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DoodleScribbles

Scribblings and scrawls of a hopeless romantic soul

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doodlescribbles

A Brave and Startling Truth by Maya Angelou

Featured poems and spoken word poetry

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.


Starting the week with this powerful piece from none other than Maya Angelou. Have you personally uncovered a brave and startling truth in this lifetime — one that forever changed your life?

Book Talk: Forgive me book-god for I have sinned

“So many books, so little time,” says a book hoarder who promised two minutes ago not to buy any more books until her TBR list gets cleared.

At the onset of 2020, I made a promise to minimize my spontaneous book buying and to start reading the ones that are piling up on my shelf. I told myself to buy books only ─ and only if ─ absolutely necessary such as coming across must-reads or hard-to-find copies. But little did I know I was bound to cheat on that faithful afternoon on February when I entered Booksale and saw Velocity by Dean Koontz.

Fast forward to September, I find myself having my highest number of book haul in a month. Six books.

I know this desire to buy more books than what I can read in a lifetime is a universal guilty pleasure for book lovers. The question is, should we feel bad about it? Are we taking away the true essence of a book which is to be read? I cannot speak for others but, in my defense, here are three reasons of what triggers me to hoard books:

1. The bookstores. Do I even have to explain this? Here in the Philippines, the biggest distributors of books are National Bookstore, Fully Booked, and Booksale. The delight of walking along bookshelf aisle, the excitement of what awaits in book pages, the smell of books, old and new. Who would not be tempted to buy a book?

2. Book rescue. I have mentioned in my previous post that buying pre-loved books is one of my bookish fetish. I am a sucker for them. Aside from frequenting Booksale, I follow legit pre-book resellers, join “pasabuy” Facebook groups, turns on notification for book listings on marketplace, and just recently included Shoppee and Lazada in my go-to sites. I have always believed that every book deserves a home and this is my little way of helping. It’s like animal rescue, only books. Plus, hey, it’s a very cheap bargain too!

3. Happy hormone booster. Dopamine? Serotonin? Oxytocin? Whenever I add another member to my growing family of books, I feel like all my happy hormones are spiked up. If I am not reading or writing, buying books is my next resort during gloomy days.

Some people would say that book hoarding is a sin or a shame. That it is just vanity and greed masked as love for books. But as long as you are doing what you enjoy the most, shrug it off.

When Life Gives You Quarantine, Think Green

In a world plagued by seemingly endless news about death, corruption, economic collapse and ill-causing vibes, can planting a seed be a salve to our saddened hearts?

I have seen a sudden surge of home gardening projects among my friends in the past months and weeks. People are growing indoor plants, succulents, flowers, herbs, fruit trees, vegetables — even root crops! Some do it as a way to de-stress, to fight boredom and to stay sane. Some just want to be self-sufficient and grow their own groceries. Others, find it a reignited passion.

It seems like plants, in a way, have brought people together despite being apart.

Continue reading “When Life Gives You Quarantine, Think Green”

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – Change

Featured quote for Writer's Quote Wednesday

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

Leo Tolstoy

On this day, the literary gods and goddesses gifted the world with one of its greatest minds. Leo Tolstoy, through his novels and diaries, shared with us his views of life, the human experience and existence. What’s your favorite among his works?

Blog Update: Optimizing absence

Blog updates and work in prgress

I named this blog DOODLESCRIBBLES because that’s what I usually do — mindlessly and carelessly doodling or scribbling my thoughts away. As the years passed, I slowly discovered my own writing voice. My style. My preferences. My weaknesses. My identity as a writer.

But, for the past weeks, it seems to me that writing does not feel right. I have all these thoughts in my head wanting to tell a story or a poem, but I still can’t bring myself to write. So I guess an extended leave of absence is in order.

For now, I’ve decided to shift my focus on two things that I can control:

1) My old blog posts. Last month, I worked on re-categorizing my published posts. This time, I plan on optimizing my blog images. As you know, us freeloaders only have 3 GB of storage limit. We were taught in college about optimized images but I never really mind the file sizes whenever I upload something on WordPress. Whatever is from my phone’s gallery, goes straight to my media (lazy cat). It was only when I reached 93.7% of the storage space that I paid attention on the file sizes. LOL!

I started with travel photos since they eat up most of my storage space. Here’s a list of what I’ve successfully optimized so far.

I’ve managed to lower the data usage down to 69.2%. Still high but we’ll get there. This is not about traffic or rankings but creating a friendly and responsive blog post. Hopefully, loading time won’t bore my visitors anymore. HAHA

2) My Facebook page. I am only using prepaid mobile data which is also the reason why I cannot spend unlimited time on most apps, including WordPress. It would be easier if I opt for a WIFI plan at home but that is also a problem. I do not have a home. I’m a renter and I don’t want to pay thousands to install a WIFI connection only to move out one day.

Thankfully, most prepaid data promos nowadays offer a free access to Facebook. Which is why I am sharing here my pet project that I have been doing on my page. It’s called #WriteMyOwnHeadline. With all the negativity around the world, I’ve decided to write my own headline one day at a time. It’s just little snippets of good news that I’ve seen, heard or encountered in my routinary day. If you want to know more about it or show me your own daily headlines, let’s connect!

