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mercredi, décembre 23, 2009

swan song

i started bananaducky on the month i changed my mind and accepted the then-department chair's offer to teach at uplb. only the previous month, i was running on adrenaline and rushing blind to finish my master's thesis.

i don't remember the impetus towards starting this blog, how i decided to go with blogger, or even the blogs i read which may have inspired me to start my own. now as i type, i could only guess that, as with many things, my best friend of 27 years joffin (and it never gets old typing this) may have something to do with it. (mental note: i have to ask her when she started durgaspeak, a blog that has long been buried, along with too many unmentionables in her life. but much has changed in this decade we are about to leave behind.)

poor blogs. they bear the brunt of our too many unmentionables. it wasn't always this way for me. because i've always felt more comfortable writing with an imagined singular reader in mind (and not with legions of faceless and nameless readers), i've locked the subject matter of my posts to the everyday, just as the father who comes home at the end of the day, the mother with a cold drink in hand, asking him 'how was your day?'

remembering the ebb and flow of my blogging life, i have, more often than not, made it function as a receptacle of my vitriol. such should not be the life of a blog, but i'm afraid it has been that way. it feels good after having clicked on 'publish now' because you think you've unburdened yourself. and then you view the post in a new window - it is more of the same.

in other words, like joffin/durgaspeak, i have decided to bury bananaducky for good. there are still traces of rubber duckies in my life, bought at children's toy stores, given by friends. as sarah, my blog designer/everything, said, we have to start fresh. i agree. (i was about to launch into a story of how the new blog was conceptualized, but that should be the very first post over the other side of the fence.

it is still under construction, so i cannot give details. but trust that it has been designed with love, carefully thought of with the best of intentions and will be filled with posts dealing with a host of topics (as how it should be) with the plural readers in mind (as how it should be).

after six years, i declare bananaducky dead.

dimanche, novembre 29, 2009

nothing like keeping friends you've had back when there were still rotary dial telephones and our house number was 3372.

mardi, novembre 17, 2009


sarah, just let me know when you're free. we are burying this blog for good.

mercredi, octobre 14, 2009

1. I want to be friends with writing again

Writing is supposed to be cathartic, even a joy. But for me, it is utter pain. I circle around a phrase like a commercial airplane forced to circle around the city, waiting for the air controller's permission to land.

Why wait for the air controller? Why even bother flying a plane when you can ride on an air balloon. It seems cumbersome, not to mention that it's slow. But it'll get you to where you want to go. (Think Carl and Russell in Up.)

2. Menthol cigarettes, I missed you

Thea, my former colleague in LB, is my procurer of menthol cigarettes of brands I have never tried in my entire life. I ran into her last Friday at Faculty Center and promptly invited her to have coffee. She suggested something better - join her at the FC parking lot while she takes a cigarette break (maybe from the books she borrowed from her professor).

It was the best time to offer me a stick. That puff of Dunhill smoke was so delicious I was stupid enough to let it linger in my mouth. I loved it so much I was unashamed to bum two more sticks from her, while we chatted about teaching, the classes we attend and the uppity fashion sense of that beloved topic we refer to as 'the kids today'.

Fast forward to this afternoon - I saw her again safely ensconced in one of the nooks in front of the Main Library. Again having smokes, but this time Vogue cigarettes. (My vocabulary is limited to DJ Mixx and Capri. I remember gifting myself on my 21st birthday with pack of Capri. I smoked three or four sticks in my dorm room before I suffered a massive headache.) Of course, trust Thea to offer me a stick. Had another one before we headed our separate ways.

3. Literary asides
- I espied Sarge Lacuesta's new book "Flames and Other Stories" at National Bookstore Katipunan yesterday. My heart fell for the utterly sexy cover. And yes, I am a fan. His and Bing Sitoy's fiction. (When I was classmates with Bing in Elmer Ordonez's Novel class back in MA era, I remember our class regaling her with congratulations over her first Palanca win, to which she timidly smiled back.)

- While waiting for the Graduate Studies Office to open at 1 pm in order to give my exam answers for CL 301 (Areas and Methods of Comparative Literature), I killed time by looking at the theses and dissertations crammed at every possible shelf space at the Gonzalo Gonzales Reading Room (where I took my exam). This time, I tried to check out the Creative Writing manuscripts - there were a lot defended over the summer. I checked out the manuscript of Pooching's roommate Anna and read the title story "Inventory." It's about a young woman whose baby died. On the aside, she is an ardent fan of "Ghost Fighter" and found a kindred spirit in her geeky neighbor who offers to buy her entire collection of the anime series' memorabila. I know I'm making this summary too abbreviated, but what I wanted to say was I really liked the story. Yes, the short story had a tone that I've been seeing in quite a lot of the present fiction among the twenty-something Filipino/a writers in English who probably share Anna's profile - workshop veterans, CW majors, literary awardees. But there was something earnest about her writing. I figure there's enough fiction to digest at the reading room. At its 'bureaucratic' form (with all the approval sheets from the various members of a thesis panel).

