Sunday, April 30, 2006


What a fabulous first issue of Otoliths . Congratulations to Mark Young , what a superb first issue. Looking forward to perusing it more closely.

Exciting to think of all the launchings this May Month. Tomorrow, Haruah will be launching her first issue. We've been getting lots of poetry subs but not enough short literary fiction. I mean, we've had some moralistic and preachy subs ( which I personally don't like. I always hated that I'm holier-than-thou attitude ), but we are not getting enough of well-written, engaging or thought-provoking subs.

A lot of work done in the editorial backroom is reviewing work that we think is just about there. We send the sub back to the subber with revisions requested, and then get it back and send more revision requests again before the piece is finally put into proof and made ready for publishing.

We've got some fabulous pieces that passed through without comment, but a good number is hard work . I hope that will change soon.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Philippine Speculative Fiction 2

There's this call for submissions on Dean Alfar's blog which looks very interesting. Now to find out if I have a story that would work with this call for subs.

I am quite pleased to discover this writer. Some of his work is available online, but sad to say not available from Amazon. So, I asked my sister if she could just go and get some copies of this writer's books for me.

I am always pleased to discover Filipino writers writing in the speculative genre. I recognize how my fellow Pinoys have got a fantastic imagination. And I'm not saying that just because I'm a Pinay.

Reading Dean's online work, I couldn't help thinking this could just as easily be published on Realms of Fantasy or on one of the bigger magazines. But I admire Dean's dedication to promoting this genre.

I'm off to review more subs, finish my review and complete the first draft of The Sun's Bastard Children.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Haruah , first issue on Monday. I'm at odds not knowing how to define this mag.

Poetry Game still ongoing in the General Discussions Forum. Interesting how the few who've found their way to the forums are unfolding their wings and writing hay(na)ku. I knew it, Hay(na)ku is too fun to resist :)

I'm writing a column on evolution (the word not the theory). Working on a review, which is coming up close to 1000 words, and feeling a bit under pressure because The Sun's Bastard Children hovers on the edge of my consciousness along with a hundred other stories in half rewritten state.

To be honest, I'd like to see more literary work come in. I'd like to see more art, more edgy, more challenging...

I'll have another look at the guidelines and consult with the board as to what we can do to invite more of the kind of submissions we'd like to see.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Celebrating Hay(na)ku style :)

So, I had this idea to e-celebrate my birthday hay(na)ku style :) It's a free-for-all participate in hay(na)ku. If you'd like to see what's going on, come and visit the discussion forum at Haruah . If you've never tried Hay(na)ku there's no better time than now to try :) You can even join as many times as you like, just press the post button.

**********************Announced on Haruah*******************

Tomorrow (the 26th) is my birthday :) Yay! And because I love poetry, I thought I'd introduce my favorite poetic form called the hay(na)ku. It is quite simple to use. You don't need an MA to understand it. The rules are very simple...Six words/three lines/one poem. You can also do multiple hay(na)kus to come up with a lengthier poem. For more reference regarding this poem, you can refer to the hay(na)ku blog at: [url][/url]

The challenge then is this, to write as many hay(na)ku as you can be long, it can be short, it can a set of tercets, it can be just one. But think within that six word frame. In my experience, this hones the poet's sensitivity to the importance of words included. What do you include, what do you exclude? Write your best and on the first week of June, I'll send the best hay(na)ku poet a present.

I'll start with a short hay(na)ku I wrote for my son when he went to my in-laws for a sleepover:

Joel goes off to Grandpa and Grandma

Kiss me goodnight,
my little

** who's next? :) **
Working on a review for Galatea Resurrects . I've lived with this book for almost a month now. Carrying it everywhere I go, reading it and re-reading it. Thinking about it a lot of the time because all the words I tried to write about it, didn't seem quite right. And then, I woke up yesterday and the words were on the edge of my tongue...but I couldn't find the book. What a panic! It turns out it got buried under a pile of clothes I was ironing. Phew. Sigh of relief.

Working on a new story, again inspired by another painting. What is it with paintings and stories these days? I hope I do get around to finishing this one. I have so many stories hanging up in the air. Like balls of crystal light, just hanging there, frozen in mid-air.

