Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Happy Writing News

I got accepted into the Voices workshop, a week-long writing residency for people of color that happens every year at the University of San Francisco. One of my favorite writers, Junot Diaz, is one of the masterminds behind the program, which I've heard many excellent things about from fellow writers. I'm so juiced! I'll be in a novel workshop with Chitra Divakaruni, which is dope!

I had an essay published in Philippine News recently, and have been getting some lovely feedback on it from folks I never thought I'd be able to reach with my writing, like an old family friend whose son I used to play with when we were babies. My Tagalog prof, Dr. Paz, gave me big-ups in class about it which spurred some of my classmates to read it too. I have to admit it's not my best writing but I'm glad it's out there and that my words are settling in people's minds.

I also started taking a fiction writing class at the Writing Salon with Junse Kim, whose quite skilled teacher. Last week we focused on conflict and how character's desires move scenes along. Next week, we'll be dealing with dialogue. Good stuff.

And I've been carving more time out for my writing overall. I've finally gotten over the fantasy that a fascinating, eloquent novel will spill forth from my mind and my fingertips when the elusive 'muse' strikes. Learning and mastering the craft of storytelling, as Junse says, is like exercising muscles to make them stronger, it only comes through practice, practice, practice.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

A Whole 'Nother Level...

...of existence. I'm writing this blog while sipping earl gray tea sweetened with half-and-half and brown sugar and sitting out on the sundrenched garden patio of my neighborhood cafe, Bazaar, taking full advantage of their wi-fi network and eavesdropping on my cafe-mates' conversations. It's a frickin' gorgeous day, even in the Richmond district in Frisco, where usually the fog and cold makes me wish that I had brought an extra sweater with me in the morning.

I just finished working on my novel for about an hour, which is the longest chunk of time I'd had to write in a couple weeks. It feels good. So does working on my tan while clicking away on my new baby, whom I have not christened with an official name yet, just silly little nicknames that I will not divulge on this blog.

Going to head out to Oaktown soon to watch the long-awaited Episode III with Gura & Co. I've heard is at least better than Episodes 1 & 2. I guess genius does fade over time. But at least this is the last time we'll have to be tortured by bad love scenes set in front of a CGI backdrop.

Maybe after tonite I'l have more evidence to help flesh out my theory that Yoda is Filipino. (short, flipped grammar, kick-butt martial artist--need I say more?)

Tanning and blogging away,

Monday, May 16, 2005

Keeping My Mind Open

Finally getting a chance to read Pema Chodron...

"...I encourage the audience to keep an open mind. This is often likened to the wonder of a child seeing the world without preconceptions. As the Zen Master Suzuki Roshi put it, 'In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few."--from Pema Chodron's The Places That Scare You

I've always had a hard time when I'm not 'in the know' about topics, scenes, people. We all like to know what's going on, yes? I have a particular insecurity about being perceived as someone who's not in the loop. As I get older and more chilled out--or as I try to chill out more--I realize that being a 'beginner' and not knowing everything is actually a state of mind to aspire to. It keeps my mind open to the joys of learning new things, the possibilities of the moment.


Sunday, May 15, 2005

Around the Blogosphere

It says something that the only time I have lately to blog is while I'm on a mini-vacation (following a weekend training I co-conducted for GIFT). I'm in Southern California, not quite LA, but not quite Santa Barbara. The weather is warm and humid and I want to take showers twice a day. It's nice to have a little break after a whirlwind of work, computer-buying happiness, travel and more work, and to hang out with my good friend G. and her family.

We're in a largely agricultural area outside of Santa Barbara, and when you step outside the air smells of a strangely soothing combination of ocean mist, dark soil and manure. Makes me feel closer to nature, realizing that not far from where I sit there are people working in the fields planting, picking and tending the crops of vegetables that I may eat someday.

Now that I have some time to sit, breathe, and check out blogs on my new laptop, I find some golden nuggets of wisdom...

...from El Serenito, insight into why I have always been drawn to music and people from Latin America (for me, Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico are the main lures). I have a Salvadoran friend who always tells me, 'You're Latina. Filipinos are Latino" in his characteristically cocky and flippant way. I've always known we share a history of colonization with our hermanas/os in the Spanish-speaking world, but Serenito breaks it all down in a whole new way.

...and way over in China, Priscilla is studying away, hangin' out with Vkdir, and forgetting English. Just don't forget about us, girl!

...from Cathy, some pics and news from the recent border protests against the Arizona Minutemen, who are, collectively, nothing but racist terrorist vigilantes. In a nutshell, they are civilian white men who have taken it upon themselves to go to the border between the US and Mexico to keep 'illegal' immigrants from crossing over. It doesn't help my peace of mind to know that Governor Schwarzeneggar has endorsed these wackos, whom even the US Border Patrol has said are dangerous and should just out da way. Schwarzeneggar is taking cues no doubt from his advisors (who also advised former Governor Pete 'illegal immigrants aren't human' Wilson) to take a hardline stance on immigration in hopes of boosting his plummeting popularity ratings.

...over at Tatang's Karinderia, Rhett, a card-carrying Republican progressive, waxes philosophical about "BushShit Economics".

...over at Utopia, Martin vents his (rightful) outrage at the $1 million bounty that the US government placed on Assata Shakur's head. Assata, a living legend, former Black Panther and revolutionary, is living in Cuba and hasn't bothered anyone as far as I know since she hijacked a plane nearly thirty years ago and landed on the Red Island. But I guess that being Black, radical, female and alive is enough to label you a wanted terrorist in this day and age.

...Gura posts news about the death of Julian Boyd, an English professor at UC Berkeley. I didn't know Professor Boyd either, unfortunately, but it sounds like he was one of those rare college professors (at Cal, anyway) who actually liked teaching students, and was good at it.

...and last but not least, happy birthday wishes go out to Max in DC. One year closer to 30, buddy. Enjoy it while it lasts! ;-)

Hope your forays into the blogosphere are equally enjoyable...I'm gonna go do as the Southern Californians do and soak up some rays before hittin' the mall.


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I'm in Love

Not with a person, or a pet. Not with a concept or an image, a poem or a book or a song or a substance. Nope, I'm in love with something far more insidious yet utilitarian, something that's a little bit bigger than a bread box but smaller than an extra-large pizza: my ultra-sleek-slammin'-dope-funky-fresh-brand-spankin-new-wireless-ready-straight-out-da-box Macintosh 15-inch Powerbook. Aaah, love for inanimate objects can be so oddly obsessive, yet shockingly satisfying.

And I'm not the only one happy about my new purchase. Already, four people have exclaimed 'Congratulations!' when they found out I was a new Powerbook owner. Mac addicts are such geeky/cool creatures.

Happy in Love,