Monday, May 29, 2006

Surfing less, writing more. Wrote for four hours straight, yesterday :) Good feeling. Arthur Lambiris from the Online Writing Workshop, sent me some very pointed questions about Borealis. I like that he suggests not removing the narrative but expanding on it :)

It still looks like it's going to be a really long story. Now figuring out the world building part. I just realized this would be the perfect setting for a number of stories that have been rolling around inside this head.

Started another piece inspired by Remedios Varo's Les Fueles Mortes. The painting is somewhere down on this page. I'll be offline again as I want to finish that piece before I forget about it.

The Chatelaine has posted Galatea Resurrects new index link. Here it is: .

Looks like I'm buying more books soon.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Lizard Meanders , is Luisa Igloria's new blog. Her new website Luisa is designed by her daughter, Jenny Carino, and looks very, very cool.

I love Luisa's poetry. It's the kind of poetry, you just want to sink into and read again and again. Lovely imagery and such control of language.

Trill and Mordent (Luisa's latest book), is one superb read. It just leaves you gasping for breath as you travel up and down through beauty. Perhaps what makes Luisa's poetry extra resonant for me is how I keep catching glimpses of my own childhood in Banaue, Ifugao. There is this thrumming of drums that never leaves the reader, this passionate twirl that reminds me of how our work is rooted in where we've been and where we come from.

I know you want to read her poems. Some of them are up on her new website at:

Saturday, May 27, 2006

There are some things that feed the hunger in my heart. Like the way the clock ticks at four o’clock in the morning while I am still lying cocooned in the warmth of my bed while beside me I hear the sonorous sound of my husband’s breathing. The air is fed with our breath, with the light radiating from my open eyes, with the sound of footsteps clambering down from a bed next door.

Creak of floorboards and a warm head thrusts in under the covers.

“Move over, Mom.”

Six year old voice.

And the room descends into quiet while the sounds of our breathing colour the darkness.

Here, in the nest of arms, in this tangleweed of blankets and sheets, my son sleeps. The day is a few hours away.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Borrowed from Selena Thomason's Blog. This interesting article about Implicit Prejudice.

Revising work

Heh. Trying to get organized. Am trying to do another rewrite on The Sun's Bastard Children. Thanks to Eileen and Bec who both came back to me with practically the same comments about this story.

So, I'm working on that plotline and trying to get it into a better shape. Some serious pushing inside my brain .

Funny thing about reorganizing is stumbling over stories I'd totally forgotten all about. Like this story, Borealis Sun, which I wrote in a stream of consciousness phase and which is some sort of Science Fiction Fantasy and which after one rewrite, keeps my husband from hoo-humming and gets him reading all through to the end. Not bad, considering he tends to fall asleep if a story is boring . So, this story is going onto a pile of keepers. I've posted it on the shop and am quite curious as this story was partially inspired by this line out of a bible passage about the Sun of Righteousness, and partially by the sharp memory of a huge snake coming out of the belly of the mountain behind our house when I was a child.

I mean, if you were a child and you saw that snake, it would look to you like a huge cosmic serpent, and even after it took what seemed to me like an army of men to kill it, after they'd hung up the skin of the snake in the hallway of the Nurses' Home in Banaue, I still couldn't pass through there without imagining the snake jumping off the wall and wrapping around me.

Yeah. So, I suppose I had to write about it.

I keep on thinking of Punctuations and love how it does fit that word...unpredictable.

Oh yes, and it's wonderful to read about poets who are interested in submitting to the Second Hay(na)ku Anthology . I love how this form opens up the soul to poetry. Embrace it, I say, embrace it.

I am still waiting for books to come in. Already got a letter from Lulu asking me to send in my feedback about my order, and it hasn't even arrived yet. Ha, ha, ha. Waaaah.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Our hay(na)ku game over at Haruah has closed and two top winners came out of the contest. Rick Copple and Marcie Lynn Tentchoff both win a prize. Thanks to The Chatelaine who graciously agreed to pick the top winners for this little game.

