Poem to Eros is published!

One of five poems I submitted got published on the erotic poetry anthology of NY Literary Mag. It feels great and inspiring seeing my words and name in print.

I hope this is only the beginning of more writing jewels to share with the world. Cheers, and thank you, Muse!

Poem to Eros in NY Lit Mag FLAMES Poetry Contest

Get the digital poetry magazine issue on Amazon Kindle. Or read it for free on Issuu or Scribd.

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Dude, I miss the ’90s.

2017 might just be the year of nostalgia for me. Whether it’s revisiting old journal entries, deciding which school mementos to discard or keep in my decluttering frenzy, crying over the Anna Paquin movie, “Fly Away Home” or staying up until 4 a.m. just to catch Star Wars on cable (more like catching Carrie Fisher in her immortal moment as Princess Leia in a gold bikini strangling Jabba the Hutt to death), downloading mp3s of songs from the ’90s, or re-reading Harry Potter and other books from my childhood, nostalgia has been the driving force behind my see-sawing emotions for the most part of this year. Sometimes, I miss my simple, social media-less ’90s childhood, when Little Lulu and MTV were enough to make my day. Other times, I want to go back to my college days, or the years right after it, when being a dreamer didn’t give me as much heartache, and possibilities were everywhere, especially with the person right beside me.

The past is such a beautiful place, but I have to remind myself not to get stuck in it. My place is right HERE and right NOW. In the present. And there are things that need to get done. There is a book or two that I need to write. A house that needs decluttering. Friends that deserve my time and attention. Trips and adventures that need planning.

So, goodbye for now, wonderful past. For now, there is a present to be and a future to look forward to.

And on that note, here is a quote from one of my favorite movies ever, Anne of Green Gables.

Write even when the weather is against you.

On a day when it is too tempting to sleep in, I got up to write. I usually don’t get up early these days. I have become a chronic night owl. I tried to sleep in, but my mind is already abuzz. I can feel the holiday breeze in the air, hanging Amihan as we call it here, and I simply have to write. The air compels me to. I can feel a familiar, almost long-forgotten stirring in my heart and my bones again. My fingers itch for a pen and pad, or a keyboard, anything to write with.

Yes. I will write again like I used to all those years ago, and not exactly like it at the same time, for I am a different person now than I was back then. But this need, this nudge from the Muse, a constant longing to write, will always be with me.

When I woke up today, my first thought went to a Longfellow poem.

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;

It rains, and the wind is never weary;

This describes today in general, and my emotions, as gray as the overcast sky.

My thoughts still cling to the mouldering past,

But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,

I hanker for an addictive stimulant–a cup of warm English breakfast tea with a splash of milk and half a teaspoon of sugar, or matcha milk, just the way I like it. But I can’t, or my acid reflux will punish me for it. And as I write, I discover there’s really no need for it. The act of writing itself is already addictive, once you’ve found your groove or whatever it is you want to express, and the words just keep on flowing from you.

Thy fate is the common fate of all,

Into each life some rain must fall,

Some days must be dark and dreary.

And I am looking forward to better days ahead as I continue to write and be.

NY Literary Magazine Poetry Contest Finalist

I am proud to share that I am a finalist in the recently concluded FLAMES Erotic Poetry Contest by the NY Literary Magazine. I was one of thousands all over the world who submitted their work. I submitted multiple poems and wasn’t expecting much, but one of them made it!

It still feels surreal, like a wish-fulfillment dream I could wake up from any minute because reality is far from it…but it is REAL.

And it’s enough motivation and encouragement to continue believing that yes, I AM A WRITER. And I will continue writing. Cheers!

My poem and other finalists’ poems will be published in the December 2017 issue of NY Literary Magazine.

