Hiatus and Changes


Work on this blog is currently in progress.

This blog is on hiatus since it requires some necessary updates and tweaking. I had to go back to the drawing board and review the content of my blog. This includes creating schedule on posts and working on my current theme. Please stay tuned for more changes and contents. I do appreciate any constructive feedback. 

Walking a Tight Rope

Photo by Leio McLaren on Unsplash

Tight rope walking or Funambulism came to my mind recently as I recalled my previous jobs. This new career in writing that I am currently embarking on naturally reminded me of what I am giving up: a steady office career. Although my decision not to join the workforce is still flexible, a huge part of me really wants my writing career to take off. Starting from scratch is demanding and requires us to push hard against circumstances. It includes re-learning skills that were neglected. Yet this new start also allowed me to tap into that closet in my mind brimming with creative stories just waiting to be unleashed. Best of all, writing makes me look forward to growth by going out of my comfort zone.

One of the main reason why I looked back at those previous stint is to evaluate if the efforts, resources and time that I put in really bore fruits. It’s hard to say since nobody in my previous workplace could randomly give me a post-performance review. (Haha! Wouldn’t that be something?) Is it selfish of me to wish that I left a legacy? I think we all have this sophistry because it means all our hard work accounted for something. In all honesty, just remembering all the demands and stress while working in our overwrought small department made me realize I couldn’t put any value on my hard work. It is truly the relationships developed with the people I worked with that was my most important takeaway. What is yours?

Here are a few questions I asked myself when I reexamined how I value hard work:

1. What drives me to work hard?

2. How am I reaching my goal or mission (in life)?

3. What am I willing to sacrifice for my hard work?

I’m sure there are many life coaches who can add more questions here but these are just a few questions that I reflected on. To fully enjoy our short life here on earth it is best that we focus our time, energy and efforts on what really counts. Don’t let others make you forget what your real goal is, otherwise they will just lead you by the nose making you deviate from your path in the end. You should define how you are going to live a full life even if that means turning down many things, including turning away people who don’t add value or hinders you from reaching your goal.

Friendship on Fire

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There is no lack of stories on friendship going sour. Betrayal, emotional pain and scars can surround our every day. When we adapt all the time invested, how much one has put up with and the memories that were shared into an emotionally-charged play or script it can easily feel as though our life is a film or a TV series. I have mentioned in previous posts a friend’s betrayal and the incident still haunts me even though it happened more than 5 years ago.

Nevertheless, the years have been very kind to me and I did find genuine friendships. There is no lack of meeting and socializing with people from various stages in life. Some association may just be short lived while others last a long time. All in all, what I would really like is that any friendship would end not hastily nor harshly but in a genuine way where both parties would recognize that the path they are treading now goes separate ways.

So, I tried to imagine how a friendship can end amicably with no hard feelings on both sides. Then I realized there are no authentic friendships that end. Paths may take you separate ways but when you do get back together, then it’s like the separation only afforded you with more stories to exchange with each other.

Growing old together with treasured friends is one of my goals. The caveat: friendship is affinity between individuals. By choosing the right people to grow old with means the friendship is tested by many factors, including distance and time. I’m sure any friendship would be all the more endearing as the years pass by. So to those who have found genuine friendship, don’t let even family get in the way of that relationship. Keep each other’s heart true and look forward to time well-spent with your very dear friends.

Photo by Eberhard Grossgasteiger on Unsplash

Here’s a flash fiction to end this post:

Rica threw the notebook on the wall and faced Seth. Her lips couldn’t even form the words she wanted to scream back at him. She felt unsteady as she glared at his figure facing her. The glare of the light behind him made it impossible for her to see his expression but she figured he has been mocking her all this time. Has it really taken her all these years to finally understand that he was just using her to fuel his comedy acts?

“Rica, those scripts have nothing to do with you.” Seth said.

Was that begging behind his voice? Why is his voice so serious now? Rica felt her voice get caught in her throat. She breathed deeply while her fingers clenched tightly. She begged her body for control as she went and grabbed the notebook that she flung earlier. DO. NOT. CRY!

“I think you have finally revealed the truth here, Seth. You have achieved what no one has ever done to me,” Rica replied slowly turning and walking towards Seth. She handed the notebook to him. Seething inside, she continued, “you prevaricate well.”

