Recent Reading

It’s been seven months since I started Roland Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse and I am not done with it yet. I’d like to think it’s because I juggle it with J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and Tracy Chevalier’s Girl with the Pearl Earring, but truth is, I have not dedicated hours and days to reading anymore.

It’s a shame I haven’t given as much time to novels. These days I’d rather spend the entire day at the office getting exhausted of Social Media matters which Forbes recently deemed, not an actual career. Sucks, I know. And on weekends, I do errands like grocery shopping, walking my pet to the park, girlfriend duties, etc.

I miss the luxury of laying down in bed, leafing through the pages, meeting characters, and getting immense sympathy for them to the point of investing emotions and bawling in tears at their expense. I can only recall how much I loved Salinger’s detailed conversations in Franny and Zooey that I actually played the scene on my mind the moment I was reading it. I can only remember the feelings the unnamed characters endured in David Levithan’s  A Lover’s Dictionary in order for them to keep the relationship. I can only recollect becoming victorious and infinite with Charlie in Stephen Chbosky’s Perks of Being a Wallflower. With Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, I find joy in picturing Holden Caufield and his relationships and conversations with schoolmates which reminds me of my years studying far from home and not being somewhat aloof to the new people. Yes, I have not yet moved from that part of the book.

As for philosophical reads, I take more time to digest them as compared to fiction. I try to relate and ponder at every chapter and identify myself with the text. Yes, I recall instances of my life and compare and relate to what I have read. Think: Antoine de Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince, Blaise Pascal’s On Human Happiness, and letters and writings of Kahlil Gibran. These are the kind of books that are not just as easy to read. I mean, I always feel like reading into them means more than reading into them, like there is a whole lot of message you need to understand.

And right now, I take the same particularity in reading Barthes. You see, the problem with reading his text is that, knowing he is a semiologist, I tend to read, let’s say a paragraph, all over again thinking he embedded somewhere between words some sort of sign. It is kind of confusing how familiarity brings about complexity in reading. Or, am I just being too critical? Ugh.

Oh well. Bottomline, I need a time off and save a date for a date with these books lined up on my bedside table.

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1/12, And It’s Not Yet Too Late

I have been away for quite a time. I haven’t even posted this year’s goals, and here goes:

1. Save

I mean, I say this every year. But maybe I should learn not to spend more than I earn or not to spend more than I save. I will have to negotiate with myself on that.

2. Read more books.

12 books in a year is a pretty feasible target for many. But not for my pretty weird activities and schedule, it’s shamefully hard to reach! So there, I also promise to finish Roland Barthes within the month. Just some theoretical shiz to balance out all the romantic stuff.

3. Listen to good music

8tracks is a gift to mankind! It’s a repository of mixtapes from whoever around the world. I got new contents for my ipod from here. And it’s free!

4. Tour and explore Metro Manila

Because I fancy going places and finding out interesting things from wherever, the culture vulture me wants to explore further places in the metro or places nearby. It’s better to associate Manila with culture rather than traffic and smog.

5. Write more

Just this morning, I came up with a writing idea springing from a friend’s old letter to me. I’m so excited for this, but I guess it will be long project. Release dates will be next year, methinks.

Also, I just wrote 3 fictions last year. 2 of which were published here. I think I need to write more.

6. Learn to cook

I am so much into baking I forgot personal training in the old dirty kitchen. Yes, I will save time for this, uhm, along with baking. Yes.

7. Take care of my phone

Basically because it’s the boyfriend’s Christmas present to me and he saves me the time of updating OS, downloading applications, etc. So in return, I have to take outmost care for this little pretty thing.

8. Be more concerned with skin

I’ll throw creams and lotions to my skin. I’ll moisturize. I’ll learn how to put on make up correctly. Duh.

9. Remain connected with art

There are loves you cannot lose. Never. So here I am, with a red thread spun to my fingers, and with art’s – promising to read, write and feel more about it.

Between The Lines

He never really liked books, unless if it’s a Sherlock Holmes series from Arthur Conan Doyle. He even complained about the sequence of David Levithan’s “A Lover’s Dictionary”. He said it was confusing, more than my penmanship in all my hand-written letters. (I mean seriously, that is the point of comparison?)

