Monday, July 15, 2013

a sunday of substance

Yesterday was a great day.

I have been excited for yesterday since I set that meeting with my bookseller friend. I have not seen him for a while and the books I have ordered have been languishing in his inventory for months. I was at the tail-end of a project and a fieldwork and thought I deserved a reward of some kind for being still alive. What better way than finally getting my old orders and paying up and maybe adding a couple new books to the package?

My friend sells good quality second-hand books which I absolutely love. Pre-owned books carrying a history of their own. Yellowed pages, old editions, rare hard-bounds. And that lovely old-book smell. He also sells notebooks – Moleskine and Field Notes and Fashionary. Yes, a dangerous combination for a writer/artist like me.

So I set up a meeting and I was fired up all week looking forward to it.

Layer on the discovery that Before Midnight opened in cinemas in July 10. Marvelous! The theme movie of my generation! If I had to name a mythology of romance for my generation it would be that trilogy. So I set Sunday afternoon for watching it with my sister, while also setting a couple of evenings beforehand to watch the first two movies.

Sunday arrived and I was like a child about to go on a field trip to Disneyland. Well I was. My own kind of Disneyland.

I met my bookseller friend in a cafe. He was late and I was too early. Which was perfect because I intended to get some writing done. I haven't written in a cafe for a long time, and it was such a glorious sunny morning, the cafe was half-empty, and there was this vintage jazzy music playing in the background. The other customers were quiet oldish people, not the usual crowd of noisy young things. Needless to say I felt right at home.

I took out my last Moleskine notebook (I have run out of stock) to write. I just have to say, I caught myself smiling many times at the sheer joy of the moment. In the past week there were little events that somehow perfected the trajectory of my life and I can feel the effect of it. Finding myself in that perfect spot on that perfect Sunday morning, I recognized the wisdom of the Universe and its infinite magic leading me to where I was. Most likely it was also where I needed to be. 

My dear friend arrived bearing my joys. Like a midyear Santa. A heavy bag of books and a heavy bag of Moleskine. He also brought a few vintage books I might be interested in (I was) and those were added to my loot.

I love vintage and old things, especially books. Look, this one survive through the war!

It was time to replenish my stocks. I am halfway through my last ruled Moleskine.
Then followed the kind of conversation that lifted one's spirits and refreshed one's faith in people and the world. Discussions about books, life decisions, the quality of paper, being independent, ideas and insights for improving our respective businesses, astronomy and mathematics, finding niches. An equal exchange without reservations or agenda, a connection that was effortless. I had missed it so very much.

We parted at lunchtime. I had a movie to catch. I also found out that another friend was joining me and my sister to the movie. Oh joy!

Before Midnight did not disappoint. I actually want to see it again and savor the words again. I didn't cry. Only almost. That part towards the end.

After the movie we had coffee and pastries at a nearby hotel. This time I was a content observer as my sister and our friend did most of the talking. But it was also one of those conversations that flowed naturally and without fear of misinterpretations or judgements. Then we went to my home to discuss options for framing my art works which I will be selling soon through another friend with a mobile vintage van (Doesn't that sound like a perfect way to start?) There were also some art and book discussions, analysis of men, women, and relationships, and a little history-digging for examples.

Brazo Bombs by The Legend Hotel. They taste like brazo de mercedes magicked into cream puffs. Very delicious!
The evening concluded with a light dinner. I started to feel tired and sleepy a little before ten. The adrenaline rush since the morning had finally worn off. I was happy. But my introvert self said, alright, time to draw back. If I had pushed myself more I would probably end up with a migraine. Oh, but make no mistake, it was the best Sunday I have ever had quite a long time.

I cleaned up, then tucked into bed with Sometimes The Magic Works. A fitting bedtime read for a beautiful day.

"I have decided, on reflection, it is best just to remember that sometimes the magic really works."
-Terry Brooks
How has the magic been working for you lately?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

morning sketch/stretch

One last fieldwork day and then it will be a very intense couple of weeks putting together a grand presentation of sorts.

As I wait for the appointment time I start a sketch with my little mannequin. It's the first time he's posing for me and his limbs were badly in need of stretching.

There are other sketches in my head vying for attention but I have to get the fieldwork done first, then a trip to the supermarket, then cleaning the house. Then, this evening, I can draw and paint to my heart's content. Tomorrow I meet up with my bookseller friend to hoard some books and Moleskine. Tomorrow I will write.

