a first

So this morning I opened my e-mail, and lo and behold:

Dear Eliza,

Thank you for your submission to Expanded Horizons.  I have read your
story, “Night Out,” and have decided to include it in our upcoming June
issue.  Congratulations!

If this works out, “Night Out” – a short, sci-fi piece I wrote back in college and which I had revised and re-revised for years – yes, years, because it actually started out as a novelette, until I realized that half of the damn thing is clutter – will be my first publication in an international market.


new stories

I cannot for the life of me now remember when I sent stories for consideration to the Philippines Graphic. (Well, I can check my Sent Items folder, but I’m lazy.) It felt like a long time ago. Like late 2008. Maybe I’m just impatient, but around the first week of this month I decided to send them a letter saying that I’m withdrawing all of my pending submissions, unless they’ve been accepted/rejected. You know, so I can finally sit down with my stories and tell them what’s what.

Then this morning:

Date: Wed, 20 May 2009 19:18:14 +0800
Subject: Re: Attn: Literary Editor
From: Marra PL Lanot <deleted>
To: Graphic Editorial <deleted>

Please inform Eliza Victoria ASAP that her story “Earthset” has been accepted for publication in Graphic. Thanks.


Please inform ASAP Eliza A. Victoria that her story “Hotel” will also be used in future issue of Graphic. Thanks.

That is Ms Lanot’s name, right? I’m not hallucinating? o.O

I’m not. She was my professor in my Film & Lit class.

This is lovely. :)

I’ll link the stories once they’re up.

in the company of worldbuilders

I was about to use “writers”, but I think this word is better. (Source: most probaby Neil Gaiman’s blog, or his Twitter page, or one of his stories.) Such a beautiful image, and such an accurate word to describe approximately 10,000 hours of staring at a blank page and too much potato chips and having absolutely no social life.

I’m kidding. Maybe 1,000 hours.

Anyway. Book launch yesterday (Feb. 28) of the fourth installment of Philippine Speculative Fiction.


I’ve been published in an anthology before (a collection of flash fiction) but was not able to attend the launching. (Actually I’m still not sure if there had been one.) So the event yesterday was my first ever book launch. Attended it with my friend Eula, who frequents the place because she lives nearby.

with eula
with eula

I, on the other hand, have never been there before because (kindly refer to first paragraph).

The venue was the U-View Theater inside the gigantic Fully Booked branch on High Street, and to get to there we had to pass the Graphic Novels aisle. It killed me. The books were unattainable. Dear Fully Booked, kindly put the graphic novels on sale. Ktnxbye.

with nikki alfar
with nikki alfar
with dean francis alfar
with dean francis alfar

The Alfars (who edited the anthology) were very welcoming, very lively, and just the right amount of insane. I LOVE IT. Each author’s bio sketch was flashed onscreen, which Dean Alfar read out loud. Fun, really fun, except that the authors had to get up and say something. In my head I prepared this speech: “I am so thankful to be in this room filled with writers and readers. This is the kind of room that I’d like to embrace (and do crazy stuff with).”

Instead when I finally got up to get my copies, I said something like: “OHMYGOD I am so THANK YOU [laughs like a hyena] [starts moving around like a jackhammer]” I was moving around so much that Eula said she had a hard time taking a photo of me.

well uh
well uh

You see, this is why I write.

* * *

Big, big mistake: I didn’t stick around after the program to collect signatures from the other authors. STUPID!

authors assemble for group pic
authors assemble for group pic
pakadaming cameras
pakadaming cameras

But anyway, at least Eula and I had time to give ourselves blisters walking around Fort Bonifacio. Dinner was fun. Eula, we should do this again!

sammich for a "healthy" dinner
"healthy" dinner

* * *

This stuck with me, though: when I came up to Dean Alfar to shake his hand, he said: “We wanted so much to meet you, you made us cry.”

You see, this is why I write. :D

Do buy a copy. :)

(The rest of the photos are over here. And here be a bunch of links, compiled by Charles Tan. Know the other authors! Hehe.)


From a response paper I wrote for some CW course:

It is a mercy, then, that no two poets have the same inner life. As readers this allows us to see the world transform and transform again; as writers this allows us to offer something that no other person can offer. Every vision becomes not only true, but necessary, shedding light on the things the others have missed, or simply chose to ignore. This is Rothenberg’s “life-giving vision”, Kelly’s step beyond the “epiphany”, beyond the “flakes of mica embedded in” the pavement, seen for the first time. It is not enough that we see; it is necessary for us to let/make others see, to turn that hum in our head when we walk in the cold at night, that sudden inexplicable flash, that sudden shapeless dream, into the worst thing it can possibly be: a poem, made up of words. If only poems do not have to go through language, if only poems can be given to the world the way they come to us, elusive and formless and pure. But as Kelly says, “We are given: 1 world to transform, 1 language to transform it with.” So be it. We write, no matter how much is sieved and lost in the process, because every vision is legitimate, and needed.

So who’s Rothenberg and who’s Kelly? I seem to know so much about them.

* * *

In retrospect though – I think I still believe in whatever shiz I’ve written years ago. :)

Now, if only I can make myself write again with the same ferocity. *Sigh*

it’s here!

it's a robot!

