As I've mentioned before, my nearly 81-year-old Mom has a first book coming out! In celebration of such, she also had her first "salon" (oh my!) reading experience this weekend, as she read from her narrative (she's calling these memoir-vignettes "narratives") "Dawac" at beautiful Leny's beautiful house (it was so colorfully and, wink, indigenous-ly decorated!). Here's a photo of Mom in her reading chair--do note in the foreground a make-shift "altar" of blessings that Leny created on the spot from vegetables that I brought from my garden (that's when I realized, btw, that you're supposed to harvest zucchinis when they're smaller, not when they become human baby-sized....duh). That's the beautiful back of the beautiful Leny's beautiful head in foreground:
Here's a shot, too, of part of the audience to whom I'm so grateful for their openness and making my Mom feel really welcome as she goes on to her own literary debut. That's Jean on the far-left side of couch! It's not a good photo, but you can see the intentness of the peeps' attention....
At one point in the evening, one lady said that writing must run in my family. And I said half-jokingly, "Yes, but I didn't know it for the longest time!"
And what I was thinking of is that when some talent runs in the family, one usually sees it first in the parent and then in the child. In my and Mom's case, it was seen visibly first -- if one uses publication as a viewsight -- in me and later in Mom. But what this really means is that what was running through our blood is not linear but circular...
...evoking for me indigenous time's mythical space of creativity: where, in the space of creation, there are no delineations between past, present and future, or between geographically-defined space; in that mythical space, unity exists in the universe across all time and space. (Got that? Good!)
Last but not least, I mentioned in my introduction for Mom that "Dawac" is the first narrative in Part One of her forthcoming book, and that Part Two will be a reprint of her Master's Thesis at Silliman University when she had written (under since-recognized Philippine National Artists Edilberto and Edith Tiempo) the first critical study of "local color" in Filipino English-language short story writing. I thought it wonderfully synchronistic that Mom's own narratives will contain much local color, even as I consider her book also a recovery project for what was actually a historic literary study. The circle turns....
Thanks again to Leny for the salon idea and hosting. Thanks for making Mom and me feel so welcome. What a beautiful community you all make!
Sunday, August 1, 2010
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Wow, this sounds beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Also, congratulations to Tita Betty for her first book. When is this scheduled for release? Any way you can email the info to me?
I am so moved by this! It's a dream for me to see my parents write out their stories and share.
i feel extremely blessed to have been surrounded by inspiring women! may the art of storytelling continue!
Eileen, i've started to post about this event: http://kathang-pinay2.blogspot.com/2010/08/notes-from-evening-of-dawac-stories.html
did Michael leave the lights on? :-))
Hi Barbara--Thanks for query. Am hoping the book comes out in late 2010 or 2011 (will let you know when I have more details! Don't have much solid info yet).
Niki-Yes, the elders have much to share; it'd be great to have their stories and memories down in print for others in future generations to know. Mom, for example, lived through WWII and I'm encouraging her, too, to write about her stories as a kid during the War -- mundane stuff like having to always have a small bag of rice and sugar with them so that if they ran away from invading Japanese to the mountains, they wouldn't be such a burden to the people who'd take them in. It's also how Mom got steeped in Homer and British poets -- their books happened to be the ones around (they were printed and our stories weren't?!) and when she and the relatives were in hiding, she had nothing better to do than read those classics!
Leny, I can tell from your and Jean's write-ups that great positive energy stuff continued to unfold after we had to leave.
Yes, what was unexpected was how Michael 9my 14-year-old son) really got into the ghost stories!! He was persuaded to sleep with the lights off, except for a German Shepherd night light, but he apparently had strange dreams!
I need to get to know more of Colombian "indigenous" history. One thing Philippines and Colombia have in common is colonialism, after all....
Seeing Michael listening with rapt attention reminded me of being a child and listening-in to the grownups in the kitchen doing talk-story about aswangs and tikbalangs and such...
Michelle posts a moving response that expands significance here at
Thanks for sharing Michelle!
What a wonderful salon! Your mother must be so gratified to
have her voice heard. And I can
just feel how proud you are,
Writing has given Mom a second (or third, fourth) life! I haven't seen anything cause her to get so passionate since Dad died and she moved into my house as a widow.
To feel passionate about creating
makes each day beautiful.
And your Mom is blessed to have
a daughter like you.
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