Always, When Alone, I Think of Dying



I have just read A Giacometti Portrait by James Lord, a book about the construction of a painting and the unfolding narrative of the process. I bought it from Booksale without any idea who Giacometti is, but his name reminded me of Gianlorenzo Bernini, among other Italian-sounding names. The book was set in the 1980's, in Paris. I was expecting the book to drop some high-sounding theories about painting, as if it was a learning process, or a crash course on, I don't know, impressionism (?). But it did not. It focused more on what Giacometti frets about--this "futility of capturing what he sees", a feeling shared by writers and sculptors and poets (though a jolly lot of poets are really good on painting a picture, like Ashbery) in crafting their works.

The painting is one of the best portraits I've ever seen. I like its being a sketch. I wish I could sketch that way.

The Christmas Mumbo Jumbo

It feels nice to be alone for three hours, spending money.

At the end of the day, I feel the guilt of my thinning wallet. I spent money on food (which is okay) and books (which is okay, as long as it's from Booksale). The problem is spending money on gifts, which, my egoist self would say, is not worth anything. I'm only giving gifts to my Dad ever since I went to college.

Years ago I gave him a Khalid Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns, because he said he almost cried (or cried rather fatherly, just to be macho) on The Kite Runner while doing his bike rounds!

Finally, he said he liked it, but "nothing beats the first book".

This year, I really have no idea. I'm stuck with a clue: Patricia Highsmith. Years ago, when I bought my first Moleskine he mouthed two authors he couldn't buy because it was really pricey: Patricia Highsmith and Mark Helprin. The latter I had almost collected after combing through three Booksale branches and found at least four Helprins in a matter of six months, including the most coveted Winter's Tale (for Php75 only).

When I had previously scanned Highsmith months ago, on Fully Booked, there were tons of books and I really have no lead. My chances are slim that I'm left to think of this other author, Gunter Grass. Dad had wanted to find The Tin Drum on Booksale.

Also, and this has just occurred to me: Henry Miller's Tropic of Capricorn (simply because we've found his Tropic of Cancer). Though to give this as a present is to forget his passion with wars (and American soldiers), which is, if I may say, the core of his childhood, and his fatherhood as well.

The Tin Drum must cost below Php500, or my savings are in jeopardy.

It's the thought that counts, though. He had just bought an oven (with rotisserie) to fulfill my baking needs this Christmas. He bought port wine and steak and sausages for Christmas. Plus, for my girlfriend, a scarf from India. What a petit bourgeois life we've been leading.

Grouper

I walked my way from my cluttered apartment, and found a hill. It wasn't that steep to discourage anyone. It was dark. The only thing I had was a flashlight and a roll of tissue, just in case I sneeze. After some time I reached the summit and there I catch my breath on a rock good enough to sit on and smell the distance between this hill to that neighborhood: no barbecue, no jeepney fumes, no cigarette smoke or cheap perfumes at midnight. Only the breeze. There were a few stars but it's alright. I looked up for a couple of minutes until my eyes grow tired of the darkness, of asking myself if the star I was staring at was changing its colors, or was it shining, was it an airplane, or a lone signal from those radio towers? I heard the slam of vehicle from the distance, probably a pick-up truck, for there were four doors, but right after that I fell asleep. I didn't hear of anything resembling a massacre.

Beef with Mushroom

Apparently, the neighbors either kicked us out of their routers or it's just the plain bad weather. We've been hacking their Internet connection for almost one year now, thanks to Google and their password being set on default.

The longing kicked in after five days, and from the way it felt, it's suffice to say that one day, we'll die out of missing that one short hour of Internet surfing.

Ashbery

As in his oeuvre, Flow Chart, I see him as someone who would use a fine gift wrapper--flimsy, white and stiff like a mast on those scale models of ships--for a jack-in-the-box. Besides him were three things: a cigarette on an ashtray, longing for a slight flick of ash; a book about embroidery; and a bowl of walnuts to chew.

Problems

Someone in the class mentioned about the usage of English by her five year-old cousins. She said it irritated her when they said that Tagalog is gross. She said that this belittling of our mother tongue is one of the things we should always reconsider, both in education and in our lifestyle, as a Filipino.

I didn't have the time in the world to tell her how brave she was. How it touched me.

How I write this in English, and how my mind still writes in Tagalog, is another matter.

10,000 Bells

A dream is a dream and will always be a dream even if you meet a friend you've never met before, the kind you'd like to stay close to in an elevator, and talk about geometry, or libraries. My dreams bother me more than ever. I've been meeting a lot of people in my dreams. I've met three friends in three (dream) days, none of which I know (in real life). They're not attention hoggers, or people who just think of themselves as smarter because they didn't have nail art.

I wonder if those three (dream) days can be converted to a single (real) day--like currency, only it's something which doesn't need a kiosk. I would go to Tibet and find a monk willing to exchange his dreams to mine.