Monday, June 25, 2012

From a letter written in Baguio

Baguio Country Club
Last time I was in Baguio, I think I was only ten, even younger. Today I'm back for business, but I must say I am in awe of the city more now than before.

When you are a child, fantasy is your reality. When you are an adult, you see fantasy for what it is. And instead of being frustrated by its fugitive nature, you learn to play by its rules.

I can't argue with you when you said all this is pointless. But I also can't argue with a playful cat, a well-designed structure, a bee feasting on a fully-bloomed flower, a kiss—even the merest possibility of grandeur.

All I know is I'll take what I can, enjoy what I can, create what I can.

In every worthwhile journey, a cat;
What flowers open for

Sunday, June 17, 2012

On the record

MUSIC HALL
Performing tonight
Cynthia Alexander & Humanfolk
1. Look at us. June 15th, Friday, two friends and I went to 19 East in Sucat to watch one of Cynthia Alexander's send-off gigs. She's headed to the States. I've always loved her, but I've never seen her perform live. The same is true for my friends.

At dinner before the show:
'How was the Lady Gaga concert? Were there a lot of protesters?'

'I'm not sure, but I don't think that was a huge group. I think it was just the people on Twitter that's making the whole thing sound like a bigger deal than it actually is. The problem is something gets re-tweeted a few times and it's as if it's already news.'

'True. Look at us, we're here.'
2. Pag-isahin. Needless to say, it was an unforgettable evening. The show started at 9:30 and we said good night at 3 in the morning. In Cynthia's solo set, she played all of our favorites. All.

But what struck me was a new song, which lyrics was written by Vim Nadera:
Hanggang kaya mong gumising at kaya kong managinip, kaya nating pag-isahin ang darating at aalis.
Left: solo set; right: with Humanfolk
3. Moving. Of course she talked (tersely) about the much-discussed departure:
I'm not leaving, I'm moving. You think, 'What am I going to do there?' [audience shouts, Stay here!] I'll be on Facebook, don't worry. [drumroll] I'll be coming home. I'll be doing another album. You'll listen to it, right? [audience says yes]
4. Punless. And the tired yet still indulgent Cynthia Alexander signed my copy of Walk Down the Road:

Razel, punless, but Surely Peaceful
Cynthia Alexander
'What's your name?'

'Razel—like Rapunzel.'

'Oh, you're called Rapunzel? Really?'

'No, just Ra-zel. It's Rapunzel without the pun.'

'Ah, yeah.'

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ray Bradbury is dead

And I don't care. The way I never cared for Wislawa Szymborska's death.

What I do care for is their word. My mother mishandles my copy of Dandelion Wine and I go apoplectic.

The writer has always been uninteresting to me. Even on rare occasions when I read an autobiography, the author is easily someone else—a character whom I can empathize with.

And that's quite sad.

*

From Green Shadows, White Whale:
What have I done for a single mortal soul this day? Nothing! And that's why I feel so terrible destroyed.

The older I get, the less I do for people.

It's an awesome responsibility when the world runs to hand you things. For an instance: sunsets. Everything pink and gold, looking like those melons they ship up from Spain. That's a gift, ain't it?

Book cover image (published by Perennial)
Well, who do you thank for sunsets? And don't drag the Lord in the bar, now! Any remarks to Him are too quiet. I mean someone to grab and slap their back and say thanks for the fine early light this morn, boyo, or much obliged for the look of them damn wee flowers by the road this day, and the grass laying about in the wind. Those are gifts too, who'll deny it?

Have you waked middle of the night and felt summer coming on for the first time, through the window, after the long cold? Did you shake your wife and tell her your gratitude? No, you lay there, a clod, chortling to yourself alone, you and the new weather!

Ain't you horribly guilty yourself? Don't the burden make you hunchback? All the lovely things you got from life, and no penny down? Ain't they hid in your dark flesh somewhere, just the clean taste of stout here, all gifts, and you feeling the fool to go thank any mortal man for your fortune.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A sentence

1.
I wrestle with a sentence I have yet to complete. This act of completing, the precise act of wrestling.

Like a moon in its halved phase, I know its full shape is already out there, only I can't see its other half yet.

2.
From The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach:
It was easy enough to write a sentence, but if you were going to create a work of art, the way Melville had, each sentence needed to fit perfectly with the one that preceded it, and the unwritten one that would follow. And each of those sentences needed to square with the ones on either side, so that three became five and five became seven, seven became nine, and whichever sentence he was writing became the slender fulcrum on which the whole precarious edifice depended. That sentence could contain anything, anything, and so it promised the kind of absolute freedom that, to Affenlight's mind, belonged to the artist and the artist alone. And yet that sentence was also beholden to the book's very first one, and its last unwritten one, and every sentence in between. Every phrase, every word, exhausted him.