book hauls, book dealers, and my search for patience

I met with a book dealer, a new one, a few hours ago for transaction. Well, they’re actually just strangers who sell their old books or give them away for free because who knows why, but I call them book dealers because it sounds cooler. My default book dealer, who I will refer to as G, is a tall, lithe, birdlike man with a scruffy beard. He teaches yoga and is, perhaps, one of the most interesting people out there. And I don’t even know him as much as I want, but I can tell he’s a very profound guy. A couple of my favorite books came from his own collection that he was downsizing, actually, so I know he has good taste in literature. My other book dealer, the one I met earlier, is K. She is a pregnant woman who wears all black. She’s actually a vegan and is a practitioner of zero waste living, so she’s been getting rid of a lot of her stuff to minimize her waste, and also to make way and give space for her baby. One of the things she was getting rid of were her books so she gave them away for free. My heart hurt a bit; I’m a vegan and want to get into zero waste (failed attempts so far, but who’s counting?!) but I cant get into the whole minimalism thing when it comes to books. I can give away anything, but books I really can’t. I know I should get rid of my clothes and shoes. I have way too many, and far too few that I actually put to use. I’m thinking of giving them all away and just buying/thrifting same sets of everything: dark jeans and trousers, white button ups, black shirts and turtlenecks. Never been a fan of fashion to be honest, and I have way too many clothes picking up dust in my closet. Perhaps after my graduation this October!

Anyway, I felt guilty of taking advantage of my book dealer’s kindness (she had a couple of books up for the taking, but I unabashedly and selfishly took four when I know I should’ve just stuck to one or two, because for sure other people want these books as well, but well, the idea of free books was just too tempting, sorry!!!) But yeah, I felt guilty so in exchange for the books that I asked for, I gave her a bunch of oranges in return, which didn’t really cost a lot. I got the following from K:

New copies of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.

I was never brought up on the classics and reading for me has been a solitary thing ever since, so the things I read from my childhood were all from my own discovery, which means I read a lot of contemporaries. I’m acquainting myself with the classics bit by bit, and I’ve heard Twain’s writing is way ahead of his time, so my fear of being alienated from his language is kept at bay. The books were still sealed with plastic and have never been read, and I thought K was crazy for giving them away, so I snatched them up and told her I’d take them. They are in perfect condition!

Norwegian Wood by Haruki  Murakami.

I am on the fence with Murakami. I enjoyed South of the Border, West of the Sun very much, as well as his short stories, but I couldn’t get into After Dark even after I finished it. I tried Kafka on the Shore and Hardboiled Wonderland and gave up on them as well. I don’t exactly know what’s wrong; perhaps my eyes and judgments are clouded, but I tried so hard to get into the last three books to no avail. So here’s hoping I like Norwegian Wood! Anyway, I got it for free and it’s still in very good condition, so I’m definitely not complaining!

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman.

It’s a battered copy and has definitely seen better days. The cover is completely ripped apart, it’s totally gone, and the book itself is split in half, unhinged from its spine. But hey, free is free and it’s what’s inside that matters, plus I already fixed it with masking tape! I love it either way. I can tell this is a well loved book. I’ve had numerous paperbacks give up on me for being abused and read so many times, so this Anansi book isn’t really surprising to me. It would’ve ended up the same way, would be the imago of the book should I get it brand new. I never liked mint condition books anyway. Those are sad books because you know they’ve never been read, and books are lonely when you don’t spread their pages apart to reveal their secrets. A battered book is a happy book!

Also, I just find it so funny because buying another Gaiman reminded me of this encounter I had with my staff writer weeks ago. She asked me why I’ve never read Sylvia Plath and she was shocked that I’ve never read The Bell Jar in my teens. She said, and I quote, “Whaaat? You’ve never read The Bell Jar?! But it’s every sad teenage girl’s story…”

To be true, I was a sad, prepubescent girl, okay, I had my emo phase, but let’s not get into that… BUT I was more of a Gaiman-Tolkien-King girl during those times. High fantasy, urban fantasy, and horror were my shit. My reading tastes back then weren’t sad at all, even though I was terribly sad and alone in real life. Perhaps I channeled my energies to the weird and the angry, the macabre and the violent, the angsty and the Other instead of wallowing in sadness even more. I got those from Gaiman and King. Coraline, The Sandman, Fragile Things, Pet Sematary, The Shining, Duma Key, It, Carrie, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, these were my teenage companions! I was a sad prepubescent girl, but my literature was never sad. I guess I didn’t want to wallow in my sadness so I didn’t search for it in the books I read, which is great and all because I think if I read Plath during those dark hours, I would’ve gotten it all wrong. I would’ve romanticized suicide and thought it was all cool to be depressed and to be cutting myself. Maybe at that precarious prepubescent mind I would’ve been driven to do something unthinkable, like stick my head in a gas oven or something, and think it’s cool. Knowing my idiotic self back then, I would’ve done just that and thought it was cool, so I’m totally not complaining about growing up on Gaiman and King and Tolkien instead of Plath. If I were to read Plath, I’d like to do it now since I’m older, more mature, grounded, and have a stronger sense of self. But right, I’ve never had that sad teenage Bell Jar girl phase… that would’ve been interesting to see… I did have a Carrie stage though!!! I believed I was Carrie and could control people with telekinesis and read and communicate with other minds with my telepathy snort snort but let’s not get into that I am cringing so hard (tho to be fair, Carrie will always occupy a special space in my heart!)

