choose your weapon...

Movies (4) Photos. (47) Poetry (16) Quotations. (76) Words (15) Writings. (137)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


You seem to know things other people don't know. Pisces belongs to the mystics while Aquarius belongs to the scientist. You will be rather silent about what you are able to recognize since you realize very early that no one else recognizes things as they appear to be to you. If you worry too much about other people, you may put so much pressure on yourself to fit in that you distort the best of what you have. You reflect the dual nature of life, reality and nonreality, consciousness and the unconscious. You are peace loving and friendly, and the chameleon of the Zodiac, receptive to the needs of others but sometimes getting lost within yourself. You are tolerant and open-minded, but tend to stick to your beliefs. You are compassionate, sensitive, imaginative and sympathetic to the feelings of others. You tend to be romantic and sentimental, but may give in to escapism. You may become timid if your emotions are abused too often. You hunger for experience. You must not give up on the world and retreat. You must learn to trust.

circles and frogs

Sometimes I wish I could write about some things here that I can't write about here. Things and people and people's things. Sometimes I just write. Without really needing to write about anything at all. Other times I want to write but can't. Not here. So I write in circles. Giant intertwined loopy circles that never end, never come to a point, never really mean anything at all. Except they do. They do mean something. Just not something I can write about. Not here. Maybe Ill try writing in squares. Or triangles. Or octagons. How would writing in an octagon look like? I don't know how to write like that. Circles are easier. I can just go round and round and round, making no cohesive ideas. What happens if I stray from the circle just once? What happens if I start writing about... fishes. Swirly fishes trapped in a giant glass bowl. Swimming round and round and round. I am a fish. Today, I'm a fish. I wish I was a frog. Frogs can jump out of the water if they need to. They hop away and leave the bowl behind, making new trails, new octagons and new triangles very unlike the circles they started in. Frogs start out as tadpoles. And tadpoles are fishes. Maybe one day I'll get to be a frog.

Monday, June 29, 2009

the pecking order.

I like chicken, and chickpeas and Chiclets and chick flicks and chickadees. But mostly I just like chickens. The winged feather version. Bawk-bawk-bawk style. Female chickens actually. The ladies are feisty bitches. Real life mean girls with a very estranged status structure. Yes. I'm talking about the pecking order. I grew up on a farm with a never ending slew of barn animals and it was my job to go collect the eggs every morning. Something I considered an honour, although I'm sure my Mom must have brainwashed me at some point. No 12 year old girl wakes up naturally every morning and thinks "Seven. I bet there's seven eggs today. No... eight." So I would grab my puffy black coat that made me very closely resemble a burnt marshmallow, throw on my blue boots with the ridiculous sparkly fur and flail through the porch door. Always waiting right beside the gate was Bear, my big black sled dog. She would follow me into the narrow coop and the ladies tolerated her with malicious glares. I liked to sit and watch them cluck around sometimes and slowly began to see the immensely detailed social patterns. It all started when the chicken who my little sister had cleverly named Ducky began appearing every morning missing more and more feathers. The other girls were pecking them off. Literally. Then I noticed another chicken, Marina, seemed to have some sort of immunity. She pecked everyone but no one ever pecked her back. Her feathers were always perfect. I swear she spent more time pruning herself then any of the others. Next was Cinnamon who was only pecked by Marina. Then Betty who was only pecked by Marina and Cinnamon... all the way down to Ducky. Who was a waddling free for all pecking ground. It was almost amusing, in a cruel kind of way but my Mom still had to talk me out of trying to teach them to be nice. I'll never forget that conversation.

"They're chickens," she said, "who are we to tell them how to live."


“Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.”
Chuck Palahniuk

“We can see a thousand miracles around us every day. What is more supernatural than an egg yolk turning into a chicken?”
S. Parkes Cadman

“Sometimes I feel like a duck in a chicken coop. And I would give anything in the world to be a chicken instead of a duck.”
Thomas Merton

Sunday, June 28, 2009

so damn...

