Friday, December 30, 2022

Che & Tesla Looking Forward to a Great 2023!!!


I'm wishing everyone the best for 2023!!!  Happy New Year, everyone!!!

#newyear #happy2023

Friday, December 23, 2022

Merry Christmas from Cecilia Brainard and Family



I've been sharing a huge number of family pictures, and many thanks for your indulgence. I have them in a folder for Shutterfly. One year, I made a Memory book for the family from these pictures and more, the thinking being at least the pictures will be in hard copy and won't disintegrate or get lost in the computer.
Here is one of our first family photos. The baby in my arms was just a few days old. It makes me think of how Mary and Joseph must have felt with the Baby in their arms that first Christmas.
Yes, yes, yes, we were very young. Merry Christmas!


Tags: #Christmasphotos #merrychristmas #christmasmemories 

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Remembering General Robert Brainard and others - Old Family Photo


The photo is fading. Here is a picture of me and my nuclear family with my mother (right), and some members of my husband's family. Robert Brainard (left standing in back), Josephine Horde Brainard (far left), and Tillie Robson (beside Josephine), and my mother Concepcion Cuenco Manguerra have moved on.
I loved my husband's family; and they loved me. I miss them. General Robert Brainard or Dad used to visit and he'd arrive before my husband got home from work. I'd get him a beer or coffee (when he gave up liquor) and he would update me on family gossip. When My husband got home, they would turn on the TV and watch sports. My husband never got the family "gossip" and I was the one who would relay the family tidbits to him.
Aunt Tillie was married to Uncle Gerry (Dad's maternal uncle). She was so sensible and fair. When she was in her 90s, she made her own funeral arrangements and talked to the pastor about what he should say about her. "Keep it short," she said.
She and Uncle Gerry did not have children, and her nieces took care of her when she needed help, handled her bills, took her to doctors, etc. When she passed away, my husband got a phone call from one of the nieces informing him that she had left money for the relatives of her husband. She taken half her money and allocated that to her husband's relatives. Amazing to me, given the number of family squabbles in the Philippines over inheritance.
My mother is worthy of a book, and so I will talk about her another time.
I'm remembering them with love and gratitude for all they have done for me and my nuclear family. May they rest in peace.

tags:  #familyremembrance

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from Brainard Family

 My family and I wish you a merry Christmas and happy New Year!  ~ Cecilia Brainard

#merrychristmas #Christmas2022 #Christmasgreetings #holidaygreetings 

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Halloween 2022 in Santa Monica

 Found these pictures taken last Halloween 2022. I put Halloween makeup on the members of our small party. After dinner, we went to the Santa Monica Mall where we saw the Gigantes put up by the City. We also ran into other revelers.  


Monday, November 28, 2022

Crypto Resurrection by Manny Gonzalez - Guest Blogger


My Guest Blogger is Manny Gonzalez. This appeared in the Philippine Star, November 26, 2022. It is reprinted in my blog by permission of the author.  Thanks to Manny Gonzalez.



By Manny Gonzalez. 

Mr. Gonzalez brings a unique multi-disciplinary perspective to this issue – public policy, financial analysis, and technology. As an officer of the World Bank, Mr. Gonzalez advised governments and financial institutions; as an investment banker he designed financial derivatives and assessed IPOs. He has been awarded 7 US Patents related to gathering information on the internet (, Inventor: Gonzalez, Emmanuel). He is now a successful entrepreneur. MBA Columbia University, Robert J. McKim, Jr., Fellow, and Roswell McCrea Award winner. For more details and list of publications, please see

In two previous articles published in the Philippine Star in 2018 (“Bitcoins — The Emperor Has No Clothes” and “Bitcoins AND Blockchains - Murphy’s Law”), I attempted to warn readers of the lack of logic behind cryptocurrencies. This year, 2022, my views were echoed by Warren Buffett and Paul Krugman.

Growing Up Filipino 3 / Book Trailer


The 3 volumes of the GROWING UP FILIPINO SERIES make great Christmas gifts. Check them out in Amazon and Barnes and Noble -- Growing Up Filipino: Stories for Young Adults; Growing Up Filipino: More Stories for Young Adults; and Growing Up Filipino: New Stories for Young Adults.

