LIFE UPDATE [S1, EP3]: Diving into the murky waters of self-publishing 


Welcome to an overdue blogpost! Daily posting is the number one cause of creativity’s death.

Yeah, I know it’s a New Year’s resolution, but damn if I don’t feel burned out already. I think it’s better to follow the rule of three to four posts a week, so behold a new schedule: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays! 

Part of the reason why daily posting is hard for me this week is because I’ve been trying to produce content for a self-published book and this blog at the same time. Some of my posts on here are actually early drafts of content that will be there. 

Above is the cover of my self-published book to be sold at the 2018 Komiket, from February 25 – 26 in Quezon City. I’ll be selling with Joaquin, whose web serial will be sold in print! 

I don’t know if anyone’s noticed, but I published two versions of The City twice – because it’s one of the poems that’s going to be in Paper Trails and I keep making changes to it. I edited it further, and will use a part of it as the blurb on the back cover. As a preview – and if any of you are living in the Philippines, please consider going to Komiket! – here’s the final version:

Look out the city; look up the skies. See
a thousand lights above; a thousand lights
spread around – pulsing, in the mystery
of space; pulsing, in the darkest of nights.
See: a man; a cloth over a shoulder,
hunched like Atlas, in carrying the world;
a girl, feet clad in cotton and leather,
walking, plaid skirt wrinkled with hair unfurled;
a shadow, fingers like a ghost haunting
the strings of his guitar; a woman, out
in an ungodly hour, feet dragging
across the pavement, without fear nor doubt
among the people underneath the glow
of neon lights; all on a walk to home,
(all in search of home). Look, see and know:
of how odd it is to feel forsaken
when surrounded by a myriad of lives;
to know of dark alleys; hours; streets, awakened
to the cognizance of stories that thrive

untold, unfolding; inevitable
that we never know of our role in it all.

I’ve read it over so many times it sounds off to me, but it does sound way better than the earlier versions I published here. Another reason why daily posting is not good: hot off the press posts are usually in dire need of editing before being posted.

Paper Trails, though a suite of poems and prose, is centered around a police operation that happened on January 14, 2017, in Metro Manila. One is killed. Three have seen. 

I also explore themes of death and loss to get rid of the teenage angst inside me.

I actually did self-publishing once last year – and actually, just a month ago! It was our book fair and I produced Rhapsody, a book filled once again with my poems. It had all the rookie mistakes: along with Joaquin, we both didn’t know how to bookbind, we were confused over the setting of pages, my cover looked like a wedding invitation, there were no blurbs or excerpts at the back, no acknowledgment, and finally my stupidest mistake: I didn’t put my name on the book at all. Cool, right? One day I’ll have a post called How Not To Self-Publish. 

Also, I’ve updated my blog: there are now Poetry (under Writing) and Review categories since I’ve figured I’ll be making them a lot this year, and of course to make it easier for my readers.

Have a .gif of me in the sunlight, which is notable because it’s becoming harder to get up and function normally. But I’m picking myself up now, before it gets any worse, and acting like this comic of Beth Evans: 

Let’s hope I stick to schedule this time! And that I continue on producing content for this blog and for my book without burning out. 

Weekly-round up of cool slash useful information:

That’s it for this week! Ciao. 


uncertainly approximating distances 


i approximate the distance between us 
when i 
am lying on my bed – 
and you lying on yours, possibly, 
or sitting in a straight-backed chair, 
drinking coffee and overlooking the city:
where i am but a speck of the view, 
where i cannot be seen,
and i 
close my eyes 
feeling the miles 
stretch out before me – and
when i 
am sitting beside you, and
when i 
walk with you,
with my arms constantly brushing yours,
when i 
am close enough to feel your breath, where  maybe,
maybe, if i inched just a little bit closer, 
i’d see
how many centimeters there are to cover
til my skin touches yours,
until you look in my eyes, 
until you kiss me – maybe, just 
maybe then, 
i’d be close enough.
until there is no more distance 
to think of,
or to measure,
but of only how far
your heart feels
from what mine does.

Note: 17 days into trying to publish one post a day and I fall back to a poem I made last year to keep the streak up. Creativity gods, please help.

In frame: fall // 2017 drawing 



Let me make a home
     out of you. Show
me which step to your
     heart creaks along
the way, let me
     see the dust that has
gathered in the
     corners; in the rooms
abandoned. Tell
     me of the hour in
which the sun shines through
     the window and through
the cracks of the doors
     half-opened, and
spills onto the
     living room floor – a
golden pool of
     light that brightens up
the walls. Show me
     which secrets are
locked in the bedroom
     drawers. What hides
among skeletons
     in the closet;
what creatures we
     must fight in the dead
of night beneath
     your bed. Let me
join you in hiding
     places. And then, at
eve, underneath the
     blankets, on your side
of the bed, whisper
     to me what you
wish to dream of,
     let me hold you in
the cold.