Do you ever find it unbelievably frustrating that as humans, we can send a man to the moon, but we can’t accept homosexuality? That we can collide particles at near light speed and successfully create anti-matter, but still fight religious intolerance induced wars every day? That we can call anywhere in the world at anytime from a tiny piece of metal in our pocket, but still kill each other for love, money and power? That disease and poverty and corruption invade countries all over the world and all we hear about is fuckin global warming, swine flu and Michael Jackson?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Why not? Here’s some facts for you.

Name: Heather Maria
Nickname: Heather-belle, Wild child, 420 Princess, Misspacman08, Paclady, MP,
Birthdate: Feb 18th 1988
Birth place: Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada
Current place: Manila, Philippines
Natural Eye colour and hair colour: Blue, Brown
Height and Weight: 5’7” 125lbs
Occupation: Writer/student
Righty or Lefty: Righty, but both my parent are left-handed
Fave colour: Green and Yellow
Fave animal: Lizard
Fave TV shows: The Sopranos, Lost, Fringe, Entourage
Fave movies: The Salton Sea, Pulp Fiction, The Boondock Saints
Fave Cartoons: Betty Boop, TMNT, Family Guy
Fave Actor: Johnny Depp
Fave Actress: Natalie Portman
Fave Muscician: Danny Carey of Tool
Fave Comedian: George Carlin or Mitch Hedberg. (RIP you crazy motherfuckers)
Fave food: Frozen strawberries and vanilla ice-cream
Fave drink: Water… no I lie it’s coffee.
Fave number: 8
Fave clothing: Lynard Skynard tee shirt?… and my brown boots…. and the rugby jersey I stole from James... and my grey hoodie.
Fave book: 11 minutes by Paulo Coehlo
Hidden Talent: I can tie my shoes faster then you. Guaranteed.
Age I lost my virginity: 16
Age I got married: 20 years from now
Ever been in a fight: Just one that wasn’t with one of my sisters.
Ever broken a bone: No
Most important possession: My books and photo albums
Pet Peeve: People who chew loudly with their mouths open
Number of Tattoos: 3
Number of piercings: Two in each ear. Used to have more.
Best quality: My… thoughts.
On the opposite sex:
Cute or sexy? Stupid question. Both.
Tall or shorter? At least my height.
Lips or eyes? Eyes
Sweet or Caring? Both
Easygoing or serious? Both
Loud or quiet? Both
Thoughts on abortion? I’m pro adoption.
Gay marriage? Fuck yeah - go for it. Not my business.
Gun control? I don’t think guns are the problem, I think it’s the people pulling the trigger.
God? Maybe
Santa Clause? Dirty pervert – but gets away with it cuz he brings us presents.
Aliens? If there’s no other life out there, and humanity is the universes only hope then…. I don’t even want to think about it. Yes, there are aliens. Somewhere. Hopefully a little smarter then us.

half-nut the scrapper

My cat is the human equivalent of a UFC fighter. He crawls home every few days beat to shit and curls up on the washing machine with a few meows that I’m almost positive mean “you should see the other guy.” His real name is Ming but the maids attempted an at-home neutering one fateful evening and it didn’t turn out quite as planned. He’s since been to the vet and had the remaining shreds of manhood removed but it was too great of a nickname to withdraw. So Half-Nut it is. Even with no balls he still ventures out to create havoc every few days. Sometimes we catch him running from some big motherfucker into the dog’s pen, where no other cat is ever welcome. He sits right at the foot of Duke (the biggest dog) and smiles out to his opponent, unbelievably proud of his protection technique. Later we can be sure to catch him tossing scraps from plates up on the counter down to the dogs. Not to say his safe haven comes easy. He puts up with ridiculous abuse from all three canines, sitting still whenever they come to snap at him or toss him around a bit. It’s harmless play but the look on his face is priceless and if a cat could roll his eyes, I’m sure he would have. My Dad loves him because he eats cockroaches and can even catch birds right out of the air. He climbs up to my balcony to say hi once in a while when I’m out for a smoke. We’re good buddies and I have a deep respect for any creature that has lived through the extensive injuries he’s received over the years. Sometimes I imagine him outside the walls of our yard as some sort of anarchist. Provoking all the other cats to see who’s king. Of course in my imagination, he always wins. He may have no balls and we might call him Half-Nut but he’s one badass feline anyways.

