Friday, November 23, 2012

The Gift

21 images and 21 stories in 21 days.
PROJECT 21: The Gift
(photo credit: Olga Villanueva)

As he stood there on the ledge overlooking the mines, the wind chilled his bones from what he was about to do.  It is 4:30 a.m. and the first rays of the sun is not yet peeking out from its slumber. “This is nice,” the young man thought. He rubbed his hands together vigorously for some warmth and then shoved them back in this shorts’ pocket. He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, feeling the cold air coming out of his lungs.  His eyes were swollen and hot, angry tears flowed freely from his cheeks to his chin. He didn’t care. Nothing mattered right now.

His throat ached as he tried to suppress the anguish inside. He wanted too shout and curse at the nothingness that lay before him. It matched what he felt. He looked up at the stars, pinpricks of light in that sea of black ink. He found it amusing that he could still find beauty even in the depths of sorrow. He covered his head with his jacket’s hood and winced. It is painful and it will always be painful from now on.

He met her in Burham Park. Just another tourist who wanted a henna tattoo. Why she chose his stall will be one of those flukes that fate dishes out from time to time. She asked for a bird. He drew the most intricate Maya bird on her left shoulder. She loved it and from her smile, he knew that he was trapped. He called her Maya since then.

The days seem to pass by like sand through his hands whenever he was with her. Strawberry picking in the fields, a trip to Ben Cab’s museum, a vegetarian feast at “Oh My Gulay” cafĂ© and strolling around Camp John Hay - ordinary tourist routes that became unforgettable moments with her exuberant laugh and wonderful enthusiasm. He grew to love her in such a short time. He wished for none of the happiness to end.

In his heart he had carved a secret place for her, a room full of scenes from nature. He painted for her a tropical paradise, for his beloved had an affection for birds in flight.  He drew hummingbirds, cockatoos, doves and the humble Maya bird. He longed to be with her always. He decided to ask for her hand in marriage before she left for Manila.

It is 4:45 a.m. now. It started drizzling and he braced himself for the cold. He was already wet and his jacket’s right pocket was drenched from the weight of the secret he had to bear but he didn’t care. There’s no turning back once he set on the path he has chosen. Again, he sobbed at the memory of finding out how he would lose his beloved to Death.

On the night he was supposed to propose to Maya, he overheard her auntie mention how little time Maya had. She was on the waiting list for an organ transplant and this was a vacation from which there would be no certainty. He  was confused and surprised to find out that his beloved, his gentle bird was very, very sick. Now he understood why she loved birds. She wanted to be free and fly away from all of this. He held off on his proposal and when they saw each other that night, he embraced her so tightly as if challenging the universe to try and take her from his arms. He decided that for her to see the secret place he carved for her in his heart then he would give her the best gift he can think of.

It is 5:00 a.m. The dark clouds are giving way to the warmth of the sun’s rays. Whatever he planned to do, he’d better do it now. He closed his fingers tenderly on the fleshy object that lay in his jacket’s right pocket. Flashes of crimson liquid covered his hand and again, he wept. He wept for the future that will never be. He wept for the pain that his heart was trying to bear since yesterday evening.

Unbeknownst to his beloved, he prepared his gift and headed off to the hotel where she was staying. When he arrived at her room, the door was left ajar so he slowly walked in and found his Maya bird in the arms of another man. She tried to speak, to explain that he was a man from her past.  She left Manila, thinking that they would never find love again but after hearing his story, they decided to give their relationship another chance. As she spoke, all he could hear was his racing heartbeat, as if it was rebelling against its cage in his chest. Everything was a blur and all he could remember was he took his gift from the box. He threw the box at the two of them and then there were shouting and the sound of breaking glass.  He remembered storming out of the room, the one he carved in his heart. And on the colorful walls were splotches of red and black paint.

When he opened his eyes, he found himself standing at the ledge of Mines View Park. He does not remember running but he was exhausted from crying and fatigue as if he destroyed a room with his bare hands.  Every muscle in his body ached and he longed for sleep. He looked at the sky and then he took out his gift, his right kidney, still warm from the jacket’s pocket and crushed it in his hands. “Goodbye love and good riddance, “ he said as he squeezed it hard.  He winced again as he felt the morphine wearing off from the impromptu operation he just had. He sobbed and sobbed hard, his shoulders shaking from the force. “Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye…,” he chanted as he turned his gift into pulp.

It is now 5:30 a.m.

Friday, October 26, 2012

coming soon

I've been busy with some relationship issues these past weeks and have neglected my pen. However, I look forward to the last two months of 2012 since it is the Nanowrimo month.

