I remember my mom had a student. We went to the student’s house in the province and stayed there for a while. The student talked about how she asked her brother if he wanted to study in Manila like she did, but he said “Ayoko, gusto ko lang ng normal na buhay.” I couldn’t understand this. I judged him, thinking he lacked ambition.
I saw a movie called Orange County. He wanted to be a writer, but he lived in a small sleepy town. He wanted to get into Standford. At the end of the movie, he decided that he can stay in Orange County and be a writer there.
Alice and I watched this movie for a class. I forgot which class. When the guy decided to stay home, I was confused. Why would anyone do that? Why would you rather stay at home and not go for your dreams?
During that time, I was planning to leave my “god-forsaken” country and go to Hollywood. Now years later I understand both that boy from the province and the character from the movie. Now, when I think of my life as a writer, I think about Pablo Neruda. He didn’t have to live in America to be known all over the world. I feel like my art is inextricably tied to the Philippines and that’s why I left that shiny American Dream to pursue the dream that is truly within my heart.
- A Childhood in the Philippines: Eating Mangoes
- To Walk the Streets of Manila
- Why Do You Speak English?
More Writing Exercises and Adventures:
- A Template Draft
- A Writer’s Manifesto
- How to Write Faster
- Ja’s Physical, Emotional, and Psychological State: As of Right Now
- Ja’s Writing Habits
- My Virtual Notebook: Writing Tips from Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark
- The Light
- To Write with Ease
- What I’d Really Like to Say is
- Writing Exercise: A-Z Sentences
- Writing Exercise: The Morning Pages
- Writing Tip: Break It Down
- Writing Tip: Make a Pact with the Universe
- Writing Tip: Out before In
- Writing Tip: Stay with It and Sit
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