There is nothing our human hands can do to deserve a world so beautifully and intricately crafted. Nothing. Not even our minds, powerfully designed as they are.
But if we lead with our hearts, our mighty, broken, open hearts, we might just have a chance at growing the love that this world was created with.
I’ve prepared a taste of my past year through the music that has moved me through an adventure-filled 2016.
This is a little annual tradition that has swung me into the past four new years: making a playlist to tie up the stories of my year. 2016 has added up to a generous helping of 31 songs. (My longest end-of-the-year playlist so far!)
You can also check out the playlist here: “Open Doors // SpeakSoon’s 2016 in Music”. A list of songs/artists also at the end of this post.
This year, I’ve added a new challenge. As a final piece and creative writing exercise, I borrowed words from all the songs of my 2016 and built a poem. You’ll find lines from all the different songs strung together with a bit of play from me. Does my year sound a lot like yours?
In these moments, I lose focus.
I don’t remember when we decided we could fly.
Put your head on my shoulders,
If you’re lost and you’re lonely, go and figure out why.
How do we mend a million pieces
strung out across the ground?
Hear the healing in your bones,
Sit in stillness for the silence of this sound.
Cry, my friend, no more,
you’ve seen your stars aligning I’m sure.
We all fear the sound of a closing door,
only your faith will prove to bring a cure.
All these vultures that surround you,
with cowardice speak their lies out loud.
Take my hand, I’ll give you strength,
just when you think all the streets have emptied out.
La soledad viene sin patria, have you missed the lonely call?
Leave what’s heavy.
Leave what’s heavy behind,
but I keep running for a soft place to fall.
A light against a darkened sky,
your truth must outshine all the lies,
You let your feet run wild and try
to tell the world that fiction is falling from up high.
The cross we bear is all we’ve got
para você vem dançar,
It’s like a bit of light in a touch of dark,
do you dare to look your losses right in the eyes?
While you were sleeping, I thought of you.
We might make it further if we learned to stay.
We’re here, eyes open, catching and releasing
what builds up throughout the day.
Live to dance in a hurricane,
find your heart standing in the eye,
I just hope you’ll stop me
before I build a world around me.
We are waiting on their sunshine and the morning dew,
for we live where the war is raging and where we miss the moon,
We’re all lonely together, no matter what we choose to do.
We can tell each other secrets, til we remember how to love.
I was listening to the ocean. I was dancing in the rain.
Words are so easy to say, we speak as though nothing could fall,
Slow down when you can, we’re not exempt from all pain,
This story’s a long one, take a deep breath, then five more. Stand tall.
Throw your arms in the air tonight. I won’t be no runaway.
I’ll go braving everything through the shine of the sun.
Darling, don’t be afraid when it’s time to stay,
but the doors are open. Run!
Playlists from previous years:
I’ve also just realized that I never shared 2015’s playlist, now also public on Spotify: “SpeakSoon: 2015 in Music”
And finally, a simple rundown of my 2016’s lovely playlist:
- Run – Lost Frequencies Radio Edit // Emma Bale
- On Our Knees (Feat. R.O) // Konoba
- I’ll Move Mountains // Roo Panes
- Tomorrow’s Song // Olafur Arnalds
- Tightropes // Robyn Sherwell
- Gorgeous // X Ambassadors
- Falling Faster // Andrew Ripp
- Moments – Acoustic Live // Kidnap Kid
- Spaceship – Popvilla Sessions // Comet Blue
- You’re Mine – Radio Edit // Raving George
- Deep End // Birdy
- No Angel // Birdy
- We Can Be Heroes // Ozark Henry
- The Eye // Brandi Carlie
- I Need a Forest Fire – feat Justin Vernon // James Blake
- Friends feat Bon Iver // Francis and the Lights
- Summer’s Almost Gone // The Temper Trap
- Lost // The Temper Trap
- New Afro Spanish Generation // Buika
- Light it Up (feat Nyla & Fuse ODG) // Major Lazer
- Dark Necessities // Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Sunset Lover // Petit Biscuit
- Way Down We Go – Recorded at Spotify Studios NYC // Kaleo
- Para Voce // Gregor Salto
- Forever With You // Nathan Roberts
- Heavy // Birdtalker
- Good Together // HONNE
- Catch & Release – Deepend Mix // Matt Simons
- Show Me Love // Sam Feldt
- Runaway // AURORA
- Runaway // The National
2017, I’ll be listening for you!
