Author: Rosanna

This 4th of July

Happy 4th of July to all bloggers and readers in the United States! Our country, the Philippines, used to be a U.S. territory from 1898 to 1946 and for 48 years we celebrated with the United States every 4th of July! In another part of the world, the 4th of July is also significant. On July 4, 1862, an Oxford don who wrote under the pen name Lewis Carroll, began writing the story of a young girl who tumbles into a rabbit hole where she discovers another world – a wonderland.  One hundred fifty years later, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland continues to draw young readers into underground escapades. Here are some quotes from Lewis Carroll: “When you are describing a shape, a sound or tint, don’t state the matter plainly, but put it in a hint. And learn to look at all things with a sort of mental squint.” “Always speak the truth, think before you speak,  and write it down afterwards.” “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” “But I don’t …

Friday Web Finds

Last week, we learned how our bad sleeping habits are affecting our brains. This week, I’d like to share two more articles about sleep. It would be wonderful to experience the same quality of sleep our paleolithic ancestors enjoyed, but writers may find it difficult. This article from the Washington Post gives the perfect and easy solution if you Want to enjoy the deep, mystical sleep of our ancestors? Turn your lights off at dusk. But wait, this article from BBC News expounds on the The myth of the eight-hour sleep. Perhaps writers can squeeze in some work in between the first and second sleep? I love journaling and freebies. Here’s the link to a free download of Honor Your Body 30 Day Journal,  If you’re overwhelmed, Overcome the overwhelming stress of life is also free from Jack Hayes. Here’s to a happy Friday and deep weekend slumbers!         photo credit: The Sleeping Beauty ballet programme cover via photopin (license)

Blogging Daily for Six Months – the Statistics

I struggled with this blog post. I wasn’t sure if posting the statistics of this blog would be tantamount to boasting… …so I decided to be clear on why I want to show the statistics… …I’m thinking, maybe some of you are wondering if blogging daily makes a difference as far as readership is concerned… …the statistics show that it does… …and I hope that showing the graphs may inspire someone to try daily blogging… …because it can really be a blast… …so here goes…for whatever it’s worth… (you may have to click on the Ctrl and + button to enlarge the graph)   Comparison of views vs visitors for the past 2 years and six months   Comparison of number of visitors for the past 2 years and six months   …and now I’m wondering…can I really say I’ve been blogging daily? …you see, there are days in the week when my workload is heavy, so I write the posts in advance and use the WordPress scheduler. I suppose it’s debatable…but why waste time …

Discoveries along the Daily Blogging Path

I have been blogging (almost) daily for six months now. I missed posting for 2 days – one day in March and last week. I remember that day in March when I was so exhausted from work and gave myself a day off from blogging. Last week I missed a day again, on a day when I was so busy I totally forgot about posting. When I decided to blog daily, I had no idea if it was doable, considering that I have a day job. But six months later, here I am, still blogging daily. It was difficult at first to think of what to post, but as the days passed, daily blogging became easier and easier. Here are some of the things I have accomplished; a few realizations made; and wonderful discoveries I have stumbled upon after blogging daily for six months: I  am re-discovering my voice I found my niche…and my niche within the niche daily blogging has become a writing practice that helps me develop the discipline to write regularly it helps me develop confidence in …

What Lies in a Handshake

This was originally posted on QP and Eye: My father believed in the power of first impressions.  He accepted, that as he appraised someone for the first time, so they would similarly judge him. When I meet someone for the first time my father’s voice reminds me, “Always make eye contact, smile, dress smart and shake hands with firm enthusiasm.” A weak handshake was a symptom of insecurity and feebleness that would almost certainly be manifest in other aspects of a person’s personality, according to my father.  While I may not entirely agree with his view, I am put off by cold, weak or limp handshakes. read more  

William Zinsser on Writing Well

“There are many good reasons for writing that have nothing to do with being published. Writing is a powerful search mechanism, and one of its satisfactions is to come to terms with your life narrative. Another is to work through some of life’s hardest knocks—loss, grief, illness, addiction, disappointment, failure—and to find understanding and solace.”   “Less is more.”   “The only way to learn to write is to force yourself to produce a certain number of words on a regular basis.”   “Simplify, simplify.”     “The reader is someone with an attention span of about 30 seconds.”       – William Zinsser in On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction   

