Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I'll be Teaching a Creative Writing Workshop, begins April 7, 2011

Hi, Thursday, April 7, 2011, I start teaching a six-week class, The Essential Beginnings: An Introductory Creative Writing Workshiop, at the Writers Program, UCLA Extension. Call 310-206-0951 for more information. Here's the Syllabus. I hope you can join us.


Instructor: Cecilia Manguerra Brainard; www.ceciliabrainard.com

Brainard's email: Cbrainard@aol.com; note in subject "UCLA-X Student"

For administrative matters, call Mae Respicio at 310-206-0951

Course Description: Many aspire to write creatively, but few know how to get started. A supportive workshop for those who wish to write for personal or professional satisfaction, this course provides many fundamental techniques--from journal writing to imaginative in-class exercises--all geared to motivate and cultivate the beginning creative writer. Topics include writing from observation and experience, creating dynamic characters, developing points of view, and writing dialogue. By the course's completion, you have in hand a series of short sketches or a draft of a story.

Class Calendar: This is a six-week class. Class starts Thursday, 04/07/2011, ends 05/12/2011

Grading: Grading will be based on attendance, class participation, and homework.

Required Reading:
Fundamentals of Creative Writing, by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Anvil 2009 (distributed by PALH; available in Kindle Amazon.com)
Suggested Reading:
Points of View: Anthology of Short Stories, ed. Moffett & McElheny, New American Library
Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular, by Rust Hills, Bantam
The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White, Macmillan Publishing
The Art of Fiction, by John Gardner, Vintage
On Writing and the Novel: Essays by Paul Scott, ed. Shelley C. Reese, William Morrow
Aspects of the Novel, by E.M. Forster, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
The Right-Brain Experience, by Marilee Zdeneck, McGraw-Hill
The International Directory of Little Magazines and Small Presses, ed. Fulton and Ferber, Dustbooks
Writers Market, by Writers Digest Books, F&W Publications When the Rainbow Goddess Wept, by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, University of Michigan Press,1999; available from Amazon.com
Magdalena, by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Plain View Press; available from Amazon.com

Weekly Schedule:
1. Introductions; Understanding the right brain/left brain theory; Setting & Scene
2. Character; Conflict
3. Dialogue; Point of View
4. Plot
5. Voice, tension; Business of Writing
6. Final Project

Monday, March 28, 2011

WELCOME MAO - 3 month old Classic Tabby Kitten

Introducing Mao, our new pet, a 3 month-old Tabby kitten. He's wearing the cone of shame because he was just fixed. Mao is a red tabby with the typical M on his forehead and the classic bullseye on his sides. He's beautiful, bright, and has a great mellow personality. His name Mao means Cat in Vietnamese; 2011 is the Year of the Cat in Vietnam (it's Year of the Rabbit in China).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Angelica's Daughters mentioned in Philippine Daily Inquirer

Human Face
Power books by, for, and about women

By Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:55:00 03/23/2011

Filed Under: Literature, Women

MARCH, WOMEN’S Month, has a lot to offer to women and women lovers. Many activities are lined up in March and one can’t seem to find time for all of them. But a launching of many books by, for and about women is something different. It is not every day that one gets to see so many such books of different genres, intents and purposes and so many women authors in one room.

Last week Anvil Publishing and Powerbooks celebrated Women’s Month by presenting the latest delectable books by, for and about women. These books should be available in most National Bookstores nationwide.

In the literary category are “Gun Dealer’s Daughter” by prolific writer Gina Apostol, and “Angelica’s Daughters,” a “dugtungan” novel written by accomplished writers, Cecilia Brainard, Nadine Sarreal, Susan Evangelista, Erma Cuizon and Beronica Montes. Dugtungan, says the blurb by Brian Ascalon Roley, “is a genre of the Tagalog novel popular early in the 20th century, in which each writer creates a chapter and hands it off to the next, who writes another chapter without direction. The result, in this case, is an ensemble performance that contains something of the exhilaration of theatrical improv.”

