And time yet for a hundred indecisions

 

“And for a hundred visions and revisions,

Before the taking of a toast and tea.”

 

T.S. Eliot is one of my favorite poets. Excerpt above is from his three-page poem, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, a piece that sent my brain cells working 17 years ago. And while am still in the subject of name-dropping (yes), let me mention another blogger I’ve been following avidly. True enough, I always forget something whenever I make a list. Anyway, if Eliot worked as a bank clerk for years to be able to set press to his verses, this blogger waits on restaurant customers year in and year out to be able to write.

myparentsarecrazierthanyours – According to MPACTY, her favorite topic is her dysfunctional domestic life. Her writings are pointed, graceful and moving as she tackles the subject of being unaccomplished in the modern times. Here, lives of quiet desperation are articulated in angry yet hopeful and lyrical prose.

Here are Renx’s questions and my corresponding answers:

 

1. If you could invite 5 famous dead people to  dinner, who would you choose ?

A: Albert Einstein, Michael Jackson, John Maynard Keynes, Dorthy Parker and Mother Teresa.

2. In a few sentences, give the reason why you’ve chosen  each guest.

A:

Albert Einstein – So I could ask him questions about science I was shy to ask my teachers and wouldn’t it be cool to have him around?

Michael Jackson – Am a big fan of his music.

J.M. Keynes – I’ll ask him if bank bail-outs is really the way to go to keep the world economy afloat  plus, my friends who took graduate studies in Economics would be thrilled, haha. 

Dorthy Parker –  Someone has to keep the conversation interesting, I guess.

Mother Teresa – I think the occasion calls for the presence of a person with gentle spirit.

3. Would you consider marrying a person whose religion is  fundamentally different from yours?  Give a reason why you would or wouldn’t.

A: I would, if he really loves me and I am terribly in love with him. 

4. Do you have a fetish ? If Yes, what is it?

A: None that am aware of. None yet.

5. Which trait do you consider more important to you, intelligence or stunning physical appearance? (I think I know the answer to this….. this is the great divide between the sexes)

A: Intelligence, because I have found out that am usually stunned by physical appearance only for a while. ^^

6. Let’s say you’re married with 2 young children, but then you fall madly in love ( and it’s mutual ) with another person……. would you consider divorcing your spouse to be with this person?

A: If I married this person, it means I’ve sworn to live with him through thick and thin and committed to stick it out no matter the roughs. However, since you say I’ve fallen madly in love with this other person therefore, I must have fallen less in love with the first. In which case, I might consider the proposition. But in the end, I’ll probably stick with my original object of affection, haha. ^^

7.  Coffee or tea?  Coke or Pepsi? Left handed or right handed?

A: Coffee, the reference to tea and toast above notwithstanding. Pepsi, but stores and restaurants usually carry Coke so it has become Coke by availability. Right-handed, but usually fascinated or even awed, by left-handed persons I meet.

8. Do you believe in death penalty?

A: Death penalty as a deterrent of crimes? No. Ideally, I do not believe that the state must have the power to exact retribution by way of systematic killing of erring individuals. However, this is not absolute. Sometimes, when I hear of really atrocious crimes committed, I still find myself saying privately that the perpetrator should be put away or made to pay in a terrible manner. ^^ 

9. Your loved one cheated on you. You still love him /her, and she/he wants to come back to you, would you take her/him back?

A: I think I would. Knowing me, probably I would.

10. Would you get attracted to a person of different race and color?  Why or why not?

A: Yes, why not? 

11. Which one do you believe in? Evolution or Creationism? Kindly state your reason in as few sentences as possible.

A: I tend towards the evolutionary explanation. I am not sure if such tendency can be considered at the level of belief. ^^

 

Here are my questions for tagged fellow bloggers. Of course, I’ll be visiting your sites more often than before if you bother to answer these questions, lols! 🙂

 

1. Describe that one classmate from high school that you cannot forget.

2. What is your least liked task at home/in the house. Why?

3. Would you rather take care of plants or animals (pets)? Why?

4. What is that song that you remember because it has been your mother’s or father’s favorite?

5. What was the last movie that really let you down? Why?

6. Which part of your body you always say could use change or improvement but never got around to (doing)?

7. What is that one trick/joke/antic that your friends constantly pull on you? What is your usual reaction?

8. When your family members tease you, what is it usually about? How do you get back? ^^

9. Are you a person of strong political opinions? Why or why not?

10. Creativity or popularity? What are your chances of achieving it in the next five(5) years (in a scale of 1 to 10). State your reason in maximum of five sentences.

