Summertime Sadness: A Clinical Catalogue

“Only what is entirely lost demands to be endlessly named: there is a mania to call the lost thing until it returns.”
Günter Grass

Every end of February, right on the cusp of summer I go into this phase of melancholy: like someone honoring a death anniversary, I go through a kind of commemoration–an unnecessary but compulsive respect for things that are gone. It’s something that I’ve gotten used to over the years–like PMS or family reunions–but it is still sad nonetheless. Like both those things mentioned, I figure that this will probably last a) forever or b) until it doesn’t and so I have found ways to cope: noting patterns, making playlists, remembering memories before they hit me of their own accord, writing down dreams to use as fodder for fiction once I’ve forgotten them entirely. Indulge me.

1. It always begins with a dream; be ready.

Symptoms: right before you sleep, you will have the urge to write something down. Write it down.

Two rules: be detailed in documentation; forget everything you wrote down.

2. Solve for x in terms of y.

Put your sadness into other people’s words.

The Carpenters Playlist

Summertime Sadness (Lana Del Rey)

The Anti-Christ (The 1975)

The National Playlist

3. Don’t talk about it to anyone in specific detail.

Talking about the thing is not the thing–it is the remembrance of the thing, the person. It is useless to tell people “remember the thing, remember the time” because they will say “it’s finished” or “that again”–it is not the thing, it is the remembrance of the thing. In these things, we are alone. (Except in writing, except in the erasure of the face, the name in question–without a name, all lost things are our lost things.)

4. Read.

5. Resist the urge to let yourself go.

Exercise, sleep early, put on your make up.

Things I Am, Am Not

Collage by Liana Maris Sangalang (@liana_maris on IG)

Girl and all its definitions, some days, I think: is it flowery oven mitts hanging from a hook in the kitchen, or scuffed boots waiting at the door? Is it the urge to arrange lipsticks by color, to gather more, more than I could ever wear at a time–white elephants all in a row that would put Hemingway to shame, or is it the desire to keep my hair higher than my chin, to resist mermaid-hood and the subsequent temptation to become sea foam? Is it 74 and in love with reading on the sofa with a spinning fan working wind through my hair, or 19 wearing a cigarette burn on my sleeve because I enjoyed the mouth that smoked the stick? Is it 8 and the need to be Pink Ranger, or is it the lab at 21,enjoying the feel of a scalpel through a dead cat? Is it the decision to remove as many adjectives as possible from the “short bio”, or the disappointment that comes with the lack of sales after Christmas? Is it a black hoodie on a rainy day, to rap music memorized from childhood with all the *@#!s in place? Is it a floral A-line skirt with the perfect shoes? Is it rehearsing how to take them off? Is it opalescent Audrey? Staggering Amy? Cynthia or Yoko? Red-lipped Marilyn? All the girls in that Goo-Goo Dolls video? The desire for the image or the resistance of it? That is, of all of all of all of it.

On the Impossible: Up For Grabs!

When we launched this title at BLTX6 last January 17th, I got asked a lot of questions about this project–why does it look this way? Why doesn’t it look like a normal book? What is with all the photos? In this case, a PDF preview didn’t seem appropriate given the format of the project, so I filmed a short video over on the Wonder Stories channel to answer these questions and give you guys a taste of what this project is all about.

Coffee & Flowers: Is That Alright?

10565285_10152229348232314_3304740979229886207_nSoooo, once again I’ve taken a line from a song and used it in the title of an entry, but whatever, it’s a good song.Today I woke up and filmed a couple of videos for the Wonder Stories YouTube channel and talking about a couple of books really got me thinking about how odd it is that these days the people who I hang out with most aren’t the people I grew up with.

What does that say about me? About my life? About my friends? If someone doesn’t talk or behave like a friend–is that person still your friend? Sometimes, yes–sometimes, no; where is the line? What is the determining variable? Why is it that we can not see some people for years, and be perfectly happy to catch up when there are some people who we don’t see for a few months and absolutely resent for the fact? Is it about keeping in touch? Is it about expectation? Where to pick up when you don’t know where it is that you left off? A guessing game, all of it.