Anyway, after meeting with my book dealer, of course I just had to indulge myself even more and head next  to the book thrift store to get two more books! The good books were stacked at the very top of the shelf, as if the people in the book thrift store didn’t want them to be bought off, but thanks to my 5’9 height I was able to pry them off from the top shelf by standing on tiptoe. I bought The Moor’s Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie and New Selected Poems by Seamus Heaney! They’re still in good condition, though they’ve totally been read through. Still, they are holding shape and, like what I said, I hate cookie cutter perfect books since those aren’t well loved books.

The Heaney poetry collection’s got scribbles on every page and I am swooning. I love it when past owners do this!!! Someone left their bookmark in the Rushdie book though, probably its last owner? The book has an address from India. The bookmark says INCY BELLA THE BOOK SHOP and it’s in Jew Town, Synagogue Lane, Cochin in Kerala, India. Wow… this book’s traveled to so many places. I hope I can visit that Indian book shop one day! I’m imagining that the bookshop is a small, independent bookshop, thriving and transcending against all the big business and corporations. It’s probably a little two-story brick house with the ground floor converted into a bookshop, in the middle of a bustling street… Ahhh that would be so cool. I wish I owned my own independent book shop.

The Moors Last Sigh is something I’m looking forward to read. Every time I read Salman Rushdie, it is always during a hectic time at school; it’s a bad idea because his books are these huge, thick monsters and the deadlines always catch up to me and I don’t get to finish them even if I want to. But now I wont have the library’s due dates and my academic deadlines looming over me so I can read Rushdie in peace, finally! (Past failed attempts: The Satanic Verses and Midnight’s Children).

On another note that is just as important than my book haul, I regret to admit that I had plonked Sontag and Soseki down… I hate myself, but this is how I read, haphazard, full of impulse and pigheadedness. I read Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel in one sitting the other day—something I didn’t plan at all—which frustrated me because I told myself I wasn’t done with my other books. Welp, my reading has never been linear so I don’t understand why I even bothered to follow a reading list strictly when it’s bound to fail. I told myself I wouldn’t read anything else until I’m done with Sontag and Soseki, but my arbitrary reading nature comes out. Of course I am not ruling them out! Sontag’s book is a collection of essays so I can read one anytime, but I cant read all of them in one sitting, and I don’t think I want to. Soseki on the other hand, well I feel bad for not finishing Sanshiro. I don’t hate it at all, it’s just that I need palate cleansers every now and then. He’s not boring, it’s just my reading nature, I guess, to read everything at once, at the same time; the experience is better for me. So that’s a failed attempt at focusing on books linearly sigh sigh. I always complain about the disarray that is my life, but I cannot even sort out my own reading list! Should I even bother or just let nature’s patterns take their course? Sigh sigh

Right now I am also lingering on the first pages of Jung’s Man and His Symbols, but at the same time, I want to focus on Norwegian Wood, The Moor’s Last Sigh and start on a few poems by Heaney. If push comes to shove (gosh, who even stresses about their book list like this?!) I’d probably put Norwegian Wood and Man and His Symbols first, then Heaney’s poems a close second. I think Rushdie can wait for me; he’s always been, and I don’t want to be disrespectful here, but Rushdie can wait a little bit more, I think! We’ll see! I also read over the weekend some short stories by Guy Maupassant and Isaac Asimov, and a book of haikus; this was during the time the power went out due to the relentless rain. It was so hot and I was sticky with sweat so I read in the candlelight, naked. There was nothing else to do. My eyes hurt from the low light, but I didn’t mind because I love Maupassant; his tales of terror fit perfectly in that rainy, candlelit Saturday night! Asimov, well, he’s regarded as one of the best, if not the best scifi writer of all time, but there’s something about him…. I guess it’s my fault. I am always searching for Bradbury’s poetry in scifi and I know people will argue that Ray Bradbury isn’t even science fiction, but well, I also beg to differ! Ray Bradbury can hold his own in scifi! He made everything in the quotidian so sublime! Form and content are both important of course, but personally, I find Asimov lacking in the form department, of course this is my opinion, you can challenge me if you disagree. Maybe because I compare him to Bradbury? Which isn’t fair, but Asimov is just dry week-old bread compared to Bradbury. I just…if Asimov’s scifi then Bradbury’s magic.  but Bradbury wasn’t afraid to be ascientific, if not ascientific. But whatever. It’s what makes you feel in the end anyway, and Bradbury’s made me cry so many times and feel so many heavy things in his shortest of stories, and Asimov, well, I don’t feel anything when I read him. The Last Question was supposedly brilliant, but when I read it, I just didn’t feel anything. Am I not scientific enough? Are my eyes clouded? Am I reading him wrong? Perhaps I need to be more patient with Asimov. I am the same with Kerouac and Murakami. Kerouac, I had to read On the Road TWICE just to appreciate where he was coming from, and now I love Kerouac. So I think I need to be more patient with Asimov and Murakami. Patience, patience, patience.

