October 9, 2006

The General October 2006 Archive

IN BETWEEN SIPS OF POTATO SOUP
October 26, 2006

It’s been nearly a week since the operation, and I still can’t have any solid food. No matter: things are taking a turn for the better. My fever has gone down, I’m calmer, I have dozens of new words in my vocabulary (thanks to the GRE review), and I’m rediscovering the power of writing.

I was crying a few days ago, despondent, and hoping for some ray of sunshine to give me a respite from the dimness. The hoarfrost hung over me yesterday as I typed my entries out; but as the words flowed out, then so did my fears and miseries. I was no longer weeping and writhing within. Somehow, with the release of thought, I had accomplished what tears would not.

I was happier. I could smile, despite the difficulty of doing so.

And that’s why I love writing. It can mitigate a few problems…abrogate a few dilemmas…and place me in a quixotic universe where the tears of the real world are quotidian, but written of, as they can spell a better tomorrow. A better novel, maybe, which is a boon for next week’s incursion into NaNoWriMo territory.

Take a little gray, a few tears, and a heroine forced to relinquish her mettle, only to regain it when all the world begins to crash down — and you have The Taming of the Light.

Very good.

Now, to finish this soup so I can get back to my review.

THE ROMANTIC, IN RETROSPECT
October 23, 2006
There is a scene in The Romantic where the heroine, Rachel, balks at the prospect of marriage. She has hitherto been alone: she is twenty-six, a businesswoman, and in love with poetry, her work, and the freedom that comes with being alone. As a result of her fears, she leaves Jonathan and tries to look at things from “outside the box” by going home on her own, from Venice to Orvieto. What happens to her along the way runs the gamut of strange and downright exasperating. Her journey teaches her about her strengths and exposes her weaknesses; she knows herself better at the end of it.

Now I am not saying that every girl should have a journey and run away from her problems when she gets the merest whisper of doubt. The doubts need not even be about marriage.

What I am saying is that quandaries, problems, and predicaments can be solved if you look outside the box. If it’s something as small and basic as an algebra problem, my teachers always told me to do something else so I could refresh my brain. If it’s something as great as having to decide whether to pursue studies abroad or stay here, I believe I, as decision-maker, should decide only on the basis of what time will tell.

I cannot take a plunge into anything without being sure of the consequences first. That “anything” can indeed mean anything at all: a journey, a new job, a new novel, even relationships.

On that note, let it not be said that I have to think for years if I should engage in a friendship. Not to brag, but I have hundreds of friends, and I keep on making new ones. Friendships are not new to me, but I work constantly at making them work. What is difficult, I believe, is taking friendship to another, higher level.

I make no secret of my inexperience in such matters. I have zero EQ, I tell everybody, perhaps as a caveat for future offenses. So if I have no experience, what right have I to simply jump in and move from friendship to love?

Truly there can be nothing wrong in moving slowly, looking at how a friendship unfolds, and using that friendship as the firmest, strongest foundation for things to come? Surely there is nothing offensive in thinking things over, in praying, in assessing a situation in its entirety?

I have two articles due at 10 pm tonight, and I have to review for the GRE math section. The articles and review can wait. I can’t think straight if the words are pounding in my heart, begging to be released.
THE NANOS HAVE COME! AND I’M…
October 18, 2006

Uncertain.

This is my third National Novel Writing Month stint in a row. 2004 was fun: it was my first time to get with the program, and I had a blast doing research for Sanctuary while writing it. As many of the Sanctuary readers know, I had written the first few chapters and the last few chapters on the first day of NaNo 04. I was also sobbing as I wrote the last chapters, and that promptly set the mood for the whole November, and consequently, the whole novel.

NaNo 2005 was even more fun. I had all the research down pat, and I had maps and calendars in front of me. It was way too much fun, in fact, because I ended up with a 235,000 word novel at the end of November. I also have all the 250,000 words of The Romantic to look at for a final edit, and boy, do I come to this conclusion…

I suck.

For some strange reason, I am getting the same feeling that I get every time I’m about to write a novel. It’s the insecurity setting in, the insecurity telling me that I have no real published novels, that I am not really a writer, that all this is a lie and that I have no real skill, no real imagination, no real books — no real success except luck.

Wow. And to think that I’ve been writing for two decades now! Where is this insecurity coming from? Shouldn’t I hold my head high? Shouldn’t I say to Hell with all this lack of confidence I’ll write? Shouldn’t I ignore that little demonic voice on my shoulder telling me that I’m not a writer and I JUST SUCK?

You know what, suck or no suck, I don’t care. I’m doing Taming of the Light, whether the world likes it or no. I don’t care. I DON’T CARE!!!

