One of my camera’s last winks . . .
A Sad Story
“I have to admit, when you found out your camera was broken, you just laughed about it. I guess, others would cry,” Brian declared, whom I met during my Siargao trip.
“I had a camera, not because I wanted one. I needed one.” I was tempted to say that photography, in some ways, covered my writing frustrations.
Others would cry. I know, not because they are materialistic, Brian. The camera becomes an integral part of one’s being. I didn’t cry, but I was, am consumed by guilt. I brought it to places I shouldn’t have: rivers, mountains, islands.
The other day Canon Service Center called and informed me it would cost P22, 000 ($500) to have it fixed. Perhaps for others, it is just a molehill, but it is a mountain for me already. “Just get a new one,” others advised. No. That camera is so dear. BWAB’s backbone is Pawlita (my camera) and words, words, words.
A Promising Story
Alegria Beach, Sta. Monica, Siargao Island
I’m reading fiction again. I have been half-through-ing travel essays for almost a year now. I aptly started the list with Siri Hustvedt’s The Sorrows of an American. Only a few writers have the gift to rouse the brain and squash the heart. I discovered her through David Foster Wallace’s blurb on her The Blindfold. “DFW blurbed for her, she must be good,” I thought. Not good, great.
Her characters and Paul Auster’s have many similarities—they come from the same circle of intellectuals, poets, writers, academicians, artists. I can’t grasp yet why it is titled such: sorrows, American. Perhaps because there is no authenticity in the word American. “She dramatizes and contemplates the legacy of sorrows born of the struggles of immigrants, and the psychic wounds of war, betrayal, and unrequited love,” critiqued Donna Seaman.
“To be a Fil-Am is not something to be proud of,” said David, Brian’s older brother by eleven months. And he said it with his face twisted a bit—the kind of face I make when I masticate the bitterness of paliya.
Guyam Island at Dusk | Using Brian’s Lumix Camera
That is the strangeness of language: it crosses the boundaries of the body, is at once inside and outside, and it sometimes happens that we don’t notice the threshold has been crossed.
I know that what I choose to call reserve or deference may be a form of fear—an unwillingness to listen to what comes next.
I heard Miranda sigh. In that sound was a world.
Taking a walk, even at night, even if you’re upset, is such an innocent thing, and yet it was so secretive, so thick with feeling that it became terrible.
Western philosophy and culture have had an ocular bias: vision is our dominant sense. We read each other through our eyes, and anatomically they are an extension of our brains. When we catch someone’s eye, we look into a mind. A person without eyes is disturbing for the simple reason that eyes are the doors to the self.
Erik . . . you mean well, but I’ve got a self-destructive bent , in case you hadn’t noticed, which I very much doubt, since you do this for a living, but people like me [writer] don’t go in for salvation. Crippled and crazy, we hobble toward the finish line, pen in hand.
Time is a property of language, syntax, and tense. . . . We’ve fetishized the true story, the tell-all confession, reality TV, real people in their real lives, celebrity marriages, divorces, addictions, humiliation as entertainment—our version of the public hanging.
History is made by amnesia.
Trauma isn’t part of a story; it is outside story. It is what we refuse to make part of our story.
Memory offers up its gifts only when jogged by something in the present. It isn’t a storehouse of fixed images and words, but a dynamic associative network in the brain that is never quiet and is subject to revision each time we retrieve an old picture or old words.
There is NO clear border between remembering and imagining.
Doubt is an uncomfortable feeling that can quickly become suspicion, and under the intimate circumstances of psychotherapy, it may be nothing short of dangerous.
I believe meaning is what the mind makes and wants.
from The Sorrows of an American
***Brian and David’s story soon here at BWAB.