It took me this long to share the news of the release of my first (and perhaps last) short story collection in Filipino, SANGA SA BASANG LUPA. My Philippine publisher, UST Publishing House, has made the title available and announced it on 19 October 2016 on their Facebook post. I’m hoping a launch of sorts would follow, but times are difficult at the moment. My previous attempts to do a virtual launch for my recent poetry collection, A THOUSAND EYES, never materialized.
My own sister has warned me not to come home because of what’s been happening. Anyone can be killed and be declared a drug user or drug pusher. Anyone. Nearly 5,000 people have been killed since Duterte took to the presidency. That and the tight budget keep me from booking a flight back home. Home. That’s a tough word to say when you have your heart in too many places and official documents and procedures – aside from economics – bar you from moving freely among your loved ones. I include my paper children among my loved ones.
Sanga sa Basang Lupa took a long time to be born. If you read Filipino fiction, I hope you give this paper child of mine a chance. Apparently not many short story collections in Filipino get put out there these days. Mine took over 20 years to see the light. Please take care of this one, dear reader. Maraming salamat.
Two decades is a long time to be away from your own children. What if they were only made of paper, words on paper in a language you grew up speaking but now rarely use because no one else where you now live knows it? Would you still recognize them as your own? Would they seem as important and worth reading after all these years?
I am currently proofreading the text for my first book of short stories in Filipino, Sanga sa Basang Lupa, which is due for release later in the year. I had to stop for a while again. I remember the rough outline of each story, but I found myself getting all tense and fearful for the characters, or laughing with them at certain points of the narrative. Had they taken on a life of their own in all the time they had been in storage?
Would other readers feel the same way if and when they finally open the pages of the book and enter the worlds I had imagined? Will these stories even be given a chance by a single reviewer? A single reader?
I never thought of these at all when I was writing each story. If I had, none of them would be here now.
Stubbornness and wreckless abandon, I blame you, you twins of creation. And thank you. Now I have nothing but hope.
I just made up this design for this post and will not be used for the final book at all.