Open Letter: Time in Flux

Happy Snowflakes postcards available from

Yesterday, I ended up going through my old journals because my friend Raine and I were having a conversation about where we are thus far in our lives and how we’ve been friends for such a long time. I found some old letters that I’d “forgotten about” in the sense that my mind sort of tucked their contents into some hard to find, disorganized drawer. It felt like I was reading them again for the first time.

As the Doctor always says, “Time is in flux.”

I find that we learn something from most people we meet, if we let them talk for long enough. This year, I’ve met a lot of incredible people and I’m glad that while we lose people on the way to wherever, we also continue to find people who help make things alright. Because there is no way to say these things directly to all these lost astronauts jettisoned from the space craft of my life, here is an open letter:

I am now the same age you were when you knew me, and I understand things better now. Time is tricky and I wish that I had met you when I was older; maybe then we could have been friends or at least not ended up hating each other the way I know we hate each other–that is, not for anything about the other person per se but for things we did or failed to do. The human brain remembers two things: beginnings and endings and so often forgets about the things in between.

For everything I was (am) able to say about your shortcomings, I was not able to say enough about the things I liked about you. That is, not to say I forgive you or that I have forgotten the bad things but that I regret not acknowledging the good things along with them. As stubborn and prideful and unwilling to listen as you were, you were also a very sincere and compassionate person. I refuse to forget that. You are intelligent and I know that you tried as much as you could to use that in a constructive, helpful manner. You always put yourself out on a limb to help and I am grateful for having you believe in me for that brief window in time. I’m sorry for the pain I put you through and I’m sorry for letting you down. Not to say that you didn’t let me down as well, no–not to take any of that back. For any learning to be effective, we must know what mistakes we made. We must know that we failed the test.

Up until yesterday, I’d forgotten that it was you who told me about David Foster Wallace. For some reason, I always thought I’d heard about him from my friend Ron (granted, Ron used to talk about him a lot), but re-reading my journal yesterday turns out it was you that told me about The Infinite Jest.

We both failed to see the water, I think: in times when we should have acted like decent human beings, we didn’t and that is the true reason for the grief and the “hatred”. One of the things that DFW was really adamant about was sincerity and that if someone is sincere, you will be able to feel it. If nothing else, know that I’m not angry and I don’t hate you and I hope you don’t hate me, either.

Sometimes I look at my life now and wonder: what would you have to say about these stories I am writing/have written? I have come a long way from 2009, but I still make mistakes. Would you be proud of me? Would we have kept in touch? Also, how are you? What is life like, nowadays? We will probably never talk again (what would there be to say, in real life?) but wherever you are, I hope you’re doing well.

Escalator Rises As It Falls

new shoesI’ve been thinking about the idea of fidelity–not just in the traditional, romantic sense but with other things as well: friendships, passions, etc. I’ve been thinking about the Horizontal Line Test in trig which allows you to determine whether or not a function is one-is-to-one. I think that the important thing when it comes to fidelity to people or things is that each person or object is seen in his or her own context: you should not mistake one person for someone or something else.

There is a friendship (I’m sorry for being cryptic) that I have been feeling very odd about for the past few months. Do you ever meet someone and feel like they aren’t really seeing you? Like every anecdote or secret or story shared is something they would rather share with someone else but you happened to be there? Thing is, you only realize it too late: for all the craning of your neck, you don’t stay ahead of the curve tide and before you see how much you will have to give up, you have already been swept away. This thing that my polisci professor back in college told me comes to mind: everyone is alone in every encounter.

Sometimes I wonder if I am too serious, and then I decide that I am and that I don’t really care what that implies. I think that friendships, to sustain themselves, have to be special–you have to know things about someone, remember them and react to them without forgetting who you’re talking to. At the very least, you must remember that.

I realized this last night as I was about to fall asleep and it has been on my mind all day. It is so sad to realize you are talking to yourself on the phone. Line cut.

Farewell, my black balloon–let the weather have its way with you.

The Experiment: Depth

Recently, I was able to get together with Stephanie Gonzaga who is a poet and blogger with immense talent. We got to talking and we came up with the idea for a collab which will push the boundaries of our work in terms of subject, form and frequency. For 7 weeks we will be releasing one chapter of The Experiment which features work from the both of us via free PDF download; each week the work will be revolving around a different theme. Joining us for the art is Arabella Paner whose poetry and collage art put violence and nostalgia together astoundingly well.

