starting from zero

Late 1990s

I fell in love with English back in 6th grade when our school administrator became our Grammar teacher. She made all grammar rules sensible and understandable, but my English still sucked at that time.

At that time, the books I only owned were my school textbooks and children’s story books. At that time, I consumed my time watching Filipino TV shows and Filipino-dubbed animes. My sister kept on insisting I read more books and watch English TV shows, because the best way to learn a language is to expose yourself to it.

She was right.

Early 2000s

English became a huge part of my life in high school. I was studying in an all-girls school. In the Philippines, there’s a stereotype that goes around that students in all-girls schools and all-boys schools only speak in English. Of course, that’s an exaggeration.

When I got there, I learned that the girls don’t speak English all the time. They still used Filipino – actually, Taglish (Tagalog-English/Filipino-English) is the main language of the school. However, when they’re called to speak in English, they can speak in English.

Another thing I learned (which the judgmental people outside the all-girls school community didn’t mention or probably have no idea about) is, unlike in the grade school where I came from where students’ past times are just playing and watching animes, students in all-girls schools read books. A LOT OF BOOKS.

It was 2001 – the first Harry Potter movie was scheduled to hit the theaters. Before that year, I didn’t know what and who Harry Potter was. All I knew was it was a book and the Catholic church hated it.

A friend invited me to watch it with her. Unfortunately, I was the girl who wasn’t allowed to go to malls without her parents and I was the girl who failed her English subject because she didn’t took the practical exam for her Speech class which was to speak in front of her classmates.

I was grounded.

It was somehow sad because I thought could finally learn who Harry Potter is without having to read the book. Up to that point, I was still clueless about the whole HP phenomenon.

My Mom got an idea. It was pretty clever. She bought me my first ever book: “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” She thought it would help me learn who Harry Potter was and improve my English.

As the cliched English idiom goes, it’s killing two birds with one stone.

It worked.

I read the book. I still remember how I repeatedly read the first paragraph of the first chapter because I wasn’t so sure if I was understanding it. It was my first time reading a full-length novel. I was scared. I was intimidated. I was thinking I would never finish it.

Good thing, JK Rowling was amazing.

After getting over the initial “shock” of reading the first page of my first full-length novel, the rest of reading journey went on smoothly.

I was absorbed in the Harry Potter universe that JK Rowling had awesomely created. I wish I could really be in there and never would have to leave.

I was still a slow reader, then. I had to sleep early because of school. I had homework every time I came home. It took me a week or two to finish the book.

That’s how my love for reading started.

While waiting for the 5th HP book, I picked up Sarah Dessen, R.L. Stine and some others. I was introduced to fan fiction (I love Harry/Hermione and Draco/Hermione stories – my greatest frustrations). I was addicted to reading.

Late 2000s

Writing started when I was in college.

(My writing skills back in high school was totally nonexistent. When our Filipino teacher required as to write a short story, I went to Fanfiction.net and looked for some HP fic I could translate into Filipino for the said homework.)

I can’t remember anymore what day it was. All I can recall was it was 2008. I was in class, bored to my wits. I was addicted to the anime called The Prince of Tennis. I was reading a lot of PoT fan fics – I was a Perfect Pair shipper (Tezuka Kunimitsu/Fuji Syusuke) and, sometimes, others. I was having my own PoT scenarios in my head and they won’t shut up.

Out of nowhere, I started writing my first fan fiction. It wasn’t a love story. It was just a character-centric one. It’s a cringe-worthy story (not because it was badly written – though I admit my grammar back then was still atrocious, but because the story was dumb), but I posted it online. There were a few reads (and fewer reviews) but I wasn’t discouraged.

I wrote a love story after.

They were short stories at first. Then, they became chaptered ones. I wrote about my favorite ship, then I started experimenting with original female characters. Sadly, when I was already doing this, I started working and didn’t have enough time to focus on those stories anymore.

