Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Writing on furlough redux

So, recommencing on the last point in my previous post, these people are some of my creative writing heroes. With other icons in other genres of fiction that run the gamut from Saul Bellow, Chaim Potok, Ernest Hemingway, Isabel Allende to Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Anatole France, Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen and so much more, their works are my points of inspiration.

As a matter of self promotion, I too have been published for fiction and poetry – four times so far, twice for short story and the same number for poetry. Reading my very first foray onto printed text now is quite embarrassing. It was a poem entitled “Children of the Streets” and I think I was lucky it was published by the Philippines Free Press, a national weekly news magazine. I was paid something like Php400 for it, which was a considerable amount at that time. That was 1990. My thoughts on the poem now is that it is sophomoric, to say the least.

My second published piece was a short story entitled “Small Talk,” which also appeared in the Philippines Free Press, in its June 24, 1995 issue. This was when I discovered that I enjoyed writing narratives, weaving imagery and mixing metaphors. Here are some excerpts from “Small Talk”:

Shafts of light had drawn shadows of leaves on the asphalt road of that single strip of parking lot fringed by trees on opposite sides. A wind blew just then and brought a leaf storm of sorts as leaf after leaf fell and hurtled on the coarse surface of the road like being swept by an invisible broom…

…So, it was nearly evening when we left that room but we did not notice the time or that we had already come out of the building. Neither did we notice how many people there were, as there were many, waiting for a jeepney ride under the shed in front of the Faculty Center. We all but forgot the traffic at Philcoa or the roads outside the university. We only noticed the play of twilight in hues of glowing yellows, orange and light reds streaming through the canopies of a hundred little round leaves of the big acacia trees that lined the asphalt road of the avenue we faced while we lightly tossed around pleasant small talk between snatches of silence.

And so we left the university sometime between the warm fading lights of dusk and the swift procession of nightfall, a bit happy with each other and a bit contented with ourselves and, assessing it now from memory, a bit wiser.

The third one was a poem whose authorship I am proud to stake claim. I think poetry suits my writing as well because of my love for the alchemy of imagery and metaphors but constrained in a limited and precise lexicon.

This one I entitled “Turkish Afterthoughts.” No, I haven’t been to that part of the world. I wrote the poem after a friend traveled to Turkey for a vacation. We met for some coffee and tea when she got back. That’s when I heard her stories of that land straddling Europe and ancient Asia Minor. Her photo album helped too. I was able to write the poem in its published form in one sitting that night after we met.

(I have to take a break here again. Money beckons, I must comply. For my worth to subsist, I must not resist. With these words I momentarily leave you but I reckon, another redux of this topic is in order and will be in the works. I bid you adieu for now until my digits pound on the keys once more. Until then, dream and live the dream. Life is short. We must optimize living it while we are afforded the chance to do so. Albeit a cliché, this caveat is still a universal truth. Live well.)

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