Monday, February 27, 2006

The Yellow Paperclip Hangs Out in San Diego with My Best Fjupy Womyn Friends

Here's our semi-virtual Fjupy Reunion over the weekend when Trixy and her goober Adrian drove down to San Diego to visit Julia and John. Adrian promised me that I'd be there too so yes, that's "me" in a Manila folder! (You're the coolest, Ade!) My favorite fjupy couples were in the same Starbucks that our fjupy selves were in last April 2005, when we had our first real reunion since our high school graduation in 1997. Click HERE for photos of our daggy days in San Diego.

My Fjupy Friends. The three of us were inseparable in our last two years of high school in Singapore. Nikki, Julia and Trixy. The Poet, the Lover and the Lunatic. The Brain, the Bimbo and the Bitch. Two Filipinas and a Swede (kind of like an Oreo cookie, or so Julia always said). Tres Marias. Three IBH Art students. Three completely different women but the bestest of friends. The Fjupy Womyn.

The what womyn, er women? What kind of f-word is that?! Fjupy (pronounced "fyoopee") is a Swedish-like word we made up to describe... well, anything. It can be a superlative adjective or an expression of delight. It describes that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when your goober gives you a hug. (Julia, what's a goober again? Hee-hee.) Fjupy is when Trix talks with her hands and fingers. It's the essence of all of our D&M (deep and meaningful) conversations. It can also mean, as inspired by Levin (yes, of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, my one true love in high school), that silence which preserves the loftiness of emotions. Fjupy can mean anything we want it to mean. But it captures our fjupy friendship in a way other words simply can't.

See just how fjupy these fjupy womyn are to me? They're a big part of my Yellow Paperclip dream! Here's my photo in the book (thanks for the fun photo, May Ann!)... it came from the original photo above, taken in San Diego last year at Balboa Park. I flew to California with some slight hesitation. I didn't know what to expect. Compared to our high school selves, we were all grown up after eight years apart. Since we were never good at emailing regularly, there were so many separate memories and untold stories between us. My thought bubbles were everywhere. Where were we going to start?! Would it be awkward? How do we catch up with eight years of our lives in just two days together? Will it be just like the good ole fjupy days? It took us a few moments to actually get used to being all together again (we were sitting in the car in silence, just looking at each other and giggling)... but then the fjupy friendship took over and we ended up yakking away until 7 a.m.! Alamak, what was I thinking?! Why was I even worried? We were essentially the same fjupy womyn (albeit rounder, thinner, with longer/shorter hair, married, single), as daggy and D&M-ish and fjupy as ever. It wasn't even a question of catching up on the last eight years, but more of starting anew where we left off and taking our fjupy friendship into the next phase of our lives: NOW.

Trix and Julia, I look forward to our next (virtual or real) fjupy reunion. I love you, womyn!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Blast from the Past: A Coincidence... or a Conspiracy?

Wow. I got that incredible feeling of happy disbelief (again!) when I opened my inbox today. I got an email from Grace, the older sister of a good friend from fifth grade. Grace, a.k.a. Mommy Grace, was like our coach in the basketball varsity team (yes, even at 4'10", I used to play basketball!). Her short email read:

Don't know if you still remember me. I'm Grace, the sister of Christine, your batchmate in Zobel. Firstly, I just want to say hi and say "well done!" on your book. Actually, that's not it. I'm currently working at the prep library of Zobel when I came across your name on one of the books I was given to process. I just found it so weird and ironic that, like your yellow paperclip, your book has come full circle back to where you started to read and write...

Although I didn't start to read and write in Zobel (I was reading Nancy Drew and writing stories a la Sweet Valley High by the fifth grade), it is amazing how I've sort of come full circle with the good ole Yellow Paperclip. Could it be a mere coincidence that Christine is on my list of People to Reconnect With in 2006? I doubt it. There are no coincidences. Just a conspiracy (a.k.a. The Master Plan) and lots of surprising connections and reconnections. I love it how a paperclip has helped me create ties and rediscover links to different people and places.

I can't wait to see them both and a The Yellow Paperclip Goes to Zobel post soon...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Yellow Paperclip Goes to Germany

Stef is like a sister to May Ann and also an amazing artist. May Ann sent her a copy of our storybook and Stef said it was the "sweetest Christmas present... a sweet story with gorgeous illustrations"! I like her personal quote from her site: In the end, everything is going to be okay. And if it's not okay, it's not the end. I agree completely.

