what’s a meme anyway? i’m too lazy to google it. if you’re kind, maybe you can explain it to me. suffice it to say that i got this from baby jopai who got this from glenn who got this from alyza who got this from somewhere. i want to answer the questions as a sort of affirmation that i am on the right writing track and to show you dear readers that i haven’t read as much books as i project myself to have done so. guilty as charged!!
oh and before diving into this, i want to share that i finally met karl r. de mesa, author of news of the shaman and damaged people — tales of the gothic-punk.
i first encountered his name and work when i was asked to report on his memoir, reports from the abyss, for philippine literature 151 under the very amazing and uber brilliant ruth jordana pison. i had to get in touch with him and scuttle to his blog to bug him for quotes. afterward, it was sms and emails between us as he became part of my writers’ pool for another magazine. he, in turn, made my dream come true of writing for Monday magazine.
we met up at bookay-ukay on wednesday evening and had a bottle of beer each at the adjacent tomato kick. we were joined by his friend from a great local band. it was a conversation that swerved from media chismis to local music and took a sharp turn to other topics like tattoos and the perpetual haunting of the ivory tower (this was primarily my issue during our exchange).
it was a rainy evening, and i was glad to have glenn around who taught me how to commute to tomato kick.
here goes nada:
1) What author do you own the most books by?
Haruki Murakami, Charles Dickens, Salman Rushdie, Sylvia Plath, Margaret Atwood
2) What book do you own the most copies of?
A book by an author I’m too selfish to share with the public. Mom Weena met him at one of those Iowa gatherings. Also Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. Strunk and White’s Elements of Style.
3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
Yep, but there’s beauty in letting go.
4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Estella of Great Expectations and Esther of The Bell Jar.
5) What book have you read the most times in your life (excluding picture books read to children; i.e., Goodnight Moon does not count)?
Satanic Verses, Where the Wild Things Are, Midnight’s Children, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, The Little Prince, The Robber Bride
6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
Island of the Blue Dolphins and The Christmas Carol (yes, I’m a Charles Dickens fanatic)
7) What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?
Wala namang worst book.
8 ) What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
Sylvia Plath’s Ariel.
9) If you could force everyone you know to read one book, what would it be?
The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie dahil sa word play and allusion to pop culture and to Orpheus and Eurydice with a rock culture setting. Yeah!
10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?
11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
Any Umberto Eco book. Mind fuck!
12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
Any lesbian book like Orlando.
13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
Marami na so it’s hard to recount them, and I’ve forgotten most of them. If we treat Jesus as a literary character, then I had a very weird and scary dream involving him. He was looking for me as he climbed the stairs, the cross borne on his shoulders going thump thump thump on the stairs. Next scene: He was on the cross, and he suddenly fell to the ground. And then he looked up: His face was the devil’s. This was a recurring nightmare when i was a kid.
On a lighter note, I recently had a dream with Jopai in it.
14) What is the most lowbrow book you’ve read as an adult?
Ayoko baka maka-offend ako.
15) What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?
Umberto Eco’s The Island of the Day Before because you need full concentration. Also Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea dahil… wait for it… ang boring niya. Samahan mo pa ng Norah Jones in the background, and it’s suicide country. Kill me now, lord.
16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you’ve seen?
Obscure? Parang wala naman.
17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
Russia as a destination, Russians for novels, French for poetry.
18) Roth or Updike?
Honestly, wala pa kong nabasang works nila.
19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
Same as my reply in 18
20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
Shakespeare or Chaucer
21) Austen or Eliot?
22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
Kapag binabasa ko ang mga guilty pleasure books ko like Kikomachine, haha! Biggest lang, not embarrassed of them. I like that set of books. They always kept me company during therapies.
23) What is your favorite novel?
A novel by the author I’m too selfish to share with the public. Second best favorite: Midnight’s Children. Third best: Sputnik Sweetheart by Murakami
Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare. Forever Witches by Estrella Alfon (i’m crazy this way). Rent by Jonathan Larson.
Isa lang? No can do. you fit into me by atwood. purple bathing suit by gluck. autumn by rilke. proxy eros by mookie katigbak. variation of the word sleep by margaret atwood. plath’s lady lazarus. alunsina takes a walk in the rain by conchitina cruz. on loving an atheist by ashley polley. no umbrella by cynthia ayala. mad girl’s love song by plath. eileen tabios’s causing adultery and the secret of her happiness. love poem exercise 197: loss by ramon sunico. dear one absent this long while by lisa olstein. etc. etc. etc.
Essayists na lang. Joi Barrios, Thelma Kintanar, Gilda Cordero-Fernando, Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil
27) Short story?
The Cries of Children on an April Afternoon in the Year 1957 by masterful Gregorio Brillantes. The lottery. A story by kurt vonnegut that was unjustly titled a long walk to forever. Dancing girls by margaret atwood. ALL stories by kerima polotan-tuvera. Professor quemada’s last words by eric gamalinda. The laugher by heinrich boll. Wants by Grace Paley. Sexy by Jhumpa Lahiri.
28) Work of nonfiction?
Alice Sun-Cua’s travel pieces. I, Do, Still by Rica Bolipata-Santos (thanks to walkingwithsunshine for the painstaking work of typing it)
29) Who is your favorite writer?
The author I don’t want to share with you. Others: Salman Rushdie, Haruki Murakami, Margaret Atwood, Sylvia Plath.
30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
Yung writer ng Twilight saga.
31) What is your desert island book?
Which one is it? Stuck in the desert or on an island? Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut kasi kelangan mo tumawa at umiyak pag stranded ka. Good luck if you have Eco or Marquez that requires more brain power. Plus Jill Thompson’s A Little Endless Storybook.
32) And… what are you reading right now?
All my pretty ones by Anne Sexton, Chiaroscuro by Joel Toledo, if i write you this poem, will you make it fly by simeon dumdum, Brothers Karamazov, Zyzzyva (anthology of West Coast writers), The Game by A.S. Byatt (yes, I can’t focus on one book)