Daily Archives: 01/01/2023

The neglected, the old, the new, and paths with unknown destinations and companions

New year can be seen as a new beginning, a new opportunity. It can also be seen as nothing more than a change of numbers on a piece of paper or whatever you use to keep track of the dates.

I’ve been neglecting this blog for a while. My apologies. I think I got overwhelmed by 2022. When the year began one of the things I was almost sure to happen was to finally see my very first book get published in South Africa, my home since 1994. Then, after the launch of the book in May things just got crazy.

I managed to share on this blog some of those unexpected events and bits of recognition, but not all. Listing them now might seem like boasting, and I was taught to think tooting one’s horn – or, magbuhat ng sariling bangko (lifting one’s own chair?) – is really uncool.

But I’d like to think that mentioning such blessings should be a good way to show appreciation and thanks to whoever made such miracles happen. Also a kind of reminding yourself that a journey is never truly a solitary thing. Sometimes it’s just not that easy to see who is supporting you, who’s there to help you on your path, who might feel it worth their time to clear the path for you so that you can travel better, further, to stages and places you maybe never thought possible with the barest that you have.

So in no order, and with apologies if I may have left out some names, I owe a debt that I can never repay to the following:

Robert Berold of Deep South for BLOODRED DRAGONFLIES, Quaz Roodt and Ismail Mohamed of Poetry Africa, Jee Leong Koh of Gaudy Boy, Yeow Kai Chai who chose my manuscript for the book prize, Marianne Chan and World Literature Today Gary Cummiskey and Stanzas, the organisers and judges of the Poetry in McGregor Festival, San Anselmo Publications and the Santelmo Journal team, the readers and judges of the Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards, the Johannesburg Review of Books for publishing my essay, and the generous donors to the ongoing crowd funding campaign.

I’m writing this on a second hand phone which I bought with funds from one of those gifts I received in 2022. I’ve had less time in front of my laptop (personal reasons I’d rather not explain here), so this phone has become a kind of refuge, another way to keep writing. My previous phone was a bad hand-me-down, but I was also using on the side a phone left behind by my brother-in-law. That one could take good photos and make decent audio recordings, but it wasn’t really mine and is also fairly old, I now have to give it up.

With this phone I found myself posting more on other platforms, Instagram and Facebook, short bits of writing or photos with a bit of text. Rambling and random stuff that may one day become a poem or story. Like the following paragraph.

People remember either the darkness or the light. More difficult to recall what was in between, the moments before, when there was no certainty that what would follow should be welcomed or not, when it was unsure that who became visible from the fog was friend or someone intent to end your hopes.

I posted that on Facebook today.

For now the thing that is making me uncertain and uncomfortable is the scheduled trip to Seattle. Honestly don’t have all the funds yet. It’s in March!

If you read this post, please share it and the crowd funding campaign. Donate if  you feel inclined to do so, but at least spread the word.

I’m still hoping to keep going to wherever this writing life may lead, even if the Seattle plan falls through.

HERE IS THE LINK TO THE CROWD FUNDING CAMPAIGN.

Thanks for reading this, and if  you are a subscriber, even more thanks for staying with me on this journey.

Peace and Freedom for the New Year, and all the years we have before us.