a small tribute and my Eightsquaredcon schedule

I posted a small tribute to Chinua Achebe on my wordpress blog yesterday, but didn't have the energy or time to crosspost it here. The link is here, if you'd like to read it. Yesterday, I found myself wondering how much different my writer's journey would have looked like if I hadn't come across Chinua Achebe's work at a crucial moment in my life. A great man who leaves behind a rich legacy for all the world. We are richer because of this.

Next weekend, I will be at Eightsquaredcon in Bradford. It's going to be an exciting trip for me as this will be the first time I travel by train in the UK. I've given myself enough wiggle room so I'll be certain to catch the train going to and from Bradford.

Here's what my schedule looks like.

Saturday     12 noon     Non-Western SF and Fantasy in the Main room. I will be moderating this panel.

Saturday       5 pm        Motherhood in SF and Fantasy

Saturday       7 pm        Genre Get-Together: Science Fiction

Sunday        10 am       Maiden, Mother, Who? Older Women in Genre Fiction

Sunday          7 pm       BSFA Awards

Sunday          8 pm      Sex in YA Lit.

It looks pretty busy, I know. To make it simpler: I'm on four panels, one of which I'll be moderating and since I don't have books to sign, I'll basically just be hanging out and handing out fliers for the Bloodchildren anthology.

I would love to chat and catch up with people who are going. Hope to see you there.

(also posted on http://rcloenenruiz.com)

Publications and updates

It's been a pretty busy and exciting two weeks with lots of things going on. On Saturday, I celebrated International Women's Day together with the Filipina women of Stichting Bayanihan. It was a good day focussing on gender consciousness. Not too high threshold but with enough material to provide good food for thought.

This week, I received news that the ISF 2012 Annual Anthology with my story, 59 Beads, is now free to download from the ISF site. I'd like to acknowledge Roberto Mendes and Ricardo Loureiro for putting this anthology together.

I also received word that Decolonizing as an SF Writer, which first appeared simultaneously on The Future Fire Blog and Kate Elliot's blog, has been selected for inclusion in Speculative Fiction 2012:The Best Online Reviews, Essays and Commentary. The list of contributors has been released and is viewable here. I look forward to reading all the pieces selected.

I've also received the contract for Dagiti Timayap Garda, a short weird/horror story that I wrote which was inspired by the shapeshifting Tikbalang and monster stories from my childhood. I'm quite excited about this sale and look forward to when I can announce everything about it here.

And I am completing work on a short story and am also completing work on the final draft of my novella. I'm really excited about both of these stories as they are both rooted in indigenous culture and in the case of the novella--very much inspired by Filipino history.

I have an unexpected free day tomorrow and I hope to finish one of these two things by weekend. I think the short story first and hopefully the novella before Eastercon.

(also posted to http://rcloenenruiz.com)


(no subject)

My dear friends have alerted me to the fact that the new Movements column is live. Woman's Work and the Woman of Color at Work grew from the interview I had with Jocelyn Paige Kelly. This doesn't appear in the interview I had with Jocelyn, but Jocelyn asked me the question that became the catalyst for this column as I reflected on the question of support for Women's work and how the answer to this is not really as simple as saying: yes, I support the work of women.

Hodan Warsame of Roet in Het Eten has put up a synopsis (in Dutch) of Radio Redmond's Broadcast from the 26th of February. The excerpt I read on Radio Redmond is also posted on the Roet in Het Eten website and you can read it here. The excerpt is from my Bloodchildren story, Dancing in the Shadow of the Once and you can find the anthology here.

In the after-the-show conversation, Hodan mentioned Intersectionality. I don't think we can ignore this when we talk about supporting women's work because the way we approach woman's work is influenced by more factors than identifying as woman. There's more to it than that and I know we would like to simply say--women's work is women's work and be done with it. But the truth is, it's more complicated than that and also the way we look at support and perceive support, the way we experience it, the way we give it is complicated by this strange notion people call "the culture of nice" wherein support has come to mean being positive and uncritical. It's still something I'm reflecting and thinking on and I suppose it's inevitable that I'll write about that in the future.

