Saturday, September 27, 2014

Can't Write With You Babe

Hello there again. It seems as if I've relegated my website to be my sounding board for writing complaints and such. I've been trying to write all morning but have been distracted by my husband and all the things he's working on—playing, making me read his work, talking on the phone—and I've come to realize that I do need to hear my thoughts when I'm writing. I either need complete silence, or the background sound (I like cafes or busy newsrooms) must be indistinct as to not distract me from my work. When I listen to music, it needs to not have any words at all, or else I'll go off and start daydreaming again.

Sylvia Plath
In any case, I should go back to my paid, consumerist ramblings. I have deadlines!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Still Writing

So… I finished my first draft and I'm still not happy. No one is happy after the first draft—just relived that the ordeal is over. I had to rewrite the lede an insane number of times before I settled on one, but even then I couldn't seem to sustain the energy. It was simply forced, kinda fake, and shallow. Right after writing it, I threw it back to my secret editor, my husband, A, and he tried to make sense of it. He couldn't! I need to get back on the page soon. I mustn't let it end like this!

Anyhow, I'm trying to find inspiration from narrative writers. I'm having a difficult time with narrative, maybe it's because I'm always lazy when it comes to storytelling. I don't like explaining so much, I'd rather people just read and check things out themselves. Here's Cheryl Strayed in Wild. 

The trees were tall, but I was taller, standing above them on a steep mountain slope in northern California. Moments before, I’d removed my hiking boots and the left one had fallen into those trees, first catapulting into the air when my enormous backpack toppled onto it, then skittering across the gravelly trail and flying over the edge. It bounced off of a rocky outcropping several feet beneath me before disappearing into the forest canopy below, impossible to retrieve. I let out a stunned gasp, though I’d been in the wilderness thirty-eight days and by then I’d come to know that anything could happen and that everything would. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t shocked when it did.
My boot was gone. Actually gone.
Anyhow, I must go back to writing. Ta-ta!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

On Writing

Whenever I'm stuck on a writing assignment, I tend to seek out other writers who might have something to say about my predicament. The writing process is quite lonely—even if I married a writer (just two months ago!), and while we discuss our stories, ledes, and angles all the time—at the end of the day it's still me and my fountain pen or my keyboard (that now sounds like a typewriter thanks to this Noisy Typer app), and the horror of a blank page.

In any case, I was reviewing some of the books I took back from New York City only to find The Rolling Stone Interviews on my shelf. I'm following this story/interview of Truman Capote with Andy Warhol in 1973. Rolling Stone Magazine commissioned Truman Capote to cover the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street tour but after several months, he still can't seem to deliver. Instead, the magazine asked Andy Warhol to interview Capote instead and figure out what happened with him and why he can't seem to write the story.

Having just read In Cold Blood last month on the Kobo (this was before my stupid reading/sleeping accident last week that involved my iPad 2), I'm quite curious as to why Capote can't seem to file his story.

Here's his answer on why he couldn't write the article:

"The reason was—two fold. One: As the thing progressed, I saw more and more trash written about the entire tour, and ordinarily that sort of thing doesn't bother me: I mean, for instance, I could cover a trial that's being covered by seventeen or eighteen newspapers at the time, and it doesn't faze me in the least because I know it has nothing to do with what my own insight is.
But my trouble with this was that especially in journalistic writing… au reportage… there has to be some element of mystery to me about it. And the problem with me with this piece was that there was no mystery. There was not a thing about it that set some mystery going into my mind as to why this should be or that should be, because it was all so perfectly timed… staged—I mean psychologically—I'm not talking about the performance itself. Just the whole combination of the thing was so perfectly obvious. The people were so obvious, and so they really had no dimension beyond their own. I mean, Mick Jagger has a certain mystery to him, but simply because he's a bit of a doppelgänger. I mean, he's a highly trained performer, and on the other hand, he's a businessman par excellence. And the whole thing is perfectly obvious, and so it had no mystery to it. Since there was nothing to "find out," I just couldn't be bothered writing it. Does that make sense to you?"