I'm glad you enjoyed the story, Stef! You're just as unique and colorful!

The Yellow Paperclip Goes to Peru

Alejo is yet another fellow deviant artist and one of May Ann's best friends. I think he's the very first person in South America to get our storybook! Wow! May Ann sent him a copy for his birthday. He's a great pixel artist and deviant of many interesting talents. What colorful adventure will you start today, Alejo?

The Yellow Paperclip Goes to Australia

Kerstin (a.k.a. Ninke) is a good deviant artist friend of May Ann Licudine, my down-to-earth friend and illustrator extraordinaire. She sent May Ann this photo of her after getting a copy of our book. Wow, wouldn't it be cool if everyone who read our story got bright pink spirals on their cheeks? She's an emoticonist and has amazingly expressive and colorful artwork.

Felicia (a.k.a. Leficia) is another one of May Ann's good friends and fellow deviant artist. She looks a little uncomfortable after she got her wisdom tooth pulled out, but still very happy with The Yellow Paperclip! She's a 17-year-old pencil artist, writer and poet.

Good to know that our story has reached Down Under. Hope you enjoyed our storybook, Kerstin and Felicia!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Yellow Paperclip attends a PSTD Tipanan

The Philippine Society for Training and Development is a non-stock, non-profit professional organization of Human Resource and Organization Development practitioners in the country. The Tipanan is a monthly general membership meeting; today's Tipanan featured "The Five Languages of Love" in celebration of Valentine's Day. I was invited by Susan Tayag of Bankard, a true DDI champion, to speak about books on love and relationships. I agreed except I told her I'd limit my quick review on children's books. I read excerpts and talked about The Missing Piece and The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein. *Sniff.* I love those books. Every time I read them I still get a lump in my throat.

I got to introduce my book and talk about it very briefly. I guess they were intrigued because a number of participants came up to me after asking if I had copies to sell! Unfortunately, I didn't have enough with me. PSTD said they'll organize a book sale and signing at next month's Tipanan instead. Wow!

Before I forget. I saw a pink paperclip by my left front wheel in the parking lot across Cocolife Building.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The (Shy) Yellow Paperclip Meets a Children's Poet and Lots of New People

I attended an event with writer and poet Lara Saguisag tonight sponsored by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Lara discussed and read poetry for children to a diverse group of people. Bec, an English teacher at ISM who studied poetry at Cambridge. Jandy, my classmate in Ateneo for an elective on Writing and Illustrating for Children. Pepper, illustrator extraordinaire and my teacher for that class. Jeline, an old friend from Heights, the literary publication of Ateneo. Rowena, a corporate trainer and writer. Reni, publisher for Tahanan Books. Nikki from the CCP. Ani from Adarna. Several moms who read to their children at bedtime. Chiles, an old acquaintance, doctor-by-profession, and fellow fan of children's literature. (Thanks, Chiles, for telling me about tonight's event!)

The first hour was spent with each of us introducing ourselves and talking about our favorite children's book. I didn't even know we were supposed to bring a book; but it was a good thing I brought a copy of The Yellow Paperclip with Bright Purple Spots because I wanted to give it to Lara as a thank-you gift. I was actually really nervous. I honestly felt a little uncomfy talking about my book infront of the SCBWI... I felt like such a novice, like a naive freshman in a tambayan of graduating seniors. On hindsight, I should have said more, shared more. I should have told them all the amazing stories behind my story. I should have shared the inspiration behind it all. I should have said something about this blog. (So why didn't you, Nikki?!)

Maybe it's because I don't have any formal training in children's literature. I don't have an MFA in Creative Writing (although it's at the back of my mind...). I can't rattle off names of famous authors and illustrators of children's books. But... what am I talking about? It should be enough that I really enjoy reading books for children. (For example: I got teary rereading The Missing Piece Meets the Big O over the weekend!) I love all the funky illustrations and silly or serious plots. I love the different layers we can read. Children's books have changed my life so I really should speak out.

I'll do better on Wednesday when I speak at the PSTD Tipanan. I hope. (No, I will. I'll keep you posted.)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

A Paperclip I Can Call my Own

Literally! Ate Kim gave me this cool custom-made paperclip, designed by her friend from LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts in Singapore. Isn't it pretty? Advanced happy Valentine's day to everyone!