out in the open
here I am you can judge me
scrutinize my quirks
nothing to hide look closely
my life = a complex graffiti
out in the open
here I am you can judge me
scrutinize my quirks
nothing to hide look closely
my life = a complex graffiti
“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”
― Jim Morrison
“A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.”
― Joan Didion
Where do you write? Do you prefer blogging on your laptop in a coffee shop? Are you productive in a quiet room, door closed, away from civilization? Today, describe the space where you write. Or, if you don’t have a dedicated place, what is your ideal setting? Consider these questions to shape your post:
Last time I shared my room in our country house where I used to pen my thoughts. Today I will show you my other sanctuary. A home office in the suburb. The place is more cluttered now than when I took the pictures. That time we didn’t install yet the desktop and my new laptop wasn’t there yet. In between, my old one decided it got enough and simply died so, I had to purchase a replacement.
The feature image above is the place I go when I have to get out and gather my thoughts, to have some respite from blogging/writing and to conjure up ideas for my next posts. Nature is the best antidote for over thinking, fatigue and cleansing your writer’s palate for the next course. In nature, I always find peace…
“I don’t want to write depressing posts, but in order to do that I have to either lie or write fictions.”
As we wind down the course, let’s look forward to what’s next. You asked:
… finally bite the bullet and honor my appointments with neurologist, dermatologist some specialist otolaryngologists and orthodontist. The last time I have spoken with these people was when they hinted that I need to have few surgeries correcting my badly healed broken nose (which I didn’t know I have) resetting my jaw (apparently I have some problem there due to my cervical hernia – a cervical herniated disc is diagnosed when the inner core of a disc in the neck herniates, or leaks out of the disc, and presses on an adjacent nerve root) my hips also need some attention and couple of my ribs. I have nasty skin tags that need to be removed courtesy of hormonal imbalance and according to them I am due for another colonic irrigation. In other word nasty hydrotherapy.
I don’t know. Do you know? I mean what the future holds for you? I remember when I was studying for a job in the medical field or health sector or healthcare industry if you prefer, during one of those one-on-one talks with my mentor I mistakenly said something about not liking the course at all because it is very far from my interest and she asked me why I was doing it then and I told her about me wanting a sense/sort of security for the future because with a diploma in this field guarantee I can work anywhere and she said: “Future? What future? If tomorrow you run over by a car and die, where is your future?”
For the die hard optimists there among you, sorry to disappoint but I can only sum up my future in one word: bleak. How can I say otherwise. Look, I will be honest and say it straight and we will never talk about it again. Once and for all I will bare the facts so you understand. I have an auto-immune disease. One of its direct symptoms is RA. I have cervical and lumbar hernia (Spinal disc herniation/slipped disc) I have ulcer and IBS and experiencing signs of Apraxia and Agnosia, foggy brain if you like. The rest of the fairy tale you can read here. Specialists said between now and five years I will be in a wheelchair. I feel it will be sooner than that. So, tell me… how can I be optimistic?
I will be surely dead.
Before today I didn’t know what roundup means, Now I do. I heard about it before from previous courses but out of lack of interest, I didn’t delve into the possibilities of exploring how I can incorporate it in my way of blogging. If I understand it correctly, I might have unknowingly done something similar to it when I created one of my pages and transformed some of the words into series of links to my previous musings. But I think it is not what you can call a proper roundup. I just don’t do these things. That is not the way I blog and what my blog is all about. But I am not the type of person who shies away from challenges so, for once I will make an exception to the rule.
I don’t know where to start so, I just picked some of the great reads and ideas I recently come across while browsing the net. The first is from a fellow Writing 101 participant. His take on day 18 assignment is so hilariously clever it made me laugh, and believe you me, that is not an easy thing to do.
This passage is an excerpt from an about page of a fellow Filipina and WordPress blogger Jackielyn Ched Telan. This girl writings impress me and that doesn’t happen very often.
“So why should you read my blog? You shouldn’t. It’s an utter waste of your precious time and it’s kind of my online journal. I don’t even offer nuggets of wisdom or any valuable shit like that. I’m just someone who finds pleasure in taking all my thoughts out on an online piece of paper; thoughts that are so important to me, yet holds no value to you. Then again, like I said, if you have a weird mind like mine then read on. You just might be the right kind of online ear, eyes and shoulders that I need (or not).”
How I wish wrote that one myself.
