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35 Degrees

Finally, to sit.

A long, long stretch of activities and commitments on the homefront and in academics from both sides of the classroom have kept me from just stopping a while and attending to that urge within me to do nothing at all. After a short vacation cum visit to my sister, and passing three papers at the end of the semester just after beating deadlines to submit my own grades--here I am, slowly inserting activities I have missed since months ago. Big Bang Theory, some NBA 2K, going out for lunch by myself on Fridays, going back to exercising, a bit of online book shopping, and a solitary drink or two at night. These were what I would do before when I was off school for a year. And one more sweet nothing I'd like to do again while I can is to write.

I have a number of essays I'd at least like to try writing (essai, as Montaigne understood it, is to attempt or try something). I've put them off through the school year, just noting them down as they came to mind. Most of them are interesting songs and paintings that have struck me down the line. I know it would be too topical, so maybe I'll let it cool for a bit longer, but I think Adele's songs are provocative, not just because they were written in anger and with her own blood (her ex-lover should be able to ask for recompense given that she's made a killing with his departure), but because, as with all good songs, they speak for all of us--and all of us, because we have once loved, inevitably have been once un-loved (as in un-friend, like those who have Facebook are wont to say).

I also plan on writing some short studies on the paintings I've recently seen in Liverpool and in New York last year. I discovered that one really has to see a painting before one can ever write about it. Google images is really helpful and all, but these are copies of copies (of copies, and so on), always having to reduce the original to both size and detail--and its glory. One of the really simple insights (bordering on the obvious and stupid, I admit) I had upon seeing paintings in the flesh is that the size of the canvas is in itself a medium: there is an essential relation between the dimensions of a work and its message, between what our gaze can cover and hold, and how much we can understand and grasp (comprehendere) what we see.

Though I haven't myself seen it, I've heard many say of the Mona Lisa how surprised they were to find out how "small" it is, for example. In the same manner, I didn't imagine Vermeer's A Maid Asleep or David's The Death of Socrates being large canvases. Some works even cover the whole dimensions of a wall. In general, and this comes from a stupid novice, I like larger canvases in the same manner that the larger the monster (the Latin root for appearance or showing), the more it arrests the gaze, commanding it to re-spect it (regard it or move around it) out of fear and admiration (being in front of a miracle). I wish that when I have a home I could also invest in large works. Maybe it's just a boy thing.

One of the rooms in the Lady Lever Art Gallery. The large mural on the right,
Frederic Leighton's The Daphnephoria (1874-6), served as the backdrop
to Lady Lever's funeral.

But another semi-project I want to give some time to is one which has been set aside for a while. Thanks to a friend who wants to revive it, and the initial (and surprising) support from those I have anxiously approached, yeah, I think we should give this project another try. And to get right back into it, I want to write a new piece to add to what we already have. I think I have a song or two in mind. I've recently placed here one song I wrote before.

One way to procrastinate doing what you want to accomplish, though, is to keep on talking about it. I haven't had a light summer in a while in terms of work, so I better get going. There will be a lot of movement at home, and one way to come to terms with that, or prevent sadness from setting in, is to also keep on working. But first, to the mall to beat the heat and for some frozen yogurt.


  1. I figured that by talking a lot about your plans jinxes the whole thing.

    I love reading your blogs a lot but I've only been a lurker (since I never commented until now). And I love the new layout, btw. Enjoy summer and your semi-projects!

  2. Hey, Christina, I have been watching out too for your next post, but, I guess, you've been preoccupied with talking with strangers.

    I find that interesting, you know. I also do that some times--on the plane, with cab drivers in foreign countries, servers in restaurants, among others. It's a way of widening one's world; there are too many who do not see beyond their noses, and think that their concerns are the concerns of the world. So, cool idea.

    Glad to have heard from you then. You enjoy your summer as well down in Cebu. I've been wanting to go there for some time now. Hopefully, soon.


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