11/30/2007

QOTD

When everything seems to fall apart, it is important to have a "mythic sense," a story-mind — not a fantasy for escape, but a sense of mythic imagination that can hold ends and beginnings together. -- Mythic Journeys

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This reminds me of what many of the culture bearers talked about in de Guia's book, that sense of Time being irrelevant to the Sense of cyclic change. Beginnings and endings are part of a whole experience, and the view from wholeness gives each piece, even when broken, meaning-full-ness.

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Speaking of fullness, I am flush with books. I've narrowed my MFA focus down a bit and started filling my shelves with books I think I ought to know about. Thanks to Amazon's links with used booksellers I recently received:

Crushing Soft Rubies

Eye of the Fish

The Oracles

So they're nestled nicely next to works by Leny Strobel, Barry Lopez, Carol Guess, Anne Lamott, Brenda Miller and Robin Hemley and soon to join works by Annie Dillard, Suzanne Paola, Judith Kitchen as I get a chance to pick up titles. More to read, more to gather like diamonds to a dragon's horde. To the used bookstores!

**happy dance**

11/25/2007

161 Meme

Leny tagged me recently with the 161 Meme, having been tagged by Luisa Igloria (since half the fun of meme-tagging is seeing who tagged who and what they answered).

The sixth line of the 161st page of Kapwa: The Self in the Other is:

of his forefathers. Nowadays, he performs the Palaw'an tribal rituals instead of attending Christian

I hereby tag: Ver, Barbara Jane, Oliver, Carol, and Kim. (Post the 6th line of the 161th page of the book you're reading, blog it, and tag 5 more bloggers.)

There's synchronicity in memes, sometimes in the interaction between tagged and tagger, the meme and the answer, the combo of the two, and every permutation in between.

The passage the meme brought me to is about Aureaus Solito, filmmaker and Christian, descendant of shaman-chieftains of Palawan who views himself whole with the action of his art. For him there is no self-division along lines of religion, social group, economy, or age - rather than choosing one part of his heritage over another, he embraces it all. He states "I've imbibed the philosophy that everything is enough."

Nourished by wholeness.

Links and Events Roundup

Thanksgiving week opened with the terrific news that Cecelia Brainard has accepted my story "Yellow is for Luck" for inclusion in her anthology GROWING UP FILIPINO II, due to release next year.
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The Chatelaine announces the Meritage Press Seventh Annual Poetry Contest with judge Eric Gamalinda .

Her Goldeness also released the eighth issue of Galatea Resurrects, boasting 64 poetry reviews!
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Hot poetry with hot poets can be found at MiPOesias now. (no really, I read it for the poetry...)
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Achiote Press continues to move and shake having been recently featured at Intersection's Independent Press Spotlight event. Can't wait for the online announcement for the release of Achiote's Fall issue!
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Ivy announced the release of Part II of the Auto/biography Edition of APWN she edited.

APWN is also calling for submissions for the 2008 edition of the Auto/biography Edition. Deadline: March 31, 2008.
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Stage Presence releases soon!

SPECIAL RELEASE OFFER:
Meritage Press is pleased to offer a SPECIAL RELEASE OFFER through November 30, 2007. For $16.00 each, you can obtain a copy of STAGE PRESENCE, a reduced rate from the book's retail price of $22.00—plus free shipping/handling (an approximate $4.00 value) to U.S. addresses. Just send a $16.00 check made out to "Meritage Press" to:

Eileen Tabios
Meritage Press
256 North Fork Crystal Springs Road
St. Helena, CA 94574

For international orders, please contact MeritagePress@aol.com

11/12/2007

Remember Those Gone and Those Still Alive




The Filipino Veterans Equity Act has been voted out of committee in the House of Representatives (HR 760) and the Senate (S 1315) and is now awaiting floor votes. The release of this video spot coincides with the efforts of the National Alliance for Filipino Veterans Equity (NAFVE) to spread awareness in this final push to pass the bill. The public service announcement "Full Equity Now" features FAUSTINO “Peping” BACLIG, who is one of many World War II veterans fighting for equity. The video can be seen at: http://www.kidheroes.net/fullequitynow/.

“We’re so close, we can taste it. We hope this public service announcement can reach out and mobilize our community. We need all the help we can get to make history by passing this important legislation on behalf of the brave soldiers who came before us as part of the ‘Greatest Generation’ who fought in WW II,” says Ben de Guzman, NAFVE National Campaign Coordinator.

“Full Equite Now” was produced by filmmaker Patricio Ginelsa's production company Kid Heroes Productions with assistance from donations and sales made in July 2007 through their online store. Ginelsa and the entire crew donated their time and efforts to make sure this public service announcement happened. “It’s one thing to know about an issue you feel very strongly about. I wanted to somehow push people to actively do something about it, especially now in this crucial stage.” says Ginelsa.

The National Alliance for Filipino Veterans Equity represents over 20 local, national and international organizations committed to securing full equity for Filipino World War II Veterans. More information about NAFVE and the Filipino Veterans Equity Act is available on the NAFVE Web site: http://www.nafve.org.

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Remembering: Arcadio M. - Retired US Army, Korea, Bataan Death March Survivor, Filipine Scout; George M. - Retired US Air Force, WWII, Korea, Vietnam; Cristino M. - Retired US Air Force, WWII, Korea; members of the USAFFE who have never been recognized as US Vets.

