmmmmm” in my head and thought I should write a full post on this right here, right now. But I’m kind of tired and my mind is wandering off, and I don’t want to make the mistake of insisting lest I find myself fighting to find sleep again tonight. You know how we are sometimes our own worst enemy when we end up waking ourselves up when we were almost in dreamland.

I just let out a deep sigh, thinking of this dream that I want and want so badly that I feel sad that it seems it won’t happen. I tell myself it just wasn’t meant to be. The choice is not mine to make, and if it doesn’t go my way, then I will just go about work as if the thought never even crossed my mind.

I should just be happy things have gotten better where there was chaos before. I am laughing again.

Here’s to a week of renewed bliss and hope for everyone.

Verses in my head

WORK IN PROGRESS: Fabric Flower Brooch with Freshwater PearlsThe words came early to me.  I wrote my first verses before I was ten, but it didn’t occur to me to save them until I was in fourth grade or 9 years old.  I started like most wannabe poets, making sure the verses rhymed and make sense.  They were never short blurbs, and it was more important for me to achieve the appearance of seeming poetry rather than expressing what I felt within in words.

As I grew older, I became more relaxed with the words and the phrasing.  I even let my punctuations loose and just wrote as the words came. 

My love affair with words has been a life long journey.

The uncanny thing was that the words stopped coming when I embarked on what I thought was the most important journey of my life: starting a family of my own.  For more than a decade, my voice was muted.  Perhaps it was a reflection of how the real me disappeared inside the shell of what I became in that new life.  So I guess it followed that when I rediscovered the person I had been underneath what I had been molded to be, the words came.

Even if I only managed one piece last year, the fact the the words and my feelings so easily came together again reassured me my voice was intact within.  

I’m writing about this journey in verse again because I’ve taken to writing new poems once more.  A friend chided me when I shared what is, joyous news for me, teasing me, do I start with “Roses are red..”‘.   (No, I don’t.. lol).   

The fact that I am able to finish a piece, no matter how short, is a personal feat that brings a smile to my face.  It brings peace to my heart.  I find it reassuring because my literary hand is steady again, writing freely.  My voice has awakened, and it is speaking to my heart.

I’m still not quite comfortable calling my work poetry.  I call them verses.   And I hope the words keep coming.  I am at that point in my life when a decade long silence is no longer on the horizon.  I write or I don’t.  The fact that I am writing again, I guess, means that I will be churning out more in the days to come.  That one there, is a thought that gives me fulfillment, reassuring me I’m in a very good place.

Catching up

Beautiful #Springday in #NYC today as I walked through #BryantPark past the #NewYorkPublicLibrary. #springInNYC #manhattan #midtown #midtownmanhattan #tulips #flora #flowers #mynewyork #mynyc

I remember not too long ago, there was someone who told me flatly he could only help one person at a time and he turned around and “left”.  Some things just stay with you.  Even if not for the magnitude of it, but simply for the profound effect its brutal frankness has on you.  Another weird analogy:  a knife and an ice pick can inflict as lethal an injury as the other.  So it’s not size.  It’s all those other things that make it hurt.

It was a no.  It was direct.  And yes, at the time, it hurt.

I guess I’m just not that type of person who would say no or refuse to help unless it was absolutely impossible for me.  And always, if I can’t, I would find a way to find someone who can.  But that’s just me.

Again, someone was talking to me about “default settings”.  Some people are just wired to try their darnedest to help.  (Reminds me of Sir Davos who asked the forlorn Melisandre to bring back my fave Game of Thrones character, Jon Snow.) You just can’t give up.  I know I don’t easily give up.  Not on life, not on me, not on others.

So even when it seems I’m not accomplishing anything much, and I am almost “stalled”, I tell myself, “Get up and try again.”  Or simply, “Go!”

Write.

Craft.

Learn  something new.

Write.

So here I am.

Again, I’ve fallen behind in my craft space, although I have a post (or two) in the works.  And I’m behind responding to queries from the thirty or so people who actually read my blog. (Ha!  And yes, post is being drafted.)

