Thursday, June 11, 2009

SanAg7 Part 1 of 2 - The Literary Journ(ey)al

Beautiful Cover Art by Ervin M. Rondez Jr.

I gathered from Mother John Iremil Teodoro's blog that SanAg7 just got out hot off the press. I rushed over the next available office day to grab me a copy. I was excited because this is to be the first issue that would feature me 'on the other side of the fence. It's like this, kasi.

SanAg, which literally means 'bright', is the Official Literary Folio of the University of San Agustin, Iloilo's Fray Luis De Leon Creative Writing Desk, under the University's Coordinating Center for Research and Publication. It was published by the in-house publishing house Libro Agustino. SanAg also happens to be the shortened 'slang' for San Agustin; San-Ag.

Last year, with the change in the Administration, almost all 'artistic' centers were bulldozed by the new Father President, as these things were not his priority for the University, thus the Writing Desk and the Publishing House suffered greatly. Such was also, in part, the reason why my dear beloved literary mother decided, in an act of indignation, to divorce herself from the job that she has nurtured, loved, and toiled at and with, for more than seven years.

When I was awarded a fellowship in the first ever Fray Luis De Leon's Regional Creative Writing Workshop, as a fellow in poetry, I was asked by mother John to submit some of my works for the 2nd issue of SanAg, and the rest was history, so they say. Year in and year out, mother would always ask for my works, and would publish them in the folio. I had works published in SanAg3, SanAg4, and SanAg5, SanAg6 was dedicated to drama and I can not remember if I did submit for this one, but the poitn is, I have always looked forward to this folio. This is where I got my first taste of being 'paid' for my poems, and saw them published alongside Ilonggo Literary greats such as Tatay Dr. Leoncio P. Deriada.

The folio had undergone several transformations and themes. There was an issue that was 'love' themed. There was one for experimental short fiction, an issue for drama, and what nots. One of the features of the folio, aside from being divided into poetry, fiction and drama, was its separate section for the award winning manuscripts. These were usually the crop of works that earned recognition in the Palanca Awards for the year, or any other reputable award giving body in Philippine Literature. As I have said, this issue is important for me because for the first time, my works have finally 'crossed-over' to that section. SanAg has literally chronicled my journey as a Hiligaynon wirter. From mere 'budding' contributor of a couple of poems, to a submission of a short experimental fiction, to an 'awarded' writer. More importantly, with the publishing and the writing desk 'shelved', this might just be SanAg's swan song.

I hurriedly rushed to the 5th floor of the Fray Luis De Leon Building in San Agustin. As I walked the alleyways, nostalgia swept over me. The Hall is also where the College of Law is located. I used to be part of the throng of young and aspiring lawyers to be in this hall. Whew!

Catching my breath upon reaching the floor after flights of stairseseseseses, my heart skipped to see the UCRP Office still open even if it was way past five in the afternoon. I hurriedly went inside. Fortunately, I was able to catch Mr. Jigger Latoza, the Center's Director. I quashed an urge to look for Mrs. Medel, who always graciously gave me my complimentary copy, have me sign in and gave me my 'honoraria' for the works published, and much so, go into the inner sanctums for a chat with my beloved Mother. Luckily, the chit chat with Mr. Latoza was enough distraction. Not enough, however, to keep me from opening the book and instantly checking the table of contents and quickly jumping over to the 'About The Contributors' page. This page has also seen my bio's gradual transformation.

I panicked a bit to learn that my name was not in it. A quick thought popped in to my head; that perhaps, due to Mother John's hasty exit and quick move back to Manila, she might have forgotten to include my works. My heart sank. I couldn't help but be very disappointed. I quadruple checked and noticed that the Author's page only contained three names. There must be some mistake! I couldn't help but verbalize my perplexed thoughts.

Hearing my concern, Jigger quickly said "Oh, your works are in SanAg 8. That's just a Press Filler. It has one full length play and one screenplay. He further informed me that SanAg8 is already in the press and in no time, will also be coming out. I felt relieved! Patience, will have to be, a virtue, till then. I took two books; one for me, and one for my Dynamic Duo Bryan, as was always the case. I was glad I was not carrying anything that time except my clutch bag. The cover is too beautiful not to display, but that's getting ahead of the next post. I will review the book in my next post.

No comments: