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DoodleScribbles

Scribblings and scrawls of a hopeless romantic soul

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life

Quick Notes: Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho

Genre: Realistic Fiction/Philosophy/Mental Health
Copy: Paperback
Rating: 🌕🌕🌕🌖

“Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.”

This line from Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie perfectly summarizes Veronika Decides to Die for me.

Inspired by events from Coelho’s past life, this book tells the story of Veronika — a 24-year-old woman who seems to have everything anyone could ever ask for. Nonetheless, she feels dissatisfied and makes a decision to end her life. She lives and survives and finds herself in a mental asylum where her life completely change.

I finished Veronika Decides to Die last week but it took me a while to wrap my emotions around it. Not sure if it’s the timing, since I was going through another anxiety phase when I was reading it; or because I haven’t considered suicide yet; or because Veronika’s troubles hit very close to home.

Life and death are the central themes of the story, as are madness and conformity.

This book will make you ponder on the consequences of living a repressed life, one that conforms to the norms set by society or that is bounded by one’s own limiting beliefs. It will have you thinking about the days when you feel like Veronika (tired of your prosaic life), or Zedka (unable to keep your emotions at ease), or Mari (too afraid so you choose to escape the real world), or Eduard (constrained by other people’s demand and pressure). It will make you question your authenticity — and insanity.

What would I do if death comes sooner than I expected? Truth is, I don’t know. But just as Vilette is a “safe place” for these people to express themselves, I’d say poetry is my own. Perhaps through these poems, I’d get to figure out myself and life.

Overall, this novel left me more questions than realizations (which is a good thing). Looking forward to finding the answers as I live my numbered days. 😀

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – Let love shine

Featured quote for Writer's Quote Wednesday

“Love, whether newly born or aroused from a deathlike slumber, must always create sunshine, filling the heart so full of radiance, that it overflows upon the outward world.”

― Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne died, on this day, in 1864. May this quote awaken the spirit of love within us all in these trying times when anger, hate and fear are at its height.

Where the mind is without fear by Rabindranath Tagore

Featured poems and spoken word poetry

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.

Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood by William Wordsworth

Featured poems and spoken word poetry

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
       The earth, and every common sight,
                          To me did seem
                      Apparelled in celestial light,
            The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
                      Turn wheresoe’er I may,
                          By night or day.
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

                      The Rainbow comes and goes,
                      And lovely is the Rose,
                      The Moon doth with delight
       Look round her when the heavens are bare,
                      Waters on a starry night
                      Are beautiful and fair;
       The sunshine is a glorious birth;
       But yet I know, where’er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth.

Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,
       And while the young lambs bound
                      As to the tabor’s sound,
To me alone there came a thought of grief:
A timely utterance gave that thought relief,
                      And I again am strong:
The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep;
No more shall grief of mine the season wrong;
I hear the Echoes through the mountains throng,
       The Winds come to me from the fields of sleep,
                      And all the earth is gay;
                           Land and sea
                Give themselves up to jollity,
                      And with the heart of May
                 Doth every Beast keep holiday;—
                      Thou Child of Joy,
Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy Shepherd-boy.

Ye blessèd creatures, I have heard the call
      Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
      My heart is at your festival,
            My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel—I feel it all.
                      Oh evil day! if I were sullen
                      While Earth herself is adorning,
                         This sweet May-morning,
                      And the Children are culling
                         On every side,
In a thousand valleys far and wide,
                      Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,
And the Babe leaps up on his Mother’s arm:—
                      I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
                      —But there’s a Tree, of many, one,
A single field which I have looked upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone;
                      The Pansy at my feet
                      Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
                      Hath had elsewhere its setting,
                         And cometh from afar:
                      Not in entire forgetfulness,
                      And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
                      From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
                      Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
                      He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
                      Must travel, still is Nature’s Priest,
                      And by the vision splendid
                      Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.

Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;
Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,
                      And, even with something of a Mother’s mind,
                      And no unworthy aim,
The homely Nurse doth all she can
To make her Foster-child, her Inmate Man,
                      Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came.

Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,
A six years’ Darling of a pigmy size!
See, where ‘mid work of his own hand he lies,
Fretted by sallies of his mother’s kisses,
With light upon him from his father’s eyes!
See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,
Some fragment from his dream of human life,
Shaped by himself with newly-learn{e}d art
                      A wedding or a festival,
                      A mourning or a funeral;
                         And this hath now his heart,
                      And unto this he frames his song:
                         Then will he fit his tongue
To dialogues of business, love, or strife;
                      But it will not be long
                      Ere this be thrown aside,
                      And with new joy and pride
The little Actor cons another part;
Filling from time to time his “humorous stage”
With all the Persons, down to palsied Age,
That Life brings with her in her equipage;
                      As if his whole vocation
                      Were endless imitation.

Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie
                      Thy Soul’s immensity;
Thou best Philosopher, who yet dost keep
Thy heritage, thou Eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent, read’st the eternal deep,
Haunted for ever by the eternal mind,—
                      Mighty Prophet! Seer blest!
                      On whom those truths do rest,
Which we are toiling all our lives to find,
In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave;
Thou, over whom thy Immortality
Broods like the Day, a Master o’er a Slave,
A Presence which is not to be put by;
Thou little Child, yet glorious in the might
Of heaven-born freedom on thy being’s height,
Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke
The years to bring the inevitable yoke,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?
Full soon thy Soul shall have her earthly freight,
And custom lie upon thee with a weight,
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!

                      O joy! that in our embers
                      Is something that doth live,
                      That Nature yet remembers
What was so fugitive!
The thought of our past years in me doth breed
Perpetual benediction: not indeed
For that which is most worthy to be blest;
Delight and liberty, the simple creed
Of Childhood, whether busy or at rest,
With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast:—
                      Not for these I raise
                      The song of thanks and praise
                But for those obstinate questionings
                Of sense and outward things,
                Fallings from us, vanishings;
                Blank misgivings of a Creature
Moving about in worlds not realised,
High instincts before which our mortal Nature
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised:
                      But for those first affections,
                      Those shadowy recollections,
                Which, be they what they may
Are yet the fountain-light of all our day,
Are yet a master-light of all our seeing;
                Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being
Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake,
                To perish never;
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,
                      Nor Man nor Boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy!
                Hence in a season of calm weather
                      Though inland far we be,
Our Souls have sight of that immortal sea
                      Which brought us hither,
                Can in a moment travel thither,
And see the Children sport upon the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.

Then sing, ye Birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
                      And let the young Lambs bound
                      As to the tabor’s sound!
We in thought will join your throng,
                      Ye that pipe and ye that play,
                      Ye that through your hearts to-day
                      Feel the gladness of the May!
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
                Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
                      We will grieve not, rather find
                      Strength in what remains behind;
                      In the primal sympathy
                      Which having been must ever be;
                      In the soothing thoughts that spring
                      Out of human suffering;
                      In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.
And O, ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,
Forebode not any severing of our loves!
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
I only have relinquished one delight
To live beneath your more habitual sway.
I love the Brooks which down their channels fret,
Even more than when I tripped lightly as they;
The innocent brightness of a new-born Day
                      Is lovely yet;
The Clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o’er man’s mortality;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.


Sharing this beautiful piece from William Wordsworth who was born on this day in the year 1770. Wordsworth is one of the poets whose love for the natural world can be felt in his poems. Many of his works talk about the importance of nature to our intellectual and spiritual development. He saw nature as a living source of wisdom, peace and joy.

This particular ode speaks about growing up, falling in love for the natural world, losing connection with nature, and finding consolation in remembering the past. Today, let us take some time to appreciate the beauty around. ❤

Wrap-Up | March 2021

Monthly Blog Update

We marched into the month of March to celebrate the true beauty and strength of women. Yet, across the world, the number of oppressed and abused women continues to climb at a fast rate. Here in the Philippines, incest and rape soared high during the pandemic. The culture of mysogyny and sexism is an all-day meal. It’s tiring.

