Milestones and Motivations

It’s easy to lose grip of the purpose of what you’re doing, making it easier to abandon the exact task at hand, eventually leading you to failing to fulfill that precise thing. It’s a complicated matter, I guess, especially when a project starts out really slow and appears to go nowhere. A lot of times, it’s easy to just give up.

I’ve said a lot about advice, and about getting through something even if you’re experiencing difficulty, but I think it’s relevant to drive home the message again. This time, though, with a more general approach.

Whatever one attempts to undertake in life, the rule to be remembered is this (albeit a cliched rule): nothing good comes easy. If something’s worth anything, worth a lot, in fact, you can bet that a hundred people will try to pry it from your grasp. And “it” is a variable thing. It can be excellent academic standing. It can be recognition in the workplace. It can be, in broad strokes, fame, fortune, or variations thereof. And you try to walk down the road leading to your own goal, when halfway down you discover that you’re, somehow, inefficient, incompetent, and completely unworthy of the goal you’re attempting to reach. Which is a common mindset, of course, and something that everyone has to deal with. A little bit of self-deprecation goes a long way when you’re trying to humble yourself, but it will become debilitating in the long run, and you’ll discover that whatever road you’ve set out on, that whatever project you undertake, you’ll eventually cripple yourself and prevent yourself from completing it. “Ifs” and “buts” haunt you. You look at how well others are doing and think to yourself, you’re not really that good, so you can’t really reach their level.

We live in a world where progress is partly – but significantly – defined by how many Facebook likes you get, how many friends talk to you, and how often you update your social media accounts. Seeing people “live” their lives online makes you think that you have nothing good to post and present to a virtual public. Your pursuits are ignored by the people you share them with. Sometimes they don’t have time. Sometimes they just don’t care. And eventually you’ll think you don’t have time, or you don’t care. The project is abandoned. Dead.

That’s troubling and everything, I suppose, but the important thing to remember is this: there will be slumps. Hardships. But there is never only one way to accomplish something. There’s never only one path. What brought a friend to success may not be the road for you, because it lies elsewhere, with your passions.

To get you off the slump, it pays to look at what brought you to setting yourself down the path in the first place. Milestones that have added up in the past may have served as ladders to where you plan to go, and you have to remind yourself again and again that there is a purpose, and that (hopefully), what you’re doing is for yourself. At least, it started out that way. Reminding yourself of what you’ve accomplished so far, and what you want to accomplish, will help to get you to your goals. Like I said before, nothing good ever comes easy.

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Read/Write: Reasserting the Importance of Reading

Previously, I wrote about writing, and how it is an intimate experience. In fact, let’s stretch that, and say that, in the act of creation, artistic pursuits in general – composition, visual art – are intimate experiences on their own. But at the moment, I am reminded of something my professor in English Renaissance Literature told the class about. Once, she overheard some Creative Writing students adamantly refusing to read anything because it might influence their writing. Another local writer claims the same sentiment: you do not have to be a wide reader to be a writer. These attempts at justifying not reading comes off as weird to me, since reading should already serve as a springboard for the act of writing. It doesn’t help that big-name writers actually advocate reading a lot. I am here to reassert the importance of reading, and how it goes hand-in-hand with writing. You can’t separate one from the other, in other words.

Reading is as much an intimate activity as writing, though in a vastly different way that writing is intimate. Both acts involve the self and the text. Whether it is one writing the text or one reading the text does not matter – what matters is that we recognize the fact that one cannot read for another as much as one cannot write for another, in the purest manner possible. What I’m trying to say, in other words, is that when you read, you are engaged in an active exchange with the text. When you write, you are engaged in an active exchange with what you are writing. Both are not simply centered on what the material is. Both are centered on what you are, what you think of, and what you do with the material.

