Showing posts from November, 2022

Singing and dancing

Psalm is a beautiful poem by Michellan Sarile-Alagao, which I read this morning, after my quiet time. Psalm appears in page 37 of her collection, After the Sunstone . Prof. Marjorie Evasco referred to this piece in the foreword as her favorite.  I would like to you to sing over me a song of deliverance.  I am tired of singing to you, offering praises that don't get past the ceiling.  If this is presumptuous,  then I know I am forgiven already. I am a little girl—dancing, demanding: Look at me. Look at me.  I am a child ready to play hide and see, ready to be found. Oh Lord, remind us that we were loved into being.  Shout it, if you must. Let that fact be the music I dance to, and the song that finds me. The poem resonates with my personal Christian theological convictions. God sings and is happy. God forgives and justifies us completely, not on the basis of our goodness, but on His unmerited love. "We were loved into being"—don't you just love that line? This realiz

Paul, one year old

On the night of his first year with us, Paul resumed his open-pit mining activities in mother's garden. When we woke up the next day, we saw the horrific devastation to my mother's treasured flora. One would think he was digging to reach the earth's core.  " Hala ka, Paul," we told him.  " Wala abi siguro siya na -walking" was the prevailing theory. Because it had been raining that afternoon, he missed his routine with Auntie Nanic, who walks him around. Their ritual includes several rounds in the morning and a few more in the afternoon. They go as far as the plaza, where Paul greets his canine friend Vlad. He likes chasing frogs in the vacant lots and prefers to relieve himself by the garden of a community doctor. One morning, when nobody was looking, Paul had defecated there. The home's caretaker, who saw the deed, reprimanded them. Auntie Nanic's face must have turned red in embarrassment, and she apologized profusely. Paul looked ambivalent,

Read then write

The poet Gerald Stein , quoted by Chris Hedges: Your job is to read, read, read and occasionally write. I should be finishing a nonfiction piece I've been asked to contribute for a lit magazine (it is due later tonight), but when I should be writing my first draft, I'm immersed, once more, in reading. It seems that, to get my literary juices flowing, I need to be warmed up by Bible study, poetry, or book excerpts. The best time for writing is in the morning, after a good sleep, when everything is quiet and still, and the concerns of the world—the hospital and the clinic—remain at a safe distance. 

Dr. Joti Tabula and Dr. Luis Gatmaitan

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to listen to two important and excellent lectures.  The first was by Dr. Joti Tabula, who talked about creative non-fiction writing and narrative medicine. I call him Sir Joti because he was my senior resident in internal medicine. He has, in many ways, remained a mentor to me. Since the days of medical training, he has dabbled in his two loves, writing and healing, and has long since championed narrative medicine in the country, egging and encouraging physicians like me to share our works with the world. I am forever grateful. In his lecture, he used my piece, "Mother and Son," as an example, which was a great honor for me, but which made me extremely self-conscious. It is true that one's creative works take lives of their own the moment the author releases them into the world. I thought of this truth when he analyzed my works paragraph by paragraph. To be honest, I did not consciously think of using a literary device in this part, di

Open forum with Gideon Lasco

I had the honor of moderating the open forum with Dr. Gideon Lasco, medical anthropologist, columnist in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and author of The Philippines Is Not A Small Country.  His lecture, A Doctor's Craft of Writing, can be streamed here . His talk kicks off the Third Creative Nonfiction Workshop of the Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center of De La Salle University.  We asked him to read Requiem for "Pamana," one of his column articles and which also appears in his essay collection. I'm surprised to know that his influences and inspirations for writing include the apostle Paul, Gabriel García Marquez, Isaac Asimov, Yasunari Kawabata, JRR Tolkien, and works of science fiction.  Keep on writing, Dr. Gideon! 

This Sunday

Power outage in the morning, well into the church service, where the preacher talked about the sin of favoritism, expounding on James 4.  My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Then, communion, followed by first-Sunday-of-the-month lunch—a tradition from when I was a child, scolded by his mother for drawing and scribbling instead of listening to the sermon. I was, still am, easily distracted. I’m grateful for Sundays: to be in the company of brothers and sisters and saints after a tiring work week. Their f

Solferino Station, Paris Métro

I love trains! Yes, even the LRT! (Freddie, if you're reading this, do you feel the same way?!)

Performative cruelty

Adrianna Tan, originally from Singapore, whose blog Popagandhi I have followed since college, writes about leaving Twitter and shares her thoughts on social media in general . I am done, I think, with the performative cruelty of early social media. No more dunks, no more subtweets, no more yelling. If I am angry about something, and there are many things to be angry about, I plan to log off and count to five and go for a walk and write about it later if I am still angry about it. Her term, "performative cruelty," hits it right in the spot. When Twitter and Instagram were starting, I found myself in a growing crowd of excited users. I itched to update my feed constantly. I followed writers, famous people, and random people I shared common interests with. But getting older has allowed me to gain better insight and to appreciate the value of restraint and privacy. I decided to "log off and count to five and go for a walk" instead of living my life online. I rediscovere

Grave, stayed, and solid

Matthew Henry on 1 Peter 4: Let the frame and temper of your minds be grave, stayed, and solid; and observe strict temperance and sobriety in the use of all worldly enjoyments. Do not suffer yourselves to be caught with your former sins and temptations ( 1 Pet. 4:3 ).

Berry, New South Wales

Snapshot of flowers by Nanay on our detour to Berry town, New South Wales.