Rica Bolipata – Santos: Navel

“So, here, my navel. Cleaned and gutted out,” she writes in the preface.

It is pungent with honesty and courage of life as a woman in the Philippines. While motherhood seemed to be the more obvious leitmotif of this compilation of essays (and I have friends whom I think would benefit even more from this book than I will), there was also so much to relate to as a Filipina.

The author, separated from me by so much less than six degrees, comes from a renowned musical family; and somehow, this makes her stories of life and family seem even more accessible to me.

This book is another piece of evidence that Filipinos are some of the best essayists.

She posits somewhere in these pages that writing, aside from being the best solution to finding your way after getting lost, is an added gift to the love of reading. “An added gift to the love of reading.” Isn’t that beautiful?

In fact, it seems to be the strongest takeaway for me. Writing. Even for questions like, “What to do with all the physical evidence of the growth of the heart?”

Writing seems to be the answer, too.

After a whole month of the most uninspired book posts I have ever written, I am grateful to be reminded of this outgrowth of reading, this gift, this home — writing. 

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