I often get long (longer than some of my posts) thought provoking comments in my blogs. I value them all. They show that those who bother to leave their footprints really take their time sharing their thoughts instead of the usual “great post” “nice blog” you often see out there. Don’t misunderstand me, there is nothing wrong with that but still…
This week I have chosen to highlight three comments from the same blogger because it justified my purpose and confirmed that I’m on the right track. Crazyholecook, thank you again.
“Oh, what you write is so valuable. So beautiful. So essential. Without it, we would never know. It would also be just a toxic mess if it stayed inside forever. Get it out. Get it out on paper. Write it out. Eventually something is going to shift. The air will clear. Lighten. You are doing extradinary work. Don’t stop.”
“I just saw myself in your story and your words. I feel so healed by reading them. Even though they describe horrors. There is healing in bearing witness. I think it must go hand in hand with baring the soul.”
“You are doing the work of digging, revisiting, experiencing, describing, translating, and expressing, that MILLIONS of people cannot do. I believe we write about our own experiences, but we speak for a world of silent voices.”
Music to my ears.
I hope this is enough to do some justice to the assignment..
I don’t know where I am but one thing is for sure, I don’t belong here. Nor I belong to other places I’ve been. I thought in the beginning that home is where I was, with my family but I was wrong. I didn’t belong there either. That’s why probably I always sneaked out the window when I supposed to be sleeping and play on my own instead of playing with my siblings. I like to be alone, even then.
Growing up I didn’t (and still don’t) understand these people. I feel that I have nothing in common with them. I have different moral and values. I don’t lie and cheat and I don’t believe in stealing. But I did what I was told to do, always. I even sold my soul to rescue them but it didn’t help. I think they are lost too.
We had too many houses. None of those we owned. We stayed only for awhile. We were gone before I could ever feel at home in any of those abodes. The same with places. We were always moving.
The longest I stayed in one place is with someone my family thought was/is the best for me, for them. I spent (wasted) twenty years of my life (youth) there. But it wasn’t home. During that time I felt I was on transit, that I was on my way to somewhere, that one day I was going to wake up and will find out that my life then was nothing but a long, long nightmare. It didn’t happen of course. I had to force myself to realize that nothing will change unless I take the crucial step. Eventually I did.
But not before I did all those things looking for home, for my rainbow connection. I thought I will find it during one of those adventures though I didn’t know that I was looking for it subconsciously, I thought I was having fun. Those choices have consequences, but I will gladly do it again. To have some respite is better than suffering continuously. I’m only human.
After I escaped I have chosen to find home in the most likely place, somewhere new, fresh, unspoiled, almost a fairy-tale. The perfect beginning of a new story. I thought: here I can start again.
But it is like incorporating Sinbad in a Cinderella story. You cannot mix water with oil. Feeling pain is better than feeling nothing. You might as well be dead. Is life really like this? Because everyday I wake up, the first thought that comes in my head is: this is it? Is that normal? I didn’t realize that home means boring. Too peaceful, too calm.
Is there nothing in between two extremes? Why it have to be one thing or the other? Where is the gray area in this? Do I have to draw (color) it myself? Maybe I’m a gypsy, a nomad… Perhaps I am not really cut out for home, wherever that is…
For today’s assignment I decided to use my tag cloud as inspiration to create a poem. I picked words that I use frequently to tag my posts. Here they are:
I say goodbye to you even before I left
The illusion shattered from within
Gradually without me knowing
How can I miss something I’ve never known
Yet I’m longing to find you on every shore…
Blood is thicker than water
There is no greater lie ever told
Like The phantom I am a stranger
A meal ticket nothing more…
There is nothing I am more scared of
My fear is grounded on experience
Countless encounters and betrayals
I learned the hard way trust is a fairy tale…
I had not wealth I had not fame
I knew not love though I did know pain..
I did not set up a poll or a contact form the other week to collect ideas from my readers because I said I don’t believe in it. Besides, it will not fit in the overall look of my blog; now I am sitting here in the front of my computer empty handed and I don’t know what to do.
Looking for ideas from other people or from snippets of conversations in the common prove to be difficult. You see in order to write, I have to be truly passionate about the subject, I need to have a genuine interest in it or I will not be able to gather my thoughts to form a cohesive post. I always draw my inspiration from feelings, personal experience and opinions about certain things. I rarely or never write about other people’s thoughts.
I might post a quote to accompany my writings but it is there to enhance my words, to strengthen them but never as a source of inspiration. Perhaps it may sound strange to others what I’m saying but to me it makes sense. So, for today’s assignment, I decided to answer the four questions they provided to give us some ideas what to write. I might conjure up another piece for the prompt when a notion hit me but for now, this is the best I can do.