That sounded rather off, but I forgave him. I knew he didn’t mean it that way. Besides, romance novels weren’t his thing, most especially, when the story’s not a linear narrative.

I browsed through the book’s leaves, wondering if he left underlines and notes aside from the definition he initially written for me. And there it was, a smiley beside a short entry.

reservation, n.,

These are times when I worry that I’ve already lost myself. That is, that myself is so inseparable from being with you that if I were to separate, I would no longer be. I save this thought for when I feel the darkest discontent. I never meant to depend so much on someone else.

He glanced at me, caught me re-reading the page. He smiled, but did not utter a word.

Then that was him, more than I could ever define.

Notes for November (A Wishlist)

The calendar says it’s already the 9th of October, which means it’s less than a month to my birthday. I haven’t actually come up with a plan yet, just a wishlist like the good old days.

1. Books

This has been a default every year since gawdknowswhentime. Somehow I’d just like to wish for more time so I can finish all my bedside reads. But again, there are still titles I lust for. Roland Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse is on top of my list – because it’s my favorite theorist discussing love (will he incorporate art here?). Astrid Van Royen’s Awake Monique comes in close second and to impossibility so I’m adding it here. FYI, I was named after the author and I’m dying to get a copy since I have torn and eaten pages when I was still a little baby. I should’ve known the worth of scarcity of a 1950 something book then. The only remaining copies are available on ebay which shipping fee is actually higher than the book itself. I’m open for second hand copies too. So there.

2. Instax/Polaroid

I used to always bring a point and shoot camera with me. Sadly, I’m no longer in that phase. My camera died and I don’t want to tote a bulky DSLR all of the time. I don’t know if I’ve justified enough, but bottomline, I’d like instant prints. Snap and print and stick to wherever. This is in no way connected to my patience (or lack of), or maybe it is.

3. Informal bag

I work in a retail company that offers high end bags. And I feel like I’m the only at the office not raving about it. I guess it’s because I’m not the type toting around n-grand worth of bucks, I’d rather spend the entire amount on food. So for bag, I just want Gola Redfords which could accommodate a 14 inch Macbook Pro. Also, a Fluid Surf backpack would do. (I guess that’s even better but I do hope it has a laptop sleeve.) Again, as long as my 14-inch Macbook pro fits.

4. High cut sneakers

The boyfriends recently got new sneaks from Pony and I want one too! Though I want mine high cut and light colored. My sneakers are on the verge of breaking down, you know.

5. King and I passes

Dear friend working in Resorts World Manila,

I don’t write for a living, but I’d write for free passes. Thank you.

PS. I’m counting on you.

6. Hand-written letters

I hate Facebook posting birthdays everybody’s dashboard. People just get into a routine of clicking and typing “Happy Birthday :D” to everyone like everyday. People don’t actually remember anymore and it’s not the sweetest kind of greeting there is. I’d like to think people will leave me handwritten letters or notes on my desk or send it via snail mail. Post cards will be great too! And then I dream.

7. Trip to UkayUkay

For two reasons: I miss Baguio and Cubao and I’m still a sucker for dirt cheap things. And yes, finding a time for this would be a bonus!

8. Trip to my Favorite Place

It’s been 2 years since the last time I went to my heart’s home and my soul’s sanctuary. Failed trips during the last 2 years had me upset and I’m counting on it this time.

9. Picnic

Think baskets and gingham mats and parasols and delectable snacks. Yes, I can already imagine Sunken Garden.

* List will be updated because this is a collection of random bullets. Well, obviously I slashed off “going far places” this time. I can’t avail this yet, I still have no leave credits for work. Duh, I’m a loser.

Also, don’t judge me yet. World peace and abstract ideas (patience) are included in my wishlist, like always and forever.

To All The Profs I’ve Loved Before

A little more than ten years ago, when asked what I wanted to be when I grow up. I cheerfully say “I want to be a teacher”. It was in the late years of elementary I decided not to be one because realized I will never ever possess the required patience of the job.

I remember not having a favorite person from the faculty in grade school and high school. Though I must thank my Language and Phoenix, and Reading Comprehension teachers in grade school. They made a mean grammarnazi out of me. They pre-arranged my love for books and the creepy silence of the library. They made reading and writing a leisure – from which I decided to quit Language and Literature in college, fearing I won’t be reading and writing the same way again.

