Welcome to my site! I hope you will enjoy reading the personal articles as I journey and navigate this life. I welcome suggestions for topics that you think are important, relevant, and valuable.

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I am inviting my readers to share their stories of courage, success or resiliency to inspire other readers. You can submit your stories, 2-3 paragraphs in length, via the Comments section, located at the end of every article page. Your stories will be added to the "Readers' Contributions" page.

A close-up of a newly opened delphinium flower (Summer 2013).

Friday, December 3, 2010

Our Digital Age: From book to ebook

I am reading a provocative book, I live in the Future & Here's How It Works. I am more than halfway through it. It is written by Nick Bilton, lead writer and technology reporter for the New York Times' Bits Blog and a reporter for the paper. The book, which I consider as experiential and insightful, discusses why our world, work, and brain are being creatively disrupted by the digital technology in the 21st century.

Bilton, who calls himself a nerd, describes how the media world has been radically transformed from print to digital form. Newspapers and magazines--used to be delivered at the door--are now being viewed in computers and in devices such as the iPhones, iPods, and iPads. Books, which are still available in print, are now accessible via iBook and Kindle. Before, you have to go to a theatre to watch a movie. Now you can download any movie you want in your computer or iPad. Before, you have to buy a CD to listen to your favorite singers. Now you can download your favorite music from iTunes for only $0.99 each and you don't have to buy the whole album.

You can now buy items from the comfort of your home, using your computer, without having to drive near and far to get them. You can buy all kinds of items from various parts of the world. All you need is a PayPal account or a credit card.

Today's digital world is fast, convenient, and cheaper compared to the way we have been doing things in the past. 

Last Monday, I went to the University of Calgary to attend a talk about publishing your thesis into a book. The person who gave the talk was one of the editors of the Toronto University Press. From his presentation, I got the impression that the process of converting one's thesis into a book and that of publishing it is almost as difficult as writing one's thesis in the first place. The book will have to be reviewed by internal editors and critiqued by experts outside the university. I estimated the whole process could take from two to three years before one's book finally lands in the bookstores.

There is always the other alternative if one wants to avoid this long, arduous process--to publish one's book as an ebook. This way, you are the actualizer. You are not dependent on publishers. You don't experience rejection from editors. But you have to be able to write well. And you also need to hire a good editor for a flawless result.

Bilton is right about how the digital technology has disrupted our world, our work, and our brain. But the disruption is a positive one, something that brings us closer to one another at the press of a key.

As we continue to adapt to our digital media, we can look forward to reading our friends' books in our iBook or Kindle one of these days. Let me know should your book becomes available as an ebook.

I welcome comments and questions, as always. You can write your comments at the Comments section at the end of this article.

For those interested in buying Nick Bilton's book, it is available below with just one click of your mouse.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Time to Love is Now

There was a time in my life when I thought that love has its natural place and time. I think  the Bible's  "there is a time for everything" quote came strongly on me. But that was when I was younger. Now I know better. 
The time to love is now, this very moment. I want to utter this in all its simplicity along with its urgency. Do not wait until the persons you love are no longer around to show them you care.  Or you may not be around anymore to tell them you care. Living is meant for loving. And if living is now, loving is also NOW.
This essay is not going to discuss the problematic level of why we love, whom to love, and its justifications. This essay intends to transcend the level of analysis. Love is an urgent matter. It has to be attended to NOW.
We are just human--we want to love well but we are full of paranoia. What if they will not love me back? What if I'd get hurt?  What if they' will not love me back? What will people say if.....and the list of "what ifs" could go on and on. So we retain the mask of counterfeit security, afraid of the risks, too proud to be "wounded" by love. That is why we do not love or cannot love.
Perhaps we need to be careful, I admit. We cannot afford unwanted pregnancies, don't welcome marital infidelities, separations, and the tearing apart of the inner self that accompanies loving. We cannot bear to wallow in self-pity in case we are betrayed by a friend or  by a lover.  
A close friend of mine died about a month ago. She was 89 years old. Her frail body could no longer contain her soul, a soul so animated and thirsty for living. I never got to talk to her before she died. I kept telling myself I'd see her. When I learned that she has died, I felt the ache of wasted afternoons when I could have visited her and told her she's a beautiful human being and that I'll always remember and love her. Now she's gone.  And no amount of languishing on my part is going to bring back those lost moments I could have spent with her "because I was so busy"--the universal justification for delaying our loving.
We risk more if we wait. Life is so uncertain. The exquisite bloom of the rose will be gone very soon. The father you never miss because he's been around a lot will one day be gone. We have the nasty attitude of not wanting what is there and wanting what isn't there. Should we wait until what we want is no longer there, for us to begin to want it?
Love is not expensive, you know, unless you want to make it so. It only takes some kind words, a squeeze in the hand, a pat in the back, a brief phone call, a short letter. At times, love invites us simply to listen, to understand, and to share our inner world with with whoever needs us to be "there." At most, love demands our time, our feelings, our mind, and even our soul. These are the rare moments when love is best expressed and genuinely received. And unless we are capable of the small and big responses in love, we remain solitary creatures.
I remember having read an article about love. Although the author's name is forgotten, his words remained: "The second most difficult thing in the world is to live, to love, and to grow with somebody.  But the most difficult thing is to live alone."