Monday, December 5, 2016

Support a #ReadingNation

Bookbed is an online community in Manila, Philippines, where artists and writers can share their craft. They also have campaigns that focus on things like the construction of libraries in communities, and the cultivating of the local art and literature scene.

As for their "Support a #ReadingNation" campaign, Bookbed teamed up with TeeTalkPH, a startup that helps raise awareness through tees. Proceeds derived from each purchase will be used to fund book events, story writing projects, and book drives in communities and schools in the Philippines.

Click here to find out more about the campaign and the shirt.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Project Flash Piction - December 2016

Winter is coming and what better way to keep warm in this season of cold than to... write.

That's write right, try writing everyday for 31 straight days and you'll surely feel toasty inside.

If you do want to commit to the pen and paper for a month then I suggest that you join us in Project Flash Piction (PFP). "What is it?" you might ask.

Project Flash Piction involves writing a story based on a picture you took / a friend sent you / you found on  the internet. Alternatively you can write a story first then take a picture based on it. You will be writing the said tale on a small notebook, preferably one that's just as large as your palm, and only two pages tops. It is a challenging experience as you'll be hard-pressed on thinking of a new story every single day. Also, no editing. The story you'll write is a first draft.

Here's one of my entries from the previous PFP last October. Just click it to read it in full size.



Interested? Click here to register.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Tomatoes

Yesterday I was cutting tomatoes for dinner with a small knife.
Effortlessly I sliced these little red guys and removed the insides with one hand (I don't really eat those parts). In the end I had them all chopped up in small square cuts ready to be sprinkled with salt.
So what does this have to do with anything?
I remembered back then during my teenage years when I was cutting tomatoes. My hands trembled with every slice, the guts splattered all over the chopping board, and the end product was a hodgepodge of different geometric shapes.
Now I could do it all with just one hand.
The thing is, everything improves with practice. The example above might be lame for you people who are well-versed in the kitchen; but the said example is a big deal for people like me whose culinary experience is only limited to eggs and the microwave.
Are you starting out on a new hobby?
Are you writing fiction and notice that your sentences don't look so good? Or is your story riddled with cliches and plot holes?
Did you just start drawing two days ago and you can't get past stick figures?
Are you struggling with how to properly use your DSLR camera?
Are you learning a new language?
Practice.
Be consistent.
Do not give up.

Remember, nobody is an expert in anything in life from the get-go. Everyone starts at the very bottom. The only thing that separates the successful from those who failed is the willingness to go up regardless if it's rain or shine.
You can do it. :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

< 200: Styling Serendipity

Styling Serendipity puts the spotlight on fashion designer Olivia and hunky pediatrician Jake as they both slide down the slippery heart-shaped slope of love towards each other's arms. Aside from the cute pair the story is also populated by an assortment of other characters who are there to support, or hinder, the protagonists. It is a fun and light read with moments that will surely bring a smile to the lips and make the heart pound an extra beat or two per second, especially on the pages where the two lovebirds are present together. Even if you're not into the romance genre like me, the book still works its magic in making you feel the warm fuzzies.

Styling Serendipity is penned by Racquel Sarah A. Castro and she has other published works both in romance and in other genres. Click here to check out her blog.



Orizuru

Origami is the Japanese art of folding paper until it forms a specific figure. There are many shapes that can be created ranging from simple cubes to more complex three-dimensional animals and flora.

Orizuru is the perhaps the most famous of all origami designs. It is alternatively known as the "origami crane" and it is also made more popular by the legend of Sadako Sasaki. If you are not familiar with that story then let me tell you a bit about her.

Sadako Sasaki was but 24 months of age when the atomic bomb Little Boy decimated Hiroshima. She survived but it took years before her exposure took its toll. Sadako developed leukemia which became increasingly worse. A hospital roommate told her about "senbazuru", the Japanese legend that grants a wish to those who folded one thousand paper cranes as it is believed that the bird symbolized longevity. Sadako began folding but only managed to create 644 pieces before succumbing to illness, although some sources including her parents claim that she actually finished the goal.

The orizuru also represents happiness and peace. If you unfold one and look at its insides, you'll see a lot of unattractive creases on the paper. Fold it back together and you'll see a beautiful paper crane.

Put yourself in the picture and think about it: the creases are the hardships, trials, pains, and failures that you have endured. They may be unappealing to look at but they all help form into what you are now: a beautiful and happy person.

If problems ever come knocking again, remember that it will just be another crease that will help make you better and stronger.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Kintsugi

Bad memories, broken trust, traumatic events.

These are but some of what damages a person's heart, and we all know how extremely fragile that thing is. The negative actions that we go through leave cracks, and the more we are hurt the more these jagged tendrils elongate.

And we all know what happens once something fragile gets too damaged. Maybe the next touch will inevitably shatter it.

Of course there is always the possibility of repair for things that are damaged. A vase may be glued back again like a bizarre jigsaw puzzle, but the end result might turn out to be nothing but a shell of its former beauty. In the long run the glue's strength might not be able to hold the pieces together and the vase may again crumble.

Some people might not even bother to get themselves repaired. They'll just hide the fragments from everyone and put up a false face that tells that they are okay, but beneath that facade is a visage of utter pain and sadness.

Do not fret, for there is another solution:

Kintsugi (or kintsukuroi) is a Japanese form of art dating back in the 15th century that involves gluing together broken pieces of pottery with lacquer and then covering it with gold powder. The end result makes the pottery even more beautiful with the cracks giving it some form of golden charm.

Kintsugi has also become a philosophy wherein the broken pieces resemble us and the lacquer and gold that holds our pieces together shows the world that we are beautiful after recovering from the damages. The scars from the past make us stronger, the memories, the pain, everything that happened to us have made us what we are. The fact that we are still standing here despite all that has happened is a testament to our fortitude and it makes us shine like the gold that covers the fissures of the porcelain.

So the next time you find yourself damaged and broken into pieces, remember that you may cover those cracks with gold. The gold that comes from your own strength in handling the pain, and the love of those who truly care for you.