#Filipinoteens #Filamteens #pinoyreads #youngadults

Friday, November 18, 2022

Spain More Pictures - Barcelona

My Nov. 15 blog entry with pictures of Spain has become too long, thus this additional blog entry.

Here are more photos of Barcelona.  These were taken during our City Tour.

Note "Obama" shop, right side. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Pictures - Spain: Malaga, Mijas, Ronda, Barcelona


Here are some pictures taken in Spain: Malaga, Mijas, Ronda. I will add more pictures, including photos of Barcelona 

Malaga - photos show the Cathedral and the old section of Malaga. Our host is shown cooking paella for us.


Thursday, November 10, 2022

Guest Blogger Manuel Lino Faelnar - Cebuano Advocate


My Guest Blogger is MANUEL LINO FAELNAR, am advocate of the native Cebuano language. I knew him way back in Cebu as a good friend of my brother Jess Manguerra. I was recently surprised and delighted to read some of his poems in Bisaya and asked if he could share those in my blog. He kindly obliged. Here then is information and the poems with translation by Manuel Faelnar. 


Born in  Cebu City  September 23, 1938. 
Primary schooling (grades 1-4) Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepción, Cebu City. 
Intermediate (grades 5-6) and High School (1st to 4 th year) 
Colegio del Sto.Niño, Cebu City (HS class 1956).
Pre-Law Ateneo de Manila (class 1958).
Law and Jurisprudence (Ll.B and BSJ)
University of the Philippines, Diliman , QC (class 1962)
MBA UP Cebu.
Degré Français Comerciale, Alliance Française de Manille.


Counsel, Asian Development Bank , 1970-1996.
Resource person of DepEd, Reviewer for Cebuano language materials for the Mother Tongue-Based Multi Lingual Education Program.

 I have always felt at ease writing Binisaya poems as, in my view, I would not be constrained by foreign (i.e., Western) structures and straight
jackets. I could write very much as I pleased and as I felt, giving free vent to the flow of my native tongue.  
  I would like to share with you some of my poems. The first one, Hinumdom (Memory) was published by Sonny Villafania in Makata 2004 (a web site). In the spirit of World Poetry Day which will fell on on March 21, 2005, I write both the Cebuano and English versions. Both versions can be sung to the tune of  I Wonder Who's Kissing her Now.  copyright is not a problem.The tune is very old so
Here is the first poem.

Hinumdom (Memory)
Nganong nahinumdom ako,
Hinumdom ako kanimo,
Ang kagahapon wala magdayon,
Nganong nahinumdum ako.
Nganong gimingaw man ako,
Gimingaw ako kanimo,
Akong pagpangga gitalikdan mo, 
Nganong gimingaw man ako.
Imong gitalikdan ako,
Nasamdan and kasingkasing,
Apan pag-agi sa mga tuig,
Baga na sabliga'g tubig.
Ang palad wala mag-uyon,
Ugod kita magdayon,
Og pag-agi's dugayng panahon, 
Wala nay gibati karon.
Hinkalimtam untang tanan,
Lahi na ang kinabuhi,
Nganong mibalik and paghinumdom, 
Batan-on, wala pay dag-um."

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Interview of Filipino Novelist Linda Ty-Casper



I did this interview of the Filipino author Linda Ty-Casper several years ago, before her husband the noted literary critic Leonard Casper passed away. I am sharing it as part of the celebration of the release of her new book, WILL YOU HAPPEN, PAST THE SILENCE, THROUGH THE DARK? REMEMBERING LEONARD RALPH CASPER. 


In this book, Linda collects letters to and from her late husband into a collection she calls his "Memoir." The book is avaiable from, Barnes and Noble, and Cecilia Brainard


Where were you born? When? Number of siblings?

I was born in the Mary Chiles Hospital, Tondo or Santa Cruz, Manila, September 17, 1931. Just we two, but we had many cousins who were like brothers and sisters to us.