It’s impossible to finish an unfinished story if you leave it for a long time. Your mindset as a writer changes. Your writing style changes. Your vision for stories changes. Trying to go back to how you were “feeling” and “thinking” when you started your story is an almost impossible feat.

Early 2010s

I didn’t stop writing. Writing continued after college.

However, I moved to a different fandom.

I left the anime world and relocated to the KPOP universe. Though it was already 2010 when I started writing for KPOP, my KPOP obsession started way back in 2003 – back in the days of dial-up internet.

There, it was back to scratch.

Writing for an anime is easier, there’s a plot and an existing story. In KPOP, there are only characters – the artists. The only story you have is the news about them, the circulating anecdotes about them. I did write stories using real events as plots, but I couldn’t just focus on them only.

I had to learn how to make an original world, universe, reality for KPOP artists in my head.

I turned them to other things – students, parents, actors, angels, kings, princes, detectives, robots, etc.

Writing for KPOP did improve me as a writer.

2015

I decided to write my first original story.

(Okay, I did try to write an original story back in high school. After the translated HP fic incident that my teacher never seemed to have noticed. I can still remember the name of my main character – it was Dylan. However, I wasn’t able to finish it and I didn’t have enough confidence for it.)

It was November and I learned about this thing called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) from the authors I was following on Twitter. It’s a website you had to sign up to and, when you join, you had to write a 50,000-word novel in the whole of November. It seemed fun and even though it was already 3rd of November, I jumped in to join the excitement.

I already had an idea in mind. It was supposed to be a fan fic, but I decided to just write it as an original story. I reached the word count by the end of November. However, since the goal was just to write a 50,000-word novel, the whole thing was a mess.

2016

When New Year came, I told myself that I would get my novel published.

I planned to proofread and edit the whole thing starting in January. I was already looking and asking about publishers online.

However, laziness got in the way…

…and so are other things.

I lost my passion for writing. The three chaptered fan fics I was working on that time were all left hanging (and so were my readers). The only writing I did during those dark times was the letters and messages I was sending to a friend of mine.

I wasn’t reading any book. The reading I only did was the re-reading of the first four Harry Potter books and KPOP fan fics.

I got depressed.

Everything was left unfinished.

However, I had enough sense to decide that I should shift my focus on something – someone – more important: GOD.

2017

I created this blog.

Before 2016 ended, I said I will get myself back on track.

January: I jumpstarted my reading with Chris Tiegreen’s devotional book called “Hearing God’s Voice” and two other devotional books. I also read my first book for a long while – Mara Wilson’s “Where Am I Now?”

February: I attended my first writing workshop – How to Write Love Stories. I finally got to writing again.

March: I realized I don’t have the heart and appetite for books with steamy elements – thanks to Colleen Hoover’s “Ugly Love,” which I had to take deep breaths now and then just to get me through. Then, thanks to three-day encounter the church organized and through the 90 Days Challenge, I started reading the New Testament of the Bible.

April: I skipped several writing workshops because they were on Sundays and I could never put anything before God on Sundays. Reading Victoria Aveyard’s “King’s Cage” became really hard for me as well. It’s so full of unforgiveness, revenge, anger, and all things that the Bible told me to never dwell on. I was so focused on the things I was learning from my devotions, cell group and church that writing was put on hold again.

May: My love for inspirational and Christian books also started. I wasn’t writing still but I also realized there are still love stories that I can read like Jenny Han’s “Always and Forever, Lara Jean.”

June: I encouraged a friend who doesn’t like reading to read books. I lent Cecilia Ahern’s “Love, Rosie” and Colleen Hoover’s “Maybe Someday” to a friend at work. Another friend at work asked me read Bryn Greenwood’s “All the Ugly and Wonderful Things” but couldn’t finish it because my heart was continuously protesting against the things the book stands for.

JulyI finished the New Testament. Also, after a three-month writing hiatus, I started updating this blog again. I was convicted to write again after several devotions talked about putting God’s gifts to use and after our pastor preached about work on our God-given talents that would give us value (and eventually success) in the future.