Friday Web Finds

Sleep is one of the key ingredients to a healthy life. Needless to say, writers need sleep just like everyone else. If you’re suffering from writer’s block, examine your sleeping habits. We may not be aware of it, but Our poor sleeping habits are filling our brains with neurotoxins. If you’re one of those writers missing sleep because you want to finish writing a book in one year, listen to Louise Desalvo, author of the art of Slow Writing: she presents 10 Famous Authors Who Prove That Slowing Down Is Always Worthwhile. If memoir is your thing, William Zinsser writes on How to Write a Memoir. His advice: “Be yourself, speak freely, and think small.” Featured Photo: Punta Malabrigo by Elmer Nev Valenzuela

Free Writing in Different Genres

Many years ago, I came across Andy Couturier’s book, Writing Open the Mind: Tapping the Subconscious to Free the Writing and the Writer. It’s a book that I still open now and then, when I feel “cerebrally constipated,” and my writing feels constricted. Couturier’s book is unlike any other writing book I’ve read – it’s chock-full of  unusual writing exercises designed to unshackle the brain. Here is a free teleclass from Couturier, “Learn My Two Top Techniques for Really Loving Writing.”  The first thirty minutes is about free writing about your chosen topic in different genres. Loved ethis – there was time to write on the same topic in only 3 genres but sometime today, I intend to write about it in other genres. This exercise was both fun and fascinating. If you have thirty minutes that you can spend on this exercise, click here. The rest of the audio recording features sharing by the participants. Enjoy!

Unblocking

It’ s one  of those days when I don’t know what to write about. Even if I have been blogging daily for the past five and a half months, I haven’t yet gotten into the habit of creating an editorial plan. Which is ironic because when I worked as editor for a children’s magazine for five years, I always had an editorial plan. I surfed the web for some articles on blogging schedules and of course there were the usual “Top 5, “Top 10,” oh, but this time I didn’t find “the Ultimate Guide to Creating Blogging Schedules.” Have you noticed how so many blog posts have “the Top #” and “the Ultimate” in their blog titles? Those are among the posts I don’t read…at all. It makes me wonder how one person can decide what constitutes the “Top 5” or how something can be “the ultimate.” As I was writing the first paragraph of this post, I thought it best to create an editorial plan and avoid situations like this one. But now, as I end …

again and again, our hearts shattered by the echo of the gunshot

Originally posted on pull up a chair:
the morning light spilled across the front pages, across faces bowed and streaked in tears. it didn’t take long till my own tears were added to the morning’s misery. a “lone wolf,” a man who sat for an hour near a pastor leading bible study, in a historic charleston, south carolina church, pulled out a pistol, and, one by one, took aim and fired, riddled the prayerful, felled nine lives, including the church pastor, a revered state senator. i’d come downstairs in this quiet old house to write of something else, but i picked up the news pages off the stoop, and there it was in all three papers: “deadly church attack;” “scene of carnage has long history of pain, pride and dignity;” “loner held in church killings.” sadly, only in chicago was the story “below the fold,” meaning it got second billing to something else, and in this case the “else” was a silver trophy for men in ice skates. because i’ve spent more time away from…

Pope Francis Addresses Every Living Person on this Planet

Pope Francis in his Encyclical, “Laudato Si.” “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish. Industrial waste and chemical products utilized in cities and agricultural areas can lead to bioaccumulation in the organisms of the local population, even when levels of toxins in those places are low. Frequently no measures are taken until after people’s health has been irreversibly affected. “Now, faced as we are with global environmental deterioration, I wish to address every person living on this planet.”  read more Photo credit: zabmo via Morguefile

