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No one belongs here more than you.

"...gives the most seemingly insignificant moments a sly potency. A benign encounter, a misunderstanging, a shy revelation can reconfigure the world."
This is an excerpt from the blurb of No One Belongs Here More Than You, a collection of short stories by award-winning artist and writer Miranda July. This was one of the four books* I bought yesterday at Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street after a very, very stressful week. I've always found pleasure in prose more than anything else and short story collections like this I fondly devour.

Writing is a form of masochism, that's what our fiction professor always says. It's a painful sort of release, much like an exorcism, I guess, only in an internally turbulent way. It's more than just writing words on a page; it's wanting to calm the tension inside you, to flesh out the voices of different characters in your head, to make something real come out of the surreal. My writing "philosophy" has never been about the fantastic images or fabulous settings, because I admit I don't have the skills (yet) to perfectly craft such a story. But I find pleasure in writing about the little moments, the quiet ones that almost go unnoticed because I find them the most powerful. Their weight comes not in the grandness of the moment itself, but the slow, creeping poignant effect it brings long after it is over.

So far, I am enjoying the stories I've read in this collection. This just might overtake David Foster Wallace's "Brief Interviews With Hideous Men" on my list of favorite short story collections (but it's too early to say.) I am also particularly in love with the cover design, the title in a simple black serif font atop a plain yellow background. Very simple and hushed, echoing perhaps the tenderness of the book itself. And the title? Do I even dare to begin about the title? It was practically screaming out to me the first time I saw it on the shelves - maybe it's the universe's way of reassuring me that I actually belong to the books/in this course/among the words/in this literary world?

Maybe I'm just going delusional because this week is the final one for the semester and it's still far from over. Hearing book titles speak to you might be a very telling sign of hysteria. Ah, the perks of being a writer.

I'll be spending the rest of the weekend revising my two plays, while finding time to read my new books and lunch out with the family in between. The semester is coming to a close but I cannot find myself to feel relieved just yet. Hopefully the books will take my mind off of things. In a good way.


* The other three were: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (which I've been dying to read), A Season of Grace by NVM Gonzales, and Prose and Poems by Nick Joaquin, both of which are included in The Daunting List of Books in Philippine Literature in English That Every Creative Writing Major Should Read Before She Dies/Attempts To Do Her Thesis. True story.