tenderness

i need to rant. i went to an awarding ceremony today and was dressed down for it; i felt inadequate being there, with everybody wearing gowns and tuxedos, surrounded by a bunch of faces i did not care for. i didn’t take the dress code seriously and came in a polo tucked under a casual dress. my feature story was nominated for Top Award, but didn’t win. i won an Award of Excellence though, which i think is okay. i didn’t want to go initially because i was afraid. i thought that if i went, they’d tell me everything was a huge mistake and that they got it all wrong and that i didn’t really win the award and if i could just return the award and go back home please. i was afraid that they’d see me as the phony that i am, that i don’t really know anything, and that’ I’m not deserving of the award because i’m a quack. at the same time, i felt bothered because a part of me wanted to win the top award, but a part of me felt like an impostor. the feeling is obsessive. i am caught between my fear of losing and fear of winning. my pride makes me fear rejection and failure, yet at the same time, i fear achievement. how do you comprehend such a thing?

i will admit, i was disappointed i didn’t win top award. i was hoping i would, but we lose some and win some. the award went to a literary folio instead. the criteria is weird and apparently, you can only be nominated for top award if you win an award of excellence. i won that, so that’s one award. i guess a part of me was just hoping i’d make the top. apparently not.

but it’s really funny. it’s funny because i still feel the same. awards, i thought before, are something that would make me happy. it’s a slap to the face because what i thought would make me happy in this world doesn’t make me happy at all. with or with no writing award, i still feel like utter shit. i honestly really don’t know what makes me happy. not the top award. not recognition, not fame, not power. not money, though it would make things a little bit easier, i guess, but it wont make me happy, no. not a boat full of friends and admirers, even.

i don’t understand. i’m not speaking out of bitterness, i won an award myself, but it just gives a bad taste in my mouth how people make such a huge deal out of themselves. i was almost embarrassed going up the stage with my award. i don’t understand how anyone can think of themselves as being “up there”. i don’t understand arrogance. how can you be that way up in your head when you know that you don’t really know much? it’s a writing award and i should be happy and proud and i am, i suppose, i don’t mean to sound ungrateful or self deprecating (which is just as bad), but when i see people in award ceremonies, i cant help but cringe. it’s a night of glamour, yes, but when it’s over, we go back to our simple lives and we are not, all of a sudden, better writers. i still go back to a broken home, sit on my desk and break my back every night, forcing myself to write, hating myself more and more. this is what people don’t see. they don’t see that i don’t feel confident at all when i sit in front of a blank sheet of paper. i wish they saw this, so we can admit to ourselves that all these awards are nothing but white noise. it wont make me bankable or kinder nor will it make me love myself more. it’s just another thing to add on my resumé and i’ve decided long ago that i don’t want to live for my resumé or eulogy.

i read a poem by Charles Bukowski and it spoke to me because it is so real. the poem’s title is “this”. here’s a fragment of it:

self congratulatory nonsense

as the famous gather to applaud their seeming greatness

as the deathly talentless bow to accolades

as the fools are fooled again

you wonder where the real ones are.

if there are real ones.

i think we are all fools. i think we don’t really know anything and the more we learn and the more degrees and awards we accumulate, the more we should realize that we don’t really know much and cant ever know everything. and this shouldn’t give us a license for arrogance. not even a license to think that we are, in any way, close to being good.

i went to wabi sabi after the awarding. it’s a small restaurant in the ugly part of the city, inside a nondescript warehouse, a little ways past the costume shop down a dim alley. i always keep coming back to this place. i thought the place is so apropos for me. wabi sabi. welcoming imperfection like an old friend. accepting it. living with it. i go there every week and order the same steaming cup of suanong and, sometimes, a bowl of tantanmen or pho, depending if  i want something rich or something light.

i always sit by the single-diner table, facing the wall, beside the stack of old magazines with rat droppings sandwiched between each one for never being read. it saves me from the awkwardness and prying eyes of people in groups, which doesn’t happen too often because the place is almost always empty or occupied by single diners as well. it was raining hard and it was flooding outside. the rain’s still going and going—it’s persistent in its mission to keep me out of the house.

of course, i didnt tell my parents about this award. not that they care or anything, because they show no interest or support whatsoever with my writing. i don’t mind though. i’ve surmised a long time ago that this is something i have to do alone. i cannot dream around my parents. most of the time, they make me feel guilty for being alive. and they will never get the best of me. and i will never let them see the best of me. and i will continue working and transcending and i wont pay them any mind. i will continue to dream.

and my dreams scare me. they scare me so so much. i cannot even write them down here. i cannot even say them out loud. but they’re always in my mind, always. i will be flayed, stripped, and undone, but i guess it cant be called dreaming if it weren’t painful, if it didn’t break my spirit like nothing else can. i am so desperate to challenge myself beyond the blinkers of the little i know. though, i think, i unconsciously know what i want. i think it’s why i am here. i think my unconscious guides me to where i am headed, wherever that is. i cannot be doing all of this randomly, don’t you think? perhaps there are inner workings of myself, working on its own, as if unbidden, as if it has its own person. or, perhaps, it is me, still me, just an undiscovered side of me. well whatever it may be, i think it is unconsciously guiding me there. wherever there is, even though most days i fail to recognize myself.

