April 5, 2005

The General April 2005 Archive

WHY I NOW HATE THE POST OFFICE
April 29, 2005

Good news. The books have arrived.

Bad news. They’re at customs. UPS decided to heap them all together into one bunch and charge me 400 bucks to pick the books up. Note that it’s just the beginning — 400 bucks is still taxable, or so they say.

I’d really like to get my hands on something living and helpless so I can squeeze the life out of it. Such is the gift of frustration.

POPE BENEDICT XVI (YAY!)
April 28, 2005

I have spent the last few weeks just savoring the happiness of finally having a new pope, and Cardinal Ratzinger of Germany, at that.

I will offend some parties, I know. After all, Cardinal Ratzinger wasn’t popular to begin with, as he led the modern day Inquisition and served as adviser to the late Pope John Paul II. I never knew who he was until the names of several cardinals were being bandied about as speculations were made on who the new pope would be. I didn’t even like him the first time I saw him, during Pope John Paul II’s funeral mass. He seemed to me too stern, too scornful of the young, too hardened to appreciate the applause and cheers for his former boss.

As time passed, however, and as I learned more about him, I began to wish I were a cardinal so I could vote for him to be Pope.

There is something only a few people know about me, and I might as well shout it out to the world. I’m a practicing, devout, conservative Catholic. I don’t like jumping up and down in Church, or singing Church songs loudly, or basing all my beliefs on the Bible alone. I don’t agree that women should be ordained. It doesn’t make us any less valuable than men if we aren’t. (This from the girl who once wished she could grow up to be a priest so she could deliver sermons) I don’t believe in gay marriages, abortion, or contraception.

I will be called prudish and out of date, I know. But these are principles. They never go out of date. In the context of a large, universal Church, doctrine and dogma should not change. If I may rephrase what Cardinal Ratzinger said in the mass before the conclave, the Church is not some fad or passing fancy that should fashion itself according to the times. The Church should remain as strong, and as principled, and as prudent as ever.

So hate me and spurn me, but I agree with him wholeheartedly.

To the new champion of the Roman Catholic Church, the new Shepherd of God’s Flock, the new Pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, I SALUTE YOU. May your tribe increase. May our faith flourish.

DEOGRACIAS PONCE DE LEON (1920-2005)
KAROL WOJTYLA (POPE JOHN PAUL II) (1920-2005)
April 12, 2005
I miss the Pope. Sigh. I hope the next one will be as conservative as he was.

Now I’m REALLY a Writer
April 9, 2005

I’ve been a writer far longer than I’ve been anything else.
So maybe I wanted to be a doctor, or a princess, even a priest. (And that’s because I wanted to deliver sermons) But every day, I wrote; and every day, I dreamed. One day, I would make a bestseller so heart-breaking, mind-boggling, and beautiful that people would read it and be inspired.

It would be a movie, too, and it would make me a star.
Now, speaking practically, writing is a profession of extremes. There are those who can live off it and earn millions just sitting on their bottoms and hearing the cash register going “chi-ching!” There are others who, simply, and regretfully, just don’t. Writing can’t earn a person decent money if there isn’t any marketing involved. Writing is business, and if it doesn’t create a need, it just won’t sell.

Enter Inez the Hopeful. I thought I would be destined for the writing life. After all, I was editor-in-chief of our High School newspaper. I was churning novels out easily. I loved writing. My assumption, that something I loved doing and did well would be my career and my college degree, that something I loved and dreamed about as a child — my assumption could not have been farther from the truth.
I guess the single most influential person in that respect was my mom. She started off, one day, by calling my writing “wordy.” I wasn’t wordy, I thought. My vocabulary was very simple, at least by my standards; and people loved my work. Next, she said, writing would only be my background. I had to pick another career. It wouldn’t earn me anything.

I was 16, then, and in tears. There was only one other subject I loved: genetics. And there was also something I relished: a challenge. So, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology it was. Four years of laboratory work, of science, of pure, unadulterated, upsettingly boring research. I had to work and think like a scientist. I had to set my writing aside.
Well, not really.

There was The Guild, which grew logarithmically, as I spent rather boring lecture hours writing it and taking down notes at the same time. There was Project Logus, which I wrote for kicks, and for my budding scientist friends, all as we tried to beat the stress of studying. By the time I graduated, I picked up a cum laude, took up a teaching job, and began Senator. Not bad for someone who picked her college course because she wasn’t allowed to take creative writing, eh?
That isn’t to say I hated MBB. It was fun, on hindsight. And I loved teaching it. But now, my career is in writing, and my background is in science.