11. Which do you think is promoted more by blogging – alignment of people with similar interests or tolerance among people with varying lives, opinions and beliefs? Why?

 

Kindly link your answers to the questions back to this site through the comment section. Thank you all very much. Cheers!   🙂 

 

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Ooops, I’ve been tagged! Lists don’t come easy… :)

 

Hello! Inasmuch as I dread making lists, such seems to be inevitable these days. A fellow blogger noticed that I’ve been going through her old posts and paid back handsomely by tagging me. Who, me? You bet, this is my first time to be tagged… Well, thank you, Renx. Am hoping this isn’t as hard as Quantum Physics, hehe. ^^

The rule –  One’s going to answer a set of questions, tag some of his favorite sites or bloggers, and, write down another list of questions, which the other bloggers will answer in turn. Actually, there’s no specific provision that the questions must be long and difficult.  They ought to be fun, though and uh, a little embarassing, haha.  Well, am a little scared, to be truthful about it. I hope I do some justice here with my list…

 

nadiamasood – If blogs were books, I’d say this is my happy find. Plenty of excellent photos here, cheerful narration of travels and wonderful discussions about foods. There are funny, funny remarks about things out of their proper places, misplaced wits and plans gone awry. She heaps caustic lines sometimes, mostly on herself and that part of her that does not cooperate easily. Some are meant for the husband, casually tossed away, as amiably taken.  Nadia always has a good handle on her stories.

taympers – I came across taympers.com while looking for a pic for one of my posts and have become a regular visitor since. The writer’s ability to bring the places and the times before the readers’ eyes makes this site singular. Taympers’ compositions can hardly be faulted for content, approach and style.  They are sharp, focused yet gentle and moving without being sentimental. His posts about life in the countryside are worth rereading. Btw, taympers means, “give me a pause.”  Currently, this frolicsome Tagalog site has a technical problem. Hope it gets the pause it’s asking for but expecting it could be restored soon.

jowyow – This Filipina blogger in the UAE crunches numbers and looks at reports with plenty of charts in them. She does not rant about her office mates, being away from her family and the ennui and craziness that often visit an overseas worker, no. In her posts, she wrestles with the anger, the blues and the issues.  She bashes them all with her passionate, light and amusing prose. Gayspeak and street lingoes become inoffensive and even sexy when used by her. She blogs in Tagalog.

renxkyoko – It escapes me how she does it all – solve equations, report for a regular job, check out the latest manga issues and drop by several Filipino as well as English blog sites. Her posts are longish, but who am I to complain? Hers is a friendly site with an average of 70 comments a post. People go there to chat and to tell their stories to this girl who is excited by molecules dancing. She computes them, too, haha. Dang, some people are just too competitive… ^^

apronheadlily – Her site always features photographs of the sky, with a little poetry tucked in and some musings on how life deals us its little tricks and by golly, how one should  get back somehow. Did I say she sounds rather motherly? Yes, and a tad too creative in a light and spontaneous way.

sphere – Humor and mischief are evident here. The narrator’s voice often casts a shadow over the technical competence of the creations. There is  a built-in camera that zooms in and out throughout the narration. It often makes use of contrasts – between micro and macro situations and between the individual and the society that ought to have known better. Sphere denies these allegations and admits to only two faults: the spare use of punctuation and the intent to poke fun. Her site is also in Tagalog.

year-struck – Her prose flows naturally as water in the river. Her excellent command of English brings back memories of my grammar teacher in fourth year high, haha. ^^ Her site usually tells stories of how modern words evolved, takes us back through her tough Irish background and brings to the table some insightful discussions on the progress of the English language and how America is coping.