Books by women you should read before you die

I love book lists and reading lists. And lately, as I’ve been doing my own library inventory, it just dawned on me that around 90-95% of the books I own or have read were written by women. When scouring the shelves in a bookstore, I’m more likely to give a book another look and read the blurb at the back in greater detail if the author was female. I know there are a lot of great male authors out there, and I have nothing against male writers, I promise. It’s just that at this moment in my life, I consciously pay more heed to a woman’s voice. I am after all, a woman, and I am more drawn to the female perspective–how they describe the world around them, their innermost thoughts and experiences that mirror my own or are unique to them. I want to feel a connection with the women I encounter in my readings. I get to live many lives vicariously through them, and I emerge a stronger woman, a richer person out of it.

So imagine my excitement when I came across this list of recommended books to read written by women.

Here are the ones I’ve read so far:

  • Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontรซ) – my favorite!
  • A Room of One’s Own (Virginia Woolf)
  • A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’Engle)
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (J.K. Rowling)
  • Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
  • Pride & Prejudice (Jane Austen)
  • The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath)
  • The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson – I have a copy of this, but still haven’t finished going through all of Emily Dickinson’s poems. They’re so many!
  • The Diary of a Young Girl (Anne Frank)
  • The Giver (Lois Lowry)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood) – very gripping
  • The House of Mirth (Edith Wharton) – very tragic
  • The House of the Spirits (Isabel Allende)
  • The House on Mango Street (Sandra Cisneros)
  • We Should All Be Feminists (Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie)

Those on my to read list:

  • And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie)
  • Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery) – currently reading
  • Bad Feminist (Roxanne Gay)
  • I Am Malala (Malala Yousafzai)
  • Middlemarch (George Eliot)
  • Mrs. Dalloway (Virginia Woolf)
  • Obasan (Joy Kogawa)
  • Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi)
  • Rebecca (Daphne Du Maurier)
  • Second Sex (Simone de Beauvoir)
  • The Age of Innocence (Edith Wharton)
  • The Color Purple (Alice Walker)
  • The Death of the Heart (Elizabeth Bowen)
  • The Feminine Mystique (Betty Friedan)
  • The Glass Castle (Jeannette Walls)
  • The Namesake (Jhumpa Lahiri)
  • The Tale of Genji (Murasaki Shikibu)
  • Tipping the Velvet (Sarah Waters)
  • Wide Sargasso Sea (Jean Rhys)
  • Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)

Some day

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Some days I wish I could writeย the way I used to before

back when I wrote those poems of you,

back when I was full with longing and driven by need.

But I know I will write again someday

and not just about you

maybe it won’t be about you

I’ll write about red nail polish

and biting into apples ripe with truth and knowledge

I’ll write about the sea–

one part calm, one part stormy

and oh, how I thrive in both,

how I am both,

that I would continue to be both.

Maybe I could write about you someday with no regrets

And finally lay these bones of longing to rest.

These old pages

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Revisiting old writing is like rediscovering an old friend after a long time. You’re relearning those tiny details you loved about her–her laugh, her idiosyncrasies, what made the two of you click together in a way that you’ve never had with another.

Old feelings flood back and assault you, warmth as palpable as the naked sun on your face that time you laid on your back on a rock at the beach on a perfect summer’s day, giving in to the pull of the waves lulling you into a sweet sleep.

And sometimes the yearning is the hardest to bear–to be back as you were in that same moment now only preserved in words, reanimated by memory.

But you know you can never go back–to a frenzied infatuation you dreamed would bloom into love, or a kinship you thought would last until you left the bubble of youth. The sweet with the bitter and the tang, the then and the now, all a part of you–occupying a space where you can embrace them both, for as long as the feeling lasts.

In that moment, time doesn’t exist–it’s immaterial. It’s just you and the memories. Suddenly, there’s a thread that runs through you that regret is a thing unheard of, almost, and rejected.

There can be only what you make of, continue to be, choose. You can finally let go and let the old bones rest where they should be. And you realize now with clarity that wasn’t there before: there is peace, there is peace within.