Monday, August 04, 2003

the magic of negros

Carl rhapsodised over the weekend about Lucero's prize-winning story, The Death of Fray Salvador Montano, Conquistador of Negros - about how magical and lyrically it was written, and how Hinirangesque it was. Indeed, a number of writers from South of Manila (or who set their stories in the South) are able to create wonder with the islands of Negros and Iloilo and the cities of Dumaguete and Bacolod. Dumaguete, home of Silliman University and the famous workshop (which began in 1962), provides authors much nurturing and challenges their writing acuity.

Here are some great Negros short stories, Palanca Award winners all, for your pleasure:

The Black Monkey by National Artist Edith Lopez Tiempo

What I Love Or Will Remember Most About High School by Vicente G. Groyon III

The Death of Fray Salvador Montano, Conquistador of Negros by Rosario Cruz Lucero

Stories by C├ęsar Ruiz Aquino

If you are a writer, you must read good stuff like this as often as you can. By exposing yourself to the good stuff you learn discernment and pick up invaluable lessons that cannot be taught.

Oh, and speaking of the Palancas: if you are one of those who are waiting for the results of this year's competition, well, if you haven't received a telegram or three by the time you read this, better luck next time. All winners are informed by telegram around this time. (I add this because I noticed some people in my site stats querying Google and Yahoo for the results.)

Remember that awards, while nice, are not the be-all end-all of literary existence. The important thing, more than not sour-graping, is to keep writing in your way, in your voice, getting things "right". Writing should do these things: give you a voice, give you joy and set you free.

That is your most powerful, most personal magic - the magic of words. And the link between magic and awards is forced, at best.


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