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In the next three months, I will try to blog about my International Writing Program experience as much as I can. (But readers of this blog must know that I've never been very good with virtual promises.) Tonight I will not sleep, because my flight is at 6:30 AM tomorrow, and Ruel Panganiban, a friend from way back to my X-101 years, promised to bring me to the airport at 3:00 AM. He'll arrive here, with probably two or three of our other former dorm mates, at a little past midnight. I need not sleep tonight.
I haven't even begun packing yet, thinking that it will not take me an hour to finish everything. I only need to put my clothes in the travel bags, anyway, and I'm ready to go. And what else will I bring with me? Of course: vitamins, common medicines, toiletries and personal effects. But also: copies of my books (thanks to Anvil for providing me with copies of Walong Diwata ng Pagkahulog; in case you haven't heard, they recently had a second printing of my novel--only a year after its release! people are actually buying the book!--and the quality of the paper is much better than the 2009 edition), and some of the anthologies I edited, or where my works had been published, including Lámang (special thanks to Gian Abrahan of LIRA for working to give me a few copies of the chapbook).
I also intend to bring Fernando Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet to accompany me at the airport and during the flight. This book Allan Derain gave to me in exchange for Lawrence Norfolk's Lempriere's Dictionary, which I got from Booksale for PhP 40.00 a few years ago. I long wanted to read Pessoa, but could not find any of his books anywhere. I'm lucky that Allan had this unfinished masterpiece and that I also had the book he wanted. I began reading The Book of Disquiet this afternoon at the US Embassy, while waiting for Ian and Jenny for our final briefing. It promised to be the book I wanted it to be: tender and disquieting, something that will rob me of my sleep.