On my list are:

  • Food writing - resource from Tessa's book and my view on local cuisine.
  • Janus - Sci-fi novel for Nanowrimo
  • Project 21 - 20 stories to go
  • Horror story
  • Chick lit story 
I also plan to attend two workshops before the year ends.  One by Writer's Block and another abour food culture and identity.
As of this time, I have purchased 70 books. I am so behind my reading list that it pains me not to have time to read all of them.  But I am a happy bookworm with my babies around me.

I'm planning my writer's retreat for next year too.  Instead of a big out of town adventure, I'll be holing up in some hotel (not yet decided where I'll be going) with my laptop, notes and reference materials and will be writing for three days and two nights.  I wonder what magic I can produce during that time.  I am very excited!

Cheers to a a new month ahead!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

buys and highs!

  1. Live without a net ed. by Lou Sanders
  2. The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman
  3. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
  4. Dracula: The UnDead by Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt
  5. Blood Horowitz by Anthony Horowitz
  6. Teeth: Vampire Tales ed. by  Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
  7. PB24 by Pl Medina Jr.
  8. Happy Dog, Happy You: A Dog Parenting Handbook by Dog Magazine
  9. Vampires: Encounters with the undead ed. by David J. Skal
  10. Under the Covers and between the Sheets: Facts and Trivia about the World's Greatest Books by C. Alan Joyce and Sarah Janssen
  11. Out of This World: Science Fiction Stories by Edward Blishen
  12. Gamer Fantastic ed. by Martin greenberg and Kerrie Hughes
  13. Stephen King goes to the movies
  14. The book of lies by Brad Meltzer
  15. Tapping the Vein by Clive Barker (comics)
  16. Skyworld by Mervin Ignacio and Ian Sta. maria
I finished 4 books in this current list.  And I bought all of this last month! Well, being that it was the NBS 70% cut price book sale, how could I resist?

Looking forward to Sept. 8. Visprint, Inc. will be hosting the "Writers in talks" event at Alphaland Towers. Entrance is only at Php100. Who knows? I might make new friends and get published along the way.  Nonetheless, I look forward to learning something new and add to my writing skills.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

hard to find

there are just some books that won't leave you alone.  there two are a perfect example. i didn't buy them initially because they were quite expensive.  but then when i went back for them, they were not there anymore. the first book took me 2 years to find again and i bought it for less than 100 pesos. the original price was 300+.

the second book was sold for 399 pesos and although its price did not go down, i really regretted not buying it the first time. so when i saw it again, i took the chance and i have not regretted it since. it's a great book on vampires with historical and literary sources.

i already bought around 10 books this month since it is the NBS 70% cut price booksale.  i'm going on a book diet till december. i have so many books to pay attention to. wish me luck!

Friday, July 27, 2012

reading again

i feel so at home inside a bookstore. i just want to curl up in a day bed with a mug of hot choco and read up on my latest love. 

of course, after reading comes the writing part. the great thing about having your own library is you get inspired to write. wish i can create my private place just for this.  my novel and stories will not write itself.

projects on my shelf are:
  • Janus - the post apocalyptic sci-fi novel i have in the works.  planning to turn this into a comic book.
  • Project 21 - 21 images and 21 stories in 21 days
  • Black magic woman - semi biographical work i am ghostwriting for.
  • The dance of Salome  - belly dancing as a psychic power? maybe.
  • University Secrets - a collaborative work with my fellow writer on Philippine stories surrounding the oldest university in Asia. 
  • an Erotica novel - no working title yet. based on one of my earlier works.
looking forward to getting that writer's retreat so i can actually finish something and present it to my publisher!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

new comics!!

I only follow 2 local comics - Pugad Baboy and Zsazsa Zaturnnah
Now I'm adding Skyworld by Mervin Ignacio. 
I'm saving up for this! (photo courtesy of Duy Tano from The Comics Cube). 
It's P250 pesos per book at National Bookstore.

Monday, June 18, 2012

weekend writer tripping

Here I am with my books at the "Readers for Life" event last June 16, 2012 at Chef's Bistro, QC. I had fun making new friends and selling my books. I am happy to report that we made P930 pesos and sold around 15 books. I donated the rest to the organizers of the event .

Apart from being a seller, I also bought a few items at the bazaar - a leather book with camera pendant necklace, a bracelet watch and one book by Roald Dahl.

I look forward to these writer adventures. It keeps me inspired to reach my dream, involve myself in the local arts scene and make new friends.

