Monday, August 8, 2011

Thank You! :)

   The Write-a-Thon has finished with $16,500 in donations. Once again, thank you to all of the sponsors. We wouldn't have reached our goal if not for you!
   My stories, "Crab Mentality" and "McFinalee Brotherhood," though, aren't finished yet. Other than fund-raising, one of the purposes of the Write-a-Thon is to help writers finish the the novels that they had been unable to finish. Will "Crab Mentality" be turned into a novel? The answer is "no."
   When you join a writing contest, the people who hold the contest will check if you agree that you cannot publish your entry for another contest once you've published it for their contest. I thought that the Write-a-Thon was the same (they didn't make an agreement, but no writing event that I've joined so far had missed that agreement yet so I thought that it was the same with them), so I chose a story that would be exclusively for the Write-a-Thon. I never had the plan to turn "Crab Mentality" into a novel. It will stay on this blog.
   I will try to finish "Crab Mentality" in the following months (there are four turning points left to be done). I wouldn't blog as frequently as I did in the past days, though. I had to quit my other projects for the final weeks of the Write-a-Thon, but I've brought them back this week. Among all the projects, web design is one of them.
   Anyway, thank you for all the support so far. My current tasks for this blog is to bring my audience from my other blog, and to start to separate myself from my fund-raising "duties."
   My other blog has a wider audience than this one. They come from places that I never thought would have people who would be interested about my stories (Kenya, Iran .... even China!). Well, this blog has more frequent readers than "Charlene Delfin." Also, there are readers here who have never read any of my blogs before (readers from Romania and France). Still, a majority of the readers of both blogs are from the United States.
   I've been looking for a widget called "tag cloud" to make my blog more easy to navigate, and the only one that I found is the "tags" widget to the lower right of this post. Also, I've been noticing that you read this blog only after I make updates about new blog posts through my other accounts. It seems that you haven't subscribed to my blog yet. To subscribe for free, click the "Posts" button underneath the "Sign Up" widget at the bottom right of this blog. Or you may join this blog by clicking the "Join this Blog" button at the top of the left sidebar. Thank you! 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Crab Mentality (Part 9)

June 7, 2010 4pm
   The ground floor was wide. To the left was the indoor staircase that led to the second floor. Unlike in other houses, their house had a huge number of windows. The windows were tall and open (well, the house wasn't air-conditioned). There was a pillar in the middle of the floor. On the other side of the place was a large dining table. The dining table had 10 chairs. A large fridge was a few steps away from the table.
   Chalano sat on one of the chairs that were facing from the windows. That was his favorite because he hated seeing the outdoors while eating. He kept talking. "We went to the canteen because Kim was hungry. John was going out of the canteen, and he said that Kim was blocking his way. Kim had said 'sorry' and we had made way for him, but he was still mocking Kim."
   She was wearing a blue dress. There was a small table beside the fridge, and she was preparing their supper. "What did John say?"
   It was too bad for Chalano to specify. "He criticized Kim's Chinese roots."
   "You shouldn't say anything bad about somebody else's race," she said in a kind way as she carried the plates to the table. "That is bad manners! Also, Kim is Taiwanese, right?"
   "Yes. I tried to stop him. Then he acted like he was going to hurt me. He said, 'You're going to fight back, huh?"
   Chalano still shivered a bit as he recalled that moment. His Mother suddenly became very serious. "Huh? Then what happened next?"
   "Kim told him that that was abuse of strength."
   "Abuse of superior strength," Mother corrected.
   "Abuse of superior strength," Chlano repeated after her to let her know that he accepted her correction of him, then he began too eat. "Tuna?"
   "Yes, your favorite," his mother replied, smiling back at her son. Then she asked, "So what happened next?"
   Chalano just loved tuna, but he had to answer her question. "He became quiet."
   "Who?"
   Chalano stared at the bowl of tuna. "John."
   "And then?"
   Chalano just wished that he could finally eat his beloved tuna in peace. "Then he left us without saying anything more."
   "Good job for Kim," she said, and began to eat. It felt a little bad that his mother was praising his best friend and not him, but he could finally savor his tuna.

9pm
   Chalano's bedroom was right above the indoor staircase. There was a bed in the middle of the room, a bedside table, and next to the bedside table was a tall shelf. There were also shelves near the door.       
   Chalano finished his homework early. He turned off the light of the tiny lamp on his bedside table, and went to sleep.
   At the other part of Lincoln Street, Kim had just finished his homework, and he lay down on his bed. The white bed was soft, and the blankets were comfortable. It usually felt relieving to be in pyjamas and going off to dreamland after so much hard studying at school, but he just didn't feel tired. He turned to his left, and looked out the window near his bed. It was referred to as a "window" in their family, but, in other places, it could be referred to as a "glass wall." It was a tall, wide glass window. He could see the sky, the trees, the waiting shed across the street, and the street itself. This is weird. He just couldn't sleep. He turned again. Staring at the white ceiling and the small chandelier.

   The match was lit.

   Kim's mother, Jelyn, was sitting on the edge of her bed. She couldn't sleep. It felt like she should be awake all night. It felt like something wrong was happening at the moment.

   The fire crawled up the bars, like quick, yellow worms. It spread everywhere, and it surrounded them. He could see the fear in their eyes. He just had to do this. Their eyes were pleading, pleading for his help. But he did nothing. He just watched the fire burn. They screamed. The screams were deafening. But he had to do it. They were reaching out of the bars, pleading for his help. Screaming.

   Chalano woke up in fear. It was noisy. They were all around him. They looked at him, the person who wasn't giving the help that he could give. Then it was dark. And their screams faded into the silence of the night. It. Was just another. Nightmare. His cellphone suddenly rang. It startled him so much, that he literally jumped up. He went to the bedside table, and picked up his cellphone.
   "Hi, it's Kim," the voice on the other end of the line said.
   Kim was sitting on his bed as he spoke on his Samsung Punch. "I can't sleep. What do you think would John do tomorrow?"
   John was the least of Chalano's worries tonight. "Uh, I don't know. Who knows?"
   Kim laughed. "Right. Well, I'll hung up now. Bye."
   "Bye," Chalano said, still feeling too shaken to move.
   Kim put his cellphone on the table near his bed. He noticed someone at the open door of his room. Mom. "Hi. Are you okay?"
   Kim beamed. "I'm okay, Mom. Just couldn't sleep, so I called Chalano. He was scarily quiet," Kim explained, and shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know what went wrong with him."
   His mother left the door, saying, "That's alright, my son. That boy's got lots of problems; he's already a teen."
   Kim laughed, and called after her, "Why? I'm a teen myself, and I don't get that much problems."
   "You're cheerful, darling," she said as she walked down the stairs. "That's the difference."

   Chalano walked backward until he felt the wall on his back. He could still see them in his mind picture. It was gruesome. He could still hear their screams, but they were only on his mind.
   The glow of the street lights was shining through the windows and on his bed. He kept looking at the glow to comfort himself with the belief that he was here, in the present, and not back in the past.

Crab Mentality (Part 8)

June 7, 2010 3pm
   The weather was fair for the first day of school, because this time in the past years had always been rainy. The street of their school, 10th Street, intersected with Betsy Street and went on to the south. Chalano and Kim walked into Betsy Street.
   Betsy Street was short. A building in the middle of it divided it into two, narrow streets. This building was shared by a police station and a basketball court. The basketball court was on the western side, and the police station was on the eastern side. The structure was called Youth Council Hall. It was the place where Youth Council members like Chalano and Kim met to discuss topics about the welfare of the youth in their town, 2nd Project Town. John was also a Youth Council member, but he belonged to Citrus Town, which was the town of their school (the boundary between the two towns was on 10th Street). There were no people inside the basketball court, because it was a weekday; all of the kids were in school and the adults were in their offices. It was very quiet.
   As Betsy Street led to the east, it intersected with Lincoln Street. It was the main street. There was a waiting shed on the sidewalk on the right corner of the intersection. Chalano and Kim passed the police station, and walked into the waiting shed.  They had been quiet. "Well," Kim broke the silence. "You can still speak with Emma tomorrow."
   What a topic. "Maybe," Chalano said, gently scratching the back of his head in frustration, and feeling very uncomfortable with the thought of speaking to such a beautiful girl.
   They crossed to the other side of Lincoln Street. There was a line of identical apartments in front of the waiting shed. Kim lived in apartment A. It had two floors, a balcony, and a garage. One had to pass through the garage to enter the house because the garage was right in front of the house. The apartment wasn't huge, nor was it small. Kim's mother was the landlady.
   "Maybe there's some food in the fridge," Kim said as he walked to the gate of the garage. Then he paused, turned around, and asked, "Have you heard the rumors?"
   Then he grinned to himself, saying, "Oh. Here we go again with rumors."
   Standing near the driveway, Chalano asked, "What rumors?"
   "We heard a girl screaming at the back of our house at around 3am on Thursday the other week," Kim explained. "Our tenants said that they saw a fire. Mom ran outside to check, but she didn't see anything. I thought that I saw a flash, but I was so sleepy at the time; I'm not sure anymore. I looked out my window, but I didn't see anything. There was no fire. Everything seemed normal. Mom told me to stay inside. You know, she has good instincts. I don't know what it was that made her a bit scared. And the neighbors had been coming up with all sorts of stories about it."
   That was before I saw the "apparition" of a fire in my room at the beach. Chalano wanted to make sure. "You didn't see anything?"
   "We didn't see anyone, and we saw no fire. We saw some ashes later at dawn. They were on one spot on the ground a few meters away from our Tamarind trees. Mum saw them. It looked like a group of cardboard boxes had been burned on that spot."
   Chalano shrugged his shoulders to brush away the scary feeling that was beginning to creep in. He just had to conceal his fear. "Alright. Mother must be waiting for me. Got to go."
   Kim smiled. "Okay, bye."
   Chalano turned and walked toward Lincoln Street as Kim turned to walk into the garage. Chalano's house was just within walking distance along the same street to the south. Lincoln Street made a turn to the right ahead of him, and his house was on the right corner.
   It was a tall, two-storey house with a huge front yard. There was a wide garage to the right. An outdoor staircase led from the garage to the balcony on the second floor. There were lots of trees and plants around the house. Chalano stood beside a fortune tree as he knocked on the small, maroon gate.
   The huge front door of the house opened, and his mother peered out. She came out and opened the gate. "Finally. So how was school?"
   "John fought with Kim." Those were the first words that came out of his mouth. "He criticized Kim's race."
   "What? I thought that Kim and John were friends," his mother said, surprised.
   She was listening to him for a change, so he went on. "No, they were never close friends. This was the first time that they had a quarrel."
   They entered the front door, which was four meters away from the gate.

Crab Mentality (Part 7)