The Journal as a Valuable Tool in Writing a Book

In an essay that was published in the book Writers and Their Notebooks, (edited by Diana M. Raab)  Author Sue Grafton explains why the journal is an invaluable tool when she is working on book projects: “The most valuable tool I employ in the writing of a private eye novel is the working journal. This notebook (usually four times longer than the novel itself) is like a letter to myself, detailing every idea that occurs to me as I proceed. “The journal is a record of my imagination at work, from the first spark of inspiration to the final manuscript. One of my theories about writing is that the process involves an ongoing exchange between the Left Brain and Right. The journal involves a testing ground where the two can exchange. Left brain is analytical, linear, the timekeeper, the bean counter, the critic and editor, a valuable ally in the shaping of the mystery novel or any piece of writing for that matter. Right brain is creative, spatial, playful, disorganized, dazzling, nonlinear, the source of the Aha! …

Friday Web Finds

Throughout this blog, I have been posting about writing -how to’s, what-not-to’s, discoveries, benefits… If you’re still not convinced that writing is good for you, this essay by Gregory Ciotti provides comprehensive data that supports the argument that life is so much better when writing is an integral part of it. In another essay, Ciotti explains The Under-appreciated Benefits of Creative Consistency, a good read if you are not yet clear on why writing regularly is good for writers. Jill Jepson writes,”Here is a tasting menu of the advice to writers I’ve read on blogs in the past few months: Write a minimum of 500 words every day. Spend at least ten hours a week on your author’s platform. Post to your blog at least once a week, on the same day and time… ….And there’s more!” No wonder writers and bloggers are pulling their hair. Jepson gives The One Piece of Advice You’re Probably Not Following: Relax. Please read it if you want to find the path that leads to blissful writing. Here’s to a blissful …

Time is My Friend (a Haibun)

In the past I viewed time from the same perspective as the rest of the world. I saw time as expendable, limited, and something to grab because it is fleeting. Things changed when I decided to look at time from a different perspective. When I decided not to hurry, I discovered an entirely different aspect of time. I saw that it is limitless. I realized that time is expandable – it can be stretched to infinity. I learned that we can dance with it. And time is always there – here, now. It will never disappear – time lasts forever. holding my breath I run after that which has no legs Time is of the essence, we are told. Time is essence, I now know. Time heals. Time allows us to unfold our wings. Time waits for us. Time is my friend now. Time indulges me. It waits for me. I see more clearly when I am not in a hurry. There are no more marathons for me to run. photo credit: clockwork gold via photopin …

How I Found My Niche

When I first set up this blog, I was at a loss as far as writing was concerned. This blog was my way of finding my writing self again, after almost a decade of being away from the real world of writing. I had no expectations when I began posting in this blog – I only knew that I needed to learn much about writing, and this blog would be my way of consolidating my “writing lessons.” I’ve been learning much, much more now that I’m blogging about what I learn.  Not only that, I have also found my niche – or should I say it found me, since  I didn’t even search for it? It just presented itself to me again and again until I finally recognized it and said “Yes, I have found my writing niche.” How did I find it? By writing, writing, and writing some more. Everyday, I write on my journals and/or on several private blogs. For the past 2 years I have also been writing for a London-based content …

Writing from the Silence

  I got fascinated by silence; by what happens to the human spirit, to identity and personality when the talking stops, when you press the off button, when you venture out into that enormous emptiness. -Sara Maitland in How to Be Alone Silence had been a constant companion since I was young. When this year began, silence beckoned me to depths of quietude that I had never experienced. Silence has a way of opening up all the senses. Hearkening to the call to more and deeper silence has been showing me a world I had not previously explored. I was worried that inviting more silence into my life would mean that I would stop writing. Ironically, it has birthed more writing moments. Photo credit: lukeok via Morguefile

Writer as Witness

Originally posted on Myths of the Mirror:
As storytellers, we create settings and characters with enough authenticity to entrap readers in our imaginations. The goal is to elicit feelings somewhere in the broad spectrum of human experience, to personally invest the reader in the outcome of our tales. A sense of reality and plausibility in our stories aids us in that task. External intricacy adds texture as it paints pictures in a reader’s mind. Our own emotional landscape is fodder for our characters’ souls. I love the idea of writers as witnesses. We are observers of details, the ones with personal knowledge of hidden imagery and feelings, which we attest to through our words. In her book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron encourages artists to become witnesses, to take time out of each day to observe our outer and inner worlds with curiosity, as a way of enriching our store of experience and ultimately our art. She suggests occasional artist’s vacations, to gather experiences foreign to our daily routines. I frequently wander about in zombie-like unconsciousness.…

