Comments Off As Life Picks Up

Life, nature or  the universe has a perverse sense of humour.  The next day after I posted my last blog post, optimistic of the future and looking forward to approaching life in a slower pace… well everything happens at once.  And it seems like someone decided to fall asleep on the ‘drama’ button in my life.  So now things are exciting, moving quickly and require immediate and decisive action.  I am not amused, by this turn of events.

Since this seems like a prevailing theme and trend recently, I’ve had to make decisions to simplify my life.  I have to minimize the distractions and maximize the impact my action have on my surroundings.  If that does not happen, I will simply get swept away and get carried off by the next big wave.

Today I realized I need to take my tasks and projects head on.  That means do the most relevant, NOW.  It also means putting up a single list of to-dos and sticking to them.  And I have to simplify life and remove distractions.  One such distraction is maintaining my blog.  I love blog, I love writing and publish my thoughts.  But I do not like having to administer it.  Hence I migrated to WordPress a long time ago.


And also why I am turning off comments on my articles.  I am sorry to my readers, but the majority of you don’t comment on my blogs.  I don’t mind that.  Most of my articles and journals are not something one can or need to comment on.  And the majority of comments that get queued up are spam.  Even with Akismet running in the background, I get too much crap.  These days I have precious little time to blog or do anything outside of the urgent.  And I definitely do not have time to read 200+ comments all trying to commit various forms of link spam.  I want to use my precious time for blogging and updating my sites.  So no more open comments on my blog.  Some articles I will open for comments, but most will not.  Sorry but it is just something I need to do.

California Dreamin’ – Part 2

So I am back in California again at the request of my client.  Fortunately for not as long as last time.  While Northern California is a great place to live in, it is not quite the palm lined, sunny, warm dream that Hollywood and LA make it out to be.  Summer in the San Francisco Bay Area is much like Toronto’s late spring.  But not comes close to the humid summers of the East Coast.  Plus living in a hotel in a suburb away from everything including friends and family is not fun.

The one good thing is that I have time to reflect, and to catch up.  One such thing being blogging and writing for me.  I do miss writing and hopefully once I clear off my immediate urgent work, I can do more writing.  With any luck there will be more updates to this blog.  And even better… more chances of writing long-form prose.  However I have to first write back to all those e-mails sitting in my inbox, screaming for attention.

Work occupies most of my waking hours.  I wish I could talk about my work in greater detail, however my client wishes to keep a lid on the project I am involved in.  I do not blame them, as the final product will be a great surprise to their customers.  And a wake-up call to their competitors.  I can not say more than this: working on an embedded Linux tablet project is fun.  As a developer I love a good challenge and this project presents many such challenges.  And I am inspired to continue down this career path.

Life continues to swirl randomly and unpredictably around me.  Lots of good signs keep me motivated to try harder.  Still the challenges continue on mounting and sometimes the sheer volume is overwhelming.  However I am still hopeful that this is the mere “storming and forming” before life takes on a certain elegant pattern and routine.  I wish I could say more, but I fear that I might jinx things I reveal too much, too soon…

Wow.  I hoped for a less ambiguous post.  Still it can not be helped, given all the circumstances.

Just to Write

I feel as if this blog were a summer residence of sorts.  I do not live on it.  I do visit often or as often as I’d like to.  And when I do I first must dust the cobwebs, and vacuum the dust before I can do what I really want to.  What I really want to do is write.  Write and write with near abandon.  Just the shear joy of writing makes if worthwhile to write.  Just like this post.  This post is a creation of spontaneity and a love of the art.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

Unfortunately, today like many days are filled with non-writing tasks.  Clearing the decks, organizing the mess of everyday, healing myself of this *ahem* nasty cold.  But how I yearn to write just like in the old days.  A keyboard on a strong wooden table, in sunlight or the light of a desktop lamp.  I know… what can I say… I am if not a romantic.

That is all.  I just wanted to share this with my readers.  That and the realization that I should spend less time dealing with the chores I am not interested with.  And spend more time doing things more beneficial to all.

I am also lucky to have met someone, who has helping me challenge my thoughts of what I do.  And to pursue the passions that I have.  I think I shall have to do just that.  One of those things is write more and worry less.  You can’t please everyone with your writing.  And you never will.  The moral of the story is to write about things important to you.  Enjoy the journey and do not worry if you please others.  I shall have to do just that.