Drat. I should be able to finish one of these stories. This one is called, The Sun's Bastard Children. I'll let you guess which painting this story took its inspiration from. One clue, the painter isn't Remedios Varo...

Monday, April 24, 2006

I don't know if anyone else on the Haruah team has a blogspot blog, but I thought I'd be the first to publicly congratulate and welcome Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor as columnist for Haruah. Her column, Kapwa-Tao, promises to add an interesting flavor to the publication. Yay! I am so looking forward to that :)
Dear Mark,

Your post was just too beautiful to resist. This is especially for you :)

In response to Mark Young's, Air on a G(aia) String

look up
to find
there is
more to
more than
and sky,
he occupied

i came
to know
he encompasses
more than
he is
he is


Thanks for your beautiful, thought-provoking post, Mark.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Now Online....

Mistress Vogel is now online at Byzarium. I am so pleased this piece has been published. This picture is what started me writing work inspired by Remedios Varo. She's a fantastic artist. I've asked my husband to get me a copy of Janet Kaplan's book for my birthday :) It's available at the American Book Center in Amsterdam, ánd will be a welcome addition to my growing library. Yay!

I've also got another something online. My review of Kendal Evans and David Kopaska-Merkel's chapbook, Separate Destinations, has been published on The Sword Review.

I hope you all enjoy reading this work.

Reading subs over at Haruah I found myself wondering what standard christian writers set for themselves when they write. I don't really see myself as a christian writer in the sense of writing something "religious" or "outright christian". In fact, a lot of my work doesn't do that...and I don't know if they have points, but if they do... just happens that way.

Except when I'm writing a column ( which is supposed to have a point anyway ), I see myself as any other writer who struggles to reach beyond him/herself. Nah, I'm not contented with where I am right now. I still struggle for excellence, and dangnabit but I really do want to write to the best of my ability and maybe even better than my best. Is that too ambitious?

This is why I actually welcome crits, even the hard ones. I've learned to see how these crits work towards improving me and my work, and that takes me to another level, if I get past that crit. Maybe this explains my stubbornness in subbing to some mags and my hesitance in subbing to some. Hesitance to untried markets as I don't know whether I am writing up to par yet, and stubbornness on some as a rejection turns into a challenge to write better than my best. So yeah, that's it on plain paper, unerasable. I'll probably keep on coming back for punishment until I write something up to par. I sometimes have a theory about writers having some sort of masochistic streak in them...he, he.

I have to laugh thinking about how I used to think I would never want to work in an office, because that is just too much hard work. And here I am putting in more than 4 hours a day, writing, critting, writing, reviewing, writing and revising yet again. Add Mommy work to that...and you get something more than an 8 hour workday. So, it is hard work, actually. Hard when I realize the next day that I probably have to ditch another couple of thousand words and rewrite the entire thing all over again. But at the end of the day, when a piece finally gets accepted and published, I am so pleased because I know I've given it my best.

Funny thing though is how I'll look back after a month or so and see so many things to tweak about the piece. Oh drat, I think...but there's nothing I can do about it anymore. It's been published.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

On Gamma Ways, Mark Young writes: one of the consequences of writing that way was you inhabited the insides of the poems, in a sense built them from the inside out, lived with them, knew every word, every space between them.

And I like this idea of inhabiting the insides of the poems. The poem as structure, as home, as shelter, as a space for the poet to inhabit appeals to me. But how do I know if a poem I write invites the reader to come in and sit down and share this space with me?

When it comes to writing and the transformation of words into art, I have this image of artists/poets pulling inspiration out of the ether. I think of the artist/poet as being something of a mage, brewing the words/images in a cauldron, uttering incantations over it until it consolidates, takes form and shape and becomes the written word we savor on our tongues.

But yeah, that's the speculative writer inside me...and I was always the one who saw giants materializing out of darkness when the shape was really just my father's coat hanging on the back hook of our bedroom door .

Friday, April 21, 2006

Ivy writes: one can take one's cues from how Eileen Tabios constructs the relationship between her poems and its readers, where the onus of interpretation is placed squarely on the latter. I think there's a certain freedom in reading a work in this way -- there really is no wrong or right way to read and everyone gains whatever story they want from it.

