First off: 59 Beads has been reprinted in ISF #1 and is now free to download. There are some interesting reviews of the issue available through the site. I'm happy to see this story reprinted here. Here's the download link, in case you're interested. I share the TOC with Joyce Chng and Marian Truta.
I'm now in the process of rounding up a roundtable discussion (it's in English and will be published online) with some of the writers and publishers of Dutch-languaged SFF. The discussion has been quite interesting and thought-provoking. Martijn Lindeboom who organizes the Paul Harland Prize put out a questionnaire that was put together with the help of Boukje Balder who is one of the major judges for the PHP. The questionnaire seems to have raised quite a good deal of interest and it will be interesting to see what the results are.
Aside from this work, I've been commissioned to put out a newsletter for the organization I volunteer for and for which I am now Secretary of the Board. Our organization has been chosen as recipient for the Banaag award for the 2012 Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Filipino Organizations Abroad. While we can't all go home to receive this award from the President himself, two of the founding members of the organization will be going and my parents are going to be present at the awarding ceremony which will be held at the Malacanang Palace. (What a thrill for my mom.)
We put a lot of work into this and I spent a lot of weeks intensively engaged in translating documents, newspaper clippings, interviews, features from magazines, and other paperwork from Dutch into English. Phew...at the end of that, I was truly drained. On the plus side, I now know a lot more about the work the organization has done since its establishment 20 years ago. The amount of advocacy work, the lobbying for rights, the mediations, the interventions--I'm sure if we did a case by case study, it would have even been more intense.
But I'm glad we were chosen for this award as it's long overdue. We didn't even know of it until we were told that we'd been nominated for it and this was the paperwork they needed. Of course, everything we have is in Dutch--hence the huge amount of translation that needed to be done in a short time.
In the course of the week, I received word that two of my pieces are being picked up by Our Own Voice. I was so excited, I did a happy dance. :D Days later, I'm still smiling about it. The pieces they picked up were an essay I wrote on the adoption of third world babies and something I called a fractured fiction. I wrote this story sometime ago when I was wrestling with the distance between myself and my husband and how there didn't seem to be any way at that time to bridge it. I tried revising the story, but it seemed to work best in its fractured state. There are no neat resolutions--nothing gets solved and in a certain way, it's more like a poem than a story. I've been told it goes live sometime in December...
While trawling through my twitter feed I came across this article from the Guardian which I really liked and I thought I'd share it in case you hadn't read it yet. I hope you enjoy reading: Endless Fascination: in praise of novels without neat conclusions.
- Current Mood: cheerful
Jeff and Ann VanderMeer have launched a peerbackers project for a Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology. More details on that here.
The objectives of these two projects speak to me and I want to contribute towards these projects even if it's just a little bit. Since I'm not rich, I hope spreading the word through whatever means available to me will help towards making these projects come true.
I've been thinking about narratives since Eastercon, and I have to say that a lot of the discussions I come upon seem to circle around the subject of narratives as well. Narratives coming from insiders, narratives coming from outsiders looking in, narratives from the dominant group, and narratives coming from non-anglophones. It's an interesting subject and one that we could keep on discussing...so it's wonderful that people come along with concrete projects meant to address the questions of narratives that are rarely given space.
I have to think of Barbara Jane Reyes's essay at the Poetry Foundation blog where she talks about Filipino American writing and how our voices are made invisible by our absence from the mega bookstore shelves. We talked about suppressing women's voices and about the need for diversity in the genre--and I think Barbara Jane makes a great point there which can be applied to the suppression of women's writings and the invisibility of non-anglophone voices.
The challenge for us, extends beyond translation. In an ideal world, translation would be a two way street. We translate from English and English translates from us. Our thinking and our knowledge of other cultures and other lands would be shaped by hearing the diverse voices coming from each culture, because no one voice can claim to be the authentic and true story of a culture. It is the diversity of voices within a culture that give us a clearer picture of what that culture is really like.
I find myself enraged when I think of stereotypes because the Filipina is often subject to stereotyping. A recent television program featured three Filipinas and their Dutch partners and I found myself growing enfuriated by the blatant sexism and the obvious persistence on depicting relationships between Filipinas and Dutch as one wherein economics and sex (not true love) play a huge role.
It's true that there are Filipinas who enter relationships with white men because of economics, but these are not the only kinds of relationships that exist. To imply that these relationships are typical of Dutch-Filipina relationships reduces the Filipina to a commodity--an object that can be bought or tried out. I wonder how aware program makers are of the messages they send out and whether they are conscious of the role they play in contributing to false expectations and the rise in incidents of domestic violence between couples of mixed races.
It pains me, it grieves me and it enfuriates me because I have known a good number of women whose partners treat them as objects. Exotic objects (sorry for the E word) bought and paid for and put on display as proof of their superiority. Is it a wonder then when such marriages/partnerships often end in divorce or in domestic abuse?
That the media opts to present only one type of story, is an injustice because it paints all mixed race relationships with the same brush. The message such stories project is often this: We are all in it only for money or because we do not have a future back home.
As if marriage were not already a fraught experience where partners need to adjust and accept each other's flaws and foibles, the media insistence on stereotype adds the pressure of having outsiders looking at the partnership and judging it based on the story media has presented.
