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After not having blogged for over a month due to my right hand injury (I’m better now, thank you), and my father’s recent colon cancer operation (he’s better now, too, thank God), I was happy to find out that Ms. Lee Paige of Life Accordinglee, a fellow blogger and aspiring author, nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. If I could nominate her back for this award, I would. But one of the unwritten rules, I believe, of this award is that it does not allow one to nominate the one who nominated you.
Still, after having been on a blogging and writing hiatus for over a month, I am quite honored and flattered to have been nominated by someone as inspiring and as serious a blogger and writer as Ms. Paige. Just when I thought I was about to lose my blogging and writing momentum after a series of unfortunate writing setbacks — major of which were my dad’s diagnosis with stage 2B colon cancer and my right hand freak accident injury — the latter having almost extinguished my passion for writing altogether (for fear I might not be able to write properly again because I am unfortunately just right-handed, not ambidextrous), I receive this recognition and honor.
The slogan-theme of the award is “Keeping The Blogosphere A Beautiful Place.” This nomination, to me, is, I would like to think, validation enough that I am somehow doing something write, er, right, with my life and with this blog. When I started The Bibliophile Chronicles, all I wanted was a place for me to share my thoughts on literature, authors, books, and to share some of the happenings in my life in relation to my passion for reading and writing. But if fellow bloggers and writers such as Ms. Paige thinks that I am also keeping the blogosphere a beautiful place, then that is indeed a wonderful and unexpected bonus and accolade. So, with all my heart, thank you, Ms. Paige, for the nomination.
The Very Inspiring Blogger Award comes with a few rules. Here they are:
- Display the Award Certificate on your website.
- Announce your win with a post and link to whoever presented you with the award.
- Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers.
- Drop them a comment to tip them off after you have linked them in the post.
- Post 7 interesting things about yourself.
7 THINGS ABOUT MYSELF I MAY HAVE FAILED TO MENTION BEFORE
1. I think I may have been an English lord in my past life. That said, I am a royalist and an Anglophile. And after having met a royal Muslim princess and a Filipina socialite who became an English lady after marrying an English lord, I am all the more convinced now not only of my English heritage, but of my being an English lord trapped in a bipolar Filipino man‘s body. Ah, the idea of addressing someone as Your Royal Highness and Lady Minda or being addressed as Lord Francis by someone else if just utterly delicious; it’s like eating Christmas!
2. I have been sporting a posh British accent whenever I talk to Europeans or any British person since I was in high school. Blame it on BBC and my English heritage. I have been asked by all British and European people I have met why I have a posh, aristocratic, upper class British accent, and I just tell them with my clipped, nasal, and patrician voice that I was born in London and have lived with my grandmother Her Majesty The Queen since Day 1, jokingly, of course.
3. I am obsessive-compulsive. I write, read, and think obsessively and compulsively every minute of everyday that I honestly don’t know what to focus on and do first most of the time. This is the reason why I always bring with me everywhere I go a pen, a paper, books, my journal, and my fleeting and racing thoughts. Sometimes I wonder how I am still sane all these years. Moreover, I wonder why the people around me, especially my staff, family, and friends, still remain sane after all the craziness they have to up with because of my genius, or is it delusions? Okay, genius it is.
4. I love making up new words. Who says Webster is the only guy who can come up with new vocab? In my previous posts and in a chapter of my as yet unpublished memoirs and novel, I came up with words such as historize, diarize, teachified, francified, and bipolarize, and have used them quite successfully, if I may so myself. I am waiting for the day people will refer to me as the literary genius who coined such beautiful words. You’ll have to buy copies of my memoirs and novel to learn more new words I made up myself.
5. When I was in Europe on a vacation two months ago for over three weeks, I was hoping I could start writing short stories to anthologize in a book. Alas, I ended up with nothing. I caught the flu when I was in Salzburg, Austria because instead of bundling up properly and wearing something appropriate and wise for a minus five-degree Celsius climate, I thought I would Superman it up by just wearing a thin blue jacket as thin and as uncomfortable as the leotards of Superman himself when I was out riding a horse-driven carriage for a sightseeing trip. Turns out I didn’t have any healing superpowers, after all; my only superpowers are delusions of grandeur and stupidity.
