Thursday, April 30, 2015

Happy Fiesta!

I was just in Barangka, Marikina City for preparations for tomorrow. It's surreal when I walk along a street and people stop and smile at me lol I grew up in Barangka and they still remember me as a little kid. I've recently been catching myself doing the same thing when I see children who've grown up. It's nice.

I took the photo above only a few hours ago. Tomorrow will be the fiesta of Barangka. A fiesta is a Filipino tradition that originated from the celebration of farmers for their good harvest. In modern times, we celebrate the date of our fiesta with street dancing competitions, music and other performances. Our street dancing is consisted of tribal war dances, complete with tribal clothes and face paint. It's a colorful and upbeat celebration of Filipino culture and tradition.

Everyone is invited to our fiesta. Sadly, I wouldn't make it tomorrow. I'll be somewhere else. I hope that it will be as great as it was back in 2008, my last year as a Barangka resident.

My poem, "Whatever," was inspired by a group of artworks. I just listed down the words that the artworks made me think, and put them together in a poem. I was trying to create a poem that expressed so much emotion. I think that I lost the rhythm by the final stanza, though. I was distracted by then.

For the final day of NaPoWriMo 2015, we are being made to write a poem in reverse. Another option is to take a poem that we published earlier this April, rewrite it from the last line to the first, and do any needed changes.

I've been nervous about what might be the final challenge for us, because it might be the hardest challenge. But this one is fun. I chose my poem from "For Day Fifteen." That poem had a certain rhythm and pattern where the beginning connected with the end. I wrote it in the same way that I wrote my first book, "An Unknown Narrator." So it's easy to write this poem the other way around. I didn't have to do many changes.

Poem My Dear
Only your humble words.
More than their deadly swords,
Though nothing do you have,
You're element of cope,
You're defining love,
You're the whisper of hope.

Just like the bull's eye darts
In the most serious arts,
O you live in the hearts.

From the word that starts do,
Blend like a tornado,
Where all water and fire
For life, and you agree
In same way you inspire,
In the same way you free.

Emotions sure you squeeze
As fragrant as the breeze.
The sweetness of beauty,
Inspiring sound of force
Desiring unity.
Words that convey colors.


Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 word count: 50,088

I won in Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 by going past my goal word count of 50,000 words and I finished writing "10th Commandment" by reaching that sweet ending scene. The only thing that needs to be done to "10th Commandment" right now is some mixing and organizing of the scenes, additional scenes and, of course, editing. I need to organize the sequencing of events and make the names match. Because sometimes, just to keep writing, when I don't remember a name, I just write any name. Like, Randy becomes Ben in the middle of the book, and Mark in the end.

No matter how hard I try, though, "10th Commandment" just always ends up being wild. Maybe because the real-life inspiration behind it wasn't happy. I've tried making the book happier, but ... if the previous version had chase scenes and beatings, the latest version has murders and stabbings. There are just some ideas that keep leading to the same thing. Maybe novels are more similar  to poetry than I thought.

In poetry, there are ideas and topics that, no matter how I try to fix, keep turning into something twisted. That's why I choose my topics carefully. Odysseus and Socrates inspire good poetry. Odysseus inspires both romantic and universal poems. Socrates inspires poems that are all about dignity and sacrifice. I've had inspirations in the past who caused nothing but turn my poems into something weird, that I never wrote about them again. Writings tend to depend a lot on the inspirations.

I think I should just share parts of the novel here after editing, and see if it's really horrible. Even though that would be hard to do, because it has profanities and is basically R18.

On my own, of course, I love it because it's, well, it's my book. The settings are amazing. The transition of the characters from emotion to emotion is so natural, that it's like they come to life. The villain totally came to life, saying and doing things I never thought I could write. And he sure said and did a lot. I just worry a lot if the story will make people happy. It's a world where the outlaws and the law-enforcers are united, and good people find few places to hide.

Honestly, I'm exhausted after all that writing and has been dying to get my life back. I always do my best to sound happy after winning in the NaNos, but when I look back on this post years from now, I'd think that it sounds cranky. I like to look back to all of my winner postings, but often end up wincing at how cranky they sound. Even nice words can't cover up exhaustion.

For the NaPoWriMo 2015 Day Twenty-Nine challenge, we are to write a poem that reviews something. It's kinda hard to do because reviews tend to focus only on the main points and are often impersonal. It's just all about facts and honest opinions.

For my poem, I reviewed the place that inspired my villain's home. It's the most beautiful place in the Philippines, in my opinion. Been dreaming of getting back there this whole April. I chose it for this kind of poem because it ensures that there will still be poetry basics like beauty and desire.

The Good and the Bad
You will love all the view,
All the smooth mountain slopes.
The tree leaves remain new,
Rustling like singer hopes
For sweet beauty of life.
Nothing but peace, no strife.

On the flip side of these,
You'll only be raided
By fierce people who miss
The cash that once aided
Their far and high living,
But please don't go leaving.

Stay only for this view,
Despite the things you knew
And although your cash flew.

For what good have we done
To observe this beauty?
In other worlds, it's gone,
Gone from earthly safety.
Cherish what's long ago,
Cherish before we go.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Near the Point of No Return

Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 word count: 46,545

I tried to finish "10th Commandment" last night.

I've created a new writing playlist, "The Third Move." "Liwanag sa Dilim" by Rivermaya is a Tagalog song whose title translates to "Light in the Dark." It's actually the quietest song from Rivermaya. The song follows the same theme as all of the other songs in the playlist. I just need to add some shine of goodness in the plot.

By 4am, though, a woman I'd call Edna asked me to visit a link on my laptop because she can't visit it from her laptop. I did. But once I was there, she said that her own laptop finally reached the link. She said that I didn't have to help anymore, and told me to close my browser. So I closed my browser and went on with writing.

About two minutes later, she asked me to visit the same link on my laptop again. She said she lost connection to it. I opened my browser again and went to the link. Once there, she said that she had reconnected. "Close the browser again." I did.

This went on for more than three times. It would have been fine if I was just watching videos on YouTube or talking with a friend, but writing a novel requires my full concentration.

It was like, So I'm in this scene where the search spans a wider area and Gerald learns that one of the volunteers has the same name as him. He is worried, and the volunteer is concerned. They learn to get along as they speak. Then I have that full impression on my mind and write through that. Then someone would interrupt, making me do a whole different thing.

It's like the whole world of my fiction dissolves into thin air when she interrupts. And after she makes me close the browser, I'd recreate the scene on my mind again. And then it gets dissolved by her again. And so on. I got a terrible headache in three minutes.

After around her fifth interruption, when she told me to close the browser again, I just sarcastically said, "No, I'll wait until you make me open it again."

I sat back, closed my eyes and tried to think of nothing to let go of my headache. These headaches don't come from sleeplessness or hunger. They come from frustrations. After listening to some songs and watching funny videos on YouTube, my headache was gone. But it was replaced by extreme sleepiness.

Woke up a few hours later to hear a woman, who I'd call Maureen, yelling at Edna about disturbing her while she was working at her laptop. So Edna didn't stop. I had a schedule to chase NaPoWriMo 2015 Day Twenty-Eight, but the two women were totally angry. Maureen was accusing Edna of intentionally destroying her work, and Edna was accusing Maureen of having been angry all along. Then their argument reached many different topics that had no connection to the present.

When they're like this, they'll include anyone who they see in their fight. I know them well. I had three future scenarios:

1. I'd wake up and go to my own laptop. They'd pick a fight with me. I'd refuse to be provoked, and just suffer as they pelt me with their insults for hours. But I'd still publish my blog post on time.

2. I'd wake up and go to my laptop. If they won't stop yelling at me, I'd fight back. And win. And get excluded from their social lives for one month because I won another argument with them. That has happened so many times before. They hate it when I win because I'm far younger than both of them.

3. I'd pretend to be asleep until they finish fighting.

I chose the third scenario. Keeping up with the time zone of NaPoWriMo just doesn't seem to be worth having to suffer like that. That's why I'm late today.

By the way, I reviewed "The Interview" on Bubblews the other night. Now, I'm still looking for something to review.

For NaPoWriMo 2015 Day Twenty-Eight, we are to write a poem about a bridge. There was only one bridge I can think of that I've always written about in my poems.

I actually kind of hate this poem because it's abstract and it goes back to my old form of poetry: elegy. I wrote a lot of elegy when I was a new poet. It's inspired by what most people call near-death experience, or NDE. It's inspired by my own NDE. It happened sometime between when I was 11 and 15. My old poem, "NDE," was also about it. (Photo credit: me)

The Travel
All those lights and shadows.
World of joyful voices
In the comfortable glows
Of my old friend no less.
Just following the light
Of my real home tonight.