Monday, June 22, 2009

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. -- Steve Jobs

Saturday, June 20, 2009

pulp fiction (1994)

One of the best movies in my opinion and I just discovered after watching it again that you see Bruce Willis' PENIS!!The French girl in the white bathrobe is my favourite character too.

do YOU drink it?

I hate schedules. I abide by them only when necessary. Some days… a lot of things are necessary. Some days… none at all. I love spontaneous adventures. I love the luxury of being bored. I never set limits on what I want to accomplish in my life and live every second as its happening. My Dad asked me a question tonight, and I’ll ask it to you now. “Imagine you are on death row in some foreign countries prison about to be executed in ten minutes. A man stands outside in a mask with a rifle but just as you step out of the cell, an inmate hands you enough poison to kill yourself. Do you drink it?” (Don’t think about it too much). I blurted out my instinctive rejection to the suicide and my reasoning was the very essence of simplicity. “Anything can happen.” That’s ten more minutes for something wildly unimaginable to take place that I could experience. Something that could even drastically flip-flop my world all over the place. You’ve all seen it in movies. The zombies attack right before the horny teenager gets to kiss the sexy girl. Except in this case maybe the gun will backfire, or a bomb will go off somewhere nearby, or someone you know will show up with a fuckload of money.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

it doesnt make sense

Today was coloured concrete gray. Dark, wet and crumbling apart. A thick fog smothered everything. A faded black hand held me down. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve been hurt and broken down into a thousand different pieces by someone I love. I’m 21. It’s going to happen again… that much I know. I don’t want to hide but most days it seems like the only thing I know how to do. From the hippie firefighter to the punk club owner… each man that has been granted access to a piece of the real me, has in turn grabbed that piece, curb-stomped it, ripped it apart, thrown it to the vultures and then turned to me with a somber expression and said “I’m sorry.” As if that makes everything better. I kept thinking if I dated a guy nothing like the guy before, then maybe he would be right for me. Turns out they're all the same when it comes to me. I'm hard to understand, and I know that. I'm confusing sometimes, and distant and complicated... which means in boy language that I'm a cold-hearted bitch who doesnt give a shit.. which then means that when they cheat on me, it's only because they "thought I didn't care about them anymore." One guy at least called me at 4 in the morning to break up with me before he had sex with another girl. Kudos. A great leap for mankind. I always kept this inner hope that the next one would be different... so when it happened the first time I got over it, the next was a little harder on me, and then the next was physically painful, then the next induced depression, then the next made me silent for three weeks, then the next made me run away to the Philippines. It sounds like I’m exaggerating but in truth, that’s the sugarcoated version. Maybe it would have been easier if I’d had someone to share the pain. Someone who wasn’t my diary. Someone who could talk back and tell me it was all going to be okay. Someone who walked in when the rest of the world walked out. I’m frozen. Like those movie scenes where the crowd swirls around me in fast motion and I’m just… still. Except it’s not a movie. There’s no happy ending coming soon. It’s my life. My sad little life that I really have no right to be questioning. I can’t find the balance between letting myself be unhappy for a while, and feeling an overwhelming sense of guilt for spitting on a life that others would run and cling to.

It’s hard to be happy. But it’s hard to be sad too.
Why is everything so hard?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

a lil secret

Play live concert dvds on the tv in the background while having sex.

