08 March 2009

Manila Times column for 08 March 2009: "Young talents who went too early"

original post here.

this one was inspired by the death of my 31 year old cousin last week. it's weird that i mentioned musicians as well, then francis magalona died the week after. parang pinagsabay. labo.

oh well.

nauna kasi ito. hindi ko tuloy na-timing sa women's day. so happy women's day na lang today sa inyo.


By Libay Linsangan Cantor
Young talents who went too early

It’s a pity some talented people have to die young, like writers and musicians who made a mark in our cultures but left us just so suddenly.

A recent death in my family, that of a 31-year-old cousin, prompted me to think about young people who died early, or who died while at the prime of their life, so to speak. I am familiar with a lot of rock stars who died way too young, whose talents the world misses to this day. There’s the guitar god Jimmy Hendrix, female rocker Janis Joplin, Nirvana’s Kurt Kobain and The Door’s Jim Morrison, all of whom died at the age of 27. Many other musicians join this list.

But what about writers?

There have been several writers who had untimely deaths in our history. Anne Brontë, youngest of the Brontë brood who were mostly writers, died at the age of 29. She was the author of Agnes Grey. Meanwhile, her sister Emily also died at an early age (she was 30). Emily was more well-known for her novel Wuthering Heights, now a classic in English literature classes worldwide. British poet John Keats also died young, only at age 25.

But perhaps one death that stuck me most was that of Sylvia Plath’s. She was a great poet and an equally lyrical novelist. I loved her novel The Bell Jar when I discovered it in college. I also saw the biopic about her featuring Gwyneth Paltrow, who did a superb job of bringing her to life. As I sat there watching her life unfold, albeit superficially, I was just amazed at how a brilliant mind could contemplate her own death with such precision and focus. She just put her head in the stove, while the gas was on, and that was it. Dead, at 30.

I felt the same way in the late ‘90s when I first received the message that a contemporary, trilingual poet and painter Maningning Miclat, also took her own life, this time by jumping from the stories-high building of the university where she was teaching at that time. She was 28. Like Plath, I pondered on what went on in her mind as she made that move and left us all here to wonder. Such a brilliant talent, and such a great loss.

I’m sure this is also what our clan is feeling about my cousin’s death. I want to extend my sincerest condolences to all who were left behind by Donabelle Linsangan Orfinada Vergara. I’m sure, like the writers and musicians that went ahead of her, she’s in a better place now.

We’ll miss you, Wanbol.

Comments? Suggestions? E-mail libay.scribevibe@gmail.com.

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