That’s all fun, but how significant is this? Since we’re focusing on reading and its importance, let me get one thing clear (and I don’t think it has to be said because it’s obvious, but I will still say it for the sake of emphasis): reading is an intellectual and active experience. Maybe physically you’re just sitting down, but your mind flits here and there, examining the cracks in the text, examining the text’s texture. Whether you notice it or not, when you read a text, you are developing your own understanding of it. Your own interpretation. This interpretation cannot be invalidated by anyone else, because it is how you understand the text to be structured – only that you have to assert your interpretation by picking out supporting details within the text (and even, in certain cases, outside of it), and strengthening your argument as to why you believe in that certain interpretation. Literary theory is filled with a lot of ways on how to read or understand a text – psychoanalytic, Marxist, feminist, to name a few – but literary theory does not always hold. Reading, in short, develops your own ability to understand a text. It develops your ability to discern particular details, figure out puzzles, find explanations, and string them into a whole that will, hopefully, make sense. And the important thing here is the linchpin: you. You read primarily for yourself, and you think primarily for yourself. Combine this with a text that can be interpreted in a number of ways virtually infinite, and that’s just a daunting map to navigate.

As for reading not being a necessary thing for one to write? That’s an easy way to get out of the act of reading itself. Influence is inevitable, and it comes from everywhere. Reading makes you understand how a text is supposed to work – or not work – for you to be able to write something yourself. It’s not helpful if you don’t read. The nuances of texts will escape you, and the effectiveness of writing will follow in its wake.

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Writing Is An Intimate Experience

Want an interesting exercise? Go Google your favorite writers’ writing advice. Different people have different things to say about writing itself, and while writing advice (and why you should write) can be given by anyone, from your closest friend to your teacher, it’s like there’s prestige when the piece of advice comes from a famous best-selling author. Here are a few choice cuts from writers:

Stephen King:

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid or making friends. Writing is magic, as much as the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink.”

Jeanette Winterson:

“I believe that we are all part of the creative continuum, but I am sure that there are different doses and dilutions of creativity. We are not all the same and we do not have the same aptitudes or talents. I can’t make you a writer. “

Neil Gaiman:

“The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.”

Jack Kerouac:

“Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy”

All are writers who have, in some way or another, made waves in the literary scene. The quotes that have been picked here (and with them come the links of the articles from which I’ve lifted them) all, in essence, echo the idea of writing as an individual experience. Jeanette Winterson (Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Written On the Body) says it best, I think: “I can’t make you a writer.” The implication springs from there: writing is an individual experience, intimate in nature and rooted in the self. Sure, you can show what you’re written to your friends and family, your teachers, and sure you may get the chance of getting published (and maybe selling a lot), and certainly editors will chip and pick away details here and there, and certainly critics will find cracks in your work and pry them open. But while the point is not to invalidate valuable input from readers of all sorts, what they are reading is what you have written, which means that the essence of the written work is your own, though you may have been influenced by other writers, in one way or another. Just as Winterson “can’t make you a writer,” no one can write what you need to write, in the way that you want something to be written.

The immediacy and the intimacy coming from the act of writing cannot be replicated by merely reading someone else’s work, or copying someone else’s writing. The absence of firsthand sentiment is too obvious and too strong, and instead of penning down your own thoughts, you find yourself agreeing with what has already been said. Writing is an intimate experience because it allows you to talk to yourself, in that you’re given the opportunity to articulate thoughts and challenge yourself in as effective a manner as you can possibly touch. Writing is, anyway, an act of creation. It starts out messy and difficult, but the more you write, and the more you realize how intimate you can be with your written word, the easier (hopefully) everything pans out, and the more comfortable you can get with your thought process.

In the end, it’s fair to say that you should write when you need to write, and write whatever you need to write. Everything else comes in second, because, even if you’re not absolutely conscious of it, you’re writing firstly for yourself.

