Writing Diary, Entry #30
A few months ago, after starting my current full-time job, I realised that I had to cut most of my freelance work from my schedule. I had started doing those jobs partly out of desperation, because those were the best options I had at the time. But since I had become gainfully employed again, the sources of income I had been so grateful to get last year (and two years ago) had turned into drains on my time and energy. I knew I had to resign from all of them, even the one I really wanted to keep.
Scrap Metal's mother was very understanding when I spoke to her, but my Chinoy client and my magazine editor kept trying to find compromises. I really had to give up my proofreading job with the former, but I agreed to do one book report a month for the latter. And I'm kind of glad I did because the last couple of books I had to read were pretty good.
Lonely Planet Philippines
At first I was skeptical about this one. Can a book written for "foreigners" be relevant to "locals"? Well, of course it can--and that should go without saying! I just happen to be partial to roots over wings. =P I don't travel much myself, so when I'm not thinking about it, I assume everyone else would rather stay home, too. (LOL!)
So the first significant thing I noticed about Lonely Planet Philippines was that it made me want to travel. It made every place seem not just interesting, but also easy to get to! That includes the locations which require visitors to get up at 4:00 in the morning to catch a rickety old boat piloted by a sixty-year-old ferryman, because it's the only way to get to them. As I thumbed through what seemed like the ultimate guidebook to the Philippines, the thought of backpacking across my own country--something which had never occurred to me before--seemed doable.
And I think that's the highest compliment I could pay the researchers and other people who put the 2012 edition of Lonely Planet Philippines together. =D
My review of this book was actually in last month's issue of MOD, but you can read my more lukewarm take on another "local" book by a "foreigner"--Presenting the Philippines by Nigel Hicks--in this month's issue.
Brandwashed by Martin Lindstrom
This was a book I was actually excited about reading. Ever since my two "lost years" as a Marketing major, I've been fascinated by the field. But while I can spend hours reading about theories that have nothing to do with me and realities I may never encounter, I understand that most other people don't. =P And even before I started reading this, I expected that it would be all about US brands, many of which have never been available in the Philippines, and that the challenge cut out for me would be explaining why this book would be relevant to Filipino readers.
And I was wrong again! One of the earliest chapters had an eye opening anecdote on Kopiko, a local candy and coffee brand (The candy tastes like coffee and the coffee tastes like candy--LOL!). Later, doing my own research, I found out that Martin Lindstrom has done consulting work for Nescafe Philippines--that, in fact, he helped them out with an ad campaign even I have to admit was a work of genius. We really are in a global marketplace, aren't we? =P
I had a really great time writing my review for Brandwashed, which you will be able to read in next month's issue of MOD.
But the fun doesn't stop there! Read on . . .
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Lindstrom has really got me thinking about the "Shredded Cheddar" brand. I've known for a while that it's spread out more thinly than it should be: I have movie blogger friends who know me as a book blogger (because that is how I identify myelf) and book blogger friends who come here for the movies (because I hardly ever blog about books). My oldest, most loyal bunch of friends have got to be the Catholic bloggers who were masochistic enough to keep hanging around me after I went "secular" (which must have been worse than that other time I went "punk"); but my newest GFC Followers are fellow Filipinos who discovered this blog during my June Giveaway and must have thought I'd be discussing Philippine Literature all year long. I'm not sure which group is more disappointed in the odd directions I've been taking.
I really don't want to do just one or the other, but I also don't want to be all over the place and confusing everybody. Heck, sometimes my monthly line-up is such a mess that I confuse myself! =P
Anyway, I asked myself to name those times in the past year when I would say I had a good blogging streak. I picked March and June. March because I'm still very proud that I completed my own Locus Focus Desert Settings Challenge. June because I felt that I had represented no less than six books really well using the book blogging "convention" of reviews plus memes. Then I reviewed my archives for both months and saw that I had other "random" stuff in the mix as well, many of which drew a decent share of the discussion. That was probably because they didn't come off as erratic outbursts; they came off as spice.
If I had to boil down my plan for the rest of the year (which, if successful, will remain the plan for my blog), it would be to these two elements: monthly themes and regular features.
And what that means is that both Word & Question and Locus Focus will be back for October. My theme for the latter will most likely be Burial Grounds. As of this moment, I can think of only one book with a cemetery setting that I want to write about, so this theme will double as another personal challenge. Yes, there will be a Movie Edition week. I'll also have a Horror novel for the "Two or Three" Book Club and a review of a scarier-than-usual Baby-sitters Club book.
But I'll also be busier than usual next month, thanks to an unexpected promotion at work, so while I can promise that October will have consistent branding (plus some spice!), I can't promise more than ten or twelve posts for the whole month. (But you also know how much I love thirteen, don't you? I'll try to make thirteen next month, if only for its own sake.)
In the meantime, I return you to your crazily scheduled September reading.
Image Sources: a) Lonely Planet Philippines, b) Brandwashed by Martin Lindstrom