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DoodleScribbles

Scribblings and scrawls of a hopeless romantic soul

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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! 💛

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – Break the glass

Featured quote for Writer's Quote Wednesday

“Break the glass, please, and free us from all these damned rules, from needing to find an explanation for everything, from doing only what others approve of.”

― Paulo Coelho, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

I shared a shortened version of this quote in my recent post, Book Review: By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by Paulo Coelho. I love the simplicity and the reality of this line, and it is something that strikes a chord within me. I hope we all find courage in our hearts to be who we are, do what we want, and go wherever we want to be. Carpe diem!

Book Review: By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by Paulo Coelho

Genre: Romance/Philosophy/Spirituality
Copy: Paperback
Rating: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌖

Short Synopsis: Rarely does adolescent love reach its full potential, but what happens when two young lovers reunite after eleven years? Time has transformed Pilar into a strong and independent woman, while her devoted childhood friend has grown into a handsome and charismatic spiritual leader. She has learned well how to bury her feelings… and he has turned to religion as a refuge from his raging inner conflicts.

Now they are together once again, embarking on a journey fraught with difficulties, as long-buried demons of blame and resentment resurface after more than a decade. But in a small village in the French Pyrenees, by the waters of the River Piedra, a most special relationship will be reexamined in the dazzling light of some of life’s biggest questions.

What I Liked:

  1. Coelho delivers a love story with added depth. On the surface, it is about two childhood sweethearts reunited. But as the story unfolds, it becomes an intricate weave of life and love, faith and spirituality, fear and trust, mistakes and forgiveness, fighting for one’s dream and surrendering to one’s destiny — all these and so much more. The book is a retelling from Pilar of how she ended up weeping for this nameless man, but I love how it didn’t have to go way far back to establish the story. There were no unnecessary backstory of their early lives or past loves. You just have to be in the moment and watch how these two characters navigate through uncertainties.
  2. It’s a character-driven book that brims with food for the thought and for the soul. Like the rest of Coelho’s works, this one leaves points to ponder on each page. It raises questions that require self-examination and at the end, you not only discover something about the characters but also about yourself.
  3. I love how the story includes two of the subjects that I am fond of: stories of apparitions and mountain climbing. I am not a very religious person but I grew up in religious family and community. During my childhood days, we used to have a collection of postcards of several saints. I would read their stories at the back, stare at their young photos and wonder if one day, an angel or the Virgin Mary herself would appear before me. The stories of Francisco, Jacinta and their cousin Lucia particularly stuck with me for a long time, and it feels good to be reminded of them again. As for mountain climbing, I love how Coelho relates finding our purpose in life to it. Most of the times, we have no idea what lies ahead and the path we are treading can be lonely and cruel. To the common spectator, every step is ordinary and the same. But to the mountain climber, it means courage and braving the unknown.

What I didn’t like: None. Only the fact that I did not get to read Pilar’s letters by the river. I would have loved be spoon-fed more of Coelho’s wisdom and beautiful words. Yes, no doubt!

Favorite quotes:

“You have to take risks, he said. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.

“Joy is sometimes a blessing, but it is often a conquest. Our magic moment help us to change and sends us off in search of our dreams. Yes, we are going to suffer, we will have difficult times, and we will experience many disappointments — but all of this is transitory it leaves no permanent mark. And one day we will look back with pride and faith at the journey we have taken.”

“And happiness is something that multiplies when divided.”

“Pitiful is the person who is afraid of taking risks. Perhaps this person will never be disappointed or disillusioned; perhaps she won’t suffer the way people do when they have a dream to follow.”

“Our universe require that we avoid getting glasses fall to the floor. But when we break them by accident, we realize that it’s not very serious.”

“It’s one thing to think that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.”

“Go and get your things,” he said. “Dreams mean work.”

Final Thoughts: By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept is the first book of Coelho’s And On the Seventh Day trilogy. It’s a series that is linked by concept rather than characters, wherein human frailty and strength are explored in a span of one week. This novel is about distinguishing who we are, who we want to be and who we are destined to be. It’s about carving own path and accepting the challenges that come with it. It tells a story that is worth every second of your time. I promise.

Have you read By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept? Did you like it as much as I did?

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? 🥺

Quick Notes: The Orphan Choir by Sophie Hannah

Genre: Horror/Paranormal fiction
Copy: Paperback
Rating: 🌕🌕🌓

Quick Notes: After three days dawns, I have finally “completed” my goal which is to read a paranormal fiction.

The Orphan Choir is a very easy read. I don’t have issues with unlikable characters like those of Gillian Flynn’s, but Sophie Hannah’s Louise takes some getting used to. She complains a lot and whines about everything which is borderline irritating. And her husband is… nah, never mind him.