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Clean Slates and Beginnings: The New Year and Creativity

I’ve already written something related to the New Year before, but it’s about looking back and evaluating yourself, instead of looking forward. The New Year is interesting because, even if it, realistically speaking, just another year – and the coming of it just another new day – a lot of people put stock in the fact that it represents a fresh start. For what? I don’t know. It varies from person to person, and may involve, among other things, trying out new things, going somewhere you’ve never gone to before. Which are all really nice goals, and which help make the start of the new year something really exciting. At the very least, you have something to look forward to.

But these kinds of goals are things I like to think of as “one-time” goals. Once you’ve accomplished them, they can never really be replicated, because they are events that are merits in themselves. And so people make new years’ resolutions, which may or may not be thrown out of the window after the first week.

In terms of creative output, though, it may be a little harder. Often, an artist is comfortable with the excuse of not being in the mood to write, or draw, or paint or something, and while I’m against forcing oneself to make something while not being in the right mindset, sometimes it’s nice to have something to push yourself to do something. Since the new year is a sort of blank slate, why not mark your own calendars with mini-deadlines and goals to achieve, in terms of creative output? A lot can be done there. It doesn’t even have to be limited to just writing, or drawing, per se. You can write a short story every month, or a few poems, and make sure to read a new short story every week. In a sense, it’s like working out, although much less physical and much more intellectual – unless actual physical work out gets your head going.

And stick to your mini-deadlines. One of the reasons why new year’s resolutions fail to work is because after going at it for a while, a person might not feel very comfortable about what he or she is doing, or is not seeing any huge, significant results that might convince him or her that the resolution is working. As with all things, do not be discouraged. It’s probably going to be rough at the start, especially if you’re, say, trying to write after a long period of not writing. A friend linked me to an infographic detailing two kinds of mindsets, and she was telling me that, for 2015, she’s going to adopt the “growth” mindset and push herself to the limit to see what things she can do. And I told her, “yeah, that’s a good mindset to adopt, and I suppose everyone can get something really good if they can just adopt that kind of mindset.”

Which might be true. But the important thing is, if you’re setting deadlines for yourself, making goals for your creative outputs, keep these in mind:

  • Make them realistic. Know your limits, and then try to find a good stretch so you can grow without overextending yourself.
  • Follow the resolutions. Lists are fun to make and often, people are so excited to start out, but no doubt somewhere in the middle it gets really tough. Just push through, and you’ll be fine.
  • Keep a larger goal in mind. If there’s something you really want to achieve for 2015, as they say, “keep your eyes on the prize.” And again, as people say, “no pain, no gain,” so really, you just have to run and grab it.

That said, here’s to a great year ahead!

And another thing:

I mentioned an infographic about two mindsets, and here it is (along with the article).

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Why Old is Gold

One thing that many people mistake about creativity is that, because it is associated with originality and modernization, it has to be something that was never done or even attempted ever before. The bigger problem is many have actually come to believe this, which is why new artists who are still struggling to make a name for themselves are finding it hard to break the ice. Most of them are having a hard time when it comes to deciding on how they would go about building a foundation for their talent. They are too cautious, rather fearful, about being called a cliché. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again; the moment you pay attention to what your critics say, you should either prepare for a meltdown, or worse, the death of your creative career. Although, you really don’t have to lose hope if that should happen because you can always start from scratch once you’re through the whole mourning process. The point is, disregard any negative things people say about your recycled work or concept because if it turns out to be a success, no single criticism will matter. In fact, you can laugh off any defamatory statement said about you or what you’ve created.


These days, everyone (not really, but many people I know) always get overly excited about Thursdays and Fridays. Why? It’s because they get to post old photographs of them (or friends and family, sometimes even celebrities they like) to reminisce and somehow celebrate a holiday that’s barely even legit, and use a hashtag (#) on the posts followed by words like ‘throwback’, ‘flashback’, or ‘circa’ plus the year the photo was taken. The photos, although no longer in their best condition, seem to look very artsy, thanks to photo editing apps on tablets or most smartphones, the most popular of which is Instagram. The whole objective of the app is having its users express themselves creatively through photographs. Basically you use old or recently taken pictures then add some filters, frames and other elements so that it comes out looking new, different, unique. The funny thing is, even though they didn’t require much effort, these pictures get a lot of likes and are re-blogged or shared on other sites. I’m actually not one of those people who enjoy doing these things, but I’ve got to admit, some can be pretty creative in their own way. Some of them don’t mind having similar themes or concepts with other users, in fact, they like to keep up with what the rest of the world is doing. And it’s not a cliché, but instead, a trend.


