University of the Philippines,
before the rain
Couple years ago, I made a rule for myself that I haven’t broken since. The rule is, whenever I see a Booksale, I have to go in and look around for no less than five minutes. The books are fairly cheap and my luck is randomized, which motivates me to pick books that I might not choose in a bigger bookstore.
I’ve done this so I don’t get lazy. Can’t be a writer if you don’t read, and I don’t want to be boxed in my reading comfort zone.
Sometimes the books are not good– I haven’t yet read any book that repulsed me, just books that bored me or annoyed me. Maybe there are no bad books? (just personal shit lists, maybe).
But sometimes the books are incredible. There is pure joy in the discovery of something new. A story that left me breathless, a play I’ve never heard of, essays from an exotic country, a writer who makes the the words pop and cackle. I found a copy of Toni Morrison’s Jazz with the previous owner’s comments scribbled on the margins.
Over the summer, I’ve had a string of luck and read a great collection of travel essays (The Conde Nast Traveler Book of Unfogettable Journeys: Great Writers on Great Places), a play written inside a prison (Miguel Pinero’s Short Eyes) and a fascinating discourse on anarchist syndicalism masquerading as masterful sci-fi (Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossed). Next in line is something I picked up last week, which seems to be a young-adult fantasy book about a rat kingdom of some sort (Brian Jacques’ Redwall).
We only buy books because we think we’re buying the time to read them, a friend said.
Partly true. I barely have time to read anymore. What with all these distractions. There’s TV and work and video games and going to the bar and sleeping. But we make do.
I hardly go anywhere without a book. I’ve reverted back to my nine-year old self, with a dog-eared paperback in my backpack. It’s amazing the amount of places one could sneak a couple of pages. In the line for train tickets, while waiting for a jeepney to be filled, while waiting to pay bills, in the shitter, having coffee alone, waiting for friends to arrive at the bar. I realize what a twit I must look like, reading some book in a bar, but fuck that, man. I’m an adult. I do what I want.
I honestly don’t know how people read on their phones. Squinting at the screen gives me a headache. I don’t feel as comfortable pulling out my phone in shady places. I’d be using up my phone’s battery if I read on it, and I need my phone for calls and messages. So I read books.
When I was a girl, I remember seeing a woman on the bus reading a book. In retrospect, it could have been anything– a bible, a medical textbook, a thick-ass air conditioning manual. But she was engrossed in it. She looked so smart, reading that book.
I could try to read shit on my phone, but I bet I won’t look as good.
Funny how things work out.
Earlier this year, I’ve been minimally involved in a little independent short film/ webisode thing with friends. It was supposed to be the first installment of five, a story about a group of friends and their misadventures in the late 90’s. I’ve only read snippets of the script and provided my beat up car as the beat up car of the protagonist. That was the extent of my involvement.
I also hung out, tagged along, made sandwiches for the cast and crew, and such. As I haven’t been privy to the inner workings of an indie production, I thought it would be cool. I took photos too, when I could.
The writer/ director asked me not to post the photos until the first film was edited and screened. I agreed.
It’s now been a handful of months down the road and, uh, I suppose things happened. The first installment would be the final installment, and from what I gather, certain issues need to be worked out. Maybe the short film would be screened, maybe not. The work will have to be in an unfinished state. Forever, maybe. It’s a bit complex.
So, with no real pressing objections to my posting of these photos, some behind the scenes shots of a film that may or may not even see the light of day.