Wednesday, August 18, 2004


I am so used to email and instant gratification via SMS that receiving multiple hard copy letters by mail is an event.

Everything arrived this morning.

First were a pair of envelopes bearing the familiar Carlos Palanca Foundation crest. Replacing the traditional telegrams (those abrupt and tersely worded missives that condensed both kudos and award night info in as few words as possible), these letters were on formal gold-stamped letterhead and are nice enough to frame. So yes, I am officially informed about the two Palanca Awards I'm to receive on September 1st at the Manila Pen. Having the physical letters is evidence enough that my past and current happiness is not just some cruel dream sequence.

I used to collect the telegrams when I started winning, until I misplaced them along with all my clippings and the out-of-print stories I published in the early 90's (National Midweek, MOD and others).

Second was a note from Gavin Grant over at Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, a small literary magazine I submitted a story to. As a form rejection letter, it is as terse as a Palanca telegram. Rejection used to hurt, but now my attitude is to just shrug my shoulders and move on. Not every market can be conquered with the first salvo, after all.

I'm considering writing a quartet of stories that are interlinked but stand alone, and rotate them between markets (keeping in mind the edict against simultaneous submissions).

Third was a thick envelope from James Frenkel & Associates, bearing, along with my contract, my first-ever royalty check. The amount doesn't matter, being in actually an advance against royalties that sales of The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror Seventeenth Annual Collection will generate. What does matter is that L'Aquilone du Estrellas, the crazy story that got me published in the first place (and this year metamorphosed into a winning play) is in the collection.

Now if only Fully Booked, Powerbooks or A Different Bookstore can get their new stocks in (I do have an hardcover author's copy coming my way, but who knows when that will arrive).

So, three letters - a pair of congratulations, a rejection and a royalty check. A combination I'm more than willing to live with.


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