21. Subject: Write about how you drive (or why you don’t)
22. First Line: He watched, helpless, as the door closed behind her
23. Dialogue: “She doesn’t understand you like I do.”
24. Scenario: Your friend asks you to put the lottery on for him/her, then wins a million. How much do you think you should get for your trip to the shop? Write about what happens.
25. Title: The Mystery of Sapphire Lake
Three lessons for 2013. Wow. How hard is it to list down three lessons that you learn in a year?
Pretty hard, it seems.
It’s been quite an eventful year and three lessons might not be enough to sum up what I learned from each event. But here goes something — (because I really don’t want to say here goes “nothing”):
Lesson 1: It is important to learn to take care of ourselves holistically. By the first quarter of the year, I made a shocking discovery — my BMI showed that I was overweight, my fat to muscle ratio was very unhealthy, my visceral fat was ugh, and my body age was higher than I expected (my body was apparently forty-plus years old). That was not good. I had to do something about it if I wanted to live a long, healthy life (hey, I have dreams and a future to look forward to). I started exercising. I started eating well. Now, if my March 13, 2013 entry is accurate, it means I have lost a total of 10 kg as of today. Yey!
Lesson 2: Long Distance Relationships are not for the fainthearted. I believe I am blessed to have been able to see my SO three times in person this year, considering that I am in Malaysia and he is back home in the Philippines. But it’s not a walk in the park, you know? You have to be creative, you have to be understanding, you have to have a deep level of trust and commitment, you have to learn how to communicate well — and Skype and the Internet are at times a both a curse and a blessing. If you’re getting into this kind of relationship, be warned that it’s sweet but, realistically speaking, at times hard and bitter. Much like tiramisu. But hey. Anything worth having, anything worth keeping is worth waiting for and worth fighting for.
Lesson 3: It takes time and patience to get a book out. Yes I am still working on my project. I had underestimated the rewriting process. And the proofreading process, too. So… Hang in there, hang in there. We’ll get there soon enough. In the meantime, there are a lot more projects brewing up in my percolator. Maygash. I really have to set aside time to really focus and do these things. Well, 2014 is starting to look exciting!
So how about you guys? What did you learn this 2013?
I am a storyteller. After years of trying to discover my writing niche, I’ve come up with the conclusion that telling stories — both fiction and non-fiction — is what I do best. I write long, thoughtful, melancholy prose punctuated by an abundance of commas and em-dashes. I write gently, romantically, and whimsically. Rarely would you find me writing tongue-in-cheek, bitch-slapping pieces. I don’t talk that way (harshly, bluntly) in person so… It would be kinda weird if I start taking on that tone of voice as a writer.
Once upon a time, I was a feature writer in both my elementary and secondary school papers. Once upon a time, I was the EIC and I wrote editorial pieces as well. Once upon a time, I had the privilege to compete in two national level campus journalism competitions — feature writing in Tacloban, Leyte* when I was eleven; editorial writing in Sta Cruz, Laguna when I was fifteen.
I had dreams of pursuing a degree in mass communication but, in retrospect, that might not have worked out for me. I’m too much of a softie. I watched Patricia Evangelista’s Diliman Ted X Talk on “Why We Tell Stories” the other day. Let’s say the universe conspired differently and I would now be working for a newspaper or a television company, would I have the courage and strength to put my life constantly on the line by doing hardcore journalistic reporting?
Perhaps I would, perhaps I wouldn’t.
So yeah, right now I’m a coder and I sit behind the computer most days typing out scripts — HTML, jQuery, PHP, and no, not production nor broadcasting scripts. But you can never take the communicator away from me. And so I continue to write stories.
But to what end? Why put my voice out into the sea of others, into a sea which many now shun, take for granted, or care little about? I mean, come on. I’m thankful for my blog followers, I’m thankful for those who take the time to read these pieces, and I will continue to write even if I had an audience of none — but yeah. Sometimes it gets disheartening when you’ve poured out everything to a piece only to find that you can count the number of people who’ve read that with one hand.
Maybe I should stop writing altogether and do something more productive instead.
But take writing away from me and you’ll leave me dead, lifeless, void of dreams and passion. So I won’t quit. I won’t give up. I won’t.
I chanced upon a tweet from Juan Ekis, a Palanca winning playwright, the other day. He said, “Nakakadepress magbasa ng balita sa feeds [It’s depressing to read the news in our feeds]. This is the perfect time for storytellers to donate healing & affirming stories to our people.” Can I say amen to that?
I realize that is what I can offer as a writer, as a storyteller. I can offer stories of hope. I can offer stories of healing and affirmation. I can even offer stories of kilig if you want, but that’s mostly because out of the overflow of the heart the keyboard creaks.
I’m going to continue treading upon the path of a storyteller. I know it won’t be easy. I may or may not make it but one thing is certain: I have to keep on writing.
No. Matter. What.
*Tacloban is still a MESS. Hope is starting to rise up from the ruins, but please do continue to pray. Keep those donations coming in, and help out by volunteering if you can. Thank you. You are all good and wonderful people.
“Lord, do words matter? Do stories even mean anything at all?”
She looked at her almost finished book, eyes wistful, heart falling in disdain. Would anyone even read those simple tales? In the world of instant information, would anyone even stop to linger inside the magical world of stories, of deep and lengthy fiction?
“Nobody really reads anymore,” she whispered sadly as she let the precious pages flutter away into the midnight air.
Off they drifted. The storyteller retreated quietly into her heart, deciding to hide herself from her love of words. She’d bask in loneliness and solitude forever. She preferred this to the torment and agony brought about by the frustrations of her passion.
“In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God and the Word was God.” John 1:1.
“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.” Luke 18:1.
“Then He told them many things in parables saying…” Matthew 13:3a.
He spoke to them in many parables.
A tiny flame flickered in the storyteller’s heart. It was true. The Great Creator was the Master Wielder when it came to words. He chose to reveal Himself throughout the ages through writings in parchments, in old Jewish scrolls. And He turned to stories whenever He spoke of the Kingdom.
He turned to stories.
Slowly, the flame grew large enough to warm the girl’s almost frozen heart.
A lonely piece of paper sailed through the darkness before her. She saw it because it gave off a somewhat radiant light. It landed right next to her feet and, carefully, she bent down to pick it up.
It was a page from her story. It was stained with doodles and tears, but they weren’t hers. It was accented by distinct fingerprints, but they looked like they belonged to different people. Scribbled at the end of her story were words of thanks, written in varying handwriting, in varying languages.
The flame began to overtake the storyteller and she knew she had to write again.
“There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” (Dorothy, Wizard of Oz)
Guess who’s back in Scribbleland? The Scribbler! Weee!
How about a welcome hug? Anyone?
I’m trying to shift back into writing gear (storywriting gear, that is) but I’m learning it’s kinda hard to do when you’ve lost a bit of a momentum. True, I’ve been doing a lot of writing these past two weeks but I’ve been writing code — PHP, jQuery, CSS, and lots and lots of HTML. So it might take some time before I get back into full prose and poetry mode.
But fret not. This blog will be up and running again. I’ll be finishing the 10 What If’soff (stay tuned for What if Saturday!) and will probably get started on a new project once that’s done.
I might not be posting as regularly as last season. I want to focus on some personal projects (book – book – *cough* cough*) and will probably be posting here twice a week. But keep an eye out on my other blog (www.marishores.com), too, because I’ll be posting new stuff there (err, just once a week this time) soon.
So this is The Scribbler shifting from neutral to first gear, moving on to second, third, and fourth gear soon, soon, soon.