Man, I’m a sucky writer.

DIVIDED THE CHURCH??!?!? YEHEY, ANYWAY
October 15, 2006
The only thing I resent about this article is the insinuation that the Latin Mass divided the Church. Excuse me: The Vatican II council divided the church!
Anyway, here’s the article I was raving about (now ranting about because I love the Latin Mass!). Strange title, though – bring back the Latin Mass that divided the Church. As opposed to the Latin Mass that didn’t? Somebody check this person’s grammar or tact, and while you’re at it, check for biases!
Pope set to bring back Latin Mass that divided the Church
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2397919,00.html

THE Pope is taking steps to revive the ancient tradition of the Latin Tridentine Mass in Catholic churches worldwide, according to sources in Rome. Pope Benedict XVI is understood to have signed a universal indult — or permission — for priests to celebrate again the Mass used throughout the Church for nearly 1,500 years. The indult could be published in the next few weeks, sources told The Times.
This had better be true, because I’ve been waiting for it for ages! Now where did I put my mantilla…

QUOTES FROM EVERYWHERE
October 13, 2006
Here are a few quotes I got from my email, cell phone, and Baci chocolate. Hehe. Nothing like chocolate to give you one of them love fortunes.

On with the show!

(from my Baci for the day)

Passion colors everything it touches

– B. Gracian

***

(from Frank, fellow writer for Avant-Garde. )

Eight truths to remember:

1) Faith is the ability to not panic

2) If you worry, you didn’t pray. If you prayed, don’t worry (I always get worried before a big talk, but I let the panic/stage fright translate into energy. And I pray. So that makes me…an alien?)

3) Do the math. Count your blessings.

4) God wants spiritual truths, not religious nuts. (Marami akong kilalang ganito, hahahahah!)

5) Laugh everyday. It’s like inner jogging. (So that means I’ve been exercising all this time? Go me!)

6) Growing old is inevitable. Growing up is optional.

7) Silence is often misinterpreted, but never misquoted. (No wonder no one ever gets my words right)

8) There is no key to happiness. The door is always open. (I love this one)

***

(From Ruth, fellow PinoyWriter)

Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets. So love the people who treat you right, forget about the ones who don’t, and believe that everything happens for a reason…Know a good thing when you see it, and don’t let it slip away…If you get a chance, take it…If it changes your life, let it…Nobody said it would be easy, they just said it would be worth it.

***

(From Ferdi, friend and text-mate)

Always remember that God only makes happy endings. If it’s not happy, then it’s not yet the end. Live by love and hope. There’s always something to look forward to.

***

ILL-PREPARED FOR EVERYTHING
October 13, 2006
I know I have no license to talk about a stressful life, but I don’t know any other word that would describe the one I’m leading right now. Maybe I’m just needlessly complicating my life with National Novel Writing Month, coupled with social obligations, friends, music, and God-knows-what-else. It’s the usual silly cocktail where I make mountains out of molehills, thinking that I can lend some credence to the phrase “complicated life” if I aggrandize all the little details and useless tidbits of mine.

To tell the truth, I lead a half-lived life. I know I can do better, but circumstances prevent me from doing so. For instance, I know I should be in the States, earning my PhD, or earning oodles and oodles of cash, but Someone Up There thinks I should be here in the Philippines first. I don’t why He thinks that way, actually. I hope it’s not because He wants me to be stuck here forever, because He alone out of everyone in the universe knows how dreadfully I want to leave.

There’s the issue of my applying to schools in the U.S. for the third time in a row. The first time, I qualified for one out of five schools. In the second try, I landed a zero batting average. Now, I’m on the third, and I don’t exactly feel like a million bucks. I’ve been studying for the GRE, and I hope I have an astronomic, obscenely high TOEFL score. But am I ready for the exam? No. I am, yet again, ill prepared to meet the future.

And this is not because I didn’t try. I do — I try, and I don’t get what I want. That’s what makes the trying so frustrating, but I know I shouldn’t give up. I mean, there’s hope for a master’s graduate in molecular biology and biotechnology, right? I can still get my PhD, be successful, and be a best selling novelist? I’m not entirely stupid and idiotic, right?

It’s after midnight, and I have to go to UP today. I’m sitting in bed, with Mallow on my lap, and darkness all around me. I don’t feel in the least bit sleepy, despite being up till 4 AM yesterday. I feel alive, to tell the truth; a bit tired, a bit hoarse in the throat, but alive, and excited.

And I don’t know why.

Nights like this will be repeated all throughout November. I’ll be sitting up, expending Mallow’s remaining batteries while plugging in more and more words into The Taming of the Light. Or Elementa.

Complications. Spicing life up.

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