First place goes to:

R.L. Copple for this poem:

Can You Hear What I Hear?

is loud
when God talks.

are amazed
when God acts.

are complete
when God rests.

is praised
when creation loves.

Second place was a tie between two poems, but they were both written by one poet:

Marcie Lynn Tentchoff wins with these two poems:

Near the light,
shadows linger,


liquid promise
on my tongue.

Eileen also chose a third placer, but I didn't have any more prizes for third.

What's really cool is how some of those who have experimented with the form continue to work with it. So nice.

And that is why the Hay(na)ku still remains my unbeaten favorite form.
Dean Alfar's daughter sounds like a writer or a poet. I love that line...the very, very,very end. Lovely.

I love too what Dean is doing with speculative fiction in the Philippines. I mean, it's about time we had more writers writing in this genre. Considering the wealth of our folklore, our culture which is so rich, and the Filipino imagination which is so fertile. It's wonderful to see this man encouraging young Filipino writers to engage the pen and embrace imagination.

But you should really read L'Aquilone du Estrellas (The Kite of Stars)
which was published in Strange Horizons and is included in the Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: seventeenth annual collection (2003) edited by Ellen Datlow and Gavin J. Grant & Kelly Link (icons in the science fiction/fantasy world).

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Thanks to Keesa Renee Dupre for this link . Hopefully this will get me organized.

Combing through my hard drive, I just discovered I have more than 25 short stories in different stages of revisions. Meaning they are all with version 1, 2 or 3 written on there too. I have a longer piece that's 30,000 words into a novel, and which isn't as bad as I thought it was. There's this wacky nanowrimo novel that's just over 60,000 words. A whole bunch of essays, poems, works in different states of progress. Interviews/columns...the list goes on and on. Okay, maybe I do need to get organized, as I'd quite forgotten I'd written all these.

Heading off to make a big checklist .

Monday, May 22, 2006

Lynn Austin Interview

An Interview with Lynn Austin is now up on The Sword Review . It's been up for a couple of days already, I just didn't have time to write about everything, as life has been really hectic around here.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Just came home from the ALF where I attended Sebastian Peake's talk about his father, Mervyn Peake, and the work of this prolific artist and writer.

I had to think of this thing someone on a mailing list said about how our experiences shape our writing. Sebastian Peake spoke of how his father's work was influenced a great deal by the childhood years that he'd spent in China. Mervyn Peake's father was a missionary doctor, the first western doctor in China, and Mervyn Peake was born there. It was an amazing and inspiring insight into the life of this man whose work is only now achieving the recognition it so deserves.

I couldn't help but be moved by the stories Sebastian told. It's certainly given me an insight into how children perceive parents who are engaged in art and the pursuit of art.

How amazing to hear that Mervyn Peake would sometimes only be paid 5 pounds or 10 pounds for a commissioned drawing. That isn't much, is it? He made a rough estimate of 100,000 drawings in his lifetime. Submitted about 600 drawings to his publisher for the first book, Titus Groan, of which only 12 were recovered. When he died, Tate Gallery bought his body of work from Sebastian's mom for the sum of 1,500 pounds. Today, a single drawing/painting by this great man is worth something like 600-1200 pounds a piece. Think about that.

I'd go get me some art, if my babysitting fortune wasn't being swallowed up by all the enticing books you lovely people are bringing out. I have a wishlist, but each time I check one book off the list, another one comes on.

Came home to discover that has finally delivered. Phew. What a wait! I now hold in my hands a copy of Bino Realuyo's award winning work . It certainly is worth the wait though. Oh you lucky, lucky people. Not only is The Gods we worship live Next Door readily available , you also get to hear the poet read aloud in person.

How a live reading adds a new dimension to the work: I still hear Valerie Mason-John's astounding voice each time I open the first chapter of Borrowed Body. And each time I read a scottish sounding tale, I can't help hearing Neil Cocker's voice like a memory tape rewound by my inner ear.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Dean Alfar posts this excerpt on his blog...what a fabulous hook. I am longing to read the rest of the story, now.
Reading other hay(na)ku, after reading The Chatelaine's Blog .