And leaving the living,
So all these pains shall go.
Here I go, no feeling.
Their happiness grow
As I leave for their side.
By their calls I abide.

A connection between us.
What's between will and was.
Like mirror, like a glass.

I almost crossed the bridge
That was offered to me,
For there was not a ridge
And they made me feel free.
One day, I'll go back there,
Though I do not know where.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Trying to Create Perfect

My mother, eldest sister and I went to Sparks Place, Cubao yesterday afternoon. We chose the table near the door (and near the glass) of Chowking. My sister said that she was going to wash her hands, and walked to the sink at the other end of the room.

My mother got worried that my sister was taking too long, and stood up to go there also. I just waited for them, alone and eating my halo-halo. Halo-halo is a Filipino delicacy that consists of the sweetest fruits, sugar, ice, and other sweet food. Suddenly, a gigantic woman was standing next to me. She was holding a sharp umbrella toward me and cleared her throat in the most threatening manner that she can muster. Suddenly, my mother came running back to the table. My sister came sprinting across the room and passed Mother, putting herself between the woman and me.

The woman still tried to get to me, but eventually gave up. When she went out of the store, she stood behind the glass next to me, pointing at me and yelling. I smiled at her. She winced and shifted her attention to my mother instead, who was standing beside me. She was still yelling at my mother as she walked away.

I'm not one of those people who panic, lose their minds and become uncooperative afterwards in such situations. People often describe me as "scarily cool and collected." My family and I went on eating, laughing about what happened.

People from my family and crowd often end up in these types of incidents. I remember when I got my first death threat during my teens, my sister was like, "Welcome to the club."

In "10th Commandment," I spent last night being undecided whether to continue altering the plot, or to just leave it alone. When I first read "10th Commandment" some nights ago, I thought that it was excessively dark. I was gloomily staring into space after reading it. It was only an hour later that I recovered, and started taking notes on how to provide some brightness in the overall impression of the book. Those were the new characters, plot twists, and ideas that I added.

The only thing I'm going to do right now is to keep on writing the new plot, and see how it mixes with the previous version. If it doesn't feel right, I'll remove it and revert to the previous version. Also, I came up with a better ending scene and included it in the outline.

For NaPoWriMo 2015 Day Twenty-Seven, we are to write a hay(na)ku. It's invented by Eileen Tabios and named by Vince Gotera. It's a variation of the haiku.

The form name actually made me laugh because there's a Tagalog expression that sounds like hay(na)ku. It's "Hay, na' ko!" We have a province where the locals have a distinct accent (Visayas), and their version of it is "Hay, na' ku!" Both versions roughly translate to "Oh, my God!"

Not only does my poem use this new form, I also wrote it using a new technique and a new inspiration. I still haven't figured out how I really did it, but it's most like my art technique when I was a teenager.

I loved to draw and paint during my teens. One of my techniques was dropping colors and ink on the sketch pad, and drawing and painting wherever they dropped. There was just something perfect about natural. This poem is similar to that, but I'm still figuring out if the poetic result is as beautiful as the visual art result. I removed the punctuation marks. (Photo credit: me)

Beautiful face
Move, speechless me

Cannot think
What is this?

Upside down
Oh my God

But soft
Hold my breath

Mysterious evil
Loss for words.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The End is Only the Beginning

Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 word count: 43,715

Was on Facebook last night, when a notification suddenly popped up that one of my friends in the Nepal quake was safe. Then another notification showed, saying the same thing about another friend in Nepal. I checked the notification, and learned that Facebook already has this feature that allows international friends to check if their friends in certain areas are safe during disasters. Nice new website feature, Zuckerberg.

I'm glad that my friends in Nepal are safe. There's a talented poet there. He recently got a job as a writer in their local newspaper.

In Camp NaNoWriMo and "10th Commandment," I spent midnight describing a crime scene. Crime scenes in movies are made to be presentable, far from the truth about real crime scenes. I've seen real crime scenes. Was walking to church one morning when I passed by this empty lot and saw a corpse of a man with a hole through his head. I've also been to other crime scenes. Now, I'm divided between making my descriptions close to reality, or following the conventions of storytelling.

For the NaPoWriMo 2015 Day Twenty-Six challenge, we are to write a persona poem. I've written persona poems since, like, I started writing poems. That has been my reputation in poetry: poetic shape-shifting.

My poem today is written from a pen. It's calling to the poet, who's been killed by "kings." Despite its longing for the poet, it also hints that it will soon be taken up by a new poet. This pattern of the poem actually demonstrates the story of poetry and literature since the ancient times: it never ends. It's a cycle that goes on and on, continuing to reflect reality beyond their creators' lives.

This poem also gathers inspiration from all of my other poems where I mentioned my pen. Like "Apollo" (one of my poems that are dedicated to the Greek god of poetry), and "Memory" (my poem about the eternal power of words). There are many previous poems from me that got mentioned a bit in this. Also, the title is another version of my old poem, "Rooster."

When my classmates and I graduated from our HarvardX Humanities course, we wrote letters (partly in Greek) to our professor. Some of us gave him pictures of a rooster. It's in reference to Socrates, with whom our course ended. Socrates said that he owed a rooster to Asclepius before he allowed himself to be executed. It's about the end of his life only being the victory and continuation of his cause. (Photo credit: me. The pen that I mentioned in "A Bow to the Queen," the one that hasn't written any great poem yet. I have four different handwritings and I used the one that I use the least for the photo of that post, intentionally messing it up to hide its real appearance and hide my character from the poem. Just a bit of art.)

For Asclepius

Hello, my long lost friend.
Since I lost you to sleep,
I thought this was my end.
For I no longer weep
Away my dark color
For all of your deep lore.

All of my soft tears stay
Within the cold of me,
No longer filling day
With a fragrance so sweet,
The fragrance of all words
That can break the kings' swords.

O we don't have to speak
To make the nations weak,
To make their secrets leak.

Loved to feel your embrace,
And we danced in the night,
Caught in your secret grace.
But when kings use their might
Take you away from me
Your thoughts I can still see.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Quotes from My Novel

My family tried to finish "American Sniper" again last night. And failed once more. Mother noticed me getting bored, and switched to "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies."

Even though not the best among all LOTR movies, the last one of the second trilogy still has some of the elements that LOTR fans loved. The theme about the destruction through greed, the whisperings, the possessions, and more. I've been an LOTR geek since I was a kid, and had even tried writing my own fantasy novel at the age of 11. Oh, I've got too much to say about the whole LOTR world and might make this post too long again. So I'd better stop talking about it right after this period.

For a little side topic, in 2014, the Armed Forces of the Philippines made a special showing of "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" to raise funds for the Armed Forces of the Philippines Educational Benefit System. My friend once asked me, "What's the significance of 'The Hobbit' with the military community?"

I'm not sure if they did the screening because of any significance. All that I know is that the original creator of all things LOTR, J.R.R. Tolkien, was a war veteran. His novels actually once got criticized because they focused on war, but that's the reason why we love LOTR. Tolkien's trilogy gives a calmer, softer view on war and everything that happen in it.

I think that the original trilogy was better, though, especially "The Fellowship of the Ring" --- alright! I really should stop all the LOTR talk right here.

After watching the movie, instead of writing, I simply read the whole "10th Commandment." Just had to make sure that it was really finished. Finished reading the book by 4am.

The verdict: "10th Commandment" is still not finished. I added scenes, plot twists, and characters. I added all of them to my novel outline. Here are some quotes from my characters - taken from different parts of the novel - that I'll be keeping. They are from Evelyn (protagonist), Gerald (protagonist's best friend), and the villain. I'm keeping my villain's name secret because the story actually begins with him, but not as the villain.

Evelyn: "I've always noticed. I've always noticed that I have this element in me that destroys me. It inclines me to do things I shouldn't do. Like I want to kill myself. The question is, will it really kill me?"

Gerald: "Because, sometimes, you look at the same things too much, that you actually see nothing anymore."

Villain: "There is always that time in your career when your success becomes more powerful than you. Your reputation spreads far and wide, and everyone creates a persona of you that is far greater than who you really are. Everyone comes to you, expecting magic. Your creation gets distributed to many places, and you are barely keeping up with the speed of it. What can you do? You are only human with only two hands and a single head. I had to lessen my work, I had to leave, or I had to ask for help."

Currently listening to my fave playlist on Spotify, Ultimate Epic Movie Scores. Planning to review "Troy" on Bubblews.

