|17 July 2010 in Panukulan, Polillo, Quezon.|
I finished several titles in between work on my second novel (Sa Kasunod ng 909) and my dissertation's introduction: Miguel Syjuco's Ilustrado, Gina Apostol's The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata and Bibliolepsy, Alfred A. Yuson's Great Philippine Jungle Energy Cafe, Colm Tóibín's The Master, Karel Čapek's War with the Newts, Paul Auster's Man in the Dark, and all of Bob Ong's books (finally!) except for Kapitan Sino, which I haven't bought yet. I also re-read Ambeth R. Ocampo's Makamisa: The Search for Rizal's Third Novel (triggered, of course, by the closing sections of Apostol's Raymundo Mata), and began reading the first volume of The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1001 Nights, newly released by Penguin Classics, with new translations by Malcom C. Lyons. I might find time to write about my thoughts on them in the future. (I obviously didn't include here exclusively non-fiction works; most of them I read as research materials for things I'm working on right now.)
There had been other things that kept me busy, literary-wise: I wrote two introductions to two poetry books--a chapbook anthology for LIRA's 25th year, and Francisco Monteseña's first book, which was part of the UBOD New Authors Series II; I sat as panelist in the 16th Ateneo Heights Writers Workshop; I moderated the discussions among novelists Alvin B. Yapan, Genevieve L. Asenjo and Jun Cruz Reyes as part of Ateneo's Buwan ng Wika celebrations; I was also asked to judge the Timpalak Tula this year; I worked on 12 chapters for the new edition of a high school textbook on Asian Literatures; I was asked to be AILAP's next Director (it doesn't sink in yet, even if I'm now still working on the proposal for next year's Ateneo National Writers Workshop); I proofread Jun Cruz Reyes' latest novel to be released by Anvil this year; I was asked to sit as reader for two graduate creative writing theses; and to top it all, I was accepted for residency in this year's International Writing Program by the University of Iowa.
Yes, I'd be leaving the country this Saturday and won't be back until mid-November. Because of this, some things were necessarily put on hold: the release of Tapat's inaugural issue, my dissertation defense, the outline of a third novel, the revisions for the second poetry collection.
Now don't ask me what I'd been doing that were not literary at all. I might say I went to the beach (in Nagsasa, Botolan, Polilio) with friends from the X101, Kagawaran, and JHNS, respectively--or that I learned how to drive, got my driver's license, bought a secondhand car, and went to road trips with high school friends. But really, I was only deeply in love with someone that I chose to just read more and more.
And in case you want to know, this is my latest Facebook status:
Edgar Samar spent his last weekend in the Philippiness before the International Writing Program writing messages to people he'd miss--all of them friends, in one way or another, some past loves, others former students, or mentors, or dorm roommates, a few fellow writers, favorite cousins, childhood neighbors, grade school seatmates, high school barkada, JHNamers, & even those who began only as readers of his works, as if it was a real goodbye, as if the trip wasn't only for 3 months, as if he was not missing them, missed them, already, as if he could send all those letters for real.I did send some of those letters.