I'm off to Amsterdam this afternoon. I Hope the sun will shine. I am going to pick up Janet Kaplan's book on Remedios Varo, long overdue. I am going to attend Niala Maharaj's writing workshop and I am going to meet up with Annie Adlawan who is just as enthusiastic about making some Filipino noise in the Dutch litscape. Wish us luck...

little fish hunting
kingfishers, big

;) hug that thought.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

hay(na)ku politics

**In the news, Verdonk says Hirshi Ali was never truly a Netherlander because she presented false documents and her passport is not issued under her true name. In parliament, her colleagues question Verdonk's statement. Worth noting as in previous cases, they have been adamant, unbending to the rule of evicting anyone who has gained citizenship under false documentation. Hirshi Ali has always been open about her "lies". Verdonk is adamant, the law is the law, the law does not bend, does not make allowances, under the law everyone is equal. How much equality the law really lends remains to be seen, as this drama plays itself out in The Hague.**

Hay(na)ku politics

is unbending
in her resolve

recht door zee
she calls

she holds true
to her

she is unfaltering
in her

is an
iron clad woman

bulwark in
her desperate need.

the law is
as it

the public changes
face again

she was
the public’s hero

she becomes
the public’s scapegoat

the law is
immoveable as

Ayaan – Verdonk
to certain death.

**I question then whether the rightness of an intolerant law. Watching proceedings, hearing those questions repeated over and over again, I found myself thinking...but how can the law not apply to everyone? The law is inhuman, it does not make allowances for emotions, it does not consider what sort of image it leaves behind. It is only concerned with being. In this, Verdonk embodies the immoveability of the law...this rigidity of it is as it is.**

Tuesday in The Hague

into a
diatribe against intolerance.

these laws,
we cry injustice.

in city
streets of Amsterdam

your head
low and weep

a battlecry,
Ayaan Hirshi Ali.

Were they deceived
or did

their eyes
to this lie?

Convenience then, is
now no

The law knows
no saving

is written
so it is.
No way one can trump Ernesto Priego's announcement. But I can still do my best :)

The second issue of Galatea Resurrects ,is now up and viewable. So, all you poetry lovers, go there and read. I have two reviews in it ;)

The first issue of Galate Resurrects is here , in case you want to make comparisons for books reviewed in the first issue as well as in the second issue.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

There's this I would so love to be part of. Rustling files and bringing up those monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, friday, saturday, sunday hay(na)ku's which I've been working on.

Sometimes I laugh at myself. Does anyone ever do this? I mean, you write a poem, then you chip away at it. One word too many, chip, chip, two words too much, chip, chip...chip, chip, chip...until you realize well it would actually be better as a blank page.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Ton van't Hof comments on Ron Silliman's review of Bay Poetics.

I have added another book to my wishlist. We really need another bookshelf. We need to clear up more space so I can have enough space for all these books. Each time we have visitors, I say, forgive the books all over the place, this is a writer's house...and writers are bookworms too.


I took Eileen's book with me last night to the concert. Cecil Licad was playing, and all of culturally interested Filipinolandia was going to be there. It seemed fitting to bring this book along and have it close while paying close attention to a world class pianist. We were seated in what I think must have been the best place in the house, on the top balcony, looking down on the piano. From where we were seated we could see the pianist's hands on the keys.

This must be the fourth time I've seen/heard Cecil Licad play. The first time, I was still a freshman at the UST Conservatory of music. It was an afternoon concert and my sister and I purchased SRO tickets at the door for the joy of sitting on the padded steps of CCP's great hall, and watching this artist from a distance. Then, there was the time we watched her play with her now ex-husband, Antonio Menesses. The last time I heard her play was in the Philippines. She had already divorced Menesses and we: My Mom, My Dad, my sister and I, all went together to the CCP for an evening. I remember my parents insisting that me and my sister should sit downstairs, in an ideal spot, while they sat upstairs in the balcony. ( we had two free tickets for the downstairs hall and we had to buy two affordable tickets which were upstairs balcony II).