For NaPoWriMo 2015 Day Twenty-Five, we are to write a clerihew. According to Wikipedia, a clerihew is a quatrain that features a famous person in an absurd light. The first line has the person's name, and all of the lines have an irregular pattern (despite a strict rhyme scheme).

I was still feeling grim from reading "10th Commandment" when I started writing a poem for the challenge, and my first victim was Justin Bieber. No matter how hard I try, I just can't stand Bieber music. One of the good things about my new address is the lack of Beliebers.

I later found a better victim for today's challenge, though: Harry Styles.

This kid and his band have always been one of the targets of my sniggerings. My friends and I just like laughing at them. Alright, Directioners, the band does serve an important purpose in this world: making us laugh.

Don't get me wrong. Those kids are actually awesome. It's just that I prefer to listen to other music. (Photo credit: me)

Harry Styles
London Bridge falls and Harry Styles.
Women so great he beguiles.
Two dimples and a hairdo.
He's sneaking out with somebody new, whatever paparazzi do.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Looking Back

Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 word count: 41,672

I finished writing the story of "10th Commandment." I certainly enjoyed writing the finale. Now, I will just spend the remaining 8,328 words on the scenes that I forgot:

  • When my protagonist's best friend revealed his correspondence with his other friend, and what Evelyn can expect from the correspondence in relation to her situation.
  • Evelyn watching "Traffic." In my first draft of "10th Commandment," I used the movie as a vehicle for the theme of the story. In literature and poetry, authors and poets use popular titles and ideas embedded within the story to hint the theme of the story. In "The Talented Mr.Ripley," it was the bust of Roman emperor Hadrian. In the "Illiad," it was the shield of Achilles. In "10th Commandment," "Traffic" is only one of the many vehicles. I already mentioned many years back that my novel was going to focus on the manufacturing and distribution of cocaine.

I mentioned in my previous post that something happened to my family last year. I didn't clarify because it doesn't have anything to do with writing.

Last year, my eldest sister taught me how to shoot. She used the techniques that my father had taught her. According to the people who watched me that day, it was the highest score that they saw a beginner make. They called me Sharpshooter since that day.

I think that shooting the right target only needs strong awareness of how the air moves and carries bullets.

In poetry and my participation in NaPoWriMo, my poem in "A Bow to the Queen" was originally inspired by actress Catherine Zeta-Jones. In my opinion, the actress with the best side-view is Carrey Mulligan. But Catherine Zeta-Jones has played characters who are so worth being described in poetry. I just created my own drawing of a woman, and described her roles through the woman's head. I had "Entrapment" in mind.

My poem in "Monday the Menace" was directed to, um, well, my pillow. It's partly inspired by my friend's expression whenever she was feeling like being lazy, "I can hear my pillows calling me."

Most of my poems that look like love poems are directed to non-living things, especially Internet connection. "Lonely Blue" and many others were inspired by broadband.

On Bubblews, I reviewed "The Shining" and "The Ghost Writer."

For NaPoWriMo 2015 Day Twenty-Four, we are being challenged to write a parody poem of our favorite poems. Even though not my favorite (my favorite is "The Odyssey" by Homer), I chose "Purple Cow."

There are so many great poets on the Internet right now, even ones who are way younger than me. Reading their poetry is breath-taking. They are just amazing! That's why I was surprised when I read "Purple Cow." It was supposed to be famous. Maybe there is something more to the poem than what it appears, but I chose it as the topic of my poem today.

My poem warns readers about nonsense poetry, providing comparisons and alternatives. But the poem also lauds the poet, Gelett Burgess, as it admits that his poem did get me thinking about purple cows. Even though short and puzzling, his poem did get me pondering on the idea of a purple cow.

"Fore" is a golf term. It's what golfers shout when telling others to dodge a flying golf ball. (Photo credit: me. It's my stock photo from my other blog. I uploaded it when I was writing about what inspired the mansion of the villain of "10th Commandment." There are no drugs on the real-life location, though.)

Poetry should inform.
Poems should make you think.
The inspiration form.
Beautiful words that link.
I saw something nonsense.
It doesn't make much sense.

Wastes reading energy.
So what about purple cows?
Rather write Elegy,
Than a poem that bows
To human silliness,
And great mental blankness.

Although on second thought,
A purple cow I sought
From the poet's own thought.

Never seen one before,
But, well, oh, my, oh my,
Readers, tell others, "Fore!"
How he made my thoughts fly
Toward a purple cow
Made me a purple cow!

Friday, April 24, 2015

All the Cards

Just woke up this 7am.

My mother and I watched "American Sniper" last night. Even though my family does not like that type of war movie (the Delfins are a military family in the Philippines, and nobody likes to relax by watching a movie about his job), they had taken interest in the movie after what happened last year.

We've watched "American Sniper" so many times before, but never got to finish it. We attempted again last night, but I tuned out. It's hard to focus when I see the same things. The movie looks way too familiar. Soldiers, guns, etc. Talks about war, war strategies, and military terms. Soon, I was like, zzzZ.

Woke up only after the movie. Logged in to my other account to debate with my friend for two hours about Indonesian greetings. Debates where both parties know very little about the topic can last a liftetime haha

Wrote my poem at 2am, and was about to start "10th Commandment" when I got a headache. So I went back to sleep.

Just added more songs to "Side B." When writing a story, I spend much more time on the creation of the villain than on any character because he's hardest to understand. My initial reaction to all of my villains is fear and disgust, and I can't write a story feeling those things. I need to care about my villain. Just looking for something lovable. I give him heart. The most challenging question in writing the story has been, How can a man who cares about others kill so many people and destroy lives, celebrate it, and waste so much time and energy on devising plans to kill even more? With every scene, I keep writing side notes on how he's weighing the options on his mind, deciding whether to murder, or let the chance pass.

I've gotten so used to spending time with these characters, that it's inevitable to let them go. We are all about to say goodbye. Currently listening to "Tears and Rain" by James Blunt. I associate it a lot with my protagonist, Evelyn.

I have failed to publish my "The Shining" review on Bubblews because, um, I've been asleep. "American Sniper" reminded me that my insomnia had been winning too much.

For NaPoWriMo 2015 Day Twenty-Three, we are to choose a playing card from a deck of cards, write for five minutes about it, and create a poem out of what we've written.

I don't play cards. I've always been curious about playing cards, but everyone around me had been keeping me away from them. When I was a child, my mother was like, "It's gambling." She hid all the cards in the house from me. I met this stranger who worked in a Las Vegas casino last year, and he was like, "My advice is that you shouldn't start. It's basically gambling. You seem like a good person. So don't even try it, for my sake." That's why I know nothing of cards.

For the NaPoWriMo challenge, I simply Google image searched "playing cards" and chose whichever card was clearest. I don't know what it's called, but it's black-and-white, has a tree shape in the middle and letter A's on the corners. I wrote about what it looked like and what its appearance reminded me of.

This poem is the one I've written in all of April that has the least metaphors, except for "ram." RAM (Reform the Armed Forces Movement) killed a child in my hometown while they exchanged fire with Camp Aguinaldo over the Delfin ancestral house via air in 1987. It's sad when old comrades fight. Us Delfins had always been on the loyal and good side, and it's truly sad when old comrades fight.

The man who I mentioned in the poem helped me last year in solving a certain code from my past. He's one of the inspirations behind my NaNoWriMo 2014 novel, "Alter Ego."

The Coder
Home was where I came from
And now I face symbols.
They represent like ram,
They remind of rubble

And of a certain game.
I don't recall the name.

They also remind of
A place from my own past,
Where letters were aloft.
But the memories still last.
Now that I think of it,
The reason starts to meet.

It was a house, a game.
It was a coded name.
How can I be so lame?

He advised me last year
That all these roads lead back.
All the terror and fear.
They were caused by a stack.
Nowhere far shall I roam,
For the answer is home.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Before the Clock Strikes

Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 word count: 38,588

It's 8am of Thursday and I wanted to sleep a bit before I start my day, but Day Twenty-Two of NaPoWriMo will be ending soon. I shouldn't dare be late at publishing my response for their challenge again.

Honestly, I spent last night and some hours of this morning rebelling a bit and just getting busy with myself. I always become like this during the NaNos and while attending HarvardX. It's when I've had enough of my usual schedule, and just do whatever I please. Like, play computer games. Well, that was what I did last night.

In "10th Commandment," the end has begun.

I mentioned in my other post, "The Last Light," that I wanted to change the colors of this blog. Just keeping up with author trends. It's customary for authors to make their blogs look like what they write about. I write crime fiction. Honestly, if I had my way, I'd turn this whole blog pink. Because pink is my favorite color.

I'll be reviewing "The Shining" on Bubblews tonight. Something gives me the feeling that it doesn't have to be reviewed, since many people have watched it already ...

