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Scribblings and scrawls of a hopeless romantic soul

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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

Book Talk: Bookish Pet Peeves and Fetishes

It’s that time of the year again… Happy Book Lover’s Day, everyone!

August 9 is a day for bibliophiles, bookworms and reading addicts around the world to celebrate their love of books. Although it is an unofficial holiday, people never run out of fun ways to commemorate this day — from visiting libraries and bookstores, re-reading old favorites, hosting parties and book clubs, showcasing awesome bookshelves and book hauls, recommending must-reads, and many more. Did the quarantine help you pursue your bookish delights?

The first two quarters of the year were productive for me. I’ve read more books than I had last year which is an incredible feat. But, halfway through June, work started piling up. It dragged on and to this day, I haven’t had a decent read.

So, for now, I’m sharing my personal pet peeves and fetishes when it comes to reading. Can any of you relate?

Pet Peeves

  1. Interruptions while reading
  2. Having no one to talk to after reading an awesome book
  3. Plot changes in movie adaptations
  4. Careless borrowers
  5. When a book got the movie poster as cover
  6. When someone judges a book without reading it

Festishes

  1. Having your dream bookshelves
  2. Hoarding!
  3. The scent of a book
  4. Paperback copies
  5. Preloved books
  6. Highlighting favorite quotes/intriguing lines
  7. A good book hug after a good read
  8. Making your own bookmarks
  9. When you have a complete copy of your favorite series
  10. Covering books

Monday Musings: Let me count the ways

How do you rebuild yourself? Let me count the ways.

You rebuild yourself from the depths of pain and suffering and emptiness — making each a foothold to lift you up to a new height. Your tear-stained pillow, now dry, finds warmth at your bosom, and your hug is as tight as your resolve. You rebuild yourself from bricks of memories that you hold on to when life hits you hard on the face. From every day’s mundane simple things. A cat’s purr. A child’s smile. The smell of coffee. The sunrise. You rebuild yourself with care, as a woman putting cream on her face so gently. You rebuild yourself with care, as a man buying a pair of jeans after a long time. You rebuild yourself from doing things that you love. And from doing nothing at all.

It’s okay if you don’t have the right mind to read or write. If you don’t have the drive to sing or dance. You see, rebuilding yourself is not just about saying YES to life every time. It is saying YES to you first and foremost. So take things slow if you must. Rebuild yourself with patience and forgiveness. With smiles and tears and sighs.


Sharing this Monday musing on a Tuesday. Yesterday, I flung myself into the poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I specifically went back and forth to her sonnet, How Do I Love Thee? This one question and its five words kept repeating on my mind — not in a romantic way but in an introspective one. How do I love myself? Lately, I’ve been giving myself a hard time by weighing her down with unmanaged emotions, good and bad. Handling depressive episodes, anxiety and overthinking is becoming harder. And I know I’m not alone. We are all struggling here.

So, today I’m forgiving myself for thinking that trying is pointless. It’s a battle, a long and arduous one, but I’m reminding myself that it’s worth the fight. May this personal reminder inspire those who are feeling the same way as I have.

Wrap-Up | July 2020

Monthly Blog Update

Hey, everyone! Welcome to my first wrap-up post. I don’t normally do this kind of stuff but I’ve been trying a lot of things out these COVID days.

One way that “Dr. Google” suggested to keep my mental health in check is to focus on those that I can control. Trouble is, focus isn’t on my strongest traits. I have a natural tendency  to jump from one task to another and get back on them in a minute, day or never at all. So, I heeded a friend’s advice and started working on a structure/schedule — especially in writing.

A milestone for July is having successfully re-categorized my blog posts. 🎉  Since I still find it hard to write, I focused on improving my blog identity. It’s still a work in progress but we’ll get there. As for the rest…

Things I’ve written…

I’ve written two poems inspired by two opposing feelings. The first one was taken out of a late night conversation I had with James and the other was kind of a rant.

My mishmash of random things, on the other hand, reflected the roller-coaster of emotions I’ve had this month.

Books I’ve read…

Or still reading. Unfortunately, life did not allow me to finish even a single book this month. I have only got past page 63 of Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls and reality sucked me back to its chaotic void again. With reduced workforce, to-dos and to-writes are piling up. When will this end? 😟

Places I’ve been…

Funny that I am including this in my recap. Aside from my everyday WFH  (Walk From Home) route to the office, I haven’t been anywhere. Cebu City has just transitioned to general community quarantine (GCQ) but I doubt if we’d have the opportunity to see the mountains soon. My friends and I just canceled a major climb in Luzon and would most probably be canceling another one in Mindanao come November. Sigh.

Posts I loved…

I’ve been mostly out of blogosphere these days but I still managed to read some remarkable posts in my feed. Go check these links out.

Looking back, it’s been productive month despite life’s mess. As July finally bid its goodbye, here’s to hoping for better days. May our August be filled with happiness and peace. 🌻

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – A plea

Featured quote for Writer's Quote Wednesday

“It’s easy to tell the toiler
How best he can carry his pack
But no one can rate a burden’s weight
Until it has been on his back”

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Sharing this quote from Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s poem titled PREACHING VS. PRACTICE.

I know it’s scary and tiresome to live in these troubled times. We all have suffered physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and financially. We all have our personal burdens and, at times, we tend to carry those that are not ours.

I hope we find it in our hearts to help each other. Please be kind and sensitive to each other’s pains. 😦

Monday Musings: Something beautiful and cruel

The next time you question the existence of love, look into an old photograph. See how love is written from that fading black and white. Travel back in time when love was patient and slow. When you don’t need technology to keep up real time. Listen to an old song. Notice the way your eyes smile or how your heart beats with the music. A once inaudible sound now carries snippets of laughter and tears.

Do you still not see?

Love may have left the front door shut but some fragments will forever remain. Memories. These are our only evidence that something beautiful and cruel like love exist.


I am 99.9% done with re-categorizing my old posts and as I was checking my unpublished tab, I realize that there are still too many scattered thoughts that need my attention.

This one is from 2018 that I wrote for A to Z challenge. For some reason, I dropped the idea (hehe). I’m sharing it now since I have two girlfriends who currently might relate.

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