“I’ve always felt the brain organizes and computes while writing, but the body is the place where story lives.”
— Kathleen Winter
What does the line above mean to you?
If it means all those memories that stored in my brain and all those stories I write based on that memories happen because of my body experience all of it, that I’ve been somewhere, went to places to convert those thoughts and ideas into reality, then I believe in it.
“Our truest life is when we are in our dreams awake.”
— Unknown source, from a fortune cookie
Have you ever felt awake, but in a dream?
Have you received a message in a fortune cookie that moved you?
Yes. Literally. I wrote a post about it here.
“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”
— Marcus Tullius Cicero
I love books. Like I said on my about page, I cannot live without them. I wrote an article about the fate of books in this internet era. You can read it here.
Describe a life-changing experience with a book.
I have none.
Where do you like to read?
Anywhere and everywhere.
Describe a favorite bookstore, library, or setting with books.
Flea markets and second-hand bookstore or book fairs. I can roam around there for hours! My dream is to be locked up in a huge library or museum.
“Without music, life would be a mistake.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche
Though I don’t listen to music unless I want to feel nostalgic, I think there is some truth in that saying. Music is a universal language. It transcends all the barriers. Pity that I am not musical. I don’t have timing or rhythm. I can’t even dance. Like I said, I only listen to those songs that bring back memories, otherwise, music is noise to me.
Tell us about a time when a piece of music moved you.
Every time I hear songs that catapult me into a certain place with certain someone in certain time.
Do you have an all-time favorite song? Why is it significant?
I don’t have an all-time favorite but I can listen to Air Supply music anytime, all night long if necessary.
Compile a playlist of 10 tracks that represent you.
Here they are:
I am A rock – Simon and Garfunkel
I’ve never been to me – Charlene
My way – Frank Sinatra
I am what I am – Gloria Gaynor
This is my life – Shirley Bassey
I will survive – Gloria Gaynor
I think that’s all. For now…
At 18:15 that particular day I stepped out of the car and went inside. The weed was nowhere to be seen (so far so good) normally whenever I arrived home I will find her sitting at the foot of the stairs in the hallway, waiting. Okay, I could understand that she was lonely (so did I) that she was alone when I was working, that we lived a practically isolated life, but that’s me and she knew it. I thrive in solitude (she was very sociable and always looking for contact; in the supermarket, in the sauna, in the street, everywhere!) For god’s sake, I want to be on my own after a day’s work; to unwind, to rest, to think, to be myself. If I find her there waiting for me, I feel guilty. I feel responsible. I feel trapped!
I went directly upstairs and that was a mistake. I saw my computer and before I knew it I was answering comments on my blog. When I looked up… it was 20:00! And I was planning to take a long walk! What now?
After weighing, deliberating and looking at the position of the sun from my bedroom window I decided to give it a shot anyway. I said to myself while studying the map:
“Well… it’s eleven kilometres to where I have to start, I can be there in… fifteen minutes? And if it’s really starting to get dark, I can cut the walk along the river by about two miles; that will give me another ten-twenty minutes allowance, and if I have to, I can always follow the highway for the remaining stretch of the walk.”
I grabbed my rucksack stuffed the pancakes leftover from this morning in, added a small bottle of water and off I went.
Some people listen to music while walking/jogging, I don’t. I need all my senses especially if I’m alone. I have to be alert. I don’t need any distraction. Instead, I kept an eye on the sun. I saw it was sinking very rapidly on the horizon. I know that the weather around late August-early September is treacherous. One time the sun is high in the sky but before you know it, it’s gone. Goes dark faster as well almost in a blink of an eye.
I looked at the map and realized that most of the paths I had to tread had no lights, no houses nearby and woods either on one or on both sides. Fuck! I did it again! How many times I promised myself never to hike in the night. But every time I made it home in one piece, I know I will do it again. Too exhilarating, too exciting, and too tempting just to let it go. I know someday I will pay for my recklessness. As for now… making it home (alive) is my main and only concern.
It went so fast! From seeing one hundred meters before me to I could not even make out my shoelaces! Damn it! Couldn’t use my flashlight even if I wanted to, afraid I might attract attention to myself so, I used my cell phone to illuminate the sign I was following instead. A quick glance at my watch told me that it was 22:15. I was really pushing my luck here. Time to hurry. If only it wasn’t so dark!
