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Of improbable possibilities.

My Literary Criticism class is admittedly one of my most difficult classes, partly because of my readings (our book weighs about a kilo or something like that) but mostly because I have a hard time hearing our very, very soft-spoken professor so it really takes herculean effort to be attentive in his 8:30 am class. But the funny thing is, just when I'm about to fall asleep, something interesting like this jolts me up and suddenly I'm all ears.

"With the respect of the requirements of art, a probable impossibility is to be preferred to an improbable possibility."

-- from The Poetics by Aristotle

The moment he dropped this line and wrote it on the board was precious. I knew I read it but I just didn't grasp its whole meaning until this morning. Probable impossibilities. Improbable possibilities. You ask: what the hell are these messed up paradoxes? And is there even a difference?

I'm actually quite befuddled too but I shall (try to) explain by giving illustrations. It's actually quite difficult to differentiate them but I hope the examples give you a clearer picture of the two:

A probable impossibility is something likely to happen but cannot be true or accomplished. Like man reaching Pluto. An improbable possibility meanwhile is unlikely to happen but is capable of occurring. Like winning the lottery.

(See, it is VERY confusing.)

The whole period, I was just pondering on this. What is more preferable? Was Aristotle correct with his conclusion? I wanted to have a clear-cut distinction and be able to compare what the better situation is between the two. The problem was this wasn't the main topic of The Poetics so it was only a matter of minutes before our professor moved on to other more important details like the explanation of plot and the comparison of epic and tragic poetry. I couldn't not listen to him otherwise I'd get lost. So I scribbled it on my notebook and told myself I shall worry about it later.

And now, here we are in the "later." I'm still not over it. I just can't stop trying to figure it out.

Both in some ways have a chance of happening, but in different degrees. One is more likely to occur than the other. With the first argument, it just sounds doable in theory. It's like knowing how a car works, but not being able to actually drive it. On the other hand, you have the odds up against you in the second scenario. But it can come true. Like searching for a needle in the haystack. It's a tedious task, but it's there somewhere -- you can find it. So from what I can understand, I have to disagree with Aristotle and say that an improbable possibility is more acceptable.

Well then again, perhaps I got it all wrong. After all, Aristotle was talking about the requirements of art, not life. What about in reality? What is more desirable? Or the better question may be, which one is better to hold onto: an unattainable event, or an unreasonable one?

Jeez, I just got even more frustrated. A bigger (and quite unwelcome but inevitable) thought popped in my head: Is [insert name] a probable impossibility or an improbable possibility? I hate it how I can't put a label on him -- he's not a friend, he's not a lover. And now this. What is he then?!

Partially defeated, I looked at my notebook again. I couldn't help noticing:
Impossible. ImPossible. I'm Possible.
Improbable. ImProbable. I'm Probable.

Whatever the real explanation of these two ideas may be, they're just both banking on the likelihood of something transpiring. Occurring. And at the end of the day, it doesn't matter how plausible it is for something to take place. Maybe it doesn't have to all come down to chance. At some point, it's up to us to make it, not the statistics. So what if we get there seamlessly or beat the odds? Just as long as it does happen.



All the time.

The Saltwater Room - Owl City

What will it take to make or break this hint of love?
We need time, only time

So tell me darling do you wish we'd fall in love?
All the time, all the time

Just like that, this song made me feel much better. There is just really something about Owl City that instantly lifts up your spirits. Like it triggers a swoon button and makes you giddy and gushing like a maniac. Listen to this one, or any Owl City song for that matter, and see (hear?) for yourselves. Anyone who doesn't get that warm fuzzy feeling afterwards is made of stone.

"Sometimes things find you when you need them to find you, I believe that. And for me, it's usually song lyrics." Peyton Sawyer couldn't have said it any better. Amen.


Yet another week lies ahead of me. I've got a massive headache plus really bad colds, which leaves me with a paper left unfinished. I feel so tired despite having slept the whole afternoon. What is happening to me, it's only the third week of class! Of course, I'm blaming this on the unfortunately necessary academic stress, and the fortunately unnecessary emotional turmoil. Jeez, they are so frustrating, they're taking a toll on me physically too.

But no excuses. Second MIT session tomorrow! I hope that boosts enough endorphins to keep me going this week. I need an extra shirt. And Extra Joss? Haha.


On repeat mode.

Kill - Jimmy Eat World

Sorry, but I can't just go turn off how I feel
You kill me, you build me up, but just to watch me break

I know what I should do
but I just can't walk away

And once again, only a song can speak what my words cannot.



There are only two ways to classify a surprise: a good or a bad one. It's either it makes you feel better, or dampens your spirits. Either it encourages you, or leaves you hopeless. Either it gives you confirmation, or confuses the hell out of you. Either you like it, or you don't.

This week has been so far a week of little revelations that aren't necessarily life-changing, but surprises nonetheless. I guess I think they are worthy enough to be blogged about anyway. Are they good or bad?