Personally, I don’t think having similarities with others in terms of work or expression takes away one’s authenticity. That is something not even the most creative mind, not even geniuses, can escape from. We either have things in common or differences. The classics are timeless. Any attempt on remaking or re-creating them is a form of flattery directed towards the original creators. Whether the remakes do justice to the classics or not, what counts is, it’s good enough that they bring these old masterpieces back to life. The good oldies will always live through time, but that is the work of the present generation to keep the memory of their glory days alive. That is how you as modern day artists can contribute to your respective art forms. It doesn’t have to be within blood ties to be a legacy. You must be brave enough to create what you can in the present, with help from what you’ve learned from the past, to live beyond your time and make it to the future. And in the future, where your creation is considered old, who knows how many people would find it gold?


Our admiration of the antique is not admiration of the old, but of the natural.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Travel Writing: When Experiences Become Stories

One of my friends, who’s pursuing a Broadcast Communication degree, told me that, as someone who wants to specialize in production, she can’t just sit in front of a laptop all day and piece together footage drawn from different sources to make a wonderful video. Images don’t just magically come together to form a coherent whole, and they’d have less of a tendency to do so if they’re not videos or images you’ve captured yourself.

I’m inclined to agree, although what my friend said is not limited to production or broadcasting. Of course, one can’t just sit all day waiting for things to come together all of a sudden. Writing, for example. This one’s getting really tired, but of course, writers are supposed to “write what [they] know,” and I doubt anyone would know anything if they’re just cooped up in their room basking in the glow of the monitor.

Before my semester ended, one of the things we tackled in one of my classes is travel writing, particularly from the Renaissance. I’m not entirely sure what travel writing means now (and I personally wouldn’t call travel guides for tourists “travel writing”), but people like Marco Polo, John Mandeville, and Antonio Pigafetta, were all travel writers drawing from experiences. Or “experiences,” in the case of Marco Polo and Mandeville. To summarize some of what the three did: Marco Polo, Mandeville, and Pigafetta all wrote about what they saw on their travels (although they were inclined to either exaggerate greatly or fill in blank spaces with strange and entertaining phenomena) and had their texts published. Their travel accounts are both personal and objective (to a certain extent), and of course during the time their texts were published, considered fresh, new, and interesting.

I doubt the entire globe’s been scoured by travelers today. Maybe what’s left undiscovered is either too deadly for the traveler or too vulnerable in the face of the traveler. Nevertheless, I’m still here to drive home the point: movement is important, experiencing is important, and going around knowing things firsthand will help in writing. A new experience can ignite creativity, and may fuel your writing. There are no guarantees, of course, and I’m not saying that every new experience must be written down. Especially if you’re a writer anyway, you don’t really have to have strictly new experiences. Tackle familiar things from a strange angle, from a different perspective, from a different frame. And if you really want to travel, anyway, it does not have to be anywhere exotic or expensive. Just going around a new neighborhood, or visiting a new locale that’s ten minutes away from your place, can be enough to help you in your “travel writing.” Certainly, there’s no assurance that what you’re going to write is as fresh or unique as what the Renaissance writers had written before, but gaining new perspectives just by going around will help a lot. Write what you know, basically. And if you don’t know it, supply the missing pieces, or actually try to find out what it is.

A Few Other Things:

I’ve mentioned three names here, and if you’re interested, here are links to their Wikipedia pages:

Mandeville / Pigafetta / Marco Polo

Here, too, is a link to one of Pigafetta’s texts, Pigafetta’s Account of Magellan’s Voyage.

