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When will I ever learn?

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can't change; the courage to change the things I can... And the wisdom to know the difference between grabbing opportunity by the balls and biting off more than I can chew.

A writer without a pen?

Well this is ridiculous. For the second time in a month, I left home without my pen and without my notebook. These are the signs of a busy monkey mind on the road, on the go, juggling. I begin to let slip even the important things. I feel like a circus act. But it's the closest I'll ever get to being in the circus. The imaginary crowd roars and cheers me on as I bow in the center ring

Multiple Choice

Images: mine Words: anybody's

Meaning and focus

Everywhere I look I see people with a purpose being busy, doing something bigger than themselves, making a difference. What am I by comparison? Directionless as melted butter sliding off the top of a pancake. But not the pancake. Not the real deal. A sponge? Just barely. A camera lens that just needs a little cleaning to make things clear? A centipede with all one hundred feet stuck in too many different places? A caterpillar with an uncertain future? And no, I do not want to be a butterfly, lovely as butterflies may be, flitting from one thing to another. No. Give me instead the focus of a cobra, ready to strike where it matters most.

Pause

Words: Mine. Images: Mine.

A good person

What does it mean? I mean, to be a good person. The un-put-down-able kind of good person. The other  day, a stranger stopped me on Session Road and tied my shoelace for me. I was walking with the Baby in a sling, a bundle of papers in one hand, and an umbrella in the other. This woman looked to be in her twenties. She called me Ate, tapped me on my shoulder, and pointed out that the laces on my right shoe had come loose. I thanked her but it was impossible for me to bend down and tie them. I shrugged and walked on ahead of her. A few paces later, she tapped me on my shoulder again and said, "Ako na." I'll do it. Then she bent down and tied my shoelace for me. If she knew me to be the kind of person I am, my foibles, the sorts of trouble I've gotten myself into, the things I've said to and of people, would she still have given me this small act of kindness?  I thanked her again and again and she just shrugged and walked on ahead of me. 

Author's Talk with Marites Vitug on HOUR BEFORE DAWN

A n evening in dialogue with one of the Philippines' most prominent and brilliant investigative journalists, Marites DaƱguilan Vitug, who is coming to Mt Cloud Bookshop in Baguio City to launch her latest book on the Philippine Supreme Court, "Hour Before Dawn." The Author's Talk will begin at 5:00 PM on 20 November, in Mt Cloud Bookshop. There will be time for an open forum after Ms. Vitug's talk, which will then be followed by book signing and a light merienda. The book examines "what might have been the darkest hour of the Phili ppine Supreme Court, when its integrity was compromised by the actions of its Chief Justice, who was subsequently impeached, and by a series of highly irregular reversals of its own rulings. It reveals a court seemingly subject to political pressure, disbursing funds for questionable purposes, and abetting plagiarism by one of its own members, and yet placing itself beyond criticism even by the country's top lawyers and aca

November's Third Monday from the Sun

Order in the court! There's a time for love poems and a time for other poems... This coming Third Monday from the Sun, on 19 Nov 2012 at 6:00pm, we want to hear what you have to say about justice. To spice up our poetry nights at Mt. Cloud Bookshop, Third Mondays will have new themes every month. Justice is November's theme in observance of "Day of the Imprisoned Writer" (15 Nov), to commemorate the Maguindanao Massacre (26 Nov 2009) and to warm things up for the upcoming launch of Marites Vitug's Hour Before Dawn, a book about what might have been the Philippine Supreme Court's darkest hour. We will feature the poetry of Ericson Acosta. You may want to read one of his poems on Third Monday too! As always, there will be no mechanics, judges or rules. Take the witness stand and speak your mind! See you in Mt Cloud Bookshop for our Third Monday from the Sun, 19 Nov. 2012, at 6:00PM.

Enduro di Braggadocio

I'm far from ready to race again but I plan on planting myself by a fun section of the route (preferably where there will be a lot of shade and a lot of action -- jumps, drops, or spectacular crashes!) and enjoying some of the best company there is this side of the mountain biking world. Top prizes are fun and bragging rights. You can join only if you are endorsed by a godfather. If you have any complaints, you may proceed to two of the toughest mixed martial arts gyms in the Philippines. This race smacks of the classic humor and, well, braggadociousness of some biker boys I know in Baguio and La Trinidad, and will most likely have a mind-blowing, lung-busting, muscle-ripping route. Am I right, or am I right? Format: The enduro format is played out on a trail course and requires considerable technical skills to tackle the downhill portions and enough legpower to get back up to the next downhill leg. The downhill legs, called Special sta ges, are conducted as Individual Time

Prayer

© words by Padmapani L. Perez

Let The Daze Begin

Words: Mine. Images: Mine.

I wish (7)

Someday, I'm going to go parahawking in Nepal .