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – When patience is not your virtue

Featured quote for Writer's Quote Wednesday

Waiting isn’t an in-between time. Instead, this often-hated and underappreciated time has been a silent force that has shaped our social interactions. Waiting isn’t a hurdle keeping us from intimacy and from living our lives to our fullest. Instead, waiting is essential to how we connect as humans through the messages we send.

Jason Farman, Delayed Response: The Art of Waiting from the Ancient to the Instant World 

“What to do when you start getting impatient with yourself?”

Today, I found myself turning to Google for answers to this question. For reasons I cannot pinpoint, I started feeling impatient with myself. That I have not — cannot — write creatively. That my books lay unopened. That I’m being lousy in managing my blog/IG/Facebook page. And many more.

It scared me that I’m putting the blame on myself again. I know it’s wrong and I know I keep saying that we should take all the time that we need BUT there are just times when you can’t walk the talk. So in my helplessness, I scoured the web to explain this feeling from the medical and literary points of view. My quest for enlightenment led me to an old Brainpickings post, The Art of Waiting: Reclaiming the Pleasures of Durational Being in an Instant Culture of Ceaseless Doing, which inspired this week’s WQW. I hope this helps those who are feeling the same way.

What do you do when patience is not one of your strongest virtues?

Mt. Kalatkat: The things we give and take

The pandemic has opened our eyes to a world that seems to always take. Lives and livelihood are lost. Every day feels like another step away from time, opportunities, relationships, connections, sanity and peace of mind. It’s the ultimate survival test — and the animal in each of us is out.

I honestly never thought we’d get this worse. Our panic and fear turned to greed and selfishness. There is a me-first mentality that runs on a global, national, local and personal scale. We push and shove one another, determined to keep our spot of existence. This is not a health threat anymore. This is a threat to life.

As I started doubting the future, I looked for comfort from the past. I came across old photographs from last year’s hike for a cause that we held in Carcar City. It not only reminded me of our exciting experience in Mt. Kalatkat, but it gave me the much-needed assurance that there is still goodness in people’s hearts. That we are capable of caring and giving, too.

Continue reading “Mt. Kalatkat: The things we give and take”

Three days later

tied haired woman wearing top photo – Free Neck Image on Unsplash

I must carry on. Live this life, get up, pick the debris of your memories scattered on the floor. Breathe.

The world has not stopped revolving, I see. And my mom’s bacon and egg smell just the same. She lives with me now — for the mean time — using old age as an excuse to tiptoe into my room and check my chest for a heartbeat at night. Don’t laugh. Don’t make the funny face you always do whenever I tell you about my mother’s excessive paranoia. “I know!” I used to say, eyes rolling as I jump into your arms for comfort.

On the way to work, the old man on the street who once sold us matching rings smiles. I touch a finger which now feels bare. At two minutes past 11 o’clock in the morning, a Fat Man explodes over my life. There you are, laughing from a distance, with a woman whose hands are wrapped around your waist. I never thought the space you asked is meant for somebody else.

The sun shines with a blinding white flash in the sky. What a cruel twist of fate to see you two on the fall of Nagasaki. It’s only been three days.

“Are you crying, child?” the old man asks.

I wipe my mascara-stained tears, take a deep breath and walk away. “This is nothing. The people who experienced the black rain had it worse.”

MS

Two years ago, I wrote a Haibun titled Memories Sting. It was supposed to center on the tragedy of love but it somehow alluded to the ordeals of war. Revisiting my old blog posts reminded me of how I love weaving fiction with real history — of how comfortable it was to write Heritage and Some battles.

This story is my attempt to reconnect with the old me. It is also a commemoration of the Nagasaki bombing which marks its 75th year today.

Image via Unsplash

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – Are you a literary parasite?

Writer's Quote Wednesday

“For, substantially, all ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources.”

— Mark Twain

Mark Twain wrote this in his letter to Helen Keller who was once charged and acquitted of plagiarism.

This quote came to mind when I immersed into Kirby Ferguson’s Everything is a Remix, a four-part documentary about the long history of creativity, originality and copyright. In this series, he gives a contemporary explanation of Twain’s statement. On how ideas are continuously told, retold, combined, alluded and altered in films, music, writings, artwork, technology everything.

I, myself, have been a literary parasite (my own choice of words). There were many times when ideas are scarce and I cannot write from scratch. So I took inspiration from writers of the old and new. I’ve tried writing a poem that molded with Emily Dickinson’s and a fiction that borrowed a fellow blogger’s character.

I used to feel doubtful and fearful of unoriginality but Twain’s words taught me how everything builds on what came before. That it is not a failure of our creative integrity when we take inspiration from others and turn it into something that is unique to our voice. I see this now as a symbiotic relationship instead of creative kleptomania. I believe we can all be humble literary parasites while paying attribution with high regards.

There is a thin line, of course, between brazen plagiarism and honest innovation. Like I said, we should transform it into something that is not a copycat of the original. Find a unique angle, look closer to a specific detail, and from that idea, create an entirely new concept that is yours.

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