What was your family like? (Siblings, Where did you live? What were your parents like? Family activities. Games? Read a lot? Athletic family?

I just have one sister, younger; Freida. We both attended George Elementary in Santa Cruz; Caloocan High, and U.P. She took Public Administration, was Chief of Personnel of the defunct Batasan Pambansa. She’s retired now; visits her son in LA. Other son: a Lt. colonel; youngest son, a doctor. Seven apos. Len and I have none.


After I was born we lived in Santa Cruz. My grandmother’s brother had a house on Felix Huertas which faced on open field that became the Manila Jockey Club. When she moved her family (after her husband died) from San Isidro, that was one of the places where she stayed temporarily before moving to 604 Calle Camarines which intersects with Felix Huertas; an accessoria now called townhouse. She had 4 living daughters, three other children died in San Isidro. She had lived through the Revolution against Spain, the Philippine-American War.


Saturday, October 29, 2022

Fall/Winter Book Releases of PALH (Philippine American Literary House)


PALH (Philippine American Literary House) proudly announces its 2022 Fall-Winter Book releases.

            First on the list is Linda Ty-Casper’s Will You Happen, Past The Silence, Through The Dark?: Remembering Leonard Ralph Casper, a book which she calls the Memoir that her husband Leonard Ralph Casper did not get to write. Born in Fond du Lac Wisconsin in 1923, Leonard Casper had a full life as a writer, an academic, a literary critic until he passed away in 2018.

In this book, Linda Ty-Casper collects the letters to and from Leonard Casper, letters which reflect who he was to many friends, high school classmates, teachers and professors, colleagues in the Universities of Rhode Island, Ateneo University of Manila, University of the Philippines and Wisconsin, from editors of Southwest Review who encouraged Len to send stories from the European front during World War II; from Robert Penn Warren starting with his first letter of inquiry (two pages) when he began on his dissertation at the University of Wisconsin, the dissertation becoming the first book on Warren, which critics said showed the way for later books on the Southern writers. There are letters from Filipino writers Len grew to know as friends from years of teaching in the Philippines.

The book has been praised by Author/Editor Joel Pablo Salud who reviewed it, saying: “Will You Happen, Past the Silence, Through the Dark: Remembering Leonard Ralph Casper is a treasure trove of charms and jewels for those like me who find Leonard Casper a bit of a cryptic, enigmatic figure. Linda Ty-Casper has done a great service by shedding light    on Len’s memory, allowing us a voyeur’s look into a life dedicated to the magic and unease found in letters.

“I am sure this book will remain relevant for decades to come.”


            The next PALH release is Growing Up Filipino 3: New Stories for Young Adults, which collects 25 short stories by Filipino authors in the US and the Philippines about what it means to be young and Filipino. The stories explore the universal themes of coming-of-age, love, angst, family, relationships, and other young adult issues. The stories reveal Filipino and Filipino American culture, mores, history, society, politics, and other nuances. For instance, Filipino respect for their elders, extended families, religious practices, funereal rites, love for folklore are apparent in the stories.

Growing Up Filipino 3: New Stories For Young Adults follows two earlier critically acclaimed books -- Growing Up Filipino: Stories For Young Adults (2003) and Growing Up Filipino Ii: More Stories For Young Adults(2010), books that have been used by educators and enjoyed by adults and young adults alike.

The University of Santo Tomas Publishing House edition of this book will be released in 2022 (distributors are Lazada and Shopee in the Philippines).

Contributors: Gina Apostol, Kannika Pena, Jack Wigley, Veronica Montes, Nikki Alfar, Yvette Fernandez, Danton Remoto, Cecilia Bainard, George Deoso, Patricia Go, Migs Bravo Dutt, Ian Casocot, James Fajarito, Sarge Lacuesta. Dom Sy, Eileen Tabios, Marianne Villanueva, Marilyn Alquizola, Brian Roley, Patrick Joseph Caoile, Zak Linmark, Linda Ty-Casper, Renee Macalino Rutledge, Noelle de Jesus, Oscar Peñaranda.