Three books belong to the creative non-fiction category. “Rich Life” by journalist Joy Posadas contains essays that focus on women’s major concerns such as life-work balance, passion and fulfillment in one’s career and financial security and independence, among others. Posadas shares insights gained over the years and from what she gathered from successful individuals from varied backgrounds.

“E.D.G.E. (Every Day Great Examples)” features Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP) of past years, among them Cecile Guidote Alvarez, Soledad Aquino-Hernando, Pamela Gracia Concepcion C. Asis, Patricia Licuanan, Lourie Victor, Sonia Roco, Victoria Garchitorena, Edna Manlapaz and Noralin Mangondato Sharief-Ador.
“Peace Warriors: On the Trail of Filpino Soldiers” by journalist Criselda Yabes is an eloquent exposition on how different sectors of society, particularly the military, attempt to forge peace between different warring groups in Mindanao.
Twenty years after her “The Boys From the Barracks” which chronicled the coup attempts in the 1980s, Yabes returns to the military in Muslim Mindanao, where the struggle to find peace is taking place. She weaves a richly layered story that fuses her personal history as a Mindanaoan and as a journalist covering peace and war in the area.

In the social science category are two books that present an alternative view of history by Christine Diaz. Written in engaging prose, “World History: New Perspectives” and “Asia: History, Civilization and Culture” highlight history’s great moments, unforgettable episodes and how they relate to current realities. A great teacher, Diaz does her (hi)storytelling with a touch of humor and suspense. The book covers give a hint of that. Diaz also wrote the critically acclaimed “The Other Philippine History Textbook.”

Three how-to books provide practical tips on how women (and men) can turn their cooking talents into profitable enterprises: “Restaurant Management 101” by Les Roches-trained Rosanna Gonzalez and Edna Reynoso-Anton, “Food, Business Ideas and Edible Gifts” by Vicky Veloso Barrera, and “Pinoy Vegetarian Cookbook” by food writers Dolly T. Dy-Zulueta and Susanna T. Dy

And in the children’s book category are “Spinning/Paikot-ikot” by Irene A. Sarmiento and illustrated by Christian Oliver Cruz and “Bituin and the Big Flood/Si Bituin at ang Malaking Baha” by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo (me) and illustrated by Inquirer cartoonist Jess Abrera.

“Spinning” is about a boy with autism and how children with the condition could be better understood. It shows what children with autism are capable of and how those who care for them could look beyond their handicaps.

I wrote “Bituin” after the devastating typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” struck the country in 2009. The book tells the story of how a family and a community cope and survive a natural calamity. “Bituin” is dedicated to the children who lost their lives during the typhoons and those who survived. Fine-tuned with the help of child psychologist Dr. Lourdes A. Carandang, “Bituin” contains guide questions for teachers and readers to use.

Although not part of the book launch, “Intertwining Culture of Patriarchy, Corruption and Impunity” by multi-awarded former regional trial court Judge Adoracion P. Cruz-Avisado of Davao City is worthy of mention. Published by Ateneo de Davao, the book is about her personal “journey in advocacy for the transformation of the justice system.” A good read for those in the legal profession and for women helping women.

In this Sunday’s Inquirer Magazine is a feature (that I wrote) on the Ateneo Library of Women’s Writings (Aliww), the only one of its kind in this part of the world. Why Aliww? “Women are instinctive archivists. Careful guardians of memorabilia, assiduous note-makers and journal-writers, they are often the archivists of their families and clans. Unfortunately, much of the documentation they produce is eventually lost to the relentless claims of time, exacerbated by human neglect. The axiom ‘no documentation, no history’ applies: without such primary material, it becomes especially difficult to establish the legacies of women to various areas of Philippine life. By providing researchers access to primary sources, Aliww facilitates the writing of a national history that acknowledges the contributions of Filipino women.”

At last, not just a metaphorical “room of her own” but a real one with treasures of its own.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Photo - Skokie Library with the Gomezes

Photo courtesy of Melissa Villegas, taken at the Skokie Library, March 8, 2011, with Maybelle and Erwin Gomez.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Phillip Pestano Dies for Justice - Pass it on

Justice at 3 A.M.
by Fr. James B. Reuter, S.J.