Memo to all: Not all mixed race partnerships are brought about by economic need or because we don't have a future back home. The majority of successful mixed race partnerships are brought about by mutual love and respect and by meeting of minds and true understanding of the sacrifices made in order for the partnership to work.
Someone told me that presenting the story of equals in mixed race relationships is just not sensational enough for the networks...and that is really, really sad because it relays a message of: we don't really care about presenting a diversity of stories because as far as we're concerned one story is enough.
I thought of this as I worked on this post and I thought of how important it was for us to read, not just the one story written by the one writer from said culture...it is important to read more than that one story...to read more than that one writer...to see not just through the eyes of the well-researched outsider, but to see also with the eyes of the insider as she or he reveals to us the country and the culture that is familiar and dear to their hearts.
- Current Mood: thoughtful
In case you missed it here's: Alex Dally MacFarlane's, Eastercon: It was fun, but...
Also, if you haven't read Tori Turslow's Dear Western SFF: stop it with 'exotic' already, the link is in the post below this.
More thoughts from Eastercon:
I roomed with aliettedb during Eastercon and as usually happens during the moments when we do actually get to see and spend time with each other, we wound up talking until all hours about the things that matter to us. Perhaps this has to do with how we both write Science Fiction and Fantasy in a borrowed language, but I think it's mainly because we've moved from being people who just know each other online to trusting each other as friends.
There are things from the non-anglophone panel that continue to circle around inside my head. Some assume that because we write in a borrowed language, we can't delve the nuances of it and can't truly express in it as native english speakers do. Sometimes, it felt like we were artifacts placed under examination. I suppose it's human nature..but still, it doesn't mean I feel comfortable about it.
And finally, this poem was born out of all those thoughts. I hope it speaks in ways that I cannot.
Afterwards. . .
They said my tongue was twisted
They said I had no range--
I looked them in the eye and
I refused to be silenced.
They told me I should
surrender, why struggle?
"Assign someone else to be
the translator of your
I remained stubborn as hell
Refusing to be silenced.
I brought worlds to life with my words
And turned stars into dragons breathing
water, I saw them murder fire-- ( aliette's dragons )
I narrated the birth of the great mother's vessel
and told of how the skygods
unfolded the gates
We birth legends as
I have a voice
I choose not to be
- Current Mood: thoughtful
What is exotic beauty? Part II: The case of the Asian Fetish
Tori Truslow on: Dear Western SFF: stop it with 'exotic' already
Kate Elliott on The Narrative of Women in fear and pain
I wanted to post these links first because they say things that I think are important.
Thanks to the amazing Jeff VanderMeer for thinking of me for this project and to the delightful Therese Goulding who collected all the critters. I hope to someday meet this lady in person. The email exchanges were brief, but it was like e-meeting a kindred spirit. :)
And while I'm at sharing delayed linkage, I should share this link to an interview that I did for Alternative Alamat with Paolo Chikiamco. I haven't done lots of interviews, but it was fun to talk about Harinuo's Love Song and how the story came into being.
Oh...and finally: I believe we are now close to the final days for application to the next Clarion West Workshop. What can I say? Each year, I wish I could go again.
Clarion West changed my life and my writing in so many ways. It's not just the sense of community and of being connected. I think the Clarion Workshops hones the writer's inner eye so we are able to see the work more clearly. It does take time to absorb and internalize the lessons learned at Clarion West, and it certainly isn't easy to give up six weeks of time plus a huge chunk of cash to get there, but it is all certainly worth it.
Discipline being essential to the self-employed, I've opted to not go online until I've accomplished some writing. I've done some today and so I'm giving myself a little pat on the shoulder and catching up with stuff online. Twitter has led me to inspiring and thought-provoking blogposts and I've got lots more stuff to think over and reflect on as well as more motivation to keep on writing what I write.
You might already know these links, but I thought I'd share what inspired me today and what made me think:
Malinda Lo's tweet led me to sarahtales excellent blogpost on Gay in YA and the Circle of Suck.
Following other tweets, I went on to read aliettedb's post on the prevalence of US tropes in storytelling.
and probably not the last inspiring link for today:
jolantru over at The Future Fire W for World SF.
I'm off to do some more writing. Today is turning out to be a very good day for words. :) Yay!
- Current Mood: busy
- Current Music:I dream of Peace
I finished reading "The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque", and you were right. It is a fabulous novel. On the list of books I'd written, I forgot to include Ursula Le Guin's "The Dispossessed". But that's because it was the first book I read after arriving from the UK. I plan to reread Le Guin's novel once I've gone through my pile of to read books.
Amazon.de is quite fast. Two days to delivery.
I've now got Valis and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by PKD to add to my pile of to read books. This might very well be the first time in history that I am not short of books to read :) Talk about Happy Bookworm.
I'd love to dilly-dally longer, but I have a lot of things to do yet, and a ton of ironing that's waiting to be done :( I definitely need more than one clone....
And finally, because I couldn't resist clicking throught to this one:
How to Lie About Books by Jason Henninger ( I think that article is written especially for me who's still got a lot of catching up to do in terms of reading sf&f ). Thanks to rflong for the link.
- Current Mood: busy