I wonder now if my mother dreamt of me becoming like Cecil someday. I wonder now why it was so difficult for them to hear me saying: I wasn't born to be a pianist. I did learn to love music and still play the piano, but not up to standards in that way. I remember saying to my piano teacher that all I really wanted to do was write and my teacher threw up her hands in the air and said...well, you just have to study hard because this is what your mother wants. So typical Pinoy culture.

I don't blame them because - how would I otherwise have been able to appreciate art and music and poetry as I do today?

Yesterday, as Cecil launched into her repertoire of Mozart, Chopin, Robarts and Rachmaninoff, I couldn't help thinking of how music is poetry too. There is this communication transmitted by notes carefully placed, harmonies and juxtapositions, counterpoint and play, and the skill of the translator (the pianist or musician)in bringing out these notes. I thought of how a poet carefully considers each word/letter/image/punctuation used before placing it into the poem. So, there is focus there and intent and a skill which comes from practice.

Perhaps this insight came from such close observance of the movement of the pianist's fingers on the keys. How the fingers and the hands move deliberately, no accidental slipping, but all deliberate and thought out which again expresses how music is an extension of the pianist.

After the concert, we fell into discussion with a dutch musician who expressed his delight over the performance of Miss Licad. And we agreed that her translation of Mozart was indeed more romantic than classical, but then, we also agreed that the execution was done so flawlessly and with careful thought. We marvelled too at her rendition of Rachmaninoff, Sonata no. 2, which is not an easy piece to play as under the hands of a lesser musician, the attention of the public tends to wander. But here, we witnessed ourselves drawn into the music, rushing along with her into the stormy that it was as if our breath were being drawn out of our bodies only to be returned to us again.

And I thought that is wizardry and sheer poetry on the keyboard for you.

Considering Cecil's programme that evening, I was at first dismayed not to see any Filipino composers on the list. I mean, where was Kasilag? And what happened to Buencamino? And I am sure many more new compositions have come out since I left the Philippines. I pondered the programme and its implications and wondered if this meant we had departed from our own music to embrace only western/european music. How pleased I was when for her encore, Cecil decided to play a Filipino piece.

It is a condition of being in the diaspora, my aunt told me. This desire to remember and be connected, it is part of being in the diaspora.

Coming home with Ate Dyanne, Kuya Wim, and Jan, we ended up discussing Cecil's performance and how art, music, poetry, visual arts are all related to each other. I read to Ate Dyanne from Eileen's book and she closed her eyes and listened to these vibrant images...which she said are so tangible. And we discussed how poetry is life and a living art.

And ended up speculating on how art forms are also related to math. Which led me to think of Eileen's reference to Jukka Pekka Kervinen's poetry and art. Now, there's an artist whose work I think I have to delve into.

My husband marvels how this return to poetry has transformed me back from a passive woman into this sassy opinionated self he'd always known me for. There, you see, poetry, art, music, writing, these all liberate the soul...

Saturday, May 13, 2006

I'm still reading Eileen's The Secret Lives of Punctuations, Vol. I

This is not a book you skim through. I recognize truth when Eileen says, "Poetry is a way of life". I recognize this as I read this book, because unlike a lot of novels which I've read through in one go, thought about for a moment, then put on the shelf, poetry seeps down below the skin, and sets the reader thinking and thinking again. Which is probably why I still can't let go of reading:


;asleep, she beheld him then

;to discover perimeter by where your lips land

;personifying the impenetrability of a fading illusion

;a child the remnant of a fading illusion

;a bed for slicing oceans

;the purse pulsing from persimmons


What I love about the way these poems are made is how they invite the reader to participate to respond and speculate on the lines that go into the poem. As I said to my husband, now that's why Eileen makes a mark, because she isn't afraid to explore and experiment.

