February was indeed a month of love. I’ve had 28 days of happiness and momentary peace despite my writing and reading life turning not as productive as I originally planned. From Valentine’s Day to my birthday to my best friend’s wedding — life has been great overall.
I intend to read all three books in my vintage classic box set (Secret Garden, Little Women, Alice in Wonderland) this month, but life happened wonderfully so I only got to finish Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.
I have started Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland but that will have to carry over this March.
And, who would have thought, I got no book haul this month too! HAHA. My pockets are smiling from ear to ear.
Places I’ve been…
Maria finally went out of town to get a taste of nature’s best this month. To celebrate Valentine’s Day and my birthday, my friends and I went to the northwestern part of Cebu. It was a sea to summit experience, filled with laughter and joy.
Chances are the water’s shallow Chances are the water’s deep Youth outgrown yet still a callow Cowed to silence, afraid to leap Her heart’s atwitter — a jumbled prose Wind blows, her mind’s split Stuck between dabbling her toes Or simply plunging right into it
Photo via Unsplash
Sharing this very first poem I wrote for this year. It’s a small piece that carries my worries about life and writing. I took long break from both — spent almost half of 2020 floating, waking up to aimless days, switching between concern and indifference about the world. For a while, “seize the day” felt so distant when you have very little to seize. Thankfully, time and time again, I am reminded by something or someone to focus on the little things that truly matter.
How time flies! I cannot say that January was a great start for 2021, but it was definitely a good one for me. I’ve had my own share of ups and downs, and I’m glad most of us made it through the month safe and healthy.
But before I welcome the very special February, here’s a quick look back:
Things I’ve written…
When I started the year, I promised myself that I’d go back to writing poetry. And I did, though I haven’t published any of them yet. In the next few days or weeks, I will gladly share them to my little community here in WordPress. For now, here are throwback posts from last month…
I have spent January with one book: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Volume II. For the whole month, I have been Sherlocked and have rambling about this fine detective and his adventures. YAY!
More books have been added to my growing “shelfish” family too. My December order (a treat from my 13th month pay) arrived this month and I couldn’t be happier. I got these some awesome novels from Book Duke:
The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
Bend Sinister by Vladimir Nabokov
Under Western Eyes by Joseph Conrad
Vintage Classic Box Set (Secret Garden, Little Women, Alice in Wonderland)
Meanwhile, my official book haul for January are:
The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Here are some bookish thoughts from last month, too:
My hiking friends and I were finally able to spend the weekend in the mountains of Toledo. We camped at Tagaytay Hills, the very first mountain I’ve visited in Cebu. It was very foggy with light rain, but still we enjoyed our quick escape. Here’s a short video from CJ Estrada to give you an idea:
An that’s it for the recap! See you again after a month. May February be in our favor. 😁
Take this kiss upon the brow! And, in parting from you now, Thus much let me avow — You are not wrong, who deem That my days have been a dream; Yet if hope has flown away In a night, or in a day, In a vision, or in none, Is it therefore the less gone? All that we see or seem Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar Of a surf-tormented shore, And I hold within my hand Grains of the golden sand — How few! yet how they creep Through my fingers to the deep, While I weep — while I weep! O God! can I not grasp Them with a tighter clasp? O God! can I not save One from the pitiless wave? Is all that we see or seem But a dream within a dream?
Yesterday, one of literature’s most iconic figures celebrated his birthday. Edgar Allan Poe is an American writer whose written works are known for its unique style. His short stories and poems are often characterized as dark and mysterious and at times macabre.
This particular piece is one of my favorites of his. It leads one to ponder the thin line between a dream and reality. How do you separate what is real from an illusion? Where would life falls under?
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. 😊💛
Did you buy a book again? Have you read the books you bought last week? Last month? Last year?
I have seen how COVID-19 brought a significant boom in ecommerce — at least on my side of the Earth. Despite the tough economic times, the pandemic has drastically shifted people’s buying and selling behavior. Digital technologies, especially mobile devices, made it easier to locate (goods/services), transact (without breaking social distancing measures and taking the risk of catching the virus), and obtain (needs/wants).
But before I get tempted to stray off topic, I’d like to talk about this one subject that concerns me as a reader. And probably you, too!