  1. I've been such a nerd lately. I sweeear the amount of readings I have after just a week and a half of school is beyond crazy. But the funny thing is, instead of procrastinating and refusing to even look at it, I am actually feeling compelled to go home early and just READ. I swear to God, I was just studying and reading all week long. All my subjects have heavy readings: For CL121, I have this unbelievably thick photocopied book on literary criticisms. For Eng23, I have dozens of Shakespearean plays to worry about (and memorize because it's a freakin' drama class). For CL111 & CL184, I have short stories and poems to worry about. It's a never-ending READING process. But yeah, it surprises me how motivated I am to work lately. Sure I feel like I'm dragging myself to do this, but at least the will power is there.

  2. I "signed-up" for the Mark Aranas Intense Training program. Our barkada has always been meaning to do this together (of course we have other things to do other than Rockband! Haha.) and now that the timing is right, I can't believe it pushed through. What shocks me more though was that I willingly joined! I am the last person on earth who would want to jog, run, walk or even do any exercise whatsoever. But with a little peer pressure, and a huge determination to have great legs, I gave in. This afternoon was no easy task. The MIT program was indeed, INTENSE. Mark was unforgiving! Jogging twice around the Academic Oval, plus endurance training that involved lunges and push-ups. Hahaha. But I need that, actually. More than the desire for a sexy body (which is what motivates me!), I want to do this to prove something to myself. I need to defy my limits!

  3. I just found out something about a very good friend of mine. I was actually expecting it, but I just didn't think it would happen this soon. Of course I have nothing against it, and I am very happy for him. In fact, I am actually relieved. But my reaction to the discovery spoke more about myself than it did about our friendship -- that it really was better off that we ended things the way we did. Because we just couldn't be something we hoped we would be.

  4. I am finally starting to warm up to a friend again with whom I had quite of a falling out a few weeks back. It wasn't like before but at least it's a start. I'm shocked that I'm letting myself put my guard down a bit even after what happened, but I realized I can't hide from her forever. She is still after all a friend. And despite the circumstances, at least I still want to be a good friend to her.

  5. The more I suppress something, the more it consumes me. Yes, I admit it, there are just some feelings I can't escape or deny, no matter how much I want to.

The thing with surprises is it all depends on how you look at it. Whether it enthuses you or ruins your day is your call. Are these good or bad surprises? Well, I can't say for sure just yet but they are welcome surprises. If anything, at least they are signs that I'm growing up, and finally going beyond what is expected of me. And who wouldn't want that?

What surprised you lately?


The Stories We Tell.

Our CL111 prof, Sir Butch, asked us a very important question the other day in class:

"Why do we tell stories?"

Why are we compelled to write about them, why is there a need to share them, why do we feel like revealing a part of ourselves?

I've always been a storyteller. My friends can attest to that. I never really think much about it, it's just something that I do. I like sharing little random events that happen to me throughout the day, like when I saw a rainbow as I was riding the MRT on my way home, or how I just finished a whole bar of mazapan. It's something so normal, so natural to me that when the question was presented to us, I couldn't find an answer.

Why do I tell my stories? It's not as if it's everyone's business.

I didn't know really. It just happens. So I was stumped. For the next 30 seconds, I was scribbling on my all-purpose doodle notebook asking myself the same question over and over. It's an expected question given that it was a class on the Short Story, but I never really thought of it before.

And then Sir Butch said something.

"Because it is in sharing these stories that we make sense of them."

Everyday is a surprise for me. Sometimes things don't happen the way I thought they would, sometimes people don't turn out to be who I thought they were. And with every new discovery I can only grasp so much about what is happening. I believe that everything happens for a reason, but of course I won't always know what that reason is. That oblivion is often frustrating. Maybe I don't always question it out loud, but at the back of my mind, I know a part of me is wondering. And maybe by telling the stories, by sharing them, I am unconsciously trying to figure it out. Maybe there is a part of me that wants to step outside myself and look at what is happening to me from another point of view, and I can only do that by articulating it. Or writing it down.

So, I'm wondering: even after the countless stories I've shared about someone, why isn't it still making perfect sense?

Is it because there are more stories to be told?


It's Friday..

..well, we all know what The Cure sang about that.

To hell with the 13th. Today was nice.


I'm only four days into the semester and already I'm loaded with so many readings for my majors and electives. CL 121, 111, 184 an Eng23. Now I know why we're doomed to be starving artists -- because all our money go to our required readings and books. I swear to God my first week allowance all went to that! :)) Well, I'm not complaining (yet) because so far I'm actually enjoying my classes. Most of my professors are really cool and awesome (although they are actually quite old), and I'm very very interested with all our topics so far. To tell you honestly, for the first time in such a long time, I feel like I'm studying and reading all these because I want to, not because I'm obliged to.

