Friday, January 20, 2006

I have discovered that one of my friends, an Indonesian lady, also loves to write. Amazing what opens up when you open up yourself to others. This lady migrated to the Netherlands a year after I came over, and her father-in-law ( a wonderful guy ) approached me on her behalf asking if I would befriend her as she didn’t speak any Dutch, but she did speak English. So, I said “yes”, and in between, we’ve developed some sort of friendship, although not as deep as the friendships I do have with kababayans. There it is again, that rift caused by differences in culture...*sigh*. Someday, I would love to tear down the glass wall, break it down so that we would all see that underneath the skin we are all the same, but that’s not as easy as it sounds. Trying to pull out live emotion and trying to unveil the true you is much harder than trying to pull out an aching tooth. ( I know, I tried this when I was a kid. Remember how our grandmothers used to advice tying a loose tooth to a thread, attaching the other end to the doorknob, and then slamming the door shut? It doesn’t really work as easy as it sounds. I ended up having to go to the dentist.)

But it was a nice surprise to discover her secret love...which came out into the open because I revealed my own obsession with the written word. Sometimes, I wonder why it is that we seem to feel as if we’re doing something covert or forbidden when we write. But because I dared to speak up about my passion, she dared to reveal to me her dream of someday writing a children’s book. It’s like being handed a gift...I wonder whether this will give her the freedom to peel of the layers of skin protecting the sensitive inner her.

2006 seems so ripe with promise. Like there is this big thing waiting to happen...I’m quite full of expectancy, because I think the face of this year will be key in changing the landscape of my life.


Immersing myself in poetry, I discovered that in The Netherlands, poetry falls under the category “Beeldend Kunst” which literally means, Imaged Art. It is “literaire” ( literary ) but also “beeldend” (imaged). I found this interesting, while I was conscious of the importance of imagery in poetry, this labelling made certain things clearer to me.


On the way home from Gouda, I had a discussion with my husband regarding poetry, literature, and how the word – written or unwritten – strengthens/facilitates the passing on of tradition and heritage.

I was more strongly convinced of the need to cultivate a literary community here. Dredging up past conversations with other Filipinas, I realize that there is indeed a hunger to share, as well as to verbalize on paper our experience.

I find myself wondering how many are out there, just waiting for this. I wonder if we are even conscious of how empowering the written word can be.



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