6. I see everything from a writer’s perspective since I started blogging. Everytime something, anything happens — good or bad — I always see something in it that inspires me to write about. Even after having told myself that I might not be able to write anymore because of my bloody, inconvenient right hand injury, at the back of my mind I was still thinking that I could write about this after I get better or after it still doesn’t get any better. When you start writing, you begin to see every experience as an inspiration for writing, you see every minute detail as a possible theme or topic, and you see everything with a writer’s hope for a better future or a writer’s despair for a bleak future.
7. I write because I don’t want to forget. My ambition of being a memoirist and being a damn good novelist started from being a diarist. At the end of each day, I write in my different notebooks and journals, including this iPhone application called One Day, all my thoughts, feelings, opinions, fears, and dreams because I don’t want to forget anything. I didn’t say I want to remember everything because, you see, being bipolar and obsessive-compulsive, I tend to forget most things. It’s not early senility, just memory loss caused by manic, racing thoughts. With all the things running through my mind every millisecond, and with all the things that compete to take up space in my ever-working brain and imagination, it is easy for me to get distracted. I can’t afford to forget those surges of inspiration and brilliance, because in my world, genius, creativity, and delusions are all one and the same.
15 BLOGGERS WHO INSPIRE AND KEEP THE BLOGOSPHERE A BEAUTIFUL PLACE
1. Mr. Charles Edward Yallowitz of Legends of Windemere
2. Ms. Sandy Sue of A Mind Divided
3. Ms. Angelic of Why I Can’t Stop Reading
4. Ms. Melinda of The Book Musings
5. Mr. Tony Roberts of A Way With Words
6. Ms. Rowena of Les Reveries De Rowena
7. Anonymous of The Child, Animal, Poet, And Saint
8. Ms. Sarah Cradit of And Then There Was Sarah
9. Anonymous of Cross(stitch) Your Heart
10. Mr. Meyer Lane of Meyer Lane’s Short Attention Span Press
11. Anonymous of writeonthebeach
12. Mr. Michael Pignatella of Portable Magic
13. Ms. Lisa Orchard of Lisa Orchard
14. Mr. Seumas Gallacher of Seumas Gallacher
15. Mr. Billy Ray Chitwood of thefinalcurtain1
An Open Letter To My Dear 233 Readers (And Counting): The Joys Of Having One’s Own Literary E-Column
Have you ever felt like there was something missing in your life before? I did. I just felt like there was something I had to do. But what it was, I knew not. It felt as if there was a bottomless well of void within me that had to be filled constantly. It eluded me, prodded me to chase it in the dark. But then one day, last year, I had an epiphany: a sudden flash of myself hunched over a typewriter, typing away for what seemed like a manuscript of some sort. Yes, that was it. I saw myself clearly. I saw it clearly. I am going to be a writer. I want to be a writer. I need to be a writer. I have to be a writer. I now had a name for the once nameless and bottomless well of void: Writing. Since that day, I decided I didn’t want to be just a writer, I decided I want to be a serious writer — a real writer. I want the whole shebang. I want to write my own good novel like that of Wally Lamb’s This Much I Know Is True, and to write as good as my favorite columnists at the Inquirer, Winnie Monsod and Conrado P. de Quiros.
Yes, I am going to be a writer. I want to be a writer. I need to be a writer. I have to be a writer.
But how could I have not seen it before? It’s all coming back to me now. I used to express my feelings by writing long love letters to my former girlfriends and professing my unwavering love in those letters. I used to tell friends or loved ones just how special they were to me and how happy I was because they were born by writing them personalized birthday cards. I used to be an editor in the school and university’s papers back in high school and college. And looking back, I remember that I used to tell myself how some of my experiences like that of my month-long mental vacation at a mental facility would make such a great story if written just the right way.
But, being an English Major is not enough. Writing love letters and personalized birthday cards, being an editor at schools’ papers, and having great stories in mind aren’t enough. I knew I had to start somewhere, but where exactly that somewhere was, again I knew not. Then suddenly, I thought of maintaining a blog. It would be a great exercise at honing my writing abilities. If I could maintain a blog, I thought, I would eventually be forced to be even more serious with my writing. I wouldn’t just be an occasional scribbler or just another bored dabbler, I would actually be a real writer — one who truly practices the art and craft of writing. And this, I believed, I could do by blogging — by creating a new blog. But my question was, what kind of blog will it be?
