Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high Where knowledge is free Where the world has not been broken up into fragments By narrow domestic walls Where words come out from the depth of truth Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit Where the mind is led forward by thee Into ever-widening thought and action Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
Sharing this one from Rabindranath Tagore who was born 160 years ago. This piece is not just a poem, it is a prayer that still speaks true to this day.
Honey, let me tell you what your eyes refuse to see
When I smile at the man who dares touch my skin, All my insides turn upside down My ribcage strain to hold out anger My chest is empty of breaths and full of violence A curse has latched itself into my bones ─ It peels. It burns.
Beyond my Cheshire smile is a war Between words I want to say and the world that won’t let me My heathen tongue is shut by the thing that you call “joke” So I bite down a wrathful scream Swallow a coil of sorrow, Bury it deep in a mass grave of apologies
For being a woman who can’t fight.
Honey, you see ─ or perhaps you don’t There is no safe place my kind Against the devil and you, the accessory to the crime Who thinks a touch, A tap, A graze, A pinch Is just being “playful”
I am not a toy.
I am bones and flesh held hostage By prejudice and wealthy monsters Who use my lack for their gain ─ Leave your pretense on my doorstep For I have long died My smile ─ no, my mouth Is now an open wound for the flies
Open your eyes.
I know that I said I won’t let current news and affairs affect me. That I would take care of my mental health first. But there are just those days when people’s stupidity triggers the anger in you. This is one of those moments.
With its impressive and diverse natural wonders, Bohol has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines. People gravitate toward this quaint island province because of its beautiful beaches, stunning peaks, untamed attractions, exciting eco-adventures, and welcoming people.
If only there is no COVID-19, our summer getaways would have been planned out. Itineraries would be ready. Check lists would be ticked off.
But we can’t have that, at least not yet. So here I am, reminiscing a three-year-old trip in Bohol I had with three strangers turned friends.
The Making of Team Buwad They say that people are guests in our story just as we are guests in theirs. Looking back, James, An, Shandy and I have come a long way. From day hikes to major climbs, sea to summit ─ it’s funny how far a ¼ kilo of buwad for 20 pesos has brought us.
Some people would find it funny, but that’s how the inside joke started.
An and I have met before during our hike for a cause in Toledo but we didn’t really get a change to interact. Meanwhile, James and Shandy were complete strangers to me. I was unsure how this trip would turn out for the four of us but, apparently, some people just naturally click!
Our weekend adventure in Bohol started in Ubay, a first-class municipality that boasts a strong agri-tourism. They take pride of their vast rice fields, large plantations, and huge dams.
And that is what we came here for.
After buying our last-minute errands, we charted a tricycle to take us to our first two destinations.
So today, my first book haul for the month of March arrived in the office. It’s The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. I have been looking for a cheaper preloved copy of the book for quite some time and, although payday is still far away, I just couldn’t miss the chance when I found one in Shopee.
I think it’s meant to be too since today we remember Bulgakov’s 81st death anniversary. Have you read The Master and Margarita? Sharing this quote from the book. 😀
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. I did receive Lang Leav’s Love and Misadventure as a birthday gift from a friend.
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.
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! 🤓📚