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The seven-year itch.


Seven years. Ah, that monumental time frame, the daunted limit. They say it takes seven years before a married couple sees completely each other's flaws and realizes quite fully how uninteresting their relationship has become. It's the time it takes before one wanders around, gallivanting from one bed to the other, or when one suddenly decides to take on a graduate degree or a new job or a trip that ultimately does not involve the partner. In short, it's the amount of time it takes before you get bored and decide it's actually time to close up shop and just walk away.

It's been seven years since I first posted an online tirade about some mishap way back in my first year of high school. Since then, this blog has been witness to my unabashed One Tree Hill fangirling (which, up to this day, has not been surpassed), hormonal fits, unreasonable crushes, nervous breakdowns, unwarranted excitement, and everything else in between. If it were any other relationship, all that ranting would have been good enough justification to get rid of me. To my defense, at least I was an evolving creature. Blogger is still pretty much the same and I've been getting this kind of treatment since I first created an entry in 2005. No pretty layouts, no reblogging and liking features. Yes, the constancy can get a bit dull too.

I have every reason to leave this blog behind, under the guise of growth or maturity or just for amusement. I've been getting terribly busy lately and I can only predict more demanding months (and probably years!) ahead. This is probably the perfect time to say, "It's not you, it's me," and not feel that bad about it.

But despite all that (and despite Livejournal, Xanga, Multiply, and now Tumblr) here we are, still. I don't know if it's the sentimentality over the time shared or just the laziness to transfer URLs, but the fact is, I like this blog. I actually like being here. I enjoy updating my layout every now and then, I like reading the few questions that come my way, I relish all the clumsy writing of previous years. I still look forward to writing about how my week went or just putting my thoughts out there, no matter how trivial and repetitive.

I guess at the end of the day, what matters is I still love it. And isn't that what saves the marriage, the relationship? That it's something we actually are still fond of? That it's something we cannot do without? That it still holds a piece of us?

It's been seven years, but I feel like this is just the beginning.


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A few welcome distractions.


Bought four books in one day. Oh, weekend, thank you for being so kind to me!



(L-R) One L by Scott Turow, T he Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan, The Best American Essays 2001 edited by Kathleen Norris and Robert Atwan, Break It Down (Stories) by Lydia Davis


One L is a somewhat-fictionalized memoir (labels are superfluous!) on Turow's experiences as a first year law student or "1L" at Harvard Law School. I've been looking for this book for about a year now, for very obvious reasons. It was only this week that I actually decided to call the major bookstores in Manila and asked if they had a copy. Only two branches had it: three copies at Fully Booked Rockwell and one copy at Fully Booked MOA. I didn't hesitate to have the remaining one at MOA reserved, just in case. I'm now only flipping through the first pages and already I'm kind of thrilled, and kind of scared. Let's hope I can actually gauge how realistic this book is four months from now. ;)

The Lover's Dictionary is yet another addition to David Levithan's brave attempts at fiction. I've always been a fan of form, especially since I learned about post-structuralism in my literary criticism class and realized how much the physicality of words can actually weigh just as much as their meaning. Levithan is just one of the few contemporary authors who is constantly reinventing the space in which words and stories are told. (David Foster Wallace [RIP], Mark Danielewski, and Junot Diaz are just a few others who did the same, and are also my favorites.) As can be guessed from the title, this book functions as a dictionary of sorts, with the entire narrative moving along through a series of definitions, much like a dictionary. I'm very interested on how this "gimmick" adds dimension to the story.

The Best American series is one elusive (and expensive!) bunch to find, especially here in the Philippines. The Best American Essays, particularly. I assume it's because nonfiction is more accessible to a lot of people, and it's quite extensive in form too making it a longer read, which I assume also makes it more worth it as a buy. But this is just my opinion, of course - I'm majoring in nonfiction, so this is my argument! Anyway, so far I've only had one other The Best American Essays book (the 2006 edition) and I bought it for Php 100 from someone selling books at my college. This one, I bought for Php 115 at Book Sale. I'm starting to believe the only chance I have of completing these is to scour for them at book sales and have them secondhand - which I don't mind at all, really.

