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DoodleScribbles

Scribblings and scrawls of a hopeless romantic soul

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Let me have happy instead

Change my mind
Melt the strand
Of icicle that pierced
This chest

Let me believe
In magic,
Mermaids
And fairytales

And if, in case, you can’t hand a happy ever after—

I’ll have happy
Let me have happy instead.
I’ll take it any time,
Any day.


Facebook memories reminded me that I wrote this piece three years ago on this day. A lot of things have happened since then, but one thing remains: I’d still choose that happy any day. Sending virtual hugs to those who need it. 😊💛

Quick Notes: The Hound of Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A book titled The Hound of Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on a table with a cup of coffee

Genre: Mystery/Crime/Detective
Copy: Paperback
Rating: 🌕🌕🌕🌖

Quick Notes: The Hound of Baskervilles is the third of four novels in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s canon of Sherlock Holmes. I won’t write how superb this book is for I know I will just be repeating what most people have already said. Instead, let me just point out two aspects which made this particular story unique to me.

1. Dr. John H. Watson – Sherlock Holmes’ best friend and confidant. The romantic and often sentimental medical doctor that perfectly complements the emotionally-detached and analytical consulting detective. The ordinary against the brilliant.

Despite being wrongly perceived (and portrayed) as being a fool in most tv/film adaptations, Watson’s role is undoubtedly crucial to every Sherlock Holmes adventure. He serves as both a storyteller and a shock absorber of Holmes’ uncanny deductive flair for the reader. I personally find the few stories in which Watson plays a minor role (or none at all) a little lacking and dry. This is one reason why I enjoyed The Hound of Baskervilles.

In this novel, we get to see a little more of Watson in action. He sets out to solve (try) a crime ─ on his own ─ even just for a short period of time. We follow him as he simultaneously employs Sherlock’s methods and his own in search for clues. And although, Sherlock gets to hammer down the mystery in the end, this book made it apparent that there is more to Watson than meets the eye.

2. The setting – The Hound of Baskervilles is one of the few stories that uproots readers away from 221B Baker Street. Instead of a warm, comfortable sitting room, it takes you to the cold, wet English moor with nothing but fogs, bogs and fire-breathing hounds. With an added Victorian air and a touch of supernatural, this book stands out from the rest of Doyle’s detective stories.

I have mentioned in Book Talk: Books or movies? A reader’s dilemma. that I prefer watching the adaptation first over reading the book. And I’m glad I did so because a lot of the scenes were changed in the films that I wouldn’t have enjoyed had I known the original plot. Of the three versions I have seen ─ 1939, 1959 (unfinished) and 2012 ─ the latter took a complete turnaround. It was enjoyable nonetheless, thank you Benedict Cumberbatch, but definitely not the movie you’d want to see if you’re looking for Doyle’s original plotline.

Overall, The Hound of Baskervilles gets two thumbs up from me! A great read after a month of craving for Sherlock Holmes. 😀

Blog Update: fidgets & widgets

Fidget
verb
-to make a small movement, typically a repeated one, with your your hands or feet
-an act that often reflects discomfort, restlessness and impatience

I guess this word sums up my month. I have been fidgeting with my blog and posts — making two steps forward yet taking two steps back.

But while I am feeling uneasy with my virtual life here, the real world has been kinder to me. The best news of all is that I have found the drive to read my pile of books again. So far, I have ticked off two from my TBR list:

Quick Notes: The Orphan Choir by Sophie Hannah
Book Review: By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by Paulo Coelho

As for writing, I’ve decided to continue sharing that old poems from IG that I haven’t shared here in WordPress. Since I am not in a creative mode yet, I’ve decided to focus on tinkering with my website.

First, I’ve added two new widgets: Goodreads and Instagram. Second, a new profile picture is up — one that shows (slightly) a face. Haha. For a long while, I’ve been hiding my avatar behind a book. I guess now it’s time to slowly reintroduce the fidgety little girl behind this blog. 😁

Hope you are all doing well on your side of the Earth. Have a great day! 💛

Book Talk: Meeting Grendel up close

I’m taking my bookmark off Grendel — for now.