Here's my response to the NaPoWriMo 2015 Day Twenty-Two challenge. We are to write a pastoral poem. I've written so many pastoral poems before. I've demonstrated through "Sharing a Secret" how I use Nature as a metaphor for a man's face. The difference between that type of my poetry and my pastoral poems is that my pastoral poems give descriptions through all the senses, not just sight.

This pastoral poem is about a cornfield, a storm, romance and life. It's inspired by everything that it is about. Not much metaphor, except for "As the first stone is cast."

Actually, I accidentally deleted this poem a while ago. I thought I lost it. Glad that my word document has an endless Undo, and I just kept clicking Undo 'til the poem reappeared. Whew! I thought I lost it!

Out in the Cornfields
I smell it in the air,
I see it in the clouds,
Outdoors people hear fair
The bitter thunder loud.
Can you feel the strong winds?
They push hard on my limbs.

The lands darken, it creeps
Like battle formations,
And then the powerful sky weeps,
Soaking the poor nations.
Let us take cover here.
Stay closer, so you hear.

But all things never last,
And life goes by so fast
As the first stone is cast.

The enemy retreats.
The crops are green again.
For my sight, it's a treat
When they're yellow again,
Shining in grass like sun.
And you and I stay one.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Turning Homer into Edgar Allan Poe

Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 word count: 37,287

My villain is losing his mind. I make him real horrible in the story, but I know what his real problem is. I just can't tell that to the whole world because he has a scary reputation to keep haha

I finally published my "K-19: The Widowmaker" review on Bubblews. Let that be my review for today, because I'm already so tired. I need to save energy for the rest of this day.

Here's my response for the NaPoWriMo 2015 Day Twenty-One challenge. We are to take a page from a book, print it, and erase any word to create our own poem out of the remaining words.

It didn't feel like being original at first, but I soon started to have fun doing it. I chose the article from Wikipedia about Odysseus. I loved the character of Odysseus since I was 10-years-old. I have a whole Spotify playlist dedicated to him. The songs say the things that we learned in HarvardX when we studied Odysseus.

I simply erased the words depending on how Odysseus himself would erase them. It's easy to write a poem from the point-of-view of Odysseus, because I've been doing it for years. He is the primary topic of all of my poems. The result of my creation for this challenge got me sniggering in front of the computer, though. It's like Homer became Edgar Allan Poe haha

I removed every part that mentioned Palamedes, because the real Odysseus would do exactly that. Philostratus has written so much of how Odysseus bribed everyone into wiping Palamedes' name off history. Also, "Odysseus convinced a Trojan captive to write" is funny because people during Odysseus' time can't write.

For this image, I copy-pasted the article from Wikipedia into a word document. My erasures are pretty messy. I cut up the image into two images to make them bigger and easier to read. Just use the zoom tool of the browser if they're still hard to read.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Things That Happened and Things That Happen

Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 word count: 34,472

I'm terribly late. But I have good reasons.

After publishing my previous post, I traveled to SSS (Social Security System) in Barangay Pinyahan, Quezon City. It was nice to see old acquaintances. After that, I went to the nearby GMA Network area to mind some family matters. Then I traveled to Marikina City.

Fell asleep in the commuter vehicle. Was still half-asleep when I saw the next vehicle on the road quickly moving toward me. Had to pull myself back, and then it hit the vehicle I was on.

Was fully awake when I realized that it was actually our vehicle that hit it. The passengers went into panic, and the woman across from me screamed to our driver that I almost got hit. But our driver just grinned at me and continued driving. The driver of the other vehicle also continued driving like nothing happened. The passengers eventually calmed down. Our vehicle had only a little dent.

I went to Concepcion Dos, ate supper there, and spent hours standing in the sun and listening to this woman rant about her life problems. The hot weather felt more good than listening to her.

Finally went home by 4pm, sitting next to a fat man who helped every passenger who passed us by. Fat people can be so considerate, and it's quite unfair to call them "fat."

Outside my building, one of the employees told that a visitor came while I was away. He said the visitor said that he will go back. So I waited outside the building, chatting with the employee.

The visitor did come back. Someone who had handled important family affairs in the past. It was nice to meet him again. It's always nice to meet people from the past.

After he left, I settled in my room and started writing. My mother found her movies again and asked me to watch them with her. It was "Woman in Black 2." She later said that we shouldn't watch horror movies at night, so we didn't finish it. She went to sleep, and I went back to writing. Went to sleep at 11pm.

Woke up at 1am to find my sister panicking. She was running late for an online appointment, but the Internet connection was suddenly lost. "Do something," she told me. I'm the only one in the family who knows how to troubleshoot.

I did "something." And everything. But the Internet connection was still lost. We went to the building staff and asked the man for the password of their Free WiFi. I connected her laptop to the free WiFi, and left her working at the lobby. Went back to my room to call our service provider. After I waited for the on-hold music, the man from the service provider answered my call by 3am. He said that all Internet connection had been cut by their company nationwide due to maintenance. He told me to wait until 5am. So I wrote while waiting for 5am.

The Internet did return by 5am. I called my sister to reconnect to our Internet and she went back home, telling me to "Hurry up, reconnect it!" So I reconnected her, and her problem was fixed.

I still haven't published my "K-19: The Widowmaker" review on Bubblews.

My poem yesterday, "A Secret," is about Vlad of "Dracula Untold." I had watched the movie as part of my huge and frantic research for the villain of "10th Commandment." My villain is not based on Vlad, though. I started creating my villain years before the movie came out. Also, I wrote the poem after talking with my friend, who can't stop raving about Vlad.

On a side topic, in the past, I've written numerous poems that people have always presumed to be love poems for vampires. They were actually about bats. I support Animal Rights and had been trying to promote the preservation of bats. Bats are the last living mammals with wings, and they're fast becoming extinct. They might be gone from our world soon.

Here's my response for the NaPoWriMo 2015 Day Twenty challenge. We are to write a poem that states the facts that we know.

My poem is horribly long, even after I erased some facts just to shorten it. I also removed the facts that I learned from school, books, and other people. These are only facts that I learned based on experience. I bet that older people already know the facts in this poem. I still have more things to find out. It doesn't look like a poem to me, but it does what poems are supposed to do: inform.