Break It Down is one of those books whose cover just jumps at you and doesn't make you let go. And besides, it's Lydia Davis, how could I ever let it go? Her prose is something I truly admire for its succinctness and simplicity. These are two characteristics I love to find in reading but have a difficulty executing in writing. (Just goes to show I never had it in me to be a poet.) Just by skimming through the pages, her play with form also looked very interesting. I had to have it right then and there.


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The weeks ahead can only get more stressful and I sense a lot of sleepless nights ahead. But books always comfort me in a way sleep or food never can - which sounds really unhealthy, yet actually refreshing for me. I admit I haven't been reading (for leisure) as much as I'd want to, but just the thought of having all these books to read, waiting for me by my bedside table, makes me want to just get everything done so I could go back to them right away.

I'm still going to start reading them tonight, though. Work or no work, these books are too good to be shelved for another time. :)

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O Perfect Day


A report I did for our CL150 class (Philippine Literature in English) is on "O Perfect Day" by Estrella Alfon. In a nutshell, it's about Bebe and her struggle to write about happy moments, a particular summer day in particular. Her friend Inday's sister comes home from Manila, and it becomes a reunion of sorts for family and friends as they fetch her at the terminal. Bebe narrates the events of that day - the teenagers singing on the bus, boys teasing the girls, girls laughing at the boys, dancing at the living room after getting home, eating a hearty lunch, going to a picnic by the river later in the afternoon, feelings admitted, feelings unreturned - a lot of things, really, one that you would expect of a youthful rural summer.

But in small doses, there is a glimpse of Bebe's fears amidst all the glee: both of writing about this perfect day, and about all this perfection in general. The first one, which allows the piece to be metafictional in a way, is actually the impetus for the entire story. When a friend of hers points out that she can never write a happy story because all her other works are mostly sad and depressing, Bebe is challenged. Because she did enjoy everything they did and considers them cheerful enough to be remembered in a story, she tries to recount them for a friend (Inday's sister) to whom she seems like she is writing a letter. This explains the overwhelming detail and her conscious effort to write as many jovial anecdotes as possible.

On a deeper, more intrinsic level however is the desire to tell this story, not just to prove that she can write a happy one, but because of the acknowledgement that this perfect time in their lives is fleeting. They are almost at the prime of their adolescence - where the future gleams brightly, the opportunities are ripe, and feelings are waiting to be explored. They are all juniors and seniors in high school, presumably, and they are all at the threshold of being kids and adults. Everything that lies ahead of them is promising, yet very much uncertain. This fear is further underscored by the mention of her nightmares of drowning in a pool. Everyone else seems to be enjoying a swim, especially her other girl friends and their mothers, but she remains on the shallow end, shivering in cold fear. It may be symbolic of her reluctance and hesitation to grow up - what if she gets drowned, what she never gets out alive, what if she doesn't enjoy it? What if things don't get as perfect as this again?

Why am I talking about this?

Lately I've been having a lot of "perfect days" that are (unfortunately) being left unwritten. Or not encapsulated enough in the few words I try to do so. Much like Bebe, the urge to write about them is not just about putting my writing skills to good use, but also trying to take these pieces of my life and have them down on paper for myself and everyone else to remember by. But more imperative, I think, is my apprehension of the future too - the same reluctance to leave behind this comforting, wonderful, ideal world. How could it get any better than this, being a college senior in a prestigious university with a highly regarded course? I'm uncomfortable about this "perfection" because I know I may have to leave it. I'm on the brink of everything. This is the tipping point now, the climax. And things can only go better or downhill from here. It's inevitable.

Bebe battles out the worry by just writing ahead anyway. The very acknowledgment of her fear is, also perhaps, a way of defeating it. I should take my cue from her, I guess. So what if the story doesn't completely sum up the perfect day? So what if things are probably not going to get as good as this? At least I'd have it on paper - or on this case, online. After all, if it's as perfect as I claim it to be, then a few words should be enough. Maybe, I don't need the complete picture to relive it all anyway, just the feeling that comes with it.



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All this comes after a string of conversations, dates, and random bonding moments with many friends. It's fascinating how all these are happening at this time of the year, when we're all needing the comfort from people who know us the most and people who are going through the exact same things (aka hell weeks, thesis, graduation). Over siomai, cereals, or milk teas, we just talk and laugh and remember, and it's always enough. More than enough, even. O perfect days.



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The future is now.


Tomorrow is my entrance exam for San Beda Law.

