common things

I’d like to remember things. One day, when I’m old, I’d want to remember things, so I’ve resigned myself to writing diary entries every now and then (not as often as I’d like, to be honest, but I’m working on that) to remember ordinary happenings and common things in my life. While most would write about their most memorable experiences, I would like to remember some of the most mundane things in my life. Sometimes, really, it is the quotidian that is sublime.

Nothing much has been happening in my life lately, but I don’t sit around waiting and wringing my hands for an adventure. As trite as it sounds, I’d like to think everyday is an adventure as long as I decide that it will be. Personally, nothing major has happened, but I’ve been talking to my brother a lot these days. He is recuperating from his heartbreak and he’s been so resilient throughout, but there are small moments when the gravity of it all weighs on him and I can see the weariness in his eyes. He talks about his emotions with me, something I find very special because it is so rare, I’d like to believe, for men to open up their emotions to someone. I think men are conditioned to keep everything in and not talk about feelings and as a result, a lot of things are repressed, but I think that’s quite dangerous. It hurts me, though, when I see him so hurt. How he hurts so silently, my younger brother, and so as his sister, I find that this is a special role I must play, in filling that void, his emotional suppression. I’ve never been lucky enough to fall in love yet, but I am learning so much from his own heartbreak. Yes, perhaps there was love, perhaps it didn’t work out because they are young and confused and have a lot of things to figure out for themselves, but the primal emotions are there. The girl has since moved on and is going out with a new prospect. My brother, on the other hand, has resigned himself to solitude. It’s funny, this thing we have in common. We have this affinity with writing long letters, and when he told me he wrote his ex a long letter, I had flashbacks of times when I wrote long winding letters for people. Some were for friends, some for ex-friends, rare were for special friends, and some were letters that I will just never send because I am far too meek. It’s definitely uncommon these days, but letter writing is something so special I cherish it and only give it to people who mean to me. For my brother, it was cathartic more than a thinking-through or a mulling-over, but he needed the release all the same. I know he is not the kind of person to throw a pity party for himself and I can see he is trying his best to gain back his sense of power and confidence. A couple of days ago he asked me for help; he plans to write and illustrate an illustrated dystopian book for his thesis on his final year and asked me if I had any book recommendations for him. Being the only bibliophile in this house, of course I had a couple up my sleeve. I lent him my copy of Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and the classics, 1984, Animal Farm, The Handmaid’s Tale, and some Stephen Kings such as The Long Walk and The Running Man. For illustrated books, I showed him a copy of my Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass, and The Little Prince. I plan to make him read a couple of graphic novels in the next few weeks too. As you can tell, I am excited for my brother’s reading journey! I’ve been reading for as long as I can remember, and writing just as long, and to see him, a non reader, explore this world is so special for me. I mean, what is life without books? You tell me. It’s nothing.

I also started my internship at the MET museum a few weeks ago. It’s been alright so far, but I cannot help but be affected by ennui every now and then, and it’s something I’m having a hard time with. Regardless, I am learning so much and I cannot complain about that. There is wisdom in everything, yes, and in this listlessness there is something to learn too. Something curious happened a week ago though, while I was in the museum. This dragonfly, somehow, managed to find its way inside the museum and it freaked everyone out. They were screaming and swatting at it, but of course the dragonfly kept flying higher and higher above our heads and settled on the ceilings, but it stayed in the office the entire day. Around lunch time it started to flutter towards me and perched on the lower part of the wall behind me and it stayed there for the remainder of the afternoon. And here’s when it gets curious: Around 5pm, while I was preparing to go home, I hear something clatter to the floor (the office is very quiet by the way) that sounded like a bunch of metal paper clips. So I turn and saw the dragonfly on the floor, stiff. I take it in my palms and its wings flutter a bit before finally dying. I thought there was something so huge and overwhelming with this little dragonfly’s death and it affected me so much that I started tearing up. I’ve since brought the dragonfly home and am planning to preserve and mount it soon on a frame. Did I mention that this entire thing happened while I was making an Instagram account so I can document my foray into vernacular entomology? Because I’ve been wanting to collect bugs again as a hobby and at that time, I was googling how to preserve different types of insects, and it was so uncanny that the dragonfly just died there, next to me, while I was doing that. So is this synchronicity? Is it also synchronicity, I must digress, when I was choosing a random poem by Louise Gluck to read and found one about spring, and when I chose another random poem to read, this time by Robert Hass, it was also a poem about spring? What is it about spring? But going back to the dearly departed dragonfly: I thought it so strange, so curious, and so meaningful. There was something so eerie about it, too, and at the same time, something poignant. Personally, I found its death momentous. I am still affected by it. God knows why I do not cry at people’s funerals but this dragonfly’s death touched me beyond comprehensibility.