Just when I thought I would forever keep my writing in the shadow of DNA, the publishing offers came. They didn’t last long, however; the Philippines will always and forever be in debt, and practicality dictates that books are the last priority in any business, even in publishing.
What lasted was the hope I bore: that I was really a writer, and that I deserved to be published. There, of course, was the nagging thought that I was not good enough; that I was, indeed, wordy; that I wasn’t meant to be an authoress.

Well, I was wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.
I was good. I was great, my readers said. I wasn’t wordy. I was easy to understand.

And now, as I look at my book, I remember the ten years of wait I had to put in between SANCTUARY and college. I remember that I was afraid, but I also remember that there was something planted within me — something that could never be taken away.
I was an authoress.

I AM AN AUTHORESS.
And, as I remember jumping up and down in delight with my mom, I remember how hard it was for her to accept that her daughter really is a writer. She still can’t, actually. She won’t have me marketing my book and resting on a writing job. She thinks I should still go on and study and use writing as my backing.

She doesn’t know that I’m not a scientist at heart. Or, maybe she does, and she’s afraid. Well, so am I. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to live on writing — but if I continue thinking that way, I know that another ten years of wasted time will go by before I have the courage to get out again.
It’s time to prove people wrong one more time.

This one’s going to be a best seller. This one’s going to get my parents the villa in Italy, my sister the house in Hollywood, and me, the fame that I’m after. This is going to be BIG.
After all, I’m an authoress. I’m a writer. If I know myself well enough, then I can pretty much do anything I please.

Now, it’s time to market.

And At Last…THE BOOKS!!!
April 4, 2005

Here’s a nice story to drive you Post Office Lovers nuts.

April is Lulu’s Free International Shipping For Purchases Over $ 25 month. Now guess what money-strapped but reckless Inez did? She bought 3 books for proofs and sale!

The books still had errors and she spent nights on end doing her final edits. But that’s getting ahead of the Post Office Story.

Anyway, Lulu promised to have the books in 4-8 working days. Notice of printing fulfilment came in March 14. So, counting 8 working days, the books were expected to drop onto my lap on 15, 16, 17…skip Saturday, Sunday, 20, 21, 22…skip Holy Thursday till Easter Sunday…28, 29…The books should have been in on March 29th.

So, I waited patiently.

Well, not really. I emailed Lulu once every day, asking where the books were. After all, April 1 had already arrived, and the books were nowhere to be found. I was after more free shipment, besides, as the orders were already coming in.

Very well then, I thought to myself rather craftily, let’s call the Post Office. After having a million busy signals, I finally got through.

“HiisthisthePasaypostofficeIhadapackagedeliveredtomyhouseanditsnotyetthereIhavetogetit,” was exactly how I sounded.

After realizing that I could give the operator a heart attack, I very calmly and nicely asked if my package was there. She would search for it, she said, if I could give her the tracking number.

I then, again, calmly and nicely, told her that no, the Lulu shipping method did not assign tracking numbers.

She explained why she needed the tracking number.

I told her the package was addressed to me, and it was a hefty box — there was no tracking number, only the promise of 4-8 days delivery.

Again, she explained why she needed the tracking number.

And again, still very nicely, but with my teeth cracking from having been gnashed, I told her that Lulu members recommended that I call up the Post Office to check if my package had arrived. It worked for them, so it should work for me, right?

You’ll never guess what she did. Clue: It had something to do with reasons, plus the tracking number.

So, in this temper-trying state, with the cycle repeating so fitfully that I was ready to storm over to Pasay on foot to strangle the whole lot of post office people, I waited. Blah blah blah…she went…blah blah blah…but yes…

At the slight change in tone, my ears perked up.

…But yes, could I just leave my name so she could check the package room?

“Inezponcedeleon!” I blurted out. Well, not really, considering that my address, phone number, and zip code were strung right to the end of my name.

She promised to call me up in an hour.

And she did.

Yes, she said, MY PACKAGE HAD ARRIVED! But the postmen had been alternating their routes…blah blah blah…excuse excuse excuse…

So, there I was, jumping up and down and going, “OH GOOD GOD THE BOOKS ARE HERE! THE SLOBS AT THE POST OFFICE JUST COULDN’T GET OFF THEIR BOTTOMS TO DELIVER THEM!”

April 4, Monday. The Books came. My mother and I were screaming in happiness — I, for my part, was both ecstatic, and snorting in disbelief. There, right on the box, was a newly stamped “April 1, 2005, Pasay Post Office.” Now that wouldn’t have been bad. I could have credited Holy Week with the delay.

But on the opposite side of the box were the remnants of ANOTHER stamp, obviously erased by alcohol wipes. I had caught them. I know. I had caught them. The books had arrived MUCH EARLIER, and they stamped the box to make it look like the books had arrived on Friday, when I called them.

So much for THEIR inefficiency.

THE BOOKS ARE HERE! AND MORE BOOKS WILL BE COMING! TIME TO ORDER!

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