Wednesday, May 31, 2006

45 Unique Spots by End of May

My big dream for 2006 is to have The Yellow Paperclip with Bright Purple Spots travel to 100 unique spots by December 31, 2006. As of today, the book has traveled to at least 45 spots, documented and guaranteed by friends and relatives. Wow! Click here for an updated list.

This is happy news because if I were to do the math, I'm right on target! Speaking about math...
100 spots / 12 months = 8.33333
8.33333 = 8 or 9 spots
(we can't have 0.33333 of a book, can we?)
9 spots x 5 months = 45 spots

I know this all sounds a little too nerdy. But math has taken on a new and interesting light since I started reading The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure by Hans Magnus Enzensberger. My boss has been raving about this book for quite some time and he let me borrow it after he finished reading it. The back blurb reads: Twelve-year-old Robert hates maths. Then in a dream, Robert meets the Number Devil, who brings the subject magically to life, illustrating with wit and charm a world in which numbers fascinate and amaze.

I never thought of myself as a numbers sort of person. My sixth grade friends and I once had an anti-math slogan: I'd rather eat math. But at least it helped me to see that I'm right on track with my big dream. The Number Devil would be proud.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Four Lost-and-Found Paperclips

Zoe and I saw four paperclips from The Old Spaghetti House to Tektite. I'm glad I had my camera with me! Can you see them? A pink paperclip. Two red ones. A blue one. Click the images to see them up close!

The Yellow Paperclip Meets Zoe

I had lunch with Zoe today to give her a copy of my book. I told her about it last month after our Book Club and she had gone to Powerbooks Megamall soon after... only to tell me that there were no more copies left!

She was scheduled to fly to Barcelona this month on a scholarship to study Spanish. She got excited when she found out about my storybook: it's a potential translation project! Can you just imagine... El Clip Amarillo del Papel con Puntos Púrpuras Brillantes! Unfortunately, there was a major glitch with the organizers and so she won't be flying to Spain any more. But lunch still pushed through and I'm glad it did! We walked to The Old Spaghetti House behind Pearl Drive (and we saw several lost paperclips along the way!) and spent more than an hour chatting and catching up.

Thanks again, Zoe! Here's to the next lunch, double (blind) date or we-have-to-do-this gimmick! Hope you enjoyed my story!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Yellow Paperclip Meets (Eggplant) Nats

My friend Nats dropped by Powerbooks to say hello and buy a couple of books. Yey! It was so good to see her again.

Nats was a Euphoric Eggplant with the Ateneo Student Trainers or STrains... like me! We were Team E and had to come up with a funky team name. The Euphoric Eggplants is significant because I think it was the start to my purple fetish. I made stickers with our bright purple eggplant mascot, complete with hands and feet and a wide euphoric smile. We bought purple folders and pens for each other. We signed off as "Eggplant Nikki" or "Eggplant Nats". Our Deputy Team Head, Eggplant Jon, changed all the E's in an email to bright purple capital letters! Isn't that cool?

Thanks for coming, Eggplant Nats! See you again soon!

The Yellow Paperclip Goes to Powerbooks

Here are some photos with new friends from Powerbooks Live in Greenbelt 4, taken after the graduation ceremonies of the Book Camp.

Here's Jane, the Customer Relations Manager, reading my book next to the Adarna House display. (I hope she bought a copy!) Next to the six new titles we launched from the Powerbooks Book Camp, The Yellow Paperclip with Bright Purple Spots poses with Mimi, James and Louie from the Marketing Department. Mimi is the Powerbooks Marketing Officer and a fellow member of the Powerbooks Book Club in Megamall.

Powerbooks Book Camp

If I were a kid, I would have loved to take part in the Powerbooks Book Camp. It's the first summer Powerbooks had such an event, and it looks like it won't be the last. There were initially 15 kids who started the Book Camp, but only 6 graduated today. The kids spent five Saturday mornings working on their storybook and Powerbooks scanned their stories and illustrations, worked on the layout, and printed two copies of their book. Today we launched six new titles: The Zoo, Strawberry and the New Baby, My Trip to Boracay, Me and Zak Playing Baseball, The Ball, The Turtle and The Rainbow. Wow!

You can just imagine how ecstatic the kids were. I met the six new authors; most were six years old, one was only three. Powerbooks invited me as their guest speaker at the kids' graduation-cum-book launch and I gave them this short message: Dreams mean work. Today is a happy day because the work we did for the last five Saturdays mean six new stories, and six dreams come true.