Do not forget when you were little; a lifetime shorter than all the rest.
Today we hold our egos high, stuck out like scrunched-up chins set on stone-cold jaws, taunting the world to hit us with something good. There’s a pride in us, webbed into our very bones, our childhood growth spurts dictating how much of the pride is faulty, how much of it is made of honor.
Do not forget when you were little; tiny hand reaching out for direction, for love.
As children, we held out our hands for guidance and just knew that someone would hold it. We trusted that we would be led to something good. Doubt was still a game then; not yet the crutch, nightmare, or dirty secret that it later morphs into.
As children, we didn’t second guess our need for someone else to be there for us. It was fully part of our flesh, this affection. We didn’t resist the arm of a loved one reaching out to hold us. For a loved one to turn away simply confused us. There was yet no shame in reaching out first.
Today, we hide in reflection and conclude that perhaps to reach out is to be needy, or worse, to reach out is to be selfish. When did love dress up as weakness? Deconstruct what strength and worth you have in this life, and you’ll find that there is no you without love, whether a trace or a flood of it.
Do not forget when you were little; because everyone says this life goes by in the blink of an eye.
When we were young, we hurried to grow up. We held precious moments with a clumsy, absent-mindedness, interest always lost to the next distraction. Thankfully we were born with memory. It was not a switch we needed to turn on, a skill we had to learn or a trophy to deserve. If it were, we’d be scavenging for our history. Our biology keeps record of who we are, where we’ve been – in the tangles of our mind or in tracks left on skin. In adult life, we salvage what snapshots our memory can bring to mind, but at that point we can no longer choose what moments endure as milestones. What kind of story does our memory preserve for us?
Do not forget when you were little, because no matter how old we are, we are still and always not yet fully grown.
To be human is to be flawed, to be small in the universe, to be complex and never fully unmistakably understood. We are little beings in this grand world. Little beings not meant to be alone.
Every SUNDAY, we’ll post a creative prompt.
Take the week to respond in your own medium and style. Write, paint, sing, dance, shoot.
There are no rules, but we challenge you to slow down your creative process. Think less digital and more analog.
On SATURDAY, share your work.
Post your response online along with the hashtags #creativeneighbor and#neighborhoodph. Read, watch and listen to what others have shared. Then look out for the next prompt on following Sunday!
This month I get to share my art.
This is exciting and terrifying, in the best and happiest sense. If you are around Manila, I hope you will consider checking out of a few of the things I am up to this month:
You, in Particular
On Sundays of February, a limited run of new artist postcards will be released at Local Edition, a coffee shop on Perea Street, Makati. My work, You, in Particular, is part of their 3//8 Print Series, featuring three local artists. Each artist uses a series of 8 postcards to create a larger work of art. Mine is a mix of drawing and poetry. We launched the series last week, and here’s a peak at my first two pieces. Postcards are on sale while they last, for P160 each.
what wakes you
The main project I’m currently working on is an art installation that opens on February 20th! The work is called what wakes you, and is made up of poetry and paintings. I begin installing the work tomorrow, and will slowly develop the work from day to day, until it’s final launch on the following Saturday at 4pm. This will also be at Local Edition.
Drop by while it’s in progress or at the opening reception! And if you miss the opening, the work will be up through March 2016.
This month also marks the beginning of my journey teaching art and writing.
DRAWING: If you’re interested in visual art, I’m teaching a drawing workshop that doesn’t require any drawing experience! It’ll be both dynamic and therapeutic as we play with charcoal and pastels. Email email@example.com to sign up! Fee is P1,800 including materials and snacks.
February 17, Wednesday, 6-9pm.
at Prism Gallery, Island Tower, Salcedo Street, Makati.
WRITING: If you’re interested in writing, I’m teaching a creative writing workshop for writers and non-writers who are feeling a little stuck. We’ll play with rhythm and repetition in your writing. Using the pattern of poetic forms like the villanelle and the pantoum as building blocks, we’ll discover new ways to keep writing fun and fresh. No writing experience necessary! Workshop fee: P850 with materials and a free regular drink of your choice at the cafe.
February 20, Saturday, 10am-12nn. at Local Edition Coffee & Tea on Perea Street.
Here are some links if you’d like to keep up with my artist adventures: