Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2017

It's not sulking when you're in love: a short love story

Tampuhan (1895). Oil on canvas. Juan Luna I'm having dinner alone at a pizza restaurant and across me is a couple. The girl's Filipina; the guy sounds French. When I arrive, the guy is lecturing her a little too strongly about something she needs to fill out. He sounds exasperated. Eventually, she gets annoyed as well. So she shows him she's ... tampo . For fifteen minutes. In that length of time, she doesn't talk to him. Doesn't show she's angry, but taps away on her tablet silently. A little coldly. The guy fidgets. Looks around the restaurant, at other tables, and for a split second, at me, awkwardly. He digs into his bag, takes out a bottle of water and drinks. He sighs silently. The girl puts down her tablet, but she turns away and stares out the window. The guy's annoyance melts; he slumps back in his seat, suddenly defeated. He watches her, trying to read her silence. He looks almost afraid. But she gives him nothing and makes him wait. H

After 30 days of doing my Morning Pages

My actual Morning Pages journal, almost full! I posted here earlier that I'd started doing Morning Pages . It's been over 30 days now -- 36, to be exact -- and I'm still at it. If I am not able to write my three pages in the morning, I write before I sleep. I've almost filled up my notebook, which I don't think I've done since grade school. Before I started doing my Morning Pages, I'd seen a lot of blog posts claiming how the habit changed their writers' lives . I don't think it has changed mine in a big way yet, but I'm already noticing small differences. I believe I've already mentioned here that I've been dealing with some anxiety. It's not debilitating and I don't get panic attacks or anything like that, but the level of anxiety I experience at times takes a lot of my energy and hinders creativity. I worry about big things, too, like the Great Pacific garbage patch or Taal Volcano's next eruption or where th

How to stop thinking about things you want to stop thinking about

The other day at dinner, I asked my eleven-year-old niece what her earliest memory was. She mentioned going to Bohol and watching Dora the Explorer. I asked her what she remembered specifically, but she couldn't say. I remember the connection between Bohol and Dora the Explorer. We were at Bohol Bee Farm , and we had gone down the cliff to the little hut on their wooden dock. Keona was probably two years old then, and she was just learning to speak. She knelt on the hut's floor, held on to the balustrade as if she were in prison, and cried out to the sea, "Ayudame!" This was the time she'd speak snippets of Spanish, picked up from Dora and Diego. It was a funny period -- whenever she couldn't find anything, she'd tell her mommy to "Get the map!" When we told her about this the other night, Keona said, "I don't even know what that means anymore." She's into manga now, and she's trying to learn some Japanese words. W

Personal Journal of Althea Ricardo, B.A.

I believe I started blogging when Yahoo! launched Geocities in 1994. I'm probably not among the first bloggers in the Philippines, but I was blogging before "blog" even became a word. I was one of the multitudes inspired by Doogie Howser, M.D.  to maintain a digital journal. I've had many blogs since then. I was on Easyjournal, then Blogdrive, and I spent a few months on Livejournal before I recommitted to Blogdrive, where I already had a handful of blog friends. After a while, I made the move to Blogger (because their templates were so cool, haha), and after trying to transfer to Wordpress and Tumblr and cross-posting on Multiply, I chose to stay with Google. I'm thinking about this now because I found my old blog posts from 2007 onward. I had a blog called "Like Endless Rain into a Paper Cup," but I moved it and made it private. To be honest, I was embarrassed to leave evidence of my emotionally turbulent and unwise 20s online. For most of the 2

Just saw: Gerald's Game (2017)

Not having read the book, I didn't know what Gerald's Game was about the story of a woman, Jessie, whose husband Gerald suddenly dies of a heart attack as they were about to have kinky sex, leaving her handcuffed to the bed. Alone. In a house in a remote cabin in the woods. I'm sure I have a copy of the Stephen King novel lying around somewhere, but I probably didn't find the premise intriguing enough to put it on top of my reading list. I read that director Mike Flanagan carried the book with him all the time for years, hoping to convince someone to turn it into a movie. Everyone thought Gerald's Game was either unfilmable or "not a movie." Years later, Netflix happened. It's one of the movies that I thought I could watch without paying complete attention (some horror films are like that, at least to me, and too many Stephen King film adaptations are like that), but upon seeing the ending, I regret that I missed some details. I missed out

Just read: The Stories So Far by Jessica Zafra

To prepare for my thesis writing and revisions, I started reading short stories by Filipino authors again. As it was my latest acquisition, The Stories So Far by Jessica Zafra was on top of my pile, so I started with it. I stopped reading Jessica Zafra's essays in the early 2000s, when I had regular access to it at the newspaper I worked for. Either I outgrew her bitchy persona or I embraced my cheerful, positive, emotional (and perhaps escapist) side -- maybe both -- but I simply lost interest, after a couple of years of following her column  as religiously as I could, given that our newspaper man didn't carry the newspaper it was in. But I stayed a fan of her fiction writing, even if there was only one collection and even if I don't always share her worldview. Her stories are good reads -- well-formed, compelling, cerebral, strange and yet familiar, and they somehow reflect my own journey as a child of the 80s and 90s -- but sometimes they leave me tired and not l

I've been doing my Morning Pages

There's a book called The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. It was written to help people recover their artistic side. I haven't read it, and I didn't think I'd ever want to, but here we are. In my 20s, I was a writer in grad school, working towards an MFA in creative writing, living and breathing, or so I thought, my art. I felt bad for older people who'd lost their way, especially those who dug into their old treasure chests to recover past glories and said, "I used to do this." I never imagined I'd be one of them -- one of those who ended up sacrificing a passion for a job. What I didn't know then was that sacrifice can come easily, and that it's not always about trading art for a paycheck. Sometimes, you just fall for something else and neglect something you promised never to leave behind. I love the work I've been doing and I've always felt that it afforded me enough creativity. As someone who creates learning materials,