I hope to take part in the next summer's Book Camp again!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Shameless Plug: Book Signing on Saturday!

Adarna House invited me to a book signing at Powerbooks Greenbelt 4 on Saturday, May 27 from 10 A.M. to 12 noon. It's the graduation day of the Powerbooks Summer Book Camp. If you're free, hope to see you and your friends, kids and kids-at-heart friends!

PS. I only have 94 books left with me and they're going, going, going...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

28 Years Later

Something from a fun Carebear book called Birthday Bear's Book of Birthday Poems, a gift from Karina last year.

By Dr. Seuss

If we didn't have birthdays, you wouldn't be you.
If you'd never been born, well then what would we do?
If you'd never been born, well then what would you be?
You might be a fish! Or a toad in a tree!
You might be a doorknob! Or three baked potatoes!
You might be a bag full of hard green tomatoes.

Or worse that all that... Why, you might be a WASN'T!
A Wasn't has no fun at all. No, she doesn't.
A Wasn't just isn't. She just isn't present.
But you... You ARE YOU! And, now isn't that pleasant!

I'm glad I'm not a fish, a toad or a doorknob! I'm glad I'm not potatoes or tomatoes either! I'm glad I'm me... a little Yellow with my own Bright Purple Spots!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Get well soon, May Ann!

May Ann just told me about her two-week nightmare in the hospital. I'm just so happy and thankful that she lived through it all and is now recovering. Her recovery is a little slow, and she is still in a lot of pain and can't quite paint yet, but I'm just glad she's back home and not in the operating room! I pray you get well soon, dear friend! The world waits for your comeback... as does the sequel (and possible prequel) to our storybook!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

скрепка для бумаг

That's "paperclip" in Russian. Yes, Russian! (But don't ask me to say it.) Thanks to my good friend Cricket (yes, the same Cricket featured in A Letter from the Author, who drove to Adarna House on the deadline date so we could submit our entries to the PBBY-Salanga Prize!), I got to learn so much about Russia and the Russian culture in one evening.

She invited me to the grand launch of Aeroflot in the Philippines, as their travel agency is the general sales agent for the Russian airline. It was an evening of freeflow vodka, Matryoshka dolls, Russian trivia and VIPs. There was a Russian dance number by Ronny Hedino, an amazing dancer from the Power Dance team. There were Russian folk songs from the Rotary Club of Makati Dasmariñas. There were speeches from the Russian Ambassador and his wife, and Makati City Major Binay. Cricket's dad, Professor Vic Limlingan of AIM, gave a presentation on Russia as a business destination. I learned that Russia is one of the fast-growing economies in the world and labeled as a critical BRIC countries to watch out for in the year 2050 (I also learned that BRIC is an acronym for Brazil-Russia-India-China.) I was also amazed to find out that Russia has over 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. All this is timely as we celebrate thirty years of diplomatic relations between Russia and the Philippines. I'm also excited for the Bolshoi Ballet's visit to Manila next month!

I'm now tasked to write an article about the launch to include in the Aeroflot press kit. It's my first attempt at freelance writing. I think this blogpost is a good start. But wouldn't I write better from first-hand experience after a (free) trip to Russia? Hee-hee. I just might find a yellow скрепка для бумаг with bright purple spots there.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Ginagamit ba ang Paperclip sa Pahiyas?

My first-ever fiesta experience was amazing! I was wide-eyed and happy the whole day.

The Pahiyas Festival in Lukban, Quezon according to WOW Philippines: Celebrated every May 11 to 15, the Pahiyas Festival coincides with the feast of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers, to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. The people of Lucban, Quezon celebrate San Isidro’s feast day in all flamboyance with varied festivities all over town, topped by a religious procession along the streets. The houses are all decorated with native “pahiyas” (décor) called “kiping,” leaf-shaped and multi-colored rice paste wafers. Also thrown in are “suman” (sticky rice), “puto” (rice cakes), fruits and vegetables, rice grains and rice stalks, beautiful and rare flowers and ferns, native lanterns, even “lechon” (roast pig) – all adding to the thousand colors of Pahiyas.

Everything was colorful (lots of YELLOW but not so much PURPLE) and festive and chaotic - just as all fiestas ought to be. Everything was great... except I didn't see any paperclips! (But I did run into Ani and Jordan of Adarna House!) I guess they don't use paperclips to hang up their pahiyas... at least not YET!

Here's one of my favorite photographs: extreme close-up of yellow kiping...