And I had to post this here because I can't begin to say how much Eileen's poetics have influenced my life. Beginning with the hay(na)ku where I was finally able to break through that wall of crampedness inflicted by highschool study of poems in a sense of there being a right way and a wrong way to write a poem and there being a right and wrong way to read a poem.

So, how freeing it is to come to an understanding of how poetry embraces more than just being able to use imagery :) In embracing hay(na)ku I began to understand how the word omitted is just as important as the word every dot, every elipsis, every comma, everything in a poem has significance...even the absence or presence of punctuation creates/shapes a different mood.

There yes, poetry catches the reader in the heart/in the cerebrum/in the cortex/ whereever it is--it touches base. I am still a student of poetry in the fullest sense. Searching for understanding... I think it will take me more than a hundred years to plumb the heart of this art form...and according to the internet clock, I haven't got that long :)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Reading Ivy

Dear Ivy,

On your blog you wrote this lovely post Don't you have a map. I've been following the links and all. Inside me, I love the way it's written, I think: beautiful, fabulous and the language is scrumptious. But yes, my inborn curiousity drives me to ask...

How was this map born? I would love to know...oh yes...I would love to know.

As I think this, I think about how it is also not necessary to always understand.

I think of how the place where a poet connects with his/her readers is the heart and that intuitive place that sits back and takes a deep breath and says, but that is just lovely.

And so, I find myself arguing with myself, because there is still this part of me that longs to learn more. I sometimes wonder if I was a nosy reporter in another life .

Keep smiling, I love your work.
After reading Eileen's post concerning the possibility of visitations...

How to obviate
this nagging

this not wanting
to be

the you
this here, paradise

beyond -
light beckons...
i still cling

to this you
to this

laughter -- gurgle
of beloved voices...

evanescence seems
so final...this


that final finality.


i send you
a warm


Haruah is Double-Edged Publishing's latest venture. Totally different from The Sword Review , Dragons, Knights and Angels Magazine , and from the new space opera mag -- Ray Gun Revival .

Unlike her sister publications, Haruah focuses on literary/mainstream fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. It's quite an exciting development, and I've agreed to help the editorial team on Haruah. Now open for submissions, and if anyone is interested in writing a regular monthly column, feel free to get in touch with Bill Snodgrass, our editor-in-chief.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Distant Passages, The Best of 2005 Anthology From Double-Edged Publishing

It's out :) Can't wait till my copy arrives. *hops up and down with delight*


Dear Rochita,

I would love to publish this piece. If that's all right with you, let me know, and I'll send you a contract.

This is about Mistress Vogel. A flash piece I wrote and entered into Byzarium's flash fiction contest. I'm pleased about this because Creation of the Birds was my introduction to Remedios Varo and it seems so fitting that this piece should find a home in the same mag that introduced her work to me.

And another email...


Thank you for your submission of "Separate Destinations, A Review" to The Sword Review. It is my pleasure to tell you that we would like to use it. Our format provides for several presentations of your work. We would like to use it as follows:

-- As part of our Internet magazine

Separate Destinations is a chapbook of speculative poetry written by David Kopaska-Merkel and Kendall Evans. Funny how after a review has been written and submitted, there seems to be always more that can be said. In this case, I found myself wondering did I say enough, did I say too little, did I say too much...

I suppose the truth is that when it comes to poetry, I can never really say enough about a work, because in the end it is the reader coming to the page and engaging the work that allows the work to speak for itself. Who am I anyway to speak about the intentions of a poet and whether or not he or she has succeeded or failed? I feel the only thing I can do is to offer my appreciation of works that move and touch my mind and my spirit.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

funny surprises

Yes, well... I called up ISACC a couple of weeks ago because I wanted to know whether it would be possible for me to submit some work to them. Last time I submitted work to PATMOS was in 2001.

What a surprise to hear that they'd published a poem I wrote. Funny too because I did not have the faintest idea what poem they were talking about. What poem? I was asking...what's the title?

You should receive your copy soon, they told me.

So, I called home and my aunt today, and discovered which poem they meant.

