Category Archives: About

The Big News: I’m Getting Published

Before I begin, let me just say that I am flabbergasted. Okay, perplexed. Astounded. How about… really really excited?

Some of you may know that I’ve been working on a YA Fantasy Novel (interim title: Silas’ Hill) for about five years now. I recently entered it into Fictionary’s Finish Your Novel Contest, and to my great bewilderment (okay, I used a Thesaurus for that one) I ended up winning. You can read the official announcement here if you like.

This means several things, which I have typed out here, partially to just see the big picture: Continue reading The Big News: I’m Getting Published

I Remember

If you wanted to categorize me you’d call me a TCK. A Third Culture Kid.

The funny thing is, it’s a category for people who don’t fit the categories, who don’t fit one culture or another, but are stuck somewhere in between the fresh-water-drinking-taps-wet-leaves of Austria and the sickly-sweet-Jolly-Bee-pasta-and-jackfruit of the Philippines. Then throw in black-city-streets and coloured-playground-pufuleti-Romania and Vancouver-rain-mountain-syrup-Canada and you may have me figured out. Or maybe not. It’s pretty complicated, eh?

Whatever I am, I know I’m made up of memories. And sometimes they come running at me when I don’t expect it; they hit me like a jeepney or a 300-pound moose. So I write poetry. Because what else would I do?

I Remember

I remember the grass under the mango tree
– cut short
unlike the roadside blades
that used to slice at my feet as I walked

I remember dogs crowding on a rooftop
and remember nursing my pup
because we found her on the street
lying by our chainlink door with a bloody elbow

I remember telling her stories when I was sad
– she listened –
and finding a baby bat by the chain
that kept her from getting at our shoes

I remember sunsets on Mindoro
and pebbles bouncing down a mountainside
– my parents said they were boulders
rolling down from Mt. Mayon

I remember taping grey ash
to every single letter we mailed
because it rained down from the sky
and people back “home” didn’t know what that felt like

I remember the whitewashed front porch in Ligao
and finding a baby chicken in the bushes
and climbing the tree with the dangerous nest in it
while all the uniformed kids sang the anthem by the flagpole

I remember slipping in rice-field mud
and crying because my green dress got dirty
while wading through the water
and crossing over a tree and into a village

I remember getting chased by a scary dog
running from shadows
seeing a cobra in the dust
and hearing the Tokko* make noises by my bedroom window

I remember being told to hide under my bed
if anyone ever broke into the house
while my parents were away
– and I heard about those guns stockpiled under the kiosk too

I remember collecting bottlecaps
and saving up Pesos
to buy thin peanut butter cookies
or cheap pop handed out in a plastic bag with a straw

I remember begging my parents to buy me
the local ube**-flavored ice cream
and remember my dad eating balut
almost-hatched duck eggs, a delicacy

I remember sitting in the back of the car
and hitting my head on the roof
because Quirino Highway was bumpy
– filled with more potholes than actual road

I remember sliding down smooth rocks
and putting hibiscus flowers in my hair
or playing with the red blossoms
that could be chained into jewelry

I remember roosters crowing in the morning
and cats eating out leftovers
I remember feeding milk to kittens
and old pasta to Oliver, the grizzled tom who only let me pet him

I remember finding big bugs in our sandbox
and stepping on a giant thorn
and finding an orange spider
that was at least ten centimeters wide

I remember eating jackfruit and banana heart
drinking flavored milk
that came in plastic packages
and feasting on lechon, chicken adobo, and pancit

I remember being scared of the ocean
but playing in it anyways
I remember finding huge shells on the beach
and I remember what swallowing salt water felt like as a kid

I remember the day we found a toad in the toilet
the day I got a rash over my whole body
the day my brother ate a cockroach
the day we accidentally ate carabao*** instead of beef

I remember tuberculosis
and knocking down a stand of bitter green herbs
I remember hole-in-the-ground bathrooms
and how precious fresh water ran out of a hand-operated pump

I remember the weeks we had without electricity
because of typhoons
– seeing the banana palms twist and fall down
seeing streets flood with water and debris

And I remember the day we arrived
ignorant of customs and food
– ignorant of how our lives would play out
just waiting for the silver-blue jeepney to round the corner
and bring us home

Jan 19/16
*technically Tokay, a large nocturnal gecko referred to as “Tokko” because of the sound it makes. It’s bite can be dangerous to children
**a purple-colored type of yam
***water buffalo

Introducing: Last Week’s Poetry

As Blogging101 draws to a close, I’m left with a challenge: create a regular feature.