I owe “Thank you” to my Values teacher in high school who required the entire class to read Antoine de Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince and made me read aloud my analysis of each chapter. Those were the earliest Barthes exercises, I guess. And to my fourth year English teacher who made me speak of 19th century literature. I felt amazing presenting in class that George Elliot was actually Mary Ann Evans and so other literary trivia. It felt like disclosing Illuminati secrets in national TV. I was an awesome geek. And I owe another word of gratitude to my fourth year adviser who gave our class daily dosage of the chill pill. She taught us to let loose and be fun midst the stress and pressure of finding a good college.

Then came college, which was a lot different. Spending it in UP made it complicated. I had to juggle academics and extra curricular activities. Not to mention, UP is a microcosm of society. There are different communities and you get to interact and deal with them one way or another. My professors made the whole journey more than bearable. The varied approaches of learning made learning itself interesting. Along the way, what I initially found complicated, I eventually deemed enthralling. UP paved the way for the real world. My professors did.

Yes, UP profs, They laid out facts, opened possibilities. They taught me that matters should be viewed like a a kaleidoscope. It should be seen in different perspectives to get a better understanding. And you take everything and every angle with it – the bad and the good, the beautiful and the ugly. They taught me that it’s the same thing with life. You can look at it whichever way you desire, but you have to accept it with all its positive and negative aspects. Use whatever is too much to make up for the less. Balance what makes you feel bad with what makes you feel better. Seek knowledge for that you lack understanding of. Take challenges as lessons.

With this, I certainly owe them more than thank you’s.

*This post makes me want to go back to school. Seriously.

Root of Romanticism

Dear Love, we’re in a poetry book I’ve read innumerable yesterdays ago

This is an image taken by Jenno, my latest addition to my “Favorite People” list, during our random trip to Intramuros one bipolar-weathered afternoon.

I would be lying if I say this is not of utter beauty, sans the bias that it’s my boyfriend and I in the portrait. I did not actually think our picture would turn out this way since we never planned of taking nice photos anyway. We just wanted a trip to the National Museum, an Intramuros walking tour, and an illegal tag along of Carlos Celdran’s tour.

I would say this image is too beautiful for me to judge aka apply art/photography criticism to. But as far as resonance and wonder is concerned, I would give a million words for a praise.

I found this photo rather dear to me. It reminded me of photographs found in Rolando Carbonell’s Beyond Forgetting. It’s one of the earliest poetry books I’ve read. My grandfather gave it to me in grade school because of my penchant with novels and poetry as early as then. It was about love – found and lost. It was about waiting – its toils and pains and triumph. It was about our souls – torn, broken, crashed. It was about emotions – kept and subdued, professed and demonstrated. The images spoke the same. They breathed every printed word. They pierced thoughts, induced thinking, leading to reverie. Even an innocent 10-year old’s heart was tugged. I might even consider this one of the foundations of my tendency to romanticize. (Mark this entry as Exhibit A)

Later on I found out, the author was my grandfather’s high school friend. It felt like I actually met him.

The book is still with me as to the moment I write. I browsed through the pages after seeing image above. The book may have aged, leaves brown and crisp. But its words are still intact, its images radiated as before.

 

Levithan and the Language of Love

I have been lusting over David Levithan’s “A Lover’s Dictionary” for months now. Last summer I found one hidden in a shelf of a three-floor bookstore. I really wanted to get it as my summer reading but I felt too guilty when I looked at the tag price. Heck, I never spent too much on a book.  And I don’t think I ever will. I just hoped we meet again when it’s already pegged at 50% off.

With all sadness, I followed Levithan’s Twitter instead.  I took delight in his posts like they were real dictionary entries – only shorter, but still beautifully romanticized. I have mentioned this fondness to the boyfriend. We usually spend a while scrolling up and down Levithan’s Twitter every weekend to pick out our favorite entry.

I don’t know what has gotten into the boyfriend’s mind last Monday. I was getting crazy at work compiling pictures from the recent photoshoot and preparing for a report and meeting that afternoon. He gladly volunteered to be the driver and assistant to the busy bee me. We had snacks on the way to the other office when he showed me the book. Boy! I was more than happy! I had this stupid smile on my face and my feet were on tiptoes the whole time.

It was a big good luck for the meeting/report. It really turned out good.