Well, at least by the end of February. :D Kudos to the Alfars. :)

Book launch at the U-View Theater in High Street. I’ve never been there because I’m an introvert.

No, really.

Click on the robot for the details.

hello 2009, or now what

Last Sunday, I woke up and suddenly had this thought: I want to go back to school. Oh yeah: first post for 2009, and I’m talking about wanting to go back to school. How cool is that?

I know at least one Journalism batch mate who has gone on to graduate studies. There could be more of them. A bunch from the older class, even one who studies abroad. I know two classmates from CW who’ve succumbed – one of them takes up an MA and teaches high school kids, Jesus Christ, what a combo. I have an office mate taking up Women’s Studies who’s alternatively delighted and distraught by her academic load. I know one who’s already finished his Master’s.

At least three girls have dissuaded me from planning to apply for the MA program in Creative Writing (“It’ll all just be a question of aesthetics”…”think of the politics”…“Bakla, nagsusulat ka na e, aantukin ka lang.”), and go for Literature instead. But then that means plodding through the Classics and tons of other readings, and I don’t know, that doesn’t sound like fun. Does it? Once one of my siblings asked why we had to read all these stories, and I think I almost said, So when they’re alluded to in a joke you’ll be able to get it. CW also means readings, but at least there’ll be workshops, you know, workshops, where you’ll be given given a chance to be told how much you suck so you can tell your other classmates how much they suck when it’s their turn. Then, when you’ve been told how much you suck enough times, you can go out and win a Palanca.

I’ve also considered taking up further studies in a completely different field. Like Anthro. Studying folklore sounds extremely interesting, but then I can always just pick up a book.



I miss school. I miss having a definite goal, complete with checklists and advisers and several opportunities for validation.

OhfortheloveofGod, I’m not even sure if I’ll get in, if ever I apply.

* * *

But wait – this is supposed to be a New Year post, plans, things to be thankful for, blah blah. What should I be thankful for in 2008? I don’t usually do this, but maybe I should start the habit this year since I forget easily; in my head, the events and the years bleed into each other.

Quick, I’ll just rattle them off – this year I’m thankful I:

– became a regular employee with a job that allows me to write and, to some extent, keeps me on my toes (I’ve been thinking, if I were in a different field, the country could already have been ceded back to Spain and I’ll still be in my bedroom, blissfully unaware, watching DVDs on my laptop. Being in Research, with all this information about what’s come before and what will come tomorrow – literally tomorrow, when the paper will come out – floating around, makes you realize that really, nothing should come as a surprise. Everybody and everything leaves clues.)

– graduated from bedspacerhood and got my own room in an apartment unit

– wrote short stories that got accepted for publication, one of them for a local spec fic anthology, w00t

– developed the habit of waking up early and jogging around the campus (still with difficulty – even the waking up early part, especially now, when it’s so cold – but I’m working on it)

– am still healthy, that my family’s still healthy, that I still have friends

– that I still have time to read (if Tobias Wolff’s Old School were a person, I’d hug it) and write and watch films/shows, that I still have time to appreciate good stories

– um

I’m pretty sure there are other things to be thankful for, I’ve just forgotten them. See? Very poor memory.

* * *

As for plans, well, after I got settled in my apartment unit and in the office, I’ve acquired this wait-and-see stance and became more or less complacent, so now, at the moment, I don’t have plans. Hah, how’s that? I think I have out-of-town trips and dinner/meet-ups to look forward to before February, so I suppose the first two months of this year will be fun enough, will be filled with friends. (And will definitely kill my savings.)

But really, a wait-and-see stance. Maybe that’s why I should go back to school.

* * *

Have you seen the full moon nowadays? I’ve started writing this post (in spurts; been busy with all the assignments and write-ups, etc) last Sunday, and this picture was on the front page in the paper.


Kung tutuusin ano, kahit mag-search na lang ako ng picture ng full moon sa Google at i-post dito, pwede pa rin. Pero pinili ko na lang rin yung may watermark para maniwala kayo na totoong maganda yung buwan nung Sabado. Kaya pala di ako mapakali sa apartment.

The moon was said to be the biggest full moon for 2009, comparable to December’s full moon, which was 14 percent wider, and 30 percent brighter.


* * *

O, hala na. Patulan na natin yung umaalingasaw na metaphor from this observation and wish that the rest of the year will be just as bright.

Now go barf or something.


and so

Riding on the high brought by having just seen Into The Woods in its entirety, I’m wishing everyone a very merry Christmas. I don’t know where you are, but here the night of December 24 is crucial. I’ll be home for the countdown to midnight. :)

This year’s coming to a close, the speed of everything surprising as always. Wishes for 2009: more songs, more stories (yesterday I received word from Free Press that they’re going to publish my short story next week, hooraaaay) (and I finally found the time to read Richard Price’s Clockers) – who would wish for sad times? But if they do come, I hope they’re not too destructive. I hope they’re malleable, and gentle – of the kind that can leave you with enough energy to turn them into something beautiful.

Here’s Part 1 of the Prologue of Into the Woods. Next: Once On This Island. :D Haha.