The moon was no help either. So pale, so egg-shaped, and so shy hiding behind nimbus clouds. I kept telling myself: as long as it’s not going to rain… I will be more or less okay.
I saw (with so much effort) on the map that I had to pass a castle if at least I’m going in the right direction. But where is the castle in all this darkness?
Scrutinizing the landscape, I can barely make out a silhouette of a turret somewhere. Okay, walk in that direction.
After a time I found myself on a very small muddy path between a river (to my right) and a wasteland? (maybe it only looked that way because of the dark) there was some kind of fencing on the left which I was afraid to touch (for guidance) thinking it was loaded with electric current. Suddenly there was a movement not far away! Very heavy! Very fast! I draw my diving knife from its sheath and waited. Nothing! I walked backwards facing the direction of the sound, relying on my reflex and instinct. Still nothing. I saw that the castle was very near if I could make a dash for it… then what? I did anyway.
Approaching the castle via an avenue of giant corns, I saw that there were lights scattered here and there around the perimeter of the area; for the rest__ darkness. I was reminded of Disneyland. A spooky Disneyland. All of a sudden I became aware of the fact that I was walking straight to the gate of the castle. My mind said: What if that gate suddenly opens up the moment you’re there? What about children of the corn? Remember that? I told my brain to shut up. The place was magnificent even in the darkness. And the more you walk the winding path, the more it came to focus. I walked slowly backwards. As if in slow motion, the castle unfolded its magnificent beauty; tall, dark, and solitaire, waiting for passersby to discover its secrets, beckoning me to come in.
I noticed that there were no trees or plants near the building, nothing to obscure the view, just the fortress itself sitting on an island of soft rolling baby hills covered in green luscious grasses. Amazingly breathtaking. Simply magical.
After the castle, I was plunged into total darkness once more. From a very far distance, I could make out the lighted tower of the church where I had parked my car. Okay, but how to get there? There was not a single path in sight leading to that direction? Then, I realized I had to go through the woods first, then I will probably emerge in the village where the church was. Probably…
I said to myself: “Okay, how about cutting through this surrounding wasteland to reach the big road. Good idea. But the highway is dangerous. There are people there with cars. One could drag your petite old beauty into the vehicle and the rest it’s up to you to imagine. Besides, how could you know that the big road will lead to the church where your safety is? Okay, the woods it is.”
Walking alone in the dark with your knife drawn, scared that someone maybe is there waiting for you ( how could he knows you would pass by at that precise moment?) and in the back of your twisted mind wishing, hoping that it will be true, so you can practice what you learn, wanting to know how it is to have the taste of your first killing if necessary, how it feels to sink the sharp blade into the flesh wounding intently… the feeling is almost orgasmic.
At 23: 47 hours I reached my car without any accident. Pity! Driving home, I was thinking; in all that I experienced a moment ago, still, I could not resist taking pictures of the moon. Now let’s wait and see if it works because my flash was broken.
My own castle here I come!
Name five things in your house that make it a home.
What makes a house a home? The furniture? The bric-à-brac? Those personal little details people added and collected through the years? Perhaps it is the comfort people created, the rooms they inhabit, feel comfortable and familiar with; their favorite places, their little corners… What it is that makes a house a home?
Is it the sitting room?
The study or the kitchen?
To me, it’s all of the above. But the most important is having someone there with you, loving, caring, sharing and making memories for better or for worse not only till death do you part but till life after death…
Home is where we are truly comfortable, accepted, valued and cared for. Home is where we belong…
What do you do when you’re not writing? How do you reset and return to this dashboard, refreshed? What do you need in your day-to-day life to maintain balance: Running? Yoga? Gardening? Painting? Cooking?
I consider myself an artist; both in my work, personal life and hobbies. I love to create. I need to create. It’s my outlet, my way to vent all those thoughts that swirling in my head. A day without creating is like being buried under the ground in a coffin, alive. Whether it is painting on canvas or a room, a garden shed or a fence, making a new bed for vegetables, digging a new flower border, rearranging the furniture or making my own custom jewelries and sketching outside; as long as I am busy creating something new and beautiful, I’m okay. But don’t make me sit still, in the house or in a cafe/restaurant, I will be dead in no time.
Another thing I do (which you probably all know by now) is taking long walks and photography. I rarely go out the door without my pocket camera. One never know what interesting things one might see out there. Walking is as essential to my well-being as water and air, I cannot live without. Not being able to roam around means a bad day to me. Unproductive one. And there is nothing that can drive me crazy than having a day without being able to move and create.
