On Writing 

I have the highest respect for writers who have that strong substance in their craft. Changing the world’s view, altering perspectives, spreading inspirations, shaping minds, all in the art form called writing. 
I have been fascinated about them since I started to read, that I dream to be a writer too, someday. And of course, aspiring to be one , who wouldn’t want to be a Gabriel Garcia Marquez, whose magical realism continue to influence story tellers; creating mundane stories but express it in almost surreal tangle of words and meanings? Or Murakami, or Woolf, T.S. Elliot, or…. (insert names here) .

…and Stephen King, George R.R. Martin, J.K. Rowling and the rest of the fictional writers whose notable novels are adapted into moving pictures. Remarkable literary envoys! 

Well, ahhh blame it to the raindrops today in Dubai. Feeling them on my skin on an early Friday of February makes me succumb to my favorite day dream; that is to READ and to be read…

Of Self Provacation on Hopefulness

You look far away, swallowing your angst into your throat.
You stare at the qwerty, finding answers to questions you don’t know.
Or you know, but chose to ignore.
For you understand to yourself that once it gets ugly, slowly the insecurities find you even in the corner most of your comfort zone.

It will haunt you mercilessly.
Bringing out the sadness you shielded away from the light where people can see them.
Refraining the outer world to penetrate the fragile universe you’ve covered up and sheltered from the fray.

 
You ask yourself.
How did you survive the loneliness that life had thrown on you?
How did you master projecting a seamless disposition?
You silently pat yourself, trying to lift up a down spirit of your being. You bravely confront your mirror, that this is another bump in the road.

You will over come it. It will go. It will pass just like the other sad days you had.

This is just another day of your life, a day that is soon to be over.
Consoling your withered courage, inviting peace,shutting down that curtains of melancholy, counting the stars till it gets easy.

 

 

 

My ON and OFF love affair with ROLLING STONE

My first encounter with Rolling Stone was like a love at first sight. Attraction and the urge to caress the already yellowing pages, was unbelievable.

I couldn’t remember what year and month it was. We were visiting my grandmother whom I adored so much. She had this welcoming and ever so warm hello that is quite unusual for a lady above 60. She was this cute tiny lady who offered me candies and would invite me devour on them without making me feel guilty after.

In most of those visits, after ingesting candies and sweets in few minutes, I would get bored and wonder in her tiny house. I would, ignoring to what my mother just told me earlier not to touch granny’s things, start opening cupboards checking things-I-don’t-know-what-exactly, which would lead me and my curiosity into the 2nd storey of the house. I would wait then patiently in a matter of less than 10 minutes when my mother was already engaged in what my granny had to share. Mother could no longer give me her darting look as I made my way to 9 step- stair case so fast and quite that I put “THE FLASH” into shame.

After opening the forbidden drawer, (It was forbidden according to mother because stuffs inside belong to my uncle. He wouldn’t feel very glad knowing someone is touching his things) I held my breath for a couple of seconds so very careful not to make any sound. A little noise could mean mother climbing upstairs; which means end of my curiosity business (AKA meddling business) and it would break my heart as I haven’t discovered what was inside the drawer. So I had to be extra careful not to attract attention from my mother downstairs.

Lo and behold! I found so many SONG HITS that are published beyond my years! My pupils dilated while discovering that what I was holding were in fact treasures! Who else kept SONG HITS in 90’s when it was published during 70’s? Only my hippie uncle, who turned out not very hippie actually, a hoarder of anything related to music as he played guitar perfectly well.

Being born before the internet was a household commodity and a WIFI was not yet being debated as one of human rights; children my age who had a passion for music respect SONG HITS like our life depended on it. Well, I could say, it almost was the case, second to the radio itself.

Rolling Stone was a different kind of magazine. It was not one of those usual magazines that my mother read at home. (I grew up reading LIWAYWAY magasin and ALIWAN komiks and those contemporary Filipino Comics that catered horror, fantasy and love stories) The pages were not complete but that didn’t make me less impressed about it. It was the coolest thing I have ever found inside the drawer, let alone in the single room in that 2nd storey during our “visits”. From then on, I vowed to myself to read the magazine whenever mother and I would visit granny, which happened to be every other week.

I was tempted to get one copy secretly, but in my young mind, I thought that it would be inappropriate; the impending line of questions from mother, where did I get it, why did I get it and when. I was not prepared to be tangled in that kind of conversation so I was determined to wait for another visit then could slip away upstairs and carefully open my uncle’s drawer full of SONG HITS and incomplete Rolling Stone Magazines.

****

My memory didn’t serve me right. I didn’t remember some of the names that I have seen in the pages, after all some of them didn’t have covers, only the yellowing pages and some slightly glossed ones. The fascination that it brought me looking at the glimpse of the musicians was so entertaining, some of them budding to stardom and few had already made themselves famous. I didn’t remember any of the interviews/features done. English was not my first language and even if it was, it was too overwhelming for me as a kid to be able to hold, smell and caress the pages of twenty-something work of publication. I was in awe of I think one of the coolest magazine, though “cool” was a word I didn’t know the meaning until I entered puberty.