Common Sense is a Free Verse

If you're always busy with something good, you'll never get in trouble.
Birds are not bird-brainers.
The air around you changes movement patterns when an aircraft is approaching.
You can't trust the police.
You never know if everything you have right now will be gone in the next second.
Normal snakes don't go near people.
You see many bad things coming, you just deny it.
Some swamps appear like solid ground.
Mistresses are made in hell.
When the whole world seems to hate you, move more than five cities away.
People with mental disorders can be more cooperative than people with normal brains.
Staying up at night will make you see things you're not supposed to see.
Once you know how it works, you can create your own.
Every family has a black sheep.
The person who keeps turning you against your own parents wants to kill you.
If you love him, don't let your enemy know that you do.
Some heroes never ever become known.
Criminals use your trust to earn money.
When people join together to believe in something that is not real, it becomes real.
To sing well, you should mean it.
If you know how things are supposed to be, you'll be faster at noticing what's wrong.
Personality is always different from appearance.
Food, money, beauty and love are the basic magnets for jealousy.
Giving in to the natural instinct of vengeance will make you look like you started it.
It's somebody else's fault only when you've done everything you can to stop it.
Always keep something that will absorb all your negative emotions, so they don't go where they shouldn't go.
Your mother is always right.
Some things that work for other people will never work for you.
The pests in your house actually help keep the worse pests out of your house.
Ghosts and troublemakers have one thing in common: they get stronger only when you acknowledge their presence.
Science has discovered only a very small fraction of the universe.
Animals know who is good and who is not.
Feng Shui is somehow right.
No matter how much time you spend grooming yourself, you will not look any different.
Impulses can kill.
If you want a clean home, don't use linoleum.
Every author has written a horribly bad book.
People who keep talking about God are trying to cover something up, unless they work for the church.
You can hear the best songs on the radio and watch the best shows on TV between 12 midnight and 3am.
Even the smallest animals have logic and feelings.
The church is full of evil people, especially during holidays.
No matter how hard you try, your parents will always believe that you're just a little girl.
If you want to keep running, don't ever pause for a little rest.
"No" is a life-saving word.
If you're going to perform on the stage, don't practice under the stairs.
Don't let very different people touch your hair.
Death is a kidnapper that won't accept any ransom.
When you perform, don't rely on the judges' facial expressions ... if there was ever any expression.
Pretending to be stupid will save your life.
Have a different perfume for different years to help yourself remember.
You did not leave your past behind, you just got older.
There are places in the Philippines that totally scare policemen.
Not everything is in the news.
Children and pets only mimic what they see the adults doing.
Always bring a broom when you move to a new house.
Hooks, nails and shelves make life easier ... and of course, a hammer.
Leave the cheap products to the people who can't afford the expensive products.
Commonwealth Avenue is not for walking.
Never let an evil landlady know that you plan to leave.
Don't escape without a plan.
Always make allowance for mistakes.
Spend time with people who are full of good vibes.
No one can control you.
When you make no impression, people will tell you their deepest secrets.
Fear feeds on itself.
You find your true friends only in your worst moment.
"Losers" only need to think things over.
You can actually feel a rain coming.
When you donate relief goods, include can openers.
When you sleep outdoors, pack some waterproof beddings and bags.
Smiling helps.
All that you need is water.
A person can last days without eating and sleeping, and still survive.
A soldier, a prisoner and a homeless person are very similar people.
Just put one foot in front of the other, and you will get there.
The first step to survival is acceptance of one's current situation.
Secrets can kill.
One simple way of watching the solar eclipse is through its reflection on a cup of water.
Life will always have ups and downs.
Women behave like women and men behave like men only because of each other.
If you want people to pay attention to you, pay attention to them.
Different cooks cook differently.
Keep looking around, and you might find something better and cheaper.
Some people actually have the guts to make misunderstood people even more misunderstood.
What happens in the military headquarters stays in the military headquarters.
Soldiers are good singers.
Living a life of order is the best and most productive way to live.
When you handle complicated things, entertainment actually helps.
You don't have to win in every fight that you encounter.
Computers are like humans: they won't be good to you if you haven't been good to them.
Only 1 email in every 1000 emails you ever receive really matters, but you still have to read each email.
The words "new" and "free" catch people's attention on the Internet.
Knowing English does not ensure success.
Emoticons unite netizens who don't really understand each other.
A person who keeps talking to herself sounds unpleasant, even in writing.
Even the worst moments have a positive side to them, and you can use them to your advantage.
Beautiful people become so conscious of what's outside, that they forget what's inside.
Cats also love to watch the rain.
Fame is not real.
Don't rely on people's promises.
Sometimes, your neighbors are noisy because you're too quiet.
Set lines between what you're willing to do and what you're not willing to do, and follow them.
People have brains, and you can never fool them.
Writing isn't just about words, it's about all of life.
Everything comes with a price.
You can't do everything at once.
Simplicity is more important than it seems.
Blood won't be as scary and gross once you understand its purpose.
It's not true that MOOCs are self-paced.
Intelligence, good looks and wealth won't get you anywhere if you don't learn to be nice.
Don't ask someone a question if you don't want him to ask the same question back.
People depend on people.
People who have lost so much in their lives don't need to be told that they have lost so much in their lives.
Poetry has a knack for predicting things.
Everyone has the same level of suffering.
If bad things keep happening to you on his watch, that means he's making them happen.
There are some things in life that you will never be able to fix.
History keeps repeating itself, and changing it can take more than a life.
Controlling human nature is a feat that you still can't do.
You don't need much to achieve something.
A life of perfection breeds unspeakable evil.
Falling in love will keep you human.
There comes a point in your life when people no longer trust you because you keep winning.

Denying something only draws people's attention to it.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Sharing a Secret

Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 word count: 34,349

After publishing my previous post, instead of writing like I said in the post, I got distracted by a Russian-language version of an old movie. It made me so sleepy. It was already 3pm of Sunday by the time I woke up. Yikes!

Started to write. My mother asked the whole family to go on a movie marathon. She always asks us to watch movies.

We watched "Thor: The Dark World" and finished "Wild." "Wild" is actually awesome. It made us cry. It reminded me of all the most eye-opening people I ever met.

Got back to writing at 1am. Read the challenge for NaPoWriMo. Got totally bewildered with the challenge. Wrote a poem for the challenge. Got totally bewildered with my own poem. Wrote "10th Commandment." Wrote a replacement poem. Got depressed with the replacement poem. Wrote more of "10th Commandment." Wrote notes for a better poem. Wrote the better poem.

Now writing after listening to James Blunt. What else do I ever listen to ... Actually, last night, I was listening to Erik Santos, Avril Lavigne, Demi Lovato, and Harry Gregson-Williams. After midnight, it was Josh Groban and Hans Zimmer. As of this moment, finished listening to Billy Joel's "She's Always a Woman."

This Monday might be a manic day, more manic than if I had slept.

In "10th Commandment," I've been shaking things up a bit. Glad I still remember how to climb trees. Been years since I did that. One of my characters had to climb a tree to get away from animals that my villain had sent to eat him.

On Bubblews, I'll be reviewing "K-19: The Widowmaker."

Here's my response to the NaPoWriMo 2015 Day 19 challenge. We are to write a landay. It's a poem that originated from Afghanistan and created by Afghan women. It's usually created in secret and talks of things that most people keep secret.

I loved reading the article that the NaPoWriMo blog shared for the description of landays. It's like an extension from what I studied in HarvardX.

We studied Afghan poetry in HarvardX. We were studying the type of poetry that was used in Homer's works, and one of the similar types in modern times that we found was in Afghanistan. One memorable moment was when we were made to listen to a lament of an Afghan mother who had lost her son in war. I was crying, and I cried even more when one of my teachers also began to cry and walked out of the classroom. It's more affecting when someone superior also gets affected. So they just paused for a while, trying to bear with the pain that the song conveyed.

Some of the landays in the page that NaPoWriMo shared made me laugh, though. O the things that we think. Reminds me of those days back in Manila, inside a ladies' dormitory. The women would gather, and then they'd talk and snicker to each other. The funniest forms of man-bashing I've ever heard! XD And this woman who greeted me online once and we proceeded to talk about our lives and men, what they think we're thinking, and how wrong they are about what we're thinking haha

Even though the examples are all about war, because NaPoWriMo mentioned only the revelation of a secret, my poem only reveals an old secret in my writing: in all of the poems I ever wrote, when I write a whole poem that simply describes the beauty of Nature, I'm actually describing a man's face.

A Secret
As bright as a new leaf of freshness,
Like a clear day and I can see everything no less

When the sun illuminates corners,
Shades, and even the most shadowy holes of my verse,

Holes that give way to darkness of night,
When there is no moon, only stars that peer out of sight

Framing palace of humanity,
But also framing the fiery hell beneath, I see

The hell that I read in the thick books.
Whoever did evil to this lovely place, it cooks

And I can't bear to see anymore.
I'd rather stay here and listen to the old folklore

'Bout a little rose that lost color,
And waterfalls that bent for love, this I listen more

For from the peak of the thin mountain,
The mesmerizingly mystical hearts attain.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Light of Day

This morning (it's 1am), I'm going to publish my poem before going on to write "10th Commandment." Just to avoid being as late as I was in Day Seventeen.

My family and I went on a movie marathon for the weekend. We watched "American Heist" and half of "Wild." We ended up hating both movies. It's 75% a bad movie night. The two movies are not totally bad, but they're still not our type of movies.

On Bubblews, I'll be reviewing "The Next Three Days."

Here's my response for the NaPoWriMo Day Eighteen challenge. We are to write a poem that is about an urgent journey and an important message. I totally enjoyed reading the example that was given on the NaPoWriMo blog, that I'm gonna share it here.

Even though the inspiration behind my poem was originally stealth planes and I thought it up while in HarvardX Humanities back in 2013, it ended up having so many other elements in it. Writing some parts of this poem made me cry. Here are some elements:

-While watching that scene from "Dracula Untold" in which Vlad was organizing his bats, my friend asked, "What is he doing?"

I joked, "Organizing his Air Force."

My sister followed with her own joke, "Yeah, checking his stealth planes."

-The Howard Shore score for "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," "The Black Rider." I always associated the music with an enemy who's getting too near.

-Descriptions of the Blitz from C.S. Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" and Daniel Silva's "The Unlikely Spy."

-That scene in the movie "Troy," when the Greeks crept out of the Trojan Horse and began killing the Trojans.

-December 7, 1941. When Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor during negotiations with the US.

-That scene from "Gladiator," when Commodus stabbed Maximus' back.

-My poems also get inspired by my previous poems. My previous poem that inspired this is "Can't Tell," a poem about visions of violence that appear in a traumatized soldier's mind.

-The feeling I get when playing chess, and my opponent has pushed my king as far back as to make me resort to castling. Other players win with castling, but I see it as the beginning of defeat.

-My memories of the smell of blood and death. I once volunteered in a quick response team that handled road accidents, and I learned about that smell in those car crashes where the victims died.

