Palouse Images

Magpies, Kestrels, Swainson Hawks
Rolling hills, Big sky, dry grass
Promise of winter wheat

East City Park, A Street House, College Campuses
Dry rain, traveling wind, pocket sunshine
Spring too soon in coming

Red moon, grey sun, black shadows
Purple dress, blue eggs, pink baskets
Rebirth remembered


There were other things about writing - hope, decentering, universality, archetypes - all from the blogs of other FilAm writers. When I read them, I invariably question my own writing/viewpoint/aesthetic as well as the definitions assumed.

What is a FilAm writer, afterall? A writer who was born in the Philippines and now is in the US? Or do second gen writers like me, born in the US and having spent only a couple handfuls of days in the Philippines over a lifetime, count?

How self-conscious should a minority be in their writing, or is their writing minority/Other by virtue of their sex/race/economic status?

Are the concerns of a nearly 40 year old woman of Filipino descent with a caucasian husband and two hapa kids, a suburban childhood separated from the Seattle Filipino Community, a coming of age in the near white Palouse/heartland of the Nez Perce, a tortuous year living in Honolulu, and a current existence far from the FilAm hotbeds of New York City and San Francisco, really all that interesting? Or would her experiences only serve to reinforce the Straight A, Piano Playing, Exotic Asian images being fought against by the Eileen Tabios, Nick Carbo, Evelina Galang, Jessica Hagedorn and all the others?

Why can't I find FilAm memorists - not essayists who's main concern is activism/protest - but lyrical, creative non-fiction writers who can blend the everyday living with the double/multi consciousness of being single/double/triple/quad minorities?


And yes, I am /keenly/ aware that in my rant I have also defined what I want my writing to be. Clever, eh?

1 comment:

barbara jane said...

hi bec! so i have found yr blog via odlp's blog... anyway, as i have been telling my writing students, just be truthful as a writer and the self-consciousness of whether or not yr text is 'ethnic' enough will fall away. i wholeheartedly believe this. i believe it is a matter of writing what presses you the most, what grabs and nags at you, and NOT what you think others expect you to write.

definitely my geography and personal experiences get me writing about things that are 'pilipino,' but as my new publisher has said abt what is to be my 2nd book, her experiences (as a white professor) living and working in hawai'i enable her to 'get' where i am coming from.

anyway, just wanted to say hello as well, and point you towards luis francia's eye of the fish as an excellent memoir. much love, barbara