The first chapter is Depth. I won’t say any more about it so as not to spoil The Experiment but I was very excited when Stef suggested this theme–so much caution to dance around. Click on the official artwork below (Terminals) to download the PDF!

terminalsStay tuned for next week’s Chapter. And let us know how you like this!

This Thing I Learned, That One Time


I had a really, really interesting early-morning call earlier today. It got me thinking about how people are and how rapport is built and how everything—even when we think it isn’t—is about biology and perception: the way things are and the way that we are able to take things in. I remember this one lesson from my last year in school that was about sugar and receptors: how the better a sugar fits into a receptor, it simultaneously feels better and is worse for the person perceiving it. I think this was also the lesson that we had about why Glucose is better for you than Fructose or why high-Fructose corn syrup makes you hungry or something like that. The things that we want are hardly ever the things that are good for us. I have said it before and will say it again—desire is a cactus: beautiful and containing a world’s worth of potential for pain.

That said, I feel like everything is also about romance most especially when it isn’t—or is trying not to be. I went to the DLSU library earlier this week and read up a little on calculus and psychology and the quantification of different objects and what is more painful than a textbook definition? What is more about desire than something you know and the desperate want to change it?

Do you ever find yourself in weird situations that you feel like they should be happening to someone else? Something that doesn’t quite fit into your own life—like it’s instead a peek into a parallel existence or an alternate reality? Have you ever been part of something you know you cannot be a part of? The Gaslight Anthem has this song that echoes how I have been feeling (and the things I have been thinking about) lately; it goes In another life, she says. In a dream I had from 1,000 years ago.

Stories in Different Places, Staying Creative & Some Thoughts on Time

1. I was thinking about sustainable income and how much I hate that people take advantage of that need to get what they want—job ads always say that they want people who “think outside the box” but what they really want are people so fucking in the box they don’t even know they’re in the box. Despite all the “monetary realities” I still believe that work isn’t just about money: there is only so much that you can offer to pay someone for their time and health. So I guess that’s my way of saying that this latter part of 2014 has absolutely and completely burned me out. Things at work are weird. The job itself is easy as pie but the atmosphere and the lack of communication is driving me insane. Choices can be be made, and they can also be unmade. I’m waiting for the New Year to make a move although my mind is pretty made up.

2. On the upside, I’ve got a lot of creative projects in the works. My story Word Problems recently got published in Plural’s second issue (you can download that for free in almost any format imaginable, btw) and I’m very, very proud of that. The issue has great work by up-and-coming authors and I feel very flattered to have my work included.

I also worked on a story for a children’s comics anthology being put out by Adarna books. It’s called PIKO and was organized by my friend Josel (the bear behind Windmills comics). This is called Imagining Lessons and is about having the power to be whatever you want to be as long as you can imagine it: it also discusses the context of different professions and how being one thing doesn’t necessarily being “just” anything. This was in collaboration with Dani Rina who drew the comic. I really love Dani’s work (adorable with a dash of darkness, just the way I like it) and I’m super happy to have had the chance to work with her. The top panel on the poster is our work. :)

3.We’re getting a lot done for MoarBooks (or as I like to call it, MoarBoobs). We’re having a really fun event where we have a random meet up with people and talk about what has become one of my favorite books this year, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki & His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami. So much to do, so little time—but that’s also a good thing, I suppose.

4. I just finished working on a couple more manuscripts for submission. I’m kind of winded from all the manuscript writing and pitch typing. The most difficult of submitting work has hands down got to be writing letters and things that talk about the work in summary or try and convince other people it should be published. I am not a sales talk kinda gal. I understand why it’s needed but I also (almost childishly) hate “putting my best foot forward”. It always kind of feels like lying to me—even if I stand behind what I wrote a hundred percent. It’s the “should” that gets to me.

5. There are also other things to look forward to! A couple of my stories are also coming out in TAYO Literary Magazine’s 5th Anniversary issue late this year/early next year. I’m very, very excited about this series of stories because they’re part of the project I’ve been working on for the past two years and it feels good to have that finally pay off. The stories come with illustrations by Trizha Ko, Diego Ibarra & Erika Carreon which is a treat. A big, fat fucking treat.

I hope everyone is well and I really, really must be on this blog more.

Coffee & Flowers: Thoughts on Imagination & Written Word

I’ve just gotten into watching Dr. Who (beginning with the reboot–I don’t have the patience, or the disk space to begin with the older episodes) recently and the incredible imagination with which that series was crafted has had me buzzing. Every world, every plot line, everything is amazing not because it is outlandish but because at its core, it is true or real. It is just a permutation of the human condition, an image in a distorted mirror.