I recommend these:

Monday, June 15, 2009

every morning

It’s hard to be happy. Or maybe it’s easy for some people, but for me it’s hard. Especially when people I care about are hurting. It’s easy to smile and laugh and have a good time. It’s easy to be strong when someone needs me… at least for that one moment…but it’s hard to be happy. Before this starts sounding too much like I’m about to attack the ice cream and cry in my bubble bath, I don’t mean to imply that I’m miserable or even sad. Every morning I wake up and stay in bed for a few minutes, even if I’m late already. I look around, stretch my arms, crack my toes, glance at my dream journal, and take a few seconds to stop all internal dialogue. Like pushing the mute button on my inner self. I take those moments and let myself feel unbelievably happy… just for being alive. Just for being here one more day. Just for existing. So no, it’s not easy to be happy, but that just means we have to try a little harder.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

(COSART) 1 = lust

COSART = Chronicles Of Somewhat Associated Religious Topics

Religion is (and I think always will be) the greatest power in the world when it comes to both dividing humanity and uniting humanity. It’s such a bittersweet, straightforward, unexplainable, illogically rational topic… that I have decided to write about something in some way pertaining to religion and start a tradition I hope to keep up once a week, or maybe two weeks. Schedules seem to hate me. It’s a mutual loathing. It doesn’t matter though… fuck schedules, I’ll write when I want to, and right now… I want to. So I’m here to talk about lust but let me start by clarifying that I don’t mean lust in the sexual sense, I mean lust as in our supposed need for meaning, worth, protection, identity, comfort or esteem. Sometimes sex can be involved in every one of those - but it is often just a catalyst, or side plot along the way. We all want something. Most of us want hundreds of something’s, thousands, millions even. Not just material objects, but affections like love, respect, trust, faith. We want answers, we want revenge, we want justice, we want peace, we want power and money and fame. One of the lessons I still remember from my few years of early Sunday mornings, is loving one another. I remember smiling and hugging strangers with even bigger smiles. I remember the lesson that always followed. The one about loving yourself. The lesson that is the root of our wants and lusts. Ourselves. It is you that wants these things. For whatever reason, you have decided to invest time and thought into these things. You are creating your own lusts every moment, maybe sometimes without even realizing it. Maybe even most times caught unaware of everything that winds in and out of your want circle every single day. To love ourselves, means to make the effort to make yourself happy. And what makes you happy? Is it your wife? Your mom? Your books? Your dog? Your car? The things that bring us joy, are the very things we want when they are not around or not yet achieved and so it becomes an if then statement. IF you want to love yourself then you must give in to your lusts. It’s all relative. I hate that saying, but it’s true, and will always be true. There are many destructive ways to achieve what you want and just as many constructive, (productive?) ways. The trick is figuring out which wants are most important, and how far into the destructive zone you are willing to go to get them.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

illustrations of unknown stories

"Douglas Adams once wrote: 'He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream, and he sometimes wondered whose it was, and whether they were enjoying it.'

Carlos Castaneda once wrote about Four of the Gates of Dreaming
"1st Gate (stabilization of the dreaming body): Arrived at when one perceives one's hands in a dream. Solved when one is able to shift the focus from the hands to another dream object and return it to the hands, all repeated a few times. Crossed when one is able to induce a state of darkness and a feeling of increased weight. 2nd Gate (utilizing the dreaming body): Arrived at when one's dream objects start changing into something else. Solved when one is able to isolate a Scout and follow it to the realm of Inorganic Beings. Crossed when one is able to fall asleep without losing consciousness. 3rd Gate (traveling): Arrived at when one dreams of looking at oneself. Solved when the dreaming and physical bodies become one. Crossed when one is able to control the Dreaming Emissary. 4th Gate of Dreaming (seeing): Arrived at when one is able to perceive the energetic essence of every dream item. Solved when one falls asleep in a dream, in the same position in which one has gone to sleep. Crossed when one wakes up in this reality, only not in the physical but in the energy body."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Does this darkness have a name? This cruelty, this hatred. How did it find us? Did it steal into our lives or did we seek it out and embrace it? What happened to us? That we now send our children into the world like we send young men into war, hoping for their safe return. But knowing that some will be lost along the way. When did we lose our way? Consumed by the shadows, swallowed whole by the darkness. Does this darkness have a name? Is it your name?

step 3.. where are you?