August: I attended National Bookstore’s “The Philippine Readers and Writers Festival 2017” just this weekend (an event that I’ve been planning to go to since 2015) and I sat down to several talks about writing. I met amazing and interesting Filipino authors like Nikki Alfar, Mina V. Esguerra, Samatha Sotto, and Bebang Siy (my favorite). Also, before the event, I deleted all my fan fictions from the internet. I realized they can’t exist anymore. I misused my gift of writing to spread wrong ideas of love and lust.

— — —

I’m happy that it’s been good so far. I have been writing a bit constantly. Ideas for blog posts are pouring. Though I’m struggling with something I can’t identify right now, the drive to write is strongly present. I have so much yearning when it comes to my writing. I’m constantly lifting this dreams up to God, praying and hoping that He would continue to fuel this passion and gift that He had given me. I aim to use my gift to advance His kingdom. I’m not a good speaker, I talk better with written words, this is the best way I know how to honor and glorify Him (for now).

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three words: a “100 tula para kay stella (100 poems for stella)” word vomit

[Warning: spoiler ahead]

He has a speech defect. To speak smoothly, he’s told to limit his sentences to just three words.

He meets a girl that became his world. Nevermind her imperfections, she deserves the best of everything.

He decides to write her 100 poems to tell her he loves her – 100 poems about her physical beauty, her irresistible personality, and her “undeniable greatness.”

A hundred poems of his disillusionment of her.

A hundred poems that took four years to complete.

As sweet, touching and grand as it was, the 100 poems didn’t give him her “Yes.”

With a ring on her finger and a baby on the way, it’s already too late.

(So driven is he in completing his 100 poems for her, he froze her in a world he has made in his head, forgetting that she too is living in the same world as him.)

Writing 100 poems that don’t even mirror who she really is – her struggles, her flaws, her brokenness – has been totally unnecessary.

She pointed out him all he needed were three words:

“I like you.”

“I love you.”

All along he already had what he needed to win her heart:

THREE WORDS.

Three words are what he does best. Yet, he failed to use them when he should’ve had.

So mindful of his speech defect, he forgot the things he has – his impressive smarts, his singing voice, and his good heart.

So focused is he in making himself better for her, he failed to recognize the amazing things about himself.

So concentrated is he in his flaws, he has made things complicated for him.

He made her so “perfect” in her mind that he thought he has to just at least come close to her “perfection.” Little did he know, he got everything together better than she does.

He never really knew her.

He never really saw her for who she is.

The her that he knew is the her he put together in his mind, in his poems – the her that became his world. He thought 100 poems are needed to make her fall in love with him.

Fortunately, she knows who she is. She doesn’t need 100 poems to fall in love with him.

She knew him.

She saw the heart amidst the speech defect and loved him for it.

From it, she knew it can never be them. It can never be him for her. It can never be her for him.

From it, she straightened him out: she told him she doesn’t deserve to be his world.

No one is. No one should be.

“wanting to be alone (come with me)”

I want to be alone, please come with me.
No need to do anything, just sit beside me.
Talk all you want, I’ll listen to what you’ll say.
Even if my mind wanders at the world’s end.

I want to be alone, please come with me.
We don’t have to go far, anywhere will do.
Just as long as I can lean on your shoulder.
Tears running down as I cry my heart out.

I want to be alone, please come with me.
But forgive my entangled confused thoughts.
There’s no need to burden yourself with them.
So just erase them from your head afterward.

I want to be alone, please come with me.
Allow me escape the heaviness of this world.
Even for just awhile, let me rest and breathe.
Until the time for us to go back home arrives.

— — —

Gusto kong mapagisa, samahan mo ako.
Wala kang gagawin kung hindi ang makiupo.
Magkuwento ka lang, ako sa’yo’y makikinig.
Kahit ang utak ko’y nasa dulo ng daigdig.

