Books, beer, and travel - SunStar

Books, beer, and travel

By Bernard Inocentes S. Garcia

IF you pursue the lure of the written word, you wouldn’t know night and day. Some nights you’re a literary maniac and write pages and pages of brilliant manuscripts where words are like dwarves jumping up and down in celebration of your great narrative.

Illustration by Geraldine Sypiecco
Illustration by Geraldine Sypiecco

But the “you” here does not refer to me. Most of the time, I stare at an empty page or write sentences so bad I begin to wonder if God is joking with my life. So some nights I give up and hug myself to sleep, or watch boxing and UFC fights on TV.

Tonight I am lying on my bed scribbling this on my cell phone, waiting for sleep to snatch me out of this habit of looking for a lizard on my ceiling. The desk lamp is on my table beside Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis.” Partly, this writing is influenced by the sad plight of Gregor Samsa, who woke up one day transformed into a giant insect.

So I ask myself what if one day I’d turn into a rooster, or God forbid, a cockroach. Shall I be a fighting cock or shall I end up living in a trash can?

I write because writing allows me to narrate a story or voice out an opinion. Sometimes I do not write if I find myself too emotional. It’s a fault. I tend to forget that writing is personal, like politics and love, or why someone so beautiful always ends up with frog-looking guys.

If I commit myself to a literary adventure, there are many things I have to give up, and if I succeed in doing so, I simplify my life. For me, there are three things that matter most: books, beer, and travel.

Books broaden our horizons and bring us to a magical world of fairy tales, to the struggles of great men, to haunting love stories. Books lead our imaginations above the clouds where we run like Pinocchio and remember our childhood, or they remind us of an encounter with a stranger at the hallway.

Beer unlocks our inner tiger. It is the secret to laughter and forgetting and makes all things bright and beautiful. It unleashes our creative Dionysian spirit. A night of beer or wine at the beach leads us to life’s greatest mysteries; it is one adventure that rekindles old flames and passions.

Travel opens our minds to different cultures. I admit I have never been out of the country, but this I have to change. I am interested in ancient cities and old cathedrals, ruins of sacred temples and coliseums. I want to walk in the streets of Barcelona and feel the city’s old charms as described in “The Shadow of the Wind.” I want to go to Vigan, Baguio, and Batanes.

So if you ask me about happiness, I say three things: books, beer, and travel. Love? I have thought about that, to be honest, but that one is bound to complicate our lives. It leads us to metamorphosis.

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