Life happens.

Right now, work is good — busy but in a good way.  And slow though it may be, I think my plans for rebooting my life in general are well underway.  Still, I feel like I could’ve done more or want to do more and haven’t.  Going back to my ‘lists’ helps.  But there are those days when you just freeze or vegetate and not do a thing.  Not good.

I am my worst critic.  For the longest time, I listened to someone whose opinion mattered the most to me and believed I was less than who I was for failing that person’s expectations.  Then one day, I just woke up and realized the person I was looking at in the mirror wasn’t me anymore.  That “me” crawled out from under and shed that exterior that wasn’t mine.  I look back now and realize I had let myself down.  But I’m back.  I like “me” as I see her now.  I actually believe I haven’t done so badly the last couple of months, and things are only getting better.

I’m trying to catch up.. getting there.  Post done.  There.

 

 

I blog because..

I have tried to stay regularly involved with The Daily Post  which is really helpful to bloggers like me who are trying to improve on their skills on the web — be it photography, writing, web design or networking.  I haven’t been able to post as regularly based on their prompts of late, but I definitely recommend that you pay them a visit if you are not familiar.

I am subscribed to the daily prompts and the idea is to write a post and tag yourself in a comment following the post, so that you and other like-minded bloggers can give their two cents’ worth on the subject matter.  There are times when the prompts are very easy to write about like today. The question is, Why do you blog?

.. it helps me to chronicle not just my every day, but the thoughts and feelings that visit my mind and heart, and doing so enables me to see the world around me more clearly.  I have been blogging for 11 years now and it is always a journey to go back to older posts or even last week’s.  Be it to remember or look back or relive something that had come to pass, my life in words has been a way for me to reflect on what I have and what I once had.  Those times I look forward and instead dwell on what I want to do or plan to do, writing about how those plans are going or have changed keep me on the path I want to take.

.. I like to remember the things that made an impact on my life — people, places, things and feelings.  It can be something as simple as a beautiful sunset that just had me mesmerized at the end of the day.  Or the imposing Manhattan skyline that I say goodnight to as I head home.   They remind me of where I am and of how precious it is to take the moment to stop and look and just breathe.  I write about them or use that snapshot as a reminder of that moment, and even if I don’t go back to that post until years later, when I do, the feelings come back and I get to relive that happy thought or awesome point in time I just said wow.

.. I believe that we all learn from one another, and my experiences and thoughts can help someone as other people’s words have helped me.  I get many inquiries about law school and dreams about being a lawyer — proof of which is that my most read posts are those relating to this topic.  That was one big part of my life that I had lived through and had left behind, but whose lessons have enriched me in ways beyond learning about the law.  I am happy to have helped others who had questions that needed answering — perhaps a simple prod to go after one’s dream like I did.  I have met people in real life who have stumbled upon my little corner of the blogsphere, and I have been enriched with those interactions in ways I cannot count.

.. it helps me think out loud, and listen to my inner voice better.  That’s the reason why one of my most robust categories in this blog is “Just Me Thinking Online”, which, as of this writing has 365 posts under it.  It really is as random as it sounds — it’s not about anything in particular — just me speaking my mind out.  And I think we often forget there’s that inner voice inside us.  We often fail to listen to the one authority on us that we should really pay mind to: ourselves.  We get caught up with listening to everyone else but the heart that matters — because we think we should be last.  One of the most impactful lessons I’ve learned in the recent years is that that is one of the biggest mistakes we can make: to forget that we should take care of ourselves, too.  We have to trust that we have the inner wisdom to know what is best for us, even when it’s not that easy a thing to do.

I have always said that I blog for very selfish reasons — I blog for me, myself and I.  That others find my words worth reading is a nice pat on the back, but it won’t stop me from writing as I write now, or prod me to go in another direction.  There is writing just to write– and that’s why I’m here.  That’s the reason this blog has existed and will continue to exist for as long as I can spew out the words that find themselves online.