Gusto kong mapagisa, samahan mo ako.
‘Wag na tayong lumayo, pwede na kahit saan.
Basta ako’y makakasandal sa iyong balikat.
Lumuluha habang ang puso ko’y umiiyak.

Gusto kong mapagisa, samahan mo ako.
Ipagpaumahin mo ang isip kong gulong-gulo.
Hindi mo naman sila kailangang intindihin.
Kaya pagkatapos sila’y iyo na lang limutin.

Gusto kong mapagisa, samahan mo ako.
Hayaang takasan ko ang mabigat na mundo.
Kahit saglit makapagpahinga at makahinga.
Hanggang oras ng pag-uwi’y dumating na.

— — —

I haven’t written poetry for a long time. Well, I did last year, but this one came in more naturally. Thanks to the recent needs that surfaced, the urge to write poetry was triggered.

I wrote this piece a week ago (or was it two weeks ago?), but I didn’t get into proofreading and posting it until now. I guess watching a movie with a character who loves writing poetry is a good encouragement.

“100 Tula Para Kay Stella (100 Poems For Stella)” is a movie worth the wait and risk.

burying angeldc

Who is “angelDC”?

“angelDC” is the username I started using in my online accounts right after I graduated from college. It’s from the combination of my high school girl crush and my initials. Childish, I know.

It’s also the username I used to publish my online stories – fan fictions, to be exact. I started in the anime fandom then moved into the KPOP fandom. I had OTPs (or “one true pairs“) and learned all fan fiction vocabulary.

It was during high school when I read my first fan fictions. However, it was in college when I wrote my first fan fiction. I was bored in class that time and I had plenty of time to put together a story. The outcome was clumsy and cringe-y, but at that time, I was proud of it. My first ever story was innocent. The next stories, however, were not so much.

I quickly jumped to BL fan fictions (stories about boys falling in love with each other). At first, they were just cute and sweet stories or what fan fiction classifies as “fluff.” When I moved into the KPOP fandom, the stories turned darker. I wrote about underage sex, third parties, rape, and all those stuff. I got into writing these things. It was awkward at first, but I got used to it that they became accurate and more graphic.

I was in a middle of multi-chapter fan fictions a year ago when I just lost all the ideas I had for them. At first, I thought I was just having a writer’s block, but weeks turned into months without writing and I was in a sort of panic. It didn’t help that I was thinking of publishing a book already. At that time, I believed writing was all I have. Writing was what makes me special. It was my gift. If I lose it, I would be nothing.

However, it was during that time when I was led back to God. I filled the emptiness with Him. I started reading the Bible and going to church. That’s when I became guilty about how I’ve been writing. I know I’m good at writing. My readers told me so. Even though my skills with writing showed up late, I know it was my forte. Writing was my gift. It was God’s gift to me but I misused it.

After spending time with God through devotions, cell groups, Bible readings and Sunday services, my perspective regarding a lot of things changed a lot. I learned about the what I have been doing wrong. I realized I have been using my gift to spread the wrong things. After that realization, I welcomed the writer’s block and decided that I would no longer write any more fan fictions.

Thus, I needed to put this username to rest now. It’s not me anymore. I changed the usernames of my Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr accounts into something else. Also, I have decided to delete all my fan fictions from the Internet as well as the Asianfanfics, Livejournal and Fanfiction.net accounts where these fan fictions were posted.

I have also made a vow to myself to no longer read stories – books and fan fictions alike – with themes of LGBT, mental issues and sex. Though, I have to admit it’s a tough battle. The itch to dive into that world is very strong. At some days, the urge wins over me. I was supposed to delete the fan fictions weeks ago, but I find it hard to say goodbye to them. Bad as they are, I still worked hard on them.

However, tonight, it’s going to end.

I have faith that I will be able to write new stuff again and, this time, God will write them with me. They’re going to be better than my old material. Writing with God is better than writing by myself.

P.S. Links will be dead by the time this post is published.