Another curious thing that happened to me last week. I dreamt about Umberto Eco, but I find it uncanny because I’ve never read Umberto Eco, ever! But in my dream, I knew it was him. I was sitting on a monoblock chair outside the Student Media Office in school when Umberto passed me. He smiles at me and walks on; I don’t know how I knew him as Umberto Eco, but I identified him as him in my dream. Somehow, I just knew and named him. After a while he went out of the office and started talking to the people and students around us. He was writing something on a blank sheet of paper and teaching something to the people, god knows what, but it was in a different language that I cannot understand, but I know that Umberto Eco is Italian (I googled it after I woke up). However, when I looked at his paper, I saw that his spelling was off. Among other words, he misspelled the word “cognitive” as “cvgnitive” with a letter V. (So he cant have been writing Italian here, right? Because I recognized the misspelled words, but I only remember cvgnitive) So, I showed him how to spell cognitive in English and wrote it down on his paper. He smiled at me and then… that’s it, I don’t remember the rest. I think I woke up. Again, prior to this dream, I have never read Umberto Eco in my life, but I just suddenly knew in my dream that it was him. It’s so weird, but perhaps I ought to read him. He is known for his difficult and dense postmodern works, but perhaps my unconscious is trying to tell me something. I’ve since gotten a copy of The Name of the Rose and planning to have a go at it soon. By the way, this isn’t the first time I’ve dreamt of a writer. I dreamt of Nick Joaquin once, and we were talking while walking in the rain at night (no umbrellas) and he was telling me something, but I couldnt hear him because of the rain, but his face looked serious and grave. I was struggling to hear him, but I really couldnt make out anything and it was so frustrating when I woke up because I wished so badly to know what he was telling me, what if it was an important message? And I remember, everything was black and white in that dream and the end of it was he brought me home in a dark car, I stepped out to my gate and then… that’s it. I find all this so peculiar, dreaming of revered writers. I don’t know what my unconscious is trying to tell me or show me, but I also know that I have to write. A lot. And be serious with my writing, otherwise I would be sacrificing it. I can’t seem to bring anything to completion these days, preferring to bank on the unsteady influx of fickle inspiration and motivation, but I know I have to put more worth and value and seriousness in pursuing writing. There’s no other way.

What other common things? Well, I am graduating from university this October (I am seriously considering not marching since I’m not proud of myself at all. I am not graduating with honors, I must painfully admit, and I have no patience at all for rituals and ceremonies); my lettuce, chili, mustard and tomato seeds have since germinated and they are looking great; I am contemplating if I should submit my application letter for the daily newspaper. It’s pretty huge, among the top 3 in the country, but I don’t know if I want to be a content strategist, I mean, is it taking me further away from writing fiction and creative nonfiction? Although I don’t think it’s bad for my first job, I guess. Oh, and I started sitting-in at my professor’s Philosophy of the Unconscious grad school class for this term, so it’s something I’m looking forward to. I wanted to sit-in because I also want to see what a master’s class is like and if it works out, maybe I can take my master’s degree sooner or later. It’s a mature class and I’m loving it thus far; the students are much, much older than me! Perhaps around their late twenties, thirties to fifties! And I’m only 21 and do not know much at all, and I like the atmosphere, being in a class with people who are much much smarter than me, people who know so much more, and have more experience in life than I’ve ever had! And even more, I am taking the class with a really special friend! If everything were right in the world, I would choose among an MA in Philosophy, Anthropology, or Literature, but not much is right with my life right now to be honest, and I’d hate to give up on my dreams for practicality’s sake, but I guess we’ll just have to see. I’d like to have some kind of balance some day; I am not thinking about the money, but the “life”. What kind of life do I want to live? It’s so hard trying to live a meaningful life doing meaningful work. And in terms of my future, I’m honestly not so sure where to go from here. I really have no idea at all. I am grasping at straws, though it isn’t as scary as I once thought. I’ve since accepted that life is just a bunch of “I don’t knows.” It’s small, but it flies on mighty wings. (Szymborska, 1996). And it is in uncertainty and unknowingness wherein I will truly learn. I know only that I know nothing (Socrates, Of Yore lol).

Lastly, I’ve been struggling with a couple of reads lately. The problem with being a haphazard reader is I read books all at the same time. Right now I am reading Pablo Neruda’s posthumous poetry collection, Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels, Salman Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh, Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, and Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cuisine recipe book. So help me.

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