Renowrites blog!

Author of YA novel "Enlightenment" available March 2019!

Thanksgiving 2017

Spending Thanksgiving in Washington State gives me a chance to reflect on the blessings in my life.

My kids. My wife. My family. I am a very fortunate soul.

Family. Everyone uses this word to describes those close to them. Perhaps some use “framily” to be inclusive of both family and friends. Many people have more than one framily based on work or hobbies one is interested in.

The harsh reality of using the word “family” for blood relatives doesn’t translate in how close you are in spirit and mind. You hear about sibling rivalries and parent/child conflicts all the time. What is family? It means different things to different people.

For me, it’s confusing. There are so many relatives I don’t know around the world. I have many relatives I’ve grown close to, only to grow apart. Hardly any family calls or texts just to check up on how I’m doing, yet have friends who do. I’m sure I also need to reach out more. Life relationships are a two way street.

There have been times where I feel I’ve reached out to family but didn’t receive any reciprocation. Then we drift… but I guess we are all drifting through time, only allowing time to briefly stop during birthdays, graduations, childbirths, weddings, funerals and holidays.

So here it is. Thanksgiving 2017. And I feel thankful. Happy. Sad.

Whatever your definition for family or framily, I hope you’re with people you can be yourself and not feel like you’re being judged. I hope you don’t get caught up in Black Friday!

Be safe and look out for more updates on “Enlightenment!”

Filed under: Writing

The Last Remaining

The first working title for “Enlightenment” was “The Last Remaining.” The evolution of a novel.

Filed under: Writing,

Tell your story

I’ve learned it’s okay to tell your story. Although this seems like a simple concept, it never was for me. I had to be silent most of my life in order to fit in to the environment I was surrounded by. I felt no one would understand how important it was to me to be both Filipino and American.

I was never quite American enough. Or Filipino enough. I was in between. Midwest Americans didn’t see me as a Midwesterner. Filipinos silently disapproved I didn’t speak Tagalog.

I’m still in between, but more creative types are coming out of the woodwork who have experienced this “feeling.” I can tell by their art. I attended my first Fil Am Creative Event on Friday 11/10/2017 and saw short films with Filipino American perspectives.

I was laughing, crying and covering my eyes during the screenings. Mostly, I sighed in relief for the first time since I was on set of “The Debut” film years ago, a film that focused on 1st generation vs. 2nd generational conflict. To see a slew of short films from all these talented Filipino American filmmakers and actors who are expressing themselves through art is what should have happened years ago. What happened after the Debut? Everyone has an opinion, but now…finally…there is a valid literary and theatrical Filipino American movement.

This year, the novel by Melissa De La Cruz “Somewhere in Between” gives credence to identifying as both Filipino and American. More Filipino American novels are being released by Arkipelago Books in SF. And my novel “Enlightenment” is being released in 2018.

“Enlightenment is a Filipino American novel tied to the history of our people prior to the Spanish arrival in the Philippines. This is a story I was afraid of while I was writing it. I was afraid of people’s reactions to the novel’s inclusion of both Christian and Islamic historical ties to the islands. I was afraid my Filipino American writing perspective would be considered invalid.

But now all these years after first penning this novel and literally burning the midnight oil while working a full time job, starting and running a 501c3 youth basketball program and raising a family, the novel is at its final edits. And hopefully, this is the first of many stories I’m no longer afraid to tell.

Thank you to all the Filipino American writers, directors, actors and organizers who are telling their stories.

You inspire me.

Filed under: Filipino American, Writing, , , ,