On Moving On

“And so, my children, the time has come to close the book. There will be other days and other stories, but this tale is finished.”

How do you put an end to something you wish never ended? How could you close something you wish could stay open forever? How do you move on from something so perfect?

I consider books as one of my greatest treasures. I’d gladly choose some of my favorite novels over a handful of people I know. I’d give away my other possessions for the yellowed, rich-smelling pages of a good book. I’d choose buying books over food, and consider it money well spent, and feel myself sated and satisfied, yet hungry for more.

In fact, such was my life when I was younger. Some of the fondest memories of my childhood and adolescence were of the wondrous books I consumed while other children my age were scampering about on the streets. While my peers explored every mnuddy and dusty crack and device of the world around us, I was lost in a world where spectacular creatures made of fire and light and cold wind roamed free among men; where creatures great and small roamed a world filled with magical jewels; where men journeyed great expanses to seek immeasurable knowledge, insurmountable power, and even the gift of bringing a loved one back to life.

That love for whimsy and fantasy never faded, but my childhood and adolescence did. More and more did I spend my time in our ordinary world than I did exploring my other worlds. Time moved at a slightly different pace for me; life got in the way of living.

And now that life is claiming more and more of my flesh, I ask the spent, fading pages of my beloved books, my faithful childhood companions…

… How can I move on from the perfection of your words?

“And so, my children, the time has come to close the book. There will be other days and other stories, but this tale is finished.”

I feel that I won’t move on, but I will pass it on to my own children instead. My journey will continue through my bloodline, whom I will teach to read and consume and digest words, phrases, and sentences–bone, marrow, and sinew of thoughts and expressions. I will urge them to taste the same incomparable flavor of a life lived in different worlds that I have savored myself.

And what a grand new adventure it would be.

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Idiot Box

I don’t watch TV anymore.

Take note–that’s my conscious choice. I could watch TV if I wanted to–it just so happens that I don’t. Flipping through the channels, I feel as if I haven’t missed out anything during the last ten years. Most shows in the Philippines follow a formula that makes it quite predictable–right from the start, actually. Watching “stars” attempt to replace respectable dancing with spastic seizures on noontime varieties just make me want to throw breakable things at the TV, and soaps–excuse me, telenovelas–just make me roll my eyes so much that both of them will get whiplash within the first 10 minutes. Sorry, making googly eyes while reciting lines in a high-pitched voice just don’t cut it as acting in my book, and I’ve seen enough scantily-clad women jiggle their wobbly bits on noontime television to last me a lifetime.

Here’s the thing: shutting the TV off freed hours of my time, so I started doing what people from days of old did to entertain themselves–I read books. I found out that no kind of high-definition TV could match the vividness and clarity of pictures in my head, and that no amount of CGI could recreate the awesomeness of my imagination. Instead of watching a boy and a girl struggle to churn out what passes as cutesy love on TV for the nth time, I could take a peek into the mind of an educated serial killer, or ride with the armies of men towards a glorious battle for Middle-Earth. I could have a conversation with a renowned Asian concubine, or take part in a twisted game where high school students are forced to kill each other in a frenzy of blood and carnage. I could go back in time to visit a farmer’s earthen house in ancient China, or go to the future to see how women survive being forced to function as nothing more but breeding stock.

The variety is endless. The characters are as beautiful or obnoxious or hideously appalling as they’re supposed to be. There are no edited-out scenes, no bleeped-out words, and no commercial breaks. And the best part of it all: they make excellent companions for coffee and tea.

So forgive me for not giving a flying fig about Sir Chief. I’m far too busy attending the wedding of the High King and his beautiful half-elven Queen. Now if you’ll excuse me… I must pass through the looking glass–I’m late! I’m late!