Listen to Your Inner Voice

I wrote a post that I had to set to private at the last minute, entitled, “The Experiment.” Far from what I usually post here, it’s probably one of the most intimate article I’d ever written in my life.

It was written at the point in my life when I had to make a tough decision. I had help from my inner voice. I knew the voice was wise and I should’ve listened. But with every dilemma, we have another voice that’s more primitive and raw – less concerned about consequences. And I gave in.

And now, I live with the consequences of my actions. I knew  I should have listened to the wise inner voice but I was weaker than I thought.

Only time will tell if I eventually will find the peace I’d lost. But I’m hopeful my future will be brighter with the knowledge that I will never be alone again even after he leaves as he left a precious cargo behind.

 

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The Battle with Myself

My last post was in February and now I need to renew my subscription. What a waste! And I have no one to blame but myself.

I’ve missed the continuous clickety-clack of my keyboard, denoting the creation of something new – a story or an article. Whatever, it’s a creation! But I’ve been stuck again, a bottomless rut without a light in sight.

Forgive me for being such a drama queen today. I just gotta pull myself together again trudge on this murky life of mine.

The Sound of Music: As I Bid Adieu to 2014

FYI, Facebook, this year has not been great. How could it be when you’ve lost a beloved brother, whose life was just starting to make sense. As Idris the T.A.R.D.I.S. said, “I’ve been looking for a word. A big, complicated word but so sad.” “Alive.” It’s sad when it’s over. When you’ve experience a tragedy like that, you can’t help but be intimately acquainted with the concept.

However, time moves on, waiting for no one. And now we say hello to hopefully a better year in 2015. I wanted to start the year right by getting off my ass, dusting off my keyboard and finally stop procrastinating and update this blog.

As a kid, Christmas used to be my favorite holiday but as an adult, I feel a bit jaded as my wallet gets lighter from all the obligatory shopping I had to do. I was feeling nostalgic about my childhood so I watched something that always made me all warm and fuzzy, far from my usual sarcastic and cynical self. I watched Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music.

As an 80’s kid, this is the musical, maybe the only musical you care to know the lyrics to. I remember my sister and I bonding over our favorite songs such as “My Favorite Things” and “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”. Studying at a Catholic school run by nuns just added to the relatability factor, really. In my school, I remember we even had a full-blown production of the musical. Nuns absolutely love movies about nuns.

Watching this in 2014 is just as enjoyable, if not more so for the added nostalgia factor, as when I first watched it when I was 6 or 7. My feminist side winced at lyrics like “You need someone older and wiser telling you what to do,” though.

I was totally crushing on Christopher Plummer! He’s totally dreamy as Captain vonn Trapp. And Julie Andrews was fabulous, of course.

According to Wikipedia, the movie was initially turned down by some producers because it was too saccharine. The actual people and events it’s based on are actually very far from what was portrayed in the film. Well, if they based the movie closer to what’s historically accurate, I doubt it would result in a musical. It would probably a grittier story much too depressing to sing about.

I’m glad we have this “too saccharine” musical for times when we just want something to make us feel better, much like a tub of ice cream after a heartache.

 

From My Dream Diary: Neil Gaiman, Mr. Sandman

Neil Gaiman
Photo from Wikipedia

So I just woke up, groggily typing away everything I remembered.

11/20/2014

I dreamt about Neil Gaiman. Strange.

I can’t totally remember all the setting but the later part of my dream was set in my house, particularly, my room. There was some incident involving torture in which both Neil and I were the victims. There’s this interrogation type of a room with at least 5 strangers monitoring my reactions (we didn’t get tortured together apparently).

At least 3 people were touching my hands and arms, they seem to possess some sort of negative psychic powers that affected me physically. I felt my heartbeats fluctuate and felt actual pain in my chest. One had to go away as I couldn’t take the intensity.

I don’t know why we were tortured but I suppose we were rescued. The next scene was in my house. I was thinking I’ve got a connection with Neil Gainman now! We were practically buddies so I can ask him to sign all the Gaiman books I had! I was not a true fan girl of his but I do read almost everything so I do have a few. So I run to my bookshelves to try and find some of his books.

I found Neil looking at my book collection and I’m embarrassed because some of my sister’s romance pocketbooks were also there (we shared the room but she seldom goes home). I defensively mentioned that those particular books weren’t mine (and please don’t judge meeee!).

I managed to find only 2 books but I can’t remember which ones. I only remembered the second one was a non-existent book that’s really a compilation of different authors and artist. It was a large hardbound book with gold-leaf edges and a gold-colored first page (which I tore from nervousness in passing it to him). I figured, he drew something in there (as contributing artist) so it qualifies.

I think I managed to pull out more stuff but he had to leave and I woke up.

In reality, I only owned a few Gainman books. I’m interested in reading the Sandman graphic novels (although I’m not into graphic novels really) but nobody seem to want to lend me some.

So far, I’m not what you can call a true fan although I do admire his incredible imagination. The problem I think is that I have trouble relating with his characters.

I’ve read: Neverwhere, American Gods, some of Fragile Things, and the Graveyard Book (in audiobook). I’ve also read a few other short stories from other collections.

 

My Facebook 10 Books List

It took me less than a few minutes to list down 10 books that stayed with me but my friends took a long time and most can’t even complete the list. This troubles me a lot as it’s really an indication of how few readers there are in my country.

Indeed, unlike in the US where libraries are a necessary part of the community, in the Philippines, libraries can only be found in university and school campuses. A few private libraries exist but it’s only accessible to those who can afford the membership fee.