There is too this poem that made me think of Ron Silliman's commentary on margins as he writes about Stephanie Young's
Bay Poetics .


; but all side streets point to wrong directions

; violence via the infant shreaking

; nothing behind a corner, really

; seduction as wet cobblestones

; a god envying decay

; math

Now, why that poem made me think of Ron may have to do with me reading this poem soon after reading his review of Bay Poetics...but there was certainly something else in there that created that association...I'd love to explore that further, but we're heading off to a concert :)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Zoetrope . Well, yes. I thought I'd just poke around the workshop and it turns out I signed up. And reading the short stories in there is really daunting. Maybe I should have signed up for the flash fiction section instead of the short story section.

If I want to view the rest of the workshop I better get cracking and see to those five required reviews.
Haruah Update:
Halo Halo Means Mix Mix a story written by Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor is now up on Haruah .

Guidelines are currently being finetuned. We would love to see more excellent stories like this one.

Skipping Stones an inspirational column by managing editor, Rachel Marks is also up.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mangyan Child poem creates ripple effects, as Lolita Delgado Fansler of the Mangyan Heritage Center sends in a wonderful essay which Haruah editors have decided to publish as a guest editorial piece :)

Another ripple effect is found in a short, short work I've been working on. Originally inspired by a painting of Remedios Varo, I found the perfect poem to use as an epigraph for this piece from one of the poems in Lolita's piece.

I admire these poetic ripples, and wonder where they will lead to. And to think it all started with Mangyan Child.

Now to find a home for this baby ...well...okay...I confess to becoming more persnicketty about my own work. So, I sort of dilly-dally twice as much as I used to before sending my work out. Drat and double drat...and I was already such a procrastinator.

Next month should see a flurry of envelopes rushing out the door as the Submit or Die challenge comes up on OWW. ( I am now empowered with SASE's for US situated mags...very cool, but still no idea what to do with those works that need to be polished up waiting on my hard drive. )

I don't suppose making a list of desired markets would increase acceptance chances .

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Secret Lives of Punctuations, Vol. I

Written by Eileen Tabios and published by xPress(ed), this is one book I've been waiting and waiting for, and it's here :) Go get your own copy, and peruse lovingly: the words, the lines, all these which seem to invite the reader to respond, and engage in conversation with the poet.

Congratulations, Eileen. What a beautiful new book. It's absolutely scrumptious.

There is this poem at the beginning that I am reading:


;despite Cezanne's desire, the world is never unclad

;to peruse a painting (intently) and see only one's
uncertainty over where to look

;mistaking science for "bathroom graffiti"

;why flinch when penetration results from the swish of
a kilt

;figuration, not abstraction, the synonym for ambiguity

;white velvet ribbon become bookmark


And I have to write here -- upon reading the title, I thought to myself, "oh yes, I wish..."

And I have to laugh because before I go home I have to lose some weight or people will accuse my husband of letting me loose in the kitchen.

And I wonder...what is it with Filipinos and our obsession with thinness? Even in my single days, I was constantly hounded about not being thin enough...and here I am married and fighting the weight thing everytime I have to go home...

And why should I mind anyway what people say about how big I am?

And I remember Naomi Woolf's "Beauty Myth", how upon discovering this book, I began to embrace myself for who I am.

And I recognize how sometimes commenting on my bigness may be the only thing some people can think of to say about me, because they don't know what else to say anyway.

So, why don't we just say it...why don't we just say... I don't know what to say.

But, this post wasn't about me. This is about The Secret Lives of Punctuations, Vol. I ;)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Congratulations to Ernesto Priego on the release of his new book, Not Even Dogs.

Bare details here...more details on The Chatelaine's blog .


Poems by Ernesto Priego
116 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4116-8992-3
Meritage Press (St. Helena and San Francisco, CA, 2006)
Distribution: Meritage Press and
Contact Info:

You know you want to get a copy :) What are you waiting for?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

On trying to retrieve links

to remember
your face - name

the blackout
erased my memory.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Anyway, I've decided to create another blog with all the links to interviews, articles, poetry, stories, whatever that are available online. Working on a reconstruction and trying to retrieve links to blogs and sites I had listed on here. This is my new lesson...always save everything on hard disk.

