Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"A Feast for Scavengers" to Appear in the Inaugural Issue of Songs of Eretz

There's a new zine in town! (or out of town). I found Songs of Eretz as a new listing on Ralan, and this is actually among the few publishers who pay for work. It would be lovely if more publishers gave at least free copies, so writers could see their work and feel that what we do is actually of worth.

I sent in my poem "A Feast for Scavengers," for which I got an acceptance from Dr. Steven Wittenberg Gordon, the editor.

I really appreciate his comments about the piece. Sometimes I don't know why a place likes my work. They accept, and then after jumping around in happy abandon, I get all philosophical. In my head these questions start running around: Why do you like it? Which part of the work do you like best? What did I do right?

So thanks, Dr. Gordon.

Let me post part of his email here:

Dear Anne Carly,

I like the moral lesson you offer as well as your mocking, irony-filled tone.  The imagery takes me to a bad visual place but in a good way...


Steven Wittenberg Gordon, MD

Will post more on this when the inaugural issue is released. :)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sexist or Just Aesthetics?

Sex sells. Sell sex. In comic/game conventions, boxing matches, MMA fights, trade expos, there are always the girls in their tight-fitting outfits, teetering on their high heels, smiling at men who can't help but look at the goods.

Wait what goods? The new game released by Blizzard or Square Enix? Or the hot chick pressing the product against their ample cleavage?

Some say it's just a matter of aesthetics. Huh? Are we going down the "it's art" route on this one, too?

In my last muay thai fight, the scantily-clad ring girls gave men free massages. Getting respect for being a female fighter is hard enough, you know. Now I have to prove I'm not just for showing off ass and looking cute.

(According to wikipedia: "In some female boxing matches, ring girls are replaced by ring men dressed in tuxedos." MORE OF THAT PLEASE?)

I've also attended a number of comic and game conventions in my life, and I was turned off by the boobfest scenes I've had to encounter while there. I can practically smell the men's testosterone and hard-ons, how they try to get a glimpse of a promodizer's panties or camel toe. I guess that's why I don't like attending these things anymore. Or maybe I just want an equal number of man chests and abs, which are never there.

I'm glad somebody wrote about this at last (Girls Got Game). Because honestly, I've been gaming since I was in my mother's womb (kidding), I mean, since the family computer came to the ph, and I never really thought gaming was a man's world UNTIL I WENT TO THESE BOOBFEST CONVENTIONS. EXCUSE ME. Most of my female friends are gamers, too, that's why I couldn't relate to all this talk about men being the only real gamers when most of those (men) I've met rely on walkthroughs to finish a game. Ewww, can't figure out the puzzles on your own?

Sex sells? Or booby women sell? I want equality! Give me man abs and chest!

Seriously, sell to women, too. We buy, too, you know.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fave Poem of the week: A Haiku by Timothy Hawkes

Haiku don't have titles. So how do I refer to it? It's my favorite for the week. It talks about summer, and the respite gifted by water. It talks about a melon. Go read it from Heron's Nest, here.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Go Home, You're Emotional

Demolitions. Everywhere.

Do I like to watch informal settlers, or those we call squatters, evicted? No.
Do I enjoy watching them suffer? No.
Do I believe they shouldn't receive government dole outs and free housing? No.

But I've said it before, and I will say it again. Any way I look at it, informal settlers must be removed from the lands they're squatting on. 1st, politicians use these people as a vote mill. 2nd, many areas in the city have become unsafe to pass even for cars because squatters become a den for criminals. 3rd, professional squatters make money using land that's not theirs. On TV, a resident of Agham Road complained many of them don't want to move to Montalban as it's "far from work." 

What's wrong with this picture? What's wrong is that it's the same for many of us who can't afford cars and/or rent. We live far from work. We have to commute. We have to suffer squeezing into jam-packed trains and buses and jeeps.

But we are unqualified to receive aid and housing from the government because we are not part of indigent groups.

My family went through years of not having much to eat. We lost our home and had to pay for rent. We lived near the Marytown slums in Katipunan. We could have opted to squat so we could save on rent to pay for school and food. But we decided not to add to the vast communities of illegal settlers.

Because it's the right thing to do.

Stop for a minute and let your emotions settle. I really don't understand why people who call themselves "activists" pedestalize the poor into near-sainthood. Look at what author Arnold Alamon writes. He opines that the indigent are justified in their actions. They are supposedly brave, and in fact,
"...have nothing to lose. That is why they have resorted to defending their communities, setting up barricades, and matching the violence of the State with their own against these threats of demolition of their homes."
Sure, they may be brave. But that doesn't make the poor noble. Whether the land is of the state or of private ownership, property is a right to be respected. And they stole those lands. What other way can we call what they have done? My grandmother owns some plots of land in Zamboanga. A friend owns a lot in Commonwealth. A relative of mine owns some lots in Rizal. None of these lands are of use to any of us now because informal settlers have made these into their homes and will molotov us once we try to lay claim.