June 7, 2010 3pm
   The school gate was beside the canteen. Just before he stepped inside the canteen, Kim looked toward the gate and said, "There she is! Go, and introduce yourself to her."
   Emma was walking toward the gate. She was on her way home. "Let's get to know more about her."
   "No," Chalano quickly retorted, suddenly feeling shy. "I'm hungry, I'll go to the canteen. You can speak to her yourself."
   "Oh, no. Don't be like that. You just have to introduce yourself. It's that easy. What happened to you?"
   Emma stepped out of the school gate.
   "No way. Maybe next time," Chalano gave him a side-long glance. "What happened to you?"
   "Oh, we're talking about you. Look, she's leaving."
   "Let her."
   Kim started to walk down the stairs while pulling Chalano with him. "Hey, " Chalano complained.
   "You Chinese ought to make your vision a little wider," A voice came from behind them. John. Chalano had left him in their classroom with Emma, but he probably went into the canteen ahead of them. He glared at Kim, saying, "All that you see in our country are the money, but you can't even see whose way you're blocking."
   "I'm sorry," Kim quickly replied as he and Chalano stepped aside to make way for John. "I didn't see you."
   John laughed. Pointing at Kim, he called to everyone around them, "Look! Do you ever expect this Chinese import to see?"
   He walked closer to Kim, and said quietly, "I wonder why your father brought you here. He probably didn't want a half-breed in China."
   It just didn't feel right anymore. "If we were really blocking your way," Chalano declared. He was surprised about how brave he was with talking back to John, but he already started it, so he had to continue it. "Then how come you're not walking ahead now that we've made way for you?"
   John's huge eyes became even bigger with anger. He stepped closer to Chalano, so close that Chalano could hear his breaths. His tall figure leaned toward the boy. With a taunting tone, he said to Chalano, "You're going to fight back, huh?"
   Chalano didn't know what to say. He didn't know what to think. He tried to hide the truth and stared back at John, but he was actually scared.
   "What do you mean with that?! John," Kim screamed at him. "You're gonna hurt my friend? Huh? If I could recall some law books correctly, that's abuse of superior strength."
   There was something about John's posture that just became stiff. Only for a while. He glared at each of them, and left without saying another word. He walked out of the gate. The friends watched him leave. They were both tense about what happened, and they decided to go home instead. Chalano and Kim walked out of the school gate as the other students watched them, wondering about what happened to the head of the Student Council.

Crab Mentality (Part 6)

June 7, 2010 3pm
   John Paolo Ontagio was tall and broad-shouldered. His haircut was just like Chalano's, but his hair was wavy. He had huge, dark eyes, and full lips. He was dark and handsome. He was a tough person, but he had a boyish face. He was the president of the Student Council, and was multi-talented. Chalano looked up to him like all the other students in their school did. Chalano believed everything that he said, especially when he referred to Chalano as "crazy" before their summer break.
   "Hey! Let's go," Kim said, grabbing Chalano's arm and startling him.
   Kim laughed, and said, "Startled? Let's go. I'm hungry. Aren't you going to the canteen?"
   "I'm not hungry, but, okay, let's go," Chalano answered. He picked up his black notebook and put it into his light green schoolbag. He put his black Dong-A pen into his checkered pencil case, and put that into his bag also.
   The best friends walked out of the classroom. Their classroom was on the ground floor. There were pillars outside. The pillars supported the classrooms above them, because the second floor extended beyond their classroom. To the right was an open auditorium. Chalano and Kim walked past the shadow of the second floor, and into the sunlit school grounds. Other students were leaving their own classrooms. The day was warm. The students were noisy, as usual.
   "I didn't get to go to the canteen this recess because I had a hard time with Math," Kim explained. Kim was a skinny 15-year-old, and he was as tall as Chalano. There was always hair gel on his hair to keep it very spiky (a la Naruto). His skin was a bit yellow in color. His family had moved from Taiwan for his father's business. His mother wasn't Chinese. Kim was a very talkative person. They had been friends since they were ten-years-old, and they liked to keep their schoolbags identical.
   Chalano was starting to tune out as Kim went on about Math. His thick eyebrows were crooked as he described his frustrations about the subject, saying, "It gets harder every year. It's going to be way too hard in college. Do you think you would be able to make it past college algebra?"
   Wait. That ended with a question. That means that I'm supposed to answer. But I wasn't listening. What was his question? "Yes," Chalano replied, trying to hide his uncertainty about his answer, and trying to pretend that he wasn't tuning out. I wish that that was the correct answer ....
   "That's the spirit," Kim said with a smile.
   [Sigh] Now, I'd better listen.
   "We just say that we could do something that we couldn't do, and we end up doing it. It's with how we think," Kim kept talking. "Emma definitely didn't look like she found it hard."
   Chalano smiled, "You were also looking at her?"
   "Of course, she's the only new student," Kim reasoned.
   "Okay. What was that on her hair?"
   "No, it's not red dye. She's half-German."
   "Hmmm."
   "Her mom met her dad in Germany. They were moving from place to place since she was young," Kim explained. "That was why she was never able to go to school. Then her parents suddenly decided to bring her to school because she should be about to go to college. Even though she've never been to school before, she passed the exams."
   "How did you know all about that?"
   "The other students talked about it; haven't you heard about that?"
   There was a wide parking lot on the northeastern part of the campus. The auditorium was on its southeastern end, and the canteen was on its northwestern end. The canteen was in an elevated, small building.
  "No, I didn't," Chalano answered. "What if they were just rumors?"
   Kim thought as they walked up the four steps to the canteen. The interiors weren't well-lit.