And Levithan came with a baby mohawk zebra

Dinner at one of my favorite restaurants marked a celebration of my happiness. He brought me home afterwards.

I started reading as soon as I got home. And have I mentioned he defined me too?

I am a noun defined in 10 lines

Once the Perry to My Stargirl

I used to believe Stargirl is my ultimate alter ego. I have cried and laughed with the book. I have identified with her heartbreak and her escapist tendencies in moving on.

Yes, I had a Leo aka Starboy, I had a Perry, and all other characters in between. I even had a number of Archie! I also did the world’s longest letter. But I guess the letter didn’t end sweetly like Stargirl’s to Leo. Let’s say mine had a signature of cusses and swear words, because I’m bad mouthed like that, even in letters. I kid, mine was less sweet, more platonic. Sans “Let the stars keep track of us. Let us ride our own orbits and trust that they will meet. May our reunion be not a finding but a sweet collision of destinies!”, because I don’t see us together anymore aka I don’t recycle boys principle.

The slight difference must’ve been brought about by my Perry. No, he isn’t delinquent nor does he have a harem. He wasn’t just basically my type. He listens to music far from my preference. He doesn’t read too much books. He plays computer games too much. And he spends too little time writing. But he’s got me smitten for reasons I can hardly explain. Perhaps it’s his gentleness midst his large frame, his fondness for kids, his true ~annoyingly happy~ self, and how he planted spatulas in my Enchanted Hill when I failed to.

And yes, my Perry and I shared a sunrise kiss. It was a pre-sunrise kiss actually. But unlike Stargirl who hesitatingly kissed Perry to solicit answers from her confusion, I did kiss my Perry because I liked him after all. I needed no answers because I had no questions. I needed no confirmation because I knew what I knew then.

Later have I realized, our Perry-Stargirl kiss made us Perry and Stargirl no more. We’ve moved on to an entirely new book.

*Also, she’s not my alter-ego anymore HAHAHA

Mark This as Exhibit A for Randomness

Last time I blogged was Tuesday, fuming still in anger like alcohol in my head during a real bad hangover. I was itching to write the next days but I decided not to as I am not entirely over Monday things yet. That was just me and my incapacity to move on from recent issues.

But since it’s Friday, I just need to kick my own ass and think happy thoughts for the weekend. I brought Polly Horvath‘s Everything on a Waffle to work. Not that I am reading it over again, I’m brushing through my highlighted text to feel Primrose Squarp’s hopefulness and positive outlook. I am also lending my beloved book to Mr. Snooze since he needs company during weekdays the next month as he’s taking the night shift again (Boo!). I bet he’ll appreciate weird recipes found every after chapter and will extremely drool for breakfast when he logs out at four in the morning.

Also, I opted to ponder on random things. My book shelf will kill me for this, but I am lusting over a copy of Roland Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse. Roland Barthes is one of my first loves in Art Studies. Toys being my primary read, developed further affection upon devouring the signs and symbols chapter from Mythologies, and went stronger as my Related Literature for thesis. Yes, art geekery is such a romantic affair. If Roland Barthes were still alive, I’d date him! We’d have conversations over wine and cheese. I will ask him about signs and symbols and when is over analyzing becomes over. (I am guilty as charged by my former professor LOL I’ve outgrown it now, methinks.) And I’ll let him sign my copies in a CD as they are in PDF file and we’ll post a photo of us two via mobile upload. Barthes and I will be cool like that. 😉

Guess I have been a little too random at that, my get-happy thoughts have led to to some wonderland.

On another note, the ~love~ month plus certain circumstances are dragging me to execute  projects to keep me happy. My fresh ideas are relevant with this month. Well, they have to be. Since I am not good in dating (LOL), I’ll have to plan a writing project which goes like “Daydreaming About Dream Dates”. I will have to think of a cute way of doing this one. I might also go for a date-themed/inspired kind of thing as creative project for the annoyingly happy man I’ve been dating for a year now (and will be dating until god knows when time teehee).

Let’s just see where all of these will take me. Happy Weekend! 🙂

*I’m more or less happy upon ending this entry. HAHAHA

In Case I Forget What It Is Like To be Twenty Two

Yes and No.

Yes, I am twenty two. And no, I am not making a countdown with the less than fifty days left for me to be twenty two.

