Friday, September 30, 2011

A Letter Regarding A Few, Unimportant Things

a letter about loneliness and reaching out
Image taken here.

Dear Fickle Cattle,

I came across your blog a week ago. I cannot remember how exactly. What I do remember is that part where you said you "love email." I smiled at that line, thinking about how I, too, am fond of emails. I decided then to write you one when I get the time and when I sense a need to talk to someone. Are you wondering now why I opted to talk to a stranger instead of a friend? Do you know Rainer Maria Rilke, the German poet? As I write this, a line from one of his letters echoes in my mind. He was saying something about solitude, its difficulties and pains, and how there are moments when one is solitary when one would feel the strongest urge to close one's distance from people, break the silence and talk to anyone, usually the most undeserving. Well, this is one such moment, although there is a number of discrepancies. One, you and I are definitely distant from each other (I'm guessing you are not one of the three guys I share this flat with). Two, I do not think you are most undeserving.

If I wrote this email immediately after I read your blog entries, it most probably would have contained effusive sentiments on how touched I was by some of them. Actually, I can visit your blog now and perhaps discuss the things I liked in it (not without citations) the way I would write a review of related lit as part of the many school requirements I've had, but I do not have the energy to do so. Nonetheless, I congratulate you for having achieved this -- I write because I hope, someone, somewhere, would read what I wrote and think, "yes, he's right, I get it," and understand me. Well, obviously I had to copy-paste that from your blog. I guess I had the energy after all. Anyway, I did think "you're right, I get it" and that, I'm sure, is the reason why I decided to write you.

What do I want to talk to you about, anyway?

I feel terribly lonely. I woke up at 5 am this morning and read about typhoon signals. I was almost certain I would receive a text about a class suspension albeit late. I slowly and lazily planned my day -- maybe I'll study that chapter on mycology or read about heart pathology, I should watch First Love, that Thai film a friend told me about, I will definitely read Norwegian Wood. I went over these things and then some while the winds outside slowly gained pace. I had to check if my window and my curtain were properly angled and aligned to allow for the cold to enter and to prevent my desk from getting soaked.

If you must know, I ended up watching and reading but not studying at all. And now I feel sad. It could be because of the movie. I find it funny that a feel-good movie with a decently happy ending would leave me in the brink of depression. Now I was not overly touched by the film. I reserve such honor for tours de force like La vita รจ bella. Actually, I have always been like this, always exceptionally saddened by stories with that theme (of First Love). Maybe because I have not encountered a thing like that. Or perhaps I'm just upset by the fact that I have let a day go by without catching up with lessons knowing that exams are near. But that's too boring a reason, don't you think?

Minutes before I started this email, I thought of writing in my journal, which I have not done in weeks. I was lying down when I groped for my journal under the bed. It was hard work because in my position, I couldn't extend my hand way under and so I was failing. I was too lazy to go on all fours and reach for it. That's when I thought of writing an email instead. Naturally, I had to get hold of my laptop which was also under the bed, beside my journal. And this time, I did go on all fours to reach for my laptop. Apparently, writing an email was a higher motivation than writing in my journal. Or I'm just fickle and silly that way. Oops, I did not mean to steal your blog's name.

This has become long-winded. Are you tired? I feel that I have not completely communicated everything that stirs in me at the moment. Then again, I don't think we can always completely communicate everything inside us. And when we do succeed in transforming the formless into a meaningful series of words, there's always at least a slight difference from what was originally born within us. Sometimes however, what does come out becomes far more beautiful, but of course what comes out that was not first born within? Nothing.

I hope to hear from you soon. How has your life been?




Hi Nico,

This is probably one of the most interesting emails I've gotten in a while.  I must say I thoroughly enjoyed reading it; the quirky directions your thoughts suddenly take reveal a particularly sharp mind, and I'm especially grateful it is one owned by someone who actually reads my blog. I'm glad you take some pleasure from it.

I wish I knew how to respond to this email in a manner that is just as witty or as interesting, but I fear I probably won't live up to your expectations, and may just prove to myself that I am as poorly skilled at replying to interesting letters as I imagine.  

But I do understand your point about loneliness.  I experience it too. Sometimes I revel in it.  There is something uniquely, hmm, pleasurable? about taking the time to wallow in one's sadness.  Maybe because, to my mind at least, it gives one the sensation of not being content, therefore, of wanting something more.  Contentment is an overrated thing, one must always strive to be something more, to want something more, until he dies. Otherwise, what is the point of living? To choose contentment, at least, in the most mundane sense of the word, is to choose stagnation.

I'm sorry. I'm rambling. I've just finished writing four pleadings and my brain is starting to fail to function.

Let me end with this.  I want to publish your email in my blog, along with some commentary on my part. Please permit me to do so. I think my readers would find it a very interesting read.


Fickle Cattle

P.S.  Your letter reminded me of a short story I once wrote that got published in the Sunday Manila Times. It was entitled "A Few, Unimportant Things". I reposted it as a new tab (Random Fiction).  Please feel free to take a look.

P.S. 2 I decided not to bother with the commentary. Your letter is interesting enough as it is. Thank you.


  1. Shoot. And all this time I thought "Norwegian Wood" was code for "Sven gets lucky."
    Great post, though.

  2. That was actually really interesting. I wouldn't mind getting an email like that myself. I too understand loneliness quite well.

