Month: January 2014

Writers and their Writing Spaces

When work takes most of my time, I write on my journal wherever I am, whenever I can. In the house, I have a table for writing on notebooks, and a computer table. It’s that simple, but then, I am not a well-known writer. It’s always interesting to know how writers write… here are some glimpses into the writing spaces of some writers: Amy Tan describes her writing space as “womblike.” In New York, she has an office which was once a closet; and in San Francisco, her writing space has a window covered with drapes: “I cannot deal with distractions,” she says, so the curtains are there to block the view. American novelist and young-adult and children’s writer Alice Hoffman paints her writing space, her office, a different color each time she begins working on a new book. She also decorates the room with items that reminds her of the book she’s working on. Sherman Joseph Alexie, Jr., a poet, writer, and filmmaker, writes mostly at 3 a.m. at one of the branches of …

Why I Write

More than two years ago, I posted this in my other blog: More than a year after, I expounded on this new-found purpose for writing in a post for this blog. Determining the reason for writing during the various phases of my life was always important. Knowing the purpose for writing gave me direction: Because I knew why I was writing, no matter what I read or what other people told me, I knew what to write about.  I also knew where to seek help. When I was a journalist, I bought books on journalism. When I decided to focus on feature writing, I bought books on feature writing. When I wanted to use journaling as a healing tool, I sought guidance from other journal keepers. I left my career as a journalist to hearken to the call to heal myself and help others heal. Now that I earn a living by giving therapy sessions, I no longer depend on writing as a means to earn money. Yet, I continue to write and have created …

Words of Wisdom from Writers

We…write to heighten our own awareness of life…We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection…We write to be able to transcend our life, to reach beyond it…to teach ourselves to speak with others, to record the journey into the labyrinth…to expand our world, when we feel strangled, constricted, lonely…When I don’t write I feel my world shrinking. I feel I lose my fire, my color. -Anais Nin  Writing itself is one of the great free human activities. There is scope for individuality, and elation, and discovery. In writing for the person who follows with trust and forgiveness what occurs to him, the world remains always ready and deep, an inexhaustible environment, with the combined vividness of an actuality and flexibility of a dream. Working back and forth between experience and thought, writers have more than space and time can offer. They have the whole unexplored realm of human vision. -William Stafford People often lack any voice at all in their writing because they stop so often in the act of writing …

Journaling to Free the Soul

I am now writing on a light-weight, unlined journal. In an earlier blog post, I wrote about moving away from spiral, lined notebooks because I felt the need for change. It wasn’t until I opened the new unlined journal that I realized that there is an advantage to writing on the same type of notebooks. When I first opened the new journal to write an entry, my mind went as blank as the page that was staring back at me – it was as though my mind didn’t know what to do with the blank page. I am also a trying-to-be painter and I usually doodle and play around with paint on drawing books or drawing pads. Thus, when I opened the unlined journal, my mind couldn’t decide whether I would write or draw. Julia Cameron, in The Right to Write, tells us to begin where we are. I tried that and although it took a while before I was able to write anything, eventually I began writing…I wrote the date on the lower right …

Emerging from the Shadows: Lessons from the survivors of Haiyan

It is cold and dry here in our part of the Philippines – December thru February are the coldest months in this country, when the amihan or trade winds blow through the archipelago, and the cold northeast wind makes life pleasant especially during the day. But the world’s climate is truly changing, because in the two other main islands of our country, there has been rain, a typhoon and much flooding. The very same areas – central Visayas – that had been devastated by super typhoon Haiyan last November, and Mindanao, which was hit by category 5 typhoon Bopha in December of 2012 had been once again inundated, when they too, should have been enjoying the cool and dry northeast winds. Filipinos in the island of Luzon are enjoying the blessings of the trade winds, while our countrymen down south are continually challenged by nature. It is such a paradox, and a few days ago, I wondered if it was right to enjoy our blessings while others so close to home are having such a …

A Peek into the Writing Habits of Famous Writers

Writers are an odd group of people – indeed, it does take a certain kind of mentality and character to be able to use words to create stories that people would want to read. If you ever find yourself doing strange things just to be able to write, take heart – famous writers have and do go to great lengths to summon the muse: -Ernest Hemingway wrote from 5:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. He would first write standing up and would sit down and type only when he felt his creativity flowing. -Because of his intense need to listen to his muse, Rainer Maria Rilke left his wife and baby. -Before sitting down to write, Thomas Wilder took long walks. -Willa Carther invited the muse by reading a page from the Bible everyday before writing. -“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” was written on different hotel stationery.  When he was done writing it, Tennessee Williams sent the one and only copy to his agent by ordinary mail. -Toni Morrison uses a number two pencil to …

Free Teleseminar: Freeing Your Soul Through Writing

Bestselling spiritual writer, teacher, and speaker Mark Matousek will be featured in a free teleseminar on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at  5:30pm US Pacific / 8:30pm US Eastern time. Matousek uses self-inquiry and life writing as a means to achieve personal awakening and creative excellence.  If you can’t join in on the live teleseminar, you will receive an audio recording if you register here. Here’s a copy of the synopsis for the teleseminar: Do you feel liberated by pouring your heart’s deepest truths into a journal? Do you turn to writing as a way to free yourself from old stories, clear negative emotions and open to your higher wisdom? If so, you’re not alone. Our intimate writings are far more than “just” a diary; they can be a powerful spiritual practice that frees us from stuck energies, old ideas and stagnant visions. They can be a gateway to our soul’s liberation. It is time for writing to take a respected place of honor among more venerated spiritual practices like meditation and prayer. Indeed, there is …

The Benefits of Taking a Break from Writing

It’s been more than a week since the new year began, and I am only now beginning to write publicly again. I’ve continued journaling of course, recording the pivotal events that marked the end of 2013, as well as the calm and peace that signified the beginning of a new year for me and my family. But I took a few day’s  break from journaling as well during the first week of 2014. I know that taking a respite from writing is not a popular concept in the west. But in the eastern part of the world, where I live, taking regular breaks from life as we know it is an essential part of growth. In the western contemplative tradition, a break or a pause is referred to as statio. Statio is a period of rest, where one does nothing, when one allows the ebb and flow of life to continue without effort. In the east, pausing is not only normal, it is necessary. Hindus note that we pause after an exhale, just before another …

What’s Your Word for this Year?

People around the world are marking the new year in different ways.  The most common manner of  welcoming another year is of course by making a list of new year’s resolutions. Over at the Abbey of the Arts, the spiritual community that I belong to, we prepared to welcome 2014 by pondering upon the one word that would provide the spirit for the new year. Choosing my word for 2014 was easy – the word “Peregrinatio” reverberated in every fiber of my soul the moment I read about it in a reflection written by the Celtic priest Dara Malloy. For the whole year, “Peregrinatio” will set the course of my life; the word will provide me with the inspiration, nudges and challenges I will need as I move on. I will not bore you with the meaning of the word, nor of its significance in my life. What I would like to do instead is to encourage you to choose your own word – or allow a word to choose you. Why choose a word? Because …