I would just like to make a rundown of the things that existed in the life of the twenty-two year old me. I’ll cut the drama and excitement of a sixteen year old, which I believe is my heart’s age anyway. And by default, everything will go in a random order.

  • Spent the eve of my 22nd birthday with an awesome surprise thrown by really awesome people.

 

  • Gatecrashed the Philippine Fashion Week. My friend and I cut her black ribbon in two so I can have a pretty good seat.

 

  • Reread my favorite books and got a copy of “Love, Stargirl” as a birthday present from my sister while sifting through piles and piles of books in Booksale.

 

  • Became addicted to torrent downloads. This is more of a confession actually. My music and movie downloads have gobbled up more than half of my office computer’s disk space.

 

  • Earned the “Curatorial Courage Award” during one of my paper presentations/workshops. Now that’s sarcasm from the academe.

 

  • Traveled out of the country for the first time. I spoke to strangers and felt at home in a foreign land. It was actually in art I found refuge.

 

  • Published an article for an exhibition. I did this for the love of the artist group and my unending fondness for my heart’s former sanctuary. I sounded like the very same girl who wrote my thesis though.

 

  • Built a sort of book club or a book swapping activity with my friends. I believe this helped my friends understand me better, just so they know where my thoughts and ideas spring from. You can say that my randomness has probably come out from the variety of books I read – from young adult (Polly Horvath and Jerry Spinelli) to philosophical (Kahlil Gibran and Richard Bach).

 

  • Had my heart broken for the nth time and found it gradually mended through surprising and unexpected ways. He has certainly taken the alternate route to my heart.

 

  • Finally received original copies of my Diploma and Transcript of Records. UP and its genius system!

 

  • Wrote short love notes to random men of my life for the whole month of February. No, I am not boy crazy.

 

  • Got my SSS, TIN, PhilHealth and etc files. This sounds rather shallow, but this made me feel like an adult.

 

  • Spent McDate evening aka cheap fastfood dinner with friends. This is also an ode to adulthood. It’s a meeting where we address our unfiltered thoughts on work, career, family, and love over a less than a hundred budget meal which is deducted from our mean salaries. Yuppie talk.

 

  • Spent the eve of Valentine’s Day drunk and bore a whole lot of emotional and alcoholic baggage throughout the day. Epic, yes I am.

 

  • Signed up for a WordPress account for serious blogging. Well, if this does seem serious.

 

  • My brother graduated. Since then, he has made lots of money more than I did, compared to my whole employment history.

 

  • Received a present nine months prior to my birthday. I just woke up one morning with the news that I’m going somewhere a week after my birthday. He didn’t only have the travel tickets, he had in hand the passport to my heart.

 

  • Had one of my post-PR’s plagiarized by a writer. Sigh. Somebody forgot her writing ethics.

 

  • Spent the Holy Week away from home for the first time. Just loads of plain fun in the sun. Not to mention, we almost got lost on the way home.

 

  • Got myself a phone and ipod from my own money. Adulthood made me feel good I didn’t have to ask extra from my parents.

 

  • Got addicted to Timezone’s Terminator and Silent Hill. Money and f-words spent and said in the most relevant way.

 

  • Went totally crazy about food. I raved about chicken wings, soup, and sandwiches most of the time. Plus, it seemed like there should always be an open food tab while working. I don’t like food, I love it!

 

  • Went night trekking during a storm for my first mountain climbing experience. I have earned more than the courage of a pro.

 

  • Lost two mobile phones in less than a month. This is the best thing I’ve done in my whole life. Ever.

 

  • Grown equal fondness for cats and dogs since Mr Snooze has a pack of dogs and cats, and dreams of becoming Philippines’ Cesar Millan.

 

  • Edited my friend’s short stories for a project, in which my own past love affair became her basis for the story.

 

  • Received a warm and cheerful welcome at a hospital after riding an ambulance. It didn’t develop a love for hospitals though. It’s still traumatizing.

 

  • Executed a fail but rather sweet surprise for someone. I’ve been always into beautifully written love letters, exquisite music and lyrics, good books, and delectable food.

 

  • Created a history of us together in letter form compiled as “Guess How Much I Love You”. It’s a lengthy bullet list of little things that answer a lot of why’s and how’s.