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Read. Write. Repeat.

Life is like a battle, but no one is really born a soldier. One has to train, learn how to use various weapons, and of course prepare mentally. You can’t win wars without a good leader who knows how and when the best time to fire is. And if you also don’t safeguard your stacks of ammo, you can get killed just because hiding can only save you for a while, that is if the enemy is not that persistent to exterminate your entire troop. It’s not very different from being a writer. Your knowledge is as good as the material you read, and your wisdom comes from your experiences. When you aim to conquer the world of literature, you must constantly think of ways on how you can make use of what you have learned. Many say that people who go out there and face the realities of life know better than people who only rely on books for facts. I beg to disagree. Before these facts were stated in the books, they were also real-life experiences, if not something the author witnessed himself. Even fiction novels have some essence of truth in them, evident in how they have similar patterns with what really goes on in real life. The only difference is, in fiction, everything is a little more interesting than how things normally are. Whether you write fiction or not, you always need to have some backing. What you need to do is, read as much as possible, and note down the points that you feel can be used for your own writing later on. This is stacking ammo for writers. You will never know for sure if you will be able to use them in the future, but it’s good to have reassurance from yourself that you have something you can count on when you have to.


I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I rarely travel (but would most definitely love to if I have time), and I don’t have that many noteworthy experiences to share or use as raw material for my writings. However, I have written many short stories, poems and songs. I owe it all to my reading habit. Perhaps my wide imagination also had something to do with it, but, this also spawned from hearing stories my grandmother would tell me. Oh she was quite the storyteller. When I was a kid, my mom always encouraged me to read. I started with fables then eventually more complex ones. My mother loved reading too. When she was in college, she collected Sidney Sheldon books. When I ran out of books to read, I snuck into her room to steal (okay borrow) one of the books just because I couldn’t sleep, even though she strictly forbid me to at that time because it wasn’t appropriate for my age then. Somehow, after having finished reading a book, I feel like being in a crisis, asking myself ‘now, what am I going to do?’ That’s the thing with reading too. In the beginning, you relate to a character because you have something in common. As you read on, you realize you have nothing in common with the character, but you want to. So when the story ends, you feel like your life ended as well. For me, whenever I feel like I don’t agree with how the author ended the story, I write my version of it. Sometimes, I write a completely different story, but it has some influence from the last book that I have read.


A good writer must also be a good reader. Let the authors who came before you pass on what they know. During their time, some were considered as visionaries. Critics here and there say that what their ambition is for the following generations is a joke because they can never be certain of how the future is going to be like. But look at us today, we live in new times, but we still look back into the past for something that can support or strengthen our own ambitions for the generations after ours.


Maybe this is why we read, and why in moments of darkness we return to books: to find words for what we already know.” – Alberto Manguel

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Have Fun For Creativity’s Sake

Everyone needs to unwind every once in a while. Earlier today, I suddenly had an idea. I couldn’t exactly say that it is a brilliant one, but I’m just happy that it had entered my thoughts. It is about this short story I’ve always wanted to write when I was in grade school, but, neurotic as I am about completing a task, I always tend to lose the drive in finishing it. This time, however, I have finally pieced together how I want my story to unfold. This time, I thought, I have a better chance of writing the piece and get to its ending. Noon came, and I was running out of things to write. I woke up thinking I could finish the story before the day ends. I thought wrong. It’s turning out to be more challenging than I thought, even though before I started, I had everything mapped out. The harder I pondered, the more resistant my brain became in welcoming ideas. I grew frustrated and gave up. I had my mind made up about never finishing that story at all. I went to my room, turned the fan on, and lay on my bed. I was hoping that being unproductive was just a matter of recharging my batteries, so I took a nap. When I woke up, I haven’t felt more energized. I sat right back in front of my desk and tried my luck on the story again, since I am finally well-rested. It’s almost time for supper and still, I haven’t written a thing. The blank space on my screen never looked more empty.