****

When I reached legal age, I once again had bumped into Rolling Stone. It was at my friend’s house. The magazine was just lying around somewhere in their old bedroom after realizing his brother was doing a “general cleaning”. The brother smiled hello at me while carrying bunches of yellowing magazines and news papers.

I tracked his quick steps, wondering where those papers final destination would be. Right before he throw them in a burning fire in that afternoon of 2003, me and Rolling Stone reunited once again in a brief affair. I asked if I could keep some of the copies and he just shrugged his shoulders. I was happy thinking I would understand the contents better. The bliss of our reunion came to a fast end when I was prohibited to keep them because they were “dusty and unclean”. I was sad. I didn’t cry, of course, for I know deep down in my heart we’ll meet again in better circumstances.

****

20160417_224241

It was one of those pre summer months in Dubai, it was 2011. It was one ordinary day, where I would, like a dead zombie, go to work, feeling tired even before I started working. Then a serendipity happened. I felt thirsty so I headed to the metro’s convenience store and as a habit, my eyes would be checking the magazine’s rack and my heart stopped! Well, not that kind of stopped, but there it was! Did I feel Rolling Stone pulsating and did I hear Rihanna called my name? My very own Rolling Stone! I must have done something worthy to be rewarded with such great chance! After 8 years! And this time, I am no longer reading a back issue but an updated one. Lucky me!

Since then, I try to satisfy the craving, the addiction, the nostalgia it brings or whatever you may call it, to grace Rolling Stone pages. Until it stopped being circulated in the magazine racks that I am familiar with after almost a year.

Was it too radical that Dubai has banned it? I felt the pang of loneliness. Sure I could pass the months, years without it but it just makes life feel a little bit nicer, cooler or am I just justifying my unexplained obsession?

Unbeknownst to me or just blindly, I have purchased of total 35 copies of Rolling Stone since that April 2011 after finding it again in Kinokuniya Bookstore in Dubai Mall. I am proud to say that all of these copies are neatly kept like a Holy Grail. I don’t want any of them to be some kind of tacky, the same nightmare to the magazines that my friend’s brother was just easy to let them go into the fire, few years ago. I want my copies to be as pristine as I can.

Until, last June 2015, I decided to stop buying it. Yes, it felt like breaking up with someone that you really love and adore but just couldn’t place yourself properly. Where “it’s not you, it’s me” kind of break up scene. I didn’t even remember why and to whom I was rebelling at. I just stopped one day longing for it. Later in months, when I fully processed the action I have taken, I kind of regret because I missed nearly a year’s copies (more than 10). But, my practical self, looking at me into the eye, holding an invisible calculator, reminding me of the cash that I have saved.

****

20160417_224306It is that time of year again, when I have a spare time, recovering from my post vacation blues that I decided to dust and rearrange my books and magazine, when I come to realized: the time I stopped buying the magazine; B.B. King was one of the feature. Who else have passed away and I never had the precious copy of somewhat tribute/acknowledgement?

Ben E. King (singer and co composer of “Stand by Me”) Percy Sledge (famous for singing “When a Man Loves a Woman”) and Natalie Cole (the talented daughter of Nat King Cole) and some equally talented singers that Rolling stone has documented passed away in 2015. Please try not to remind me David Bowie. Was he in the covers? I dare not to ask again.

Do I need reasons to start purchasing Rolling stone again? What does the future hold between us? With these easy questions, am not one to easily to give the answers. I will wait until it is proper time, when I feel like it and when I am ready. So ready that I am willing to embrace the pros and cons of this affair that started in my youth. I am anxious to be unsettled and run away again. It has to be a commitment not just another feverish flirtation, it has to be my need to reconnect with music, childhood, nostalgia or whatever you may call it.

 

 

 

 

Under the Starless Sky of Dubai

Under the starless sky of Dubai,
Few souls wonder why
dreams are pumped up more than the oil in the region.

 
Under the starless sky of Dubai,
The blinding lights from the dream city
representing hope, dream and pride.
Did I forget glamour?

 
Under the starless sky of Dubai
Red, yellow, black, white, and brown colors meet.
Does the color wheel chart matter? Isn’t our blood red?
Separating us was the tradition imposed;
Nevertheless we all share the air we breathe.

 
Under the starless sky of Dubai,
Change lives up to its true meaning.
People say goodbye before you realized they just said hello.
“Come visit me in Abu Dhabi sometime,”
“Sure, man I will”
Never happens in ages.

 
Under the starless sky of Dubai,
We meet people we call our family.
A brother or a sister from another mother.
We have witnessed how they grow,
and how they age.
Same laugh different color of hair.

 
Under the starless sky of Dubai,
Busy minds are occupied by myriads of things
Sand dunes cannot compete how thoughts have their unending worries.
How is Ma? How is Pa?
Skype knows the answer.

 
Under the starless sky of Dubai,
Tourists fly to enjoy the beach.
Loud music to fill in the gap and the temporary space in their core.
Old songs to remind an old love that is thousand miles away.

