Tuesday, August 09, 2005

palanca awards news

Okay, a few days after my "fear of failure" post recounting how I thought I lost in this year's Palanca Awards (and that the act of writing is, in itself, its own reward), I am interrupted during a client pitch by a phone call from Nikki. I excuse myself and listen to her happy screaming agitation. I couldn't understand what she was trying to say at first but her words suddenly resolved themselves into something quite distinct.

NIKKI (shouts): Your novel won a Palanca!

Reeling from the unexpected news (since I had conditioned myself to gracefully accepting the fact that I had lost and was getting ready to hunker down and write new stuff), I told her that I couldn't talk but would call her later. I returned to my meeting and had a silly happy grin plastered over my "game face".

After the meeting, I finally got to call my wife again to confirm her news and ask how she knew. She told me that she received two letters from the Carlos Palanca Foundation that afternoon.

ME (stunned and puzzled): Two?

NIKKI: I won too!

Wow! My joy was doubled, then trebled then multiplied some more and spilled out into the busy streets of Buendia as I struggled with phone and umbrella in the light rain of rush hour. I rushed home and jumped up and down with my girls.

Nikki's "Menggay's Magical Chicken" won 3rd Prize in the Short Story for Children in English category of the Carlos Palanca Awards 2005 (a wonderful story, recently shared by Nikki with Zarahg and her schoolkids). I am so proud of my wife, I really am. She's over here if you want to share her happiness.

As for me, "Salamanca", the novel I wrote in 30 days last November as part of the NaNoWriMo, won the Grand Prize in the Novel category. I'm very very happy for a number of reasons: first, it's the longest thing I've written in my life and I wasn't sure I could really do it; second, it's written in my version of Magic Realism and fits somehow into my entire "let's write Speculative Fiction" agenda; third, it proved to me that discipline is the key (try the madness of writing a novel in 30 days and you'll see what I mean).

So yes, I guess the missing part in my earlier post (and here too) is that you only have a chance of winning something if you try in the first place. And while it is vital to keep things in perspective, it's a rather nice pat on the back for something I worked hard for. And P30k (the prize money) and an 8th Palanca Award are pretty nice to have - but don't worry, it won't go to my head.

Well, just for today - because I feel like a million bucks - and on September 1st when Nikki and I attend the awards ceremony at the Manila Pen.

Thanks to the Big Guy above!


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