Stephen Hawking and burritos » Manila Bulletin Lifestyle



By Isabelle Laureta

Hi Isabelle!

The first time I read your article, it hooked me. There’s something in it that makes me want to read more. I’m amazed by how you do it, and every time I read your articles I always wonder. Some of your articles leave me hanging with those questions I can’t answer. Your work gives comfort to me. It inspires me to see the positive side of life and to do the things that make me happy. I admire you for that. How do you come up with ideas? What inspires you? What fires up your creativity? Did you ever see yourself way back then that you would be writing? Thank you in advance. I’ll be waiting for your next article.




Hi Rish,

My brother and I used to make silly comic books when we were young. One story I vividly remember was about a girl who bought an island and turned it into a resort. I was addicted to an offline computer game at the time called Beach Life and the premise is to manage a beach island. I had so much fun playing that game, the kind of fun that makes your parents mad because you are in front of the monitor for too long. That’s why I got so inspired to make a story about it. That’s my first memory of ever writing something, but I never put down anything else purely for pleasure until many years later.

I didn’t think writing was for me. Sure, I never failed language exams, and I guess some of my essays got praised, but it didn’t make me stop and say, “This is nice. Maybe I’ll be a writer.” Maybe it was because I enjoyed drawing the little privileged girl than writing her dialogue, maybe it was because I didn’t think I’d be able to write something people would find worthy of their brain cells, or maybe, just maybe, I still haven’t found something I can passionately write about.

I’ve been writing for about four years now and, every week, I still struggle with the same dilemma—what the hell do I write about this time? I’d enter into Twilight Zone and say, “I guess this is it. I’ve officially reached the saturation point.” But then, in the same way I entered the Twilight Zone, something happens, a silver lining, a twinkling in the eye, an idea.

But this doesn’t happen all the time. I’d consider myself lucky if it does because it works like magic, right? There are times I couldn’t come up with something no matter how hard I’d try. I remember a few years back, I took a chance and e-mailed a person I looked up to. She’s quite popular and I didn’t think she’d reply, but what the hell, right? I asked how she got inspired, because her works didn’t look like they were made by someone who got uninspired even a tad bit and I wanted to be able to emulate that. She said the simplest, most mind-blowing thing. “I don’t wait for inspiration to come. I look for it. I create it.”

I felt embarrassed. Who did I think I was? What made me think I was entitled to something when I should go out there and search for it myself? Of course, ideas won’t come to me on a silver platter! I’m going to have to dig up for it if I don’t want my so-called skills to rot away.

“But where should I look?” you might ask. You don’t necessarily have to book a ticket to some country for a deep immersion and self-reflection. Most of the time, you just need to look at one place—your heart. What do you enjoy talking about? What do feel strongly about? What do you love? What do you hate? Do you think Stephen Hawking would be able to write a rave-worthy book about, say, burritos? Maybe, because aside from time and space, he might also love burritos for all we know. The point is: You just have to be passionate about it, because that’s the easiest way you can come up with something that’s not only tangible and real, but also pure and genuine.

In 2015, I wrote about my dad for Father’s Day. I just went on and crunched the keyboard one night—it felt like I was a machine, like words were flowing out of me. It was one of the easiest articles I’ve ever written, not because it was an easy topic, but because I love the person that inspired me to do so. Because when you do something out of love, when you do it for something you feel strongly about, it doesn’t feel like a chore.

My ideas and inspiration come from the most sensible to the weirdest places—my loved ones, memorable moments, offline games from the ’90s, people like you who write to me, the depths of the Internet, the guy who catcalled me, my silly cat, dank memes, Millennials, baby boomers, whatever! But there’s only one place I could never draw inspiration from—a place where I don’t feel human; a place where I feel nothing. So figure out what’s in your heart and go crazy.

Hoping you realize you inspire me too,




Ask me your deepest, weirdest, darkest questions! I’m no expert at anything and I don’t have it all figured out either (because, honestly, who does?), but let me at least try. Send them over to and let’s make sense of this crazy millennial life together! <3

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