Embracing the Shadows

“St. Teresa of Avila wrote: ‘All difficulties in prayer can be traced to one cause: praying as if God were absent.’ This is the conviction that we bring with us from early childhood and apply to everyday life and to our lives in general. It gets stronger as we grow up, unless we are touched by the Gospel and begin the spiritual journey. This journey is a process of dismantling the monumental illusion that God is distant or absent.” — Thomas Keating

Show Up

From the Mindfulist, Cultivating Courage: A 21-Day Journaling Course for Women with Heart “You may never be able to write a bestseller that is translated into thirty languages, but don’t let that stop you from trying. “You may never become a painter whose art is in the Museum of Modern Art, but don’t let that stop you from trying. “You may never become a solopreneur whose high-ticket courses are sold out in a matter of hours, but don’t let that stop you from trying. “If you identify your “successes” as what defines you, then you will be in trouble. “Instead, how about telling yourself that your only job is to show up as fully as you can through presence and choice, doing your best today without being distracted by rules or expectations, continuing to learn, keeping on growing and being curious without focusing on the “results,” and rewriting the story you tell yourself from a place of wholeness, sufficiency and “being in the now” instead of a place of comparison.” In our part of the …

Friday Web Finds

Another week is ending, and it’s time once more to share some great online discoveries… I’m not a social media person. I simply don’t get it. My social media know how is close to nil. I do some Facebook once or twice a week, mainly to find interesting articles and posts to read.  I’m grateful that Wordpress incorporated social media buttons in their web designs, so at least my posts automatically get tweeted, and sent to tumblr and LinkedIn. That’s just about it. If, like me, you can’t find the passion to tweet and do Facebook or Instagram, Why I Abandoned My Social Media Presence  will validate your reluctance to walk down the social media road. From Dream to Nightmare: John Steinbeck on the Perils of Publicity and the Dark Side of Success chronicles John Steinbeck’s woes about being a public figure. This  article, which was published by the New York Times, will help you appreciate The Small Happy Life. And for a weekend poetry fix, head over to hedgegrow. Happy weekend, all! Photo credit: Luis Llerena via Unsplash

Mary Oliver on Listening to the World

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting — over and over announcing your place in the family of things. – Mary Oliver in Wild Geese Mary Oliver is one of America’s greatest living poets. In this interview with On Being‘s Krista Tippett, Oliver discusses writing, poetry and life.

Keeping Quiet

by Pablo Neruda Now we will count to twelve and we will all keep still. For once on the face of the earth, let’s not speak in any language; let’s stop for one second, and not move our arms so much. It would be an exotic moment without rush, without engines; we would all be together in a sudden strangeness. Fisherman in the cold sea would not harm whales and the man gathering salt would look at his hurt hands. Those who prepare green wars, wars with gas, wars with fire, victories with no survivors, would put on clean clothes and walk about with their brothers in the shade, doing nothing. What I want should not be confused with total inactivity. Life is what it is about; I want no truck with death. If we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving, and for once could do nothing, perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death. Perhaps the earth can teach us as …

A Page from My Journal: Poetry

April 22, 2014 Poetry is now alive in me. Poetry now makes me alive. First a haiku, then a tanka, now a haibun. The soul is alive in poetry. The sparseness of a haiku entices it to sing a merry tune. The freedom of additional verses of a tanka is sweet dessert. And haibun. Haibun encourages the best from the mind and soul. Haibun allows the mind and the soul to dance to the combined harmonies of prose and poetry.  Poetry is food for the soul, music for the mind and inspiration for the spirit.   Photo credit: arker via Morguefile

James Patterson’s Master Class

Originally posted on Inkcouragement:
Has anybody else seen this? I rarely pay attention to Facebook ads, but this one caught my gaze and I had to see what it was about. In 22 video lessons, James Patterson, currently the bestselling author in the world, teaches writers how to write a best-selling book. Now I’m not naive and think I’ll write a bestseller after taking this class, because a class can only do so much. But I think it would be fascinating to take a course from one of the most prolific and widely read authors of the past fifty years. Not to mention the fact that I can’t afford to go to writing conferences at this point, so online learning and reading books/magazines/articles/blogs on writing are the current tools in my toolbox for improving my writing. I’ll be honest, I’ve never read a single James Patterson book. Not one. It’s not that I don’t like him. I either haven’t gotten around to it or the books I’ve seen with his name on it just aren’t in…