lipadlaya – Whenever people ask me for sites that will showcase the richness of the Tagalog language, this is the one I instantly recommend. The prose here has substance, rhythm and texture that makes for an interesting and smooth read. Immediately, the reader can sense the cadence and the control in the compositions. Lipadlaya blogs only between his teaching job and his domestic duties but surely, the blogosphere is fortunate in having him and his writings around.

thypolar – Hers is a wacky site that sounds a bit like Erma Bombeck’s raves except that the host is not some suburban mom preparing for a Tupperware party while balancing gerunds and infinitive verbs on her feet. Heck, she lives in Vegas and makes dinners for the husband and the three kids.  There is plenty of laughter, sunshine and love in that pole, from someone who has led a no-nonsense life.

claireatkinson – She takes pictures of her native city in U.K.  From a guy off to work in the early morn, to mothers pushing carts in the supermarket, to old men on their way home, looking out the bus windows – her camera has a keen eye for the everyday scenes. The angles of those photographs, the way she toys with the lights and the-pic-ought-to-speak-for-itself attitude of her compositions could be some of the reasons photo bloggers troop to her site.

barkinginthedark – I thought his site was owned somebody from the southern parts who has made it his vocation to rant endlessly, haha. Now, the guy’s from New York and he’s no other than the actor who sang the hit song, Don’t Nobody Move. At least, I was right about his skills in ranting…^^ He does it so well and in a poetic way, too. If anybody’s interested in the goings-on of America’s election, read his blow by blow account of the party. He serves patties in his site and his puns are double delight.

ediliociclostile – This Italian blogger believes that there are several tenants in his body and according to him, they are conflicted, in many ways. He illustrates these battling emotions and thoughts through his cartoons with those ever present, always piercing, eyes. There is humor, pathos and a generous measure of understanding, as he tackles the human condition without making the reader feel like he is reading a book introduction.

bagotilyo –  In between revising and submitting his resume, taking on temporary jobs, playing with his nephews and trying to be an obedient son, this registered nurse by profession finds the time to amuse the readers with tales of how his heart gets repeatedly broken by the same girl. After reading his love series, I was able to develop When Love Comes A-Knockin,’ an entry that garnered uh, maybe five (5) views. I hardly wonder, though. Bagotilyo’s posts are way funnier.  He writes primarily in Tagalog, too.

thedroidyou’relookingfor – He writes about flicks that touched our hearts, made us think somehow and even those that wasted negatives and the viewers’ time. What’s fascinating about his reviews is the blogger’s grasp of the medium, from the old movies captured in black and white rolls, to those most recently shown on the big screen.  While the movies he discusses may not necessarily be the one you or I have seen, or remember,  TDYLF makes it worth one’s while.

i do drawings – She wants things intelligible, clean and uncluttered. Her narrations through her sketches are straight, without fanfares and yet, they are touching. She says she disagrees with the way things are made complicated these days and how you and I could use some order, some sense of control, while doing and enjoying art. I really have no complaints except I want to ask why- oh-why  are some bloggers more talented than the others, huh? ^^

geronimo – He reviews films – the esoteric and academic kinds, haha. I suppose his territory is frequented by film and literature students. Here, one could expect elegant Filipino, deep Tagalogs and a healthy dose of measured prose. Coincidentally, this site makes me happy. It renders the nosebleed tag of my Tagalog site pale, haha. Let me whisper, folks, he is a writer and an editor by profession. It actually pays to get in his good graces because, uhmn, because he might just be the guy you’re going to show your work to, one day… ^^

artsyforager – The lady is a professional online curator who shows arts from the high places,  discloses where the artists are hiding and explains the philosophies behind the artists’ creations. She takes the readers through the alleys, garages and art museums, as she regales them with stories about lines and curves. Sometimes, she also discusses the hows and whys of artworks that come and go.

 

These are new acquaintances but I sure hope to read some more in their sites. Btw, am still wondering how they (talented people) came across my site. ^^

 

brianwestbye – He writes and writes with deep feelings. If there is one who seems to live by the advice that practice makes perfect, it’s him. I’ve taken a stroll in his site and been amazed at how patient and prolific a writer could be. I hope I could imitate his example.

munchow – He’s got an interesting job that takes him places and allows him to take countless photographs. His pictures seem to capture not just the scenes, but also the mood and the history of his subjects.