And third is a children’s book, Asian and Philippine Folktales: Retellings by PAWWA, which, as the title indicates, contains retellings of beloved Asian and Philippine folktales as retold by members of PAWWA (Philippine American Women Writers and Artists).

This small group of Filipina writers in America had published these stories in two books that have been out-of-print for many years. This collection includes 25 stories from places such as Laos, Japan, Korea, Sumatra, Vietnam, China, Bali, Indonesia, India, and the Philippines. The book's target audience is 9 and older.

PAWWA was founded in 1991 by a group of seven Filipina writers in Southern California. It was the first such support group for Filipina women writers. PAWWA's founding members are: Valorie Slaughter Bejarano, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Mariquita Athena Davison, Fe Panalingan Koons, Susan N. Montepio, Cecile Caguingin Ochoa, and Nentuzka C. Villamar.

PALH is an offshoot of the work done by PAWWA. When the group dissolved, Susan Montepio and Cecilia Brainard continued the work of publishing and distributing select Philippine and Filipino American books. Later, Susan Montepio went on to do other work and Cecilia Brainard continued the work.

PALH has published books by Filipina American writer Veronica Montes (Benedicta Takes Wing and Other Stories); Linda Ty-Casper collection of a novella and short stories (A River, One-Woman Deep: Fiction); and it has kept in print hard-to-find anthologies such as Fiction by Filipinos in America and Contemporary Fiction by Filipinos in America.

PALH’s books can found at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from For more information, contact or



Tags: Philippine literature, Philippine books, Filipino books, Filipino books for kids, Filipino books for teens, Asian books for kids 

Friday, October 21, 2022

New Children's Book: Asian and Philippine Folktales: Retellings by PAWWA


ASIAN AND PHILIPPINE FOLKTALES: RETELLINGS BY PAWWA  contains retellings of beloved Asian and Philippine folktales as retold by members of  Philippine American Women Writers and Artists.. This collection includes 25 stories from places such as Laos, Japan, Korea, Sumatra, Vietnam, China, Bali, Indonesia, India, and the Philippines. The book's target audience is 8 and older.

PAWWA was founded in 1991 by a group of seven Filipina writers in Southern California. It was the first such support group for Filipina women writers. PAWWA's founding members are: Valorie Slaughter Bejarano, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Mariquita Athena Davison, Fe Panalingan Koons, Susan N. Montepio, Cecile Caguingin Ochoa, and Nentuzka C. Villamar.

For six years, PAWWA received the highly competitive Multicultural Entry Grant from the California Arts Council (CAC), which PAWWA used to publish newsletters and books. When PAWWA's CAC funding ran out in June 1998, the remaining members of PAWWA decided to move on, and PAWWA was dissolved.


These stories unlock a storehouse of cultural knowledge – of lessons learned from tapestries of words. Parents, children, and educators and all others who love “old-time stories” will enjoy this collection.” Herminia Meñez Coben, Folklorist, Author of Explorations in Philippine Folklore and Verbal Arts in Philippine Indigenous Communities: Poetics, Society, and History.

What a wonderful book! I know that when I read them to my grandchildren, I will also be that little girl again, enraptured by my nanny's tales of the characters in these stories. ~ Joselyn Geaga-Rosenthal, LCSW, Licensed Psychotherapist.

Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and

Tags: #Folktales #Folklore #Folktalesandlegends #childrensbook #Asianfolktales #Filipinofolktales

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Old News Articles - Mariano Cuenco Family of Cebu



Thanks to Cebuano Kabilin (Instagram) for old news clippings about my Manguerra Family and my maternal Cuenco Family.  There is a separate blog entry for the Manguerra Family -

This blog entry focuses on my mother's family - Cuenco:

Obituary of Mariano Albao Cuenco who died on July 7, 1921

Governor-General of the Philippines Teddy Roosevelt Jr. and Wife visit the home of Mariano Jesus Cuenco in Cebu; Daughters entertain them.

Old News Clippings - Mariano Manguerra Family #SantaRosa

 Thanks to Cebuano Kabilin (Instagram) for these old news clippings about the Cuenco and Manguerra familikes and other related articles. In this blog, I will post the articles about the Manguerra Family, my father side.