it was a good time, being alone, by the way. the coffee came with a single cup filter and it was hot just how i liked it hot. the condensed milk rested at the bottom, and i watched as the coffee turned lighter and lighter with every swing of the spoon. bittersweet, just like this day. the pho had soft glass noodles, its broth minty, light, and refreshing, topped with little flags of cabbage and of celery, and bean sprouts crunchy and perfect the way they are. a dash of fish sauce and a nice squeeze of calamansi. i like talking about food this way, as if they were friends. i learned that from Pablo Neruda, who saw the beauty in everything, from a bar of soap to a chair to an artichoke and an onion! i think a good bowl of soup is quiet in its magnificence. comforting, like a long-awaited hug from someone familiar.

let me go back to what i said earlier, when i said i do not really know what makes me happy. i am not demanding for love or someone to complete me. i would hate it if i lived my life carrying everywhere a sense of lack that i so long to fill. i don’t think i am fragmented in any way. i think i am a whole person, and do not need an other half in the way people look at other halves. i think i am already whole. i’ve always been. i mean, how can you be only half of yourself? i suppose i just do not know how to accept this wholeness of mine, in all its nakedness and convolutions and complications. i am still learning to accept it, still trying to know it, and discover and be surprised in all its secrets (there are things i have yet to discover from my Self). i am still trying to love it, show it kindness, this wholeness of mine. i have jabbed it with hatred for so long it’s not fair. i wish i didn’t feel ashamed of it.

what i really want is tenderness. warm, brown hands that are always willing, ready, to take me into them. in spite of the bad days and bouts of doubt and insecurity and self hatred. i long for tenderness.

the past month in retrospect & other life things

-did an ethnographic research (for the first time) on a cult two fridays ago and, to my surprise, enjoyed it thoroughly. we presented our findings and analysis to our professor (an awfully brilliant anthropologist in her own right) yesterday and we have to do minimal edits on the paper, but so far so good. i think we did well, considering the fact that someone from the other class cried from her criticism during their presentation :\

-met my thesis mentor last Saturday and we’re finished. i can breathe easy. we’ll be passing our chapter 1 and 2 on Friday to our panelists and just have to wait next week for the results of the deliberations; fuck, i hope we pass and get to go on the next level. our mentor told us we’re good to go, but of course, i’m still wringing my hands. i cannot sit still. this undergrad thesis can either make or break my academia dreams.

-been trying so hard to control my maladaptive daydreaming. i still do it at night when my head hits the pillow and i’m left staring into the darkness because i cannot sleep, but i’ve found a solution to that. sleeping pills!

-of course, i don’t want to be dependent on sleeping pills, but the melatonin sleeping pills have been a huge help to me these past few weeks. i fall asleep within 15-20 minutes of taking it; i just put one pill under my tongue and wait for the citrusy pill to dissolve. it doesn’t make me feel nauseous and dizzy after waking up. i’ve had bad experiences with bad sleeping aids in the past (don’t take ZzzQuil, people!), and it would always give me nasty headaches that would last the entire day. i don’t know, perhaps because the dosage is also quite big so that could be a factor, but still, i didn’t get any of the bad side effects from melatonin which is great! as much as i don’t want to take a sleeping pill every night, it’s the only thing that works for my sleeping problems.

-discovered samosas and mango chutney in school two weeks back. honestly, the only reason why i go to school every day!

-i arranged my desk book tower, dewey decimal style. i enjoyed this thoroughly, too, and honestly considered doing it for a living. if there’s door to door evangelizing, there should also be door to door dewey decimal classifying (i’ll make it into a Thing!). i wish this were a real job, though i wager i’d probably do it for free for people because i’m just too nice hmph. anyway, arranging my desk book tower put me in a contemplative mood; not the entire time, because i found myself arguing with myself whether i should put Alan Moore’s Watchmen under graphic novels or  American Literature…technically it’s a graphic novel, but it is still one of the Greatest Novels ever written and it’s under DC, so i considered it American Literature. don’t argue with me on this. it’s a brilliant fucking piece, plus graphic novels never get enough respect! got that? good haha

-i dropped my Fitbit in an Uber while i was on my way school two weeks ago. thank goodness for kind Uber drivers. the man drove back to my house the next morning to bring it back. phew! now i can go back to counting my steps and counting my sleeping hours and counting the ounces of water i drink daily…… lol

-i’ve been utilizing my Bullet Journal for more than a month now. it hasn’t been that long, but i’m never going back to random to-do lists every again. i need to be more consistent with it, of course, but i am enjoying thus far!

-i think in order to live i need to have this rat-like cunningness and curiosity towards life, so i am always i am on the hunt for good or new stories to pursue. so far i have a couple of ideas in my head, but that’s all. i’m stuck on ideas. i need some fucking follow through, but i have so many roles to play in life and gosh, wouldn’t it be so nice to just drop every responsibility i have and just write???

