1/26/2008

Field of Mirrors

Adding Philippine American Writers & Artists who announced the Feb. 16, 2008 launch of Field of Mirrors, edited by Edwin A. Lozada and featuring 71 FilAm writers.

Seventy-one FilAm Writers. And there's FilAm writers I've met who aren't in the anthology, so there's even more out there than 71.

Time was I couldn't name even one FilAm writer alive. Whenever I'd ask, people would shrug and not know of any FilAm writers or refer me to Carlos Bulosan. Sequestered in a small Idaho town for too many years, I was lucky to meet anyone who knew the difference between lumpia and longanisa.

Pretty cool what the internet can do to connect people. Now I can find them or they find me, and there are bunches and they write and critique and gather.

So what's a FilAm writer to do now, now that I've found them?

Write and critique and gather. Repeat often.

***

I've been in a flurry of writing lately, mostly revision, some new stuff. The result: one new essay and two revised children's picture books available for submission. Plate's not quite clear enough to get them out the door, though. Got a few more small things that are turning into 'big' things to get out of the way first.

***

I'm also reading The Oracles by Pati Navalta Poblete . Very cleanly written and I especially liked the voices of the Oracles at the beginning of the book, where Pati's grandparents speak about who they are and why they are in America. She writes with certain beats, resonances to my own experiences, but also brings California in the 70s as counterpoint.

I'm toward the end now, and the narrative style has shifted which I find really interesting. The moment her grandmother tells her to write her grandfather's eulogy, Pati alone out of all her 40 some cousins, reminded me of the moment my father turned to me to write his eulogy for his brother's funeral. There was no asking, really, only expectation based on certain skills and the need for expediency because the role is given at the last possible moment - just hours before a certain critical thing is needed.

Anyway, Pati's book has me thinking about style and theme in memoir, how I like essays that suspend time, dig deep into environmental details, and show the changes that happen between people, the shifts that happen because of a realization. I like essays that are journeys to wholeness and that talk about how life isn't whole most of the time, how we look for wholeness and often miss it completely because we're looking in the wrong direction, then get startled into wholeness when we look at things differently for the first time.

My writing, I think, is about working out that sense of lost-ness that has never really left me for long.

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