DAVAO CITY (18 July) — Not sick, no. Doctor said so.

Just so serious these past few months.

Seriously demotivated for a while. And sad.

I am saddened by the bad things that happen to people who don’t deserve it. I grieve to see the core values I live by being arrogantly desecrated by the very same people who profess their actions to be guided by the very same moral imperatives.

I don’t write when I’m sad. I hope my readers understand.

Good news is – there’s another Ilagan who’s taken up the slack. My daughter Liane has gone back to writing fanfiction, weaving her plots for Phoenix Wright, Maya Fey and company to act out. To all those texting me because they miss the wayward and fanciful Ilagan voice, check out http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7168549/1/bPlatonic_b_bLove_b_bAffair_b for a dizzying merry-go-round that could only happen in the mind of an AB Psychology sophomore working out lessons in statistics, speech, and theories of personality. (By the latter, we mean theories of identity or self-constructs and not how to walk, how to talk, how to eat chalk.)

For good measure, Li throws in a little Star Trek, Eureka, Pokemon, Phineas and Ferb, Harry Potter, Rebecca Black, Fairly Oddparents, and whatever else in her cultural heritage that would make items of academic information hang together. Reading what she writes, I am optimistic that she’ll survive sophomore year. Her references are not exactly the pegs and spokes I would personally use to hang on to important classroom information, but it looks like this system works for Li.

It’s refreshing, actually, if I may say so myself. This parent keeps impressing on her daughters the need for a system when hitting the books. Lili – light of my life – my daughter who so wants to be convinced she is not anything like her most beloved mother, ends up devising a system so far removed from anything I would have come up with.

For one thing, I am not a creative writer. Wayward and fanciful is all I can be. Creative is a rung up the evolution ladder, I guess.

I am happy that my daughter is writing again. I am happy she’s found her audience. I am happy she’s finding her own voice and is having a blast sounding it.

Impressed, more like.

In real life, Li hears everything even when she acts like she isn’t paying attention. So I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that when she tells her story, it’s like she’s making the reader listen in to people talking. I just want to give her a big bear hug for saying boo-yah to all those rules about building plots and developing characterization that creative writing teachers teach. Liane’s style is more let’s get down to it and let plot and characterization grow in you as you read along.

For such a girly-girly girl, she writes like a boy. Short sentences. Really short. Perhaps a habit shaped by the 160-character limit of a text message.

I am happy that Lili – light of my life – my daughter who almost convinces me she’s not anything like me at all, has pushed out that lingering sorrow lurking around the edges of my heart. Her infectious fun radiates outward to the reader as she weaves a precocious twist-and-turn at a dizzying speed.

Consider her take on the ninja:
“So Tootie,” Trucy said as she faced the girl with the glasses sitting right next to her. “Who
is that Timmy Turner?”

“He’s my crush. But I try my best to not express my feelings too much. I can tell it bothers him. So I sometimes pretend to not like him when we meet. But to be really honest, I stalk him.” Tootie replied. “I know all of his passwords, I install security cameras in his room, you know – the usual things stalkers do.”

“Oh my gosh, your dedication is astounding!” Pearl complimented.

“I know, right?” Tootie had a slight blush on her cheeks. “I prefer to be called a ninja,” she admitted.
“Oh please,” Phineas said. “You’re no ninja.”
“Did you see what I just did?” Tootie asked him.
“No,” Phineas replied. “What did you do anyway?”
“Exactly.” Tootie smirked. “That, my friend, will remain a mystery.”
“Oh my gosh! She totally is a ninja!” Pearl happily exclaimed. That cracked Phineas up. Trucy gave him a knowing look and mouthed: Hilarious, isn’t she?
“And that’s number four in my list of the reasons why Timmy Turner should love me.” Tootie told her. (Gail Ilagan is the current Editor of Tambara, the Ateneo de Davao University Research Journal)