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A Guy's Moleskine Notebook

Thoughts and reflections on works of fiction and literature. Pondering of life through pictures and words. Babbling about gay rights. Travelogues and anecdotes.

  • [1] Annie Proulx: Brokeback Mountain
  • [2] Arthur Golden: Memoirs of a Geisha
  • [3] Yu Hua: To Live
  • [4] Alan Hollinghurst: The Line of Beauty
  • [5] Colm Toibin: The Master
  • [6] Carlos Ruiz Zafon: The Shadow of the Wind
  • [7] William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience
  • [8] Charles Higham: The Civilization of Angkor
  • [9] Graham Greene: A Burnt-Out Case
  • [10] Dai Sijie: Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch
  • [11] Alan Hollinghurst: The Swimming-Pool Library
  • [12] Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
  • [13] Colm Toibin: The Blackwater Lightship
  • [14] Alan Hollinghurst: The Folding Star
  • [15] Ross King: Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
  • [16] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov
  • [17] Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections
  • [18] Colm Toibin: The Story of the Night
  • [19] John Banville: Shroud
  • [20] Leo Tolstoy: Resurrection
  • [21] Peter Hessler: River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze
  • [22] Ian McEwan: The Atonement
  • [24] Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera
  • [25] Ignacio Padilla: Shadow without a Name
  • [26] Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose
  • [27] Richard Russo: Straight Man
  • [28] Fyodor Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground
  • [29] Alan Hollinghurst: The Spell
  • [30] Hermann Broch: The Death of Virgil
  • [31] James Baldwin: Giovanni's Room
  • [32] Ken Kesey: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • [33] Xingjian Gao: One Man's Bible
  • [34] C. Jay Cox: Latter Days
  • [35] Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird
  • [36] William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew
  • [37] Daniel A. Helminiak: What The Bible Really Says about Homosexuality
  • [38] James Baldwin: Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone
  • [39] Kenji Yoshino: Covering - The Hidden Assault of Civil Rights
  • [40] Italo Calvino: If, On a Winter's Night A Traveler
  • [41] Arthur Phillips: The Egyptologist
  • [42] George Orwell: 1984
  • [43] Michael Warner: The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and Ethics of Queer Life
  • [44] Andrew Sullivan: Virtually Normal
  • [45] Henry James: The Wings of the Dove
  • [46] Jose Saramago: Blindness
  • [47] Umberto Eco: The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
  • [48] Dan Brown: Da Vinci Code
  • [49] Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go
  • [50] Ken Follett: The Pillars of Earth
  • [51] Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
  • [52] Michael Thomas Ford: Alec Baldwin Doesn't Like Me
  • [53] Jonathan Franzen: How To Be Alone
  • [54] Jonathan Lethem: The Fortress of Solitude
  • [55] Matthew Pearl: The Dante Club
  • [56] Zadie Smith: White Teeth
  • [57] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Double
  • [58] Jose Saramago: The Double
  • [59] Andrew Holleran: Dancer from the Dance
  • [60] Heinrich von Kleist: The Marquise of O & Other Stories
  • [61] Andrew Holleran: In September, the Light Changes
  • [62] Tom Perrotta: Little Children
  • May 14, 2006


    Remembering My Mom

    Today is the 6th Mother's Day since my mom had left. On August 21, 2000, at 4:20pm she gently, effortlessly breathed her last breath and bid farewell to the world of dust, to us. She didn't seem to be suffering from much pain, and that was wall she hoped for. My mourning of her has long ended although a deep nostalgic feeling still lingers in heart and this sense of heart erosion always magnifies on special occasion like Mother's Day. Recently I read Carmi's post about transience and he talks about how obituaries are such poignant recollections of lives now lost. I realize the spirit of my mother who had passed is survived and remembered forever by me.

    The first encounter with death was a blank in my mind, a numbness in my feet. The tears were involuntary self-expression of the emptiness, the helplessness, the hopelessness, and the cruel realization that someone whom I love and who loves me has forever parted with me. I shuddered at the inevitable thought that my memories of her would only fade and eventually consign to the margin of my mind. To keep her alive in me, I nourish memories of her through associations. I listen to her favorite tunes All I Have To Do is Dream, music from The Beattles and watch movie like My Fair Lady. She relished the time when my father took her out to see My Fair Lady where all the lady guests received a complimentary red rose. That was Hong Kong in 1960s. One of the evening gowns she donned for the wedding banquet reminds me of Maggie Cheung in In The Mood For Love.

    I realize I have become a living obituary of my mother: I have inherited some of her memories. I gain access to the fragments of the past that was never part of my reality and existence. I agree with Carmi that members of each generation carry traces of who they are and pass them subtly to their children. My grandmother, to whom I am also very close, would have passed on to me memories and histories of the very distant past for which I have no way of accessing and archiving. How do you think I'm savvy of ancient traditions and practices?

    Now I don't ever worry my memories of my mom will fade or get lost. As I'm telling my friends her stories my impression of her becomes sharper and brighter. My father reminds me of her and how she like before she became a mother. Pictures of my childhood, the school report cards, my favorite steamed egg, the ironing board, the mahjong table...all represent bits of memories of my mom that have incorporated in me. Above all she has molded and shaped who I am, with sacrifice, love, and faith. I remember the first time she broached me about my sexuality, with such lucid understanding and love. That still brings tears welling up in my eyes. Mom, thank you for teaching me how to love and not to be afraid of being who I am.

    I love you mom. I know you can hear me, wherever you are.


    Blogger Tony said...


    Seems like this day is special to many of us. I wrote a letter to my mom as my post, expressing how much she means to me. As for yours, besutifully written. Its funny how we can be at odds with our parents, our moms at moments in our lives but for the most part, we simply can't live without them, without their memories.

    I have a post I am going to be doing on my dad and his death but I m debating to post it within the next week or so or wait until next month to post it closer to Father's Day. We'll see.

    Enjoy the remainder of the weekend.

    5/14/2006 11:40 AM  
    Blogger matty said...

    What a wonderful tribute to your mom. Hope that you are out letting the wind blow thru your hair and the sun shine on your face.

    5/14/2006 1:59 PM  
    Anonymous colleen said...

    She sounds like a great woman. I lost my dad this year...and two brothers 4 years ago. I did write a tribute for my mom this year too. Got to do it while they are still here. I wrote one for my dad and he read it 4 months before he died.

    5/14/2006 8:35 PM  
    Blogger Jef said...

    Nice post.

    5/15/2006 6:15 AM  
    Blogger Robert said...

    You burn a piece of paper, there will be heat, there will be cinder... it transcends. Something cannot become nothing.

    May it be the rain, the sunshine, the mountains and the earth, for our beloved that had passed on, see with our true eyes, they will always be with us.

    5/15/2006 7:28 AM  
    Blogger Matt said...

    Beautiful comment Robert. You're always so deep. :)

    I saw a butterfly lingering around outside my window yesterday...

    5/15/2006 2:02 PM  

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