I’m coming to the end of 23, she said–is that alright?

The older I get, the more I’ve begun to realize that there are less people that you can talk to about things that are really on your mind, things that really matter. The other day, I was having a really funny conversation with a couple of friends and it was really good to be able to open up about what I’ve been doing (mostly, work and writing) and what I’m looking to achieve within this coming year. There are so many people I’ve lost–there is quite a long list of names that are used as prefixes to the question, “I wonder how he/she is doing now?”–it’s good to know there is still a lot to gain.

And so, yeah. So far it’s alright.

The Experiment: Taxonomy

This is a couple of weeks overdue, but now that the holidays are over we’re back on track with The Experiment. This is the second-to-the-last installment (oh how time flies), and the first one that Abbey doesn’t have art in because she’s currently out of the country.

This week, our theme is Taxonomy. Being a science major (albeit, or perhaps especially because of the fact that that is a science degree in Psychology), classification has always been something that has fascinated me because of how automatically we do it: this person is for laughing with, that shirt is for looking fly, this song is for dancing to. The difficult thing about this particular theme (for me) was how to do it subtly. I was tempted to do the expected thing which I feel was to split up the sections of the narrative into different purposes, and so i tried to make this as unified as possible. I hope you guys enjoy this! Click on the photo below to head to the download link!

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Why don’t you take your heart out?

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There are very few things that are both simple and complex enough to make me feel like everything is going to be okay. One of those things has always been music: in particular, the kind of rock n’ roll that compels you to get a’dancing and which has a singular, complicated emotion running through it. I recently found that in The 1975. (HUGE shout out to Freesia, who introduced me to them!) It’s been a long time since I felt this way about a band (2003, Rooney), and it’s a feeling I’ve missed: the undoubting, unrelenting desire to dance and sing along to a song you know by heart.

Last night’s concert was hands down, one of the best that I’ve ever been to. I have seen a number of bands in concert and this was the one that I felt was the most thought-out and the most prepared for–they changed up a lot of their usual tricks, as if knowing that everyone in Manila is internet-obsessed (which we are; when Matty said “This is a love song” and they didn’t play Robbers, you can tell they’d just one-upped everybody because of that pause between when the intro started and when people started singing along). The lights were incredible, the crowd was extremely enthusiastic and of course, the music was fucking amazing.

Matty Healy knows how to handle a crowd. There’s something very charming and carefree but also tentative and sincere about the way that he talks to the audience. That’s something I haven’t seen before, or at least not to that degree. Last night was a pendulum of emotions: I was excited, anxious, euphoric, and then heartbroken (to have it all end so quickly). I was initially going to go alone but then turns out my friend Benjo was also going, but I feel like even if I had gone alone, everyone there was on such a high that I think it would’ve been fun anyway. The (other) guy beside me knew all the words to all the songs from the EP, and guessed each song spot-on just based on the spiels given beforehand. Dance like no one’s watching, and all that jazz.

In Love with Impossible Things

I’m releasing a new book on Saturday, January 17th–one that is decidedly, barely a book because it is unbound, unconventionally structured: nearly impossible. This project has been on my mind for a couple of months now, perhaps as a result of (or maybe just a symptom of an earlier obsession which lead to) marathoning all eight serieses of Doctor Who. I find that I am constantly, consistently in love with impossible things: things that can’t be done, that won’t be done but are done, anyway (despite there being no proof, or only tangential evidence for the existence of that adventure).

In On the Impossible, you will find (truly) handwritten notes, questions, letters, postcards: scrap metal, collateral damage. I’m making less than 50 copies, and these will be sold at BLTX6 this weekend. When I thought about the art, the choice was simple: I had to have Abbey for her aesthetic which is at once jarring and dreamy, nostalgic and new. See you guys there!

Art by Arabella Paner