Taking the notebook from her outstretched hand, Seth replied, “Look, Rica, nobody would ever believe any of my stori–“

“It’s time to end this friendship, Seth. I do thank you for showing me that there are people in this world just like you.” Rica rushed out into the heavily pouring rain.

Copyright ©2018 Shela Laubach. All rights reserved.

Face the Pain

Photo credit: Cristian Newman on Unsplash

Just like an itch aching to be rubbed except I couldn’t reach where it hurts, this pain torments me. Looking up from the sink, I saw how my face is reacting to this pain: my forehead scrunched, eyes watering, nose twitching and my lips twisted.

Who would want to go through this pain? There are alternatives out there. But I’m already here, I might as well face it.

“Do it,” I fortified myself.  Pushing my shoulders back, I re-positioned myself.

In 3… 2… 1!

Tightly closing my eyes, I pulled hard.

Finally, those stubborn nose hairs are out.

Copyright © 2018 Shela Laubach. All rights reserved.

This fiction is called a Drabble and should only contain 100 words. I was able to do it in less by two words. It’s difficult to practice brevity after having not written short pieces for a long time. Limited words also tested my creative writing in evoking the image of pain, enough that you’d feel it at the same time. The challenge of this exercise was quite good and I liked my friend’s reaction to it, “it goes in an unexpected direction.”  With this encouragement, I’ll try to post more of my flash fiction exercises for you to enjoy.

On another note, there is a very painful situation that resurfaced recently. When I was younger I have seen the same kind of situation drain my parents. Now that I am able to address it properly with them, particularly my dad, the pain feels like a knife slowly ebbing itself deep into my heart. I would have preferred betrayal by a friend than a family member. A friend is easier turned into a stranger than family.

Is it the sorrow that changed the flavor of food and drink? Is this pain that nicks my heart the cause of hollow sounds in my laughter? I turn to games, to books, to writing and all I could think of is how everything came around in full circle. Just like what my friend Anne-Cécile would say, don’t aim for a revolution but a forward evolution. There is no forward evolution if people stubbornly refuse to change. In that way this pain and my sorrow continues.

Story Update: Character Development

Photo by Finan Akbar on Unsplash

Character development in a story is not letting your hero or heroine wear a mask. Their personality shines through and the author is like a parent who gets to distinguish their children. The heroes and heroines may be caught up in war, blood, mud and impossible situations but it doesn’t stop the author from embracing them. Their growth is the allure that makes us follow them.

As a fledgling author, my resources comes in the form of books or e-books.  There are too many at times and the numerous choices can cause a slight anxiety. There is just not enough time to comb through the haystacks and ascertain that you’ve found the right needle for the job. So far my writing coach have addressed the topic on the guild and has interviewed author who address this.

I have also canvassed several good books online, mainly in Amazon. Here are some books I have been eyeing: K.M. Weiland’s Creating Character Arcs, Characters & Viewpoints (Elements of Fiction Writing) by Orson Scott Card, and Characters, Emotions and Viewpoints by Nancy Kress. Another extremely good resource on the topic of Character building and development is the Writer’s Digest website.

My current heroine perplexed me. Her situation and struggles could happen to anybody I know: a relative, a close friend or even a new acquaintance, and even to me. The pain she’s going through pulsated within me. Her experience and action is recognizable. Then in the midst of watching my character go through the struggles, I realized she is nobody I know. She’s not a relative, or a close friend or any of my new acquaintance, nor me. She’s a unique individual with a different outlook of life. All I could do is write her as I witness her.

Afterwards it hit me. I finally realized why my heroine felt so familiar. I formulate or imagine stories when I was younger and there would be one or two characters that would populate the scene. My heroine was one of the minor character on another story. She may have been slightly younger or immature back then but it is definitely the same person. It made me wonder how the same person emerge in a totally different story? Is it a certain trend when I write or formulate story that I just noticed now?

This is similar to seeing actors portraying different characters onscreen. You end up looking for some kind of distinction that would separate one image to the other. Which image would pop up right away when I mention the actor Hugo Weaving? As Mr. Smith in Matrix or as Elrond in the Lord of the Rings? Having an actor-kind of character is what I don’t want to happen when I write stories. Will the same personality shine through but in a different setting? Is this character just putting on a mask and acting as another person?

In the end, I could only continue writing and worry about future character formation later. Perhaps, even take the time to read and research on this before starting another project. I have to go find all those needles in the haystacks.