 
Under the starless sky of Dubai,
Hearts have been broken.
Shattered like a broken tainted glass,
waiting to be melted by the 50 degrees summer,
hopeful for uncertain wholeness.

 
Under the starless sky of Dubai,
Airports welcome fresh dreams.
Souls anxious to chase their destiny.
Bid good bye to hopeful tomorrows or a relief of ending sorrow.

 
Under the Starless sky of Dubai,
Man’s creation extending its arms to the cradle of heavens;
source of excitement and awe to hundreds of spectators.
Few direct their eyes to the skies deliberately
and wondering why less cloud in a broad daylight.

20160306_231021-1-01

Home is calling…again

home is calling

I have been an adopted daughter of the UAE for as long as I remember.

8 years 4 months and I don’t want to be ridiculous for counting even the days and hours. As an adopted country cradling to numerous expats, I am one to call myself lucky. She has been a good mother to me, tolerant of my ignorance and of my primitive ways and enhance them, at least what myself says.

Scenario: Your parents live in a remote area and facts are slapping you in the face like back and forth because living there is not possible while you are studying in the city’s university, which is hundred hours away; so either your mother or father talk to their sisters or brothers or anyone who share their blood type or tracing family tree to accommodate you and promising the heavens that you are a kind of girl who helps in the house chores and not the one who gives headaches. They, both of them, might commit a doubtful promise to your relatives, that forever they would be grateful to them if they would just place a roof on your head, while you are burning the midnight oil. Then, things would turn out well to all parties involved because you blend in well in the family. Although no one on earth did one know that you are sometimes crying into your sleep.

Cut the drama! But it is, nevertheless is one of the closest scenario I can think of. While experiencing life in a different country, culture, weather, be it with a roller coaster of emotions and I actually grown up as a big girl. I simply, just, cannot deny how I miss home.

Seriously, who doesn’t? Who doesn’t miss the early morning sunlight brush your cheeks while knowing that it will be a beautiful day with amazing opportunities would happen? like bumping into your high school friends. Like spending your afternoon with your neighbor when all you wanted to do was just to say hi and ended up talking in loud voice while there is a concrete gate separating you and no one even wonder why no one has invited anyone? Like dieting is not an option because the mere fact you step outside of your compound, stalls of food are snatching your concentration and find yourself buying too much because you miss the street food.

My home is where the average of tropical cyclones can be around 19 visits a year. Yes.You. Read. It. Right. Nineteen. Maybe more?

But who cares? We all do, however, this is just one of the million things that we cannot do anything about. Not in our hands. Frowning about it, talking about it wouldn’t prevent these typhoons who visit us. They just love us. So as resilient as my people are, we know the meaning of “There’s a rainbow after the storm”, figuratively and literally.

I miss home, there are some days I feel delirious closing my eyes so tight as if I am going to be transported there anytime. But of course, in the land without the community you grew up with, who would wake you up in your daydream? Of course, your boss! Calling your name more than twice, you pretend that you just didn’t hear. Inside of you, you  shake your head while chasing the corporate mask you are just wearing few seconds ago, wondering why it did slip away.

***

Yes. I miss the street that I used to walked on and the people who lived on that street. Tricycle drivers who in their good days, were to offer to drop me home without asking for fare. Familiar smiles from the people that knew me, my section in school, my ancestors, how many boys didn’t try to joke around with me because of my uncles and brothers.

I miss the old gates that protected the 3 houses inside our family compound.

I miss the shrieking noise of the steel gate that betrayed the opener because it didn’t keep quiet. That rustic gate who cried like a wolf in the middle of the night if anyone tried to open it after the heavy rain.

I miss the dogs that used to guard us. The ones with weird people’s name. The ones who supposed to guard us from strangers but ended up biting me and my cousins and the dogs who photobombed us during family photos. Photobombing us before we even know the word. We loved them, anyway.

I miss the clothesline with wet clothes with droplets of water, that me and my cousins used to pretend that they were drizzles and grandmother shouting at us telling “Don’t you have nothing to do? Pick the stones from the uncooked rice” her idea of fun.

I miss the old wide iron drum that my grandmother placed under the roof’s water way to collect the rain.No one knows who helped her to put it there. It was so heavy that no one dared to move it even after my grandmother died years ago. It was only removed when dengue had been serious matter.

I miss the guava trees that I used to climb up on even when I was still in my uniform skirts dancing on the thin branches while calling my cousins who were my playmates. Inviting them how sweet the guavas were. I would stay longer if the wind was nice. It fascinated me to look at our gray roof. It made me feel big, somewhat capable, of I just didn’t know what.

I miss the rice fields when during the harvest time always tempting us children to run and play with the golden haystack, making our mothers crazy watching us itching ourselves like a mad dog after the crazy afternoon throwing at each other a ball made of haystacks. My mother would control herself not to pinch me because I was already suffering of an unbearable itch.

Wallah. I miss home and home is calling.

I am delaying up no more. I am gonna answer soon.