- I must say, Vlad's picture in this month's Preview "It" list is his most unexpected.

- Fiction read of the moment: none
Academic book read of the moment not related to qualifying exams: none
Magazine subscription read of the moment: none
Blog read of the moment: Chuvaness pa rin

mardi, octobre 13, 2009


So I decided that bananaducky at blogspot was something that should be left alone, like that TOEFL reviewer my former student Jas lent me two years ago - it was one of the casualties my Xavierville II room incurred from the flood during typhoon Ondoy. I was too anxious to get back to Los Banos the following day (and spent very few days in QC afterwards) that did not have the time (or inclination) to dry out the pages, even with the sole electric fan in my room. (I do not have any need for a blowdryer.)

So I decided to lurk arond wordpress. It looked convenient, and it was easy to create an account, but when I attempted to make my first post a while ago, I realized I wasn't up for deciphering its numerous functions, when all I wanted was the 'Create Post' option.

So I reluctantly sneaked my way back in blogger, like the adolescent girl who stayed up way beyond her curfew and tried to tiptoe (with noisy shoes on one hand) her way inside the house and prayed to God the uncooperative door wouldn't creak just this one.

My head is up to here with qualifying exams for the postgraduate program I'm in (one down yesterday, two more to go until Friday). There's also the first chapter of my would-be dissertation (stress the words 'would-be') on Wednesday and that conference paper that should meet potshots on Friday. My Asian literature professor was gracious enough to move the deadline for the seminar paper to next next Wednesday, but all I want to do right now is sleep and wake up on October 31.

This has always been my enemy - the spectre of what-may-happen-to-me-in-the-future. I have two versions of the future. The first one is an arrogant, self-assured creature who thinks the fates have been etched on my palm (an Indian house guest once traced the obscure lines on my right palm and suggested that there was a star, which meant that I am artistic), composed through dregs of tea, intimated by a mystic (who was consulted upon by Nanay, who forever wonders what will become of me) and forever decreed by my intuition. (During that Friday when I thought I was right about Jojo, I told him that I have always had this certain vision of myself, what I would be doing with my life, what place I would live in for the rest of my life, and all that gumption. Strangely, I never saw him in that picture. And yet, I saw him in my dreams the other night.)

The other version of the future is the one I avoid like the plague. I anticipate it like the injection my childhood doctor administered when I was literally out of air due to an allergic reaction to a drug. (I remember it very clearly - Mount Pinatubo was erupting on television.) It is the future I thought I could avoid, if only I burrowed under my pillow for just one more hour. It is that outcome that haunts me more than the process. The process was always taken for granted.

I'm sorry, process. I'm sorry, too, practice. I suppose my arrogance has gotten the better of me all this time. I have always been content with the simple knowledge that I am this. Such self-assuredness. It stinks.

It reeks of years upon years of under-rug-swept thoughts, first steps filed under: First Steps. They cling to my memory like the smell of shit on the sole of my right shoe that wouldn't go away even if the visible traces of that shit have been effectively obliterated.

Do you remember that knot on my back you had to knead, like it was the only thing you could do for me? You cannot undo that knot on my back anymore. I cannot say, "Screw you." Or "Go Away." Or "I hate you." Or "I love you." There is no more space for those words. And yet, you are like the smell of shit on the sole of my right shoe that wouldn't go away even if the visible traces of that shit have been effectively obliterated.

So I decided to throw that shoe away.

(For Sarah)

dimanche, août 30, 2009


July 11, 1948

Dear Allen,

Exorcise Neal.


(Excerpt from "Family Business: Selected Letters Between a Father and a Son - Allen and Louis Ginsberg." Michael Schumacher, editor)

mercredi, juin 17, 2009

I'm microblogging on Blogger using the format of a Facebook status but with choices? Eh...

Amy Colanta is:
a) not panicking, which is unusual.
b) in the middle of the slow descent of a sugar rush.
c) missing/not missing that bloke.
d) strategizing the semester after belatedly learning that one of her classes was dissolved.
e) not feeling that her seemingly-perfect plans are ruined.
f) thinking that seemingly-perfect plans are meant to be messed with anyway.