Grendel, the murderous monster in Beowulf, tells his side of the story in this John Gardner book. The first few pages speak of Grendel’s anger. He was angry at his mother, humans, their living condition. He was angry at life. I would have continued if he only haunted the moors, went on rampage and made hell on Earth. But by Chapter 2, Grendel’s anger turned into nihilistic ramblings. He began thinking, exploring and questioning the meaninglessness of life.

Then, I was worried.

Knowing my fragile mental and emotional state, I knew I wasn’t ready to take in Grendel’s troubles. I have my own existential crisis to manage. It’s the healthier choice. Me first. Perhaps one day, when life gets a little kinder, I’ll have a better reaction to Grendel’s view that “the world is nothing but a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears” other than nod.

Have you tried switching books? Did you feel guilty for not being mentally/emotionally ready for a certain read? 🥺

Whispers of the Wind

I wish the wind whispers you the secrets
I’ve been trying to keep.
I hope it tells you that you are not alone—
That I, too, am afraid

Afraid to make another mistake,
Afraid that this is a mistake

Afraid to get wounded all over again.

But for what are the hearts that beat louder than drums
If they can’t be brave?
What’s the point of having hearts that beat?

So, here I am, wishing for the wind to whisper my plea:
Just as the waves stroke the shore,
Just as the setting sun kisses the sea,
Just as the darkness embraces night,
Let us give in to destiny
Without having the fears of the past.


Three years ago, I wrote the Tagalog version of this poem. Back then, I took a writing hiatus too and it was going out in the natural world that awakened my muse. This year, I can’t say how long this break will be. I guess I need another dose of the outdoors! 🌻🍃

Book Talk: Forgive me book-god for I have sinned

“So many books, so little time,” says a book hoarder who promised two minutes ago not to buy any more books until her TBR list gets cleared.

At the onset of 2020, I made a promise to minimize my spontaneous book buying and to start reading the ones that are piling up on my shelf. I told myself to buy books only ─ and only if ─ absolutely necessary such as coming across must-reads or hard-to-find copies. But little did I know I was bound to cheat on that faithful afternoon on February when I entered Booksale and saw Velocity by Dean Koontz.

Fast forward to September, I find myself having my highest number of book haul in a month. Six books.

I know this desire to buy more books than what I can read in a lifetime is a universal guilty pleasure for book lovers. The question is, should we feel bad about it? Are we taking away the true essence of a book which is to be read? I cannot speak for others but, in my defense, here are three reasons of what triggers me to hoard books:

1. The bookstores. Do I even have to explain this? Here in the Philippines, the biggest distributors of books are National Bookstore, Fully Booked, and Booksale. The delight of walking along bookshelf aisle, the excitement of what awaits in book pages, the smell of books, old and new. Who would not be tempted to buy a book?

2. Book rescue. I have mentioned in my previous post that buying pre-loved books is one of my bookish fetish. I am a sucker for them. Aside from frequenting Booksale, I follow legit pre-book resellers, join “pasabuy” Facebook groups, turns on notification for book listings on marketplace, and just recently included Shoppee and Lazada in my go-to sites. I have always believed that every book deserves a home and this is my little way of helping. It’s like animal rescue, only books. Plus, hey, it’s a very cheap bargain too!

3. Happy hormone booster. Dopamine? Serotonin? Oxytocin? Whenever I add another member to my growing family of books, I feel like all my happy hormones are spiked up. If I am not reading or writing, buying books is my next resort during gloomy days.

Some people would say that book hoarding is a sin or a shame. That it is just vanity and greed masked as love for books. But as long as you are doing what you enjoy the most, shrug it off.

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – Change

Featured quote for Writer's Quote Wednesday

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

Leo Tolstoy

On this day, the literary gods and goddesses gifted the world with one of its greatest minds. Leo Tolstoy, through his novels and diaries, shared with us his views of life, the human experience and existence. What’s your favorite among his works?