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday.  What a day it was.  Started off with a dentist, ended up with me walking through slush in the driving wet snow.  Not exactly the funnest of days.  But I guess appropriate for the beginning of Lent.

I’ve decided that this Lent, I will work on resolving a nagging deep personal issue.  I will not go into the details, but it is a serious issue that needs resolving.  Along the way, I also want to dedicate more of my time and works to the Lord.  After He gave me all my gifts, my life and everything.  It is only fair I do something in return.

I plan on doing a lot of writing and editing of writing, inspired by Catholic faith.  I think this will not only be a good direction for my spiritual development, but also my personal too.  Considering that I am an editor of the Alexandrian and a writer it just makes sense.  And also the amazing comments from my readers… I feel like I should do this:

So my plan is to spend my free time each day writing a part of my novel, or working on the next issue of the Alexandrian, or working on expanding the magazine.  Hopefully by Easter, I will have a quite collection of work that I can offer up.  And for the benefit of my readers and friends.

Catholic Writing Reprint: Learning to Love God

Author’s note:  This short story is reprinted from the Fall 2010 edition of The Alexandrian.  It concerns about an epiphany I’ve personally experienced and that has deepened my faith.  The original publication can be found here:

Learning to Love God

Dorian Pula

I decided to take a short break from cleaning in the kitchen. I dried the plate in my hands, put it away on the shelf and hung the moist dish cloth over my shoulder. I wandered out of the kitchen and into the living room. The hardwood floor heated by the summer sunlight warmed my bare feet. The floor creaked every few steps I took.

The house stood empty, still and silent. The ticking of the wall clock filled the living room. I stopped a metre or so from the grey piano in the living room. A flimsy picture rested against the piano’s music stand. The picture portrayed Christ as a king wearing a regal cloak and crown of red and gold against a background of golden rays. I stared at the picture and wondered how different artists portrayed Jesus in different ways. Sometimes He looked welcoming and friendly, sometimes powerful and regal, and sometimes hurt and bloodied.

In my own mind I portrayed God as a loving but stern Creator. I envisioned Him sitting on some throne in the heavens, great white beard flowing and commanding the universe with a stern look and pointed finger. I thought how foolish it would be for His creation to go against His commandments. How foolish it would be to upset someone who could make you unexist as easily He made you exist. Not that this thought ever stopped me from doing foolish things against His will.

Still I tried to follow the two most important commandments that Jesus taught. I understood the love thy neighbour part. I learned to accept, respect and even love others. One can learn to love humanity even with its flawed attempts at happiness, love and peace. But how does one love God? After all I always envisioned God the Father, sitting from a far, looking fatherly but more or less abstracted from the day-to-day affairs of the world.

As I stood there and stared at the picture I wondered if I could ask God that question. I did not expect any real answers. After all in my mind God, not only felt distant but that also He had better things to do than to answer my idle questions. But decided to try anyways. And so I prayed for wisdom.

The air became unbearably hot, dry and dusty. The walls closed in forming a narrow street in ancient Palestine. An angry mob surrounded me wearing cloaks, tunics and sandals. The mob jeered at a convicted man half-escorted, half-manhandled by rough Roman legionnaires. I felt safe as my cloak hid my identity and let me merge in with the crowed.

I watched silently as the convicted man limped down the street toward to his execution. His figure bent under the heavy wood beam fastened to his arms. His torn and blood splattered clothes hung loosely over his torn, disfigured, swollen and bruised body. One of the soldiers pushed the man forward, causing him to fall on his knee in front of me. I recognized the man as the Lord when turned His face towards me. The black crown of thorns cut into the Lord’s swollen forehead and dark blood dripped down the creases of His face. As He laboured to stand up, I imagined my own body turning into the symphony of pain and torment that He endured. I recoiled at the sight of the gruesome, blood stained and tortured Lord. Horror filled me as I realized that some His wounds were in fact my own sins.

I looked at the Lord with pleading eyes. Why did you choose this? Why does the King of the Universe who defined the very laws of existence choose this fate? Why take this pain, cruelty and humbling from a wretched race who rejects You time and time again? Why this? There must best be some other way.

Because I love you, I respect you and honour your will even when you reject Mine. The Lord responded with a serene look that was out of place.

This is madness! Only a madman would do this. I shouted at the Lord in my mind.

Or a man madly in love. The Lord replied and first century Jerusalem melted back into the comfort of 21st century Toronto.

