Sunday, October 08, 2006


So writing's a bit of a hurdle. Nothing new there. Here I am, staring down a difficult piece of easy; there are ten thousand compelling themes and easy's still winning by a mile and the page remains blank or mottled.

I wish I could write like a distant friend of mine, a hack who once told me all he needed to do was to just get his hands resting on his laptop and his keyboard would merge with his fingers and ratatat he's done. First time I heard him, I said "Well, buy me a beer." At least low cunning's getting him somewhere, and with a large dose of happiness at that.

Another friend, an ex-pugilist and tough beef jerky, he said when he's writing, the writing's to be done hammered out in the morning, when the sun's new and the air's unsure of its infirmities and the day's still contemplating the tricks it's been lining up for the sorry folks for decades. He makes better sense, I think, and he says it all with a fever in his eyes. Cool, I say. There's tons of truth there.

I've found that you really shouldn't wait till the sway of evening delivers mush, because that's just what it'll deliver. In any case, waiting too long for whatever crap muse you expect to come visiting just abdicates everything to that fickle thing called nighttime, which of course decides in the end who'll be the bonafide sorry-folks-cardbearer for the night, and if you're chosen -- as you'll likely be chosen -- it sucks.

I'm thankful that I haven't been coming up short too often nowadays; it wasn't always like this. Nowadays, in the morning, I can open my eyes, grab the chow, mix my theme with the coffee and start wrestling with the specters soon as my hand lets go of the spoon. It's a strange process inside the mind, but it's been working mostly and that's what counts. The problem now has mostly to do with the fare served for a given week -- what if one's been slated to dip daily in the lush zone for a week or two?

Priorities man.

I used to write at night; did so fairly often, and it's taken its toll. The mind's mostly elsewhere, then others get to grab my booze while I labor and struggle and crawl through barbed wire, mine fields, smoke, quicksand and temptation just to get to start another round with the ethereal. So in times like these, I've decided I'll just skip my roster and hurl straight to the easy ones. It doesn't need the contemplation that's gotten me cross-eyed over a few pieces about memory and the future. I need to keep moving.

I think it's really just about the listening -- the listenings' that writing about history and the present receive from all sorts of sources.

I've never really been a believer of jargon and all those high isms. "I've never been there," Sheryl Crow sang to me once, "but the brochure looks nice."


War? Exploitation? Injustice? Terrible crisis? Specters? It's really all about stories, and I'm a little glad that what I've been writing over the years has been worth the eyes and ears of some. So, below are a few of the stories that have interested other shores. Here in the country, the interest has been welcome as well. The last few years a number of papers have found my material worth the space, led of course by the inimitable Today, along with Business Mirror, Manila Standard Today, Business World, Manila Times, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Star, and Malaya.

I'm not listing down the articles. Thoughts have a funny method of self-organization when you're munching on other thoughts. It's enough to have reached this point -- a few minutes ago I felt I needed to jump real high to get across a few hurdles, and I think this much text has already cleared away the detritus of yesterday's inactivity and the writing right now is no longer stumbling. Good stuff.

Thanks for dropping by. #

Some of the publications that have used what I've written:

RED on history's lesions in Tom Dispatch.

RED on death and remembering in Paras Indonesia.

RED on the colors of memory in Mother Jones.

RED on climate change and it's consequences in Common Dreams.

RED on the tsunami and grieving in Truth Out.

RED on Hiroshima and memory in Z Net.

RED on Iran and US intervention in Asia Times.

RED on Vanunu, nukes and Israel in the Washington Post.

RED on memories of December and occupation in The Black Commentator.

RED on martial rule in Big News Network.

RED on the Iran vs. Israel swaggering dance in The Malaysian Sun.

Recent RED on the persecution and killings of leftists, journalists and government critics in the Italian press agency AKI (ADN Kronos International).

Recent RED on energy in the International Herald Tribune.

Recent RED on the World Bank in the Guardian-UK.

Recent RED on the environment in Antara News-Indonesia. #


First and third photo by Sze Pang Cheung, Lijiang, China 2004. Second photo by Red from Aceh, shortly after the tsunami; the fourth photo from the spice market of Istanbul, also by Red.

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