I spent hours in Taipei and Manila bookstores the past month, intending to buy a novel, something literary, a book that knows an essential truth. I scanned titles, read the blurbs, and customarily checked out the bestseller shelves. I saw new work by authors who were otherwise personal rock stars when I was younger: Murakami, Palahniuk, Coupland. Still unmoved. A short story collection by Munro and a tome by Campbell I feverishly looked for before had me closer to pulling out my wallet. I browsed contemporary Philippine titles on a weekend visit, but I still came home empty-handed.
Or not. Since I did buy something, but it’s title was “The Personal MBA”. I’m not sure if my younger self – brooding, existential fiction-reading Literature major – would have approved.
What seems to be blocking my literary appetite? Changing interests, yes. And maybe coming to terms with the professional identity of a corporate scribe where I once romantically fashioned myself as a poet-reporter. Seeing good web analytics for what I’ve published in online and social media pumps me up the way acceptance notices did before. The translation is loose, but I’ve become what a Taiwanese colleague referred me as: a “content generator”. In a few days, I will turn 30. Hopefully I won’t have to “write 30” to the young word-drunk writer I once was. Maybe a book out there could reignite the spark.