-1942 to 1945. The Japanese invasion of the Philippines and what they did to Filipinos.

-1521 to 1898. The Spanish colonization of the Philippines and the reputation of Spanish rulers to Filipinos.

-The Ben Mink song, "We Will Have Won."

-The Ming revolution at the end of the Yuan dynasty. It's a story from China, when the Chinese distributed secret messages inside mooncakes to plan a revolution against their Mongolian invaders. And won.

-The secret meetings of the Katipunan, a group of Filipinos who planned and started the revolution against the Spaniards. And won.

-Conventions of ancient Greek poetry. (Photo credit: me)

Sweeping through the cold winds,
They crept through the evening.
Without sound they careened
With their thirst for winning.
Oh they're getting so near
And the air smelled of fear ...

At the first light that falls,
Falling down deep within
Like fiery waterfalls,
Make hope quickly grow thin
As the planes drop their bombs
And we can't fight, like lambs.

Exploding, shaking her life,
Like her back stabbed with knife.
Welcome to the new strife.

Houses flew in pieces.
Women wailed, children cried.
Moving back in chess,
Hell of a smoky ride
And the air smelled of blood
From the lives we have had.

They enslaved us like fools.
Our cries to the skies.
The enemy who drools
With his wealth and his wiles.
One day, child, we will win.
Do be silent and keen.

Quiet call to the men,
Saying where and when,
When to gather and then ...

Surprising like the sun
To a man who won't sleep,
Battle cries form as one
While our spies creep
'Til we see light of day,
Living free 'til today.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

What I See

Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 word count: 33,511

Spent 8pm last night to 5am this morning trying to bear with my villain's evil mind just to write more of the story. I'm glad that I finally reached the part where the most challenging scene is about to end. Went to sleep at 6am instead of writing a poem and ... overslept. Woke up at noon.

On Bubblews, I'll be reviewing "Finding Forrester" (I have to publish this first because I'm late!).

Been sitting here, completely puzzled by the challenge for NaPoWriMo 2015 Day Seventeen. We are to write a social media poem. We're supposed to quote the posts and tweets of our friends and the labels on the package of the food that we eat. I was like, isn't that not original? Also, I'm worried about the privacy of my closest friends. They have told me again and again to protect their private lives from my public life.

On the other hand, social media has been, indeed, its own poetry. I'm the type who becomes friends with many different types of people, and logging in to my accounts is like traveling all over the world at once.

Here are the thoughts that I think as I read my News Feed and Twitter Feed: My American friend from Harvard is creating another conspiracy theory that the US didn't really close the Guantanamo prison. My other American friend can't stop raving about Batman. My Filipino friend from the University of the Philippines is criticizing the Philippine president. My other Filipino friend logs in only to cheer Manchester United. My African friend says that Michelle is more famous than Obama. My other African friend says he thinks he's pregnant. My Colombian friend is in another poetry meeting. My other Colombian friend just updated me on his new favorite snake. My German friend is promoting Animal Rights again. My other German friend has been sending me private messages about the real situation in his country. My Romanian friend says that Romanians vote only for politicians who give away the most free pencils. My other Romanian friend jokes about all Romanians being vampires. My Greek classmate from Harvard is meeting with fellow Greeks on the situation of their economy. My other Greek friend is talking about atheism. My Indonesian friend is selling National Geographic bags. My other Indonesian friend is admiring Johnny Depp. My male friend has been courting every girl in his friends list, and adding more girls. My female friend has been serving a lifetime of fanhood to Paul McCartney. My gay friend just posted another one of his favorite love quotes, which he already posted last week, and the week before that. My lesbian friend just discovered that she actually likes Mick Jagger. My Catholic priest friend is praying. My Muslim friend is also praying. My Jewish friend is even more praying. My atheist friend just posted about what could become of humanity. My religious friend just posted that atheists should just shut up.  My male friend said that women are crazy. My female friend said that men are stupid. My Pakistani friend keeps making fun of the Indians. My Indian friend keeps making fun of the Pakistanis. My Russian friend is admiring the beauty of the snow. My Malaysian friend is writing about peace. My Chinese friend is complaining about being stereotyped. My Ukranian friend is playing ChefVille. My Italian friend keeps worshiping his girlfriend, who is also my friend. My British friend is talking about me on his Wall. And my other American friend says that the US government is hiding UFOs. That's why I often end up laughing in my own posts and tweets.

Daring myself to just obey the instructions from the NaPoWriMo blog and blame it on them if somebody complains, I logged in to my Facebook account and Twitter account and read the feeds. My young college student friend finally graduated, my author friend is telling authors to avoid creating Facebook book pages, and my Catholic priest friend is still praying. In my poem, I included only the friends who I've been sharing and retweeting. I arranged the posts and tweets into a bit of social media story. The last line is from the cover of my breakfast, which was siopao. Here are the friends and followers who I got these lines from (in order): Nicole Zoltack, Dennis Sharpe, F. Paul Wilson, Brian Rathbone, and Debbie Irving.

Post It
This might or might not be me ...
So ... this is a thing that just happened today ...
So I'm in Vegas for the GU and I'm wearing a T-shirt that says
So while on line for a coffee this AM I see people reading the shirt and I can tell by their expressions that they see nothing wrong with the logo and are wondering why I'm wearing it.
If someone had told me as a kid growing up in the '70s that I'd have friends all over the world, I would never have believed them. Yet...
Saturday morning social media tasks done.
Please dispose properly

Friday, April 17, 2015

And Then There's Another Day

Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 word count: 31,480

Even though I don't drink coffee, my insomnia is like the effect of coffee: it's followed by a crash. I was so tired the other night after traveling all day, and just slept instead of writing.

I've been unable to write much of "10th Commandment" because of the crash. Also, I traveled to Marikina after publishing my previous post. I'll try to write more of it today. The villain is in control at this point of the story. I have this writing rule that goes, "The story is not good until the villain starts to sound right." It means that I should keep writing until the villain makes sense.

I'll be taking a one-day vacation from Bubblews.

Here's my response to the NaPoWriMo 2015 Day Sixteen challenge. We are to write a terzanelle. According to Wikipedia, a terzanelle has five triplets and one quatrain. The middle line of every triplet is repeated as the last line of the next triplet, and the first and third lines of the first triplet are the third and fourth lines of the quatrain. It got me horribly confused. I realized later that the trick was to just write. It worked out as I went on with every line.

It's a love poem that's inspired by blogging, the advice of my songwriter friend, and the villain from a short story that I wrote this morning. (Photo credit: me. Taken late last year in Marikina City.)

You're looking for answers
Like a moon shining light
In the gloom of the night.

I'm like a silent air,
As quiet as a kite.
Like a moon shining light.

We're both like leaves of trees.
Here on earth, living life.
As quiet as a kite.

You are my sweetest friend,
Holding with your own might.
Here on earth, living life.

Your thoughts are my blossoms.
O I love how you fight,
Holding with your own might.

I'm one of them quitters,
Even though you are right.
You're looking for answers
In the gloom of the night.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

For Day Fifteen

It is 12 noon right now and don't have much time to write. I'll try to get back tonight.
Here's my response to the NaPoWriMo 2015 Day Fifteen challange. We are to write a poem that talks to itself.

My Dear Poem

Words that convey colors
And desire unity,
Inspiring sound of force,
The sweetness of beauty.
As fragrant as the breeze,
Emotions sure you squeeze

In the same way you free,
In same way you inspire,
For life and you agree
Where all water and fire
Blend like a tornado
From the word that starts do.

O you live in the hearts,
In the most serious arts,
Just like the bull's eye darts

You're the whisper of hope,
You're defining love,
You're element of cope,
Though nothing do you have
More than their deadly swords,
Only your humble words.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Between Good and Evil

Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 word count: 31,100

Here's to another day of attempting to blog like a typical blogger.

Didn't wake up, because I've been awake. Been awake since two days ago, with only a few naps whenever I got time. Insomnia. Was going to take another nap after publishing my previous post, but got called to travel two cities away.

Arrived there at noon and spoke to them for a while. Said goodbye a few hours later and traveled to Cubao.

Was going home, but my neighbor was waiting outside our street. She dislikes my mother a lot. Avoided her by walking to another street, and traveled to my hometown to buy barbecue instead. They have the best barbecue there.

Walked to the nearby waiting shed. It was the waiting shed where my family and I got stuck during Typhoon "Ondoy." Typhoon "Ondoy" is one of the strongest storms ever, even stronger than Hurricane "Katrina." Sat on its bench to reminisce for a while. Saw my old neighbors, acquaintances, and even old enemies. They like to go out of their houses for a look and a bit of news whenever someone from my family is in the neighborhood. Traveled back home by dusk.

