Photos by Jamie Blomdahl and Qitrove


MINT English professor Isa Garcia, recently launched her independently published book, “Like Lines on a Map”, last September 18. Her good friend, Crae Achacoso, who designed the cover and layout of the book, helped her turn her three-year-old vision into a tangible copy of 164 pages. By the end of the month, her brainchild finally arrived at her doorstep, ready to be shared to everyone.

In “Like Lines on a Map,” Garcia wrote about people and connections. Each chapter is a story of a person or place that played a key role in her life. She told stories of people, of cities she encountered, and painted them as moments in words.

She writes, “I took this picture. I compiled this literary collage of the compound and framed it on the internet. Because when the last of the boxes are loaded, when the call comes to finally leave, what I want more than anything is simple: I want to remember.” She captured the light and joy, the grief and darkness, the innocence and adventure of life, and stamped them on the pages as shamelessly truthful as possible.

This book is brave, genuine, and real. This book is her, wrung out in 164 pages. This is a captivating recollection of people she met, moments she lived, connections she made, and most of all, places she discovered.

Every chapter, every story was carefully crafted. Garcia wrote it in a way she took her time in getting everything absolutely right. Nothing was rushed, no detail was out of place. It was just a sweet unravelling of connections that meant a lot to her. Just as she admits in the book, “I find solace in the fact that some stories come from a gradual unfolding.”

There are times, though, that in recreating those moments, she painted herself bare. She stripped away any preconceived notion of perfection and made herself incredibly human.

She returned to her past, through moments when she felt helpless, when she felt insecure. Moments like how death came for someone she loved, and other imperfections which most people would be too hurt to share. But she writes them anyway, “what makes you you is your shadows and your light.”

Garcia once told this to her class, “writing sucks. It’s a struggle to find the right words, but at the end of it, what’s left is usually, hopefully, something beautiful.”

For her, the craft is definitely a test of one’s patience and courage, as the struggle to find the right words could cause intermittent bouts of frustration.

Nevertheless, she went through the grueling months of reminiscing, revealing and writing down memories; putting them together with the hope of creating “something beautiful.” W

Order a copy of “Like Lines on a Map” by emailing



Helen Balaoing is a 3rd year MINT Music Business Management student and considers herself a super geek. She's a die-hard Hufflepuff, but left Hogwarts to pursue a career in muggle music.