(also posted to rcloenenruiz.com)


Reading and Interview on Radio Redmond

It was wonderful to meet the brilliant and talented crew of Radio Redmond and Roet in Het Eten. I read from Dancing in the Shadow of the Once from the Bloodchildren Anthology. Here’s a link to the reading and the interview. The reading starts a little bit after 18 minutes. The rest of the broadcast is in Dutch. In short, we talk about the Octavia Butler Scholarship Fund, the need for diversity in the field of SFF and the themes that appear not only in Dancing in the Shadow of the Once but also in my other work.

After that first hour, another guest came on the show. Coring de Los Reyes. We discussed the state of undocumented migrant workers in the Netherlands and why it’s important for the Dutch government to ratify ILO Convention-189. Ratifying the convention will grant protection to the undocumented migrant workers and ensure protection for them.

Considering how progressive Dutch government and society claim to be, it will be interesting to see whether they live up to their reputation of being forward-thinking and humanitarian. I say, the Dutch government should recognize the contribution of these migrant workers and offer them the protection and the recognition they deserve.


(From L-R: Hodan Warsame, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz and Coring de Los Reyes. Photo via @roetinheteten )

(Also posted on http://rcloenenruiz.com )


Update: Roet in Het Eten and Radio Redmond

Hodan Warsame sent me an invitation to read and take part in Radio Redmond’s broadcast on Tuesday, the 26th of February. I will be reading and doing an interview and hanging out with some amazing people.

Roet in Het Eten’s website is here.

Roet in Het Eten is a collective that offers a unique and critical look at politics, popular culture, media, art and music through radio programs, online opinion pieces and analyses.

From Hodan’s Email:

Redmond is the new biweekly women’s show that discusses pop culture, politics, media, art and music from the perspectives of women. The programme brings you interviews, stories and music that centralises the experiences of (trans)women. Redmond focuses on gender issues.

The program takes place on Tuesdays from 17.00-19.00. The programs can be listened to live on 107.9 and 105.5.

The broadcast is also available via http://www.radiomart.nl and via this link. Fill in the date and times you are looking for. Broadcasts are in Dutch but are conducted in English and Spanish when needed.

(also posted on http://rcloenenruiz.com)

A quick update and sharing a bit from what I'm reading

I posted a quick report on the Paul Harland Day over at my website. The link is here.

I've been thinking a lot about women's work and how we as women support each other and on the work of women of color and how we support that work. And at the same time as all these things, I've been reading Leny M. Strobel's, A Book of Her Own, Words and Images to Honor the Babaylan.

I thought I'd post an excerpt from her book today as it deals with a number of things that I've been thinking about as well as I observe conversations around poc and the work of poc--and in particular the work of women of color.

My White Friend
(excerpt from A Book of Her Own, Words and Images to Honor the Babaylan by Leny M. Strobel)

He is often concerned that my work is too racialized; that it can't help but dissolve into dualistic antagonisms -- the very antagonisms I seek to transform. But why, I ask him, is it so difficult for him to listen to my story? What does it ask of him that he refuses to hear it? At some level we already agree on our vision of justice and peace, vision of spiritual awakening, vision of ecological justice. We already agree that there is racism still. Or that it is only now that white folks are beginning to acknowledge white privilege. . .  so why does he always resist this?


Goodness. January has turned out to be such an exciting month. It's like I turn around and something exciting happens again. I've been tinkering away at my website, but I still haven't found a way to get this blog somehow simultaneously updated with wordpress...but it may actually not be possible. I think of the website as being like a professional entity. It's like the receptionist that says: "Welcome to World Rochita. I hope you enjoy a look around and here's where I post bulletins on what's going on in my professional life." 