As for the book, I think it was more of a psychological suspense rather than a horror story. More than half of the pages were spent to build a tension that was lost in the end. Although I intentionally picked The Orphan Choir knowing that it is not a hardcore horror novel, I would have like to experience a little more horror and less of Louise. The paranormal encounter (if you consider them ghosts and not hallucinations of a deluded woman) only happened in the last few pages.

Plot-wise, there were inconsistencies and gaps. I believe it’s an OK introduction to the genre — not too creepy for scaredy cats like me. However, I think I still need to try other horror books to confidently say that I have read out of my comfort zone.

Got any book recommendations? 🙂

Book Talk: The uncomfortable zone

Readers come in different sizes, shapes and preferences. Aside from a shared love of books, no two readers are alike. Some people are series junkies, others are literary snobs. Some are polygamists, others are genre loyalists. Some are faithful to physical books, others are new gen e-readers. Some read by author, others read by mood. Some skim, others underline. Most often than not, they can be any of the above mentioned at the same time.

I, for one, have my own comfort zone as a reader. As much as I try to make sure to keep my reading attitude open and flexible, there are still some walls that I find hard to take down. Like stepping into the world of paranormal fiction.

A novel could have the goriest deaths in its pages and that would be fine ─ so long as it is done by a human. Ghosts, on the other hand, make me uncomfortable and uneasy. The thought of having them in my mind scares me. And unlike movies, books have a way of staying in our memories much longer.

So what made go out of my comfort zone now? Yesterday, James and I went book hunting in two branches of Booksale (a thrift bookstore) after 6 months of quarantine. It’s like being reunited with your loved ones after years of being separated. But for some reason, I didn’t feel like looking for books that I’d normally take. I had this nagging voice at the back of my head that wanted me to take a horror novel. Long story short, I randomly picked Sophie Hannah’s The Orphan Choir (20 pesos) and Andrew Pyper’s Lost Girls (83 pesos).

I still don’t know where this decision will take me. Or if I can see these books through the end. Maybe, maybe not. That will have to wait. 😊

What’s your comfort zone as a reader? Have you tried reading out of it?

Wrap-Up | September 2020

Monthly Blog Update

“Wake me up when September ends,” so the song says.

The world felt like it fell into a slumber for the past months. Everything came to halt, a state of inactivity where plans were suspended. Each of us developed our own ways of getting by these COVID days. Some turned to binge-watching, others turned to gardening. Some read, others wrote. Some took the time to clean the dusty corners of their homes, others took the time to cleanse the dusty corners of their minds.

September finally ended. And here we are… awake.

For me, it has been a rollercoaster ride. I’ve had equal parts of ups and downs in life but, overall, I could say that I have slowly learned to adapt and manage my emotions. Work is still work, life is still life. As for my virtual presence here in WordPress, I am guilty of missing out a lot.

Things I’ve written…

Last August, most of my posts were musings about life, writing and my journey as a writer. This month, I wrote pieces that remain incoherent in my drafts. I did manage to share one musing about life and mountains in Monday Musings: Extra Baggage.

Some Mishmash of Random Things:

Books I’ve read…

Remember Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls that I did not finished in July and I skipped in August to read Albom’s Human Touch? Ta da! It remained unopened this September. It did not bore me, it was in fact getting interesting along the way. It’s just that I am having a reading slump, which leads me to another problem (or is it?): BOOK HOARDING.

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

I did however listed to audiobooks in LibriVox and treat myself to some good ol’ fairytales such as Andersen’s Fairy Tales and Grimms’ Fairy Tales. I’ve also listened to poetry readings in PoemHunter and fell in love with these poems once again:

Places I’ve been…

Early in September, I shared about the most memorable trees I’ve encountered along the trails in When Life Gives You Quarantine, Think Green.

Last week, my friends and I — for the first time — got back on one of those trails after 6 months of hiatus. At last!

Posts I loved…

I’ve been mostly out of WordPress these days but I was able to read some remarkable posts in my feed. Go check these links out.

  • A Reading Writer’s top 10 book covers i love (with quotes!) – a treat for book lovers and hoarders alike! Rosema’s Top Ten Tuesdays are always insightful and she shares a lot of interesting books that you could add on your TBR list.
  • Jade M. Wong’s [Poetry] Bridge – a beautiful poem by a poet who writes from the heart. This piece speaks of hope in the midst of uncertainty. A must-read.
  • Mich’s Who Murders Halloween? – a timely piece for the coming Halloween. This pandemic has completely changed how we view and live life. Mich reminisces the little things that make this occasion fun and the reaper that came to take it all away.

October… will this month be any better? I guess we’ll find that out, one day at a time.

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! 🌻🍃

A Brave and Startling Truth by Maya Angelou

Featured poems and spoken word poetry

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.


Starting the week with this powerful piece from none other than Maya Angelou. Have you personally uncovered a brave and startling truth in this lifetime — one that forever changed your life?

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