Left my laptop to do a virus scan as I took a 4-hour sleep. Woke up at midnight to eat the barbecue. Mother called me to watch "Gone Girl" with her, but we got so bored with Ben Affleck. We decided to not finish the movie, and she went back to sleep.

Got disappointed to learn that my laptop had also slept while I was asleep, failing to finish the scan on time. Read the new NaPoWriMo blog post. Was trying to compose my NaPoWriMo poem, when this woman woke up. That wasn't her usual schedule. She's usually nice, but she's extremely hard to bear with when she's angry.

When I write, I move around every now and then to get oxygen to my brain and think better. Just pacing back-and-forth on the floor while thinking for ideas. She got mad at me, saying that I was distracting her from what she was reading. She went blah blah blah, "you keep walking." How come I don't complain that she keeps talking ...

We know her well. She gets angrier when spoken to. The best way to deal with her anger is to remain quiet. I kept my mouth shut and put the volume of my earphones to maximum. No weird woman, just orchestra.

Finished my poem and proceeded to browse for inspirations for the next part of "10th Commandment." She got tired of talking and went to sleep. Lowered the volume of my earphones. Finished writing by 5am.

Was writing notes for this post when she woke up again to read and caught me walking again. She went blah blah blah again. My patience was about to snap. Kept my mouth shut and had a chat with a friend online to distract myself. He was like, "Tell her to close her eyes, turn around, and go to sleep." It made me laugh. Laughter increases patience. Went back to writing. Put the volume of my earphones to maximum. No weird woman, just James Blunt.

Proceeded to write this. Was starting the paragraph above when she switched to her good side and happily asked if she can borrow my laptop. Will give her anything just to make her shut up, I can continue writing on my smartphone anyway, but my face must have given away what I was really thinking. Because she was like "Oh, okay, nevermind" when I looked at her. And she left.

Life is quite peaceful again.

On Bubblews, I reviewed "Before I Go to Sleep."

Here's my poem for the NaPoWriMo 2015 Day Fourteen challenge. We are to write a poem that depicts a dialogue. My poem is an argument between good and evil. The first stanza is from evil and the second stanza is from good. The third stanza is from me.

In the fourth stanza, Line 1 is evil talking about good, Line 2 is good talking about evil, Line 3 is evil talking about good, and Lines 4-6 is good warning people about evil. (Note: Still looking for a photo.)

We are humans. We feel,
We become wet in sea,
For beauty do we kneel,
All flavors o we see,
The easy do we hear,
Losing breath shall we fear.

In all evil, there's good.
It has all solid walls.
For distance, it won't brood.
No human this thing calls.
The most unpleasant smell,
Where all the flavors fell.

In the end, who will win?
Will it be the real sin?
Or will it be the keen?

It's very difficult.
It will lead you to death.
You shouldn't join their cult.
He'll offer you his breath,
His power, and his name,
But it's the same old game.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

To Fix Broken Strings

Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 word count: 29,338

My poem yesterday, "The Greatest Man of My Life," is about my grandfather. He's been like a father to me. He moved abroad when I was very young. Here are explanations for certain parts of the poem:

The rescuing without ever being there

It wasn't exactly like this example I'm about to give, but imagine being held at gunpoint and about to get shot. Then some man comes and shoots your assailant. He says he was sent by your grandfather. It has always been like that. Like, Whew! That was close!

When Brian Mills of the "Taken" movie series saves his family from another side of the world, it reminds me of my grandfather.

The lullabies

I've been having a certain tune in my head, and I don't remember where I got it. I once hummed it, and my sister said my grandfather used to sing it to me.

His influence on my life

His life has always been reflected by everything I do, including what I write. I write a lot about war (he is a World War II Veteran).

My vengeance

I've always been aware that I'm not his responsibility. He had left behind certain people to look after me, but they ... well, they just didn't. I've always been frustrated with them, going, Look, I was dying there and you were just nearby. How come someone who's continents away managed to save me and you didn't?!

18-years-old was my darkest age. I was feeling obliged to prove that what my grandfather did was worth it, that he was right when he helped me out. I was also in a hurry to take responsibility for myself, so that he wouldn't have to keep looking after me. Still, deep inside, I was seething with rage about all of the people who did all sorts of atrocities just because he's away. It's just disgusting to watch them be turncoats when they think that the man who they fear is not looking.

Speaking with him

The only time I spoke to him was over the phone. We spoke about military units, but it was nice to talk to someone from my past. He's the kind of person who, when you listen to him, your mind suddenly clears. Everything is suddenly in perspective. I still haven't figured out what causes certain people to be like this, but there are very few of them. They  are usually people who speak quietly and carefully, and they say only what you need to know.

The person I should be

Ever since I was a child, I've been secretly observing people. I know many different types, especially the evil and useless ones. But he introduced me to a very unique kind of person. While other people complained about my attitude, he took every chance to fix it. While other people criticized me, he helped me out. I was just like, I need to be that kind of person to every person I meet. It's hard, and I'll never be as great as him, but it's worth trying to be as helpful.

On Bubblews this 5am, I reviewed "The Pianist." Watched it back in 2012.

Here's my response to the challenge for NaPoWriMo 2015 Day Thirteen. We are to write a poem that's like a riddle about a mystery object. We can make the title the object itself.

My poem is about a piano. It's inspired by a piano from my childhood. Some of its strings were broken. My sister said it was my fault. Even though I don't remember what I really did to it because I was so little, alright, maybe it was my fault. After all, I kept creating crazy tunes on it, pressing as many keys as I can at the same time. (Photo credit: me. It's a broken rainbow. Taken at sunrise sometime in 2014.)

Smooth and sleek to the touch,
Fragrance of polished wood.
Though the colors don't match.,
On keeping it I would
It glistens in the light,
Though it is never light.

There are strings inside it
And its cover has ledge,
So the tone I can meet
As I lean on the edge,
Reading its book all through.
The book that gives a clue.

The book without letters,
Not even a number.
To the mind it caters.

Using the air and strings
To create masterpiece,
And to create something
That can live through the years,
I hope I never miss,
Despite its missing keys.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Attempting to Blog Like a Typical Blogger

Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 word count: 27,691

What if ... I wrote my blog like most bloggers write their blogs ... It should be like this:

Woke up. Took a shower. Ate. Went to the park with my family to eat outside and buy movie CDs. Went home at 6pm and went on a movie marathon with them until 12am.

We watched "Before I Sleep" and "Kingsman: The Secret Service."

Started writing at 1am. Went to the NaPoWriMo blog, read the challenge, and wrote a poem to it. Browsed the Internet for a while in search of inspirations. Started my new playlist for the next phase of "10th Commandment," "Side B." Wrote 1,600+ words of the side scenes.

I call them "side scenes" because they are scenes that aren't part of the original plot, but I plan to add them wherever they're needed.

On Bubblews, I reviewed "Dracula Untold." My poem yesterday was partly inspired by it.

Now, I'm writing this while listening to James Blunt. It's 4am. Ruuun Yoshimi ... run ...

I used his songs to understand my protagonist, Evelyn. But now I'm listening to this simply for listening to music.

The photo above was taken on Sunday night, Philippine time. It's a tree in the park. It's now a full-grown tree in a beautiful place. Back in 1999, it was a small tree in an empty park. As a child, I loved to sit on one of its branches and watch the sunset.

Here's my response to the NaPoWriMo 2015 Day Twelve challenge. Most of us poets poetically stumbled with the challenge yesterday, and I'm glad that the people behind the event noticed it. They made the challenge simple today. We are to write a paragraph that describes our favorite room, place, or person in great detail. Then we remove unnecessary words to create a poem.

This kind of technique ends up in a free verse. This is about my favorite person. He is the type of person who, when you mention his name, people suddenly become more cooperative.

This was actually hard to write because I'm all about the villain in Camp NaNoWriMo right now, but this man is the exact opposite of the villain. It's the most personal poem I've written in 11 years.