And while I know this journal is also open to public eyes, I feel like the place where I wrangle with ideas and talk to friends and well I've found so many good friends on livejournal and so many inspiring people as well, that I just can't help but be more personal on here

That people are reading Sogn of the Body Cartographer and liking it is a marvel to me. I am filled with wonder and amazement at the legs on that story. But I've resumed work on the Body Cartographer novel and I thought I'd gather together the bits and pieces that I'd already written in that world so I have a clearer view on where and how I want the story to develop further. It's going to be quite an adventure. 

On my website (rcloenenruiz.com) I've posted excerpts from two works-in-progress aside from the Body Cartographer novel. Yes, I just said novel and I didn't stutter. Good god. That's progress. I've been so terrified of novelling for so long that I just kept calling it that long novel-like thingy. But okay, I guess there's no going around it. It's going to be that after all. 

The Banawor Dragons story is going to be novella-length and it is almost finished. I have a few more thousand words to go. While I was writing this, I realized that planning a revolution isn't easy. 

Neh's story is on the back-burner for now, but it's at a point where it needs to be paused as I need more information from my brother and he's in the midst of preparing for his wedding. I hope that he'll be able to get back to me after he gets married. 

I'm working on some shorts as well. Oh my. If 2011 was a fallow year, 2013 looks like it's going to be really busy. If you have time to drop by my website, I'd be happy to hear what you think of it. I hope everyone is doing well and I'll try to catch up as much as I can. I keep thinking of my friends here on lj and wishing I could meet you all in person someday. Well, I'm off again as I'm typing this while in the midst of cooking dinner. Late by Dutch standards, but hey...I am Filipino. ;P 


BSFA awards shortlist has been announced

My PGS story, Song of the Body Cartographer  made it to the BSFA shortlist. The complete shortlist is  here. Winners will be announced at   Eightsquaredcon  which will be in Bradford, UK.

I will be attending Eightsquaredcon together with good friend and awesome author Aliette de Bodard  whose short story Immersion  is also on the shortlist.

It’s an honor to be listed along with all the other shortlisted nominees. Thank you for nominating my story. It thrills me that a story published in a Philippine publication has received all this attention.


It's disturbing when the language we use when referring to poc hasn't changed

I just finished reading a chapter on Colonial Domesticity from Vicente L. Rafael's White Love and other Events in Filipino History. I had to set aside this book several times while I was reading this chapter because it was just so painful to read. Kind of like peeling away the scab from a wound or rubbing sand into an open sore.

Anyway, here are a couple of choice excerpts from that Chapter on Colonial Domesticity and take note, these are from letters written by white women from the Philippines during the American occupation of the Philippines.

From a letter written by one Edith Moses:

Your first impression will be that we keep trained baboons to do the housework, for the probability is that a half-naked, dark-skinned creature is rushing up and down the hall on all fours, with big burlap sacks under his hands and feet. He is only the monkey-like coolie who polishes the narra floors.

From a letter written by a woman named Caroline Shunks:  (talking about a houseboy who she considers to be badly behaved)

He stalks stolidly about in his shirt-tail, short drawers and bare feet, smoking cigarettes. He speaks not a word and looks an insurrecto of the deepest dye.

Here's a choice excerpt of Shunks again, writing of her favorite servant:

Houseboy no. 1 is a treasure. At seven o'clock, our dinner hour, he comes softly to the porch corner from which we watch the sunset and announces something which means, "Senora, dinner is served!" He looks like a hired mourner at a funeral, dressed in crisp, white clothing. We go out with all the ceremony attending a state banquet and Vincent stands at "parade rest" behind my chair. He serves quietly and well. Our table looks pretty, red-shaded candles, and a bowl of vivid red lillies...Lizards run down the walls to catch the insects attracted by the lights, great June bugs buzz noisily about and coming too near the table are deftly caught by the "boy".

To be honest, I'm not surprised at the terminology or the way in which these white women wrote home about Filipinos. I imagine that there are still white people who go to countries like mine and who look at it and see it as something placed there for their entertainment and they see the natives as simply these "creatures" who are meant to cater to their needs. After all, most white households in the Philippines have two or more maids, a driver and lots and lots of people who will go or come at their beck and call. (I know of more than one white missionary household who mourned leaving the Philippines because in America, they would have no more maids.)