Food. That’s it! I remember having written a post before about the importance of eating right and its significance to the creative process. I joined my family at the dining table. We had quite a satisfying meal, but I unfortunately have to wait until the next good meal to savor satisfaction for a longer time. With just a few more hours before the day ends, I get right back to business and put my game face on, as I am now in front of my laptop for the third time today. I don’t know if the odds are just against me finishing this story or this is some kind of bad karma (although I’m pretty sure I’ve been really nice lately), but this is really bringing me down.


When I was still in college, I remember how my friends and I used to blow off steam during finals week (a.k.a. the stress marathon) by playing pool and having a few beers, so that we would feel refreshed and get our minds off of the pressure to pass the exams. I’m not saying it works for everybody, but it did work for us. Whenever we get back to studying after having a good time, the lessons seem to become easier to digest. I have noticed that my grades were better when I have a little fun in between study times, than when I study straight until the exams come. However, this claim is just based on a personal experience. There’s no scientific proof to back this theory, but if it can work for some, there’s no harm in trying it yourself, because it might work for you too.


Going back to the problem at hand… I have just realized that reminiscing how I handled an equally frustrating situation from back in the days, I’ve discovered the solution to my present dilemma. Maybe I just needed to play, so that I can regain efficiency at work. I’m not really into the games that most gamers are into these days. I’m kind of old school, I’m addicted to Tetris Battle on Facebook. I know, I know. It’s lame for some, but I enjoy it a lot. It’s practically the reason why I am on Facebook. So I played a few games until I ran out of battle energy for the day. Surprisingly, when I got back to writing, I knew exactly what to write. I was able to finish my short story. Believe it. It sort of felt like finding a cure for a new type of disease. On top of that, I was left with time to spare, so decided to share this with you guys. You should avoid uninterrupted toiling while doing something creative because it’s not meant to enslave you. In fact, creativity sets you free.


Combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought.” – Albert Einstein

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Extra-Terrestrial, Extra-Tantalizing

I don’t know what it is about the unknown that keeps us enthralled. Scientists have been studying planets and other celestial bodies in hopes of answering the question on whether or not another lifeform exists in outer space. If it were impossible to send out spacecrafts until today, and no proof whatsoever of aliens visiting Earth was found, I strongly believe there would still be a lot of fiction written about them. It is in our intrinsic nature to seek company, even the company of those that very much unlike us. How you wish they were real.


Regardless of what your spiritual belief is, human as you are, you tend to have faith in something bigger than you. Or at least you want to believe that such entity exists. In ancient  Greece, they have made up gods and goddesses, which are very significant characters in their literature, to make life more meaningful and interesting. I admit, if I were born in that time and place, I would have been greatly impressed at the creativity of the minds of those who birthed these characters. From nothing, they have constructed a hierarchy of beings that don’t exist at all. Even so, not being tangible did not stop these beings from being a thing of interest up until today.


Going back to aliens, these extra-terrestrial beings – they were very popular elements in books during the Golden Age of Science Fiction. How this genre originated is actually very, put in a lesser formal expression, cool. See, in the 1930s and 1940s science fiction was only beginning to catch the attention of the public. That time, the hot topic in print and media was stories of war. Some writers who would rather not do a parallel scheme for fear that they might end up soliciting negative impressions from the masses, decide to tell stories about the World Wars using an out of this world scenario. They have pioneered the ‘Intergalactic Wars’. And somehow, these stories have formed one of the largest fan bases in the sphere of fiction. Today, grand conventions are held to celebrate the different characters of this genre and many of the attendees come wearing costumes. You have got to admit, once in your life, you wanted to play the role of any character from either Star Trek or Star Wars, two of the most popular products of science fiction.


If you have read any sci-fi novels, you will notice that although the story is set somewhere in a galaxy, far, far, away, the aliens in the story show some very human-like traits. This is because their emotions are patterned from that of ours. This is how being creative can give us god-like powers. Creativity enables you to produce something new, and part of it reflects you. It’s not exclusively Biblical to say that creation is created in the image of the creator. Many authors of fiction will agree that most of their characters identify with them, not the other way around.