 

Still more new discoveries, young bloods with plenty of potentials:

 

positivetoxicity – The owner stumbled through my Tagalog site and I jumped over her fence likewise. I could hardly believe that such rich composition and wide English vocabulary come from somebody that young.

akingpanulat – Writes stories in Tagalog. Has a gift for story-telling, unusual for somebody whose job has something to do with numbers and figures. I hope one day, she gives the paperback romance writers a run for their money.

littlespaceship – Her site is creative, hopeful and experimental. I hope she continues to write and claim her share of the earth, as well as her space in the outer dimension.

 

My answer to Renx’s questions and my own set of questions will be for the next post. I know, this is kilometric enough. But I hope I was able to give you the bird’s eye view of some of the sites that enrich our alternate universe called the blogosphere.

 

Thank you for reading and have a good day, folks! 🙂

 

My Happy Finds

larawan ng isang kalsadang nag-aanyayang maglakbay

I have miles to go before I sleep/ guemeschanneltrail.com

In my own and fumbling way, I have traveled far and away somehow, in my reading journey. My excursions have taken me places – from the stiff and boring sides, through the dark and gore corners, to the highly cerebral end.  Among the playwrights, I recall George Bernard Shaw, Tennessee Williams and Thornton Wilder with affection. I have more than a dozen favorite essayists but among those I won’t forget are Montaigne, Jonathan Swift and D.H. Lawrence. Among the relatively modern fiction writers who made it to mainstream, these I remember fondly – William Golding, Saul Bellow and E.L. Doctorow.

I am not exactly the sort who makes a list of favorites. I usually have trouble deciding, afraid I might leave out someone or something important. In real life, I read a lot of non-fiction stuffs, the dry and logical kinds.  When the idea for making a list of favorite fictions occurred to me, the other tenants in me protested. Thus, herewith is not exactly a fave list, but a recitation of works that unsettled, bothered and touched me, in more ways than one. They are arranged in the order I encountered them:

1. The Little Prince – Antoine de-Saint Exupery

2. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

3. Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair –Pablo Neruda

4. Lily of the Valley – Honore de Balzac

5. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

6. The Ballad of the Sad Cafe – Carson McCullers

7. Twenty Years at Hull-House – Jane Addams

8. Frankenstein  – Mary Shelley

9. Dance of the Happy Shades – Alice Munro

10. Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston

I guess I am partial to coming-of-age plots. I never tire of reading them. Like most of my contemporaries, I read and was enamored by A Separate Peace by John Knowles. Perhaps, I was moved by it more than J.D. Salinger’s Catcher In the Rye. But then, I hold that Robert Musil’s The Confusions of Young Torless is one of the best literary pieces on the subject of teenage confusion and rebellion. For me, that novel clearly illustrated the challenges, as well as the miseries, of growing up.

larawan ng isang batang nangangarap umangat sa mundo

If reading is going places, I must have conquered a few miles already/ owensound.library.on.ca

D.H. Lawrence’s works, I found to be a far cry from the hushed tone Lawrence was talked about during my freshman year in college.  I did not find Lady Chatterly’s Lover scandalous, didn’t and don’t think it would hold a candle to Alfred de Musset’s writings. I would say that the collection of classic Italian stories is considerably more “pornographic,” ahaha. At any rate, I am among those who think that D.H. Lawrence should be read and interpreted beyond the pornographic tag. I enjoyed reading him than I did Thomas Mann, another author steeped in controversies.

There were years when I plowed through the works of the British authors and their so-called dry wit – John Galsworthy, E. M. Forster, C.P. Snow and E.F. Benson. It’s Benson’s social commentaries that I found humorous and endearing. On the lighter end, I also read a number of works by H.E. Bates and John Mortimer. Likewise, I am fond of Miss Read. I have come to love her fictional village and continue to read her writings, to these days. Her works, among those I consider as happy finds.