At some point, we all have to face incomprehensible dilemmas and just… make a decision. I’ve always had a plethora (I love that word) of walls and barriers built high and thick, to protect every different aspect of my life… but have started to realize that sometimes, boundaries don't keep other people out, they only fence me in. Life is messy and unpredictable. That's how we're made. So do I continue drawing lines, or start living my life crossing them? Ayn Rand (another one of my literary idols) once wrote, "Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swaps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists... it is real... it is possible... it is yours." These geniuses of the written word always seem to have figured everything out, and have so many amazing ideas to share but lack the necessary instructions on just how it’s possible to get there. I spend a lot of my time thinking about the miracle of life. The impossibility of the possible, the hatred of love, the joy of sadness. Nothing is as simple as it seems, and yet, much more simple then it seems. I mentioned this in a vlog once, but I truly believe there are three steps to the process of true knowledge. The first, is a deceptive simplicity, where it all seems too easy and we are rendered blissfully ignorant of the truth. The next is a confusing complexity, where we are slammed with so much all at once that there is no possible way to understand which parts are truly relevant. Then the last step, a profound simplicity. The comprehension that all those ideas start out swirling around in a giant tangled mess but eventually rewire themselves into one, single, final, overwhelming profound thought. I’m not there yet, and it will take some time to get past my muddled, looping brain and make a little sense out of my seemingly random bouts of emotion, but hopefully one day, I let myself be free with others, and not just free with myself. Ayn Rand also wrote, “Many people die with their music still in them. Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live and before they know it...time runs out.”
A solitary existence is never what I expected for myself, nor is it something I want to continue for much longer, but while it’s happening, I’ll write my sorrows away in an attempt to record the time I spend stuck in step two. Confusing, complex and undeniably aggravating to know that I’m here, with no idea how to continue moving forward.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Dangers of 8th Grade Candygrams

Adlai Stevenson once wrote “A free society is one where it is safe to be unpopular.” I find it strange that the “popular” people in high school were never truly the people everyone liked. The so-called outcasts, geeks and freaks always seemed to be having much more fun. I was somewhere in between, but I remember one year in 8th grade I finally understood the way it all worked. It was Valentines Day and I received a candy gram. A red rose with a poem attached signed Love, Tim Felder. Timothy Felder was in my drama class and no one ever called him Tim because the only time we’d heard his name was when the teacher recited attendance. He was unbelievably random, always wore a long black trench coat and carried some obscure book. He played with Magic cards, had terrible acne and was genuinely liked by no one. I wasn’t necessarily excited to get a rose from him but it didn’t bother me in any way. Mostly I was just confused at the overflow of emotion from a boy I had never known anything about. Immediately after class three girls with perfect hair and expensive clothes cornered me. This was it, my very first personal attack from Lindsay, Lindsey and Sophia. The very fact that I still remember the spelling difference between the two ring leaders might give you some idea of how powerful and feared they were. The scariest thing though was the level of intelligence they brought to the game. Very unlike the mean-girl bimbos you see on television (and surprisingly enough, all brunettes) they were always one step ahead of everyone else. Our conversation went something like this: (oh and you’ll have to forgive the naming details, I swear I was so nervous it seemed like they were all talking at once).

Mean Girl: So who’s the rose from?
Umm… I don’t think he’d want everyone to kn-
Mean Girl: -we heard there’s a poem too.
Other Mean Girl: Can we see it?
Ummmm…. No.
Mean Girl: Why not?
Me: I don’t have it anymore.
Mean Girl: Where is it?
Me: I lost it.
Mean girl: No you
Me: I did. It’s probably still in the classroom.

Insert my attempt to sneak away, looking like a retard as they sneer at me.

Mean girl: We know it’s from Timothy.

I shrugged, trying to play it cool.

Me: Yeah... it was but I really don’t have it anymore.
Mean Girl: Do you remember what it said?

I dared to look at them directly for the first time as they started to giggle. Although they laughed in my direction and fully expected me to feel embarrassed…I knew they weren’t really laughing at me. They were laughing at him. A little piece of me broke off for Tim that day as I saw the amusement dancing in the eyes of those three girls. It both hurt me and pissed me off to watch their lips curl into devious grins. I could tell they had every intention of running off to tell anyone who would listen. And by anyone, I mean everyone. They knew exactly what the poem said.

Me: Why are you asking me all these questions if you already know the answers? Go waste someone elses time.

