Apologies and Updates


More than a month ago, I decided to join the A to Z Blogging Challenge. After successfully posting for A and B, I missed C due to overflowing teaching tasks until I forgot about the challenge completely.

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Yes, you read it right — as embarrassing as it is, I admit that I was such a scatterbrain that I actually forgot about a challenge I joined after posting about it just a day before. For that, apologies are due.

With so much shame, I apologize to the organizers of the challenge. You worked hard and dedicated precious time so that bloggers can have an opportunity to further improve their writing and blogging skills. You do not deserve people like me who waste your time and efforts by failing to commit. Really, I am truly sorry.

I apologize, too, to the followers I gained because of the challenge. We were supposed to help one another but I just quit. You wasted time reading the posts of an obscure blogger who does not even bother to check on feedback. Again I am truly sorry.

But on a more positive note (which I probably do not deserve), I failed. Finally, I failed because finally, I tried.

My life is full of regrets. I regret not trying for the school paper. I regret not submitting for a newspaper column after working for months on a piece. I regret not trying to at least fight for my dream. I regret not trying to fight back every time I get catcalled. I regret not trying to protect myself from the people who verbally and emotionally abuse me. I never at least try.

All my life I never dared try for myself, all because I was afraid I would fail and people would tell me, We told you so. This time, though, I tried. I tried finally and I failed and I am proud of that failure. It means I am less afraid now.

I failed on this blogging challenge but I am now less hesitant to venture out of my comfort zone. Perhaps, though, I am not yet ready to commit to another blogging challenge (perhaps, next year?). Right now, it may be best to dedicate my efforts on my current reading challenge to make sure I, at least, accomplish one blogging goal this year. It has been months since my last post and I am currently working on posting about my third book. I am also working through my fourth book and has recently picked up two interesting titles from the book store.

I did not know failure can give one so much courage to try even more. If only I knew from the beginning I would not had been such a scaredy cat.

Here’s to failing! May it drive me to always try.

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A to Z Challenge: Theme


Some days ago, I signed up for the A to Z Blogging Challenge and since then, I have been trying to come up with a theme that I hope can guide me through the entire process of learning to keep up with a schedule. Initially, I thought of poetry but eventually realized that coming up with good enough verses almost everyday is quite an ambitious goal and is a sure way to failure. So instead, I thought that since that I am new to blogging challenges, why not take baby steps instead and work on an important writing skill that I have not yet mastered — freewriting.

I know, I am strange. Every person who attempts to write always starts with freewriting. But it is something that I could never do — there is always that eyesore grammatical error that I cannot help unsee or that short anecdote that I just needed to add two paragraphs away. Such habits usually disrupt the natural flow of my thoughts, often resulting in a piece that is not exactly as planned. To help myself get rid of distracting writing habits, I will thus devote myself to freewriting for 26 days. But this does not mean that each post I write will go straight for publishing because I will hunt for grammatical errors first and correct them before hitting the publish button. I believe we can all agree that no one likes such mistakes. But apart from that, I swear that all my meandering, unfiltered thoughts will be unedited.

As for the A to Z themes, this science teacher has chosen 26 words related to science. This is in an effort to help me become more comfortable writing about science without feeling like a phony. Here they are:

A for Anthesis

B for Big Bang

C for Commensalism

D for Dark Matter

E for Eclipse

F for Fact

G for Gravity

H for Habitat

I for Inertia

J for Jupiter

K for Kekule

L for Light-year

M for Momentum

N for Nebula

O for Orbit

P for Parallax

Q for Quarks

R for Redshift

S for Supernova

T for Telescope

U for Universe

V for Velocity

W for Wavelength

X for X chromosome

Y for Y chromosome

I may or may not poems for some these but I am not stressing myself too much. I just hope to get through this month. Wish me luck! Please.

A to Z Challenge 2018


I owe you a lot — it has been almost 2 months since my last update about my reading challenge and I have made none about my efforts to live my word of the year. It’s not that I am not trying. In fact, I have been reading quite a lot recently, both local and foreign literature, and I have made arrangements to try out things I never had the guts to try before. Most recent on this list is joining a blogging challenge.

