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book launched

There were about 50 women present during the Bayanihan International Women's Day celebration, and the Hope Away from Home book was launched quite successfully :)  I thought it went quite well, but as this was a first for me, I have no idea how it equates in terms of how launchings go. 

I read a section from "Falling in Love" which was previously published on Chickflicks, and which happens to be one of my favorite sections as it describes perfectly how I felt moving to a strange, new country, falling in love and discovering that just because you fall in love it doesn't mean everything's going to be perfect and you're going to live happily ever after. (of course, I knew that ... but this relates to falling in love with a country too ).

I thought the speaking parts went quite well too.  We had an amazing guest speaker,Twie Tjao, who is head of the organization for Colored Migrant Women in the Netherlands.  She gave this inspiring talk and talked about her own history and how the choices she made influenced who she is today and the choices she makes today.  She is an incredibly inspiring woman and I felt so privileged to hear her speak. 

There were two other ladies besides myself who also gave their own speeches. One of them, shared with us the story of her struggle towards success and how she overcame all the obstacles in her path through sheer courage and determination. This was a woman who had been born in poverty, whose parents considered education as unnecessary, and who worked from the age of 7 just so she could earn enough money to go to school.  Hearing her story, I couldn't help but applaud the spirit of this woman who through her own efforts completed a college education, landed a good job, chose love over money, and after achieving success, reached out and helped those less fortunate than herself.  She had this beautiful, radiant aura about her... and I think of how it's stories like these that people need to hear. 

Actually, when I think of the women present during the event, I think of how each of these women are successful women. Having struggled through hardship, homesickness, racism, and descrimination, these women are the women who integrate while retaining their identity.  I keep thinking of the stories each woman has to tell, how the life histories of each of us connect to the other, and how together we form a lifegiving chain. 

I think of how each woman needs a historian or needs to tell their own story so that it can be recorded and remembered for the next generation, and I realize this is why it's important for women to keep on writing. 

Totalling up book sales at the end of the day, we'd sold 25 books :)  The consul from the Philippine Embassy was present, and bought a copy of the book for the Embassy Library.  

I did wish for the presence of Mrs. Feliciano, as it feel so strange to be congratulated on a book that I'd only co-written, and not authored by myself.  I had to keep repeating : I am not the author.  I am just the co-author.  It probably feels like how an apprentice would feel if congratulated for a work their master had produced and where they'd been allowed to contribute tiny bits of knowledge to. 

If anything, I came away from the experience more determined than ever to press on and to someday write a book of my own. 

shoo flu

I'm supposed to be in Utrecht tomorrow for Stichting Bayanihan's celebration of International Women's Day.  Hope Away from Home will be officially launched in NL with Bayanihan as distributor and I'll be giving a little testimonial and reading from the book. 

It feels so weird to be doing this.  There's a scary element about standing in front of people and reading or talking about myself. I suppose I should be writing a speech or something, except this is just like writing that bio.  You never know how much of it should be fun and how much of it should be serious.

I wish I could just read one of my fiction pieces instead. Just in case, I'm taking Six Events along with me. 

I could get really enthusiastic about speculative fiction, but how does one answer a question like this:

>>How did you make these choices to bet your chances on – in terms of labour and social participation? Have you encountered obstacles( belemmeringen)? How did you cope up with them?

>>My thoughts on the question:  I really didn't bet on my chances. I actually faced the truth that chances of my getting employed as a genre writer were 100% nihil.  

I doubt my thoughts include the answers they were looking for.  lol

At least I got to clean-up a number of columns so that they're just waiting to be submitted to various queues. That is such a relief.  

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