*Note: This is the e-mail prayer brigade initiated by Fr. Reuter for Phillip.

Phillip Andrew A. Pestaño graduated from the Ateneo de Manila High School in 1989, entered the Philippine Military Academy, and became an Ensign in the Philippine Navy in 1993. He was assigned as cargo master, on a Navy ship.

He discovered that the cargo being loaded onto his vessel included logs that were cut down illegally, were carried to the ship illegally, and were destined to be sold, illegally. Then there were 50 sacks of flour, which were not flour, but shabu - worth billions. Literally, billions. And there were military weapons which were destined for sale to the Abu Sayyaf.

He felt that he could not approve this cargo.

Superior officers came to him and said: "Please! Be reasonable! This is big business. It involves many important people. Approve this cargo." But Phillip could not, in conscience, sign approval.

Then his parents received two phone calls, saying: "Get your son off that ship! He is going to be killed!" When Phillip was given leave at home, his family begged him not to go back. Their efforts at persuasion continued until his last night at home, when Phillip was already in bed.

His father came to him and said: "Please, son, resign your commission. Give up your m ilitary career. Don't go back. We want you alive. If you go back to that ship, it will be the end of you!" But Phillip said to his father: "Kawawa ang bayan!" And he went back to the ship.

The scheduled trip was very brief - from Cavite to Roxas Boulevard - it usually took only 45 minutes. But on September 27, 1995 , it took one hour and a half. When the ship arrived at Roxas Boulevard, Ensign Pestaño was dead.

The body was in his stateroom, with a pistol, and a letter saying that he was committing suicide. The family realized at once that the letter was forged. They tried desperately for justice, carrying the case right up to the Senate.

The Senatorial Investigation Committee examined all the evidence, carefully. Then they issued an official statement, saying among other things: Ensign Phillip Pestaño did not commit suicide. He was murdered. He was shot through the head, somewhere outside of his stateroom, and the body was carried to his room and placed in the bed. The crime was committed by more than one person. In spite
of these findings, by the Senate, the family could not get justice. The case is still recorded, by the Navy, as suicide. For 12 years they have been knocking at the doors of those in power, to no avail. Now they realize that they should knock on the door of Him who said: "Knock, and it shall be opened to you. Ask and you shall receive. Seek, and you shall find."

So they are asking all of the friends of Phillip from the Ateneo, from the PMA, friends of the family - including the girl he was engaged to marry - to say this prayer:

"Lord, we know that Phillip is safe with you, and will be safe forever, because he gave up his life, as You gave up Your life - for justice. If it is Your will, please let the truth be known of his heroic courage and strength and love of country. Let justice be rendered here on earth. But if it is not
Your will that justice be rendered here, give each of us the grace to live and die as he did - following in Your footsteps.

And at the last judgment, Lord, when all that is hidden will be known, let Phillip be seen as he really is - a brave young man who gave his life for honesty, truth, and justice

Phillip Pestaño died at the age of 24. He was scheduled to be married in January of 1996, four months after he was murdered. He was a martyr. A martyr is one who dies for the faith or for a Christian virtue. Phillip died for a Christian virtue - justice. It is not likely that he will ever be canonized, but he takes his place among the Unknown Saints.

Some military men are killed in battle. They are given a hero's burial. But Phillip died for a much deeper cause - he was trying to preserve the integrity of our Armed Forces. He died out of loyalty to the Philippines, in an effort to keep the oath that he made when he graduated from the Military Academy.

Graft and corruption are the curse of this nation. But when they take root in the heart of our Armed Forces, they threaten our existence as an independent, democratic country.

The family of Phillip Pestaño is doing the right thing. They are turning to God. They are praying that justice will be administered here, in our country, in our day. But if this is not God's will, then let us at least try to preserve the ideal of integrity in every mind and heart and soul.