Journaling as Spiritual Practice

  “For much of my own life, journal writing has been an important act of soul centering. Initially unaware of my journal’s spiritual purpose, I later fiercely claimed this writing as a spiritual practice when I realized my journal pages had become a kind of chapel for me, an intimate place that I frequented to whisper my gratitude, praise, and laments, and even, at times, a petition or two.” -Karen Hering in Writing to Wake the Soul: Opening the Sacred Conversation Within       photo credit: 2015-03-06g A path to keeping a diary — index card #writing #journaling #diary via photopin (license)

Eric Maisel on Writing Spaces

“A writer’s space is wherever she lands; her treasure is the writing she gets done in these myriad spots.” “Naturally you want a room in which to write that is dedicated to your writing pursuits and not the center of family commotion, the place where the canned goods are stored, or home to the water heater and the washer-dryer. But maybe you can’t have such a dedicated room; maybe space is at a premium and all that’s available to you is the kitchen table or a desk in your bedroom.” “There is nowhere that you need to go in order to write, not even out of that bed. Right where you are is where your thoughts and feelings become available, if you are inclined to access them.” “If you have a bed, you have an office. Writing is about thinking, feeling, and scribbling and can be done perfectly well while reclining. Colette, Proust, Walker Percy, Edith Wharton, James Joyce, my good friend whose novel just sold, our younger daughter who is working on her first novel, …

Friday Web Finds

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, here are a couple of interesting articles about the brain and writing: The Origin of Language and the Ancestral Need for Stories Just looking at nature can help your brain work better, study finds I can’t believe it’s Friday already, the days just went by so fast this week! Work and a late summer road trip has kept me from responding to comments and visiting other blogs. Hopefully come Sunday I will be able to catch up. Thankfully, I have been able to continue with my writing practice. Writing daily on my journals have allowed me to keep balance in my life. I came across this feature story, Writing to Heal that encourages writing about the turbulent times in our lives. Some journal writers lament that their journals have become places where they rant. Meet Dr. James W. Pennebaker, who has spent 20 years encouraging people to rant. Pennebaker says ““When people are given the opportunity to write about emotional upheavals, they often experience improved health, They go to the doctor less. They have changes …

How Writing Affects the Brain

I first saw this infographic as a reblog on Suzanne Joshi’s blog, Musings on Life and Experience. I knew I wanted to feature the infographic in my blog and surfed the web for information on who created the it, but all I found were several blogs that featured the same infographic, and none of the blogs gave credit to the creator. So, I am posting this infographic with the hope that the information it contains are true… it’s so interesting and puts a framework on the writing process…explains how writers can influence others…why writers should avoid using cliches…and why writing is similar to meditation. You’ll have to press Ctrl and the + sign on your keyboard to magnify the graphic.  Reposted from Lifehack

Writing from a Different Perspective

Literally writing from a different perspective can add color to our writing, says Jill Jepson: “Writing in a physical position that is unusual for us – and not quite as cozy as our normal posture – can help spur us into a crazy wisdom state.” This crazy wisdom state, Jepson says, can be achieved by writing while standing up if we’re used to working at a desk or table. Or, write while sitting on the floor, At the very extreme, Jepson says you can write while lying down. Eric Maisel suggests taking short writing trips during days when we feel uninspired to write at our desk: “You can choose among your excellent haunts and decide which feels most congenial at the moment. By all means maintain a primary writing place; then add alternates.”  Photo credit:TheBrassGlass via Morguefile