-i went to a book thrift shop over the weekend. i stopped going to book thrift shops lately because the ones in my city never have any good ones and believe me, i’ve scoured every nook and cranny. but lo and behold! buried beneath heaps of tacky ghetto romance novellas was a The Atlantic magazine! i enjoy reading articles and stories from The Atlantic online so of course i bought the magazine……even though it was more expensive than the usual thrift shop steal……

-i met up with a local herbalist a couple of days ago. no, i don’t mean a drug dealer lol though that was what my brother assumed hahaha. this woman studies herbalism and makes natural skincare products for a cheap price. lately i’ve been more conscious of my purchases and threw away all the face products invading my bathroom sink. now i just have a jar of coconut oil and witch hazel on my sink; i definitely don’t want to be a slave to capitalism, so i’m looking for other options that are more sustainable and also friendly to local businesses. i thought this herbalist was very much apropos because she’s a mother who homeschools her child, and she uses her earnings from her skincare products to her child’s homeschooling so i thought that was a great cause. i got a facial toner and an oil cleanser from her for really cheap; it’s cheap because she concocts and brews it herself and there is no plastic packaging!!! it’s vegan AND zero waste, did i mention that? it’s vegan and zero waste, people!! and so far i’m liking the whole natural approach in skincare. it’s not loaded with horrible chemicals and parabens, and i love how the herbalist uses natural ingredients in her products such as witch hazel, tea, herbs, plant and oil astringents—natural ingredients i actually know and can pronounce lol. i used to think putting a ton of shit on my face would make my skin better, but the more i spend on overpriced skincare products, the more i realize how shortchanged i actually am because i sold my soul to capitalism.

-been wanting to buy a new typewriter. my first ever purchase of a typewriter (using my own money!!!) was during my 18th birthday in 2014. I didn’t throw any party or celebration, but i did make a vow that i would buy myself a typewriter. so i did, and it was my first big purchase as an adult lol. I bought a portable Smith and Corona Model #3 in mint condition which made newly-18-year-old-me keel over because of the price. B-U-T it’s going to be about 3 years since then and i think i’m ready to buy another one! i don’t have any vices or enjoy any other luxurious in life nor do i have a boyfriend or dates to spend onnnnn, ok, i’m a frugal (and broke) college student, but i am willing to drop cash on vintage typewriters….and a couple of bonsai trees. ANYWAY, I’m looking into buying an Olivetti, perhaps a Lettera 33 or an SM9. I’m planning to scour thriftshops too; part of the reason why my first purchase was expensive was because I had to get it shipped from the US and the shipping fee was just too expensive. If I am patient enough in digging through junk shops & thrift shops around the Metro and smart enough with haggling then I shouldn’t have to spend so much……

-havent written much for my novel because of the stressful month. i honestly hate myself for this because i have deadline to work under (a month!) and I don’t know how i’m going to pull this off, if i even can :\

-i have an interview tomorrow with an NGO for my research paper in my social development class. i’m looking forward to it, i just hate that it’s so out of the way and i have to immediately go back to school for my stupid quiz.

-i haven’t been eating clean the past month; i am bloated and i think i gained weight. whatever.

-i went home to a couple of plants today which, i must admit, are the highlight of my day. i have three stevia plants, two tarragon plants, a rosemary plant, and a green tea plant. (thanks mom…) i think my plant hospital/pottery shed is coming to fruition (i just need to get back into pottery ugh). if i can turn back time i’d go back 4 years in the past and pursue agriculture or farming. i’m not even kidding. farming is the only thing that makes sense in life.

-i finished two Murakamis in two days. South of the Border, West of the Sun & After Dark. I’m three chapters in on Hardboiled Wonderland and plan to finish it before finals week. Honestly, I’m still speechless over Murakami. No really! I need a separate post to talk about him……………

-been listening so much to Michael Hedges the past week! Woman of the World just speaks to me (honestly, listen to it people!!!) On the other hand, I am deeply frustrated because I cannot find my Nat King Cole CD. I started looking for it once Murakami began his jazz rhetoric in SotBWotS, but also because Murakami kept mentioning Nat King Cole in it and at that time, I just wanted to listen to Nat while reading about Nat!!! Unfortunately, I cannot find it and I’ve searched everywhere. I would honestly be devastated if I never find my Nat King Cole CD 😦

-Bernie Wrightson passed away. That’s another of my childhood hero, gone. Honestly, Swamp Thing changed my life. Of course, I am biased towards Moore’s run on Swamp Thing, but still, there would be no Swamp Thing without Bernie Wrightson. I loved his illustrations on Frankenstein and Creepshow too; those took my breath away just as much. He’s a legend and the world knew that; the entire world wept for Bernie Wrightson’s passing. Swamp Thing will always be special to me, though. Even now, as a vegan, I take the quotes in Swamp Thing to heart. Fools, if Nature were to shrug or raise an eyebrow, then you should all be gone. It says so much about us humans; we just go on and on and on destroying the very world that we live in. I cannot wait for the day mother nature spites us all. (shouts to Donald Trump: Climate Change is real!!!) Go Green or The Green will be angry! I love you so much, Bernie Wrightson, my hero, you will live on.