He poised that question to Andy Warhol, and I think I'd rather answer that.

Yes that makes perfect sense! How many times have I abandoned a celebrity story only to pick it up again come deadline time because I have to turn it in? (Unlike Capote, I cannot just miss a deadline!) I get bored with one-dimensional subjects easily, which makes it difficult when I realize in the middle of an interview that all they're giving me are their PR answers.

On material:
"Yes, there's material, but it's just that. Material. It's just that. It doesn't have any echo. It isn't that you want to forget about it because of the unpleasantness; it's just because it doesn't have any echo. Nowhere in the whole story of the Rolling Stones could I find anything sympathetic except the naïveté of the kids… which wasn't—maybe in itself—true, either. Maybe it was just sentimentality."

On guilt about not finishing the story:
"Not in the least. When I make up my mind about something, I never feel guilty. That's ti. No artist should feel guilty. If you start painting and you don't like it, you don't finish it."

On telling the editor:
"Well, because I hadn't really made up my mind. I had all of the material there, and it was sitting there, and it was bothering me, and I kept thinking, "Well, it would be so easy, really, to do it." Finally the time came that I just made up my mind that I wasn't going to do it. And I just told him. They voted me Rookie Reporter of the Year."

Truman Capote by Richard Avedon

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Only the marvelous

“I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn't impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls."
Anaïs Nin

Anais as a Spanish dancer in Paris, under the name Anita Guilera ( taken from the photographic supplement to the diary of Anais Nin)

Friday, December 27, 2013

The season's sense of urgency

Yuletide is my favorite season—it brings about a certain sense of urgency in terms of meet ups. It is, in a way, the last hurrah. This is the final call for reaching out to people you've ignored the entire year. It's the only time you can compel people to go home earlier than usual to get together for drinks or dinner. When there is no other excuse except: "I already have something planned for the night." When it would be absurd to claim you need to work (even if you really do).

It's my favorite season because all my foreign city-based friends like to come home during this time to experience what we've touted as the unique Pinoy Christmas (one that begins in September and ends in January, one where everyone celebrates from the start of Simbang Gabi until New Year.

It's been a good season for me—my sister, Giselle took a few days off (mostly to watch KBS and Red channel) from her work as Doctor to the Barrios in Abra; Bianca is back from NYC after 2 1/2 years, at least until January; Belle is visiting from Singapore; likewise, Ken is visiting from Dubai.

While Bianca and I have had a chance to catch up, I don't think I'll still be able to meet up with Belle. Blame it on Third World Telecom, I lost signal for a bit, so when I finally managed to drive to the place she was in, I seem to have missed her.

In any case, I still have a chance to bond with Doc Giselle, as with Kenneth, in the coming days. As it is, indeed my busiest season (a party every night, gift shopping, deadline surfing), I appreciate it in its entirety. Until next year then, when I can schedule more reunions and despedidas!

Holiday list: Loving this pair of Dolce & Gabbana Golden Cage wedges with flowers and straps.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Little Christmas Accident

A curious thing happened earlier today. I'm usually very graceful but today has been off for some reason. Not only did I spill black nail polish on my plaid cotton dress, I also dropped a different colored polish on the floor, which shattered into a hundred pieces! This happened all while we were out with our cousins for Christmas lunch. Boy, it was awkward! Some of glass cover shattered and hurt my sister Giselle, while also staining her foot with dark purple (bruise-looking) polish. We had to get my cousin to buy acetone and alcohol to remove the stains as well as treat her wound. Plus we had to free the floor from a horrible splash polish on the floor. Yikes!

Meanwhile, uncomfortable silence filled the room. The kids didn't know how to react. 

I decided to take matters into my own hands by creating an impromptu Christmas program. I started it off by singing a Christmas carol with my sisters, and then somehow convinced my nephews and nieces to sing, rap, and dance. Somehow, I pulled it off. My dad even gave out rewards for those who performed. Hopefully, this will be a traditional we can repeat in the coming years.