Writing Prompts from Everywhere

Writing prompts can come from everywhere – they can even come from your own writing! Diana Wallace Peach, who has several books to her credit and blogs at Myths of the Mirror wrote a brand new story by retelling another story she wrote earlier. The second time around, she told it from the perspective of a different character. Taking her cue from an online site that offers lessons for writers, Diana writes about the challenge to “Retell the 500 word piece from last week using a fresh perspective. If you wrote about the person with the narrator as observer, write about it from the perspective of the observed person. If you wrote in the third person, change to first person. In other words, shift whatever you did 180º . ” Jill Jepson, author of Writing as a Sacred Path suggests that writers do a “360.” Jepson says that doing a “360 is an easy, fun, and fascinating exercise that can give your writing new depth and vision. It begins with a single scene. To do a 360, rewrite the scene from …

Why Writers Keep Journals

“People who keep journals have life twice.” – Jessamyn West “I’ve been keeping a diary for thirty-three years and write in it every morning. Most of it’s just whining, but every so often there’ll be something I can use later: a joke, a description, a quote. It’s an invaluable aid when it comes to winning arguments. ‘That’s not what you said on February 3, 1996,’ I’ll say to someone.” – David Sedaris “I got out this diary and read, as one always does read one’s own writing, with a kind of guilty intensity. I confess that the rough and random style of it, often so ungrammatical, and crying for a word altered, afflicted me somewhat. I am trying to tell whichever self it is that reads this hereafter that I can write very much better; and take no time over this; and forbid her to let the eye of man behold it. And now I may add my little compliment to the effect that it has a slapdash and vigour and sometimes hits an unexpected …

Friday Web Finds

As we near the end of May, we are saying goodbye to the last few days of summer. We are now experiencing sunny days interspersed with thunderstorms. It had been a searing summer – the hottest I’ve experienced here in my native Philippines. During the past three months, we had a handful of days when temperatures reached 104°F – way above the usual 91°F average summer temperature. June will usher in the 5-month rainy season. Soon we will begin preparing for the floods and the typhoons…we’re  living and thinking on the margins. Vivian Gornick is A Woman on the Margins . In this interview, she discusses the problem with writing programs. Gornick expounds on the memoir’s potential for dishonesty; and she tells as how she finds her way in this world as a writer. Louise DeSalvo is one writer who finds her way in this world through The Art of Slow Writing (this works well for me). In this post, Margarita Tartakovsky discusses why The Creative Process Takes Time (And That’s A Good Thing). The post focuses on DeSalvo’s book. We’re …

From OWN: 3 Rules Every Aspiring Writer Should Follow

In this short video (1.20 min)  the Oprah Winfrey Network features writer Cynthia Bond, author of the novel Ruby. Bond talks about putting together the Blackbird Writing Collective – a writing group – because she needed to finish her novel and  the support of like-minded minds and spirits. The members of the Collective discuss  3 rules that can help aspiring writers. Click on this link to watch.

Oh, those Filtering Devices!

I’m still trudging through Rebecca McClanahan’s book, Word Painting. After traversing pages dealing with grammar, I am now learning that to write more descriptively, we must get rid of filtering devices. Such phrases as “he noticed” or “she felt” and “he noted” are called filtering devices. This stylistic tic, John Gardner says, drains the energy of the writer’s language. These filtering devices clutter our sentences and act as barriers between the reader and the sensory images we want the reader to experience. Says McClanahan: “In most cases, stating the image directly is more effective than filtering it through the narrator’s , or a character’s consciousness.” This paragraph contains filtering devices: The boy eyed the  contents of his grandmother’s room, noticing the tiny figurines arranged in tiers on the mahogany shelf. He saw the bouquet of miniature irises, the ceramic Cinderella slipper, the glass horse with the painted blue eyes. He felt a sadness sweep through him like an autumn breeze. This is how the paragraph reads when the filtering devices were removed: The boy eyed the …

Writing Prompts from Life

I have this thing with writing prompts – I hate them. Those questions or direct orders to write don’t inspire me to write at all. I don’t know why I detest them, but I do. That’s why it’s hard to find a writing group and attend writing classes and workshops where there are prompts galore. What I love are writing prompts that I receive from life. Those little things I see on the ground, the major events that either ignite or rock my days, and the seemingly ordinary occurrences that happen, or a word or gesture from the  people who flit through my life. I love the way they encourage me to feel my feelings at that very moment. Watching out for the writing prompts from life allows me to live in the moment. And later, when I can sit down, I love the way they inspire me to dig deep. The words always flow as a result of my excavation efforts, along with revelations, realizations and lessons. No thinking, just feeling. Ironically, this post was inspired by a prompt …