Just this week I've had random talks with six different friends from different courses about our respective futures. In a nutshell: Two of them, from engineering, are bravely battling out their majors (and all while nursing some heartaches here and there). Three of my CW-mates have been busy with attending job fairs all over campus and hunting down their thesis advisers. Another friend is planning to go to med school and is waiting for the results, just like I am.

This is it. We're on the brink of everything changing. The rest of our lives are very much dependent on these last few months. For the first time in many years, I actually have no idea what's going to happen to me in the near future. Nothing is certain. And after April nothing will be the same again. It's exciting and scary and confusing all at the same time. I'm still coming to terms with this reality, but slowly I'm getting there. I really have no choice.

Future, be kind.


(Sorry, I can't seem to shake these feelings off my head even when I've written about them before. I guess this is really what happens when Senioritis gets to you, huh?)



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Peanut butter dependency.


Lately, I've been having this growing attachment (more like dependency) on peanut butter. For the last four months, my breakfast at the dorm consisted of nothing but Gardenia's wheat bread and Lady's Choice creamy peanut butter. I do not know why I never get tired and why it never stops being so darn good. I think I may have even gotten to that point where I would much rather have peanut butter than Nutella. (Oh good Lord, how is that even possible! I hear you say) Yes. The Nutella jar is being ignored like the seatmate you only befriended so that you could get it on with her best friend. I know it feels insulted, given that it's the more popular one, but there's nothing I can do about it - I got it bad for peanut butter, and peanut butter alone.

I'm not at the point of addiction, though. At least not yet. I only consume it with bread and only for breakfast - I haven't gotten to that point where I need eat it with a spoon while all huddled up in a corner, in tears. I also don't find it necessary to eat it with other sweets like cookies or biscuits. (Or Oreos like what they did in Parent Trap - though I've tried that!) But it really has figured itself into my whole routine now. I feel like a mess when I don't get my peanut butter, like I cannot function at all. It's like forgetting to put on deodorant or leaving behind your handkerchief.


I actually have no idea why I'm writing about this other than, well, I'm trying to find comfort in these little constants in my life just to get by. I guess it's just one of the few things that's been keeping me together while the stress of graduation (and the future! Dun dun dun) keeps me all muddled up. Having my peanut butter breakfast makes me want to actually drag myself out of bed even when my body's begging to stay in bed, and it actually perks me up enough to get me through my day. That's saying a lot. And maybe even for just that, the craving is worth mentioning or even writing about, if only to keep me sane as I battle it out with the last three months of college.

Peanut butter, if you hold the key to my motivation, then for the love of God get me through this semester.



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Two.


<a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-gXMu4tqe2D8/TylWY9Os7MI/AAAAAAAABFs/heIrYNSPOz4/s1600/rk1.jpg"><img alt="" border="0" height="426" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5704185389794520258" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-gXMu4tqe2D8/TylWY9Os7MI/AAAAAAAABFs/heIrYNSPOz4/s640/rk1.jpg" style="display: block; margin: 0px auto 10px; text-align: center;" width="640" /></a><br /> This is one of my favorite pictures of us. Not that we have a lot to choose from. You were never the vain guy, and I was never the diligent camera-bringer. We just don't feel like doing it, even (and most especially) when it's just the two of us. But the few ones that we do have, often taken by our friends, are always of moments that say a lot, no matter how simple the occasion is. <br /> <div> <br /> </div> <div> This was taken last December at Trixie's house, when my high school barkada decided to come together with our "plus ones" for the first time. I know you're not the loud, talkative kind, unlike my friends and I who are rowdy and boisterous by default. But you were game for it. By the pool, over chips and a few bottles of beer, you laughed at our inside jokes and you played along with our silly games. The whole get-together was nothing really fancy, but that night turned out special - partly because I was with my friends again after a long time, but mostly because you were there to hold my hand.<br /> <div> <br /> </div> <div> I am sure there will be more moments, and someday I hope we will also have more photos. But today let me hold onto this one, because that night you gamely "Never Have I Ever"-ed, you drank the rest of my shots when I had enough, and you let me rest my head on your lap even though my hair was all wet. That speaks louder to me than any other vain picture we could ever take. I think I'm good with that.</div> <div> <br /> </div> <div> Happy second :)</div> </div>



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