In order to be
Discreet poets often send
Plums disguised as quotes
In order to be
Discreet poets often send
Plums disguised as quotes
I want it to catch
Me in style: Fully attired
Like a geek: glasses
On, dark jeans, sneakers, black shirt
And drowned by books in my room.
We’ve started a family tradition a few months ago, a Friday Night Family Movie Date, wherein we just stay at home and watch animated movies every Friday night. We’ve seen dozens of movies already — many of course from Disney and Pixar, and several from Hayao Miyazaki and Cartoon Saloon, the makers of The Secret of Kells and The Song of the Sea (which was richly illustrated and stunningly beautiful, by the way) — and we’ve almost exhausted the top-rated animated films from Rotten Tomatoes.
And Bel and I have really come to appreciate these films. They are not merely “cartoons”, but actually are works of art. It’s great because we get to enjoy them with the kids so we have a shared experience, and each movie can also provide us with talking points for conversations about concepts like beauty, truth, goodness, justice, heroism, virtue, evil, sacrifice, love, family, God, and even technology, computers, robots, and science (in the case of Big Hero Six).
We missed our movie date last Friday, so we made up for it today. We saw Toy Story 2 and Sleeping Beauty. It’s amazing that movies as old as Sleeping Beauty, which was made in 1959, still look stunning today. Anyway, my favorite prince by far is Prince Philip because he is what a hero ought to be — valiant, virtuous, and hard-working. He did not have his princess handed to him on a silver platter. He had to fight for her, and he was willing to face hell itself in order to win her, armed with the only weapons that matter — truth (for his sword), virtue (for his shield), and love (the thing that kept him moving).
It’s also great to expose kids to fairy tales, I think, because, in addition to exposing them to things of beauty, you also set their standards high up. For example, I would expect Luke to have the qualities of a prince or a knight when he grows up, and look for a woman who possesses the qualities of a lady or princess. Or I would want Lizzy to conduct herself as a princess would conduct herself, and settle for nothing less than a gallant, heroic, prince-like guy in choosing her husband-to-be.
Once we run out of animated movies to watch, we’ll probably move on to non-animated classics like The Wizard of Oz, which Luke has partly seen and loved, Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, which they’ve seen parts of and adore, and so on.
She’s a cross between
Austen and Jones: She writes, sings
Jazz, inspires, and haunts.
“Read widely. To me it is that simple. Every new book you read puts language and imagery and storytelling techniques into your head that weren’t there before.”
“He’s here,” the old man said, lowering his newspaper, chuckling under his breath. “The saint.” His wife smiled behind him.
“Right on schedule,” he said.
It was a Friday. The man in question always goes to church on Fridays. He parked his car across the cafe from where the old man and his wife were sitting. He didn’t know they’ve been watching him for months now.
“What a good man,” the wife said. “I wonder who he is. I wonder where he lives.”
“He doesn’t look like he’s from around here,” the old man said.
“I wonder if he has a wife and kids,” she said.
“He looks like a family man to me,” he said.
“What a good man,” she said. “And so young. When was the last time you went to confession, Tony? And to think that we live right across a church.”
The old man grumbled and went back to his reading.
The man disappeared into the confessional. After what seemed like a long time, he emerged from it with an expression that was solemn and severe. He walked slowly into the adoration chapel, leaving his shoes by the door.
“He never stops by here,” the old man said, stirring his coffee.
“No. He must be very busy,” the wife said.
A quarter of an hour passed by before they saw the man again. He bought a piece of rose from a vendor who was idling by the parking lot and laid it beside a statue of the Virgin Mary. Then he lit some candles and stood motionless for several minutes.
“What a good man,” the wife repeated, more to herself than to her husband.
Inside his car later that afternoon, on his way home, the man beat at his chest and wept, “Oh, Lord. Oh, Lord! I am so ashamed. When will this agony end?” He wiped the tears off his cheeks with his sleeve. “Oh Lord, that I be a decent man. Please help me become a decent man.”
I’m so happy! One of my short stories will soon appear in the pages of the Philippines Graphic, the country’s leading newsweekly and literary magazine. I’m overjoyed because it’s been a while since I wrote and got anything published. This will be my fourth story in the magazine. I feel validated as a fiction writer. Thank you, Lord.
“I sold the first short story I wrote. Then I received over 75 rejections before making another sale. My first four novels were never published.”
The scoundrel wakes up at exactly the same time every morning – at 6 o’clock. Immediately upon waking, he prays. Then, he takes a bath, dresses up, joins his wife in the kitchen for some breakfast, kisses her on the mouth, and leaves for the office. He is seldom late.
In the office, he works diligently. He chit chats with his colleagues occasionally, joins them for lunch sometimes, and works diligently again until 5 in the afternoon.
At 5:15 in the afternoon, he heads back home.
This routine is repeated throughout the week, until Sunday. Sunday, he rests. Sunday, he goes to church in the morning with his wife. He always liked to sit in the last pew at the back of the church. She did not prefer it, but she understood.
He did not like to go to public places, especially malls. He’d like to stay away from them forever, if he could help it. But he couldn’t help it, for his wife occasionally would have a need to go to the mall, either to shop, buy groceries, or watch a movie. In such instances, he always made it a point to wear sunglasses. And he almost always looked down at his shoes when he walked.
When dining out, he always made sure that they’d sit at the least conspicuous part of the restaurant. This usually meant at a table near the kitchen, the emergency exit, or the restroom. It also helps when the place is dim, quiet, and uncrowded.
The hardest time of the day for the scoundrel’s wife is late afternoon, just between the so-called “golden hour” — when the afternoon is awash by the sun’s golden light — and dusk. At such times, his usually bubbly wife would keep quiet, stare out of the window of their car, and wordlessly weep.
For the scoundrel, every single minute of the day is difficult, but the hardest part of all is late in the evening, when his wife is already asleep and he finds himself alone again. At such times, it was his turn to weep. He’d bolt up from his bed, storm towards the bathroom, and wished he’d find something there to smash and break. Failing to do so, he’d just go back to their bedroom and restlessly pace the floor. In the dark, he’d grieve. He’d pine for the things he’s broken and the people he’d lost because of what he’s done. There was no one else to blame, no one he could point his finger to. There was no villain in his life bigger than the person he had become. Sleep wasn’t a state he could escape to, for his unconscious mind was more severe and unforgiving than his conscious mind. In any case, his waking hours themselves feel like a very bad dream, and there didn’t seem to be an end in sight. Fatigue would eventually catch up with him at two or three in the morning, but no matter how late he’d sleep, he’d always wake up at six. Reality would jolt him out of his sleepiness the moment he’d come to consciousness. How many months have passed since that day, six, seven, nine? He stopped counting. Still, it feels like no amount of time can ever take him far enough from that one moment.
In the morning, he’d sit up, pray, take a shower, dress up, and join his wife at the kitchen table. He has nothing to look forward to except his wife’s smile. The quality of his day, of his life, hinges on her mercy.