Saturday, May 13, 2006

A New/Old Look

I chopped off all of my hair. Yahoo!

It was one of those just-do-it moments. I went to my trusty hairdresser, Lucy (yes, Lucy of Lucy Britanico fame!) in Glorietta and she gave me a drastic haircut... but not so drastic because that's how I had my hair around this time last year. But it's much shorter this time around. (Well, at least I won't be needing a haircut in the next few months...) Goodbye boring ponytails, hello funky-messy-look!

PS. I just realized this post has nothing to do with paperclips. Oh well.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Yellow Paperclip Meets Yayie and Mike... and Will be Going to Zambales!

Yayie is an old friend and carpoolmate from the good ole Ateneo days. I ran into her in Megamall last week and she said she bought two copies of my book: one for her and one for Pamela, a little girl she sponsors through World Vision based in Zambales.

I met up with Yayie and her boyfriend Mike for lunch today. The last time I saw them was sometime in 2003 I think, at the height of LOTR. I remember Mike teaching us how to write in Elvish! (Yes, he can write in Elvish! His journals are in Elvish! Wow!) It was great to catch up and talk to them about the adventures of the Yellow Paperclip.

Until the next lunch in Ortigas!

PS. September 24, 2006: I got an email from Yayie with this picture of Pam. I hope she enjoyed my story! Thanks for the photo, Yayie!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Ang Dilaw na Paperclip na May Batik-Batik na Matingkad na Kulay Ube

Kailan ka huling nakakita ng paperclip? Maaaring nakita mo ako noong isang araw. Kakaiba ako sa karamihan ng mga paperclip. Oo, tama ka! Ako iyon, yung paperclip na na sa mesa ng titser mo.

Sa dinami-dami ng mga paperclip sa mundo, siguro ako lang ang dilaw na may batik-batik na matingkad na kulay ube. Alam mo ba kung saan ako nanggaling?

Thanks to Becca's grandma and Anna's mom, Mrs. Ludy Carreon, my story has been translated into Filipino! And thanks to Bing, I did my first ever storytelling session (Yes, in Filipino too! Well, okay, maybe more like in Taglish!) yesterday at the ATDSummer Festival of Learning in the Hilum Community in Quirino. There were approximately 50 kids, ranging from 4 to 15 years old. It was great to see them responding to the story. Becca helped me with turning the pages and doing a show-and-tell of our simple props (ie. a bowl of silver paperclips, a paper airplane, a globe...) - great job, Becca!

Father Joseph Wresinki, founder of the ATD Fourth World Movement, wrote: The world will change one day because we will have listened to the children of the poorest, and because these children will take their destiny in hand. As Raymonde reminds us, "When I grow up, I'll do what you do! I'll teach children to read and write." The world will change because we want it to. Humanity will be renewed, and freed of poverty.

I love how the Yellow Paperclip knows no boundaries and appeals to kids and kids-at-heart regardless of age, gender, class or race. I hope the Yellow Paperclip can be a small spark for the children of Hilum to continue their love for reading, writing and the arts. I pray that the Yellow Paperclip can, in its small and humble way, change the world - one paperclip or one kid at a time.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

A Tribute to my First Bright Purple Spot

Glenn, I owe you this much (and more). Happy birthday, Stripe!

Just like The Yellow Paperclip with Bright Purple Spots, this story links many different people, places, ideas and experiences. Flashback to 1997 when the idea for this story started with Glenn David, a friend from the Ateneo de Manila University: he and I would often see paperclips around campus - on the benches, in between pebbles in the Quad, on the library steps, along the sidewalk or in other strange places. We often wondered how they got there and where in the world they had been.

That's how I started the A Letter from the Author page at the end of my book. But there are so many more stories within and between this one. I thought I'd write some stories on the occasion of Glenn's birthday as we celebrate 1) his 27th year, 2) his newfound happiness and 3) our renewed friendship.

Without Glenn, there would be no story. It's as simple as that. It was Glenn who noticed the lost paperclips first, who wondered where they had been, and who felt sorry for them because they weren't living out their purpose of "clipping" onto something. He insisted that we save these lost paperclips so that they could live happy purposeful paperclip lives. It's this childlike and daggy (read: kenkoy or dorky) quality about Glenn that makes him so lovable. Could it have been his passion for paperclips that made me fall in love with him?

