As for my book haul, I received two copies of Atwood on World Book and Copyright Day from The Book Snoop. Those who know me well know that I’m impulsive when it comes to books. When I see it, I get it — so long as I find it a worthy deal. However, these two were the first ones that I waited longest. I completed the 30-day rule, a challenge I personally set (just because), before I decided to finally take them. Waiting was a roller-coaster of emotions. I was anxious. I was impatient. But in the end, all the wait was worth it!
The Blind Assassin (Php 249)
Alias Grace (Php 399)
Alias Grace, the miniseries, is also available on Netflix for those who prefer to watch the movie first before reading.
Places I’ve been…
Went on two day hikes this earlier in April. One in Liloan’s Lataban Hills, and the other along the Naga-Minglanilla loop.
Typhoon Surigae, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Bising, however, completely turned out plans around later on. We ought to visit Camotes Island but since sea voyages were suspended, we had to make a last-minute Plan B. We decided to go to San Remegio and spend the weekend at Maayo Resort, a Caribbean-inspired resort in this northwestern part of Cebu. It may not be the weekend we expected but it was definitely fun! 😁
I wake up to one of those lazy mornings. The leaves have changed and a thick fall foliage probably awaits me outside. People fear me. Footsteps quicken whenever they pass by my house in this part of the jungle.
Yet, a child’s innocence is magical. Most often, they are valiant warriors throwing pebbles at my window, playfully screaming, “THE WITCH ON THE FOOTHILL IS REAL! RUUUUUN!”
Once, two kids braved knocking on my doorstep. A big brother and a little sister. The spunky little girl came up in her yellow dress, demanding, “Are you a witch?”
“Am I?” I asked.
She looked at me with ambigous eyes, calculating and curious. “Our teacher told us the story of the witch on the foothills. She lives with spiders and bats and pumpkins with glowing eyes,” the girl said, comfortably taking a chair, uninvited. “But you live with cats, butterflies and plants that wear crowns.”
“They’re cactus,” I told her.
“Just as I thought,” she dismissed. “You should come out sometimes and see the ocean. Except when there’s a hurricane. Hurricanes are the worst. Jake and I can’t play when there’s one. And it howls like a monster at night.”
I smiled, amused with this small creature that talks endlessly in front of me. Her brother left a while ago to call their parents.
What hasty little children…
This one is my entry for our company’s mini writing challenge. We were asked to pick cards with corresponding words and use these as elements to create a story.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So, we are down to final month of this challenging year. I know it has been hard all of us but I hope everyone is safe, sound and thriving.
November — the month that was. It’s when half of the world transitions from autumn to winter. It’s when dead souls are honored and bounties are celebrated. It’s when creatives around the world try their hands at National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
I guess for me it would be “Nah, no writing November.” Anyhow, here’s a quick wrap-up.
My book collection is still continuously growing — all thanks to online resellers and Booksale. And despite the rise of scammers online, I was lucky enough to transact with kind and honest people who helped me find the books in my TLF (to look for) list. For this month, these are the gems that I got:
The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe (Php180 @a_bookworms_closet)
Famous Tales of Mystery and Horror by Edgar Allan Poe (Php150 @a_bookworms_closet)
Isle of Dogs by Patricia Cornwell (Php25 @Robinsons)
Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes (Php44 @Robinsons)
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (Php125 @Robinsons)
After Nature by Purdy (Php39 @Robinsons)
Walden by Henry David Thoreau (Php100 @mgaaklatnitanna)
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (Php125 @mgaaklatnianna)
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (Php85 @mimilybluebooks)
Politically Correct Guide to the Bible (Php75 @mimilybluebooks)
Meanwhile, I kept getting sidetracked in between reading with all the chaos brought by typhoons, work and politics. I was able to finish two books though: Letters To My Son by Kent Werburn and Life of Pi by Yann Martel.
A big shoutout as well to LibriVox for their free public domain audiobooks. I was able to revisit once again the good ol’ favorite, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes this month.
Places I’ve been…
My SMS friends and I got a chance to catch up and hike the Spartan Trail for the first time after lockdown. The heavy rains weeks before brought the trail to life. The riverbed was filled with water, the leaves were greener, the wind was cooler — it was the lovely day indeed to convene with nature. I went back to Spartan Trail on the third week of November, this time with James and his colleagues.
Posts I loved…
My virtual presence during this month was faint. I didn’t get a chance to read other people’s posts or interesting reads from the likes of Brainpickings/Medium. Let’s strive to do better this December, shall we? 😀