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So yeah! I have signed up for the A to Z Challenge which is held every April. For 26 days in April, I will be posting about topics themed starting from A until Z. To further challenge myself, I have been thinking of posting poetry for this challenge although I am not quite sure if that is feasible, considering my hectic work schedule.

So what do you think? Is poetry a feasible way to induct myself to this blogging challenge?

Creativity 2018


At the start of every year since I was eight, I had been making New Year’s resolutions. At the end of January every year since I was eight, I also break them. Well, actually that is not entirely truthful. A few were broken mid-February — they were the lucky ones — while many did not even had the chance to be broken because they were not even started.

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Like most people who make New Year’s resolutions, if not all, I never managed to discipline myself enough to accomplish my yearly goals. While I have long accepted that this is part of our humanity and I have been making resolutions only for the sake of tradition (and to placate holiday guilt), I have decided to shake things up this year. Instead of making another set of certainly ill-fated resolutions, this 2018 I will be living by my Word of the Year.

This “resolution revolution” was first introduced by entrepreneur and founder of Uplevel YOUChristine Kane. In this alternative, you pick one word and you let it guide you to your aspirations and dreams for that year. You will live by your chosen word.

Word Art

In 2017, I ended my first year and started my second year in my first ever job. Being a workforce neophyte with a deep-seated insecurity regarding my skills and talents, I dedicated my 2017 as the year of building habits that will fortify good work ethics, in an effort to prove my worth to my own self. While aware that there is still a lot of room for improvement, I was more or less satisfied with the results of my efforts. However, it came with a price — I am slowly losing my lifeline.

Writing used to be my lifeline. When reality was frustrating and seemed hopeless, I could always turn to writing. But lately, I have been struggling to write for at least twenty minutes without being distracted.

Writing is my first love and I realized that despite the writer’s block that I am currently experiencing, I am still willing to fight for it, the same way I did when I started this blog. Thus, this 2018, my Word of the Year is Creativity.

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This 2018 I will live by creativity. Because of 2017’s creative drought, my 2018 will be spent trying to wake the hibernating right brain. I do not expect to be able to write again with the same passion as I did a few years ago because knowing myself, action does not happen in a snap (and that is why the word of the year is not Create). But at least, I expect to rekindle that passion, even if in a lesser intensity.

I have no detailed plan of action and I have no intention of making one. All I know is I need to go back to my old habits that used to elicit a lot of light bulb moments — i.e., reading a lot of books, visiting museums, taking long walks, etc. — without breaking the new ones I worked on in 2017.

It will be tough, I know. But who knows? Maybe cultivating creativity this year will also help me at work. After all, creativity is a necessary trait for teachers.

Cheers to 2018, the year of Creativity!

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God? I know you’re there.


November 8, 2017

We were discussing about earthquakes in class so naturally, I showed a documentary to my students. As the geologist narrated about the most destructive earthquakes the world has ever faced, one of my students mumbled to himself, “So where is God in all of these?”

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“Where is God in all of these?”

It was not meant to be answered, based on the way it was said, yet this has been the most difficult question I had to answer as a teacher.

Many have claimed that in the beauty of nature, we see the face of God. But face to face with nature’s wrath, where is God?

Always, I have staunchly upheld my faith. Despite strongly disagreeing with the Church’s comments on reproductive health and same sex marriage, I have remained a Roman Catholic. Despite my science education opening a world of truth for me, I still believe in God. But never have I found an evidence of God’s existence. You may think, how can I, a made scientist, believe in an entity whose existence I can never physically prove?

I can only sigh. I do not really know where God is in all of these. But there is comfort in trusting that somewhere, he must be there.

To not know


It is no secret that I do not know what I am doing most of the time. “Just do it” can easily be my life’s motto — I just do things without fully understanding the risks and consequences of my actions. But hey, if I do not just do things, I will never be able to get anything done. I would have never even lived at all.

This never came to me before — not knowing what you are doing is a crucial part of life. To not know is to have the capacity to learn. To learn is to know better. To know better is to keep moving forward. To keep moving forward is to live.

I do not know what I am doing most of the time. I must be living my life just fine.

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Tulala


29 September 2017

Finally, an unpopular — and therefore, empty — cafe.

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As I slurp my iced latte, I wonder how many Filipino words are not translatable into English. For instance, the word tulala. To be tulala, in the usual context, is to stare blankly ahead, mind wandering aimlessly in a different time and place, real or fictional. Sometimes, as in my case, it is simply thinking quietly. It annoys me that I cannot think of an English world that perfectly encapsulates this.