Reading novels is becoming a dying art. I can only shake my head as I’ve always thought of books as entertainment, like the web or the TV. The rarity of seeing someone reading in public transportation or public spaces in my country has elevated the hobby into the realm of hipterdom(Shudders!).

I do have to admit that the prevalence of high speed internet, cable TV, and addictive app games did not just affect the people around me and society in general. I, myself, am not immune to the seduction of convenient entertainment. When in the past, I slept and woke up with books strewn around me, I now sleep and wake up with my humming laptop beside me.

I can only be grateful that growing up, we had no cable TV (we only have 1 TV for the whole family), and we didn’t even have telephone lines.  I had no choice but to turn to books for my entertainment. In school, we passed around books and share spoilers. A lot of my books got lost because of negligent borrowers who are also book lovers (amnesiac when it comes to books they borrowed).

It’s sad to find that in today’s world, people stare at you when you bring out a novel to read while traveling. It’s like they’ve never seen someone read a book that’s not a textbook(or a bible, or the Twilight series) before. I actually rejoice inside when in rare occasions, I see someone reading in public. It delights me to covertly look at the cover (I’m disappointed if it’s just those trashy Tagalog Romance Novels though).

FrankensteinWell, anyway, back to the list I posted on Facebook last week:

1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – I’ve heaped praises for Mary Shelley’s classic monster before. See the comprehensive blog about it here. As I said, I surprisingly identified with the monster Frankenstein created. Allthese years, I thought I was a Dracula girl but reading the original source and setting aside the green, square-headed idiotic Hollywood monster, I found out I was more of the abandoned monster seeking life’s meaning.

2. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë – While I’ve read Pride and Prejudice and crushed on Mr. Darcy, I’m really more attracted to the raw, gothic stories of the Brontë sisters.

3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë – See my blog about Darcy vs Rochester here.

4. Last Time They Met by Anita Shreve – I’ve been a fan of Anita Shreve ever since I read her book, Fortune’s Rocks. But this book just blew my mind. The twist would’ve angered some readers but not me. You just have to read it for yourself. I can’t possibly bear spoiling it for you.

Vita Brevis5. Vita Brevis by Jostein Gaarder – While I find the story in Sophie’s World intriguing, honestly, the parts about the history of Philosophy kind of boring. Maybe it’s because I was just 16 when I read that humongous book but I just got through the book to find out about the mystery plot. Vita Brevis is the one book of Gaarder that really intrigued me. It’s like a mockumentary about the life of St. Augustine’s mistress, set in her point of view. If you are a feminist, you will love this book. It’s her answer to his “Confessions.” To this day, I don’t know if what I’ve read was fact or fiction.

6. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling – My happy place. I got obsessed early on, before the book became a must have in my country. I remember my classmates laughing while a lugged around the ginormous 4th book. It was my turn to laugh when next year, each of them carried the same big book.

7. Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick – I need an actual copy of this. I just read this on an tiny ipod. The stories of the North Korean defectors were just so compelling, I didn’t mind the tiny screen and the teeny-weeny texts.

8. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier – I remember exactly when and where I found this book. It was 50 pesos ($1+) on a bin in National Bookstore Monumento (ok maybe not the when). I loved the fictionalized story of Van Meer and his maid. It kind of reminds me of that movie I liked – Mary Reilly.

9. Bulfinch’s Mythology by Thomas Bulfinch – Most are familiar with the Edith Hamilton book of mythology but thisPeter Pan is the one we had. We actually had 2 copies – a brother and a sister apparently each bought one and I ended up with 2 books.

10. Peter Pan by JM Barrie – I read the abridged children’s version when I was a wee lass of I-forgot-it-was-so-long-ago and it became one of my favorite books. I was in my twenties when I read the unabridged version and I found that I still loved the story. I can’t help but wish I was in Neverland. Adulthood is such a pain in the ass.

Care to share what were your 10 books that’ve stayed with you?

Goodbye, Kuya.

March was a bitch of a month for my family. The first week, my brother got a blinding headache that made his eyes hurt so much he can’t open them and his left body was left paralyzed by a severe stroke coming from within the midbrain – one of the locations in your body you don’t want a blood clot to burst.

By the start of April, we were laying him down to rest in the family crypt. He was only 49 with newly adopted 1 year old twins.

In all honesty, this is the first time I felt like a piece of my heart was missing. Even after my father died, I never did feel as much sadness and longing. I wish I could hi jack a time machine to warn my brother to go to the doctors to get his blood pressure checked.

My brother was not famous, he never even had a regular job but he was probably the most kindest person you will ever meet. For reasons all his own, he chose the life of a “tech hermit.” He loved technology, tools, science fiction, and folk music (not necessarily in that order). He also loved to be a dad to his twin kids.

I will and do miss you, my kuya. I hope to see you again in another life.

 

A Domain All My Own: ilovestories.me

I never thought I’d actually do it but it seems so simple and cheap and so, for the first time in my online life, I said yes to an online ad.

I’m wondering if this would make me a bit more motivated to blog. I’m supposed to be a writer/editor (or at least a content specialist) so looking at the empty dates on the calendar just pains me to no end. Almost everyday, I mentally compose posts only to forget about it while surfing the net and stalking people (Benedict Cumberbatch) online.

Well it’s too late to back down now, I’ve paid for the year’s subscription. Hopefully it won’t go to waste like that leather bound journal that’s covered in molds right now.