Here is another blog site with news clippings of the Cuenco Family:

March 21, 1868? Pablo Manguerra Baptismal certificate, son of Gerarda Monsod, and Felix Manguerra, and his grandparents

My paternal grandfather Pablo Manguerra was President in Santa Rosa Municipal Council
El Progreso, Aug. 18, 1901

Mariano Manguerra president of the Filipino Association in Valparaiso University, The Torch Oct. 5, 1917

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Old Family Photos - Concepcion Cuenco, Filomena Alesna Cuenco


Cebuano Kabilin in Instagram has been sending me old news clipping about my mother Concepcion Cuenco, and her Cuenco Family.  

The first three articles are about Concepcion Cuenco winning the title of Miss Progress and Carnival Queen of Cebu 1931.



Friday, October 7, 2022

Rest in Peace, Tessie Jose #FrankieJose



I received news that Tessie Jose, wife of the writer F. Sionil Jose, passed away.on October. 7, 2022.

 I am heartbroken, but not very surprised because her husband had passed away on January 6, 2022. They were a close couple, having married in 1949, and were inseparable.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Two Pictures with Vincent Van Gogh's Paintings



Posing with two paintings by Vincent Van Gogh. The photo above was taken at the Musee D'Orsay in Paris. It is a painting of Van Gogh's room at the hospital in Saint-Remy.  

The painting below -- Starry Starry Night -- was taken in MOMA in New York.  

Van Gogh believed that drawing was the "root of everything."

#Art #Drawing #sketching #vincent #writerswhosketch #writerswholoveart

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Favorite Photos of My Cats Che and Tesla

 Here are some pictures of my #cats Che and Tesla through the years. These two cats are brothers, whom we adopted around 11 years ago from their rescue Mom in Pasadena.  She was walking her dogs when they dogs caught the scent of a mother cat giving birth behind bushes.  The Rescue Mom rescued the mother cat and her kittens.  We adopted these two. Bless them, they make me laugh several times a day.

Check back I will be posting more.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Travel to Avalon, Catalina Island, California

 Catalina Island is an hour's boat-ride away but the place feels like some distant place in France or elsewhere.  Here are some family pictures from a recent visit:

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Thinking of Travel to Honfleur, Pelourinho, Ephesus

 Remembering ....

#Honfleur #France

#Ephesus #Turkey

#Pelourinho #SalvadorBrazil

tags: #Travel #tourist #Travelling

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

PRAISE for Linda Ty-Casper's book on Leonard Ralph Casper



WILL YOU HAPPEN, PAST THE SILENCE, THROUGH THE DARK?: Remembering Leonard Ralph Casper, by Linda Ty-Casper -Advance copies now available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. 


Will You Happen, Past the Silence, Through the Dark: Remembering Leonard Ralph Casper is a treasure trove of charms and jewels for those like me who find Leonard Casper a bit of a cryptic, enigmatic figure. Linda Ty-Casper has done a great service by shedding light on Len’s memory, allowing us a voyeur’s look into a life dedicated to the magic and unease found in letters. ...I am sure this book will remain relevant for decades to come.” ~ Joel Pablo Salud, Author, Editor

Saturday, September 17, 2022

The Beginning and Other Asian Folktales in Ebook - PAWWA Book Project


I kept my promise! I made an Ebook of the second children's book of folk tales by PAWWA (Philippine American Women Writers and Artists): THE BEGINNING AND OTHER ASIAN FOLKTALES is now available from various Ebook vendors, including Kindle.

The Beginning and Other Asian Folktales is a collection of 18 folktales from Laos (Hmong), the Philippines, Japan, Vietnam, Sumatra, Bali, India, China, and Korea.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Seven Stories from Seven Sisters: A Collection of Philippine Folktales - now in Ebook format

While sorting out the papers of the writers' group PAWWA (Philippine American Women Writers and Artists), I was looking at PAWWA's children's book projects and thought it was a shame that these charming books are now out-of-print. I decided to make ebook editions of the two books (PAWWA had entrusted the care of these books to me.)

