Friday, September 24, 2010

Angelica's Daughters In the Manila Bulletin

Did I tell you we are blogging about our dugtungan novel at Re: Angelica's Daughters? Well, we are! And the current post has the full text of an article that was published in The Manila Bulletin yesterday. In it, Nadine and Susan spill the haricot verts on our writing process.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Invisibility: What Is Acceptable, And What Is Not

As a woman growing older, I feel increasingly invisible. I'm getting used to it or—maybe this is more accurate—growing into it. It doesn't have to be a bad thing. I'll figure it out.

And I'm pretty much invisible as a writer, but that's okay, too. It certainly doesn't prevent me from writing, and it's 100% commensurate with what I have or haven't done so far.

Occasionally, I am invisible in my house because my older daughters are—I just need to face this—dreaded TWEENS, and they sometimes ignore me. This, too, makes sense. They are maturing, testing their limits, getting a feel for what's okay and what's is absolutely not freaking okay.

So these are invisibilities that I can deal with because they represent a natural progression of things, or my personal limits, or just the way that life is sometimes sucky. But what you see here in the trailer for the documentary The Delano Manongs: Forgotten Heroes of the United Farm Workers? Not so much:

The Delano Manongs from Media Factory on Vimeo.

The filmmakers have raised a lot of funding so far, but from the call to action on the website, it looks like they need a little bit more to finish their project. If you can, help to honor these Filipinos and their story. Because sometimes invisibility is acceptable, and sometimes it's not.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Post In Which I Share Exciting News

I don't know about you, but I spend inordinate amounts of time doing things and checking them off some list, mental or otherwise. I do and do and do, but nothing gets done because these things aren't really Things; they're just tasks. And tasks never end. Making lunches, running errands, grocery shopping, sending this e-mail or that e-mail, dialing the phone to make an appointment, etc. It's so hamster-on-a-wheel. Which is a necessary and even sometimes enjoyable part of life, don't get me wrong. But what often goes missing when making my countless rounds on the wheel is any true sense of accomplishment. You know, the kind of accomplishment someone must feel when they wake up one morning thinking I will climb Mt. Kilamanjaro, and then they take all the necessary steps for two years or whatever to do so, and then they finally, finally ascend, and then descend, and then they sleep for a long time. When they awaken, they will have freaking ACCOMPLISHED their goal of climbing Mt. Kilamanjaro.

All of which is to say, I finally DID something. I didn't do it alone, and I couldn't have done it alone, because the whole point was to do it together. Do what, you ask? Why, write a dugtungan novel entitled Angelica's Daughters, I answer. And before you ask what the hell that is, I'll just tell you. No wait! What I'll do is share with you Brian Ascalon Roley's blurb, which defines it nicely:
"Part of the pleasure of reading Angelica's Daughters, the engrossing new collaborative novel by five established Filipina writers, is seeing how deftly the authors deal with the challenge of writing in this resurrected literary form. A dugtungan is a genre of Tagalog novel popular early in the 20th century, in which each writer creates a chapter and hands it off to the next, who writes another chapter without direction. The result, in this case, is an ensemble performance that contains something of the exhilaration of theatrical improv. One watches these accomplished authors inventively weave a historical romance, creating gripping heroines and turns of plot, crossing decades and national boundaries, tapping into cultural roots of the Philippines, Spain and America. Reading Angelica's Daughters is a gripping experience.~ Brian Ascalon Roley, Author of American Son (W.W. Norton)

My co-authors for this project are Cecilia Brainard (Los Angeles), Erma Cuizon (Manila), Susan Evangelista (Palawan), and Nadine Sarreal (Singapore). At one point—and this is something Cecilia discusses in the introduction to the novel—the amazing Marianne Villanueva was part of our crew, but in the end if was just the five of us e-mailing files like mad, trying to make sense out of the tangle of characters we'd invented, and trying to smooth out our writing styles into a cohesive narrative. It was a long and sometimes frustrating process that took about like 350 years. Or maybe it was just six. I've blocked it out, but I believe that detail, too, is included in Cecilia's introduction. The bottom line is that the novel is being released by Anvil (Philippines) this month, and it's being mini-launched at the Manila Book Fair on the 18th, where Nadine and Susan will represent our motley crue and field questions from interviewer Ivy Mendoza.

More on all this later, as I need to hop back on that hamster wheel (hello reality). But I'm happy to leave you with a small image of the cover, at least. I love it because the woman is going absolutely batshit crazy:

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Post In Which Three Disparate Topics Are, In Fact, Not Disparate But Rather Related Via the Theme of Time and Its Passing

I think the first day of school is a lot like New Year's Day. At least for stay-at-home parents of younger, school-age, out-schooled children. It's the day we think things like now I'll start working out regularly again, now I'll get the house in order, empty every laundry basket I see, have lunch with my friend, make an appointment for a haircut, get the oil changed, call the refrigerator guy. I took a little unscientific survey of moms this morning. "What are you doing today?" I asked. And every single one was going to yoga or running or doing some other physical activity. It's all so re-birth-y. In fact, for the past two years my personal yearly calendar has begun in August.

And speaking of rebirth: my children look like completely different children now. When did this happen? How did this happen? In July they were just little tangled-hair-water-nymph-like babies, and now they look like...I don't know. Well, let's just do a visual. Now they look like this:

It's ridiculous that I'm always so shocked that...gasp!...the clock keep ticking. All I know is that if I had a superhero power it would be The Ability To Freeze Time.


So I downloaded Scrivener (tagline: "Outline. Edit. Storyboard. Write.), and I kinda love it. It took me a minute to orient myself, but once I watched the intro video, I was good to go. I think it lends itself well to the way I write and organize, and it addresses my need to have a bunch of sketches and bits and pieces super close at-hand. If you're planning on tackling National Novel Writing Month (I don't know if I will this time, but you never know), you should definitely take a look at Scrivener. And guess what? It's free for 30 days and NaNoWriMo is...ta-da!...30 days long!


In other news, except under rare circumstances I am (sort of) no longer transported by the shopping experience. But I have to confess that I have lost all semblance of control when it comes to GILT. I don't know what it is, people. Actually, I do: they combine some great stuff + good prices + the thrill of the chase. The sales open and close at certain times, quantities appear to be super limited, and you become paranoid that you're going to miss out on something amazing because as you peruse, all kinds of super cute dresses or whatever are suddenly marked as "In Members Carts Now," and you start thinking oh my gosh that IS super cute and if I don't get it right now they're going to sell out so I better hurry, gah I hope they have my size oh oh oh... Then sure enough if you're a few seconds too late, the loathsome "SOLD OUT" message pops up on said super cute dress. There's also a gameshow element because even if you do manage to scoop up the super cute dress of your desires, you only have ten minutes to pull the trigger or the item is removed from your shopping cart and set back out into circulation. It's all too much. In fact, I'm going to head over there for a minute right now...