Crab Mentality (Part 5)

June 7, 2010 3pm
   She was sitting before her desk, writing. Her name was Emma Hauchenof.
   There were 90 desks in the classroom, and they were divided into three groups that were called rows. The brown door was on the western side of the classroom, and Row 1 was nearest to the door. Row 2 was next to Row 1, and Row 3 was next to Row 2. The rows were four feet from each other. The blackboard was on the southern side of the classroom, and beside it was the teacher's desk (which was near Row 3). The walls and the ceiling were blue green, and the floor was maroon. Emma was in Row 2, in the 8th line of desks from the blackboard. She was on the western side of the row.
    There were electric fans on the ceiling above each row.
   The teacher had written a long article on the blackboard for the students to copy before they left at 3pm. Emma was copying the article into her pink notebook. Her handwriting was so neat.
   Chalano was seated at the eastern side of Row 1, in the 10th (last) row of desks. He couldn't keep from noticing Emma. It was the senior year of secondary school. The students were the same ones who were his classmates in junior year. Emma was the only new student in school.
   She had brown eyes, and she had thick eyelashes. She had rosy cheeks. Her hair was long and silky. She wore her school uniform really neatly, and ----
   The school bell began to ring. It was loud and startling, but the students had learned to aticipate the sound because it was often heard before the time when they could leave the boring, ol' classrooms. Chalano quickened his writng to finish copying the article from the blackboard; he was five words late. His handwriting bacame ugly due to his sudden speed. He hoped that she did not see it. He glimpsed at her.
  There was no way that she could have noticed him, because she was already speaking with John. The president of the Student Council must have walked from his desk in Row 3 to, obviously, introduce himself to her. All of the other students had been befriending her since she had walked into the classroom. Everyone instantly liked her because she was beautiful and kind. She and John were smiling as they spoke with each other. She probably liked John. They looked good together. 

August 6!

    Hi, everyone! I accomplished my goal of adding 1,000 more words to my project. I just finished writing 1,019 words. I will publish all that I've written so far, but, first let me tell you a few things.
   It is 12:47am here, August 6 of 2011. Clarion Write-a-Thon ends on August 6, but I'm on the eastern part of the globe. The Clarion Workshop is in California, USA. Their August 6 will take place many hours from my clock.
   A few hours ago, the Write-a-Thon received more than $1,000 in donations. Lots and lots of thanks to the kind people who help Clarion! I just can't describe my gladness well enough, but a zillion thanks! I won't be able to forget how you helped us when some of us thought that the Write-a-Thon would end without getting near the goal. The Write-a-Thon now has $2,000 to raise to reach their goal. Thank you! Thank you! :)
    Now, I will just keep up with the writers in the west by asking for donations from more people. If you're visiting my blog for the first time, please check these out:

Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop at University of California, San Diego
The Clarion Foundation
A Message from the Administrator of the Clarion Blog, Mishell Baker
Clarion Write-a-Thon 2011

   Now, I will publish what I wrote so far ....

