Plot Twist: This blog isn’t dead yet.

My ability to procrastinate never fails to amaze me. 

I’m so incredibly good at forgetting priorities and even better at getting preoccupied with distractions and I swear on every poet that ever walked the earth that I am not proud of this.  I wish I have words for the intensity of shame I feel whenever I remember how long since I last wrote an entry, how grotesquely behind I am on my list of book reviews to draft, how I’ve somewhat lost my focus in getting through my reading plans for the year. I am my worst critic and I get so ruthless with myself sometimes that I feel unworthy of catching up and stealing the momentum back, of starting all over again.

Before my eyes, the months waltzed by to the tune of techno-grunge apathy, routines in pop ballad rhythm and anthems of neglect. August, September. I sing in high-pitched nothingness and the concerto of regrets wouldn’t stop replaying. October, November. A crisis of forgetfulness. December. Dear 2016, how the hell would I ever be ready for you?

I keep thinking: this blog deserves a better blogger.  Someone who actually writes book reviews instead of someone who writes about excuses for being unable to do so. Someone consistent, no matter how the world infinitely shows no mercy at shattering schedules to chaos, instead of someone who succumbs to assorted whims on a daily basis. Someone who just keeps going, instead of someone who just keeps going away.

But then there are days like this when I also think about how there are bigger, more urgent things than the torture of being a spectator to your own failure. I think:  what this blogs needs most of all is a resurrection.

I try to coax myself out of this self-induced amnesia to recall the heart of a phrase I have written so many years back. I don’t believe in epilogues because I don’t believe in things ending—everything is an introduction.

So even if the pain of self-scorn burns me raw, I return to the madness of the written word to remember why this is the kind of love I will never let go of: because the pages never runs out for a reader who keeps on reading. Because the ever-after is endless.

Because the fiction goes on forever.



The time it takes to quit on a book

99DaysIf Stephen Chbosky wrote that we accept the love we think we deserve, is that also true for books? Do we read the books we think we deserve?

I don’t have a lot of complicated habits when it comes to reading but I try my damndest to stick with this one commitment: to finish every story that I have started.

Out of respect to the authors who have labored to produce their works, I feel compelled to at least read the book till the last page before I could pronounce any judgment on it. There are moments when some books make me want to yank my own hair out due to intense boredom: when plots seem to unnecessarily drag on for ages and ages and nothing really happens and you realize there are still 9873363820 more pages before you get to the end.  There are times when I stumble on the occasional misfortune of reading crap literature—when the plot is so convoluted and predictable and the characters drive me crazy with either a.) their mediocrity or b.) their stupidity or god forbid, c.) both.

And yet, I struggle through a thousand yawns and yikes just to make it to the epilogue. Mostly, I do this just so I can justify my dislike for the book. I strive through the agony of every chapter because I want to be able to confidently say that I have the right to say it sucked, that I gave it a chance and it didn’t redeem itself, that my patience as a reader is steadfast and that I am not eternally perched on my literary high horse of snootiness. Yup, I am conceited like that.

But what if you just can’t really go on anymore? Continue reading

Unreturned Books & Other Heartbreaks


I. People do not know this, and I wish sometimes they would: that when I give or lend you a book, it means I have chiseled away a secret fragment of my heart and entrusted it in your hands; that when you fail or forget to return it to me, a part of me silently concedes to being incomplete forever. I’m a possessive bitch and I keep a record of things lost and gone. I have an inventory of faulty promises, of people who just suddenly forget to keep in touch for several years, of books that vanish into thin air. Continue reading

In defense of wordlessness

It’s like waking up one morning to find that you’ve been talking non-stop for years and that your mind’s wordcount have somehow reached a proverbial quota of sorts, like your brain has a bandwidth limit you didn’t know you’ve already exceeded before you even became aware that it ever existed in the first place. It’s like being handed an invitation to a holiday in celebration of things that we never have to apologize for.

Silence is a long and languid vacation; a solitary trip I have allowed myself to indulge on. I let the days pass me by like chapters. I measure time not by calendar but by stories, and simply shrugged my shoulders to momentarily decline the seemingly constant burden of needing to archive my exclamations each time I say goodbye to a book.  For a while, I can just read and read and not have to pause to scrutinize or sigh. And oh blissful abandon, how the weeks have flown by like the quietest whirlwind I have ever known.

We all gotta disappear sometimes, at least once in our lives and yet: some departures are not forever.

I’m back, thank you so much for still being here.

Your 7 ambitions as a child and why you gave up on them


You had little eyes and everything looked little, too. That’s why you only drew your home and the dog house when your kindergarten teacher told you to draw the world. You had little hands but all you take hold of, you own. That’s why you believed you can have everything you wanted, just as long as you stretch your palms nicely enough. You had only known colors and happy songs back then. And yet your horizon that time stretched the farthest it has ever been your entire life. You can be everyone wanted to be, simply because the world allowed you to dream and dream big. Until you woke up one day years later and grew up. Continue reading

Song for the Sovereigns

Wear your opinion like a hat:
on top of your head,
proud and gorgeous,
a shield and a statement.
Let no one tell you
that this color is wrong
or the size is silly–
it is your hat and not theirs.

Wear it when the sun is too stubborn
or when a storm is too sullen.
No weather ever stayed for good so keep your hat on;
Your confidence will protect you today.

Wear it not because it is fashionable and worn by many
but only when you are convinced
that it paints your violent political heartbeats a picture.
Its feathers will not be ruffled,
like the cultural creases of your tongue
will not be ironed out into oppression.

Criticism is but a patchwork
in world of ragged cliches and
worn-out woes.
Our thoughts are threads
and there will be days
where everything will feel
criss-cross and frail and shabby.
You will hurt,
you will come undone
and you will end up with stitches.
I assure you this.

But I also believe that
you will emerge in the extravagance of learning–
You will wear your independence
like your second skin
and you will not be afraid of being naked
You will grow wings and roots
and you will cherish both
because now you fully understand

that bravery is your way of dressing up to the nines

that there is but one way to take off your hat—
when you’re so overcome
by respect and reverence
that you are compelled to offer everything you wear and believe in,
in exchange of a wisdom so large, so unbearable, so regal:

a crown.

dardenitaaa || Manila, Philippines || October 2012