Month: November 2014

Exercise Time!

Here’s a great exercise that is simple yet amazing. Whether you’re a non-fiction writer like me, or someone who loves to write novels, this short exercise will help clarify issues, point you towards new directions, or show you something you missed in whatever it is you are writing. This is the first exercise in Andy Couturier’s Writing Open the Mind. The book’s subtitle is Tapping the Subconscious to Free the Writing and the Writer – and if you do this exercise from a perspective of play, you’ll see some amazing revelations pertaining to your writing project. To begin, keep in mind the writing project you want to focus on. It could be a book, a novel, an article or a simple blog post. Now get a sheet of large paper and make five columns with the following headings: Scenes, moods, questions, concepts and for the last column, faces. All you need now is seven minutes to write as fast as you can, anything that comes to mind pertaining to each column. Under the column “Scenes,” write about places – …

Simply Blossom

  The small, fragrant white blossom is the national flower of the Philippines. The sampaguita (jasminum sambac) is a hardy shrub with a multitude of blossoms at any given time.  As a young plant, the sampaguita is fragile and the blossoms oftentimes appear singly. A single, tiny flower the size of a big coin looks lonely. I couldn’t help but feel how we too, sometimes look lonely when we are alone.  When our size, color or lonesome state calls attention, we feel vulnerable and fragile. This tiny flower is so fragrant, that even if there is only one blossom, there’s a hint of its fragrance when the wind blows. We can be like that too, no matter how different we are from the rest, no matter how small we feel – or how alone we seem to be.  When we are true to ourselves and allow ourselves to be, we will simply blossom.

Writers on Writing

It’s been a while since I last featured quotable quotes from writers. Here are some words of wisdom from writing masters: “Writing, the creative effort, the use of the imagination, should come first–at least for some part of every day of your life. It is a wonderful blessing if you will use it. You will become happier, more enlightened, alive, impassioned, lighthearted, and generous to everybody else. Even your health will improve. Colds will disappear and all the other ailments of discouragement and boredom.”    – Brenda Ueland “Writers don’t have lifestyles. They just sit in little rooms and write.”   – Norman Mailer “Writing is a craft. You have to do the work, be willing to put scattered words down. The magic is in the commitment.”         — Jennifer Baszile “I am the only one who can tell the story of my life and say what it means.”    – Dorothy Allison  “The essential question is, “Have you found a space, that empty space, which should surround you when you write?” Into …


I’ve been enviously feasting on pictures of autumn featured in various blogs across the web. I love the splash of colors that autumn brings. We don’t have that kind of season here in the tropics – when leaves turn yellow or brown, they fall off and the trees go bald. Green leaves push their way through the branches just as the last dying leaves fall off. Tropical tress also have their own rhythms. We don’t have a season of falling leaves. Different species shed at different times of the year. The Talisay tree sheds twice a year: after summer and midway through the cooler months of the dry season.   Some trees shed completely and look like skeletons for a week or so, until the new leaves begin to dress up the trees again. Shedding is part of a tree’s life. It’s a dying of sorts that paves the way for new growth. People go through autumnal seasons as well, but the falling, the dying happens internally. Sometimes they manifest through the rituals in our lives. When the soul-based practices …

Meditation, Life and Tea

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, As if it is the axis on which the whole world revolves — Slowly, evenly, without rushing to the future. Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life. – Thich Nhat Hanh The best state of mind in which to drink tea is one of deep meditation. The second best is while looking at a beautiful landscape or listening to music. The third best is sharing a stimulating conversation. In all cases, it is necessary to aspire toward a quiet and tranquil frame of mind. – attributed to Chinese Zen Master Paichanng