Friday, October 26, 2007

Paperclip Possibilities

What do you get when you meet with a producer and real-world Peter Pan, a musician and mother of two smart kids, and a former ad agency creative director on a late Friday night? Great conversation about children's stories with well-defined characters... enthusiasm for intelligent programs for kids... and lots of exciting possibilities for my paperclip and I. Abangan ang mga susunod na kabanata...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I Saw Red

I saw a small red paperclip in Laguna today and three things came to mind.
  • Jason told me I should read Kyle's book about his amazing One Red Paperclip adventure. Who would have thought that our paperclips (well, our blogs) would cross paths as early as August 2005? What an amazing adventure. And what a great tagline for a book: Or How an Ordinary Man Achieved His Dream with the Help of a Simple Office Supply. One day, I'll go to Kipling and see his house. I actually sent him a copy of my book back then (I can't believe it has been that long!) but I didn't hear from him. I hope my Yellow Paperclip didn't get lost in the snailmail trail!
  • The song I Saw Red by Warrant (eeeeeeeep... How old school! How cheesy!) and all the memories it brings back from middle school. (C'mon, I know you can sing with me...)
every day i wake up
i thank God that you are still a part of me
we've opened up the door
to which so many people never find the key
and if the sun should ever fail to send its light
we will burn a thousand candles
and make everything alright
then i saw red...
  • The pretty red Christmas trees and stars all over Bonifacio High Street. We have 61 days to go before Christmas... and 68 days to a brand new year.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Dreams Mean Work

I've always loved the last line of By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept: "Dreams mean work." Given how I'm practically drowning in work now (and for the next 12 weeks), writing a story should be the last thing on my to-do list. Writing a story one day before a deadline should be a big, screaming what-the-heck-are-you-thinking, flat-out NO. But the orange paperclip I saw this Monday was a big push for me to just go for it. Maybe I felt like I had to prove something to myself.

With the way I dream, dreams mean a lot more work, but they also mean...
  • Emailing and texting friends to get first-hand information (and I got some amazing responses! THANK YOU SO MUCH for the help and inspiration!)
  • Staying awake past 2 AM to write a 5-page story
  • Getting a friend to critique my draft this morning (Salamat, Mia!)
  • Almost tripping in the rocky carpark where I had to park to get a document notarized
  • Skipping lunch to drive all the way to Kamuning (thanks for the directions, CJ!)
  • Seeing the sparkling new, brightly-lit and happy Adarna House for the first time
  • Getting stuck for more than an hour along EDSA on the way back to Ortigas (okay, I had a bag of chips to munch on...)
  • Eating a late lunch alone
  • Staying late in the office again to beat another deadline (and I did!)
  • Having the satisfaction of saying, "I really did it!" and "I can't say I didn't try!"
  • Feeling like you can still edit and re-write, over and over (so I don't want to look at the story again because I'll just see the blemishes, but alas - it's done so I can't fret. At least for now...)
  • Waiting for the results to come out on or before Friday, November 16
  • Smiling (even if I'm dead tired) because I know I just wrote another story... and I'm really happy how it oozed out of me quite easily, and how it turned out. I believe I experienced a wonderful I'm-in-my-flow moment last night/this morning.
Yes, dreams mean sooooo much work. But dreams also mean more exciting times ahead... and more paperclip sightings to keep me dreaming in the first place.

Monday, October 15, 2007

All in a Day's Work

"It could've been worse," my client contact said in jest, and I smiled back to try and hide the hurt. It's all good, I thought to myself. Breathe in, breathe out, Nikki. It's all good. All in a day's work.

I did a client presentation this morning... and got grilled. To his credit, I wasn't as prepared as I should have been. But with all due respect, he requested the meeting to be moved 4.5 hours earlier (I got a call at 9AM to be in Laguna by 11AM!) which ate up my prep time. To make things worse, he was just plain rude. Pinahiya niya ako sa harap ng lahat. I was warned by my contact about the personalities I'd be meeting this morning and I guess my stupid insecurity got in the way again. I choked. Gulp. Breathe in, breathe out...

I walked back to the parking lot slowly, with what-the-heck-am-doing and who-am-I-kidding thoughts swimming in my head. I couldn't help but feel like I was back in my 11th grade classroom, transported back to that day my English Literature teacher accused me of plagiarizing an essay (yes, in front of my class). I remember feeling so small and so ashamed, standing there red-faced and defenseless. Napahiya. Nakakahiya. At hindi pa ako makasagot.

And then, like a bright flash of light, there it was: my paperclip for the day, bright orange and happy. See? It's all good, Nikki... Don't let anyone ever tell you you're not good or not good enough. Or at least don't let it affect you... so much.

I smiled. Of course I couldn't help but think this was a sign for me to rethink my life plans. With my nearly 24/7 work schedule these recent weeks, I seriously need a break or a retreat or at least quiet time to write. (Which reminds me: Will I still be able to submit to PBBY-Salanga? Eeeeep.)

I continued walking. I may not be able to confront that VP again to redeem myself (like I did with my teacher) but I felt better just thinking about the wonderful people I work with. I'm glad my stress comes from deadlines and not from difficult people. All of a sudden, planning events, editing reports and writing about business leaders seem like a joy to do.

All in a day's work, all in the life of a paperclip. Breathe in, breathe out...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My Book as a "Paperclip" for Others

Except for meals, bladder breaks and at least 4 hours of sleep, I've been working on overdrive for the last few weeks. You can imagine how this email from a client made me pause, smile in the innermost part of myself, and whisper a prayer of thanks. I'm glad my work has allowed me to meet such wonderful people.

Hello, Nikki!

I got your book and read the story. I felt warm all over when I read the adventures of the Yellow Paperclip with Bright Purple Spots.

I wondered. If a simple paperclip can connect the lives of so many people, how much more can someone like me… who has more than just bright purple spots… do to connect lives of people I meet or even just to stay connected with them. Surely, the idea of staying connected with them is daunting enough for me. I have a very close friend whom I have not spoken to when I left Intel. Perhaps it is time to call her.

Could I even be that “paperclip” that can help reconnect two important people in my lives who are not in speaking terms? I continued to avoid getting myself involved in their situation. Perhaps it is time to be like your yellow paperclip and try to link them up once more.

Thank you for the signed book.
I will buy your book and give them as gifts to friends. I want them touched by your “paperclip”. In a way, your book will be my paperclip to them. Also, I want you to prosper as an author. This way you will be inspired to write more stories… and be the next JK Rowling. Can’t wait for that to happen!

I can be the woman for others, and my book can be the paperclip or the link for others. Naks! Maraming salamat, G. Hope to see you soon!