Just then, the barista (that’s what you call a person working in a cafe, right?) arrives with my bacon and eggs. He introduces himself and told me to look for him if I need anything. I heard him but I do not catch his name. Whatever. I never ask for anything extra, anyway.

I pick on my bacon and swirled the undone yolk of my sunny-side up with my spoon, wondering this time why people often ask me why I am tulala. I mean, why do they care? What’s so wrong about thinking? Apparently, for some people, thinking in virtual solitude is a crime.

My yolk-swirling is interrupted by the same guy, this time asking if the food is okay. I gave him half a smile and flashed him a thumbs-up. Honestly though, cafe food anywhere tastes the same to me. Whatever. Anyway, I am just here because I need a deserted place and some time to be tulala.

Being tulala keeps me sane, just as writing a ramble does.

Now I feel a little better.

Break-up Blues


This is what happens after a break-up.

First comes the overwhelming sense of empowerment. Finally, you are that single woman who needs no man in her life. You are independent. You are unstoppable.

Then, stealthily, loneliness creeps in. You are happy yet there is no one to come home to and tell why. Or you had a crappy day and there is no one to rant on. There is no one to share food with (and hell, food tastes so much better when shared).

Suddenly, you miss his soft hands and purring voice. You miss his scent.

There really is a price for choosing yourself. Is it worth it? I hope it is.

Shadow Syllabus


“Secret: I have to plan first and THEN abandon the plan while still remembering its outline.”

One of the skills I developed during my first year of teaching is flexibility. I find that when I strictly stick to my lesson plan, the students are not interested as much as when I let them direct the learning process on their own while I listen and comment, prodding them to figure things out on their own. So yeah, totally relate. ❤

Sonya Huber

  1. IMG_3738I’ll tell you exactly how to get an A, but you’ll have a hard time hearing me.
  2. I could hardly hear my own professors when I was in college over the din and roar of my own fear.
  3. Those who aim for A’s don’t get as many A’s as those who abandon the quest for A’s and seek knowledge or at least curiosity.
  4. I had bookmarked a citation for that fact, and now I can’t find it anywhere.
  5. The only way to seek knowledge is to open your hands and let your opinions drop, but that requires even more fear.
  6. The goals and outcomes I am required to put on my syllabus make me depressed; they are the illusion of controlling what cannot be controlled.
  7. I end up changing everything halfway through the semester anyway because the plan on paper is never what the living class ends up being about.

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Never Call Yourself a Writer, and Other Rules for Writing


Having read innumerable writing rules, I first thought the article is just another one about writing. However, I found one truth that I never realized, until now:

“Deep down, we all want to be poets.”

In the literati ladder, the poet occupies one of the highest rungs with his enigmatic way of making music with the pen as her instrument. Thus, which lover of words would not love a poet? Which aspiring penman would not look up to a poet and aspire to be one himself?

But alas! Not all of us can be poets. We can all write but not all of us can make verses sing because that is a gift poets are born with. Because poets are born, not made like the rest of us.

Still, we keep writing verses, hoping that with each poem we take one step up that ladder. A long way to go, yes, but still a little bit closer to that coveted spot because no matter what they say and what we know, deep down, we all want to be poets.

Sometimes, not even genetic endowment can restrain the desires of the heart.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

shawna kenneyBy Shawna Kenney

First thought, best thought; revise, revise, revise. Write first thing in the morning when the mind is alert; write at night and never while sober. Do it alone, in an office with the door closed, surrounded by books; write in coffee shops, surrounded by stimulating characters and conversation. Use traditional quotation marks and capitalization Unless You Are a ‘Genius.’ Journal in longhand; always type fast. Sentences longer than three or four lines are unacceptable and tedious, unless you are William Faulkner, William Beckett, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jamaica Kincaid, Virginia Woolf, John Updike, Charles Dickens, Gabriel García Márquez, David Foster Wallace or one of those other people who can get away with it. Short is good.

Write with an ideal reader in mind; fuck the audience. Never show anyone an early draft; find a workshop for feedback. Write to please everyone; quit workshop and hire an editor. Take classes…

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