About Self and This Blog

Kanlaon is the name of a volcano found on the island of Negros, in the Philippines.  Read more about the volcano here. It’s sometimes spelled with a ‘c’: Canlaon.

She wrote a 100k word novel about 16th century Philippines called Camarote de Marinero: Voyages. She’s looking for a publisher, but first she has to get an agent. Ha!

  • Why did self choose to name her blog after a volcano in the Philippines?

Self wanted to give it a name that had some personal connection to herself.  Her Dear Departed Dad was born in the Philippine province of Negros Occidental.  And that’s where the volcano is. (Self used to think the volcano was extinct but a careful reader of her blog told her it wasn’t, that it had in fact resulted in the deaths of two climbers, back in the late 90s.)

  • All right, but who, then, is the writer of this blog?

She’s a writer.  Not well-known (for which, in a way, thank God.  She has a life.  Not an exciting one, but just a life).

She was born and raised in the Philippines.  She has a twisted way of interpreting things.  Every now and then, she’ll hear gossip about this or that relative, and she’ll say:  “They may be crazy.  But they’re MY KIND OF CRAZY.”

So, she went off to grad school in Stanford, CA and after graduating in East Asian Studies (concentration in Chinese), she successfully applied for a fellowship to the Creative Writing Program.  Where she got to meet life-long friends Beth Coryell Alvarado of Tucson, Arizona, and Penny Jackson of New York City.

  • Why is this blog written in the third person?

The blog is an experiment in voice.  She found the “I” rather too limiting.  The Drama Queen side of her personality can only emerge when she thinks of herself as a character in some kind of narrative.

A few highlights of her life thus far:

Self has lately been writing horror and science fiction (!!!)  Her first horror story was published in Philippine Genre Stories (“The Departure”).  Her first honest-to-goodness science fiction story appeared in the New Orleans Review (“Thing:”  It’s a story about a new, post-apocalyptic world, populated by strangelings, creatures that cannot be named. If self were writing this for the first time, she would use the word “dystopian,” which she’s heard a couple of hundred times since the publication of The Hunger Games).  Wait.  That’s not quite right.  Her first out-and-out science fiction story can be found in her collection, Mayor of the Roses.  It was a one-off:  “Extinction.”  Still one of her favorites.

Self had a short story included in the April 2009 (the “Blood, Sugar, Sex and Magic” Bacolod issue) of Rogue Magazine! (That on the cover is obviously NOT self —  what were you thinking???)

The coolest magazine to ever have self's name on the cover
The coolest magazine to ever have self’s name on the cover. Next coolest: The Threepenny Review. They put, on the front: MARIANNE VILLANUEVA GOES BACK TO MANILA (when they published “Sutil”)

Since it’s only fair to come clean about what she looks like, here is a recent picture, a selfie taken at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, Newbliss, County Monaghan, Ireland (May 2014):

Photo on 5-19-14 at 12.01 PM

Her first collection of short fiction, Ginseng and Other Tales from Manila (Calyx Press, 1991) was simultaneously published in Manila and was short-listed for the Philippines’ National Book Award.

She was a two-time recipient of a California Arts Council Artists Fellowship.

She was a Margaret Bridgman Scholar at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference.

Her story “Silence,” first published in The Threepenny Review, was short-listed for the 2000 O. Henry Literature Prize.

She co-edited, with Virginia Cerenio, an anthology of Filipina women’s writings, Going Home to a Landscape (Calyx Books, 2003), which gathered together the writings of Filipina women from around the world.

Her second book, Mayor of the Roses: Stories, was the inaugural publication of the Miami University Press Fiction Series.  It could only have happened because of Brian Ascalon Roley.  The photo they used for the cover shows nearly all her Bacolod relatives, gathered at the funeral of self’s grandfather, a former Mayor of Bacolod.

In 2007, Frederick Barthelme picked self’s story “The Hand” as the winner of the Juked Fiction Contest.

KulArts gave her play-in-progress, “In Which Menchit Attempts To Improve Her Fortune” a staged reading in the Bayanihan Cultural Center in October 2008 (Looove Alleluia Panis. Just love her)

In 2009, her third short story collection, The Lost Language, was published in the Philippines by Anvil Press.

She is still writing, even after xxxxx number of rejections. And she still thinks writing is the scariest and also the most exciting activity in the universe.

Born and raised in Manila, she currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and tries to spend at least a few months each year in Bacolod, Negros Occidental.

Her Residencies (She is a great believer in these):

  • Fundacion Valparaiso, Mojacar, Spain
  • Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Woodside, California
  • Virginia Center for the Creative Arts
  • Hawthornden Writers Retreat, Scotland
  • Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, County Monaghan, Ireland
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