I cannot exist without exploring new terrain/frontier, seeing/discovering new horizons, watch/observe people and learning… Learning new exciting things and absorbing knowledge. I simply need to reinvent myself over and over again, hear other point of views, expand and evolve so, I have constant inspiration for something to write. New experiences bring new materials and infuse fresh breath/ideas into my writings. Life is my source of inspiration, my muse, the core of my works, my art…
If we were having coffee right now I would probably tell you that I supposed to be sleeping instead of answering this prompt for today because I have an appointment with the neurologist tomorrow morning for a follow up of my last week’s MRI scan result. I would tell you also that I have a blinding headache on top of my menstrual pain and all the other discomfort that goes with RA. But probably you don’t want to hear all of that because I found out from years of observation that people don’t really want to know the troubles and sufferings of others that’s why when they ask the customary “how are you?” when you meet them, they will run as fast as they could if you tell them the truth.
If we were having coffee right now maybe I would relate to you the dreams I’ve been having lately. The last three nights, I’ve been dreaming of my exes. One boy in particular. When I woke up I felt cheated. I did not want to wake up yet. I want to prolong the dream, the feelings, the experience… I don’t want it to end. So much so that I forced myself to sleep again and recreate the dream. I can do that sometimes… I might ask your opinion about it. Why I’m feeling like this? Does it mean I am not happy with my current situation? Am I missing something? Perhaps I already know the answers but it is always nice to hear someone’s point of view other than my own.
If we were having coffee right now perhaps I would tell you that at long last our other house is finally sold! After two years and a half of waiting someone see the value of the place, the effort that has gone through the process of renovating and restoring it to its former glory, the beauty, and soul of a period property, I supposed to be thankful but what I have is a mixed feeling. Do I have to be happy that we sold the place for over a hundred fifty grand less of the minimum price? Do I have to be grateful that we have to pay the three years interest of a bridging loan we undertook to finance the property? I know it’s an error of judgment from our side, a miscalculation, but still… Some of our dreams have to be put on the back burner for the meantime. Something we have been doing for the last eleven years already. Okay, it is not the end of the line and compares to others, but_ still…
If we were having coffee right now, though I know that you probably thinking why I am telling you these things instead of a more positive news I would not apologize. You ask for an update about my life, well… this is my life, this is the truth or you rather that I invent happy stories for your benefit? No, I would never do that. I cannot fool myself. I can probably tell lies in order not to saddle you with my woes but what’s the use? Do you want me to deceive both of us?
If we were having coffee right now I would be drinking tea instead of coffee. Preferably real green tea like Genmaicha, Sencha Ariake or Gyokuro. I only drink coffee once in a while. But if I drink it, I drink it black. Because real men drink their coffee black. At least, that’s what my ex-had said to me a long time ago.
I know we were having coffee right now but I’m afraid I have to go. Appointment in the hospital tomorrow, remember? I hope I didn’t distraught you with my stories but you probably don’t care. Anyway, thank for your time and until next time perhaps? If you dare…
I could make a blog dedicated to you but I won’t (ha!ha)
Though you (probably) more than deserve it
The reason why I’m writing this is: I saw (again) your letter today
I can’t understand…
I ignore you, hide from you, pretend you don’t exist but__
You just don’t give up! (I wonder why)
You congratulate me (when you think I deserve it)
And always ready with nice, comforting words if you sense
(Why you know, you must have sixth sense)
That there’s is something wrong with me,
You are there (in the background) always. Watching…
You reached out (still does) but unfortunately, not far enough.
You see I’m a different kind of girl
For me, no is no and yes is yes. No maybe(s).
You probably think I was joking. I wasn’t.
When it comes to L affair, for me; it’s all or nothing.
Well, here we are, there’s no turning back
I liked you. I still do. You’re different
Somehow you made me believe (a little)
Stupid of me (probably) but past is past
(Like I said) There is no way back.
I wish you happiness and all the good things out there
I know how big your heart is, it loves deeper.
Lucky her. (Lucky you) I wish the two of you together.
A good man deserves a fantastic woman, she’s the one.
But it didn’t happen. Did it? Doesn’t matter. I’m out of line.
Okay, goodbye for now. And for the record: it’s kind of nice seeing your message from time to time. Then I know that you’re there and (more or less) doing well. And yes, I’m ok…
~ from a lunatic, stubborn woman
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