Hearing From Virginia

Last week, self got her first Christmas card.  It was from poet Virginia Cerenio.  Virginia wrote that she was still writing, though not sending out (Why not, Virginia?  Why not?).  Her daughter, Mari, was grown.

Self has not seen Virginia for almost a decade.  They met for the first time at a reading for The Forbidden Stitch, the Asian American women’s anthology published by Calyx Press.  Self read a new story, “Ginseng.”  Afterwards, Virginia took self aside and asked, “Has that story been published yet?  I can get it published.”

As it turned out, Calyx publisher Margarita Donnelly was thinking the same thing, for she too came up to self afterwards and asked, “Got any more like those?”

Ah, those were the days!

Self pulled a whole sheaf of stories out of her desk drawer (Or filing cabinet, she forgets for sure where the stories had been secreted).  It had been four years since she’d graduated from Stanford.  She had only one story published, since then.  The story in The Forbidden Stitch, “Siko,” was the first to be published in a long, long, long while.

(Are you reading this, oh intrepid student from UP Diliman?  Self still can’t get over how you approached self on this blog, leaving your questions regarding “The President’s Special Research Project,” which as so happens is one of self’s all-time faves)

Such generosity, Margarita, Virginia —  can self be forgiven for thinking the whole world was her oyster?

Later, she was “adopted” by Virginia’s crowd.  She will never ever forget:  Jaime Jacinto, Lou Syquia, Shirley Ancheta (whose prose poem “Kristine” is one of self’s all-time favorites)

Where are you all now?  Can we do a reunion?  Why does time move so fast?  Like an arrow, plunging straight into the heart.

Afterwards followed self’s first book, Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila.  Then the anthology, Going Home to a Landscape.

Self has met, over the years:  Maloy Luakiun (in Hong Kong, the girl was hilarious), Nadine Sarreal, Maiana Minahal (now teaching in Hawaii:  which reminds self that niece very much wants to go there!), Angela Narciso Torres.  At one time, she corresponded with Conchitina Cruz:  most of these dialogues were fleeting, flaring up suddenly for a period of months, then dying away.

Merlie Alunan:  can self tell you how much she worships at your feet, how absolutely tongue-tied she became when she met you last year in Cebu?  And one of the last things she did before she left Bacolod was mail you the two author copies you never received.

What a fragile web we women writers weave!  Is it because we always put the husbands, children, and housekeeping ahead of ourselves?

That’s enough, now.  Life’s too short, time moves like an arrow.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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