The first one, now released and given new life is: SEVEN STORIES FROM SEVEN SISTERS: A COLLECTION OF PHILIPPINE FOLKTALES.

This book collects retellings of folk tales, legends, epic retellings, by the seven founding members of PAWWA -more info in this Wiki link ( .

There are seven beloved stories in the book that include: Seven Thousand Emeralds, The Legend of Mt. Makiling, A Secret in Makiling, The Mermaid and Kanag, The Legend of Siete Pecados, The Haunted Dakit Tree, and Bolak Sonday: The Woman Warrior. These retellings can be enjoyed by children and grownups alike. Folk tales from the Philippines and around the world are great educational tools.


"I hope that every school system in the United States will have a collection of folktales like SEVEN STORIES FROM SEVEN SISTERS to enrich their multicultural programs, reflecting the rich tapestry of our society," said Warren Furutani, then President of the Los Angeles Board of Education.



 tags: Philippine folktales, Filipino folktales, Filipino folklore, Filipino legends, Philippine myths, Filipino children's book

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Book Review for Linda Ty-Casper's Book: WILL YOU HAPPEN

Book review WILL YOU HAPPEN, PAST THE SILENCE, THROUGH THE DARK?: Remembering Leonard Ralph Casper (PALH, December 2022, ISBN: 978-1-953716200 - 
 Review published in SANTELMO: Liwanag Sa Dilim (#7, Sept. 21, 2022)

Will You Happen, Past the Silence, Through the Dark: A Life in Letters

By Joel Pablo Salud

To write an analysis “so candid as to seem uncaring”.

I’ve read that line in In Burning Ambush: Essays 1985-1990, my first and, regrettably, only introduction to the works of author Leonard Casper. I had stumbled on a copy in a secondhand section of a bookstore whose name I cannot now recall, for a price much too bargain-basement for its hidden gems.

Casper, it would be safe to say, was one of my earliest influences in writing the essay. It’s a station he continues to share with four other authors whose nonfiction prose have nourished me in the early years: Alfred “Krip” Yuson, Sylvia Mayuga, Rosario Garcellano, and National Artist for Literature Cirilo Bautista.

They are my core encouragements, my pentangular spurs to a career spun across close to 40 years. But it was Casper who has, to this day, remained but a mere shadow, until Cecilia Brainard (author of When the Rainbow Goddess Wept and The Newspaper Widow, among others) requested that I look into a manuscript Linda Ty-Casper has written on her husband, Len.

In the Preface, Linda Casper writes:

“This book is the Memoir that Len did not get to write. But the letters he wrote actually are his Memoir, evoking a life, the work that nurtured that life, the yearning for meaning that led to the creation of that essential self through his writings – plays, poems short stories, critical essays; through his planting trees and shrubs along the Sudbury River where we lived for over 60 years; through the carefully chosen trips to reconnect with memory and realize dreams. Len chose a life and a world in which to live it; became who he wanted to be.”

Will You Happen, Past the Silence, Through the Dark: Remembering Leonard Casper begins as any good memoir ought to start: a controlled snapshot of a moment in time, shaped in ways that only a seasoned storyteller can:

“First, in a box of old pictures, there was the photo I don’t recall seeing: Len against a field, dated 1952. It could not have been taken in the Philippines, since he came in 1953, a month after Nanay, Gabriela Paez Viardo, my grandmother died, so they never met. They would have liked each other. Nanay told stories of the revolution against Spain, the war with the Americans; saying, ‘Someone should write these stories.’”

My being lured into the story was instantaneous. All it took was a sense of mystery, of a time and a photograph less likely to have any value to the reader save for its undying historicity. Talk of revolution, of war, of the colonials, of grandmothers holding long-kept secrets, were always a matter of great expectations to me story-wise. It reminded me of a memoir penned by my Latin American favorites, Gabriel García Márquez, in particular, whose little more than personal accounts of his life seeded much of his fiction.