My mind immediately jumps to poetry. While my idealistic view of things likes to believe that [insert clever wordplay] is about writing, art, and fantasy all at once, I publish – and write – poetry more than anything else. And why not? There is a lot of wisdom to be had from a scrap of verse; more than you might find in a whole page of prose.

So here I am, introducing: “Last Week’s Poetry” – a regular feature where I’ll share a poem every Tuesday morning (Eastern Time Zone). Ideally a fresh one, made just the past week.

Hope you’ll enjoy it.

Sep 26/15

Revisiting: the Who and What and Why

Sometimes it’s time to curl up with a good book.
And I wish those times were timely more often….

But now that school, aka college (yikes!) is about to start, it’s time to do a bit of grunt work. In addition to my college courses I’m taking Blogging101 – a challenge to myself to start paying attention to the little things, to get more focused, and to find out where I want this thing to go. I know I’ve done a bit of “revisiting” already this summer – in terms of the blog and what it’s all about, but now I’m gonna do some more. You might call it spring cleaning, because fall cleaning just doesn’t sound as nice. So here it is: more thoughts on the who, what, and why of insertcleverwordplay.


Starting with my first post, I purposefully made very few concrete statements about who I was. The reason? Going out there on the internet is scary. It feels unsafe. So here’s five facts about me that will hopefully help you get to know me more.

  • I am/was an MK – a Missionary Kid
  • I play Pathfinder, aka Dungeons and Dragons. So yeah. Nerd alert.
  • I absolutely love writing, so much so that I’ve begun writing a fantasy novel.
  • I am a Christian. No negative connotations please.
  • I officially moved out yesterday. At eighteen. Scary.


This one’s kinda tricky. From poetry to art, to planned posts about photography, video games, and swords, this blog is a mishmash. So here’s my best attempt at narrowing down the focus of insertcleverwordplay.

  • 1) writing about the world and my experience of it (poetry, short stories, etc)
  • 2) my art and what I’m currently making
  • 3) occasional personal interludes


It’s so easy these days to go and get a blog, right? It’s free, simple, and available to anyone with a device and an internet connection. But I think it’s important to know the why of it too. The “why do I bother doing this?” and the “why am I writing out loud and not in my head?”. So here’s my take on it.

  • I think I have something unique I can share with the world – no one’s writing is quite like mine, and this goes for every writer out there.
  • I want to test my writing in the crucible of online publication. I’m starting small.
  • I like doing it. As simple as that.

Any thoughts to share or comments to make? I’d love to connect with you and get your take on blog writing. After all, your opinion matters, because blogs are safe spaces to explore and put yourself out there.
And since we’re on the topic: thanks for putting up with me in turn.

Sep 7/15

“Hello World”

“Hello World”: these are the first two words an aspiring programmer is supposed to type into his python (or java) engine. I figure it’s good enough for a blog too – it has the feel of saluting a grand audience of electronically connected listeners, a sea of invisible ears (eyes, really) with little mouths and vocal chords attached to the fingers.

Welcome to the wonderful world of “my blog”: an as-of-yet unformed entity that will eventually consist of a series of essays, informative paragraphs, pictures, stories, and excerpts. The goal of [insertcleverwordplay] is to educate and exhibit interesting things within the scope of three general categories: Writing, Art, and Fantasy World Building (a wondrous topic which I will introduce you to in a future post). As an aspiring artist and writer I hope to interest you in the topics I have come to love. By writing about my interests, passions, successes, failures, and ideas, I hope to spur your imagination and expose you to new topics, teaching you something novel and exciting about my small corner of this beautiful world.