When I read this, I can't help but find it disturbing that there are writers in this present day who still find it tolerable/excusable/allowable/justifiable to use these same objectifying terms when writing about people of color.

True story: Sometime ago, I sent Strange Horizons a story wherein I depicted my native people as being agile as monkeys (although I didn't use that word exactly). To me, it was an act of rebellion against the term I'd often heard used even by Filipinos from the lowlands when referring to tribal people. Filipinos tend to have a non-confrontational attitude and at the time of that writing I was feeling quite alone in my anger.

Obviously, Jed Hartman was pricked by my depiction because he wrote back pointing out that this was problematic. Which to me was enough. I haven't sent that story anywhere else and I haven't rewritten it. Do I plan to ever send it elsewhere? Do I plan to rewrite it? I don't know. I think that story has already served its purpose where I'm concerned. All I wanted was to find confirmation that my anger was not misplaced. I was right to be angry because the bestial depiction of colored/native races is deeply deeply problematic.

Anyway, back to the book. At the close of the chapter on Colonial Domesticity, a white woman writes about poignant separation scenes from their colored/native servants. My response is quite physical. I literally rear back from the depictions and swear out loud. These scenes which depict the servant as being continuously subvervient and loving towards the white master are familiar. They are the same scenes we see replayed and regurgitated in various media where colored servants adore their white masters/mistresses. It makes me physically ill.

This fantasy that the colonial masters feed themselves continues to be the same fantasy that many descendants of colonizers choose to believe. The fantasy that goes: "Oh, they love us and are grateful to us."

This perpetuated fantasy is the reason why colonizing countries express outrage when people from their colonies demand separation from the colonizer. What they fail to see is this--attachment is not love and a people who have been subjugated will always long for autonomy and freedom.

On twitter, I wrote about our ambivalent feelings with regards to the colonizers and in particular towards the American colonizers. As I said to Berit Ellingsen: It's like this: it's like you have this friend who you trusted and then that friend betrayed you.

**Should you want to obtain a copy of White Love and Other Events in Filipino History, it is available here.

first post of the new year

2013 is 6 days old and here I am, updating this sadly neglected journal. 2012 was quite a year, marking the resumption of getting new work out there.

It's still a pretty surreal feeling to see Song of the Body Cartographer on the recommended list for the BSFA awards. It does give me a kick to see Philippine Genre Stories as the only non-US/non-UK publication on there. http://www.bsfa.co.uk/bsfa-award-nominations-another-update/

I commented on it on twitter and the resulting discussion on membership, nominations, awards and how this all works was very enlightening. I made a comment as to how I couldn't help but think of the economics of nominations/memberships. I had been thinking of signing up for BSFA membership, but there's quite a difference between fees for UK residents and non-UK residents. The difference in fees has to do with the cost of sending things in the mail--perhaps offering an e-pub option to non-UK residents would push the cost down? Ian Sales speculated on that point and it will be interesting to see if costs do get pushed down if Vector goes electronic.

What I couldn't help thinking about was how much 40 pounds would be in say: Philippine pesos. It may not seem like much to people who work/live in the UK, the US and the EU, but a fan in Asia would probably choose to spend that amount on groceries or basic necessities. (The pound is still one of the strongest currencies out there and the exchange is huge: one pound=sixtysix pesos, figure out how much 40 pounds is.)

Of course, we can argue that the BSFA is really for British fans and whether fans in Asia can sign up for membership or not isn't something they should be worrying about. But we keep on talking about diversity and inclusivity--we want to be inclusive, we want the genre to be more diverse and when I look at it in this way, I can't help but think of how economics plays a role in these things.

I'm still thinking about inclusivity and diversity. But I'm hella thankful to you who nominated Song of the Body Cartographer--to me, seeing Philippine Genre Stories listed is like a fistpump in the air.  :)