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.
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? 😀
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!
i wouldn’t call us a mistake this empty valley that we left behind once flourished with laughter and though the poppies were long gone and the river’s drained with love i have memories— i’d go back to them as I trudge the earth until, one day, the trails lead you back to me
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.
“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.
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.
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:
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.