Let's forward this message to every freedom-loving Pinoy in our list. Thank you.
More information about Ens. Phillip Andrew A. Pestano http://www.phillippestano.com/


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Feast of St. Joseph - March 19

Prayer to Saint Joseph for Priests

Suitable for March 16, 17, and 18

O glorious Saint Joseph,
who, on the word of the angel
speaking to you in the night,
put fear aside to take your Virgin Bride into your home,
show yourself today the advocate and protector of priests.
Protector of the Infant Christ,
defend them against every attack of the enemy,
preserve them from the dangers that surround them
on every side.
Remember Herod's threats against the Child,
the anguish of the flight into Egypt by night,
and the hardships of your exile.
Stand by the accused;
stretch out your hand to those who have fallen;
comfort the fearful;
forsake not the weak;
and visit the lonely.
Let all priests know that in you
God has given them a model
of faith in the night, obedience in adversity,
chastity in tenderness, and hope in uncertainty.
You are the terror of demons
and the healer of those wounded in spiritual combat.
Come to the defence of every priest in need;
overcome evil with good.
Where there are curses, put blessings,
where harm has been done, do good.
Let there be joy for the priests of the Church,
and peace for all under your gracious protection.

Triduum in Preparation for the

Solemnity of St. Joseph

March 19

(March 16) 1. Most glorious St. Joseph, by your grand privilege of being the spouse of the Mother of God and of exercising a fatherly providence and authority over Her Son, our Savior, obtain for us the grace to regard nothing in this world as greater in value than the grace of Jesus and the protection of Mary.

Our Father..., Hail Mary..., Glory be...

(March 17) 2. O most loving patriarch, by that singular character which in you the Gospel declares to be that of a just man, obtain for us the grace to live as upright men with God, our neighbor and ourselves, always in view our sanctification.

Our Father..., Hail Mary..., Glory be...

(March 18) 3. O most blessed patriarch, by that indescribable joy which you experienced in dying most happily, assisted by Jesus and Mary, beg also for us a similar grace; and, comforted sacramentally in death by Jesus, may our final words be: Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I offer my soul to You.

Our Father..., Hail Mary..., Glory be...

Prayer on the day of the Feast:

Oh glorious St. Joseph, chosen by God to be the foster father of Jesus, the most pure spouse of Mary ever Virgin and the head of the Holy Family, and chosen by the Vicar of Christ to be the heavenly Patron and Protector of the Church founded by Jesus: with the greatest confidence I now implore your powerful help for the whole Church militant.

Protect in a special way with your paternal love the Supreme Pontiff and all the Bishops and priests. Be the defender of all those who work for souls amidst the anguish and sufferings of this life; and grant that all peoples of the world submit themselves docilely to the Church-the means of salvation for all.

Deign also, oh dearest St. Joseph, to accept the consecration that I make to you of myself. I dedicate all to you so that you may always be my father, my protector, and my guide in the road to sanctification. Obtain for me a great purity of heart and a fervent love for the interior life. Grant that by your example all my actions may be directed to the greater glory of God, in union with the Divine Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary and you. Pray for me so that I may participate in the peace and joy which you were so privileged to experience in your holy death. Amen.

V. St. Joseph,

R. Pray for us.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pictures and Press Writeups - Coming Together in Skokie, With Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

Hi, I just got back from Illinois where I participated in Coming Together in Skokie. I'll be posting pictures and write more about my visit there, but in the meantime, here's an article and some press releases about Coming Together in Skokie. I've also posted some pictures, and I'll be adding more in the coming days.

Filipino-American Author Shares Her Culture of Writing: Filipino-American author talks about her craft and homeland.By Michelle Martin http://mortongrove.patch.com/articles/filipino-american-author-shares-her-culture-of-writing

Press Coverage for Coming Together in Skokie

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Anthology "Cherished" with Story of my Cat Kiki Released Soon!

The book, Cherished, will be released soon. It includes my story about my cat, Kiki, who passed away last year. The editor, Barbara Abercrombie is scheduling book signings, including one in La Canada, Flintridge, where I'll be signing on Thursday, May 19, 2011. More later on!