Between here and there

I don’t like that this is beginning to look like a Friday Five blog.  I’m really looking to post more often, and I do look at the dashboard and go in, but I have been lazy to write and attempt putting together a blogpost.  There are a ton of pictures to share — you can see my Instagram feed constantly being updated.  I guess it seems that the inspiration to write comes in short bursts — long enough for me to write a blurb or to tweet, but not quite to complete a coherent blog post.

A lot has been happening on my side of the world.  Manila alone has a half dozen topics in draft mode somewhere in my brain.  The thing is that it’s been a struggle pulling out those thoughts into actual words that can make up a story I can tell here.  It’s like a never-ending loop playing in my head, but not quite making enough sense for me to connect everything with a beginning and an end in words.  I am trying.

Do I sound like I’m whining again?  Maybe I am.  Monday sees us greeting June hello and that means we’re almost at the halfway point of 2015.   Where did the time go?  And yet I find myself at a good juncture and I am actually okay with how time has flown from January to June — well, in most respects.
They call this the #AvenueOfTheAmericas.  #myny #mynyc #myNewYork #NewYorkCity #NewYork #manhattan #SixthAvenue #blackandwhite #midtown #streetscene

Life is the way it is — it isn’t perfect.  There are many things which I wish weren’t the way they were, and yet I choose to dwell on the things that have somehow surprised me and fell pleasantly on my lap and somehow threw a burst of color and sprinkles and magic dust all around.  (I’m not on any medication, thank you.  It’s just the way I see things tonight.. how do you describe it..  With bursts of color.. and magic dust, yes.  Go imagine..)

Maybe it’s because New York is finally warmer… (Hit 80something today, yay!  Even with a threat of a storm hanging over our heads despite a defiant sun trying to make it through the thick canopy of grey clouds above us!)  I can finally say this is MY kind of weather.=)

Manhattan in spring

Not quite Manila but close enough.

I like this kind of weather — when the sun can unleash all its power and bathe the city with its warmth and heat and I’d feel alright — sweat and all.  When the parks and the streets are blooming all around me!  Such color, such life.. it seems to be reminding us all that life is a never-ending cycle — what dies in the fall and lays bare in the winter comes back to life in the spring.
Spring in bloom

I’m trying to continue with the journey to happy, and the biggest dilemma I have about that right now is to cut or not to cut my hair.  (I am so torn.)  I was fortunate enough to have had the chance to get it cut by Alex Carbonell over at BenchFix in Greenbelt 5, and everyone loved it!  I usually trim again after 4 weeks and it’s been 4 weeks since, but I have gotten at least 3 compliments just this week which makes me think that I can hang on to the hair just a bit longer.  Maybe another week?

I have gotten back to art journaling (yay, again!) — and that part, I am very, very happy about.

UntitledI had stopped writing and drawing in my altered book for two months now — more or less– and I’ve stopped trying to catch up and have just picked up from what’s current.  My altered book should be good for another month or two and I will have to begin a new one.  I can’t wait..

The altered book looks all worn but I will redo its binding and create a cover for it.  I am hoping to do the same size for the next one.. It feels good to be able to continue with the project and see the book almost altered to the end, and soon, will be all filled with my journaling.  It’s been quite a learning experience for me, and it continues to evolve each time I go back to it.  One thing that hasn’t changed is its spontaneity.  I go back to working on the book when the inspiration hits me.

And I’ve had a lot of creative inspiration lately.  I’m trying to do freeform crochet, I’m creating jewelry pieces and I’ve been trying to color my photographs to add some drama or change its whole composition to transform it.

Hopefully that inspiration will transform to more posts here — soon.  Almost the weekend, folks!

The stories that need telling

I heard someone say that we are all storytellers, each with a story or two to tell.  I have dozens of them in my head, but then the words don’t always come with ease with each one.  There are those that we remember over and over again, be it for the happy memories they evoke or the pain they stir up inside.  There are those which are in many ways still in progress — no ending as yet.  And there are the hundred and one ideas that float by — like thought bubbles that disappear and reappear from time to time.