PHOTOWALK — AND GETTING LOST — IN LUCBAN

Originally posted on Malate:
I lost my way out of Lucban after the Pahiyas walk. One wrong turn led to a stretch of mistaken path. Off-track. Astray. All despite the non-complex setup of this humble little town. I lost my cool as well. Nobody seemed to be able to give me a clearer direction. I lost my cool realizing I’m running out of phone loads, battery, and daylight. I lost my cool knowing friends are waiting for me somewhere and — without a doubt — are losing theirs too. You know what they say about how a man’s character is defined by how he behaves when he doesn’t know what to do? Mine wasn’t so bad at all — mine was terrible! I felt agitated. I was dead-tired. I cursed and swore and walked around like a headless chicken. Did I fell under someone else’s spell or was I in the middle of that time of day when people think and act strangely. Whatever happened to my audacious youth and all the wisdom of getting…

The Fire of Pentecost

“At Pentecost, initiation occurred not only at the individual level (“and a tongue rested on each of them”) but also at the corporate level. The outpouring of the Spirit upon the whole community reminds us that we are not on an individual journey but a shared one. God calls us, compels us, to attend to the Spirit in one another. “The celebration of Pentecost beckons us to keep breathing. It challenges us to keep ourselves open to the Spirit who seeks us. The Spirit that, in the beginning, brooded over the chaos and brought forth creation; the Spirit that drenched the community with fire and breath on the day of Pentecost: this same Spirit desires to dwell within us and among us. Amidst the brokenness and chaos and pain that sometimes come with being in community, the Spirit searches for places to breathe in us, to transform us, to knit us together more deeply and wholly as the body of Christ, and to send us forth into the world.- continue reading —  Jan Richardson   …

IT WAS PAHIYASINATION I KNOW

Originally posted on Malate:
PAHIYAS is a woman’s charm — there is more far beneath than what is captured by the lens. Pahiyas is a celebration. In honor of farmers’ patron saint San Isidro de Labradore. An acknowledgement of a season’s good harvest. Pahiyas is a party! People trooped to this small Lucban town, far flung and middle-of-nowhere any which way you take. Pahiyas is an expression. All the trimmings are statements of Lucbanians’ creative skill and imagination. Pahiyas is gastronomy. You should eat ’til you’re sleepy here. And sleep ’til you’re hungry. Pahiyas is twenty-four-carat Pinoy hospitality. I’ve stopped by each castle along the way and made myself feel at home. Pahiyas is labor of love. “We have taken great pains for this and are happy for it” — a local declares while emptying a glass of lambanog. No question Pahiyas is lambanog. Locally made. Up to ninety-percent proof! Pahiyas is life. Unbelievable. Most of all, Pahiyas is experience. Don’t just take photos, live the moment. And most, most of all, Pahiyas was fascination…

Friday Web Finds

Time to share some great finds… This may be of interest to this blog’s readers from the U.S – a post about The Most Popular Book Set in Each State — in One Surprising Map. Ever wondered why it’s hard to get up in the morning? Well,Scientists May Have Figured Out Why It’s So Hard to Get Out of Bed in the Morning! Lastly, here’s how you can Use a Writer’s Notebook to Inspire Your Craft. Have a Beautiful Friday everyone! Photo credit: Michelle Bulgaria via Morguefile

Poem-Making as Play

I learned how to write poems by reading the book of John Fox. I devoured Finding What You Didn’t Lose, Expressing Your Truth and Creativity Through Poem-Making. I highlighted, performed the exercises and read the poems featured in the book. I had so much fun! Poetry set me free in so many ways. I loved the book so much I wrote John Fox and told him how I enjoyed learning poetry through his book. Those were the days of snail mail and to my surprise, Fox snail mailed back, with  a short note of encouragement. Here are some wonderful quotes from the book, lifted from Chapter Four entitled “Language as Play.” “Writing poetry will come naturally if you allow yourslf to become as direct and free as a young child, if you can access a child’s sense of curiosity and joy, a child’s contact with feelings unfettered by analysis, as well as a child’s ability to create metaphor by uninhibitedly making connections between everything seen and experienced. ” “Playfulness in using language occurs on many levels. There is the …

