As a child, I was outnumbered by three brothers who balked at taking me to catch tadpoles or ride a water buffalo. They left me alone to read, write, and draw. That early solitary existence paid off in high school when I was chosen editor-in-chief of the school paper. Though I mostly wrote editorials, I also dabbled in short stories.
I came to California, from the Philippines via Hawaii—where I gorged on laulau and learned to hula—and Illinois—where I finished my indoctrination into Western civil society (Ph. D., University of Illinois). In California, I worked in mental health programs, not providing services but researching, evaluating, and developing them. Much of my previous writing addressed academics and bureaucrats, and I’ve been striving ever since to write more like normal people.
Words have always fascinated me and I get seduced by beautiful prose.
I believe I have little imagination and consider myself a realist. I’m a flâneuse—a female observer-wanderer—and I’ve traveled to Asia and many parts of Europe. But, always, I end up in Paris to stay for a few months. In my travels, I watch, observe, listen. Then, fortified with tea and macarons, I write. I also work at doing art, in addition to writing. I paint in oils, acrylics, pastels and, lately, on my iPad.
Although a realist, I’m also a sucker for happy endings. I see enough in real life to depress me, but I seek no catharsis by writing about it. For me, writing is escape, entertainment. I don’t strive to enlighten. Not deliberately. But biases do endure and carry over as material. So, instead of broad shoulders and heaving bosoms, I go into protagonists’ thoughts, emotions, inner conflicts, insecurities, and struggles to reach balance and grow.