The truth is I already kept a blog somewhere before, but I forgot my password, and since I wasn’t really that decided back then about anything in my life, per se (8 years ago), I didn’t bother retrieving the password anymore, and dropped blogging altogether. Years later — now — I finally decided to create a blog that would make sense to me — something inside a familiar territory, one where I could talk about my passions: books, reading, and writing. So I thought why not a literary blog? A literary blog whose main theme would revolve around, in part, on some highlights of my life and my struggles with manic-depression, and also revolve on other people’s lives seen through rose-tinted, sometimes rose-wilted lenses, of different writers, authors, and through the pages of the books they have written (and the books they are still writing).
While I have no problems with people who blog mainly to diarize and rehash their day’s events (or lack thereof), I really don’t like the idea of using a blog as just another avenue or outlet for scribbling away, for reciting a litany of life’s series of tragedies and comedies, and for bemoaning the frequency of mood swings and other symptoms of manic-depression (I’m referring to myself here). You see, I have this proclivity to talk about myself too much sometimes, and I don’t think it’s exactly an attractive quality.
There’s only so much things you can talk about yourself, albeit highly interesting. Eventually, you will have to run out of things to say about you, you, and you. Nobody is that talented to be able to talk about oneself inexhaustibly, no matter how egotistical a cow one could be. The only talent would be losing people for getting tired of listening to you talk about yourself.
No, I don’t want to talk about myself, at least not that much. That would be an exercise in futility and would defeat the purpose of creating a blog whose main goal is supposed to improve my thought processes and writing. No. What I want is a blog where I can talk about something in my life that others might find useful, not something that will irritate others. What I want is a blog that will give my life a sense of meaning and purpose, one that will allow me to discover and rediscover things, old and new; one that will make me share and talk about my passion for books and reading; one that will, at the same time, help others in making literary decisions like what books to read or not read. What I want is a blog that will help me become a serious and real writer.
Hence, The Bibliophile Chronicles. A blog that chronicles my dogged intellectual and philosophical pursuits of truths, even half-truths, and the unselfish and honest sharing of parts of my life (even my bipolar disorder and other crazy stuff) that I dearly hope would prove helpful, and if at all possible, even inspiring. And this blog, more than anything else in the world, gives me as do, I suspect, what all serious blogs give to their serious bloggers: a sense of meaning and purpose.
The sense of accomplishment I get from being an entrepreneur and from other non-literary endeavors is not the same as the sense of meaning and purpose I get from blogging and from other literary endeavors.
I treat this blog as my own literary and opinion column as if it were a column in a syndicated publication of national (in this case, global) circulation. I believe that if I am to be taken seriously, and if I am to really write seriously, it’s the only way I think I should treat it, and I suggest it should be the only way one should treat a blog that is serious about being taken seriously. This way, it will force you to come up with the best ideas and content for your readers, not just some half-hearted and half-baked attempts. This way, it will force you to have the best interests of the readers at heart.
The mere fact that there are people out there who actually read my posts, like it, and then take the time to leave comments, is, I think, quite an accomplishment it itself. I guess I must doing something right. This, I admit, gives me the kind of instant gratification and validation that lingers on — that never seems to quite go away. I’m glad I went through with this blog. Despite myself being unable to sustain interest in much about anything, keeping what I call my own column on the Internet has greatly increased my passion for literature, and had made me become even more serious about writing. It has given me an even deeper understanding of duty — it given me a deeper sense of duty to others, particularly, to you: the readers.
Had I known that keeping a column on the Internet could lead to so many fulfilling doors, I would have done it a long time ago. Still, I have no regrets in the past, only great, realistic expectations and bright hope for the future. But for now, what’s important is that I am able to make peace with the abundant creative energy inside me. And what’s even more important to me than making peace with the abundant creative energy inside me is giving all you readers quality content.
So now, let me take this chance to thank all the people who follows The Bibliophile Chronicles. For subscribing to and for supporting my very own literary e-column, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much. Because of you, there are no longer a bottomless well of void within that needs to be constantly filled, only the blank, white pages of my computer screen. You make me want to become the best writer I could be.
And for that, you, my dear readers, can rest assured that the blank pages will be filled only with something that has your best interests at heart.
