Renowrites blog!

Author of YA novel "Enlightenment" available March 2019!

Self actualization

I’ve been thinking a lot about purpose. As I get older, I’m in a state of wonder at life’s journey.

I’m the son of Filipino immigrants who worked diligently to provide a good life in the States for me and my sister, JoAnna. We had a nice house and nothing to complain about.

However, there was a lingering feeling of something missing that was hard to pinpoint. I consider the days of my youth lonely times, the loneliness slowly burning a hole inside me. I played basketball and baseball which helped me not dwell on this loneliness. Sports was my great escape.

Books and music were my other outlets to combat loneliness. And when I started to write in high school, my haphazard stories became the impetus for me become a published writer. This was a dream I didn’t share with anyone. At the time, I thought my family wouldn’t take it seriously.

The last nineteen years, I’ve been privileged to be a husband and father. My kids have a good life in Northern California. Now they are teenagers and on their way towards adulthood.

When they were babies, I was resolved to keep a roof over their heads and not be homeless. As strange as that may sound, that was my fear — being a homeless family. That’s what drove me to go to work everyday.

Now that they are older, I have a sense everything will be okay. The fear still resonates at times, but I’m a in different place. I think less of homelessness and more about my life’s journey, my overall purpose to mankind.

My eldest daughter, a smart beautiful eighteen year old who I enjoy talking to about life’s philosophical questions, reminded me in a recent car conversation that this is self actualization, the final stage of development in Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. This stage occurs when a person is able to take full advantage of their talents while still being mindful of their limitations. In other words, its the desire to be most you can be after the most basic needs like shelter, a sense of belonging and esteem are met.

Self actualization. I realize I’ve been working all my life to get to this stage. My lonely days in my youth, to finding a sense of belonging in college, to building my reputation in music and writing, to taking care of my family. All of these needs have been met.

Now when I attempt to hit my daily minimum word count while balancing my day job and family life, writing serves as a mechanism for me to reach my potential, to test my limits, and to tell a story worth remembering.

And realizing I’m self-actualizing should make me feel blessed. Perhaps I’ll feel that way one day when all the books of The Bathala Series are written.

But I’m here. I’m writing. I’m in self actualization. And I’m hoping to enjoy the details of this journey, to breathe it all in, instead of always focusing on the destination.

Filed under: everyday, Writing,

Thoughts

My life is a dichotomy. Perhaps a trichotomy of sorts. I am a traditional, I am a basketball coach, I am a writer.

If you were to take away my coaching and writing lives, I live a successful traditional life. I’m raising three teenagers and have been married to Lynette since 2000. We own our home in California and have the amenities to be content with our lives. But it turns out I’m the soul who can’t stay still.

I’m also a basketball coach. I mentor students through the game of basketball. I’ve run a basketball organization since 2011 and have been a high school coach since 2012, being the Varsity coach at Mountain House High since 2014. I simply love basketball. Through this game, I’ve made great friendships and love my life as a coach.

I am also a writer. I’ve written songs that have been released by record labels. Today, I’ve focused on writing everyday in my Bathala Series. Book one of the series is my novel Enlightenment that continues to be the little novel that will. Published by an indie press Pacific Boulevard Books, it has the “will” to be among all the great novels released in 2019. The Bathala Series is now a lifelong mission to tell a Filipino story in the modern day centered around my homeland’s pre-Spanish existence. Some of it is factual with creative fiction mixed in, a 7 part story that makes me vulnerable.

Vulnerable.

Being vulnerable to criticism as a coach and writer is in direct contrast to my traditional life. Sometimes I wonder why I’m not content and why I’m looking to make an imprint on this world through writing. And that leads me to the ultimate question. What is the purpose of being vulnerable?

Vulnerability. It scares people. It scares me. Yet, I’ve found, vulnerability is a great motivator, an impetus to be more than who you are.

Growing up in Northern Michigan in the 1980s, I wanted to be a great 2nd baseman or point guard, but I didn’t put in the work to be great in sports. I only dreamed about it. And looking back at my adolescent sports aspirations, I realize I have always been a dreamer.

I loved pop music, video games and books. And it was through books, my imagination flew. My reality of being a Filipino kid in Michigan became morphed by all the things I wanted to do.

Today, my latest challenge is doing what I want to do without sacrificing the comfort of my family’s traditional life. How does a writer survive in California without a downturn in lifestyle? The majority of writers struggle financially. This financial vulnerability can lead to great writing and notoriety. Perhaps I should…but then again…I remind myself to be happy knowing I’ve done the best I can. And that whatever I’ve set my mind to in my life, I’ve accomplished.

And doing my best is what I should celebrate, because this imperfect journey makes me unique. At least this is what I keep telling myself, my adolescent sports aspirations crashing into adult me. I’ve done what was expected of me, and I’ve still kept my dreams afloat. Because like in the 1980s, I continue to look to the stars, dreaming of what I want to become.

I am a dreamer. And after all these years, it feels good to finally admit it.

Filed under: everyday, Writing

Love of basketball

My family lives basketball, exemplified by the picture below of us on Sunday May 12, 2013 at Oracle Arena, Game 4 of the Spurs Warriors game.

I’m sure this love of basketball stems from our family’s lineage of ball players in the barrio of the Philippines. Apparently my dad was a baller growing up in San Remigio, Cebu.

Regardless of the reason, I find it a must to always include a basketball related scene in my writing.

Speaking of which, I have 2 manuscripts done. Now I just need to get it out to the world.

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Filed under: basketball, everyday, Writing,

Publishing what?

So a brand new digital publisher shut it doors even before it released one title. Quartet Press announced its launch in June 2009, and today announced its closing.

