by Anthony Capirayan, SSP
The “love month” that is February brings either a bunch of giggles or a bucket of tears to people in and out of love. Love becomes so palpable that the DJ’s playlist or the Spotify’s Smart Playlist cuts through one’s soul (Jimmy Bondoc’s timeless “Let Me Be the One” becomes the official soundtrack . . . again!). The dialogues in the movies pierce the heart like never before. The characters in the novel come alive and take anyone for a ride into the sunset. Ah, it’s Valentine’s and love indeed is in the air!
And along with dinner reservations, meticulously wrapped gifts, sweet-smelling flowers, and love letters, this month comes with bittersweet, funny, and heartrending posts with the hashtag #banat or #hugot on social media. In a blink, the number of “likes” and “shares” can rise rapidly! You ever wondered why? It’s because these are the very lines that we have been meaning to tell someone and the words that describe exactly the feelings and situations that we are going through. A part of us is torn and yet a part of us is healed. Through those words we have gotten something off our chest. Through those lines we realize that we are not alone, and that the universe conspires with us to get us through to our #forever.
Such has been the case with Lang Leav’s poetry. While others consider poetry as a dying art, Lang’s words, however “whimsical and ethereal,” are accessible, empathetic, and sincere that one can easily connect with them. Her literary voice is that of an angelic teenage girl who possesses holy longings for love, and whose heartaches and loneliness are quite fresh you could almost smell them. The rhythm of her phrases is like a soft lullaby echoing through an endless sky. Some poems can bring about nostalgia and hope, regret and redemption, sorrow and joy. It’s just hard not to fall in love with her verses, and just like almost all streams of banat and hugot, you can be obsessed with them and consider them as your own. She can undoubtedly give a name to every feeling we thought as “unexplainable.”
Thus, it comes as no surprise that Lang Leav has a cult of almost a million followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr. Like other authors, she cannot really put a finger as to when and how she found poetry (or was it poetry that found her?). But her unprecedented career started off when she began uploading photos of her poetry on Tumblr.
“As a writer, you just put your work out there and hope for the best,” Leav says in an interview with Star2.
She indeed did take her chances, churned out more personal poems, until her followers “demanded” a print collection of her works. Now, she is an international bestselling author with three books—Love & Misadventure (2013), Lullabies (2014), and Memories (2015)—which have sold more than 300, 000 copies, reports Publishing Perspectives.
She also has just completed the manuscript of her debut novel Sad Girls, which is expected to be out this year. Of course, writing a novel requires a different discipline and demands a wider stretch of imagination. But Lang Leav has a unique way of knitting words that can shatter one’s heart into pieces and then make it whole again. She can change one’s world beyond reckoning. For sure, her upcoming novel, just like her poems, will be filled with #banats and #hugots—only rendered with elegance and grace.
Here are my fave quotes from Lang Leav’s book Love & Misadventure:
(Please don’t read these pieces of #banat and #hugot during class. If ever you do, be sure to have your tissues ready.)
- “Do you love me?” I ask.
In your hesitation I found my answer.
- What was it like to lose him? Asked Sorrow.
There was a long pause before I responded:
“It was like hearing every goodbye ever said to me—said all at once.”
- “I was yours
before I knew,
and you have always
been mine too.”
- “I don’t know how you are so familiar to me—or why it feels less like I am getting to know you and more as though I am remembering who you are. How every smile, every whisper brings me closer to the impossible conclusion that I have known you before, I have loved you before—in another time, a different place, some other existence.”
- “Before I fell
in love with words,
with setting skies
and singing birds—
it was you I fell
in love with first.”
- “Can I ask you something?”
“Why is it every time we say goodnight, it feels like goodbye?”
- Do you remember the song that was playing the night we met?
“No, but I remember every song I have heard since you left.”
- “The briefest moment shared with you—the longest on my mind.”