Book-tasting, Day 4: Punch and Judas

"Tatang de los Santos, father of the saints, my general. O my father, what have I done unto thee. I have seen the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness. Or they lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. Tatang, Tatang, burning bright. Not yet, Tatang, not yet. Tatang, it is consummated: the Filipino Dream is dreamt. "O the Filipino Dream! To have both life and death together, chaos and order, treason and sainthood, flesh and spirit, penis and vagina, MalacaƱang and Muntinlupa, me and you all. Because each is lively, dark, and deep. To row one's boat in two rivers. To push back the colliding stone gates of a cave in the mountains. But it's not a question of combining opposites: it's of being one and the other at the same time, loving both, and also fighting them so as to share in their rockiness, and to survive. A trinity, with me as center. I, Jesus, and John; I, the planet and darkly luminous eyes; I, suicide, and exe

I wish (6)

We live on an archipelago and I'd like to experience it better. I wish to someday make a life for myself and The Nuclear Family on another Philippine island; to work, play, run a household, make friends, eat out, explore and go on picnics somewhere other than Luzon, maybe for a year or two.

Book-tasting, Day 3: How to compile an inventory

"The Italian government has given assurances that something will be done to guarantee the autonomy of our country's universities. Italian universities were autonomous in the Middle Ages, and they functioned better than they do today... In Italy, if a scientist discovers that phlogiston doesn't exist he will most likely be able to announce his findings only if he happens to teach a course on the Axiomatics of Phlogiston, because a course title, once it is on the ministry's lists, can be changed only after protracted negotiations among all the institutions of higher learning in the country, along with the Superior Council of Education, the Minister, and some other organizations whose names escape me. "Research goes forward because someone glimpses a path that no one has seen before, and a few other people, with exceptional decisional flexibility, decide to believe in him or her. But if someone wants to move a desk in Vitipeno, a decision must come from Rome, af

Rejection

Sent out my first short story and received my first rejection slip. There will be more. The ghost of Ray Bradbury dropped in and said, Write on! I like Bradbury's pambahay outfit. His shorts (but not the tie) remind me of my Lolos.

Book-tasting, Day 2: Burying the tongue bone

"In the stories I grew up on there were no spelling-bee winners, no inventors or rich men. Those would have been pale unheroes. The stories were the old Eskimo ones of hardships and hunts, lost dogteams and snowed-in trails, told by travelers spending stormy nights around our stove. "'Yep. Lotta barking and my dogs run away in the night. I had nuthin'. Not even rifle.' Old Stoney Williams would laugh as if it were the funniest thing that could have happened to him. I'd bend close to the kerosene lamp, waiting for more, picturing him on the wide dark tundra and wondering if I'd ever be old enough to have those stories to tell, dreaming of being tough and able to laugh into storms like the old-timers. Stoney called me by my Inupiaq name and talked slow as if it were important that I understand." From Kantner, Seth (1995) 'Burying the Tongue Bone,' in Servid, C. (ed) From the Island's Edge: A Sitka reader . Saint Paul, Minnesota: Graywol

Book-tasting, Day 1: I have words to spend

"I have words to spend and sometimes spend them foolishly, of course, squandering verbs and nouns, sending metaphors askew, and using similes like fireworks whose sparks often fail to flame. I also have a weakness for absurd alliterations. "There are certain words I love and use over and over again, words like marvelous and stunning and wonder. I've written before about the ember words -- there's such beauty in words like September and remember. And then there's cellophane. Cellophane, said slowly." From Cormier, Robert (1991) I Have Words to Spend: Reflections of a small-town editor . New York: Bantam Doubleday books for Young Readers. And so begins my very own dabbling, hodgepodge home-schooling program: book-tasting. Picking a paragraph or two from one book a day, one shelf-box at a time. A way for me to get to know better the library I was born to, the library I grew up in, and the library we feed.

Words' Worth

© words by Padmapani L. Perez

Poem by Eman Lacaba

'Poem,' by Emmanuel Lacaba, from An Anthology of Poems 1965/1974. Published by the Bureau of National and Foreign Information, 1975.

From this End

I am deeply troubled by recent events involving myself and the Baguio Midland Courier and so I feel I should claim a measure of culpability. At the time I sent my letter I thought that I could spur healthy public debate that could contribute to the betterment of the practice of journalism, which I value and respect as an occasional freelancer. It saddens me to see that I managed instead to spark aggression and hurt. If I over-reacted to the way our press release was edited it was because of my own expectations of newspapers in general and the roles they fulfill in their communities. In retrospect, I see that my choice of words and manner of articulation can be taken to task. I apologize for my failure to temper the confrontational tone of the missive that was sent. It was a lapse on my part that I can only attribute to human frailty. I offer up my apologies too, to those whom I may have inadvertently caused more pain in their time of loss. I hope that this incident at least brings

Monday.

As a writer that sometimes strongly expresses her opinions and as an individual who participates in public discourse, I have to be prepared to be called on any errors, to have my work criticized and my views disputed. It comes with the territory. This week I have been handed a personal example of how this can get ugly. My conviction grows stronger.