Among the American authors, I have high admiration for Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. I read Walt Whitman’s works, too, but for some reason, am not a big fan. I went through a number of Scott Fitzgerald’s novels but I must say I like Hemingway’s better. But I would agree to the observation that both authors dealt with boredom and rather superbly, ahaha.  I read and enjoyed most of Steinbeck’s writings, including his biography and minor works.

My favorite Filipino authors are Genevova Edroza-Matute and Kerima Polotan-Tuvera. I humbly believe that Matute’s short story Ang Kwento ni Mabuti (The Story of Well) is the kind one should strive for. On the other hand, I consider Tuvera’s Sounds of Sunday truly awesome, haha. I also read most of the works of Nick Joaquin and Alejandro Roces. Pouring over their works, I was and I am truly proud that Filipinos could write in English and that excellently, too. 😉

Reading through my English sentiments

larawan ng isang ibong nagtuturo ng daan sa pagbabasa

Long, slow and arduous, is how I would describe my path in reading/ stjohnleonia.org

I did not major in English or Literature. My English subjects in college consisted of the required Communications I to III.  My grades in those subjects? Just a little over the passing mark, haha. I had one other subject, Humanidades I, where we briefly tackled the merits of Literature and its place in the history of mankind. There.

Early in my college, I was aware that other students had higher English subjects, English 5 among them. English 5’s textbook was called Prism. Prism, if I remember correctly, discussed the works of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Milan Kundera, among others. During class breaks, I would see those students in the hallways with their copies of The Brothers Karamazov, One Hundred Years of Solitude and The Unbearable Lightness of Being. They appeared to be proud of what they were reading and I would look on and salivate, haha.

I so badly wanted to take English 5, too. But it was not in my checklist of courses. I checked and rechecked my curriculum to see if I could squeeze it in somehow, as an elective or a cognate. Tough luck, there’s no way I could pull off that trick easily. The goal would have involved not just lengthy negotiations with the concerned college authorities. It also demanded that I take three more subjects as prerequisites. I would have to do some magic realism myself to realize that ambition. I contented myself with a xeroxed copy of Marquez’s short story, Big Mama’s Funeral.

Years later, I would have my own money and eventually buy copy of those books and then some, by the same authors. I would also get the chance to read Kafka’s The Trial and The Metamorphosis,  Sartre’s The Age of Reason and No Exit and  Camus’ The Stranger and The Plague. In the mid-90s, a former teacher would introduce me to Ben Okri and his work, The Famished Road, a book that makes her swoon. Two years later, a friend would gift me with a copy of Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things and thus, begin my foray into the so-called Third World literature.

larawan ng pabalat ng libro ni Marquez, Ang Pag-ibig sa Panahon ng Kolera

Some of my friends jumped when this book came out. Really./ conversationalreading.com

What did I think of their writings? I enjoyed Garcia Marquez’s creations, immensely. They are very graphic, intense and his characters are leaping out of the pages. The magic realism part bedazzled and confused me at first, but I eventually got the hang of it. His works  are what I would call as manly novels, in the same league as Cervantes’ and Miguel de Unamuno’s. I was fascinated as well with Okri, his feast-like rendition of the ordinary street with its extraordinary casts – the peddlers, the loafers and the spirits. Dostoevsky’s work, I found to be dark and vaguely religious. Kundera’s writings maybe full of love, but the author’s too deep and intellectual for me.

Kafka and Sartre, I found too philosophical. I mean, existentialism was cool, back in my early college days. Then, you would hear fellow students discussing philosophy like they were neighbors with Immanuel Kant and Nietzche, went to the same university that Simone de Beauvoir did, and had a chat with Jean Paul Sartre – over a cup of coffee. I am not exaggerating, by the way. Such atmosphere was probably too much for my provincial sensibilities. The only reading materials lying around in our house for many years were old copies of Hiyas ng Wika (Gems of Our Language) I to IV and a dog-eared copy of Hardy’s Return of the Native, haha. I like Albert Camus’ works though, even as many consider Camus second fiddle to Sartre.