I didn’t even care enough to wait for a reaction and walked away without another word. The story was out by the next morning but I got off unbearably easy compared to Tim. My friends bugged me a few times but gave up easily when they realized I wasn’t the least bit embarrassed. Tim didn’t show up to drama class for two weeks after that day and even when he did come back, continued blatantly ignoring me. I made the attempt to initiate a real conversation with him a few times over the next few years, getting the usual one-word answers, or nods, or muttered excuses for him to leave. I didn’t really blame the guy although by grade 12 I fully expected him to get over it and for Valentine’s Day, I gave him (as in, handed to him, not in a school organized candy gram) a yellow rose with a note that just said “Thank You.” He smiled, said your welcome and… yet again walked away. I conceded that I had done all I could and at least, he knew it mattered to me. So even though I still have never truly met Timothy Felder I believe he may have been the first boy that ever loved me.

I still have his poem.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

attacked by a pineapple

The dangers of wandering through a pineapple field.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

STIB #2 : Hurricane Waters

A song by Citizen Cope I happen to love, and also happen to have a story that fits nicely. The first time I came to the Philippines was three years ago for my dad’s wedding and we all went to Borocay for a few days after.

We stayed at a hotel I’ll never forget called Niggi Niggi Nous Nous. I never asked what it meant, but the place was magical. It had a twisty maze of a courtyard overloaded with jungle and my little wood hut was tucked right in back corner, overlooking it all. I had a stupendously drunk two days, made a game of haggling with the local shopkeepers as low as I could possibly get, then paying more anyways. I ate crab for dinner two nights in a row and drank only vodka on the rocks – in the hopes that I could wake up early and hit the beach. There were these little yellow and blue fishes that only come out in the early morning. They feed on the algae build up in the sand as your footsteps kick it up… so if you can find them, they’ll follow you around fearlessly all morning. I found them the first two days and felt excessively proud.

On what was supposed to be our last night there, a typhoon warning came in. It wasn’t serious and only the edge was going to hit us. The rain started a few hours later and everything was drenched… but the winds were mild and the bars were open. I danced in the rain and broke my vodka rule when offered a tequila shot - which turned into a few more shots very quickly. (I was on an all expense paid vacation *thanks dad*, on what must be one of the most beautiful islands in the world and it was raining. The tequila just seemed to fit right in.)

I went to sleep around 1 in the morning and a few hours later the storm got intensely worse. I could hear trees being ripped down all around and was never so thankful that my little hut was between two thick cement walls. At around 6am I woke up again to darkness and a full-blown typhoon. The second I opened the door I was effectively deaf from the howling winds and rain. I didn’t dare leave my deck but was completely entranced by being right there, in the midst of Mother Nature’s fury. My cell phone rang. I could barely hear my dad from the main hotel lobby telling me the roof of his hut had been torn off. He had been watching the news and the eye of the storm was said to be passing directly overhead in just a few minutes and to get outside so I could see it.

I can’t even begin to describe the feeling I had ten minutes later. It’s something you have to experience for yourself to understand. At the center of a hurricane, surrounded by chaos… there is complete calm. No rain, very little wind and the lowest surface pressures. It was like watching the world stop. The sun came out and the roaring storm became a faint, eerie echo.I have no idea how long it lasted, but when it was over, the ferociously loud winds picked up… but had changed direction, and all the debris and wreckage that had built up one way was thrust the other. I went back inside and back to sleep, feeling at peace. Feeling like I had just witnessed something miraculous.

It was 9am when my little hut reached an almost unbearable temperature. The power was out, my air conditioner rendered useless, my cellphone battery had died, and when I ventured outside, I took one good look around and said one word that best describes my predicament.


The narrow twisty paths of that jungle courtyard I had loved so much the day before had been expertly transformed into my very own mission impossible. There was at least four inches of stagnant water overflowing up to my deck. Sand covered everything from tree branches to beach chairs, all of which had created the great wall of crap, effectively cutting me off from the rest of the world. Suddenly I was no longer thankful of my tucked in corner. It was the furthest away from the main building as I could possibly get, and there were no other huts along the same path. I contemplated trying to climb one of the cement walls, tossing out that idea upon the realization that I had no clue what was even on the other side.

