Friday, January 29, 2021

My Reading Year 2020

Books for 2020

A World of Love, Elizabeth Bowen
On Writing, Stephen King
Monstrous Devices, Damien Love
The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
Memoirs of Hadrian, Marguerite Yourcenar
Diaries, David Sedaris
Mother's Milk, Edward St. Aubyn
No One Here Belongs More Than You, Miranda July
Scenes from an Impending Marriage, Adrian Tomine
Across the Bridge, Mavis Gallant
Paris Diaries, Mavis Gallant
Traveler: Poems, Dennis Johnston
Friend of My Youth, Alice Munro
Self-Help, Lorrie Moore
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, Dai Sijie
A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles
The Nearest Thing to Life, James Wood
Nothing to Envy, Barbara Demick
The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion
Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, Alice Munro
Dance of the Happy Shades, Alice Munro
In the Country, Mia Alvar
HHhH, Laurent Binet
The Character of an Upright Man, Thomas Watson
Hermit in Paris, Italo Calvino
The Cost of Living, Mavis Gallant

Currently reading (January 2021):
We Shall Write Love Poems Again, Dinah Roma
The Early Stories: 1953–1975, John Updike
Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Joan Didion
Letters of Note, Shaun Usher
Letters of John Calvin, John Calvin
Dreamweavers, Marjorie Evasco


Thursday, January 28, 2021

Remembering Jason Polan

One year since Jason Polan passed away. Stumbled upon his blog many years ago. He wanted to draw Every Person in New York. Sketches were rudimentary, like scribbles on paper. No motive to impress; only, perhaps, to remember and have fun while doing so. 

Have been a fan since I learned of him.

From the NYT Obituary:
Mr. Polan’s signature project for the last decade or so was “Every Person in New York,” in which he set himself the admittedly impossible task of drawing everyone in New York City. He kept a robust blog of those sketches, and by the time he published a book of that title in 2015 — which he envisioned as Vol. 1 — he had drawn more than 30,000 people.

These were not sit-for-a-portrait-style drawings. They were quick sketches of people who often didn’t know they were being sketched, done on the fly, with delightfully unfinished results, as Mr. Polan wrote in the book’s introduction.

In memory of Jason Polan, here's my self-portrait. 

Jason Polan, in honor of

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

About Southern California

Break from diplomate exam review: Joan Didion's Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream, the first essay that appears in Slouching Towards Bethlehem. 



Congratulations to our new fellows!

2nd CNF Workshop for Doctors

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Monday, January 25, 2021

The pen that my patient (with colon cancer) gave me

Untitled Missed National Handwriting Day (January 23) by a few days!


Thursday, January 21, 2021

"Claiming and acclaiming afflictions"

Juan Miguel Leandro L. Quizon's paper, Claiming and Acclaiming Afflictions: Narrative Medicine and the Articulation of Human Ailments, explores the power and usefulness of stories in healthcare. 
Narrative medicine creates a platform for a patient and everyone in the periphery to share in a point of contact to confront our mortality. To talk about the stories, to write and utter these experiences “help us to form clearings — and we are able to come together in the clearing of storytelling, and within the clearing of this human gift of mortality, that is where the freedoms emit” (Charon, 2011). These endeavors create sturdy affiliations and communities so that patients do not have to face their pains alone. What is the ultimate manifestation when readers are “moved” by a story? Action and connection....
The core is relationship-building. 
The process of narrative medicine is complex because it is not just about chronicling the patient’s or the medical health professional’s stories, but at the core of it all is relationship-building. How can patients reveal to medical health professionals or relatives their most vulnerable narratives? A level of trust is, then, imperative.

His conclusion is spot on.

I believe that articulating these experiences of illnesses contribute to that transformation and strengthening of survival and recovery methods. To narrate these medical moments is a way of claiming, reclaiming, and acclaiming health ordeals and ailments. Via creative language, we may start confronting these painful realities through the articulation of experiences....

The article comes out at the perfect time. We're a few weeks away from the second Creative Nonfiction Workshop hosted by the Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center of the De La Salle University. 

Many thanks to Prof. Marj Evasco for sharing the link with me. 

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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Jehu, lizard, naps, rejoicing

2 Kings is where I read about Jehu, a furious driver (2 Kings 9:20). During his 28-year reign, he slaughtered the house of Ahab, including the wicked Jezebel and all the worshippers of Baal. The account was like an episode of Game of Thrones, only that it happened in history. The Bible is so fascinating and comforting. God's justice prevails in the end. 

On this early Saturday morning, I'm the only one awake. It's 26 degrees in the living room, without any fan on. A lizard sticks to the white wall. The neighbor's cat isn't around. It usually visits the house between 3 to 4 am, hiding underneath the sofa. 

Lots of reading and studying planned for today. Might head out to the café at 8, when it opens. Resolved not to complain but to glorify God through perseverance and prayer. Wrote in my notebook, "Take fewer naps." 

An encouragement by John Calvin (via Tim Challies).


Friday, January 15, 2021

What am I doing here?

Bruce Chatwin, What Am I Doing Here

Before I visit my patients, some morning entertainment: the account of a writer finding himself in the middle of a coup in Benin. Wish I got to be friends with Bruce Chatwin. Seems like a guy who's fun to travel with. 



Thursday, January 7, 2021

Random kindness

My kid brother Sean—not a kid anymore, he's 30—barged into the room. He found me reading something in my laptop and shoved a mug in front of my face. 

"Hold this," he said. 

"What's that?"

"It's cold, don't worry." There was ice floating. "It's Vietnamese coffee," he clarified.

Sweet and bitter, with an earthy taste, it reminded me of the restaurant that served banh mi at the fourth floor of Robinson's Manila. "You made this? It's delicious. I'll take this," I said. 

He walked out of the room, resolved to make another cup for himself. 


Sunday, January 3, 2021

Collection of handwriting-related posts for 2020

2020 was my most prolific year of blogging yet. I posted daily, mostly of random photographs in my archive with a short note. I also wrote about fountain pens and shared photos of my handwriting! What a year it has been.