Tsundoku. Described by BBC as the art of buying books and never reading them. A Japanese word whose morphology combines “tsunde” (to stack things); “oku” (to leave for a while); and “doku” (to read). While it illicit no negative opinion in Japan, Tsundoku is often viewed incorrectly by others. It is, at times, confused with the obsessive collecting of books for the sake of building a book collection. But at the heart of Tsundoku is the intention of reading — an intent so intense that leads to its eventual collection.
I find it interesting to think about the potential of this habit in times of “addutucart” (a word phonetically coined by Lee Minho during Lazada’s 11.11 sale). When adding to cart and checking out items are just few clicks away, what is there to stop a curious book lover?
Three things come to mind:
1. Cash – Like it or not, money will always be a limiting factor to our needs and wants. I’m all support for “do it for happiness” — so long as it’s your hard-earned money — but we must be conscious, still, that our spending would not overtake our savings.
Here are some tricks that I personally use as a bookworm on a budget:
Track your spending (set a monthly budget for books so you won’t go overboard)
Opt for pre-loved books (aside from a sentimental POV, used books are also the financially and environmentally healthier choice)
Patience is a virtue (though I don’t exactly follow the 30-day rule, I give myself few days to find cheaper alternatives or to make sure if I really, really need/want that book)
Give yourself some space (stay away from temptations: bookstores, marketplace, online stores)
2. Trust – While technology made it easier to acquire what we need, it has also made it easier for other people to deceive. Scammers are on the rise and we find ourselves developing trust issues. Thankfully, ever since I started buying books online, I haven’t met one yet.
Here are some trusted online book sellers/resellers that I can vouch for:
3. Guilt – Tsundoku brings with it a sense of guilt whenever books start to pile up and rest longer on the shelf. It’s sad, almost depressing, when we find our curiosity nicked by our moods, the busyness of the real world, and pressure from others and our own.
Whenever I feel guilty for my habit, here are four things I remind myself with
Do what makes you happy
Read at your own pace
Books are a lot cheaper than a psychotherapy session
It’s your hard-earned money
Tsundoku has always been around even before COVID. I hope we don’t let this misplaced guilt stop our curiosity of the worlds inside every book. I hope we continue to cultivate this love of reading in our own little circles. Be a good-natured bookworm. Keep reading and tick off your TBR list. Addutucart those books you’ve been itching to read! 🤓📚
She asked me to take her photo by the window. The moon hung above her head as I looked through the lens. She tucked a cigarette stick on her mouth; inhaled. Exhaled and laughed at me through the smoke.
We met in a bar two hours ago. A little drunk, she was singing to the tune of “Whiskey in the Jar.” Whack fol the diddle. Oh whack fol the diddle. oh there’s whiskey in the jar. In a crowd of dancing homos, there she was. Singing an old Irish folk song.
“You!” She notices me staring. “Are you in love with me yet? One glass of whiskey for the man in black,” she shouted. On our third glass, she pulled me out of the bar, pointed at an abandoned house across the street. “Meet me there in 5.”
So here I am. With a Lumix G9 in hand. Where she got it from, I did not ask. In fact, I never said a word since. Raising a cigarette, she looked at me from the glowing tip.
Click. I don’t really smoke.
Click. I don’t drink.
Click. I haven’t fa— I was in love.
Click. Remember this night.
We slept under the faint September moon in silence. There was no need for romance or sex in this kind of intimacy. The dawn breaks and I found myself alone. Something else breaks. Deep inside.
Damn. I didn’t even ask her name.
While going through my drafts, I saw this short story which was dated October 16, 2018. It is again like my previous post Vignette: The forgotten pages of whines — a forgotten piece whose muse got buried in the stacks of random musings and curiosities. I’m sharing it now to dust off the cobwebs of yesterdays.
I believe my recent post, Book Talk: Stuck in the mood, explains how my reading life was during the month of December. Again, thanks to LibriVox for their free public domain audiobooks. I was able to quench my thirst for a good ol’ Sherlock Holmes adventure. For those who would like to give it a listen, here are the links:
For the first time in my lifetime, I have spent Christmas day away from my family and the comfort of our home. Thankfully I have James to rely on. Since both our vacation leaves at work were practically useless with the strict travel restrictions and requirements, we decided to just spend a few days on a nearby mountain resort here in Cebu. And it was indeed a well-deserved break.