Friday, July 12, 2013

midyear review

Come with a whoop,and come with a call.
Come with a whole heart or not at all.

(Neil Gaiman, The Ocean At The End Of The Lane)
I am on my third year of being independent from employed work. It has been a very rough road but every time I look back, even though there are a few tweaks I would like to have done, I never ever regretted the move to resign from a very lucrative employment.

Whenever I look back, what stand out are the shining moments of my rediscovery of my passions. The first time I painted after more than two decades. The first time I wrote a novel. The first time I acknowledged how much I love writing, reading, and making art after many years of believing that they were dispensable hobbies next to the career that everyone measured me with.

Last year the solo work got to a point that I was desperate. I was in danger of losing my home because I had missed payments. There were no projects for more than six months. I wished for a job.

This year the job came. And so did the projects. And I found myself in a quandary. But in the end I chose to be true to what I have become.

It sounds crazy. A steady, most likely very fat, paycheck given up for a continued life of financial roulette. All I had to do was say yes. But I said no.

It was not an easy decision. But my heart has been more vocal since I started on this particular journey and it would not give me peace. My mind came up with exquisite arguments, logical explanations of the hows which, I have always been told, should be left in the hands of the Universe. Logic can only take me so far. In the end, will I be happy? Will I wake up in the morning with optimism or with dread? Will I risk the joyful creative life I have started to build for a life that satisfied only the expectations of others?

At the hardest point of my contemplation, Neil Gaiman's The Ocean At The End Of The Lane presented itself like a sign. It had completely slipped my mind that it would be out already, and I stumbled into it on the way to a client meeting. A beacon amidst the turmoil of my own thoughts.

"How can you be happy in this world? You have a hole in your heart. You have a gateway inside you to lands beyond the world you know. They will call you, as you grow. There can never be a time when you forget them, when you are not, in your heart, questing after something you cannot have, something you cannot even properly imagine, the lack of which will spoil your sleep and your day and your life, until you close your eyes for the final will die with a hole inside you, and you will wail and curse at a life ill-lived." (Neil Gaiman, The Ocean At The End Of The Lane)

The Year of True Paths is halfway through. After finally making that crucial decision I need to make a plan. Solid enough so I will be true to myself in the daily choices I make, loose enough to allow for the playful storytelling of the Universe. For instance, London. I know I want, I need, to be there. The how is not clear, but I can do my part every day in little ways. London is my love story now. Each day is a step closer to a happily ever after.

" I turned, randomly, down another road, and took a left, and a right. It was only then that I realized where I was going, where I had been going all along, and I grimaced at my own foolishness." (Neil Gaiman, The Ocean At The End Of The Lane)

I heard it said, "When two points are destined to touch, even if a direct connection is impossible, the Universe will always find a way."

My heart tells me it is only a matter of time. And what of time? There is plenty. There is always enough. It is always perfect.

Monday, July 8, 2013


This homemade video spilled out of me today. I have been in a strange mood for the past few weeks, inundated by too much work and besieged by dreams.

The images in the video are approximations of what I see playing in my head. I hope to capture it better when I have the time after all the madness of this month.

The music I used is by A Fine Frenzy, a song titled "Swan Song".

Saturday, July 6, 2013


i dream of the blue sea
a blue box that is bigger on the inside
the blue-ness of turquoise
the blue feeling of wanting to go somewhere
a handful of blueberries
that movie called blueberry nights
a blue sky streaked with gray
blue ink spilling like tears
the blue in the english flag
waking up that blue feeling again
the Doctor's blue suit
my tattered blue shoes
something blue to go with the old and the borrowed and the new

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


captured into words on 2 July 2013, while settling into bed for sleep

Monday, July 1, 2013

clarity in the deep

watercolor, derwent inktense, on 300GSM rough paper
I am standing by my choice three years ago. I thought I could compromise but I couldn't. I have to be certain. I have to be clear.

So life may be a tougher and tighter a little while longer. But I don't mind. I have my books, my writing, and my art. I can feel the love of my family. I can feel the support of true friends.

Inspiration surrounds me everyday. There is so much around me that bring me joy and they don't cost a single centavo. Because they have been mine all along. Or they have been free for the taking all along.

London is still happening. Maybe not in the most obvious way. But it is happening. The Doctor and Sherlock agree on it.