And so, begins one girls sweaty, dirty, painful journey through hurricane wreckage, which turned out to be not as bad as I thought. I could hear a lot of distant hustle and bustle, and then out of nowhere, someone was singing nearby. I was almost all the way through to the main path, trying to lift a branch off another branch off another branch so I could lift the branch underneath that one out of my way… and a gloriously beautiful man beat me too it. My knight in shining amour turned out to be a local Filipino man whose voice called out through the wall, “back, back!” Then a giant machete appeared, ripping through the remaining debris, and I started laughing. At the time it seemed the appropriate response, although perhaps I was just a little manic from thinking I was trapped for the last hour and a half. He held out a strong callused hand with a big smile and helped me through the hole he had created. I could see the ocean again and jumped around a little, said thank you a hundred times and gave the random magnificent man a hug that either shocked him, or simply scared him. It’s hard to tell the difference sometimes. Thinking about it now…I realize I was probably coated with mud, smelled like dirty tourist, and had a ever growing amount of blood running from cuts along my legs, arms and hands. He was most likely neither shocked nor scared, but perhaps disgusted.

At the time however, it was irrelevant. I barely noticed my hygienic state as I watched my hero continue clearing the rest of the courtyard like he had done it a million times before, smiling and singing along the way. I could finally see the entire jungle maze and it was destroyed beyond belief. The only plants that remained in their original places were the palm trees, stripped of most of their leaves, but still standing tall. I made it to the beach and saw first hand what happens when Mother Nature gets pissed off. Everything was destroyed, and I mean… everything. The bar I had left last night fully intact, was now scattered along the sand. I found my parents and joined them by the makeshift restaurant, where I was immediately given antiseptic, a handful of band-aids, a thermos of hot coffee and a bagel with some questionable butter. There were people wandering everywhere… but the most amazing, exhilarating thing about it all… was the amount of joy still seen on the face of each and every local resident. They were singing, and playing games, and putting things back together with smiles all around. The tourists were the only ones who seemed uncomfortable. I couldn’t believe how efficient everything ran considering the circumstances. With no power and everything in shambles, with their lives literally thrown upside down, the people around me acted as though it was just another happy day. The hotel owner, a withering Australian man explained that it was simple because to them… it was just another day. Typhoons ravage the Philippines every year, in every season, and the people know to rely on no one but themselves. There is no government support, no hurricane Katrina relief team. These people, in the face of a disaster the western civilization would cry and complain and bitch and moan about for years, moved on to reconstruction before I even had time to fully comprehend what happened.

It was a dangerously crowded frenzy to get any sort of boat to the island with the airport, so my family decided to relax and wait it out. I spent the next few days helping people rebuild things wherever they would let me. It was always an argument, as the locals acted as though it was not my responsibility. Maybe they were right, and maybe it wasn’t my home, but I refused to walk around pointing and taking pictures like every other foreigner while these people worked so hard all around me. I received the worst sunburn of my entire life, and lost at least ten pounds while I was there, but came home with a great story that I’d like to believe very few people have ever experienced, and one I’m very happy to have finally finished immortalizing in print.

The next time your feeling sorry for yourself, think about this blog, and the reality that if an entire island can be singing the morning after a natural disaster, you have no right to be feeling so sad over your own, much less destructive life events.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Creative Writing Villians

Some of the best advice I've ever found. From

"When you write, you can only write those things you know. So when you write the villain, you have to be the villain. You have to understand why the villain acts as he does, you have to know that if you were him in that situation, you would do as he does -- because if you can't do this, no one who reads what you have written will believe in the characters you have created. Empathy in those moments is an agony. You have to look into the darkest part of your soul and find the part of yourself that could be a monster, and you have to put that on the page for people to see. There's no easy way past this, because your hero can only be as great as the evil he overcomes. If you can't face the evil in yourself, you hero will only overcome straw villains, and your work will lie flat and lifeless on the page."

if you happen to be a billionaire...