A page from My Journal: Mind Play

27 September 2014 The days come and go. My mind grapples to name them… Monday. Is it Thursday now? No, it is Saturday! If I had my way, I wouldn’t mark the days by names. How then? Perhaps by how it feels?  Today everything seems to be in a frenzy…Energetic day! Everything outside is wet….Rainy day! Everything outside looks so green…Verdant day! My mind is playing and it makes me happy. like the birds I’d like my mind to sing too. no storms a-brewing But I have to get real. Days need to have their specific names. I settle for a compromise. Sunny Monday. Dull Tuesday…Exciting Wednesday. Haibun gives my mind permission to play. old habits fading, the mind grapples to begin new names for the days In our part of the world… The quaint city of Vigan was officially inaugurated as one of the New7Wonders Cities early this month. Vigan  is one of the few Hispanic towns left in the Philippines. It is famous for its cobblestone streets with houses that showcase the unique fusion of Philippine, Oriental, …

A Page from My Journal: A Haibun

20 August 2014 I wrote very little this morning in my journal. Again, my brain goes into projection mode. It rehearses what I will tell a beleaguered client tomorrow. The thoughts rise above the desire to read and write. Rustling sounds draw my attention towards the window. I take a look and see Boots, one of my rescues. This gentle cat is lying on the ground in sweet surrender. The brain stops chatting. My body breathes. I smile. clutter in my mind signs of insecurities cat asleep outside     Haibun Definition from Contemporary Haibun Online Contemporary haibun is a combination of prose and haiku poetry, sometimes described as ‘a narrative of epiphany’. Like English haiku, English haibun is evolving as it becomes more widely practiced in the English speaking world. Haibun is the Japanese name for 17th Century poet-monk Basho Matsuo’s poetic-prose travel journals which were studded with haiku. The best known are The Narrow Road to the Deep North and The Hut of the Phantom Dwelling. Bruce Ross in an essay entitled “North …

A Space to Write

Originally posted on Myths of the Mirror:
Spring has arrived in the mountains. It’s always a couple weeks later than down in the valley, and though the mornings are still frosty, the leaves have unfurled, and the dogwood wears its white petals. I’ve filled the hummingbird feeders and opened the windows to capture the afternoon sun. And my writer’s room beckons. In 1929, Virginia Woolf wrote that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” Well, that money thing would be convenient, wouldn’t it? Yet, it’s not a prerequisite for writing in my mind. Time strikes me as the rarer commodity. But what about that room of her (or his) own, that “must” for the imagination to bloom?  A sacred space of quiet and solitude without the common daily distractions of television, movies, and videogames? A space where a writer can shut the door? When I moved to the mountains, there was a half-finished room above my husband’s shop. I claimed it as my writing room…

Facing Challenges

“As somebody said to me once, no matter what’s happening, something else is also true. Bad news, shock, trauma can make us feel pinned to the wall. It makes us feel paralyzed and immobile until we realize and remember that there’s another side to it. To everything that happens, there’s another side.” – Mark Matousek in Writing as Spiritual Practice     Photo courtesy of wyman H via unsplash  

What Writers Should Look for

In his article Writers Should Look for What Others Don’t See, Joe Fassler highlights key points in his interview with the Serbian-born poet Charles Simic: “To me, the ideal poem is one a person can read and understand on the first level of meaning after one reading. An accessible quality, I think, is important. Give them something to begin with. Something that seems plain and simple but has something strange—something about it that’s not quite ordinary, that will cause them to do repeated readings or to think about it. The ambition is that, each time they read, they will get to another level of the poem. This fearsome little 10- to 15-line poem becomes something like this poem of Whitman’s, which the reader wants to read over and over again.” – Charles Simic   A Sight in Camp in the Daybreak Gray and Dim by Walt Whitman A sight in camp in the daybreak gray and dim, As from my tent I emerge so early sleepless, As slow I walk in the cool fresh air the …