In the end, I turned a bad situaion into a happy moment. I'm glad, for the most part, although I swear never to bring nail polish to a Christmas party ever again.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

A Life in Color

People I work with know that I hardly sleep, for me, four to six hours are enough on normal days. Yet this doesn't mean I don't like sleeping—I often get fantastic ideas when I sleep—these include feature stories, ideas for novels, and even design solutions. My subconscious guides me when I sleep, which is why I always try to keep track of my dreams. Looking for clues as to what the day would hold, or what kind of problem I am yet to solve. Often though, my dreams tire me out. It's always about some grand adventure, or some great debate, or one epic fight. Yes, my dreams are always epic in scale, much like how I live my life. 

In my mind, everything needs to be extraordinary and fantastic, and out-of-this-world. Yet all these things can only be achieved with temperance—knowing how to subtly color the unimportant parts so that the highlights will seem vibrant, brighter than ever. Like my clothes, I like wearing neutrals so that I can fully embrace color as I receive it. These are also the colors of my life: the mundane events are happily shaded in heather gray or silver-hued stone, but the highlights are in fire engine red, eggplant, saffron, amber, cobalt blue, and fuchsia.

I was reminded of my multi-colored existence today when I attended the exclusive tea party at The Peninsula for Lola Casademunt, the newest accessory and RTW brand of Rustan's Department Store. The Casademunt ladies came in prints and bright colors that brought cheer to my dreary day. Having grown up in Rustan's (I was a mall rat in college and the girls on the first floor of Rustan's Makati knew all of my preferences), the first thing I asked was where they'll put up the display for the brand. Apparently, it'll be in the ladies resort wear section, between the bikinis and the shoes!

Lola Casademunt
The brand was created in Barcelona in 1981, where Lola Casademunt's family lives. Lola or Dolores, is not just the owner and founder, she also designs the accessories and fashion jewelry that the brand is known for. They make everything from necklaces, earrings, bracelets, brooches and watches, and even shirts, dresses, scarves, bags, hats and gloves (whew!).

Her story is pretty impressive: She was discovered by an agent working in fashion, and was urged to start commercializing her designs. Taking this suggestion to heart, Lola then distributed her pieces in retail shops. In less than two years, her products were made widely available in Spain, and soon after, all over the world—in countries like Italy, France, United Kingdom, Greece, Japan, China, Dubai, and finally, Manila.

During the tea party, I had the chance to get practice my limited Spanish vocabulary (just enough to exchange pleasantries and get a photo with the family) with the matriarch, Dolores "Lola" Casademunt and her daughters Maite Gasso and Maria Mar Gasso. Maite and Maria Mar takes care of company management, but the presence (and essence) of Lola still remains.

Maita explained how their market is trendy, and always on the lookout for new things. The woman Maita had in mind already has everything she needs. And so she wants to create a new kind of experience for her: " I want her to go to our corner and say: Wow, lovely! I must take it with me." More than creating products set get the shopper's pulse racing, she enjoys the idea of being able to transmit something and create that 'moment' of bliss when one comes across an item they love.

F/W '13 Lookbook via

Even so, trends are just one of their inspirations for designs. "We follow the trends but we always think of other things. We are a very competitive company," says Maita. "When the iPad was in the market, we immediately had the Swarovski case. But I always like to have something new—in technology, adapt to the woman's capricciosa. I like capricious things. I look for this [quality]. People go to the Lola corner to find something different," she adds.

As to where they get their idea, she's quite lucky to find it on the road. "We travel a lot, we are always on the road because our business is like this. [While traveling] you get creative when you see many things, many things, many things, (I love this girl, she likes repetition!). After you have a mind full of ideas, then you develop it."

Here are some of my photos from the fun afternoon. Enjoy!
S/S '13 collection tableau
"Great minds think alike—that's how trends are made."
My good friend Mia Borromeo of Tatler and THE Susan Joven of Visions and Expressions 
I'm the only one in black! L-R Maria Mar Gasso, Lola Casademunt, and Maite Gasso
This chain mail cuff speaks to me
Yum. I had too much canapes. 
But this is the killer piece! They deconstructed the rosary as an accessory.

The Rustan's touch: Handwritten thank you notes.