when you do not have enough words for this rage

We are no longer who we were before Monday. Even in the annals of political violence in the Philippines, there have been no parallels to the slaughter that occurred on the lonely road to Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao on November 23.

52 unarmed civilians all, the majority of whom were media professionals, the victims were enroute to perform basic functions in a civilized democracy: the Mangudadatu women were to file certificates of candidacy; the lawyers were to provide legal advice; and the journalists were to bear witness on behalf of the public and to report on an important event without fear or favor. - Statement of GMA Network on the Maguindanao massacre

Here's the Inquirer's partial list of victims.

We haven't even entered election season properly, and yet here it is. I've never seen so many journalists killed in a single day in all my years of monitoring killings among media workers.

It is chilling to know that somewhere in this country, there are people who could do such savagery. Fifty-seven people. Who does something like that?


work and play, together

I am reading Anne Lamott's "Bird by Bird", as generously loaned to us by Kat during last night's Amazing Book Swap with Eliza and at 6750 Starbucks. Whew. That was a fun time, gals. Should do it again. I love listening to girls gush about books - although I have to admit I'm a ridiculously slow reader and this really does fill me with much shame. I am still in the middle of A.M. Homes' "Music for Torching" because I've been finding it quite difficult to read about the couple at the center of things, and yet I am completely in love with her language. Just saying.


Incidentally, today is also my mother's 12th year death anniversary. Which is important to me because this marks a sort of border. I was twelve when she died. Next year, I will have spent more years without her than with her. All daughters must remember these sorts of things.

Anyway. Last night my sister texted to inform me that there's a small get-together in the house today with food and all. I won't be there for the nth time. Every year I sit down to do something like a memorial post of sorts for Mom on this day I always start by asking myself, Where the F was I last year?

So I'm doing myself a favor, though this won't be evident until this day next year: Today I am reading another book about writing. This morning I woke to the sound of the girl I'm totally in love with fixing her breakfast. I am looking forward to getting to the office and working with people I like. I just realized I play Plants vs Zombies because it makes me feel like a child -- unlike banks and billing statements and meetings, which make me feel old/my age (and which I do a lot of also).

And I really really like pandas.

Anyway, that being said, I hope everyone's having a swell Thursday. ♥


the art of precarious photographs

i. The case for not taking photographs: They are always there

Here, one sees: Two definitely drunk girls, faces beside each other, so close their cheeks nearly touch. I remember when this was taken: On the very first night we went out, the one where we end up closing the establishment at 4 a.m., with too much alcohol in our veins and nicotine in our lungs. In another, one sees: A lukewarm can of beer half buried in the sand. In another: Someone sprawled by the beach, mid-afternoon sun painful on skin. In another: The careless laugh of someone looking the other way. In another: Someone passing between the camera and the subject by accident, mouth formed in the middle of the word “Oops.” In another: The silhouette of a boy lighting a cigarette.

Here, one sees: The smile of someone on the receiving end of a surprise. Over here: The eagerness of a hungry diner, seconds before the utensils touch the plate. There: The soft color of flowers reflected upon the face of a lover. Over here: The closed eyes of someone intently listening to music. There: The split-second before fingertips touch. Here: That moment before waking.

The thing about photographs is that they are always there; they care little about notions of pasts and presents. They’re just there to say, once upon a time, this was here – people wore these clothes, these horrible haircuts and pants and shoes; people used to be this small and thin; people still felt this way, thought this way – were this way.

That people change is not my problem, neither is the fact that certain changes cause certain sorts of photographs to cease production; though it cannot be helped at all, how it’s always the permanent snapshots of things now gone that get me, always (See also: An ID photo of my mother, 12 years younger, had she been aging all that while).

Photographs do little for efforts toward forgetting, but then again, why would anyone in the midst of such efforts even stray into these albums? When they say it’s by accident, the cardinal rule is to not believe anything they say and hit them hard.

ii. The case for not taking photographs: Because sometimes, the memory of it is enough.

Because I have long resigned myself that it will never come again. That sometimes there is no take two. That sometimes when something is over, it just is.

iii. The case for not taking photographs: Because sometimes, it is better to not leave any trace of it.

Because perhaps all of it should stay between you and me. Perhaps secrets are better kept in the absence of evidence. Perhaps the Polaroid of you in my head is the best I’ll ever have.


iv. The case for taking photographs: They are always there

How many times have I heard people say: It was windy when we met and I fell in love with a snapshot of you and your windswept hair across your face, the dainty fibers casting all those pretty shadows. I have kept that picture all these years, in a secret pocket of my wallet; or, My screensaver is that blurry shot of you dancing, the other night.

Or: You and me, we look good together against a backdrop of itchy-ticklish bermuda. Or: I take a photograph of you every day, while you’re sleeping. Or: I know I don’t live here anymore when you always take your camera out on weekends I come to visit; I have a special smile for these rare photographs you take.

Unless it’s the sort of thing you do for a living, photograph people in horrible situations (and even then, unless it’s your sort of thing to hang them around the house for constant viewing), chances are when you look at people in photographs they are smiling; to a degree, it’s comforting, this way. If it’s the last thing I’ll take of you, I’d rather you be happy. (If it’s the last thing of us together.)

v. The case for taking photographs: Because sometimes, I can’t have enough of you.

Because on some nights I stay up and think about this particular smile; on other nights, that particular gesture. Sometimes, when I close my eyes, it’s not dark I see but you, and it is nice, this permanent Polaroid behind my eyelids.

vi. The case for taking photographs: Because sometimes, it’s all there is.

Sometimes, wherever I look, there you are, and oftentimes, I can hardly breathe.


vii. The art of precarious photographs

Sometimes I wish I (never) took photographs of us (in the first place).
Sometimes I wish I was (not) around for photographs (in the first place).


I take photos of you half to capture that moment, half to be able to relive it at will: The sight of you standing on top of an air vent or biting into a chicken enthusiastically or covering your face as you laugh; you against a backdrop of feathery clouds and bright blue skies. We move so fast and sometimes there are moments we miss, moments that go by so quickly we barely have time for process, moments we want to have lasted a few moments longer.

(You’re always the moment I want to last forever.)

a list of things

things that are bad for me:
+ plants vs zombies - can burn hours without you knowing it
+ facebook - contains photographs new and old

things that are good for me:
+ livejournal - i am in love with my new layout
+ tumblr - a happy place

today we went to my mother's grave. i overwrote my mother's name with golden pentel pen. totally the highlight of this vacation. that and my cousin mark's awesome adobo.