Sometimes we dream of writing a book like one of the books we just read.  I wish.  It takes a certain talent — much like singing takes a voice — and not everyone possesses the cohesive thought or hook that will keep our readers reading.  There are stories that everyone has their own version of — like finding a love like no other, losing that love, and recovering from that loss — and it seems that those stories keep getting told and people still read them.  So perhaps it’s not so much the novelty or uniqueness of the story itself, but of how it is actually told.

On the way to Baguio

It takes a beginning, a middle and an end.  Where do I begin?   At the beginning, they say.  Where is that beginning?   Which story do I write and tell?  I guess whichever is easiest.

Once upon a time there was a dreamer who fell in love.

A simple line brings me to different stories.

She was deep into a relationship that seemed to be going nowhere.  A working law student, she found herself immersed in a job that took her to different parts of the country.  It was just another job.  She didn’t realize that she would find more than just the usual sights and sounds of the previous journeys she had taken.  She would find someone who would touch her life then and almost twenty years later, but never really for keeps.

No editing.  That doesn’t make sense except to me and whoever else knows the story.  It can also go another way.

Years into a relationship that she just ended, she wasn’t quite ready to fall in love again so quickly.  But the heart doesn’t have a firm grasp on the concept of time, more so when it feels it has found its match.  She felt like she was reading her writing when he wrote.  There was so much promise in a life together, even if it was 10,000 miles away from all that was familiar.  Taking a chance on love meant taking a leap of faith and for some reason, she felt brave enough to take it this time around.

We can skip to the sad part and begin elsewhere.

She was blinded by her illusion of a family life that she thought wasn’t perfect but was comfortable.  She didn’t even notice when things actually changed until things unfolded during therapy.  Those gruelling and excruciating sessions which saw her peeling away her emotions in front of a stranger who was forcing her to be honest when she felt like she wanted to keep things private.  Even from him.

People say that I have a talent for explaining stories and telling things in an easy to understand fashion.  Ask my classmates in law school who liked the way I would explain complicated cases that made it easy for them to understand, be it on the blackboard or in the countless digests I wrote to sell for the cost of the photocopying.  I have a handful of stories I can write a book about, or a series, but I find a lack of focus my biggest impediment.  I envy the writers who can focus on a train of thought and develop that into chapters upon chapters and eventually come up with a novel.  Perhaps I can do that one day — I actually think I can given the proper motivation and guidance.

In another lifetime, perhaps.  Too many people would be worried about what I would write.  (Ha!  The curse of being associated with someone who has a penchant for wearing her feelings on her sleeve, and unabashedly revealing personal things in places like this blog.)  That thought actually brought out a mischievous grin on my face…

Self-censorship can be quite a bane to a writer trying to bring life to a story.  What could be worse than editing one’s self.  There are times when I let my honesty get the better of me and at the end of even a well written post, I hit “private” instead of “publish” because I have revealed too much.  Even with my brutal honesty here in my space, I still want to keep a semblance of privacy when it comes to my innermost thoughts and feelings.  I guess that’s why there are pseudonyms.  Yet another decision to be made.  Do I write it as myself or do I hide under a monicker that will hide who I really am?

There are stories that are begging to be told — because bringing them out into the open serves a purpose beyond just putting a series of events into words, weaving them into one cohesive whole.  Sometimes, a story serves a purpose and teaches a lesson after the fact, or helps one to put things into perspective as the story is being written.  I feel compelled to write to unburden myself at times, and then when I go back to the words I had written, I see things differently from how they were when I was typing away.

Perhaps in time.

I am often cowed by the fact that I feel I don’t have a compelling enough story to write.  At times I feel as though I am too mired in my feelings to actually write anything of interest.  One day.. maybe..

You might yet get to read an actual story in a longer format from me.  One or some of those stories might yet get to see the light of day and find themselves as part of a novel, an anthology, or just another blog post or series of blog posts here.  Or maybe in another blog where I can be honest without fear of embarrassing myself in front of those who know who I am.

My story might yet get written and told.