Friday, May 19, 2006

shut up and live

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L to R: Karina Bolasco of Anvil, Butch Dalisay, Gill Westaway of British Council, Sarge Lacuesta, Dean Francis Alfar and Luis Katigbak at the launch for Latitude: Writing from the Philippines and Scotland.

The best thing about being in an antho is reading it (after all the back and forths of submissions and editing, the long wait for printing, the launch event) and seeing what everyone else is writing. In this case, I was happy to read stories from my contemporaries on the other side of the world (and try to figure out some mystifying author bios). But even better, striking closer to home, is reading the work of the 7 other Filipinos (Butch, Menchu Aquino-Sarmiento, Bing Sitoy, Maria Fres-Felix, Sarge, Luis and Krip). A big source of happiness for me was having my spec fic story smack dab in the middle of all the pinoy realism.

The best story there was Bing's "Shut Up and Live!", written in the domestic realist narrative mode. It is heavy and powerful and true, about how hope and helplessness and anger crash together within the spaces of lives, often repeating history. And how can I not admire a story that includes the "Bacolod Sex Scandal"?

This story won the Palanca last year (Bing also won for the Essay), and it's easy to see why.

Bing is currently taking MA courses at Roskilde University in Denmark. In our exchange of emails, she posed questions that required kilometric responses from me - tackling speculative fiction, writing cliques, blog stalkers, how we'd sight each other at various Palanca ceremonies through the years, and so on.

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