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Progress, and a Message for You

   I wish that all of you are happy and fine today, as happy as me.
   I had been doing more fund-raising for the Clarion Write-a-Thon, and spent yesterday asking more people for donations. I just went back to my word count this afternoon, and discovered that I have exceeded my Write-a-Thon goal! I said in June that I planned to write 4,000 words for this project, but I have written 4,173 so far. Because I accomplished my goal before the Write-a-Thon ended, I will add another goal: I will write 1,000 more words to my current number of words.
    I bet you're kind of bored with how "Crab Mentality" had been moving, because even I have been tapping my toes (well, just on my mind, because it's not easy to tap one's toes while writing!) at the current speed. I just passed Turning Point 1, and I'm on my way to Turning Point 2. I plan to remove some parts to end the story early. In what I've written so far, I'm starting to reveal Chalano's past, and how far he would go to keep it secret (this is actually one of the obstacles in the story; he would deny his sins if he could).

   The Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop was established in 1968 by a group of science fiction writers. It is now one of the most well-respected writers' workshops in the United States of America, and provides an annual, six-week education in the basics of speculative fiction.
   The science fiction and fantasy genre tell what could be possible in the field of science. Science is in continuing development; what scientists know today are still not everything. There is a huge area of science that is yet to be discovered, and the genre of science fiction and fantasy depict what that area could be like. Science fiction and fantasy had helped science expand in the past years. Jules Verne, one of the founders of modern science fiction, had created imaginary inventions in his books. Many of his unreal inventions later became reality; his stories suggested what could be possible.
   Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop helps hone the writing skills of the Jules Vernes of this generation. Imagine, a world with better storytellers who match the predicting abilities of the great Jules Verne, and help science improve to make everybody's lives better.
   I myself ain't a Clarionite. Writing is simply a hobby for me, because I'm actually studying for a field that is way different, if not opposite, from literature and journalism. But I believe the alumni who say that Clarion changed their lives, because it changed me. Before participating in the Clarion Write-a-Thon 2011, I was someone who came up with all sorts of excuses to not write. There's nothing like knowing that 146 other writers in the whole world are writing like you, and that you would change a great number of lives and the future of literature if you wrote. I got more interested about writing, and, in the process, the daily exercise of my writing muscle improved my craft. It was so fun to check back on the Clarion Blog every week and hear from fellow Write-a-Thon writers; there was this sense of camaraderie. This is our last week together in this fund-raising project. I must admit that the skills that I gained from this experience will be useful in the future.
   There are still people out there who have the potential to be great writers who captivate the world with their stories and provide alternatives to what is currently happening to our lives. The Clarion Writers' Workshop helps such people improve their talents, but not all of them can afford to pay the cost of tuition at Clarion. I am asking for your donations for them.
   Remember that I'm not getting anything for this, no matter how much you donate (well, the top donation earner would win an Apple iPad 2). All donations will go to the Clarion Foundation to help the incoming students of the writers' workshop. I just received an email saying, "You have helped make Clarion 2012 possible."
   It felt so great to read that message, and the message would be applicable to you if you participated in this event by donating. This is your last chance to be part of this. You may donate $5, or any amount that you can give. Clarion 2012 depends on helpful people like you.  Thank you in advance!

Monday, August 1, 2011

You Got to Check This Out

There is no writing challenge this week, there is no writing challenge this week, there is no writing challenge this week! Um .... maybe I shouldn't celebrate too early, something new might be coming up, then my bliss would just go, *POOF.* I'm really, really glad that no writing challenge was posted on the Clarion Blog this week, but that doesn't mean that I will stop writing. I've been counting the words for "Crab Mentality." So far, I've counted 3512 words, but that's not the whole thing; there are still more words that I haven't included into the word count yet (I really suspect that I have reached my goal). Thank you for all the support. You are who kept me going, so thank you! This is the only one that was asked of the writers by the Clarion Blog this week ....
   Please check out this post by the administrator of the Clarion Blog, Mishell Baker!

                                                            2011 Write-a-Thon, Week 6 

   Please check it out, everyone, and thank you in advance!