The Greatest Man of My Life
Greatest man of my life.
My hero.
Everyone turned their backs,
Because I seemed so impossible.
He used his influence
To force them to keep taking care of me.
The only person in the world
Who rescued me
When I needed help the most.
He got me out
Of the most difficult situations.
Isn't it ironic,
Since I don't ever remember meeting him in person?
How can a man have so much power,
That he can save someone
On another part of the world
Every time?
They tell me he looked after me
When I was an infant.
They tell me
He sang me lullabies.
Don't know if that's true.
All I know
Is he has so much influence
On my life, how I think, what I do.
People who were supposed to support me
Have forgotten me.
I find it unfair
How they were never made to pay
For their negligence,
While someone who's already busy
Goes out of his way,
Sacrifices so much
To take care
Of who they left behind.
I've always been torn between
Seeking revenge, and following in his footsteps.
One and only time
We spoke with each other,
The time I realized
The path I should take.
Talking with him
Put my mind in order.
I found the person
I should be.
A person who fixes,
Instead of complaining.
A person who helps,
Instead of mocking.
I know
He doesn't agree with
What I'm doing right now.
He dislikes people
Who talk too much.
I dislike them, too.
So we'll avoid it together,
Even though we're
On different parts of the world.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


This will be a very loooong post. Because I still feel like writing.

Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 word count: 26,067

I've spent the past two days exploring the personality of my villain. You know, I waited two years just to be able to capture the very essence of the protagonist on text, but this month made me realize that I forgot the villain.

I knew the villain in "From the Human Chain" well. That was why I finished that one quickly.

Even though my characters are completely my own creation, there are still parts of them that are based on a combination of people. Background story, mannerisms, etc. Whenever I start a new book project, I'm like, Wait, I'll look for my protagnist first. Then I go outdoors and observe people, looking for the kind that matches my imagination. I usually observe them for some time before I proceed with my writing.

Writing the parts of the villain some nights ago made me clueless. Never met anyone like him before. And I've been frantically searching around for people like him. I finally found him a few hours ago.

I see that my posts from 2012 are getting views, especially the last post for that year. It was a note that I left on this blog with a link to a new Philippine law. That law was the Anti Cyber Crime Law.

It was the law that caused much outrage here in the Philippines when it was first put into effect. Human Rights activists took to the streets, and those in the Internet uploaded profile pictures in all black to express their disagreement with that law. Filipinos were so angry because, even though the law was so long and addressed only a bit of each aspect of cyber activities, overall, it forbid all people in the Philippines from going online. I used it as an excuse to leave writing and get back to school. Like, While everyone is looking somewhere else, I'll sneak away and blame it on somebody. lol

I was already in HarvardX by the time the law got fixed, and we now have an anti cyber crime law that Filipinos are fine with.

I had no plans of going back to writing 'cause I was enjoying myself in Hellenic Studies. What brought me back was "The Ghost Writer," which made me nostalgic of the life of a writer. Also, I was training what I learned from HarvardX under a pseudonym and my readers just kept insisiting "more, please, I love to read everything you write" and "you should be writer, you have it in you."

I came back in September 2013, and "10th Commandment" was my first project.

On Bubblews tonight, I reviewed "Phantom of the Opera."

For NaPoWriMo 2015 Day Eleventh, we are to write Sapphics. I'm most delighted with this challenge, because we studied Sappho in HarvardX. The example in the NaPoWriMo blog is one of the poems that we were made to analyze.

On a side note, there is this famous rumor that Sappho is homosexual. She is actually the reason why female homosexuals are called "lesbians." She has been famous in history as the female counterpart of Homer, but her poems tended to express affections for fellow females. They caused people to consider her to be gay, and used her nationality to name other women like her. She was from Lesbos and people there were called Lesbians.

The modern Lesbians had made so many complaints on why their women were all getting stereotyped, but the term had been used by everyone already and cannot be forgotten.

I actually wrote an article back in HarvardX 2013 regarding this topic (using the forum nickname "Napoleones"), saying that Sappho might not be lesbian. It was supposed to follow my published article on my analysis of the horses in the "Illiad." Too bad, I got busy reviewing for the final exam and didn't get the chance to publish the one about Sappho.

My article just noted that Sappho had a child. Also, from the point-of-view of a poet, there are lots of times when you write something as somebody else. I may not be as good and as historic as Sappho, but when I write poems, I let go of my inhibitions and sometimes even go against my own values. It's one of my mottos, "Just poetry. Zero reservations." Maybe that's what Sappho did when she wrote those poems.

Comp-sci students might be thinking, "So what? What does it matter if Sappho is lesbian or not?" Oookay. Don't mind it. That's just the thing with us Classicists: We love to argue on all things literature and poetry.

Now, let's go on with the poetry. Even though I studied Sappho, I never tried to write in her verses. So this could be wrong. (Photo credit: me. It was the night sky.)

Eyes. They grip my core in place, "Stay here for me,"
They say. For he does wish days that fade. Shadows.
Hand for smile, feel creases there. Let us be free.
Kiss of the death. Wind blows.

Taken away by this man. The mists cover.
Chilling down my spine, o fear ... Power pulls me.
Touch is power, greater than my will over,
Surrender my plea.

And here, stay for darkness in his head, his thoughts.
Cruel to men, Dracula creates terror.
His flag waving, scaring. For desire he fought,
But I see nothing.

Only his pain, weakness that pulls me closer.
Human skin that perish in sun, shadows aid him.
Caress love for death, give in to darkness closer,
Forever with him.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Plans A to Z

Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 word count: 23,454

The mad dash yesterday got me totally tired, so I took a bit of rest last night. I spent most of my time doing research for my story. I'm still not sure if I'll include that tango between the protagonist and the villain to the final draft, or omit it. It has an important part of the story, but it was a little hard to write.

This morning, I finally reached the chase scene. I love writing chase scenes.

The villain is turning out to be a lot more complicated than I thought he'd be. Writing the story made me totally tired again.

On Bubblews, I reviewed "Scent of a Woman." I watched that wonderful movie back in 2012. I was just busy looking for inspiration from movies for my story last night, when I came across that movie. You know, that moment when you're like, "Hey, I forgot that I watched this movie. It was great, actually." So I reviewed it.

Here's my response for NaPoWriMo 2015 Day Ten. We are to write an abecedarian poem. My version is the version that I've always used, the one that has lines that begin with each letter of the alphabet. I created this type of poem back in 2012. It was about a patient who had no visitor, and he busied himself with reading the books of his favorite author. He died of old age. My abecedarian poem this year gets ancient. (Photo credit: me)

The Exchange
A weary mind I have.
Before you I entrust this,
Causing the gods above
Drive me out to the seas.
Everything has now gone
For all things I have done.

Grieving my deepest loss,
Here on the throne of will
In heartbreak you can cause,
Jesting how I can feel.
Kudos to your lady.
Let love flow like eddy.

More and more every day,
No one I ever loved
Over the misty gray,
Power we used to have.
Questions in the faint air.
Rescue is far from fair.

Say that for me, my love.
Tomorrow I'll leave
Under the soft white dove.
Vivid dreams I conceive
Will remain in my heart.
Xerxes has made us part.

Yesterdays are the past.
Zeniths will always last.

Friday, April 10, 2015

A Bow to the Queen

Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 word count: 21,646

I wanted to stop at 17,000 words last night because the characters just kept making me cry, but I went on 'til the story shifted to the villain's wealth.

His riches are overwhelming. He's got everything that anyone could ever dream of, except maybe a plane.

I wanted to finish at 20,000 words, but there was this scene that I had been planning since February. There are just some times when I truly feel like writing, and this morning was one of those times. It's hard to catch that feeling. So I went on 'til I reached this word count.

I've left off from everything I've ever written of "10th Commandment." I'm on my own now, and just realized last night how the book seems to take so much of me. All my past experiences became useful in the story. Actually, even more than my experiences are required for this kind of story. I need to research on that deadly tango scene.

I feel a bit tired right now after all that writing.

On Bubblews, I reviewed "Into the Storm."

Here's my response to the NaPoWriMo 2015 Day Nine challenge. We are to write a calligram, or a visual poem. A calligram is a poem that is shaped like an object. I created a calligram of a tree back in 2012, so my calligram this time is a bit more mature. It's Nefertiti's famous statue. I excluded her headdress, though.

The photo above shows how I created the poem. Drawing a female head on an old notebook, and messily scribbling words all over it with a fading pink marker. I've never written a good poem with my new pen, but I've written lots of good poems with that marker. So I used it even though it's old. The poem was originally about a very tricky kind of woman, but I later removed some lines and ended up with Nefertiti.

Queen Nefertiti
               In all her deep intelligence lies her truth
             Like the silky dark hair that grace real smooth.
         The beauty that inspired a nation for many a year.
          Though her gaze the bravest men of power so fear,
        For her eyes can see through their most crafty lies.
     He looks into those eyes, and then his thought flies.
  Those powerful eyes that know so quickly true,
But about her deeper story there is no clue.
             For all those desires she did invite,
             Nobody's  affections did she requite,
                                          For she's still strong;
                                            With him is not wrong.
                                               Her side no one has seen,
                                                 The side they'll never win.