I'm not done yet, and it's already midnight...
Okay, I knew something was suspicious when clicking on the template to add links produced some sort of weird mess...but this is just too weird...Aaaaarrrrgggghhhh... all my precious links have vanished...

*mutter, mutter, grumble, grumble*

I'm about to pull my hair out by it's roots. So totally upset am I.

poetry and art...interesting results

Poetry and art combine to produce interesting results, interesting conversations and awaken awareness...

There's this discussion going on in the illustrations section of Haruah which resulted from an announcement I sent to the Flips group about Rebecca's Mangyan Child .

I love how consciousness and discourse around the photograph, and the poem have resulted in a desire to know more about the other's culture. Thankful too to Linda Nietes of Philippine Expressions Bookstore ( alas I don't have a link ) who forwarded this message about Mangyan Child to Lolita Delgado Fansler who is president of the Mangyan Heritage Center .

Jan who took the photo of the Mangyan mother and child, accompanied my father on one of the medical missions to Mindoro. He has quite a number of beautiful photographs which we've used for some school exhibits. He tends to laugh at my faith in his photographic skills.

But yes, he's fallen a bit silent now...and has agreed to scan and send off the photographs on his file for the use of Mangyan Heritage Center . It's also interesting for my father as the work among the Mangyan tribes is one of those things that keep him on the go. He's over retirement age now...He was born in 1938. Looking at that number, I realize he's almost 70. I don't think he'll ever stop being a missionary doctor. As long as he has the strength, I think he'll be going to those islands, visiting those mountains, trekking up and down, bringing medical care to people who don't have access or who don't have the funds to obtain access to it.

Submit or Die

Three weeks to the OWW challenge: Submit or Die. Lining up and reworking pieces I would like to submit. Batches of poetry. Some speculative work. Some for paying markets. This will probably be like my first time to try submitting to a pro market. But it's not the acceptances that count, dear ones... it's how many you submit ;) So I am trying to beat out the best in me. After three days of sun and rest, I should be able to get some decent work done.

Friday, May 05, 2006


work inspired by other art...

Exploring this, I ended up writing a rather lengthy fairytale which I've decided to title after the work of art that inspired it. Once again discovered through Byzarium's Flash Fiction contest . This piece of work is entitled, The Return of the Sun, and was painted by the Norwegian painter, Odd Nerdrum .

And yes, I love how ekphrasis works.

One of the comments from the shop: This reads like a poem.

I'm off to do more picture hunting.

How to say...

Back from spring break vacation. I thought the magazine in plastic lying on the table was another magazine from the Insurance company.

This afternoon, in between catching up on reviews and rewriting stuff, I tore the plastic sheet open. Out tumbled Interzone 203.

Oh no, I think. Did I order Interzone 203 in my sleep? Where's the order slip? Where is it?

I open the first page of this shining, glossy, science fiction mag, and out tumbles a note from Andy.

"Enjoy your subscription of Interzone," he writes. "A gift from Ellen Pierce."

I stand at the table, message in my hand. What to say, what to think?


Ellen is Lily. Well, she's sort of like the little sister I never had. She lives in the UK and she is a bookworm ( like me ). She is years younger than I am, but we share the same memories of Banaue.

Even though we're not blood-related, I've always felt like she's family...and her stay with us was so relaxed and so easy, we browsed through bookshops and shops alike. I shared my dream of breaking into Interzone someday...She brought me stamps for SASÉ's so I could send subs to the UK.

Standing there, I realized how awesome it is to have someone believe 100% in a dream you imagined you cherished for yourself. I suppose there's no getting out of it now, I have to write something Interzone -worthy...and that's just about one of the hardest markets in the science fiction world to break into.

Thanks for believing in me, Lily. One of these days .... :)