-i have a quiz tomorrow that i haven’t studied for…… which is why i’m not sleeping tonight and why i have to brew coffee in a few minutes. i need to study! as much as i want to go to bed and lie in my sheets and pillows that smelly faintly of peppermint (ughhh i want to sleep!!!) and pop a sleeping pill, i cannot. i. have. to. study.

i think i’ve ranted enough to thin air. til then!

life currently

Reading– too many books at once. I started with The Illustrated Man a month ago and am still not halfway done with it because I started on Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore at the same time, read a few pages, put it down, then started on Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, did the same, and am now reading the first few pages of another book by a local writer. Honestly, this habit makes me so angry at myself because I cannot multitask with my reading. I have to focus. I pushed the other books away, and am now back to Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man. I can finish this today if I really put my mind into it. No reading other books until I finish what I started with first sigh

Writing– the review of related literature of my thesis. scared and paranoid at the same time, because academic writing is so different from the writing that i usually do. it’s so…cold and unfeeling. it’s a challenge, but i think i can cope with it. it’s the researching of past material that’s killing me.

Listening– to Racing Glaciers’s Moths with tears in my eyes. I love this song so, so much.

Thinking– about my future, what I want to do, whether I will graduate on time in October or not, if happiness will ever be constant for me, my wellbeing, why i’m not trying hard enough and excelling enough and achieving enough and doing enough and being enough

Hoping- always for better days and good moods.

Wanting- to be left alone and at the same time be held so tight. wanting to be more expressive with my emotions, more open to people, exude more warmth. i’m trying, perhaps not my hardest, but i’m trying

Feeling- heavy and invasive, as if i’m taking up too much space with my being. feeling afraid for reasons unknown. feeling upset about my parents and ended up crying after they left. feeling depressed over everything in my life, but also feeling a bit happy that a lot of my staff writers went to storyboard yesterday. it was great. missed their faces.

Eating- a good breakfast. well, maybe brunch, because i heaved myself from bed at 11 am. brewed a cup of coffee and toasted two slices of walnut wheat bread and gave it a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of basil and a pinch of salt. the simplest breakfasts are the best.

Needing- to get my shit together. i cannot wait to get “into the swing of things” and should just force myself to do my responsibilities without complaining and being whiny. most of all, without being affected by my depressive state of mind.

Loving- my gel highlighter pen. it’s so smooth like a crayon!! i’ve used marker highlighters my whole life and absolutely hated the bleeding pages. this is revolutionary! also on my 3rd day of bullet journal-ing. it’s crude and messy and definitely not Pinterest-worthy but i’m loving it so far.

Dreading- my debate later in class. yesterday we had to do public speaking in another class and i was h-o-r-r-i-b-l-e. totally forgot what i was going to say and just stood there like an idiot for many painful seconds. i detest speaking in front of people. give me a pen and paper any fucking day.

Of long talks, Jazz, and Virgina Woolf essays

Last night was a good night mainly, I think, because my little brother and I got to talk again. I love how even though he’s turning 19 soon, he still sits on the couch with me, holds my hand, and tells me about his day. I love how as we grow older, we also become closer and closer, and trusting of each other. We are best friends, and each other’s only family. I am so grateful for him. We’ve been wallowing in our depression the past few days, but he was different last night. He had an air of confidence and determination, and he was sure of himself. He told me about his realizations lately and why we should keep each other up whenever bouts of depression get the best of us. He told me he’s tired of feeling sorry for himself and giving up too fast; he actually made me promise that if ever I find myself in darkness and vice versa, one of us has to encourage the other and not affirm the other’s depression. We actually pinky promised about it. Last night when I was ranting about my woes again, he was scolding me and telling me to stop thinking so lowly of myself. It’s so nice knowing my brother looks out for me, and I to him; I don’t deserve his love, for sure, but here he is still loving me. He is the actual, absolute best, and I am so happy to see him happy last night and take control of his life. I’d rather be depressed than see him depressed; I’m glad he took reign of himself and changed the way he thought of himself. He’s doing great. He’ll be great. And he’ll be okay. He’s far stronger than I am.

As for me, well, I woke up late today, but I actually heaved myself up from bed without crying. I always feel old and lost and weary and aimless, but I think today is a good start. I had a big breakfast and a small cup of coffee, and am about to get ready to attend a forum and see one of my favorite journalists of all time. My brother told me last night to focus on daily goals instead of panicking over things that are still too far away. You know, just take it one day at a time. I think that’s better than worrying about next Sunday and the next two years. So today my goal is to finish this blog post, write a letter to my aunt, attend the forum, go for a run, read an essay by Virginia Woolf, and maybe drop by the museum if I have the time. Perhaps write a bit of my novel, too, if I stay up late.

I was able to write the first draft of the first chapter of my novel two days ago; it still requires ruthless, unforgiving editing, but it felt great to see progress, even if it’s little progress. I think instead of focusing too much and enumerating all my problems, it’s better if I just pat myself on the back for my little triumphs. My brother told me I cannot let depression get the best of me. I cannot condemn myself to the gutter; I have to help myself. It’s going to be a long, long life ahead of me—if I don’t die early—but I have to be steadfast and unwavering. My life is just starting, not on the cusp of ending, is it not?