I had my fill of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters rather late – post-college, I think. I got to read the works of Edith Wharton first.  I prefer the Wuthering Heights over Pride and Prejudice, I know not many do. Anyhow, those novels somehow imprinted in me things English – language, accents and ways. The speech and the manner of dressing of the men during the period (I think their manliness was exaggerated in the novels), the curls and the laces of the women (Errr, they had too much of them?) and the decors of the English living room – portray an emotional yet interesting era, that moves me, in many ways.

larawan ng isang silid noong panahong Victorian sa Inglatera

The speech and the houses were lacy and elaborate during the Victorian times / http://countryandvictoriantimes.files.wordpress.com

In my early 20s, I was reading a whole lot, the eclectic way and came across the works of the Russian authors – Leo Tolstoy, Maxim Gorky, Anton Chekhov and Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Tolstoy, I greatly admire for his wide compass. For me, his works  painted the Russian landscape with all its tensions and nuances. I am not particularly fond of the character of Anna Karenina, I’ll skip the reason for now.  At any rate, I just chanced by three of Gorky’s writings. I did not know then that he or his works, were political. Solzhenitsyn wrote long pieces like Tolstoy, definitely political. They were mostly about the individual’s sufferings and his struggles against the oppressive state. I recall suffering, too, while reading his novels, haha.  Among his works, I remember the short ones. It’s Chekhov I like best, I think. His works are the ones I would go back to, from time to time.

It was also in my 20s that I came across some of the writings of Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf and Marcel Proust (Remembrance of Things Past, abridged edition). Except for The Secret Sharer, I was not taken with Conrad’s writings, maybe because am not really fond of sea-voyage stories. Woolf’s novels  were way beyond my league, I acknowledged early on. Virginia’s too intelligent and too upscale for me, I guess. But I would reread her essays every now and then, if only to be reminded of the depth of thoughts and feelings, a woman writer could have. Proust is highbrow reading as well, a male and different version of Woolf. His works, I found too Western for my rather Eastern and rural upbringing.

larawan ng isang babae sa bukid, pabalat ng isang aklat na sinulat ni Willa Cather

O Pioneers! and My Antonia remain to be my favorites among Willa Cather's works/ http://fingersandprose.blogspot.com

Earlier on, I had already come across the writings of Bertolt Brecht, Andre Gide and Ignazio Silone. I came across Brecht because I used to frequent The Goethe Institute, when the German Embassy was still in the New Manila area. I no longer recall how I was introduced to Gide and Silone, but I remember that their works are very interesting. Coming across the works of Kate Chopin, Willa Cather and Harper Lee must have been through my sibling, who studied their works at class. I like Cather’s novels, chiefly because they talk about the countryside.  William Faukner, his works I read over a period of ten years maybe, beginning in the early 9os. His writings, getting progressively darker than the other, I suppose.

I really did not have a program for reading fictions. For a long time, I did not even know which works were  considered classic, what genres they actually belonged to and who were the authors hailed as giants or awarded the Nobel Prize or the Pulitzer. I just read and if I happened to like a work, I would list down the name of the author and look for his or her other writings in the library or the bookstore. In high school, we were introduced to only a few – Voltaire, Dante and Rossetti. That time, my favorite author was Pearl Buck. I didn’t know many others then. I knew Shakespeare as a name, but I only got to hear a bit about him when my teacher in junior year recited four lines from King Lear. I never really read any of his works until my nieces bugged me to please, please, write their book reviews.

larawan ng isang batang babaeng masaya habang nagbabasa

Some private high schools begin their students reading of Literature early/ dynamicmindsph.com

Upon entering college and living in the big city, I was surprised to learn that my classmates who studied in preppy schools in Metro Manila, have already read the Pride and Prejudice, Death of a Salesman and Of Mice and Men. Some even boasted of having read the works of John Galsworthy, including the saga. At that time, my readings consisted of borrowed copies of the works of Richard Bach,  Robert Ludlum and Margaret Atwood. On the formal side of things,  I was then being introduced to the works of Charles Dickens, Henrik Ibsen and Ernest Hemingway plus The World’s Greatest Short Stories (this necessitated trips to the library’s reference section).