Here are some things that have been on my mind, lately.

  1. Thinking in Your Own “Language

    I remember my friend Ron talking about this a few years ago–about how once you read a word off the page (say, “cat”), an exchange happens and the “cat” in question no longer becomes the author’s version of a “cat” (gray and white tabby) but the reader’s version of a “cat” (black-eared Siamese).

    To a certain extent, the power of devastation on the page are more palpable because of the absence of an absolute, fixed image. The house being left is your own, the person who is being lost is your own, the heart being smashed into pieces is your own.

    I think that this is the biggest difference between spoken and written word: spoken word is like a pop song, you relate to it but it will never be yours. That ache and that pain is someone else’s: it is being recited in their voice, their body. To a certain extent, because it causes greater separation, maybe spoken word requires a bigger feat of empathy than written word.

    But written word blurs the line between selves much more effectively and therefore achieves empathy better, closer. Enter a book for long enough and you will find yourself thinking in the language of the book. Furthermore, the book also enters you: there are images that you will never forget, lines that will shape your life and really become a part of yourself because that nightmare has become your own, that hope has become your own.

    My favorite majors class in college was the Psychology of Learning and in it, we learned that memory is coded in language: this is why children can’t remember anything before they begin to speak (or at least think in words). I think that this is another very pragmatic function of literature or the written word: it helps you remember things–it also helps with how well you’re able to form connections, associations: how well you’re able to relate two things to one another.

    I remember this really irritating article talking about how the Marcos regime was “the best”–that person has most definitely not read a lot, or at least, not nearly enough because he is suffering from either ignorance or amnesia (or both). If that person had bothered to read stories about disappearance, about the lack of freedom, about how intelligence does not absolve anyone of their moral obligation to be a decent human being then maybe his reaction would have more depth and dimension than a Thought Catalog article.

  1. Creating in the Absence of Image

    Like a phone pal or a long-distance lover, it is important to create in the absence of image because it allows you to survive on your own: to be prepared for the direst of circumstances, to learn how to invent a body when one doesn’t exist. I think this is one of the most beautiful things about the human condition: that our minds can compensate for absence.

  1. The Greatest Vulnerability

    Recently, I read this very interesting article on the Time Magazine website about forming connections. The article talked about how the biggest variable was not information but vulnerability. The more emotive the links in topics first discussed (the loss of a loved one, the loss of virginity, a life-changing incident), the more likely that two people will form an “instant” connection. The article also tackled meaningfulness over meaning and said that these instant connections can end up meaning more to people than lifetime relationships because of the depth of things discussed. Our ability to form connections is directly linked to our grasp of language.

    Again, this brought me back to Dr. Who and it hit me: isn’t that the greatest vulnerability—to share fantasies? Isn’t Rose Tyler (and perhaps all of the Doctor’s companions) the embodiment of what the Doctor wants: that is, mortality, to be able to “spend the rest of your life” with someone? To not see everyone come and go (“this is the curse of the time lords”)? And isn’t the Doctor Rose Tyler’s fantasy incarnate? Adventure, to see more, to do more?

    The many, many fictions that our lives revolve around? Until we achieve our dreams, they are fiction. Until a spaceship was built, space travel was science fiction. And I thought about the many “random” friendships that I’ve started up over the years. The ones which have lasted (including, I realize, my relationship with my boyfriend) have been those where the primary subjects were how we would like to be—or how we desperately wished things were. These expressions of desire are the greatest vulnerability because we all know how much it hurts when they are not fulfilled.

Upping the Ante

Originally posted on The Typewriter Dailies:

cover photo-teaser

Logo and Logo Teaser by Trizha Ko

We’re now currently in the process of upping the ante, in an effort to give you more (the temptation to be punny did strike, yes but I resisted). We’re in the process of printing and putting together the chapbook for Chasing Tales Volume 1: Fantasy Night as well as doing a reboot of our titles, namely: Just A Bunch of Short Stories, Paperweight and Shift. We’re going to be re-layouting, re-arting (haha) and re-printing these titles as actual books and not the DIY-type booklets that we’re still fond of but have (we feel) outgrown.

We’re also going to be revamping our site with a new logo by the extremely talented Trizha Ko. You can see a teaser above. We hope that this revamp makes great books and art more accessible to you guys. Thank you for sticking around–look forward…

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