In the News. I wasn't even really sure if it was a poem, but yes, I suppose it is a poem .

But how funny to not know what it is you've submitted. Thinking about it, I still laugh. I can't wait to receive my copy.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Evelyn Miranda-Feliciano, interview

My interview with Evelyn Miranda-Feliciano is now up on The Sword Review. I'm really pleased they've decided to publish this interview. Evelyn is my other aunt, the one who taught me the basics of writing, like how important imagery is and yes you have to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite and she was the first professional writer I dared to show some of my work to.

Looking back I have to smile remembering my shyness, and how I wished I could just bury those poetry notebooks underground because all of a sudden everything I'd written seemed so juvenile and not really worth reading. (I still do get that feeling these days, but maybe I have just gotten more courageous compared to back then.)

I remember leafing through a pink, barbie doll journal ( yes it really was Barbie ), and blushing over love poems written to my crush or whatever...ha, ha...blush, blush. But yes, finally finding some stuff that wasn't purely juvenile. I remember lying on my belly on the hard narra floor of the ISACC office, working together with my aunt on a tree poem which I never sent anywhere because I could still feel how very elementary it was compared to work I'd seen on PATMOS or Isip-Isak.

And then, there was the surprise of writing "Becoming" ( published on PATMOS ) and connecting with that place that transcended the pettiness of me. To write a poem that could be considered a poem created a feeling that was almost cathartic.

My husband asked me about my movement back into writing poetry. So, I said to him that writing poetry is in a way like the return of my soul to my body. It is significant in how it allows me to express and to be.

I'm still unsure about where this takes me. The more I proceed, the more I write, the more I recognize how much I still need to learn when it comes to technique and skill of expression. I recognize too how many, many books of poetry there are in the world and how much I still need to read and read and read.

I find myself asking this does a poet write a poem? And is there a transformation that must take place in order for a poem to become more than a collection of words and thoughts? I think the answer is a yes, but I go on to ask what is this transformation and how do I reach that place?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

It's not like I didn't know .

Which internet subculture do I belong to? [CLICK]
You are a Trekkie!
It's a geek, Jim! You probably have a starfleet uniform and a tricorder. Bonus points if you speak klingon. One day you will walk down the aisle with your buttertroll trekkie partner, humming to the Yoyager theme.
More Quizzes at

Friday, April 14, 2006

What is Poetry?. A link I found while doing some research on poetry, criticism and everything that has to do with poetry.

I've had a good talk with my husband and in the fall, I'll be on the lookout for WordsInHere's poetry workshops.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

National Geographic had a feature on The Gospel of Judas, a couple of nights ago. How Judas'part in Jesus' death was essential. Without Judas, the divine spark that was Jesus would not have been able to tear free of this earthly flesh...

I think of this and read about the passing away of Eileen's father. I have started so many letters with Dear Eileen, but never seem to have the right words to say.

And then there's this: I Corinthians 15:53

For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality...

further on in verse 55

O death, where is they sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

And I think of how there is peace in this passing. Safe home at last.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A Poetical Day


First, about Pinoy Poetics , opening doors and making contact :)

I visited the Philippine Embassy today. A feat that required a bit of arranging. Meaning, Joel stays over for lunch at school and I had to empty the agenda for the rest of the day. I made it to the Embassy fifteen minutes before they closed for lunchbreak . Yay, me.

Asked if they already had a copy of Pinoy Poetics. They did not. I told them, I wanted to make a donation of a copy of Pinoy Poetics. They called the Cultural attache, who came down from somewhere upstairs, to accept the copy. We had a conversation... a nice one, a bit brief as I am not very good at small talk. I never know the right words to say. I should brush up on small talk, I suppose.

It turns out, this man writes a bit of poetry. He was quite pleased to have a copy of Pinoy Poetics to add to the Embassy Library ( did I detect a bit of impatience to go up and peruse the book in private?) and he expressed willingness to support efforts made to propagate Filipino literature in The Netherlands.

Yay. Me, doing an inside happy dance. That was objective number one. Will I email you, Mr. cultural attache? I certainly will, you bet you I will.

Thanks to Eileen and Meritage Press who made this contact possible. Without Pinoy Poetics, I would never have dared ask to speak to the attache or whatever.