We are traveling a downward spiral. Are we to give impunity to the poor just because they are poor? We're giving them exactly what we hate about politicians who earn their impunity from their vast stores of wealth, goons and power. The corrupt official stealing from the country's coffers should be persecuted, but the poor man who steals my wallet is justified. The rich tycoon who is developing a plot of land for commercial purposes should be persecuted, but the poor man who takes land illegally should be understood. When the rich infringe upon our freedom of ownership, it is wrong, but when the poor man is the one doing it, then they're merely claiming their rightful share?

How can any of that be justified when the poor cannibalize on those who are just as poor? Their thievery doesn't do much to redistribute the wealth that is held strongly by the hands of the wealthiest 1%. They take at the expense of the "kasing hirap" or the "manggagawa."

How is letting them go do their thing supposed to better our society?

I so hate how this Alamon guy paints a picture of the middle class as some sort of wannabe senyora/don who hates the poor. Where the hell does he meet the people he's basing his claims on?

"Instead of viewing these communities such as the one in North Triangle as homes of families and children, they would rather amplify their own entitlements towards their dream middle class lifestyles and how, despite their best efforts, these remain out of reach.

Even more scandalous is that many of these social climbers lived and survived in these [types] of spaces. They acquired their education which enabled them to work in places like Makati, Ortigas, or Eastwood but while in college, they relied on Manang Aristocart to provide for their meals, or Manong Boy for their fifth-hand textbook, or Lola Maria for their cheap laundry.

Till now, they still depend on the workers of the informal economy to provide for their inexpensive goods and services so that they can afford their rock-and-roll lifestyle. You want your load for your pre-paid phone, go to Manang Janitor. Your saving up for a big date, have your meals delivered on the cheap by Manang Nene. And yet they regard them with such disdain and wouldn’t care less if the Manangs' and Manongs' homes of 30 years are demolished."

Talk about sweeping generalizations! Who the hell would hate the kind manang who pirated all the textbooks during college? I can never forget Manang Alma from the Ateneo who called me panga. I hold no disdain for the janitor who used to sell us load when I was in high school. I certainly don't know anyone who would pray that these kind people be evicted from their homes, (if these manangs and manongs even do live in the squatters).

But we live in a state. We are ruled by a constitution. We live free and are therefore tasked to be responsible for our own free acts. If I steal I know the consequences. If I sell drugs, I know what might happen. If implementation of law is a malicious act, and believing in it is "social climbing," then perhaps the law should be adjusted to give leeway to the poor.

Oh, how convoluted. You see, you may be a kind, noble person, but you are only as kind as your last action.

Monday, July 1, 2013

"Alphonse" in the Philippines Graphic Magazine (July 1, 2013)

The fiction jive seems to have returned to me. I'm getting lots of interesting ideas that can actually be made into stories! I've even tried out something new. Well, I call "Alphonse," which is my latest story, a crime fiction piece, but I'm not really sure what it is. It wasn't my intention to make it just about crime. Anyway, genres are a matter for critics.

Last, last week, I asked around for some interested readers so I could get some comments on my story. Sir Joel Pablo Salud was one of those who volunteered, and to be honest, I was like, "Uh-oh. Prepare for workshop days!" Because during those days in Dumaguete and Bacolod, I got mostly raised eyebrows and awkward reactions bordering on dafuq-did-I-just-read, for my scifi pieces.

I believe no story is perfect. Though I think part of the reason why I stopped writing fiction for a while was all the ouch-level comments I got from stories I wrote two years ago. My fiction hiatus wasn't such a bad thing though, as I discovered my now-first love--poetry.

And back to those who volunteered to read, I was surprised to get mostly positive reactions. And a few days later, Ms. Alma Anonas-Carpio tagged me on Facebook to tell me they're publishing "Alphonse" in the Philippines Graphic Magazine. I was so happy, but then I also panicked. I was like, "Waitaminit is the story in tip-top shape already?!" So I checked and checked my work and well, I guess a panicky mood isn't a good way to get into the revising zone. One needs to be cool and logical. Everything tends to look wrong when you're harried. I wonder why?

But hey, I mean, I trust the editors of Graphic to know their stuff. And it's certainly an honor to grace their pages once more, so I relaxed and just enjoyed my week, knowing that I was able to write something different, and hopefully worthwhile, too. Wait, worthwhile? Actually, I want to write terrifying stories with grit and glamor.

So if you have time, do grab a copy of the July 1, 2013 issue of the Philippines Graphic Magazine, and tell me how "Alphonse" affected you (hopefully it will!).

Available in National Bookstore outlets and other distributors.