Wrap-Up | August 2020

Monthly Blog Update

Hello, everyone! A month has passed since my first wrap-up post and finally, we’ve reached the onset of “BER” months. Have you seen early signs of Christmas on your end? 

In the Philippines, we do not only have a Christmas Day. The country celebrates the world’s longest Christmas season, starting as early as September 1. Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been counting down the days when we can “legally” great each other Merry Christmas.

As for me, I have been contently taking things slow. August was a time for communing with myself and looking inwardly. 🙂

But even with my absence, I can say that it has been a productive month for two main reasons. First, I have mentioned in my last Blog Update: Optimizing absence that I have been working on cleaning up my storage space. It is still ongoing and I have been reading and learning more about optimization too. Second, I find my #WriteMyOwnHeadline project kind of actually fun. 😀 Now, for the recap…

Things I’ve written…

In the early days of August, I found myself writing Three days later, a short story inspired by an old Haibun I wrote about the tragedies of love and war.

But, as this is not a creative month for me, most of my posts were musings and reflections about life, writing and my journey as a writer.

Books I’ve read…

In my previous wrap-up, I shared that my work life has overtaken my reading life. Until now, I have not reopened Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls.

However, I am happy to share that my bookish heart was healed by Mitch Albom’s Human Touch. It is a unique serialized story of hope during the COVID-19 pandemic, set in the present time. Every weekly chapter left me with a much-needed food for the soul. If you have not read it, I highly recommend you give it a try and let me know your thoughts. 😀

August 9 was also a Book Lover’s Day and I wrote about my bookish pet peeves and fetish here: Book Talk: Bookish Pet Peeves and Fetishes.

Despite my reading slump, another book was added to my haul. James gave me Paulo Coelho’s By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept which I am looking forward to read this September. I also bought two pre-loved books online — Thoreau’s Walden & Civil Disobedience and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe — which are scheduled to arrive this month.

Places I’ve been…

In my inability to travel, I was able to reflect on my previous outdoor experiences. I have taken note on the little things, little moments that truly matter in life. Mt. Kalatkat: The things we give and take is one of the results of this introspection.

Posts I loved…

Truth is I’ve been reading more from Brainpickings and ThoughtCatalog than my Reader tab. I most probably missed a lot of great content from my friends here in WP during the month of August. Apologies. I will be a better virtual neighbor next time.

Still, I’d like to share these great reads that you might like.

Looking back, it’s been productive (and peaceful) month. Here’s to hoping for better days this September! 🌻

Three days later

tied haired woman wearing top photo – Free Neck Image on Unsplash

I must carry on. Live this life, get up, pick the debris of your memories scattered on the floor. Breathe.

The world has not stopped revolving, I see. And my mom’s bacon and egg smell just the same. She lives with me now — for the mean time — using old age as an excuse to tiptoe into my room and check my chest for a heartbeat at night. Don’t laugh. Don’t make the funny face you always do whenever I tell you about my mother’s excessive paranoia. “I know!” I used to say, eyes rolling as I jump into your arms for comfort.

On the way to work, the old man on the street who once sold us matching rings smiles. I touch a finger which now feels bare. At two minutes past 11 o’clock in the morning, a Fat Man explodes over my life. There you are, laughing from a distance, with a woman whose hands are wrapped around your waist. I never thought the space you asked is meant for somebody else.

The sun shines with a blinding white flash in the sky. What a cruel twist of fate to see you two on the fall of Nagasaki. It’s only been three days.

“Are you crying, child?” the old man asks.

I wipe my mascara-stained tears, take a deep breath and walk away. “This is nothing. The people who experienced the black rain had it worse.”

MS

Two years ago, I wrote a Haibun titled Memories Sting. It was supposed to center on the tragedy of love but it somehow alluded to the ordeals of war. Revisiting my old blog posts reminded me of how I love weaving fiction with real history — of how comfortable it was to write Heritage and Some battles.

This story is my attempt to reconnect with the old me. It is also a commemoration of the Nagasaki bombing which marks its 75th year today.

Image via Unsplash

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