And then, I asked them to notarize my entry form to the Carlos Palanca. And immediately I'm promoted from mere embassy visitor to a writer. Wow! How cool is it when someone calls you a writer? This is the first time it's happened to me in public. Normally, it's this is Rochita and she is a pianist...

Well, I suppose there is no going back now. This is what's called a definitive step. After paying the princely sum of 32 euros and 50 cents, I've sort of committed myself to not backing out at the last minute.

My two Aunts will be very, very happy. One, Evelina Orteza who told me Filipinos can write as well as anyone else, and another aunt, Evelyn Miranda Feliciano, who hasn't stopped pushing me to just send anything, anything. So there, my two aunt Evelyns, I have taken the step.

I'm not complaining. Where would I be without the encouragement of my two aunts and my Ate Wing?

I still remember coming out devastated from a workshop where someone told me Filipinos will never be able to write in a way that will satisfy an American audience...and my Ate Wing telling me, Don't you dare believe that. Don't you dare believe that. You can be anything you want to be.

And my Aunt Evelina saying: But look at F. Sionil Jose, which resulted in me purchasing every available book of Sionil Jose. For a long while, Sionil Jose was my ultimate hero.

And then, there's my aunt Evelyn, who moaned each time I let the deadline pass without submitting anything. And who when she hears this news will probably say: Finally.

I am not there yet, dear aunts. I don't even know if the judges will like what I have written, because good grief, it certainly is not as literary as what I've read on the Carlos Palanca site. But okay, I join ...well...because...well...because... hmmm.

I suppose this is just like submitting to magazines, except maybe more scary .


Now that's off my mind. I'm moving on and writing something else. If I don't place for this year's Palanca Awards, that just means I'll be doing this again next year.

Monday, April 10, 2006


It is like
waiting for

in a season
of extreme

From Bino

From the Flips mailing list.

For Immediate Release

The 2005 Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry
The Gods We Worship Live Next Door

By Bino A. Realuyo

[ Publication Date: April 7, 2006; University of Utah Press; Paper $12.95, ISBN 0-87480-861-8; 96 pp., 6x9 ] Order: Philippine Expressions Bookshop (Email Linda Nietes:

"If I became the brown woman mistaken / for a shadow, please tell your people I'm a tree."

The voice of a Filipino maid in the global economy begins poet and novelist Bino A. Realuyo's five hundred year lyrical journey against the extremity and silence of history. In Realuyo's landscape of poetry, the ruins and the ruined of the Philippines gather to speak of "memory that arises from simple truths," and prove that what the punished body cannot endure, the soul will ultimately witness, illuminate, and redeem.

The Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry was inaugurated in 2003 to honor the late poet, a nationally recognized writer and a former professor at the University of Utah. The Gods We Worship Live Next Door is the 2005 prize winning volume selected by this year's judge Grace Schulman, distinguished professor of English, Baruch College, C.U.N.Y.

"Bino A. Realuyo has that rare gift of transforming modern horror into art. In The Gods We Worship Live Next Door he writes of his beleaguered country, the Philippines, in ways that reveal universal truths. The land is vibrant and alive, real with mythical shadows--rituals, dances, work--and, at the same time, racked by persecution and death. The book is passionate without a trace of sentimentality, and a compelling account of destruction under a silent god." -Grace Schulman

Praise for Realuyo's first novel , The Umbrella Country (Random House/Ballantine Reader's Circle 1999)

"Realuyo's lucid prose, unencumbered by sentimentality or hindsight, lends freshness to the conflicts of his somewhat familiar characters and color to a setting both impoverished and alluring."

-Laura Morgan Green, The New York Times Book Review

" 'The Umbrella Country' is a significant contribution to Filipino American literature." -Benjamin Pimentel, San Francisco Chronicle

"A wrenching first novel filled with the sights, sounds and smells of Manila under martial law."