But then again, it's just the first week.
Let's see a couple of days from now, haha.


Coincidences. Again I can't help but wonder if everything falls under a great scheme of things and that I am a mere pawn in some higher being's chess game. The uncertainty is often frustrating. Sure, there are signs, but more often than not they confuse rather than confirm. Are these sudden accidental fortuities telling me something I already know or something I don't want to hear? It's difficult to not disintegrate every little bit of detail when practically the whole world around you is scrutinizing everything for you.

But perhaps it is only when we learn to let go, when we stop over-thinking, when we actually let things be, that we realize -- things will fall into place eventually. I may have no idea what I'm doing, I may be unsure of what's to come. But I'd like to believe one day it's going to make sense. And whether I like how the end turns out or not, whether this is more of a mistake rather than a certainty, I'd rather go through this than run away. Because I know, I know, this is far from over.



The thing about Darcy.

One thing I've been so grateful for about the sembreak is having so much time in my hands doing the one thing I love most: reading. It saddens me how I've lost the tenacity to read whatever novel kicks my fancy come school time because as cliche as this may sound, I just really don't have the time. It's painful to see half-read novels on my bedside table when I'm holding inch-thick readings for my subjects. And so as the semester broke (harhar) I promised myself I would do some catching up.

Trust me, the lazy mornings (and afternoons and evenings and late nights) spent on leisure readings are precious.

Guess who's the boy that's been keeping me up all night? It's Fitzwilliam freakin' Darcy.

A friend gave me the deluxe limited edition print of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, with a beautiful cover done by Ruben Toledo. A random fact about me: I do judge books by their cover. The moment I saw this one on the racks, I knew I just had to have it. Thank goodness for friends who see right through me.

I've read the book before, and to say that I loved it would be an understatement. It was the novel that started my love affair with Jane Austen. It had the perfect mix of gutsiness and candor -- something rare in even modern-day novels. I guess it was the first "classic" novel I read, the one that opened the doors for all the other timeless novels out there. I loved its sarcasm and wit, I liked the unpredictability and charm. It was a special book, it meant a lot of things at a certain time in my life. Reading it again would be a delight.

But of course, what Pride & Prejudice journey would be complete without everyone's favorite (anti) hero Mr. Darcy? He was the biggest enigma in the novel -- was he the knight in shining armor, or the evil villain? His arrogance was annoying, his sharpness was maddening. And yet, millions of girls over the centuries continue to fall madly in love with him. Elizabeth Bennett, and myself included.

I can't help but wonder, if Mr. Darcy was placed in the 21st century, would he be as charmingly maddening as he is?

Reading the novel for the second time felt like seeing the story with a new set of eyes. The plot is the same, but somehow the entire novel hit me in completely different places. It's true what they say that a book never stays the same. It will always change, because the reader changes. The experience of reading a novel depends largely on the person reading it -- how much she knows, where she's been, who she's with.

I can imagine Mr. Darcy being this filthy rich private-school bred boy with a nice, shiny silver Camry. We would be classmates in Gender & Sexuality class, and when asked about chivalry, I would say that a number of good ol' gentlemen still exist in society. Our professor would ask if I appreciate chivalrous deeds and of course I would agree, saying that it is comforting to know that respect for women is still deemed noble. Mr. Darcy would butt in and say chivalrous acts like these defeat feminism. The professor would prod for details, and he would go on and say that if women and men are equal then men do not need to give special treatment to the ladies, like giving up their seats in buses or MRTs. I would rebut him by stating that feminism is goes beyond what he is trying to say but then professor signals that our class is over and that we would resume next meeting. Mr. Darcy would look at me quite arrogantly, quite satisfied that he has stumped me and would leave the room. I'd fix my things and hurriedly storm out for my next class, only to find him still outside giving me a coy smile before walking away.

Okay, maybe I am over-thinking this. But my point is, reading the novel again made me wonder how much has changed since the last time I read it. Before, Fitzwilliam Darcy just annoyed me, period. Well, he is such a perplexity, and I guess he always will be, but now he became more three-dimensional. Perhaps it's because I've met people who are just as puzzling as he is. There are people who will get on your nerves but unconsciously win you over. And Elizabeth is no longer just a protagonist to me -- she is a character I can be, because I now understand her frustration over this boy that keeps ticking her off.

But perhaps it is precisely this vexation that keeps this novel transcend the test of time. It's a universal feeling, driving yourself weary over something. The biases and first impressions will always have a huge impact on the way we deal with people. This is human nature. I guess it's safe to say that this novel will keep hitting us in the right places -- just more painful and truthful as time goes by.

Now that I think about it, modern-day Darcy might peeve me just as much as he did Elizabeth in the 19th century. I'm going to want to break him down so badly and trip over everything he say (Yeyy, Rockband allusion) but I have a feeling he will just as easily win me over, too. Just because.


Enrollment starts tomorrow. Oh God.