Last night, when I was wallowing in my woes, I told my brother, “I’ll be suffering for a long, long time.”

He told me, instead, “No, you’ll be working for a long, long time, and it will be worth it.” True, but only if (and this is a big if) I love what I am working on and working with. And he’s right. I shouldn’t look at life as if it owes me a good life; it’s already a given that life’s unfair, but it doesn’t have to be futile. Yes, working hard and working honestly doesn’t guarantee a good life—deserving people still get shortchanged and cheaters and frauds get richer and successful—but that doesn’t mean life is futile. I think at the end of the day we are not measured by our achievements and awards, but whether we tried our best or not in what we did, regardless if we failed or not. It’s putting the best effort we are able to give in life. I give meaning to my life, and if I want life to be worth it, it will be. I really don’t know what I’d do without my brother. He’s my everything.

I also met with my thesis mentor two days ago and I think I judged him too fast, I must admit. We’ve finally reached a tradeoff and I realized he’s actually kinda pleasant, though a terribly, terribly busy man, but I appreciate him giving us fifteen minutes of his time for consultation. I’m excited and scared of thesis writing at the same time.

My editor in chief also told me yesterday he entered my article to the national student quill awards. I’m not expecting to win; I’ve already looked past the “prestige” of awards (I am not my awards), but for him to trust my work to actually submit my entry is more than enough. It definitely made my day.

Editor work is okay; I’m still grasping at straws. I don’t think there is a step-by-step guide on How To Be A Good Editor or How To Be A Good Writer, but I am doing my best to make time to write on my own and encourage my staff writers at the same time, but it’s a two-way thing. I can only help them if they also help themselves; and there are delinquents, of course, and there’s nothing I can do about those, if they refuse to do their best. I find it so heartwarming, though, when I see other staff writers enjoying what they do. Their zeal and commitment to the publication and to writing itself affirms why I love being editor, and writing—even though it’s a demanding and thankless job.

I’ve also started listening to jazz the other day. I’m new to the genre, but it’s something I’ve always found beautiful and interesting, though daunting enough to actually stay away from it all this time, but I finally started on a few greats. I listened to Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue album, John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, and Thelonius Monk’s Monk’s Dream. They’re good albums to start with; I hope to expand my jazz knowledge in the future, of course. When I was listening to Coltrane’s Psalm, I paid attention to the saxophone solo, and it was as if it was speaking to me, and when I finally put Thelonius Monk on, I found it so good I actually took my shoes off (while in the library, mind you!).  I realized I liked jazz a lot; I love it’s unpredictability, and how it’s exciting and no piece is ever the same. Even the same piece is never the same when played again; it is always new and you find something different that you missed the first time. It reminds me of math rock, a genre that is also close to my heart. Jazz and math rock, for me, are endless unravelings and unwrappings, timeless efflorescences of astonishment and wonder that take the breath away, whether I look at it with unwinking eyes or listen to it continually. It’s inexplicable.

Ok, I have to get ready for the forum. Will write soon.

The start of tumult

Lately I’ve been avoiding doing anything productive. Lately I’ve been avoiding doing anything at all, even the things I enjoy. I don’t know what’s up with myself, but my depression took off around New Year’s Eve and I’ve been feeling horrible since then. Second term of Uni started this week and I didn’t go, I just hid in my room and holed myself up because I’m just not ready to face people and go back to work. It’s so difficult for me to get back into the swing of things after the holiday coma; I thought I would’ve hd enough time for headspace by now, but turns out I didn’t really get any headspace because I’ve been troubled even during my supposed holiday break. My deadline’s on Sunday and I have a bunch of my staff writers’ articles to edit as well as two stories I have yet to start on, but I feel no desire or energy to do anything productive. At all. I just want to lie in bed, cry, and wither away. I hate being so confusing and weak. The past few days I’ve done nothing but stare at my computer screen and get nothing done. I tried to force myself to do anything but found myself procrastinating and lost in my daydreams. I even tried to write down my feelings on my journal, but even that I’ve avoided to do. Until tonight. And I’m not feeling this either, but I don’t want to feel like a useless piece of shit. At least when I wake up tomorrow I can make myself feel better by saying, “Well I wrote last night, so I got something done.” Even though, in truth, this doesn’t really mean anything.

Writing will never be easy. I declare war with myself every time I write. It’s 80% self loathing, 10% staring at walls and ceilings, and 10% wringing my hands. I really don’t know what to do anymore. My to-do list is extensive and I don’t know if I’m just being anal about my list and writing everything that I think I must do to make myself believe I’m doing something with my life, or I really have to do these things and can’t afford to neglect anything. I know it’s a bad way to start the first week of the new year, but I am so full of self loathing right now.