Honoring: Romeo M. - Retired US Air Force and US Navy, Desert Storm; Frank M. - US Air Force, Desert Storm, Iraq Conflict; Jeff M. - US Navy, currently serving; Mark M. - US Air Force; Rod M. - US Air Force; all my cousins who serve.

11/04/2007

Passing Glance

I spent the afternoon yesterday at the UBC Museum of Anthropology with a friend. It was the first time for both of us, although I had been on the UBC campus in 2000 for a Women of Color conference. There hadn't been time to explore MOA though with all the hustle of sessions and such. Yesterday, though, was the perfect day for being on an Explore with a friend - wet and grey and softly introspective.

Although excited by the prospect of gathering more details for the novel, I was also apprehensive. Here we were going to a place designed to observe Others in neat packages called Artifacts.

There was a terrific article in The Sun recently titled "Thought to Exist in the Wild: Awakening from the Nightmare of Zoos" by Derrick Jensen. Although the central argument of the article is the treatment of zoo animals, Jensen goes into great detail about the mindset necessary to create zoos, the same Othering techniques used during colonization.

"What do we learn from zoos?...We learn that you can remove a creature from her habitat and still have a creature. We see a sea lion in a concrete pool and believe that we're still seeing a seeing a sea lion. But we are not. We should never let zookeepers define for us what or who as animal is. A sea lion /is/ her habitat. She is the school of fish she chases. She is the water. She the cold wind blowing over the ocean. She is the waves that strike the rocks on which she sleeps, and she is the rocks. She is the constant calling back and forth between members of her family, this talking to each other that never seeps to stop. She is the shark who eventually ends her life. She is all these things. She is that web. She is her desires, which we can learn only by letter her show us, if she wants; not by caging her." - Jensen, p8, The Sun, Nov. 2007

I think the primary action of decolonization for me is this realization that I am not the artifact called 'Filipina,' but a Filipina - one who interacts and is constantly remade as a Filipina with every interaction, every relationship forged, every action I make which ties me to my heritage. Being Filipina isn't defined only by what I do as an individual, but by the living, breathingness of Kapwa that takes into account my environment, my choices, the choices of others, my fears and triumphs, all at the same time, all in constant motion.

Stepping across the threshold of MOA, I knew that I would not have the experience of knowing and interacting with the artists and elders who has created the pieces on display. So, instead, I tried to place myself in a space where the stories that the catologuers didn't reveal in their explanatory panels. I tried to hear the whispers of carving tools against cedar, of songs still imbedded with the wood smoke in the grain of door posts. I tried to be open to the context of each piece while fighting back the knowledge that each piece was out of context, perhaps torn out of time to be 'collected and placed' for the 'edification of Us.'

I scribbled notes into my sketchbook about the pieces in the first foyer, then turned the corners where cabinets of artifacts were on display from other indigeneous peoples around the world. A sign with the Philippines caught my eye and it was with a certain morbid curiosity that I opened drawer after drawer to see what a curator thought was worthy of preservation and display from my heritage.

The displays at MOA are arranged as if the visitor had stumbled into a collectors archive, each piece cross referenced with a piece of paper covered in a plastic sheath and bound in large books fastened to the end of each cabinet. We struggled to understand the system and finally gave up, favoring to pull out drawers and hope there was a piece from 'back home.' Indonesia, Bali, Australia, Malaysia, teeth, feather, bone, hemp, copper all behind pieces of glass. I only found one marked "Philippines" - a small smoking pipe which I sketched in my book, the perfect object for characterization. I decided to stop looking for the Philippines at that point, focusing instead on the Coastal Salish.

MOA is undergoing a renovation and pieces were displayed in large racks, untagged to the amateur, but still there. Sort of like bodies in a morgue... turning away from the large portion of the collection, we moved to a room which held the artifacts of a memorial given for a woman who had died in the last decade. She was a leader in the preservation and reclamation of First Nations culture and her family and friends honored her by providing a memorial for her. Instead of burning or letting the elements claim the pieces, many donated them to the MOA for a memorial display.

Death and life together, observed and observer together, but I was determined to be in the space even if separated by time. To reach that space of Kapwa with the people who loved and were loved so deeply. Unlike the rest of the museum, the memorial space had a story, was steeped with stories, and grief has a power that connects. I would have liked to have met the people who left the memorial pieces for me to see, but reading their words helped me be in that space more fully and hopefully with them and their memories.

As my friend and I gazed out of the inlet outside the museum, standing there beside the long and small houses adorned with totem poles and post carvings, she mentioned how special places are always special, that a good place to settle in and share a meal will be attractive to people generation after generation, and the most recent iteration of that attraction was the museum itself. I tried to imagine the coldness of the skin for a woman like me, just come from emptying the boats, and rushing indoors to prepare a meal, welcoming the heat from the fire and chasing children away from burning embers.

I'd forgotten to bring tobacco, didn't really know if the Coast Salish and Haida were tobacco givers, so instead I turned to my friend and gave her a small pocket totem I had bought for her in the museum gift store. We'd brought our friendship to the space and I was grateful to the elders for bringing us there that day. We smiled and shared a hug in our typical American shy way, and I hoped the Guardians understood that we were not just passing, or even passing through, but that their stories had changed us and kept part of their memory alive in us.