Manila International Book Fair, Sept. 16- 20, Mall of Asia

Self should be there.

Yes, she should be.

Because her new book definitely will be. At the Anvil table. And Dearest Mum will have 10 copies of her book, and she will have so much fun handing them out to all her chums!

Which reminds self: several years ago, self begged Dearest Mum to send her a copy of Story Philippines, which had just published her story, “Don Alfredo & Jose Rizal.” Dearest Mum sent her the requested copy through the daughter of a friend. Self and the daughter made plans to meet at a coffee shop in Burlingame (Of course! That’s where all Dearest Mum’s friends congregate!). Self presented in shorts, T-shirt and sandals (it was summer), and the daughter of Dearest Mum’s friend was wearing a silk blouse, pants, and moreover had bothered to apply full make-up.

After some desultory conversation, daughter inquired of self, “What is this you have written? Are you a chef?”

“No,” self said. “I am not a chef. I’m a short story writer.” (What is the connection between Story Philippines and being a chef? Was Story Philippines a food magazine?) After self saw the look on the woman’s face, she thought that perhaps she should have just said she was a chef.

Now, that was a very very looong digression, perhaps the Mother of all Digressions. Back to the ostensible subject of this post!

Lemme see, last time self attended the Manila International Book Festival was in 2004. She went with a maid (Irene, the same one who is now banished to Taguig because of some pique of Dearest Mum). She wore an outfit Dearest Mum had just bought for her (from a farmer’s market that morning) and insisted that she wear. It was a matching top and pants with a parrot design. Self praaaayed with might and main that no one would recognize her, but barely had the driver dropped her off at the curb than she heard someone go,

“Hi, Marianne!”

and a few minutes later, she heard another

“Hi, Marianne!”

And then it was “Hi, Marianne” all over the place, and self rued the day she had ever put on an outfit with parrot design (which, by the way, made her look stupendously fat — must have been the busy-ness of the design)

Anyhoo, self would have flown home in September for the Book Festival (to keep her book company), except that Dearest Mum was just here in June, and after all the excitement of not seeing her (Dearest Mum always stays with self’s uncle), self felt in dire need of some R & R. So she told Karina she would not be home in September, and proposed December instead. That was before she realized December is only three months away from September. And Zack tells her December is a “crazy” month to be in Manila, crazy as in you-will-be-with-the-relatives-all-the-time, what were you thinking?

Well, self was kinda thinking she would hole out in the Rizal Library at the Ateneo. Or in the Antonio Vivencio del Rosario Library at UST. That’s what she was thinking.

She thought, when I’m home, I won’t have to cook! Ergo, more writing time! That’s what she was thinking.

Self, have you forgotten the insomnia, so deep and so dire that the only thing that saved you was being able to chat away the wee hours with Zack on Facebook?

And the constant tug-of-war over whose lap Anita would get to sit on?

And the never having a driver available to take you to see a cousin who has inoperable brain cancer?

And the feeling that you were slowly eating your way to oblivion, what with Dearest Mum presenting in your room every 15 minutes with yet another bag of chicharon or pastillas?

And the fact that you belatedly realized that none of the clothes you brought with you from the States were presentable enough to wear in the company of your brothers?

And, and — Stoooop! Self, you’re supposed to be in positive thinking mode! Here, let’s think of some good things. OK, what about:

Good Thing # 11

Self is at this moment all alone in the house! Which means she can read and blog to her heart’s content!

Stay tuned.

3 thoughts on “Manila International Book Fair, Sept. 16- 20, Mall of Asia

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