Friday, June 15, 2012

book bazaar

Chef's Bistro, Tomas Morato QC
July 16, 2012, 8am-6pm
I'll be selling my 2nd hand books there, around 60+ pcs.. 
Please feel free to drop by. It's for a great cause.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

writer advice

he's still my idol!
truly inspiring...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

the joy of reading

i saw this on brain pickings and i liked it so much i made my own version...
sans the digital magic though.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

advice from the masters

Thanks to my subscription to Brain Pickings I get to read about wonderful and amazing things about art, writing, science and the like. Here's the latest post from their site that I'd like to share to my fellow writers:

Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 Tips on How to Write a Great Story

“Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.”
  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things-reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them-in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

adventures of the noob

Bowler Nights: The Secrets of E-book Publishing by sponsored by Writer's Block Philippines

in my efforts to further my knowledge in the writing business, i came across a free talk on e-book publishing by my writing group, Writer's Block Philippines held at Bowler Restaurant, Makati. i am an old fashioned book lover and although i have been a patron of e-books for sometime now (the text and pdf file e-books that are available for free or on sellers online), i have no idea how the market is in terms on online consumables as this. is there really a market for it, how profitable is it for authors and what are the pros and cons of considering  e-book publishing for my works rather than print? this talk came at a time when a publisher contacted me from Germany and i was apprehensive on working with them.

the talk by Honey de Peralta, Managing Editor of was very informative especially for someone who is a novice. i was inspired and i was even surprised to meet charles, a sci-fi blogger  (bibliophile stalker) that i've been following online for quite sometime. it also made me consider if i had to buy an ebook reader or just stick to my Asus Eee netbook and just download ebook reader software. so far, it boils down to finances and I don't have much yet. maybe Santa would give a kindle for christmas? *wink,wink*

looking forward to more seminars/workshops from Writer's Block. it gives me great pleasure to meet new friends and learn from the professionals.

been going on a lot of trips lately since my siamese cat, Mio, went missing last february 17. i am still distraught and a bit neurotic up to now since i can't help but be on high alert whenever i am at home. any sound of roof scratching, faint mewling or footsteps on the roof sends me running to the back of the house and start calling out for him.

i've been keeping busy to distract myself from this depressing news. went to binondo, chinatown for the first time and went on a food trip with my friends.i also went to DLSU-dasma to renew my passport with my co-worker and finally, went to the MV Logos Hope for the largest floating book fair with my sister and nephew.

i'd like to think that Mio disappearing has a reason. i just wish he's ok and that whoever found him takes care of him and loves him more that i could. he deserves a full life. i only wish it was i who's cradling him right now.

today i head off to practice on my travel articles, art reviews and outlining  my novel. i will bury myself in books once more and then maybe the Muses will grant me my wish of becoming a successfully recognized, paid and published writer. i do all this with Mio as my inspiration.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

2011 list, 2012 wishes

Worm Status: Had my fill (2011)

1. Altered Voices by Scholastican
2. Kalki by Gore Vidal
3. Percy Jackson and the Lightning  Thief
4. Super Fiction or the American Story Transformed ed. by Joe David Bellamy
5. Twisted 9 by Jessica Zafra
6. 277 secrets your cat wants you to know by Paulette Cooper and Paul Noble
7. The Ice limit by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
8. Pattern Recognition by William Gibson
9. Garfield Rounds Out-His 18th Book.
10.Seeds of Fear ed. by Jeffs Gelb and Michael Garrett
11. Night Shift by Stephen King
12. Playboy's Stories of the Sinister and Strange by Playboy Press
13. The Great Secret by L. Ron Hubbard
14. The best of THIS IS A CRAZY PLANETS by Lourd Ernest H. de Veyra
15. Third from the Sun by Richard Matheson
16. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
17. Armour of God by Paul Block and Robert Vaughan
18. The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry
19. Metropolis by Thea Von Harbou
20. Transformations: Understanding World History through Science Fiction ed. by Danielle Roselle
21. Murder on the Menu ed. by Waugh, Greenberg & Asimov
22.The Doomsday Key by James Rollins
23. Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl
22. Pugad Baboy 23 by Pol Medina Jr.
23. Dirty Dancing: Looking Back 2 by Ambeth R. Ocampo
24. The Museum of Dr. Moses by Joyce Carol Oats
25. The Power by Frank M. Robinson
26. Getting published by Paul Raymond martin

Whew! I am so glad that I doubled my reading list from last year. Looking forward to new reads this year. Currently, I am in between these paperbacks:
  • A Short Guide to Writing About Art by Sylvan Barnet
  • Songs of Love and Death ed by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories to stay awake by Random House
  • The Rosetta Key by William Dietrich
  • The Sandman Papers ed. by Joe Sanders
Now if you ask me how I can find the time between work, travel, household chores and writing my stories...well it's in those hours while traveling to and from work, those few minutes before bedtime and those precious seconds while waiting for the just about anything. God gave me the thirst for knowledge and stories so I am like a sponge, ever absorbing and always eager to learn.

I hope to go on more workshops this year. There are times that I feel that my life is just beginning. Isn't that great?