Moreover, I find myself getting more and more annoyed of everybody. It doesn’t matter who or what they’re doing, everybody just irritates the shit out of me. I feel so horrible, because every time my dad would try to talk to me I would snap at him for no reason at all and I can’t help it, it’s as if it has became my defense mechanism, that every time someone tries to talk to me, I would snap. Every time my mother would talk to me, I would ignore her and not say a word and for some odd reason, I would feel a huge wave of annoyance or primal animosity deep within. I cannot explain it, and I fear that it may be a serious problem or just me being a hormonal moody ungrateful daughter. But I am not okay and I realize that I am not and feel deeply sorry and horrible and I admit that I am being unfair and that something is wrong, I just can’t fucking name it, I just can’t put a finger on what is actually wrong. It makes me even more depressed and guilty. Yesterday I spent the day crying. A few hours ago I was crying again and I don’t know why. I’ll probably cry myself to sleep again tonight. I just feel so overwhelmed and stressed over something I don’t know and I wish I knew what it was so I can have a lead on how to make myself feel better, but nothing seems to be working.

I am so frustrated and agitated by everything and everyone, and I cannot run or speak to anyone either because I’ve made myself believe that I cannot trust anybody. And, to be honest, I’m better off wrestling with my mind than worrying whether people will understand and listen to me or not. I don’t know why I am this way. Though to be fair, I really cannot explain what I feel ninety-nine percent of the time, sometimes I cannot even express my own emotions. I know I need to be more expressive with my emotions, but I just clam up and avoid dealing with it by cutting everything and everyone off. I feel so disgusting and useless. I have nothing to look forward to; my days are bleak and I am honestly losing hope for the future. Everyday I ask myself about the futility of life and every single day my belief that life really is meaningless just gets stronger and stronger. I don’t want to say I’ve given up, but I am not looking forward to the coming days. I just want to disappear from the face of earth with no trace. No one will know where I went to or what happened to me, I’ll just suddenly be gone and no one will hear from me ever again. I would give anything to vanish from here. I don’t really want to be here.

If you’re reading this, may your life be happier and far less complicated than mine.

Reading and Writing Goals 2017

Reading Goals

In Search of Lost Time (Six books) – Marcel Proust

-I am quite daunted; I think this is the reading project I am gearing myself for the most! I have commitment issues. Meaning, I’m not entirely sure whether or not I’m ready to read raw all 1.2 million words / 4000+ pages of Proust’s magnum opus. I want to experience Proust, I want him to get in my veins and under my skin and inside my thoughts, but knowing myself, I always abandon a book and come back to it at a later time and In Search of  a Lost Time, I think, is no ordinary book. It’s a cumbersome read, and I don’t even know if it’s advisable to read it raw or buy a guide. I don’t like the idea of starting it and never finishing it but also detest the idea of reading it in one go. Perhaps if I can get into an agreement with myself, I can spread the six books out and make it my reading goal for 2017. I definitely don’t want to rush with this one, especially since I have a lot of other books I want to read, but this is a challenge I’m ready to take.

Fahrenheit 451, Dandelion Wine, The Illustrated Man – Ray Bradbury

-I started reading Bradbury just last month and already finished The Golden Apples of the Sun and The Martian Chronicles. I found myself falling in love with his writing, the poetry and magic intertwined in his words. I think he will be a favorite of mine too; The Martian Chronicles affected me deeply and The Golden Apples of the Sun had a handful of gems that left an imprint on me as well. Truly Bradbury is a magician, and I cannot wait to explore his other works!

V for Vendetta and Swamp Thing graphic novels – Alan Moore

-Watchmen blew me away; right now, I’d rank Alan Moore in my top 5 favorite writers of all time. I seriously need to get more of his work. He is a genius, no doubt about it, and I cannot get enough of him!

The Sandman – Neil Gaiman (all volumes) 

-It has been far too long since I’ve read Sandman that I’m afraid I’ve forgotten most of its splendor. I need to reacquaint myself with The Endless

Ilustrado – Miguel Syjuco

I have seen the man in various protest rallies I’ve been to, but have yet to read his book. He’s one of our local contemporary writers whose book won the Man Booker Asia Award a few years back. I need to read more local authors and want to try his book as a challenge

Foundation series and Youth – Isaac Asimov

-One of the great scifi writers of all time! How can I not?

Hyperion – Dan Simmons

-A gem in the world of scifi.

Norwegian Wood and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – Haruki Murakami 

– I have only heard good of this man and am ashamed to have never encountered any of his pieces.

Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden 

On Stories – C.S. Lewis

The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

Some short stories by Anton Chekhov

No Logo – Naomi Klein 

Authors I want to read, but haven’t decided what to read from them: 

– Nick Joaquin

– NVM Gonzales

– Ninotchka Rosca

Also read: 

Poetry and prose, both local and foreign

Writing Goals

-Write thoughts and feelings in diary/online journal more often. Don’t keep anything from self

-Utilize bullet journal

-Make headway with novel / short stories

-Write more articles; do more investigative journalism

-Experiment with poetry

Film Goals

I’m not a movie/film person, I must admit, I hate watching from a screen thanks to my short attention span. I think I have to move on from YouTube videos and embark on a journey to explore the beauty of the world of film. Perhaps I can start with a few Fellinis!

Any book and film recommendations to kickstart my year? Your suggestions are welcome!