Francis Baraan IV — author, The Bibliophile Chronicles, a literary blog and e-column
Love Story, this 133-page short novel by Erich Segal, was recommended to me by my good friend Anton, when we were talking about some of our favorite books and authors over a few bottles of beer. Eventually, we found ourselves talking about relationships, and asked him about his girlfriend. He said they were okay, but still teased him about, like I always do my straight, male friends, how he and the rest of the heterosexual species of metrosexual, misogynistic, chauvinistic, narcissistic, egotistic, sadist, and heartless bastards (I’m kidding) have no romantic bone in their bodies. To which he retorted, “No, I’m actually a romantic. In fact, I have read this book called Love Story. I can’t quite remember the name of the author, but I think, if memory serves me right, his name was Erich Segal. It’s good. Quite a love story, really. Very romantic.” He told me the synopsis, and told him that I’d look it up and that I’d never pegged him for a romantic. A few days later, I got a copy of the book and read it in just half a day.
Love Story is a love story based on the premise that “love means never having to say you’re sorry.” It’s about the short-lived romance between two people who come from different worlds and who are almost opposite in every way. Oliver Barrett IV, a Harvard student who has set his eyes on becoming a lawyer, is the scion of a very old rich WASP family, while Jenny Cavilleri, a Radcliffe music student, is the daughter of humble baker and single father.
Surprisingly, Erich Segal chose to start the story with a tragedy. The narrator of the story, Oliver, began by eulogizing 25-year old Jenny and then proceeded immediately by telling how his love affair with the beautiful and intelligent girl at the Radcliffe library began. With the title, one would expect a happy ending, but this is not the case. Perhaps, the author didn’t want to disillusion the reader with a Cinderella type of ending like all love stories do. Still, this didn’t bother me. It actually made me even more curious so it continued to engage me. and turn one page to the next. It wasn’t also painful to read because of the choice of simple and unapologetic prose of the author. The progression of the story is fast but easy to follow, and the characters’ dialogues and diction reveals the kind of person they really are, what they were thinking, feeling, and hiding.
When Oliver and Jenny first met at the library, it becomes easy to fall in love with the two characters because they seem both charming, smart, and likable. When Oliver tries to borrow a book at the Radcliffe library from Jenny who happens to be the girl working that day, they got into an argument. Jenny, the smart-mouthed intellectual, talked down at Oliver, a guy who got into the habit of studying at the Radcliffe library, about the ethics of of borrowing books from a small school. “Listen, Harvard is allowed to use the Radcliffe library.” said Oliver. I’m not talking legality, Preppie. I’m talking ethics. You guys have 5 million books. We have a lousy thousand,” replied Jenny.
All throughout the book, you see the two main characters go on and on with their verbal arguments where the guy sometimes calls the girl a bitch sometimes and the girl constantly calls the guy a preppie, a term that to her means a stupid, rich guy who went to prep school. Although these terms may have offended each other when they first met, they somehow become terms of endearment for each other.
Love Story is not your average love story where a poor girl meets a rich boy, get married, and live happily ever after. Far from it. The title is both an irony and an aphorism. Ironic because people have this notion that love stories are supposed to be this fairy tale and that works of fiction must, especially of the romance genre, must be these romantic comedies. But, it is not. In fact, Oliver, the privileged guy who was born in the country with an ancestral manor, and addressed as “Master Oliver” by the servants, married Jenny against the wishes of his overachieving and emotionally distant father, renounced his inheritance, and put himself through Law School with the help of his young wife; and, aphoristic because a love story in real life doesn’t always have a happy ending, lovers are bound to be fraught with objections from friends and family, and someone would inevitably have to die before the other, if not both at the same time. It reflects the truth that when you love, you also risk getting hurt.
I think, in the end, what makes this book a page-turner is the honesty, sincerity, and the heart and soul of the characters — they were, in truth, even more pleasantly real than us real human beings. The prose of the author was simplistic yet powerful, and he triumphantly and universally mirrored both romantic idealism and romantic realism. This book not only celebrates the differences between two people, but more importantly, it celebrates love, life, and the meaning of true love — never having to say you’re sorry. Moving, touching, sad, funny, and yes, truly romantic, this beautifully written love story, albeit the characters’ unorthodox choice of “sweet and loving words” defies how a real enduring, love story should be. After more than 35 years, a film made out of this book with the same title, and 21 million copies sold later, Love Story still continues to make hopeless romantics, singles, couples, readers (and film viewers) and people from all corners of the globe smile, laugh, and unabashedly cry. I’m warning you now. If you read this book, prepare a box of Kleenex — and to helplessly shed a tear or two.
Rating: 5 of 5 stars