Monday, September 25, 2006

Apex digest raffle

This came up on the OWW mailing list, and I thought it was interesting. It just goes to show how way behind I am with the news, as the raffle drawing is already being held this Friday.

Nevertheless, better late than never, right?

I've managed to recover the seventh revision I did on Inhabitants of the Earth, and after not seeing that ms for two months, I must say, it's not bad. So, here's the advantage of shelving a project for some time. It allows the writer to return to it and view it with fresh eyes. I now see where I need to go back and cut out and where I need to proceed from.

Funny thing about writing is how characters will take on a life all their on and manage to confuse the story with their own demands. So, yes, I think the stepping back and giving the story a rest for a while is a good thing to do.

I've decided to keep Inhabitants on a low burn and let the ideas simmer around while I concentrate on rewriting Boy in the Bush.

On the home front: Joel Jan and I are immersed within the pages of The Voyage of the Dawn Trader. Yes, we've got another Narnia convert in that boy :) We've finished reading: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, and Prince Caspian.

If babies pick up knowledge in the womb, this baby is going to be born knowing all about Narnia too .

I'm off to do some more writing before it's time to jump up on that bike again.

Friday, September 22, 2006

getting back on track

I think I'm getting back on track again. Busy addressing envelopes and I've been to the post office to mail those pesky envelopes that I manage to forget to bring with me everytime I head that way.

It's funny how the things we read do influence our lives a lot. I remember thinking that I must be in early menopause ( during the early stages of my pregnancy). My reason for thinking this came from me reading an article in one of the women's magazines my mother-in-law loves to pass on to me ( because they are good for practicing my language skills ). Anyway, this article was all about women in early menopause and all the symptoms resembled the symptoms I was having. Nausea, headaches, being tired, warm when it's cold and cold when it's warm. Since it was seven years since I had Joel Jan, I figured out it could be nothing else but early menopause. Imagine my surprise when I found it wasn't menopause but pregnancy. Well, tickle me pink. Having a baby beats going into early menopause any day :)

Babies on the mind. I have succumbed to nesting fever. Yup. I look around the house and think about all the things that have to be done and wonder why my belly is getting in the way of me doing all these things. I am looking forward to all the redecorating and rearranging that's going to take place.

During my first pregnancy I remember walking to and from the train station almost everyday. I was taking language lessons then, and this probably explains Joel's aptitude with language. Do children absorb what we learn while they are still in the womb? In any case, it amazes me how Joel Jan switches easily from Dutch to English and how he's managed to pick up some filipino words which his father still can't master .

It's fun listening to him say: What did I tell you, O di ba? See, see, O.

He says it exactly like a filipino would say it. And how come he's figured out that when he says "sige na, please", Mama sort of finds it really hard to resist him?

He's also picked up on how I use "hay naku talaga!" when I'm a bit exasperated. Like when he crosses the street on his bike, just in front of me so I have to press hard on my handbrake.

"Don't you do that again, hay naku talaga, Joel Jan!"

Later, I'll hear this repeated back at me when I manage to keep away something that's meant to not be kept away, like this lego car he's busy building.

"Mama, I was working on that. Hay naku talaga!"

These days, we have this conversations while biking home from school about what we have in the Philippines and what they have here in The Netherlands.

"The Netherlands has havens," he said to me the other day. "Do they also have havens in your country?"

"Of course we have havens in The Philippines."

"But probably not as modern as the havens in Rotterdam," he says.

Today, we had another discussion about skin color and about how I am a Filipina and not a Dutchwoman. This discussion seems to come back around every now and then. I think it's hard for him in some ways.

I remember when we came back from the Philippines. He was silent in the back of the car on the way back from Schiphol. I thought he'd fallen asleep, until I heard a sniff.

Me: Are you okay?

Joel: Yes. Except, I don't know anymore where my real home is.

A part of Joel Jan still longs to return to the Philippines and I understand how this experience of going home at this age has affected him in a deeper way than previous visits. For one, he's much more mature now and he understands how distance means him not being able to see or enjoy his grandparents and his aunts and uncles as much as he used to.

I am glad for the openness that still exists between us. Glad that he's not yet in those years where Mom and Dad come from a different planet. And I understand too how his need to feel grounded here in The Netherlands has a lot to do with him missing The Philippines and the family we've left over there.

Joel Jan: Mama, when are we going back again to the Philippines?

Yes, I know he misses home too.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

machines and apes

According to Dr. Jane Goodall, we are the fifth branch descending from a common ancestor. We are related to apes and chimpanzees and gorillas, but not descended from monkeys. We just all have the same common ancestor.

Okay, I've got monkeys on the brain, and in the last month since our computer crashed, Flashshots magazine published and sent out my flash piece, Primal Chess.

Well, monkeys and babies. I couldn't help thinking wacky thoughts while watching Dr. Goodall on this Dutch television show, and I wondered if I should do something more with monkeys as Primal Chess. Checking through the huge stack of emails ( mostly spam) I found a couple of encouraging mails from folks who'd read Primal Chess. I suppose I should write more flash, but I keep thinking about babies, and am having nightmares about the baby being born and the house being all topsy-turvy.

The great thing about being computerless though, is how it's given me time away from stories I'd probably have poked at endlessly. I am so thankful for the foresight that made me mail some of the really important stuff to my hotmail account. I do have a back-up but that's on a dvd that the computer I am now using can't read because this computer is a throwback from pre-pentium times. .

I am not complaining. I'm just glad to be able to check mails and get online again, even if I have to turn all the graphics off and don't have all the fancy stuff the other computer had.

Lunar Wind was published on Gryphonwood.

And I just realized I have got to get to work on those stories, poems and all the other deadlines that I really want to make before the month ends.