In frame: depth // most recent drawing! 



Thrice faster,
My heart and pulse
Seem to beat.
Warm blankets 
Pulled over my 
Head suffocates
Me in the
Darkness and I 
Lie wide awake with
The strange noises 
Of eve.

Until dawn comes, and 
It with you 
In the morn, and 
You sprinke stardust on 
My pillow – an arm 
Beneath my head – and take
Me with you to another universe.

You breathe 
In a rhythm that makes me think
Of lullabies and 
The melody 
Rises and falls incessantly until I 
Close my eyes –
calm, now, unafraid –

And drift off to dream.

In frame: love makes the flowers bloom // most recent drawing! 

An End to Ennui 


I used to live in a large apartment building, composed of five stories and white-washed, where there must be four main staircases and four fire exits. I explored all likely routes and exits from our floor; from the hallway across us; from the dangling ladder leading to a stairwell at the grounds. Vans that exist to sell internal organs of children and houses that become the prison of those kidnapped drilled into my head – as well as my address, parents’ numbers, and the correct answer to who do you approach for help? -, what was once just a simple pasttime became something vaguely useful. Throughout the years, when we moved from one place to another, I had developed the obsessive habit of checking all the potential escape routes. Large windows, fire exits. Ladders and stairwells. Rooftops low enough for me to jump onto the neighbor’s roof if needed. The more the escape routes, the more comfortable I was.

Perhaps it developed me into a fickle person, somewhat capricious – perhaps it was one of the symptoms of me being so. I could never stay as someone constant. Once something begins, it must have an end. Entropy increases; everything crumbles. Faced with people and new circles of friends; a new living space; a new school, I ask – how do I get out of this? How will it end? How do I save myself; keep my head above the water? What are the ways out? I look for the escape routes within people. I look for escape routes within situations. I look for escape routes in every place. I was running away from danger that wasn’t even present. In my thinking, it really wasn’t – not yet.

Maybe in some circumstances it was for the better. Most of the time, however, it seems I set myself up for destruction and run away before it could get worse. I start the fire and let it consume the bridges I’ve established; I let it burn down to ashes. I don’t look back and blind myself enough to think it was a natural occurrence.

It’s strange to feel contentment. It’s strange to want it; to have the comfort of everything the way they are even with the dust that’s gathered at every nook and corner. I know things will not stay static; I know things are bound to change. I used to be bored to death with the same people and the same damn things. Now I keep thinking of a daily routine as a luxury of the present.

Now, I’ll hold on to every moment of how things are. Tear out the memories from my mind and tear out pieces of paper and put them there. Ink and paper is not bound to betray us, unlike our fading memories and aging bodies, unlike time; unlike everything to be weathered down to be unrecognizable. What matters right this moment is how everything stands, as if we were indestructible. As if we are invincible.

As if we are timeless.

In frame: the universe conspires for you to grow, by me! It’s my most recent drawing.

Aspiring Finality 


There is a conclusion somewhere; where the last line of the story sits at the end of page, and the period a comfortable sight beside it. The narrative is done; the plot events rounded up to give out the moral of the story, to articulate and clarify the bigger picture.

There is a conclusion somewhere wherein the what-ifs stay as impossible feats with the story done and concrete, that one can no longer fit in a possibility of where the story could go. It’s somewhere one can pore over the finished diegesis, look at the twists with a familiar thrill.

There is a conclusion somewhere that makes the story just one event that happened to lead to another, and the ending’s a bittersweet happy-ever-after. 

Life is much like a story, but it isn’t one. Here we outline the difference of similes and metaphors. We are not in a story. A moral lesson doesn’t sit waiting for us to get to it. Life is complex, inconsistent, drilled with consequences that aren’t meant for character progression and a convincing narrative. Meanings and purposes are blurred. 

A story has an ending; a linear timeline; a portrait painted in black and white. A life has a cycle and hues of grey; is a place where there are no heroes, sidekicks, or villains – just humans, dealing with circumstances. Life when written down in a story has only the pale shadow of emotion and complexities of situations that words cannot contain them all; life as we know it written down would be paper trails that uncovers continuously and never concludes.

I long to have that sense of finality, to look back and just rest easy in a happily-ever-after, though it will never come. The toil is endless. We continue.

The credits roll and we leave the cinema. The last page is read and we leave the book shut on a shelf. There is a conclusion somewhere. It isn’t for us.