I wonder what the real story is behind this venture. Were they that off on their financial projections? They had signed 7 authors since June 09, but now the rights of those books get reverted back to the authors. Click here for the full story at Publishers Weekly. If you’re one of the authors who signed with them, what do you do now? I would be super frustrated!

I’m still working on my second novel tentatively entitled The Last Remaining. It’s a story of a girl who – against every gut instinct – falls for a guy who shows her there’s definitely more to her ethnicity than she ever imagined. I’ll probably post a chapter online pretty soon, especially since the copyright stuff is finalized. Sorry, can’t reveal more though – I’ve been advised to not go into detail until the book is out there.

Football season starts tomorrow night. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tennessee Titans, with trash talkin’ to boot! My fantasy football team is set for another Super Bowl run, plus I have a couple high school games to officiate this weekend. I’m so freakin’ stoked football season is back!

Filed under: everyday

The underdog

My kids love watching the reality show America’s Got Talent. This season, there’s a guy named Kevin Skinner, an unemployed farmer who the judges and audience laughed at when he first walked on stage.

He sang a Garth Brooks cover and when he started, the place turned deathly silent. Skinner’s performance was one of the most heartfelt and powerful performances I’ve ever witnessed.

Here’s to the underdog winning it all.

Filed under: everyday, Music

Real on real estate

At night, I write. By day, I’m a real estate appraiser. I live in California and have been a first-hand witness to the bursting of the real estate bubble. Home values have declined 50% in some areas, while other more insulated cities have only been hit marginally. The area I live has been hit bigtime! Home values still continue to depreciate!

The title of real estate appraiser also attains many assumptions by people out there. Some also believe I have the ability to sell a house or that I’m a loan modification expert. I am not a real estate broker. My niche role is an appraiser – I value property, specializing in Commercial Real Estate transactions. My job is heavily affected by the actions of lenders, banks, servicers and investors and now, commercial real estate is getting hit. Shopping malls are going bankrupt, stores are closing, large national chain stores are downsizing.

Within this downward real estate spiral, there has been a boom in the loan modification industry, giving a chance to people who bought during the peak to modify an existing loan to today’s more modest financial picture. I’ll touch base on loan modifications in another post, but it’s safe to say, the sharks have arrived. Be careful when approached by a 3rd party company to work on a loan modification. They’ll take your money and run!

Filed under: everyday

Baseball

The people close to me know how much of a BIG baseball fan I am. My team of choice is the Atlanta Braves. Even though I grew up in Northern Michigan, they had 150 games aired on TBS and I couldn’t help but watch them everyday. Dale Murphy. Bob Horner. Chris Chambliss. Bruce Benedict. Rafael Ramirez. Glenn “Mother” Hubbard. These were the players I identified with during the 1980’s Braves. My most relaxing time is 1) either at the ballpark or 2) watching any baseball game on my couch.

Today, the Braves lost to the SF Giants 8-2. We’re 23-21, and I’m hopefully we can go on a run on this road trip. We just need Chipper to get healthy. I keep seeing concern over our outfield on fan forums and AJC newspaper articles, but I hope people can remember that the 1990’s Braves were built on pitching. I think Frank Wren is getting us back to that edict. Sure, Franceour only has three homeruns, but pitching and solid defense will always keep a team in the hunt. I say stick with what we have until the All-Star break and evaluate then. We shouldn’t duplicate the Texeira deal ever again!!

I hope to write a novel one day around a baseball setting. I’ve written one with basketball, but I don’t think I can call my writing career complete without attempting a baseball love story. Ah, the future, it holds so many possibilities.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day. We went cherry picking and spent time with extended family. Three day weekends go by so quickly.

Now, off to sleep. Work calls in the morning…

Filed under: everyday

Life must go on

It’s been a tough week in Mountain House and Tracy. The killer of Sandra Cantu hasn’t been found and we learned today there will be a public memorial, giving the entire area a chance to publicly share their love for Sandra. The autopsy findings haven’t been revealed and I can imagine it will take a few weeks before any information is released. Please let there be enough evidence to find whoever did this to her.

As I’ve had time to consider the impact of Sandra Cantu on our town and my family, I’m always brought back to how everyone came together for one little girl. I actually feel relieved that so many people care and helped with the search. It tells a lot about the community of people in Mountain House and Tracy and I’m very proud of the people here. After time passes, wounds will slowly ease, although still very pained. We will never forget Sandra’s life and the lessons learned from her passing.

Tomorrow, my son gets four immunization shots. I’m humbled more than ever to be able to share moments like this with him and my girls, another reminder to me how life continually keeps me inspired to write.

Filed under: everyday

Why?

I write with a heavy heart. One of the beautiful children of Tracy California, a beautiful 8 year old named Sandra Cantu, a girl who lived only a few miles away and missing since March 27, was found dead today. My wife and I are grieving. Chills go down my spine knowing someone deliberately did this to an innocent child. My children also grieve, trying to understand.

Writing never seemed so inconsequential…

Filed under: everyday

Finding Sandra

Sandra Cantu is an eight year old girl who went missing on Friday March 27, 2009. She lives in Tracy, California, a town only 7 miles away from where I live. The community has really come together on trying to find this little girl. Signs are posted everywhere between Mountain House and Tracy. Our neighborhoods have her face memorized. I find myself looking closely at every little girl I see walking on the street.

It’s hard to put into words the heartbreak I felt seeing her mother on television for the first time. As a father, I cannot fathom being in such a situation. I go to sleep saddened until Sandra is brought home.

Here’s the link to the National Center for Missing Kids. Sandra, we’ve never met, but our family prays for you.

Filed under: everyday