Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Post With Two Links and a Question

Hey, here's is Rashaan's write-up of the Growing Up Filipino II book launch. She covers a key topic of that afternoon, one which Marianne Villanueva hilariously expounded upon. Namely: why are Filipinos so cool? Why, indeed? Read it to find out. Or, if you happen to be Filipino, simply glance in the mirror and wink at yourself. NAKS!

In other blogging news, our own Tony Robles has started one here. Make sure to read his new poem, which was inspired by a short meeting with a fellow Filipino security guard. I eagerly await a post in which Tony waxes poetic about his love of Hall & Oates and other old-school cultural icons.

Utterly unrelated: how do we feel about the new Moleskine "passions" journals? I feel...not so good. Why are you all of a sudden so strongly suggesting what I should put in my Moleskine? Annoying.

And that's all for now.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Growing Up Filipino II Book Launch Report

The silence here at Nesting Ground has been deafening, but not as deafening as the rain on my windows in the middle of the night. The endless gloom is causing me to shriek ridiculous things like, "I come from island people!" or "My kingdom for a golf umbrella!" But with all that's going on in the world, I am quick to bite my ridiculous tongue.

It's always hard to get going after a week-long blogging absence, but for my purposes, last Saturday's Growing Up Filipino II (pick up your copy here or at any of your favorite online bookstores) reading is a logical place to start. First there was a little bit of nail-biting surrounding the question of whether or not Marianne (whose husband gallantly agreed to drive her into his city with his reliable—as opposed to her unreliable—car) and Tony (who cruised in Filipino-time on his eco-friendly bike) would, in fact, dazzle us with their appearance. I'm sure everyone was as happy as I was when they walked through the door.

It was a pleasure to meet Rashaan and listen to her read from her story, "Here In the States." It's about a young girl coming to terms with the changes that immigration has created in her family dynamic. I was surprised to see later on her Facebook page that reading makes Rashaan super nervous, as she did a perfect job. I know her story is going to resonate with a lot of young Filipinos. You can read a short excerpt here.

Tony was next, and the guy is so damn funny. In his piece, "Son of a Janitor," he reflects on what he's learned from his father's work which is, as it turns out, more than he ever learned in high school or college. I think I've said before how much I admire Tony's style of reading. He has a way of making things conversational, of just...connecting. He says he's almost done with his novel; I can't wait to take a look.

Marianne is so very Marianne: quirky, self-effacing, and—let's just face it—a brilliant writer. I love her supernatural stuff (have you read her story, "The Hand"?). The story in the anthology, "Black Dog," is from her first story collection, Ginseng and Other Tales from Manila, and it holds you in thrall until the final sentence. Think: the witches of Aklan, the creepy mangkukulam, a grisly murder, a weary judge.

I realize now it's been some time since I read my work in front of an audience. And I was especially nervous because the spousal unit brought the kids, and there were two places in my story where the language was not ideal for very young ears. My story includes the word "tits," for example. Twice. And also, "goddamn." As it turns out, I stopped reading before I reached the tits-and-goddamn parts, because a voice in my head said, "Perhaps you are taxing the courtesy of this audience; stop reading now." Anyways, mission accomplished with (I think) just one stumble.

I so appreciate PAWA and Arkipelago Books and their joint reading series. Barbara Jane was there, of course, and she has comments here. I only have two pictures, and I'll share them with you. Here I am with Oscar (recently featured here at Oakland Local! Supahstah!) and Sunny, who finally signed my copy of his Pinoy Capital: The Filipino Nation in Daly City:

Speaking of Daly City, here are two friends I grew up with there, Yamila and Karen. How sweet was it of them to come? Super sweet:

And that's my report. Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cold Like That

Don't you love it when bloggers write things like, "I'm so bored!" It's almost as good as, "It was such a fun day." Unfortunately, all I have to say today is: I'm cold. But I beg you: don't give up on me! In an effort to avoid being thrown in the box labeled "Tedious Bloggers Who Tediously Waste Time with Tediousness," I will now elucidate all the ways in which I—or any persona that may emerge—am/are cold. I will do it without stopping, and I will do it without correcting typos, and when I am done I will hit "publish post," and that will be it. Ahem.

cold like there's an ice cube in my head.
cold like I don't like your outfit. At all.
cold like my soda in the cup
cold like my hands washed in the river
cold like my ankles when my pants are short
cold like the tops of my feet when I don't wear socks.
cold like your voice the last time we spoke
cold like the wind when you wait for the bus on California & 14th
cold like the way you look at me when I say you're stupid
cold like the iced-over blades of grass
cold like unforgiving
cold like what the hell's the answer?
cold like have we met before?
cold like I don't want to dance with him
cold like I need a bigger scarf
cold like nobody liikes my story
cold like taking a bath when the washing machine is running
cold like disinterest
cold like I can't remember your name
or where you live
or why you matter
or if you ever did

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Ten Days Late!

I am wracked with guilt (I'm overstating! Me! Overstating!) because I have failed to take part in an age-old blog tradition: the obligatory new year post. The fact is I was too overwhelmed by one thought: I have been a parent for a decade.

I have been a parent for a decade.

A decade.

A decade.

Also, I was:

• fighting off the flu with my weakened arms and tiny fists of fury.
• watching the girls use their iKaraoke to belt out "I'll Be There." Forty trillion times a day.
• planning a fete for one of my favorite people and taking as my theme: woodland forest. SHUT UP!
• trying to find a pair of black pants that are lost somewhere in my closet.
• paralyzed by my inability to choose a new book to read.

And...that's really it. And now I have to go back to working my woodland forest theme. There are acorns involved. And owls. And little woodland creatures. And green himalayan roses. And wavy coco twigs. Also stones covered in moss. But no hedgehogs; hedgehogs freak me out.