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Don’t ask me what or who my favorite is

If I were king, would it be a mistress?

An intimate affair that is an open secret

I like the clouds but they are not my favorites

Or if they are, so are the stars

and the moon

and Jupiter

I am clueless with numbers

but mathematics appeals to me

like a puzzle I cannot solve

like a mystery I cannot unravel

like a question I cannot answer

My favorite is to curl up with a book when it is raining

But also when it’s a sunny afternoon and there is hardly any breeze

But if reading is my favorite

so is dancing in a club

or drinking in a pub

or shopping when there’s money

or flying when there’s a ticket to paradise

Don’t ask me who my favorite singer is

Some, like Edith Piaf, are dead

Some, like Rosa Birgitta Isfeld of Reykjavik duo Feldberg, have yet to live

(at least in the public eye outside of London and Tokyo)

Do I like rock?

Yes, but if it is my favorite

So is pop

So is dance

So is reggae

So is rap

So is hip hop

So are standards

So are love songs like Madonna‘s ‘I Don’t Give A’

Or songs of regret like Pulp‘s ‘Like A Friend’

Or intelligent songs like Uncle Bonsai‘s ‘Myn Ynd Wymyn’

So is Elvis Presley‘s ‘Always on My Mind’

So is Alex Clare‘s ‘Too Close’

So is Muse‘s ‘Madness’


RAFA’S CLEMENT This is not my favorite of my six-year-old niece Rafa‘s drawings, but it has a special place for me because it reminds me of Francisco Clement‘s fishlike work in the Ethan Hawke/Gwyneth Paltrow starrer The Great Expectations

And my favorite movie?

The Great Expectations comes to mind

But so does A Clockwork Orange

So does Cloud Atlas or Argo (F*ck You)

So does The Science of Sleep

and Midnight in Paris

So should Paris, je t’aime or Love Actually, every anthology film I know

though I don’t remember many of them anymore

From my country, cradle of great stories,

I loved Oro Plata Mata (Gold Silver Bad Luck)

and Himala (Miracle),

Ang Nawawala (What Isn’t There),

Ang Panday (The Blacksmith), and more

some acclaimed

many forgotten

many undiscovered

Ask me who my favorite author is

And I’ll tell you that one whose book I just finished yesterday

But it’s not fair

I loved The Secret Garden

I loved those charming novelettes by Collette

I loved biographies and fairy tales and French Lessons by Peter Mayle

J. D. Salinger‘s The Catcher in the Rye

S.E. Hinton‘s The Outsiders

Robert Ludlum‘s Bourne series

Even a cookbook or two by The Barefoot Contessa

I loved history and self-help and Agatha Christie‘s whodunits

I loved Shirley Maclaine and David Sedaris

and the five-year-old in Emma Donaghue‘s Room

I loved even Harold Robbins

Or those silly romances that gave me so much guilty pleasure

And then there’s Marcel Proust whose opus I have no doubt I will never finish

But I love him no less.

Don’t ask me who my favorite is.

It’s not fair

It’s like saying that all the ocean is its surface

Or all the sky is what we can see and point at

and photograph with tiny wisps of cloud on it.

Don’t ask me who my favorite is.

They each had their time

They each had their place

I am me because a part of them, big or small,

is now a part of me

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