Even if there really aren’t any aliens out there, I’m sure you will be able to make  a story about them. Yes, you, using nothing but your imagination. I’m encouraging you to write your own sci-fi story. It doesn’t have to be about a war. What is your idea of an alien civilization? You can use romance, comedy, or both as a theme to have an unusual take on the genre.


A philosopher once asked, ‘Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?’ Pointless, really… ‘Do the stars gaze back?’ Now, that’s a question.” – Neil Gaiman

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Long Walks on the Beach

Ah…the beach. People may feel differently about many things, but I’m pretty sure almost everyone likes the company of roaring waves. There’s a certain magic about the sound that just makes you feel like you can do anything.


I have a friend, her name is Francine (it’s really not Francine, but when I asked her if it was okay to use her story, she asked me not to use her real name). Francine is a fashion designer. She came from a family of architects. At first, they did not like the idea of her taking interest into Fashion Design. They told her that among her siblings, she had the most impractical choice of career. Back when we were still in college, Francine had to work and study at the same time because her parents did not support her matriculation fees since it was a course in fashion. It came to a point where Francine had to give up because she couldn’t handle all her responsibilities already. So she quit fashion school. She talked to her father about taking Architecture and Interior Design on the following semester. After five long years, two years ago, she graduated. Francine is now a licensed architect. Her office, completed ten months ago, is located at the center of the city. And guess what? It is a private architectural firm, as well as a high fashion boutique. Who would’ve thought she could turn her dreams into a reality by having to place it on hold momentarily.


We planned to meet up because I told her I needed to write about something inspiring, and also just to catch up. She chose a nearby beach. I didn’t really expect that she would choose to go to the beach because, well, it is December and we’re only going to be in for a really cold time at the beach. We wouldn’t be able to enjoy the sun. When we arrived, it was fairly sunny. Well, what do you know? We played some relaxing island tunes in our hut and sipped on fruit juices we bought from the canteen. And then I started to ask her some questions. Eventually, I asked her what made her decide to take a pause in fashion design and do what her parents wanted for her to do. She pulled me and asked me to take a walk along the beach with her. She said that when she started to feel hopeless about ever finishing her course in fashion (financial resource was scarce then), she realized that maybe she needed to take the longer route. She didn’t really quit. She just thought that if she did what her parents say, she can finish college with their help and become a professional. From there, she knew that she could pick up from where she left, she could  finally push through with her pursuit of her passion. She confessed that after her graduation, she didn’t ask for a party. She didn’t feel like celebrating because she thought too much about being busy now that her path is made before her. She told her parents that she wanted to go on a short vacation to an island, alone. She said that for a whole week, she took long walks on the beach because she was mourning for the end of her dreams in becoming a fashion designer. However, each time she returned to her cottage to rest, she was tempted to do some sketching. When she got back home, she showed her mother her sketch pad and it was filled with sketches of clothes, as well as buildings! And then she discovered that she can actually make interesting architecture, something out of the box, unlike those she learned in school. Her mother encouraged her to take a workshop so she can have a certificate in fashion designing. And after six months of doing that exactly, she is officially both a fashion designer and an architect. On her twenty-fourth birthday, her family told her the good news, that her office is almost finished.


Creativity, too, may come in mysterious ways. Francine was not expecting to find it in a moment of sadness, but it came naturally. Sometimes, when we are pushed down to our weakest point, that is where we find our strength. I also believe that the beach has certain powers that awaken our dormant creative prowess. Had she gone to a different location, events would have turned out differently. It was a clear case of being at the right place at the right time, even when the feelings didn’t start out right.


Vital lives are about action. You can’t feel warmth unless you create it, can’t feel delight until you play,can’t know serendipity unless you risk.” – Joan Erickson

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