-Booklist (Included in Booklist's Top Ten First Novels of 1999)

About the Author:

Bino A. Realuyo was born and raised in Manila, the son of a survivor of the Bataan Death March and a World War II Japanese concentration camp in the Philippines. He is the author of the acclaimed novel The Umbrella Country, a nominee for the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award 1999, a recipient of the Asian American "Member's Choice" Literary Award and was included in Booklist's Top Ten First Novels of 1999. His poems have appeared in The Kenyon Review, Manoa, The Literary Review, Mid-American Review, New Letters, and The Nation. He is the recipient of the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. The Gods We Worship Live Next Door is his first collection of poetry. He lives in Manhattan.

For more information:

Please contact the University of Utah Press publicity department by phone (801) 585-9786, by fax (801) 581-3365, or by e-mail at

Order: Philippine Expressions Bookshop (Email Linda Nietes: ). soon to come

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Thinking of these things...

Ernesto writes about life being like the wind. A lovely post which resonates as I read Eileen's posts about her father .

Visiting Mark's blog I come face to face with how the time will come when I'll probably have to face this reality myself.

Years ago, when my Mom was diagnosed with cancer, the reality of possible loss was something I refused to face up to. I think it must have been hardest for my Dad. We were still teenagers when that happened and quite unaware of the imminence of loss. That God chose to prolong my mother's life is something we will all be always thankful for.

Far from home, I refuse to think of this possibility. I don't want to think of it when I am here so far away from home.

My father says: We are all growing old.

I just want my son to know his grandparents. I want my son to enjoy them while he can. This is why I am willing to sacrifice the luxuries because life is so short and there are never enough moments.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

So I have been thinking about this integration thing for such a looooong time and turning over in my head what the Dutch really mean when they say integration and what I mean when I say integration.

Interesting where words will take you. I discovered myself experimenting on this theme and with this article here below....

Culling through past files and through past articles with bearing on this subject.

The landscape is harsh with fear, intolerance and prejudice. Something the expatica columnist wrote echoes in my it is doubtful that there will ever be a treaty signed between lands like Sudan and Morocco and how this exclusion is an indicator of growing Dutch racism against those less fortunate.

And all the while, I tried to convince myself that I was just imagining things...
Lifted off: Expatica

Newcomers and settled immigrants will be forced to successfully pass an integration examination to prove they have integrated into Dutch society.

The law is primarily aimed at non-EU family unification immigrants — especially those from Turkey and Morocco — who will be required to complete a basic integration test in their country of origin before arriving in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands is the first country in the world to demand permanent immigrants complete a pre-arrival integration course. US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and Japanese nationals are exempted from the pre-arrival courses.

The changes come on the back of a Cabinet decision in March requiring Dutch residents earn at least 120 percent of the minimum wage before being allowed to bring their foreign partner into the country. Both the partner and Dutch resident must also be aged at least 21.

Moving on, the Cabinet agreed on 23 April that after arriving in the country, a newcomer must report back to the local council after six months to monitor their integration progress. Authorities will determine when they will be assessed again. Those who fail to report will be fined.

If the immigrant wants to be compensated for course costs, they must pass the integration exam within three years. If a newcomer has failed to integrate after five years, they will be fined.

Asylum seekers will only be obligated to integrate once they have gained their first temporary residence permit. Antilleans and Arubans will also be obliged to integrate.

A residence permit for an indefinite period can only be obtained once a foreigner has passed an integration exam.

Settled immigrants will also be required to complete the integration exam except those who have already gained relevant diplomas.

The Cabinet asserts that about 450,000 settled immigrants have a language deficiency and should thus be forced to integrate.

Two groups are identified: social security recipients and jobless residents who do not receive social security (mainly disadvantaged ethnic women). Councils will purchase courses for the latter group and ask the participant for a small fee.


This illustrates something to me. Something about the growing intolerance in this country and the growth of racism and oppression when it comes to migrants of third world or "colored" countries.

Does this imply that migrants coming from first world nations are likely to integrate better than migrants from a third world land?

Albert verlinde, Boulevard talkshow host made an astute comment last night on the rise of racism and judgmentalism in this country. How a person with an obviously "allochtoon" appearance is much more likely to be picked up by the police, given a fine and asked to identify himself as compared to a person who looks just like every other white Dutchman.

So, I question once again whether the problem lies only on the migrant side when society itself no longer allows the migrant room to breath.