Glenn and I were inseparable for the next five years - my four years in Ateneo plus one more. It was five amazing years of daggy (but 100% real) love and shared passions (paperclips, children's books, musicals, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, video nights, iced coffee, kite flying and nonstop conversation). Together, we skipped, egg-rolled and made silly faces at each other. We had our share of rollercoaster emotions, both good and bad. We grew up together in these five years and knew each other so well. But growing up has its consequences. While we grew so much as individuals and in our relationship... we also unfortunately grew our separate ways, and ultimately, grew apart.

Glenn and I decided to break up in 2002. I needed time and space alone, and I thought it best that we spend as little time together as possible. So we stopped seeing each other (except for those once-a-year Christmas reunions of Ateneo friends) and hardly talked. I shut him out from my life, and concentrated on work and reconnecting with old friends. He focused on work and got involved in a new relationship. 2002 is significant because it's also the year I said I wanted to have my own book - one of the Top Three Things I Want to Do Before I Die.

Glenn and I reconnected in 2005, again a significant year. He went through a painful end to his new relationship, while I had won the PBBY-Salanga Prize. He was one of the first people I shared the happy news with. He was there at the National Children's Book Day celebration in CCP in July 2005 and from there, I slowly worked towards saying sorry, melting my stony heart, and finally making peace with him. We met up occasionally for dinner and coffee, chatted on YM, and slowly caught up with each others' lives.

Glenn and I, together with his old college friends, had dinner and coffee yesterday, on the eve of his 27th birthday. Soon after the clock struck midnight, I had the honor of meeting Claudine, Glenn's girlfriend, after he had just recounted to me their kenkoy-but-kilig stories, from their first date to his current state of bliss. Within a few minutes of meeting her and seeing how truly in love they are, I saw how good they are for each other. He has started skipping, praying and writing children's stories again... so she is definitely good for him! I'm so truly happy for both of them... so happy that it hurts (in a good way).

Glenn and I have come full circle, with the help of our Yellow Paperclip. I can't help but feel that this is all part of Life's Conspiracy - yet again. Without Glenn, I would never have seen paperclips in this special way. Without his childlike wonder and our shared passion for writing, I probably would not have taken the interest in children's literature seriously. Without the break-up, I would not have had the time, energy or the new connections (eg. Yelle, Gang, Mig) to write my story. Without the PBBY-Salanga Prize, we would not have had an excuse to meet up again and get reconnected. I believe everything in life happens for a reason and during the worst times, I'd often ask why (in the bigger scheme of things) things had to happen as they did and what his role was/is in my life. Now I know: Glenn made my big dream come true.

This behind-the-scenes story of The Yellow Paperclip with Bright Purple Spots is one of the biggest adventures and purple spots of my life. I am amazed and overwhelmed at how things happened and worked out. I have absolutely no regrets. After almost four years, I am finally free of my emotional baggage (whew...) and can sincerely be happy and at peace with Glenn. I look forward to more happy stories from him and Claudine, just as I look forward to the time when I can share my own kenkoy-and-kilig stories of my own with them - with or without paperclips... but hopefully stories about a man who loves me and sees me as a bright purple spot in his life.

Glenn, thank you for saving paperclips for us, for loving me like you did, for letting me fly away, and for not giving up on our friendship. You are the Stripe to my Yellow, and together or apart, we can grow wings and be hopeful and happy. You are, and will always be, one of my life's biggest and brightest purple spots.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I Saw 4 Paperclips This Morning

Yes, FOUR! They continue to follow me around. At around 7:20 AM, I walked from the parking lot on Exchange Road to Pancake House at Pearl Drive for a breakfast meeting with my team. In that short ten minute walk, here's what I saw...

A White Paperclip with My Morning Shadow
"Good morning, Nikki," it seemed to say to me. I took several photographs of it in reply. (Who cares if so many people gave me strange looks. Hee-hee.)

Up Close (and Personal) with An Old Friend
This is the same blue paperclip from last week's post. It's deeper in dirt but it's still struggling to be noticed in its bright blue-ness. I wonder if there are others who notice it like I do.

A Paperclip and A Friend
This is the third paperclip I saw this morning. And look! It even had a friend next to it. Can you see them? Perhaps I could have a story about all other office supplies: a red-and-white striped stapler, a neon-green tape dispenser, or a glow-in-the-dark rubber band? Hee-hee. I wonder if the blue paperclip and the rubber band came from the same person?

A Yellow Paperclip... without Bright Purple Spots
I wonder where this yellow paperclip came from? It's slightly bent out of shape so it must have had a rich and colorful life.

I'm glad I had my camera this morning. Here's to many more paperclips to see, find, think of and write about.