Making magic

The moon shall bestow

Thy hand with snow

To relinquish the venom

Of fire in the kingdom

 

The sun shall glisten

As all of you listen

And parch the meadows

Of mud and billows

 

The vigor suspend

The brawn shall not end

The power to you

Will remain to brew

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A question to an answer

What’s on your mind? Facebook asks me that every single time! How are you? How’s it going? These are questions that aim to start a conversation. Why are you here? How did you do that? These questions are geared towards hearing more explanation and understanding. Are you going? Do you like that? These questions require a specific and direct response. We ask questions because we want to know; we want to understand. We ask questions because we want answers and every answer is important. From answers, we draw conclusions, we decide based on it. But sometimes questions are more important than answers.

 

All my life I have tried to challenge the statement, there are no stupid questions. It was only in January of this year that I finally succeeded! In January, I went back to the Philippines to get married. And to make the most out of my very short stay, I have arranged for a private pool resort out of town to get together with my friends and have a little party. So I asked my cousin who owns the resort how to get there. She sent me a text message of the directions. She mentioned what exit to take on the highway, turn left after the exit and gave me 711 and a water district as the landmarks then we can turn right and the resort would be to our left. So we drove early in the morning to a 3 hour drive to the resort. After the highway exit, we turned left. Following my cousin’s direction we should pass by a 711 store and turn right after the water district. We’ve been on the road for 20 minutes and no sign of the landmarks we’re looking for and by the looks of it, we are obviously lost. I don’t have my cousin’s mobile number so I tried her on facebook but she’s not responding. My friend tried to Google map the address and all it showed was a green dot, which is where we were and a massive white all around it. Clearly there are not a lot of people who use maps in the Philippines. I’m not sure if that’s why the maps are not updated or the other way around. For the first time, the map offered no answer at all so we figured we can ask around. My other friend volunteered and got off the car and asked a man standing by the street while we pulled over to the side and wait quietly in the car. When he came back, he said the man told him we missed a turn. So we turned around and took a turn, soon enough we passed by the 711 store so we all thought we’re finally on the right track. But then 15minutes of driving and yet no water district on sight, not even a street where we could turn right. So my friend decided we need to ask again so we pulled over and he got off the car. When he came back he said we’re on the right path it’s just going to be a few kilometers more. So we were relieved and went on. 5 kilometers after, it looked like the road is winding down and soon enough there we were headed to a dead end. We’ve been going around the town for 45 minutes and I it’s starting to upset me. So I asked my friend, “what did the first and the second guy told you?” My friend said, “well I asked where the 711 store is that’s close to the water district and he said we missed a turn so I told you we need to turn around. And then I asked the second guy where the water district is and he said it’s at the end of this road closer to the river.” Dead silent inside the car but my brain shouted wow! We are heading to the right direction after all – that is if we want to go to the water district! I decided to just call my aunt’s home, because that’s the only landline number I can recall after being gone for a year, so I can get my other aunt’s office number to get their home phone number to try to get my cousin’s mobile number so I can call her. Half an hour later, I was able to reach my cousin and we finally got to the resort exhausted.

 

Asking the right questions take as much skill as giving the right answer. As odd as it sounds, we need to first identify what answers we want so we know what kind of questions to ask. Formulating questions is like using a computer – garbage in, garbage out. Whatever quality of data you put in is the same quality of data you can expect to get. Even Google search is all about formulating a good question. If you formulate a bad keyword to search – vague and unclear, it’s not going to give you a useful answer.

 

To conclude my speech I wanted to leave you with a quote and so I googled it and found an African proverb that says “the one who asks questions doesn’t lose his way”. Uhm, not really. I clicked the next button and found this:

 

“There are no right answers to wrong questions” – by Ursula Le Guin.

 

**

I wrote this speech for the 6th speech project on the Competent Communication manual Vocal Variety. The objectives of this speech are:

  • Use voice volume, pitch, rate, and quality to reflect and add meaning and interest to your message
  • Use pauses to enhance your message
  • Use vocal variety smoothly and naturally

TGIF – the end

It’s been a great week.. thank God it’s Friday!

I know for sure that you are one with the rest of us who are happy it’s Friday. Another week has ended and we can set aside the worries of work and enjoy the calmness of home surrounded by family. We get to shut down our work mode and just be.. sluggish.

Beyond that, Friday reminds us that everything shall come to an end. That to every Monday is a Friday. To every start is an end. More importantly, not all endings are to be construed as sad. Not all that ends should be heartbreaking.

I just finished a book today and the characters have grown on me. It took me a while longer to finish this one not because it was a bad one but because of all the other things that happens in any one’s life – work, husband, children, chores, etc.

During those times that I was reading, it almost felt like I was part of the story. I was part of a different world. As the book was coming to an end, I had wanted not to end it but I also wanted to know how it will conclude its plot. I almost didn’t want to finish it because a part of me will miss the characters. But things that begin have an end.

The end of a book marks a beginning to a new one. The last part of the movie can be the prologue to a sequel. The fading words to a song means you can play another one. The close of the mall says you can come back tomorrow. The end of a week signifies a start to a brand new week to explore.

