notes on habitation

  1. I like secluded, locked-in areas, quiet, hard-to-reach places, beautiful because untouched.
  2. Once I woke up in a cottage, lying on quilt covers in an otherwise spartan room. Beside my bed was a window. Across the window were bluish mountains framing a pinkish-golden sky.
  3. My dreams of home are spun out of gossamer, lit up by fireflies, and smell of pine and ocean. In the evenings of my dreams, I bathe by moonlight as crickets chirp a love song. In the mornings, birdcalls usher in the dawn.
  4. When I turned twenty, I left home to live in an attic, which I rented for a year. After, I moved into the Lighthouse standing on a tor in the middle of an urban sea. Now “home” is a room at the end of a corridor in a campus residence hall. Here I live with a roommate, and share the bath with 30 other girls. Mostly, what I do here is sleep.
  5. A place of my own will have a vast view of sky. It will rise above rooftops and smog and the din of car honks and passersby. Pigeons will fly up from electric lines left quivering to perch on my windowsill. In the balcony, potted herbs and sampaguita will grow.
  6. I wouldn’t mind living in a concrete box if the rooms in my head had a view.
  7. For furniture: a thin mattress on a woven rug and a yoga mat lying on the burnished mahogany floor. A low wooden table and a pillow for sitting on. A shelf for crockery and scented candles, trinkets from faraway places, a bowl of fruit.
  8. For decor: mirrors from compacts glued onto vanilla walls, paper cutouts and strings of glass beads for drapery, Christmas lights strung along the ceiling beams, a single aluminum star.
  9. Books will stand in columns on the floor, propped against the wall. Clothes will be stored in packs and suitcases, for when I feel like wandering.
  10. The door will never creak on its hinges. It will be kept closed, bolted and double-locked.


This list was born of an exercise conducted by Tim Tomlinson as part of a seminar on creativity on the third day of this year’s Philippine International Literary Festival, held on November 14-16 at the Ayala Museum. The task was to write ten random things in like ten minutes and see what narrative comes out. Well I’m not a random sort of person, haha. So I wrote a list of ten things about home—imagined, lived in, wished for.

4 thoughts on “notes on habitation

  1. Pingback: The Year in Writing and Wandering | tenant on the top floor

  2. Pingback: Meaning and morality in Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations | tenant on the top floor

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