And who would have thought, we’d have a dejavu of last year’s trauma. While the rest of the world is trying to move forward, my country — guess what — is still in chaos. There’s too much politics, greed and miscommunication. I could rant and list how fucked we are now but that won’t change a thing.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that March has not been too great for me. Here’s a quick look back:

Things I’ve written…

Creative writing has been hard for me lately. My one and only poem this month was triggered by a recent issue about our Tatay Digs who was seen trying to touch his maid’s private part during his birthday. The palace, of course, defended the man and claimed there was “no malice.” The maid “laughed” and besides, the president’s wife was present. FTW.

Books I’ve read…

I’ve only managed to finish three books this month:

  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Famous Tales of Mystery and Horror by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Love and Misadventure by Lang Leav (re-read)

As for my book haul, I’ve finally got a copy of Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita (Php390 @purplephcloset)

Some bookish thoughts:

Places I’ve been…

My friends and I had another sea to summmit experience this month. We spent a weekend camping in a not-so-know mountain in Naga. Though I have nothing against sharing beautiful hiking/camping spots with others, I think it’s not ready for everyone yet. Like it or not, there will be irresponsible people who abuse nature. We need to continue reminding ourselves proper outdoor etiquette.

Respect nature and wildlife. Take your trash with you.

Now, moving onto April….

My mouth is an open wound for the flies

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.

Bohol Backpacking: Exploring Ubay and Alicia (Day 1)

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.

Continue reading “Bohol Backpacking: Exploring Ubay and Alicia (Day 1)”

A Letter to Fanny Browne by John Keats

My dearest Girl,

This moment I have set myself to copy some verses out fair. I cannot proceed with any degree of content. I must write you a line or two and see if that will assist in dismissing you from my Mind for ever so short a time. Upon my Soul I can think of nothing else — The time is passed when I had power to advise and warn you against the unpromising morning of my Life — My love has made me selfish. I cannot exist without you — I am forgetful of every thing but seeing you again — my Life seems to stop there — I see no further. You have absorb’d me. I have a sensation at the present moment as though I was dissolving—I should be exquisitely miserable without the hope of soon seeing you. I should be afraid to separate myself far from you. My sweet Fanny, will your heart never change? My love, will it? I have no limit now to my love — Your note came in just here — I cannot be happier away from you — ’T is richer than an Argosy of Pearles. Do not threat me even in jest. I have been astonished that Men could die Martyrs for religion — I have shudder’d at it — I shudder no more. I could be martyr’d for my Religion — Love is my religion — I could die for that — I could die for you. My Creed is Love and you are its only tenet — You have ravish’d me away by a Power I cannot resist; and yet I could resist till I saw you; and even since I have seen you I have endeavoured often “to reason against the reasons of my Love.” I can do that no more — the pain would be too great — My Love is selfish. I cannot breathe without you.

Yours for ever,

John Keats


One of my favorite poets and letter senders, John Keats, died on this day exactly 200 years ago. Sharing this extract from one of his sweetest and poignant letters to Fanny Browne, his betrothed.

Ah, so much love. 💛

Heavy by Mary Oliver

Featured poems and spoken word poetry

That time
I thought I could not
go any closer to grief
without dying

I went closer,
and I did not die.
Surely God
had his hand in this,

as well as friends.
Still, I was bent,
and my laughter,
as the poet said,

was nowhere to be found.
Then said my friend Daniel,
(brave even among lions),
“It’s not the weight you carry

but how you carry it –
books, bricks, grief –
it’s all in the way
you embrace it, balance it, carry it

when you cannot, and would not,
put it down.”
So I went practicing.
Have you noticed?

Have you heard
the laughter
that comes, now and again,
out of my startled mouth?

How I linger
to admire, admire, admire
the things of this world
that are kind, and maybe

also troubled –
roses in the wind,
the sea geese on the steep waves,
a love
to which there is no reply?


Sharing this poignant poem about dying and living after someone’s death. For some unknown reason, I find myself drawn to this piece today. I hope we all heal from all kinds of loss.

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