Monday, July 15, 2013

Reading Rebecca West

When things were becoming almost unbearable, I came upon Rebecca West's "The Fountain Overflows" tucked in a shelf under Karl's table. Paper-wrapped, and still inside the paper bag when I bought it, the book features a painting of a woman before a piano,and several other smaller paintings on its cover. I started reading, and immediately got immersed into another world: the world of Rose and her twin sister Mary, their sister Cordelia and baby brother Richard Quinn, their philandering no good of a father and the mother they love so much. At least, I forgot about my pain, if only for a moment.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Blogs That Keep Me Whole

Sometimes when things turn totally insane and horrifying, I turn to blogs. Some people tend to dismiss blogs, but I find some deep sense of connection with these few blogs that I follow. At times, when things really go crazy, I turn to them to make sense of my world. I never mentioned this to anyone before. This used to be my best kept secret. But today, I honor these blogs for keeping me alive: Daryll Jane's Free Migrant paints a turbulent inner landscape, something that I can identify with and freely enter; Prateesh's Room With a View is a refuge, Sheilfa's Tumbang Preso, another sanctuary fenced by sharp objects, Maryanne Moll's "Sensibilities," particularly her "My street, myself," or "I, watcher," a dream. Sometimes, when I feel particularly sad and disturbed, I turn to Ma'm Merlie's poetry, and end up crying but no longer sad; and Ninotchka Rosca's Lily Pad, helps me get back my bearing; helps me think. To all these writers and bloggers, thank you for writing what you write, thank you for making sense of the world.

The Guy whose back was turned to me and Prateesh

Early in June, as soon as we stepped out of the cab inside the Ateneo campus, the puzzle was finally resolved. The man in robes, whose back we can see from the windows of the Rizal Library, where Prateesh and I used to look out, wondering and trying to figure out who the guy in robe was and never had enough time to find out until it was time for us to fly home, was actually St. Thomas More, the best friend of Henry VIII, who died in a guillotine upon Henry VIII's order. Near the statue, an epitaph said something about Thomas More, a loyal friend to the King of England, but a more loyal servant to God. I came upon Thomas More, not through the eyes of faith, I used to be an agnostic and now I am a pagan; but I came upon Thomas More's story through my depraved fascination of Henry VIII, the decadent monarch. Standing upon the grounds of Ateneo, carrying in my hands a box of Davao golden pomelos, which they said were the sweetest on earth, I realized how small a world it was, for Toto and I were going upstairs the social sciences building to see dr. V, Thomas More's memory right before me, and I wish Prateesh were there with me.