13 September 2009

Manila Times column for 13 Sept 2009: "Literary highs and lows"

original post here.

kahit naman hindi tayo super-friends or super-close sa mga namatay, we still feel their loss because familiar tayo sa mga ginawa nila, na ang ilan ay hinangaan pa natin. hindi ba valid reason yun para makiramay? that's called being human, i think.

yun lang kasi ang isa kong feeling sa ilang kaibigan ng isa sa namatay, na para bang "private grief" dapat ang "pagsasaluhan" nila lang, kaya parang weird for them na nakikisimpatiya ang ibang tao sa labas ng sirkulo nila at ng namatayan. tapos magagalit pa sa iyo kapag nag-comment ka about it or something. ay ewan. kuwento ko na lang sa 'yo over strong ice and isaw sa sarah's.

maybe they should take their cues from two recent big deaths in our culture -- michael jackson's and tita cory -- and take some clues/cues from there.

sana lang.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

By Libay Linsangan Cantor
Literary highs and lows

It has been such a schizophrenic time these past few weeks for the local artistic community, especially when it came to news about writers. While some have been celebrating highs, people were also feeling low with the loss of some writers in our midst.

One of the losses was Astrid Tobias who lost her bout with lupus a few weeks back. Just thirty years old, Astrid wrote children's literature and also worked at the Kabataan News Network. I first met her through common friends but it was at Adarna Houseƕs 2007 Barlaya Writing for Young Adults workshop where I interacted with her the longest. I was a fellow of that workshop and she was a panelist who gave very meaningful insights about the young adult novel I submitted for that workshop. Her comments were very useful and helped the revision of my manuscript a lot. I was actually planning on seeking her out for added comments (I wanted her to read the whole novel because the workshop only provided panelists with excerpts and synopses) but I guess my luck ran out. Still, I am very grateful for her help. May she rest in peace.

Another young writer we lost is 29-year old film critic Alexis Tioseco. His Quezon City home was robbed and, together with his girlfriend Nika Bohinc, he was gunned down in the process. Most of the independent film cinema circle knew him as the hopeful Filipino-Canadian critic who championed Filipino cinema via his online film journal. His girlfriend was also a film journalist in her native Slovenia. No one should die that way. I hope they find the perpetrators soon.

Another young writer we lost is poet Winton Lou Ynion whom I met at the UP National Writers Workshop in Davao in the late 1990s. He was one of the poetry fellows and I was part of the workshop staff that year. I offer my condolences to the families and friends of these writers; such a huge loss indeed.

Even with such sad news in mind, the literary community still went on with the usual highs designated this time of the year. The Palanca Awards were handed out last September 1 and I would like to congratulate all who won. Some wins elevated a couple of writers to the Hall of Fame, particularly UP Prof. Eugene Evasco. A known children's writer, he won first place for the newest Palanca category in Filipino called Tulang Isinulat Para Sa Mga Bata. In order to be in the Hall of Fame, a writer should have won five first prize awards in any category.

The Philippines Free Press Awards were also given out days before the Palanca's, and poetry and fiction writers whose works were published in the magazine the past year were awarded to a lot of first-timers.

Let's hope that the rest of the year will be more peaceful for the writing community and the larger artistic community as well; no more losses, please, and enough controversies as well.

Comments? Suggestions? E-mail libay.scribevibe@gmail.com. She is also at libaycantor.multiply.com.

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