Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day Random Thoughts

Better have a post on this day. It's not every year that we have a leap day.

Nothing new here.
A chaos of books, notes, drafts, and wires on my table.
A jumble of files in my Downloads folder.
A mosaic of memo pads and reminders on the wall.
An erratic list of job prospects and plans.
And a boundless sea of thoughts, worries, and anticipations for the present and the future.

Sunday, February 26, 2012 is Alive and Kickin’ Again

After being down for several months because of financial constraints, the website is now alive and kicking again. Asia Writes is a rich source of information on writing opportunities, contests, announcements, practically anything about writing and literature in and around the Asian region. As we continue through 2012, fellow writers and literature enthusiasts, let us support Asia Writes and keep tabs on its updates and changes.

Changing Gears for a New Career

Words of Sam Witwicky’s (future) boss to him on his job interview in the film Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon:

“First job out of college is critical, kid. You either take a step down the correct career path or you fall into a life-sucking abyss.”

Not that I had anything that sucked but it would be appropriate at this time to choose a career which caters to what I have worked for in college, a career which caters more to my passions – writing, history, research, materials science, that kinds of things. Just avoiding that proverbial abyss.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Experiencing a Dream within a Dream

Ever since I’ve watched the film ‘Inception’ (which I repeated watching for over 10 times already) I have been preoccupied with the ‘unconscious’ and its mechanisms and experiences. Knowing the broad field that is psychology I know that it would be a long way to get a firm picture of what it is and what it does. Experience, for now, would suffice. And a rather scary experience happened just this midnight. A dream within a dream. Something that I thought is not entirely plausible but which I experienced. Fortunately, I always have a pen and paper beside whenever I sleep and so I was able to take notes of the details of the dream.

First there came that realization that I was dreaming, a suffocation of some sort tagged within me and so I willed myself to wake up through shouting (or groaning as I recalled later). Then I felt myself swimming upwards with noises of the air around.

(Dream level 2): Then I find myself sleeping near the table (where I sleep most of the time because of long hours in front of the laptop). Then I saw these two persons from the church where I used to attend. They seemed to be walking out of the church but in fact they are in front of me. I thought it would be better to reintroduce myself to the other person as we have been acquaintances before. Then I got angry (reasons unknown) then I banged my sister’s drawer and became aware that I was dreaming. And so again I willed myself to wake up by shouting (or groaning again as I recalled later).

(Dream level 1): Then I woke up with difficulty. I thought I was sick and I could not open my eyes. Then I thought I was going to throw up and so I coughed and got on my hands foamy substances from my mouth and some coagulated blood. I ran downstairs and found the stairs littered with blood splatters which I thought came from me. Then I turned on the light in the kitchen area and the comfort room then opened the lights in the sala area. I looked into the mirror to see myself but I still could not open my eyes. I then realized that I was dreaming again and yet again, willed myself to wake up.

(Reality): Finally I found myself beside my table and the laptop and knew right there that I have finally woken up for I was still holding the Sherlock Holmes book I was reading. No need for a totem to check reality.

This experience of mine really demands an explanation from someone who can.

Photo Credit: F. Mondez

On Leaving

“The end is just the beginning.”

As I think more about this particular line, this is a thought dressed up in optimism and fails to recognize the worth of any form of ending. Whoever thought of this was surely devastated that he or she reached an end.

But any ending – of a travel, of a relationship, of a hardship, or of anything actually – gives one a fairly liberal moment to look back and recall all the things that have happened before that end. You see your triumphs, you see your failures, you see your funny moments alone or with someone else, you see how you acted stupidly during this or that event. Endings are free times actually. You get to rest after a particular endeavour and take stock of your past thoughts and actions. A day of reckoning, that’s the word.

And so to deny an end is to deny your movement forward. You don’t look forward immediately to the future because a particular end may have been painful. Someone you loved just died but you don’t forget the person the next day. You mourn for the person and remember your days together. You fail on something but you don’t forget it the next day. You look back on it and see how you will avoid this in the future.

I am saying all these not to sound preachy but to share what I have just did in recent days. There may have been actions and decisions that I could have really crossed out today but they have been done already. All I can do right now is to pick the lessons from them and carry them as my weapons for the future. You disown an ending and you disown your future. Any past is inevitably entwined with the future. That’s how life is and if we are to continue ignoring this reality, we cannot hope to really move on in our past hurts.

One must not really dwell on the past for too long but it is a pool of cleansing where we can prepare ourselves for the coming days. Enjoy any endings. Enjoy resignations. Enjoy goodbyes. After all, it is only but a transient period.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cross Sections of Love

I could not think of any fitting word to describe what I have in mind, except for that mathematical term I have often encountered during my student days. Cross section. The meat of an object. Something you get to see when you cut across it. A realism beyond the static view of anything.

It may seem a little orchestrated, this little narrative of mine, knowing that the festivity they call Valentines Day is here. But I have been really wanting to discuss things about this irrational, hard-to-define, and unrelenting concept we call love. But after all, this concept is not tethered by any conventions or laws and so for those reasons I would indulge myself in a brief musing, attempting to make some bounded generalizations grounded on experience and past reflections. So much for this flowery introduction.

Is love found in the stream of normality, where it is appreciated when the person has a degree and a stable job?
Is it found in coffee shops, created through a brief exchange of smiles and stares?
Is it found in the comfort of a mother’s embrace, as when a child is lulled into a trance-like sleep where angels are the baby’s only companions?
Or is it realized in a time of strife, when there is nothing else to hold on to, when even hope is no longer a tangible concept?

Perhaps in that short enumeration one can really find it, for the simple reason that we and we alone can define it for ourselves. But when and where it starts (and ends for that matter) seems to me an indefatigable issue. Its bounds have started to get blurred from my viewpoint. And as I lay down wasted amongst the ruins of past connections, I can only say that the person who can carry on its definition(s) is that person alone. Love is vivid in its sudden surges, when it comes to you unannounced. It is left for us to sustain it. It is left for us to give it a form. A form that sometimes gets in the way of duties framed by normality. Again, a phenomenon that only gives substance to its description of being irrational.

But love, when brewed with hate and fighting, turns into a sickly concoction that consumes even your sweetest dreams. And when it finally goes away, it leaves you in a vacuum, as if in the wake of a terrible fever. An emptiness. An emptiness that can only be filled (or destroyed) by the same tumult that is love.

Hence treat even the most formative of your steps towards it as a matter of life and death. Love, as far as experience is concerned, is a still water, infested with dangers and sweets at the same time. Attractive and dreadful at the same time. A source of comfort and of insecurity at the same time. But perhaps that makes the experience of love akin to religion or belief. You have a choice to wager for in both ends, you get to make yourself a better person. If you love and have been loved in return, then good. If you love and you are not loved in return, be thankful, for you can still move on to another form of it and make things work for you.

And so to a large extent, it is a gift to humanity in order for men to fully realize who they are as persons.