The house stood empty, still and silent. The ticking of the wall clock filled the living room. A hot burning tear streamed down my cheek. The comforting aura of technology and human ingenuity gently prodded me back into reality. I continued to stare at the picture. But I felt different. My heart overflowed with warmth, joy and gratitude. I wiped another tear that started growing in my eyes. Now I understood that God wasn’t some remote deity who merely watched His creation from afar. Instead God is so madly in love with His creation, He let His creation kill His only Son. And by His death and resurrection He redeemed and saved His creation, unworthy as we all are of this mad love.

There is Writing… And There is Writing

I enjoy writing, I really do.  If I did not I would not spend my time blogging and writing novels. Heck I even like writing documentation in my code at work. The written word is nothing I fear nor loathe. However there is some writing I could do without. Or rather, prefer not to do.

One such type of writing is writing e-mails to clients or business correspondence. Not that I can not communicate effectively. Rather I dislike the whole political tip-toeing on does. Formalness and diplomatic speak is something I do out of necessity.

Another type of writing I never cared about is essay writing. Yes, yes I can give argue a point and give evidence. But in high school, teachers want you to use their silly hamburger paragraphs and their thesis and conclusion setup. I mean for real? Read a real essay and see how real writers argue their points. You argue the point quickly to the point, without going on and on and on about boring redundant evidence. Just to make a point. Not to mention page length expectations. Make your point and use as much or as little as you need. Do you wonder why journalism instructors have to first unteach all the folly of high school.

So why the rant? I had to do both recently. But helping my brother work on his essays, just brings back less than fond memories of high school English. I liked the reading, but the only English class I enoyed was the one with the cute attractive teacher. I don’t blame her, because she had to teach a curriculum set out by a merry band of bureaucrats. And most of the class was not imaginative enough to write anything half decent. But irritated me to no end.

Fortunately most of my writing nowadays consists of technical work, blogging and novel writing. So once I finish helping my brother I can get back to writing my novel.

Daily Writing

I’ve done a lot of thinking today.  About what to do next in life, and what will be the next big thing.  I feel that I should seriously back into writing in a big way.  Managing all the projects that I’d like to do will be challenging.  But I think I should try and dedicate one day of my week for a particular project.

But one thing I will do, is do some daily writing.  I should be able to manage, cause after all I am posting this even though it has been an off day.

Totally Unknown Writers Festival 2010

On Wednesday evening, I went to the 17th Annual Totally Unknown Writers Festival. As always organized by the great folks from Life Rattle Radio and originally founded by two of my professional writing professors, Guy Allen and Arnie Achtman. As with every year, great stories written and read by talented authors from around Toronto.

I hoped to read this year, but I’ll get ready for next year’s festival. I did meet up with some of my old classmates from university. And I was able to catch up with them and Guy. If you want to hear great stories of life experiences from the GTA, I highly recommend coming out to the festival.

In the Beginning of November…

A new month begins and a new twist to life. This is the first day at a new office in downtown Toronto. Not that I’ve changed positions, I’m still working as a mobile developer for Web Impact. For my coworkers, this is nothing new since they all worked at the Toronto office before moving out to Mississauga. Unfortunately the Mississauga location did not provide what we needed and so we are moving back for now.

This morning everything is a little different. Figuring out new schedules, new routes and a new location. Should be fun. Other than that I’ll still get to enjoy working on mobile coding, with all its unique challenges.

One challenge I worked on this past while is writing. Not a lot of progress on the novel. But I did manage to submit two short stories for publishing. One to the Fall issue of the Alexandrian, which should come out soon. And one to 365 Tomorrows, which will hopefully get accepted too.

Other than that I still have load of catching up on work. I still feel a bit behind. Anyways, this next stop is mine. Catch you later.

Now We Return to Your Regular Programming

Any writer who keeps on promising to write more regularily but doesn’t is a scoundrel and a rascal. I leave it as an exercise to the reader about what that makes me.

So I tried microblogging, like all the cool Web 2.0 kids do. Unfortunately for me I can’t blog about many things for a multitude: legal, personal, client confidentiality. What gets left are random bits and the boring and mundane. Even the little experiment of Day X of 2010, was a fun way of writing good soundbites but honestly I ran out of creative and witty quotes. I prefer long form writing. And only at random time when my muse whispers something interesting in my ear. I know very artsy of me.

Short story long: I’m back to just plain old blogging, on no day in particular and not particularly long. Enjoy.