Something else that made me think too was a comment made by someone on tv regarding Rita Verdonk's ambitions with regards to leadership of the VVD as well as with regards to premiership.

So yes, this country doesn't want extreme right in government, but neither do we want a heartless person like Rita Verdonk to become head honcho of this little country. After all, this is one steel hearted Mama who has turned asylum seekers out into the streets, who separates families with her stubborn adherence to "the law is the law, and we are not allowing any more migrants into this country".

NOVA a Dutch television news program showed clips of Verdonk's opening speech...they mounted this clips alongside video footage of Pim Fortuyn...and it was very weird because I could swear they were saying almost exactly the same things...except some words were switched around. Which doesn't make me feel any more sympathetic towards Verdonk, because who wants a copycat politician who copies the speeches of dead and almost sainted politicians? I thought it was in bad taste.

So does she aspire to be the next Pim Fortuyn? She didn't say so in very many words, but you could read the ambition on her lips...and in those cold, cold, eyes.

And why oh why is it that I feel she is so very, very, very fake and in it for the power boost.

There I am then sitting up in bed almost one o'clock in the morning, exclaiming to my husband, she's so fake, she's so fake and saying something I never thought I'd say...that at least I knew Pim believed in what he was saying and he said what came out of his own mind, whereas Rita hasn't got an original bone in her body.

Nova closed with a shot of Rita's former teacher saying, "I think she's thrown too much hay on her fork."

What that means? Well, Rita can't have her former teacher deported because he is a natural born Dutch and he looks very much like a white Dutchman.
In the face of this, everything falls away into triviality.

How long has he lived with the thought that I might not even return to him even when he begins to die?

And I am reminded again of life's fleeting nature...

How awkward one can be in the face of grief and grieving, in the moment of loss and letting go, there are no right words to say.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Experiencing moments of extreme self-doubt. I found this post On Amy Unsworth's, Small Branches Poetry .

So here I am, stuttering and stammering and still standing...
Eileen writes about her father, about relationship, and pain. Beautiful words that touch this reader. Thank you for sharing these words and these thoughts.

You keep challenging your faith -- that is a (my) poet's role. You have faith by continuing to challenge your faith.
These Memories

Surigao, 30 years ago:

I remember
sitting in the sun
watching birds fly by,

and nights
those lovely nights
filled with moonshine.

I remember
laughter and shrieks
tall tales told by uncles

Gargoyles hiding
in shadows of dense trees
and all the while in the background

the roar of the sea
the scent of the sea
hightide swallowing black rock

in black night.

Surigao, revisited:

Lonely houses
burnt out shells

absent faces
blanks on a sunshine wall

this place
for which I have no more names.

Surigao, living in my mind:

I hear music
the let's dance songs
of long ago, slap of wood

on the batalan.
And the maids dancing
and singing, and looking

with their shy eyes.

Gloss over what is no more
with the dream of what once was.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Workshopping Boy in the Bush

So that was an interesting workshop. I haven't had time to blog about it till today, since life has been so, so, so hectic. My bike has been acting up with flat tires, and walking back and forth from school just leaves me with enough time to sit down and drink a cup of tea in between before heading out the door again.

Heh. Looks like I'll have to get a new tire soon.

But yes, the workshop was really great. Very relaxed and nothing fearsome like I'd imagined. I met some really interesting people. Needless to say, Neil Cocker, the workshop leader did a great job. He also has this lovely scottish accent. Funny how I can't seem to read the story used at the workshop without hearing his voice reading it aloud. Yeaha -- this is like when I heard Valerie Mason-John read Borrowed Body, strong and powerful, that voice carrying me all throughout that book.

I think readings always add an extra dimension to enjoyment of a written of course, you get to ask for autographs .

It was close to the last exercise that I finally resolved that niggling bit of unresolved section in Boy in the Bush. Ha, ha. How to tie up myth and the life of the Boy...that just came together writing with pen in hand, scribbling away for life in 20 minutes...ending with a very big smile.

Will I attend another workshop? I probably will in the future. I probably will not be as hesitant or as scared as this first time. I probably still won't talk a lot...but well...that's probably one of the funny things about being a writer.