  3. Interesting post. I can relate abit to the wanting abit of random connections.

  4. Sometimes I wish I'd been anonymous on my blog so I could write about personal things that I prefer not to share with family. I guess this post made me think of that.

  5. For me, blogging helps with the loneliness--I have close friends and I am in touch with them and they with me. But I am shut in and live by myself. And both writing and painting are often very solitary. Touching base with bloggers is more intimate than Facebook, to me. We share something from the soul in the contacts. It seems that way to me. I would not ask blogging contacts to do a thing for me, yet we write and hit "publish blog" and send our thoughts into cyberspace, praying someone will find us worth following, worth visiting, perhaps even commenting.

    This was an interesting entry, I think. And it touched on the very thing which saves me from slipping, I think. The very real virtual contact among blogging artists, or just the bloggers I've found. And sometimes the online cameraderie steps into realworld and real time... and it is magic.

    I do enjoy your block, Fickle You.

  6. Greetings from the Amish community of Lebanon pennsylvainia.I was just passing though and thought id say hello. Richard from Amish Stories.

  7. I think many people out there at one time or another understand lonelyness.

  8. Hmm could be a nice coincidence... but the cynic in me senses a stalker, not sure I would get too friendly just yet.

    Granted, this is only my second visit to your blog but I read enough of your stuff last time, to think that this person has studied your posts and has re-created your writing style in attempt to establish some common ground...? But maybe I'm alone in thinking that?

    Then again maybe someone who admires you that much and goes to that sort of effort is someone you'd want to get to know...?

  9. i just rebounded here and read about your post. i am out of words but anyway, i also experience it and as you have said, i also revel on those things ;)

  10. Wow. What a refreshing take on things! I sincerely appreciate the raw (yet articulate) honesty of both you and your reader. In fact, this perspective stimulated my mind so much that as I was contemplating it this morning, I realized that I was one small movement away from dumping cereal into the coffee maker. That is how focused I was. :)

    So, to the both of you, thank you for your words. Out here in cyberspace, words have an incredibly profound effect on us. It's all we have.

  11. It's so great to have email communication. At least, you can feel like you're writing something huge and full of meaning, not just the chat message. But it's all with the printed letters though, it's exciting to use handwriting as well ;)

  12. A letter between Two notable writers!!

    Just like the title of the previous post :D

    Oops! I think notable is an understatement!

    I love love love fickle cattle!!!!

  13. Two beautiful writers in correspondence? Oh frabjous day!
    The idea of contentment being overrated reminded me of Huxley's Brave New World and how if one is always happy, a richness to one's life is lost. And I admit, I LOVE Rilke. His writing is so soothing for me. And the whole email exchange thing reminded me of the collection of his letters, Letters to a Young Poet.
    You guys are awesome!

  14. hey there! i was wonderin' why I haven't followed your blog yet, when I've stumbled upon it a couple of times before.. anyways, this was a good read.. the email sender has a lot of things goin' on in his head, and it's good that you chose to write a short reply instead of a commentary.. you're a good writer! :)

  15. awesome! love emails too. so sad I stopped receiving stuffs like that now. things change...

  16. I love emails too because they really show that I'm being remembered. Unlike facebook or any other social networking site where a few words and a click is all it takes to send a message, emails require a tad bit more effort. :)

  17. First: the response was as witty, as smart, and as interesting. Don't be so modest. Haha.

    Second: you are a remarkable writer and you must be proud that people actually read what you write. More than the awards that you get, (congrats for them btw) is the fact that your ideas and thoughts are perceived by many minds and may have given people reason to continue believing on something or the opposite.

    Third: how did we ever get across each other's blog? I have lost track.

    Thanks for visiting my blogs, it's not really a good read but I just write coz I got plenty of time to spare.

    Show Me Your Look Today
    The Pinoy Wanderer

    how did we find each other?

  18. TEZ is not alone. I, too, got an uneasy nudge reading Nico's email.
    Please take this in the spirit of "keeping a cautious eye open", just in case, ok?

  19. Well, I am not really used to the idea, me (as Char Char) pandering on these words. Usually, I dwell and confined to the "beki" language as reflected through my posts. However, I may seem to be aloof if I do so on your blog. Char! ;D

    To Nico,

    Don't think that you're alone on that situation. I guess most are of the same dilemma usually in the times of "hell week." As students, we tend to indulge to what we have been deprived or what we enjoy doing. Char!

    (Ayyy! Kaloka itey. Nahirapan akezz mag-English. Nakakahiyabells ipromote ang blogaloo ko here. Choz!)

  20. I also believe that loneliness does us good sometimes. I just don't overdo it, because the last time did, I almost died. Harhar. But I'm not kidding.

    By the way, it's nice to have discovered your blog. It's not everyday that I stumble upon (sorry for the word) a blog that I can actually read. ^^

  21. Superb post Fickle. What an interesting email to receive and what a considered and honest response you gave in return.

  22. Am I having a right point of view to say that a writer is actually a lonely person?
    For everytime I feel lonely, I try to talk through my writing.

  23. what a fantastic post, I have to confess to getting similar emails myself. The way you answered it is both witty and profound.

  24. Lonliness is not something I enjoy and tend to make it a point not to get that way. It's hard! I know! I love this post and I've found it easier to talk to someone I don't know over those I do. I have to agree there. Very awesome emails.



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