2018 finally curled up the remaining strands of itself into a ball, and was sent to a corner to disappear like the Cheshire Cat in the dark. Okay; that did not exactly happen to say the least, because the year ended tremendously wet, as Trump would say it. The typhoon Usman made itself felt in all parts of the Philippines and my heart goes out for everyone in the Southern Tagalog and Visayas regions who are affected by it. Folks, we’re thinking of you, praying for you, and I hope that there are ways to get good money to you without passing through the greedy collective institution fronting themselves as means to help. Not all are bad apples, but bad apples have already left a bad taste in our mouths.
Fare thee well, the Year of Hope Killers
2018 was the year that stomped on the flickering embers about to go out. It shook me and straightened me up, slapped me into reality and told me to get into perspective. It was like Odin telling Thor he’s got both eyes but only see half of the picture. I paid for my recklessness dearly, and to tell you frankly, I did a lot of those this year:
- I sent my (yet-unripe) manuscript to Anvil sometime in February, which ultimately kills of my chances of sending it to a local publisher
- Queried a few more, because I thought I was “getting there.” Fear, to me, was a good motivator, but it SHOULDN’T be
But I found in me tenacity
There was no other way for me other than writing. Writing was my way to live and my way to go out. Even though I have been recklessly querying (in safe, small numbers, mind you), I managed to get 4 requests for fulls, 3 partials, and good commendations to my query letter, which was consistently replied to as, “You have a voice!”
- I wrote poems and had one published at Not Very Quiet
- I rewrote Mirage and ended up focusing on the two male leads instead of the heroine, and it feels better this time
- I wrote a Filipino horror story for a YA short story project that has still not gotten back to me, but I’ve already given this part now; yes, even getting a nice reject letter
- I kept on writing and revising and editing until my story has exceeded 90k words and now, I had to start in the middle
- I’m compiling better poems so I can make a poetry manuscript later on
- Started plotting for Fifth the First
- Turned Collecting Constellations into a middle-grade story I am yet to polish
- Wrote songs for Hide and Sing, and in Tagalog at that
You could tell. I wrote a lot.
Not just in my passion project, though
This year, I gave the kids of SIUMC a home in the ministry. The ones who were loud and eye-rolling annoying were the ones who would actually be there for the team. I’ve learned my lesson. I won’t judge by the lingering initial impression and open my heart to every kid because there is magic in each of them. Iya is a revelation and Mhico, despite our eldest headache-inducing boy, would look after us. Ganyan lang talaga kapag you undergo puberty.
I started Sunday School, campaigned for separate classes (this, we have to keep at until 2019), and successfully did a Christmas Program with the kids where Ian, who kept buckling and said he couldn’t do it, did amazing.
Work is a blessing
I may not still find a place in the literary world, but I am glad that the copywriting dimension still embraces me for their own. I am so, so thankful to have worked with many amazing clients this year, most of them blessing me with opportunities to write about things I have never thought of tackling. This 2018, I got to choose who to work with, and even though I had to say pass at some opportunities, the ones I held close to my heart are those that stayed. I hope my work for them can be accounted as blessings too!
What 2018 taught me
At the back of my journal are freeform notes that summarized my months in drawings and quotes. Some of the things I wrote are:
God doesn’t bargain with your blessing
Get angry at your fears
May your conviction be stronger than your choice
Be aware, be all there
If God’s not done working, I’m not done waiting
Wrestle to prevail
Gather your rocks and become a mountain.
If I would tie all those thoughts together, everything leads to one concept: persistence. Like a sprouting of a small shrub in the middle of a concrete pavement. Bloom, even in the harshest environments. Bloom, because that’s what we’re meant to do.
Things we survived in 2018
On March, Chiba bit a guest in the house. I’m glad she is okay (although she wouldn’t step foot inside the gate since then). I paid for her vaccine and I am thankful that Chiba got his anti-rabies shot the earlier month.
Our house underwent a renovation this year. Kuya Uro came here and installed new toilet seats before cementing the floors of our backyard, double its past height. Now, mama has a bakery / dirty kitchen at the back of our house, and that’s where we make our goodies.
We got our passports renewed this year (expires in 10 years, baby), which means more trips with the family outside the country.
I took driving lessons! I know, it wasn’t really helpful to get someone telling you when to hit the breaks or push the gas or change gears, but all that mattered to me was to actually drive, which I did. Now, can I drive you safe and sound to the destination? That’s another question.
More than 20 storms hit the country this year, and many of them spurn the tide levels, which lead to our subdivision being covered with water for weeks! Other than driving through half-a-body puddles, we had one sleepless night when my dad was stuck at McDonald’s because he couldn’t get in the subdivision. The next day, my brother plowed through the mud to get him.
I had a near-scare after buying airplane tickets to Palawan through a third-party. Then, to make it worse, the airlines made at least two changes to the flight, initially kicking us out of the roster with no plans of fixing the mishap. I called them thrice to get things ironed out, which they did, thank goodness.
After gathering my guts, I have decided to get my driver’s license. I lined up at LTO Tabang for an entire day (from 7 am to 5 pm) and got home with a flimsy copy of my license minus the biometrics. I came back a month later to get my actual card and I am now a licensed driver!
Finally received my 1001 Knights books, bleached my hair and didn’t like it, voted, shut down Awakenings team, shut down Courageous & Meek, paid my taxes, went to Palawan and enjoyed it, started Caris Writes, bought mama a mixer, bought papa a laptop, bought a watch, made my parents a picture-book for their anniversary, got gifted a jewelry set with my birthstone on it, and am now 33.
33. That’s when Jesus died on the cross. That’s when man’s salvation starts anew. I cling to Isaiah 54 and keep on reading The Prophets (I am on Jeremiah now) and learn from them. The world has so much to experience. I have so much to offer.
So much, but this post has to end. It’s been a lovely, lovely year, and I am looking forward to the next, even though I am not sure of where to go or what to do. I’m going to live.
Joyeux anniversaire. And happy living.