Linda Ty Casper’s inclusion of the correspondences by Leonard Casper was everything but a dry recollection of now irrelevant thoughts. In fact, I find them significant in a memoir largely focused on the author’s writing life. Linda Casper writes:

“This recollection of Len’s life, overlapping at times, is a rumination. The letters show a life lived not in the isolation of academe, but one ever opening into fullness: countless connections that deepened into an inner life which shaped the work, enriched daily existence: perhaps, what continues into eternity, endless time, and timeless space.”

Leonard’s exchanges with American poet and literary critic Robert Penn Warren were so forthright and honest that any writer who would read them, and look back at his or her own life, may find necessary comfort in Leonard’s words:

“I have had a novel and a book poetry rejected too many times to care for wishful thinking. But these are the facts and I’m sure you can be even more unimpressed by them than I…” (March 10, 1953).

Without falling into the temptation of being a spoiler, I quote here Warren’s letter to Casper five years later in 1958: “Dear Mr. Casper, Yes, I have learned that Random House will not do your book – through I know that Erskine was greatly impressed by your quality as critic and writer. I imagine that it is the sort of thing which a university press will have to do – and what’s wrong with that?”

The choice of the right publisher and timing do come into play when thinking of publishing a book, and by August, Warren’s words proved him right. The University of Washington had finally agreed to come out with Leonard Casper’s book.

Leonard Casper would later write of Warren – in his book Robert Penn Warren: The Dark and Bloody Ground (Ford Foundation / University of Washington Press) – and bring to fore such ideas that people today need to hear:

“Violence is read not as melodramatic gesture but sometimes as the ironic outcome of attitudes of self-appointed innocents, those who elect themselves by self-righteous damnation of other; and always as the living shape of mutable identity / Warren does not share the Jeffersonian myth of human perfectibility; but everything he has ever written defends a faith in the possibility of human redemption, through acceptance of responsibility for one’s acts, even those long past, and vicariously for the acts of others.”

What, to me, remains intriguing was Leonard Casper’s withdrawal from a scholarship awarded by the Fulbright Committee and the Institute of International Education. The letter dated August 1, 1949 was heartbreaking to read, but simultaneously liberating for one reason: the possibility and presence of an honest man.

“Someone who deserves it more and who can benefit others and himself more by it, has the scholarship now… I think my greatest regret in having to refuse the Fulbright scholarship lay in the knowledge that it would be sort of a betrayal of those who had recommended me. I hope that you will forgive me for being honest too late.”

Leonard Casper, for everyone’s information, taught at the University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila, including Philippine Normal College. His last visit to the country was in 1996 where he presented a paper at the Bicentennial of the Philippine Revolution in Manila. His stay had opened doors for him to build personal relationships with many a Filipino author, including Silliman University’s Edilberto and Edith Teimpo. Where friends find comfort in each other’s encouragement, in the world of letters, such “encouragements” between friends come sometimes in rather harsh tones. Edilberto Tiempo’s letter to Leonard Casper dated January 26, 1974 was indicative of the candor friends in the literary community enjoy:

“Do you have a review of To Be Free?... I’m interested in your opinion especially because you were quite harsh on my first two novels. Frankly, Len, I couldn’t read any edition of Watch in the Night (or Cry Slaughter by Edilberto Tiempo), I have been embarrassed by that novel.”

Will You Happen, Past the Silence, Through the Dark: Remembering Leonard Casper is a treasure trove of charms and jewels for those like me who find Leonard Casper a bit of a cryptic, enigmatic figure. Linda Ty-Casper has done a great service by shedding light on Len’s memory, allowing us a voyeur’s look into a life dedicated to the magic and unease found in letters.

I am sure this book will remain relevant for decades to come.


BIO: Joel Pablo Salud is a Filipino author and columnist. He writes for the Philstar Life, Rappler, San Anselmo Publications, Inc, among others. He is a member at Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas, was former member of the Manila Critics Circle, former chair of the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN Manila and was former Editor-in-Chief at the Philippines Graphics.  

You can find Joel Pablo Salud and Anselmo Publications Inc in Facebook and other social media.  The photo shows him with his wife.



Tags: Leonard Casper, Robert Penn Warren, Philippine literature, Filipino literature, Philippine critic