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Dec 2007
Reflections of A Writer’s Mother
Posted in Uncategorized by Tita Becky at 12:05 am | 9 Comments »

It was a not-too-hot Saturday afternoon that 8th December 2007 when I headed for the Fully Booked bookstore in the Global City with one of my trusted nieces, Marivic. I was representing my daughter who was out of the country (she was in New Zealand), as her short story is included in the third anthology of Philippine Speculative Fiction launched there that day. The publication was compiled by Dean Alfar and his beautiful wife, Nikki.

The book launching was supposed to start at 4:00 PM but it didn’t, as more authors trickled in much later than that time. I thought, maybe it’s okay since they’re not only writers (artists, in their own right), they’re Filipino writers and they are just being true to the proverbial Filipino-time advocacy. When almost 70% of the authors were in, Dean formally opened the program in a very warm and lively manner that was totally disarming. Okay, all guards down almost as soon as the program started. Even kooky Nikki, who seemed hesitant to leave her corner by the door, and their reliable assistant (whom they fondly referred to as their pindot-guy and whom Dean fondly ribbed for being slow-on-the-draw) added to the cordial atmosphere of the affair. Everyone felt relaxed as Dean proudly introduced each writer and his/her work. Everyone was feeling at-home. I must admit, it was one of the warmest and most informal book launching I have ever attended, kudos to the organizers!

One thing very evident in that gathering was the unconditional support by the parents of those young writers. One of the young female writers even paid a tribute to that parental support by thanking her mom for not assigning her to do the laundry so she could write. I observed the audience’s reaction to that statement, and it about sums up a common sentiment shared by all the writers and the assent of the parents present. You could feel in that small room the pride of those parents for their children. Truth be told, the parents are really the ones to be commended when a good writer and/or a good artist gets to be allowed enough elbow room, freed from most household chores, so they could hone their craft. It is their encouragement that inspires the children to be prolific writers. Without this sort of respect for their child’s chosen art, it would be such a waste of rare talent.

Another stronger thought crossed my mind, though, as, one by one, the writers went down the steps to address the audience: they all look very intelligent and scholarly, all very simply dressed, looking like they wouldn’t spend their hard-earned money on something that would make them look and feel unnecessarily ornate, and no make-up in most of those faces, and, “Oh, my God, these young writers all look so PALE!”

Maybe it’s only the poor lighting in the theatre that evening, but, really, they all looked pale to me. I felt like taking the mike again from handsome Dean so I could tell to that audience, “Hey, children, there IS life away from your computers! Get out and do some physical stuff under the sun more often, especially in the morning, and tone those muscles and give that complexion the sun and fresh air they need so the glow would come back naturally onto those cheeks!”

Having three very good writers at home, I am aware that the creative juices come unbidden, effortlessly and most inspired in the evening and into the wee hours of the morning when everyone else’s snoring competes with the occasional buzzing of the fruit bats swarming around the kaimito trees outside our window. Well and good, it is an accepted fact now; but the trade-offs for this are unwelcome eye strain, age-defying eyebags (hiding one’s real, young age), and pale skin that haven’t seen the sun for days on end until an opus is completed, and not even soon after that. Something precious, like one’s health, has got to suffer if one keeps up this sort of lifestyle. And when a mother (like myself and some of those in the audience that night of the launching) sees her child looking like she needs a break, she would really feel compelled to see to it that he/she gets the much needed break by all means.

You see, children, we love you so much that, while we want you to go far in your chosen art, our hearts bleed when we see your cheeks lack the natural glow that should be there at your young age telling us that you are, no less, in the pink of health…

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