An attempt to make sense of things in a random universe, one Friday at a time.

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Location: Philippines

Leaving my footsteps for you to find and follow, my love.

25 September 2008


As I was retrieving some of my old UP files (recorded into cds from 2002 onwards) and copying them back into my larger hard drive, I browsed through the folders and found a poem I wrote for a Poetry Workshop Course I've enrolled in during the second semester of Academic Year 2004, under Professor Paolo Manalo of Jolography fame.

Our assignment was to write a nonsense poem, and I thought of creating one made up entirely of single-syllable words. Here's what I came up with:

By Maryanne Moll

In the gut of a pig lived a leaf,
when it turned eight,
Called its own ear and told it to make lunch.

'Tis this leaf that turned to a pen when it was twelve,
And then to stone.

The pig,
Poor thing,
Kept its own gut right on track by the words of its king.
“All hail the green thing that can turn itself into one thing and then some,
For it knows the life of gnats.”

The sty stank of pears,
And of airs,
And of hay,
And of clay.
The mind of the gut of the pig roiled
In mad ayes
To the words of its king.

And then,
One day,
This pig,
Just like the leaf that lived in its gut,
Turned eight,
With a mind to call its own ear to make lunch.
And then it was twelve,
And then it was a pen.

And then,
It was stone.

As I was reading the poem aloud in class, I noticed that, line by line, the poem began to make some kind of sense to me, and at the very end, it seemed to be telling me something of grave importance. Everyone else in the class felt the same way. I also felt the same way about the poems of my classmates. It was rather surreal, but I suppose you had to be there to understand the feeling. And now I wonder, are we just making our lives too difficult by always trying to make sense? Does every single detail in life always have to work together neatly and precisely, like a clock that never needs winding? Can we, even for just a few days a year, just let go of our standards and our labels and our Derridas and our Althussers and our Nietzches and our Kants and our de Saussures and our Spivaks and our Foucaults? Or are we, being humans and thus cursed, forever doomed to be constantly mired in the search for order?

Sometimes it tires me, I admit, to always have to know why and how things work. These days, I'm just not in that mood. I watch vampire movies and find them funny. I watch ghost movies and find them comforting. I watch documentaries about conspiracy theories and then close my eyes and try to merge them all together inside my mind to create a large, icky mass, somewhat like a hairball, and find relief that I still know what time to get up in the morning. I eat ice cream for breakfast, five peanut butter sandwiches for lunch, and finish off an entire 1.5 liter bottle of C2 iced tea after siesta. And then I write new stories. And I notice that my new stories are getting quite better. I don't write like I used to anymore, but now I also have the gumption to own up to the things that I didn't have the gumption to even face before. Chaos is good. Nonsense is good. Zoloft is good.

08 September 2008

Year One with Jim, in photos

It all began with a teeny tiny pink 4 gigabyte flash drive with a silver chain that made the flash drive look like a charm, and a cup of hot chocolate at four o'clock in the afternoon. Seven hours later, we were still together and talking, and I could sense that both of us were trying to find a way for the night not to end.

Of course the night had to end and it did end. But what followed is something that went on and on. Here are some photos from what we have been through for the past twelve months, all taken with the iPhone he gave me as a gift.

We did a major redecoration of our apartment, the College of Chaos. From a very cluttered, highly disorganized apartment for one person and thousands of books and files, we turned it into a nice and cozy and orderly living space for two. However, witness the chaos of redecorating the College of Chaos.

From this: The four feet worth of unfiled files, the furniture that have been turned into things for holding books and files, the audio and video cds, the cd archives, the dead files that have to go to storage, the old bookcase I've had since 1998 that was already breaking apart from the weight of all the junk I had it carry over the years, and the basic mass of materials that always seem to gather in a writer's home. And if you're a writer like me, who never throws anything away, then you'll understand how big a logistical problem I've been having for years.

Jim and I went from that chaos to this:

I love this new area rug that's beside our bed. And I simply adore that green lamp that I have been wanting to own since I was a teenager, because the green glass shade and the tall brass stand and pull-down chain switch evokes in me the feeling of being in an old library. As for the bookshelves, I have so many books that I can't arrange them in the shelves any other way. Some books had to be laid on top of the upright books. There are even books behind the ones that are stored upright. And each time I remember how Jim had assembled that computer table in the first photo, I always laugh a little at the memory of the sight of him on the floor, trying to figure out which were the #14 screws, which were the #8 screws, which was platform 3, which nut goes with which screw and onto what hole in which metal post, and on and on. He kept saying, "This is so bad."

And just as we were about to collapse out of sheer exhaustion after turning the College of (Literal) Chaos into the College of Chaos (Theory) -- which I have been studying secretly for over a decade now -- a good friend from PhilMUG turned up with two tickets to the March 15 Harry Connick, Jr. Big Band Concert, and he gave us these premier tickets for free. Imagine that!

I found the concert wonderful. I love big bands, and for a bit of time, a few years ago, Glen Miller was set up to play continuously for days on my iTunes while I was working on a particularly annoying small project. Jim himself isn't really a big fan of big bands and the blues, but about fifteen minutes into the show, I could see he was starting to get mesmerized. It was a fun night of music, good-natured and self-deprecating humor from the star of the show, talk about halo-halo, and balut-throwing exercises by some of the band members.

And then there were the travels to several different provinces. A sunset flight:

A hotel room:

Another hotel room:

Yet another hotel room:

And yet another hotel room:

Me in a mirror inside yet another hotel room, whiling away my time while Jim was doing his fieldwork:

Puerto Princesa:

Somewhere in Clark:

Palm Beach Resort, Laguna:

Eagle Point Resort, Laguna:

Rockpoint Hot Springs Resort, Laguna

Saud Beach Resort, Pagudpud:

This was the bus we rode to Saud, which I thought wasn't running and was due for the junkyard:

This was the "bus terminal:"

Of course neither of us dared to sit on this chair:

We always travel with these two bags, my small brown trolley and Jim's blue overnight carry-all. The black one is Jim's laptop bag. I almost never bring my MacBook Pro during our trips because I take advantage of the trip to catch up on my reading and journaling and the writing of first drafts of stories by hand on pads of legal paper.

I carry the larger luggage because I'm the one who's always tasked to carry the flat iron and the toiletries, and of course my usual stash of Moleskines and books and legal pads and fountain pen ink.

And then there were the lunches, the dates, the movie-watching in cinemas and at home, the window-shopping for the things we like, the drives we took just for the heck of it, the walks in malls and the attending of launches related to the Macintosh, the online chats, the email exchanges, the surfing through YouTube for old music videos of the Electric Light Orchestra, the tequila nights, the vodka nights, the champagne nights. It was a wonderful Year One. We've been through so much, and the first year seemed like ten years and it felt as if we have been to the moon and back, and from the beginning of time and back. We have been through the Crusades, we have witnessed the Spanish Inquisition, live through the Great Depression, and survived the bubonic plague and most everything in between. But through all these, we are still together, and we have found the best place to be. Home. My apartment. The College of Chaos.