Personal Project: Coffee & Flowers

Coffee & Flowers: Talkin’ Talk

There was this old D’Sound song that I was oh-so-fond of. It went a little bit like talkin’ talk is not just talk, getting’ there is half the walk or something. Hah. Let’s pretend I don’t remember. Today, I had a really good lunch break. I was able to sit around by myself for about fifteen minutes and was able to contemplate the following things: what is it about the pantry that is so comforting? What is it about reading that makes you feel okay? And moreover, why is it that there are so many aspects of a person’s life that run parallel to each other? Why is my office self different from my “writing” self? Or different from my family self? My student self? My music self? My girly self? My friend Raine said something interesting to me a few months ago: where have I hiding all my friends? She said that it was so curious that all the time she’s known me (around six years), she only met a huge lot of my friends this year. It was like I lived in a parallel world. It isn’t on purpose though, these parallel lives or parallel type of scenarios. Why do I feel like these things coming together is so odd? Why do I feel odd for them not coming together? Furthermore, is fiction the attempt at putting all these things together? Is it possible? Moreover, does it matter? Ah, all the pretentious kind of shit that I thumb through—which is just fine, I guess. All fiction is a kind of pretension anyway. Like all good literature or art, I guess what matters is that it’s believable.

And then some of my office mates decided to go on their lunch breaks as well and suddenly, there was a whole lot of talkin’ to be done. That was really nice. To put things in context: it isn’t often that I get to have lunch with other people because a) our office is a small but busy one and b) our lunch times are adjustable, according to our shifts and positions so that the office is never empty. Not that I mind this, either. I like productivity. It’s comforting to hear the clacking of keys. Today was one of those rare days when I got to spend my break actually talking to people. It’s very interesting, the number of things you can learn from people around you—or about the people around you.

There was talk about rice cookers: what you can make in them (noodles, soup, fried chicken) and how you can place them on the floor near the socket and accidentally step on them. There was talk about coffee and how cheap beans are and then the surreptitious look of disdain at the instant coffee maker. Someone said something about melons and how good they are with milk. Someone bit into preserved ham. I cut into my chicken nuggets. Someone mentions vegetables and someone else heads back to their desk.

I forgot my coffee at home today—that’s a first and possibly my karma for both drinking too much of it and trying to cut down on it rapidly. I’m still on the fence about whether or not karma operates so directly. I get the feeling that the minute that karma becomes reasonable or logical, I will no longer believe in it. I wonder if I believe in it. I wonder about logic, in general. I am an illogical person, underneath all the science-ing of this, or science-ing of that—I think that this is where my desire to outline or to enumerate or to force cohesion into things comes from: the actual lack of the belief that it can be achieved. And so I am superstitious: I do believe that somehow, not having the coffee may propel something bad to happen.

And nothing bad happened. I had dinner with my friend Trizha, I met my sister’s friend/teacher from her Creative Writing class. I talked a lot. And now I’m ready for bed. And maybe things will be okay, yes?


Personal Project: Coffee & Flowers

Coffee & Flowers: Coffee


It seems simple enough–coffee. But I feel like I have to write about this even if it seems completely obvious because the last thing I want to do is to take the basis of this project for granted.

The National has this song called Conversation 16 and it’s a line from that song that I have tattooed on the inside of my right arm: Live on coffee and flowers. The entire line goes “live on coffee and flowers, try not to wonder what the weather will be” and I felt like it was apt because I spend most of my life worrying. I’ve been told (many times) that this is ridiculous but worrying does have a lot of benefits: you’re hardly ever unprepared for anything. For instance, I’ve never been stranded in Taft due to bad weather because I always check the forecast the night before.

But this worry can be crippling (to the point of analysis-paralysis) which is why I decided to a) get it tattooed and b) do this thang. 

Alright. Anyway, I’ve been down in the dumps the past few days–things have just been a little bit terrible (although peppered with kindness and laughter): stuff’s been weird at home, I’ve been sick and a skeleton (or bogart, more like) has re-emerged from the depths of my closet.

Truman Capote was able to define these types of days much better than I will ever be able to, so let me borrow from him–
In the movie (and the book) Breakfast At Tiffany’s, the following conversation takes place between the two main characters:

Holly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul: You mean like the blues?
Holly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?

That’s how I’d been feeling for the past week: like the world was going to come apart and all the bad things I could dream up were going to happen either to me or (worse) the people I love. Ay, terrible. Feeling that way always seems reminiscent of dreams (or nightmares) where it’s hard to tell past from present or what’s real from what you’ve conjured. It’s like being intoxicated with paranoia.

And I find that what one really needs in those situations is a good dose of coffee–both literally and figuratively. Coffee to wake you up and tell you you are here. I had a good dose of this last night, from a lot of people: some very close friends and others, unexpected charmers whose perspectives were very refreshing. Whoever insists that the internet is useless or is a means of ruining interaction can suck my appendages (particularly, the one I don’t have): this damn thing can save lives, if you let it.

John Lennon has this song called God which I think perfectly reflects my religious views. I am not a particularly religious person because I know that there is no such thing as deus ex machina in real life; there won’t always be someone or something to save you when you need it–and I refuse to believe that  the end goal of life is to be saved. But I do believe that people have the power to make things better, from the inside out: you have to master yourself to be able to make things happen. And so I take a lot of that responsibility upon myself: God is a concept by which we measure our pain, I don’t believe in magic, I don’t believe in I-ching, I don’t believe in  Bible, I don’t believe in tarot, I don’t believe in Hitler, I don’t believe in Jesus, I don’t believe in Kennedy, I don’t believe in Buddha, I don’t believe in mantra, I don’t believe in Gita, I don’t believe in Yoga, I don’t believe in kings, I don’t believe in Elvis, I don’t believe in Zimmerman, I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me. 

But maybe I contradict myself (don’t all things we do do this?) as well because you can’t pull yourself out of the mean reds, all the time: sometimes people have to do it for you, people have to help you out of it. And talking to people last night (albeit over the internet–again, I will argue for the power of the chatbox) really helped me do that. I think it may have manifested itself physically, too because I woke up today and felt significantly less sick than I did yesterday. 🙂 So thank you to all of you who helped me out: on the off-chance you’re reading this. 😉

Today I’m working on new stories (we may be coming out with EM Zine Issue 4 soon!) and am drinking really good, strong coffee at this swanky new hotel thang in Alabang. Don’t get me wrong–I’m not crazy; my sister has a meeting here so I tagged along. The coffee prices aren’t bad either.