So let us not see the end as a period to a sentence. Let us not see the finish as the conclusion of the story. Because we all get a fresh start as the week begins on Monday.

photo credit:
http://www.funkyfaithgirl.com

 

All about your craft

 

In my entire blogging experience which has not been too long, there are two things I found to be true. I’d like to share that on today’s two things Tuesday.

  1. Know yourself

It is quite impossible to share your work to others if you haven’t decided what you really want. Ask yourself, why do you write? Why do you want to write? Identify your purpose for writing.

In the beginning I was just writing for myself or so I thought. I didn’t care if anyone read my blogs or if anyone actually like them. It was more of overcoming confidence then. I didn’t trust myself that I can write. I didn’t believe myself that I have things to say that is worth other people’s time.

I had a lot of struggles – inconsistency, lack of focus, short of reason, waiting for inspiration, writers’ block and the list goes on. I needed to know my strengths and use them and identify my weaknesses so I can find ways to turn them into strengths. That is easier said than done. But I did it and everyday I choose to do it.

It helped a lot getting to know myself. I found my purpose and I found fulfillment.

  1. Know others

You may tell yourself “I write for myself” but the fact that you publish your work means you want people to care about the things you care about. You want readers to take in what you say and ponder on it. Because if you truly are just writing for yourself, you don’t need to blog; you just need a notebook and start a diary.

Knowing others does not mean you have to write for other people. It’s just equally important to know other people (may it be your follower, the general public or whoever) so you can consider them when you write.

Consider others in the sense that, you need to write stronger blogs to intrigue your readers. Or offer your readers something after reading your article or your poem. Your readers do not have to agree with you on what you write but the essence of sharing your craft is to provoke them or affect them.

I always think of writing (or sharing your craft) as a two-way street. You give and you get or you give and other people take.

photo credit: https://runthisapple.com/

a kid’s journal

I started writing on a diary when I was 5 and I can barely spell. My grammar was out of this world and not being a native English speaker, my journal entries were absurd if not horrible. I knew this because I came across my many journals from 25 years ago when I was packing my stuff and putting away things I’ve held on to in the past which I thought were important that’s now clogging my cabinet.

It piqued my interest to read further more on my journals and those Ordinary days now seem precious. I know I wrote those things but I don’t recall much about it happening. I could not believe myself that that was even possible. Even the ones from when I was a bit older, around 9 or 10 years old; I still cannot recall the things I’m reading. How odd is that?!

I had an idea. I picked a random, totally Ordinary day from my journal and read the entry to my sister. And I asked her to read her journal entry on that day. The day I picked was a day when we apparently had a big fight about who’s going to hold the clicker while we watch TV. And based on what I wrote on my journal, it was a pretty big fight. When she read me her journal for that day, it was about a totally different thing and no mention of the “big clicker fight” at all.

It’s interesting that my sister’s Ordinary day was not so Ordinary for me. Each day can be just another day – typical, average, and nothing special. But all those Ordinary days combined, makes up my uncommon, unusual, extraordinary life of today.

Oh! Writer’s block

Every profession has its own predicament that requires dedication to overcome. Every passion has its own tight spot that needs inspiration to triumph over. Being a writer is both a profession and passion which makes it a little bit more exciting and interesting. The possibilities are endless, topics are boundless and writing styles are abundant. Even then, overcoming writer’s block is not uncommon. There are days when a writer stares at a blank page, fingers positioned on the keyboard ready to type, but there’s just no coherent thought. No need to worry, there are ways to get those words flowing.

 

  • Take a walk – staring at the same blank screen and racking your brains for a brilliant idea won’t work. Stand up and take a walk. Free your mind and just take a breath to relax your mind. This may be the last thing you want to do especially if you’re on a deadline but it is definitely the first thing you have to do to relax and get those neurons working.
  • Listen to music – music stirs emotion and if you let yourself be carried away by melody, it can bring you to a place or memory that can inspire you and provoke your inner thoughts. Strong emotions can always bring about an interesting idea that you can start with.
  • Change of venue – I know it is most of the time easier to collect your thoughts when it’s quiet and solemn but people, white noise, chattering and simply observing people can be a source of idea. Instead of the library, why not try the park, the playground or your garden.
  • Bullet brainstorming – think of 10 random, unrelated ideas on a piece of paper. Use these prompts as starting point. You do not have to write about the exact word you thought. If you wrote tremble then you can try branching out of that topic and describe it. So you might end up writing about guilty or forgiveness.
  • Free write – remember when you were just starting out, when writing is not a job but a mere hobby? Forget about the rules and the required number of words or the key words that you need to inject on your article. Write what comes up, start raw and go back to basics. You can make the edits and revisions later on.
  • Just start – get off Google and stop reading “how to overcome writers’ block” blogs. Just start writing. You can write as many paragraphs and they don’t have to be on the same idea. Remember that the goal is to get those ideas flowing.

 

So next time you find yourself staring at your screen too long, try the above suggestions and when you find the one that works, stick to it. Happy writing!