Monthly Archives: December 2013

2013 in Review

2013 was supposedly an auspicious year for me and I must say that I can’t really disagree. This year has truly been a journey for me, as I was making my way back into my old self, but not necessarily my old life. This year has been one of rediscovering my strengths and limitations, of reconnecting with people from my past, and of recognizing the differences between having everything and being content with what I have.


I started the year on a high note, career-wise, as I was writing for a popular television show, although by the middle of January my heart & mind were both brewing with a growing feeling that my creative energies can be put to good use somewhere else. By the start of the second quarter I was back in the non-profit sector, working in the AIDS field. Although it was a relatively short stint, this post re-introduced me to the sector which I left back in 2004.

I focused the second half of the year in my personal writing projects. My short stories and poems got published in magazines. My poems got anthologized in 2 literary publications. My story for children got a step closer to publication. And I got into a writing workshop under a popular literary & pop culture figure, which will hopefully result in the completion of a book project that’s been on my mind for more than 2 years.

Also, late this year, I partnered with a friend and started a tote bag business but as luck would have it, he passed away just after our first selling event. I am still wrangling with the question on whether I should continue with the business on my own, or look for a new partner. Happy Totes–what we call our bags, is doing well, sales-wise.

In terms of romance I have nothing to report. Because my interest in it is still, for the most part, in stasis. My Cambodian ex–now married, still thinks we are together and I don’t contradict him. But other than that, nothing.

Nevertheless, I am marking the end of 2013 on a positive note. This year has been particularly bad for the many people who were affected by the earthquake, typhoon, and other disasters and my heart goes out to them. But for me, this year had been fruitful in many ways and I am looking forward to the new year and the new things that it will bring to me.

Happy new year to all of us! May the new year be kind to us!

Friday Photo 21

Some holiday cheer, country style.


2013 in Books

I was influenced by a popular blog that I’m following to share the books I read this past year. But unlike her none of the books that I read this year was published in 2013. Because I don’t have new books unless they’re gifts or prizes. I do have “Doctor Sleep” by Stephen King in my Kindle; but I didn’t buy it and more importantly, I haven’t finished reading it yet so it doesn’t appear in the list.

2013 books

Here they are, in no particular order:

  • THE WHITE HOTEL by D.M. Thomas – experimental in form, and strangely erotic.
  • BEFORE NIGHT FALLS by Reinaldo Arenas – I saw the film years ago; I liked the film. The book is better, and an inspiration in writing creative non-fiction.
  • HEART-SHAPED BOX by Joe Hill – a ghost story from Stephen King’s son. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
  • BOY MEETS BOY by David Levithan – a young adult gay romance novel set in a gay-friendly high school in a gay-friendly small town in the States. Too perky for me, but I like the use of the romance novel formula on two male characters.
  • CALL ME BY YOUR NAME by Andre Aciman – hay, summer love! I reviewed this HERE.
  • THE STRAIN TRILOGY (The Strain, The Fall, and The Night Eternal) by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan – vampires are given the Del Toro treatment and I kept on imagining the reaper vampires of “Blade II”, which Del Toro helmed. Very entertaining, in spite of some really clunky writing.
  • MONSTRESS by Lysley Tenorio – great samples of the short story form. I also reviewed it HERE.
  • A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING by Dave Eggers – a clever, likeable, entertaining, and ultimately sad novel of real people getting lost in an increasingly virtual world. I just read that Tom Hanks will produce and star in the film adaptation, written and directed by Tom Tykwer (Cloud Atlas).
  • THE GAY METROPOLIS by Charles Kaiser – a well-written chronicle of gay life in the States from 1940-1996. It tells the amazing story of how gays & lesbians transformed their social status–overcoming religious prejudice, medical malpractice, and political persecution in just half a century. Recommended for young LGBTs who have no sense of history.

I can only hope to read more in 2014.

Feels a lot like Christmas

Yes, my fourth Christmas in the Philippines feels a lot more like Christmas, compared to the previous three. We were a bit late in putting up the decorations because we were all so busy with many other things. But I took on a more active role in decorating. i.e. I managed to shop for some decorations.

the tree, decorated with old & new items

the tree, decorated with old & new items

I was also able to hang Christmas lights not only on one side of our house, but also inside my room. I now have an interesting alternative to my night light.

what I see before I fall asleep

what I see before I fall asleep

But more than being able to shop for decorations, this year I also somewhat conquered my fear (or laziness) of braving the holiday traffic in order to attend in not just one,

Dumaguete Workshop batch '96 reunion

Dumaguete Workshop batch ’96 reunion

not two,

an unplanned reunion with my college friends

an unplanned reunion with my college friends

but three

TLF Workshop batch 37 reunion

TLF Workshop batch 37 reunion

reunions with good old friends! And I really had a great time in all these reunions, I can say this with utmost candor and honesty.

I can feel the veil of depression lifting up finally; and this gift, which  makes me sense things in a more positive light, is most precious.

Happy Christmas!

Friday Photo 20

Mr Barker & the bottled demon of drunken-ness.

just waiting to get out

just waiting to get out