Tuesday, July 4, 2023

To Leonard Ralph Casper from Bienvenido N. Santos

 July 6 is the 100th Birthday anniversary of Leonard Ralph Casper!



Letters from Bienvenido N. Santos --
Dear Len:
I’m grateful to you for your letter, that “reverend” portion which…about time someone like you opened my eyes to the truth: I have been luckier than most…

Did I say anything about the National Artist Award? I do not WANT it, Len. Not from that couple…if offered to me, I will turn it down…You are right, what more do I need?

I’m not going to teach anymore after June 10…you can be sure, I’m going to write my heart out…because it is the only way…I know you will be busy but please, for my own selfish reasons, write to me… I’ll be in the Philippines not later than Nov 1...the priority in my life is my health. I spent two days in the hospital week, the usual emergency treatment for chest pains…fortunately everything turned out well…O, Len, you don’t know how helpful you have been. Thank you, dear friend. As ever, Ben. May 24, 1983.


Dear Len:
Last month during the launching of DISTANCES: IN TIME I autographed a copy (hardcover) for you with the understanding that Ateneo airmails you the copy…it’s been more than a month since…I am truly grateful for what you have done and I trust you like the book.

I’ll be in Manila again next month. From there I’ll fly to SF sometime in March. It’s quite boring here in the provinces. I feel like a shuttle-cock going from Naga City to Daraga and back. It’s better in Manila though quite expensive…in spite of the devaluation of the peso, prices are quite pretty stiff.

It has quieted a bit down here. We Filipinos are uncomfortable in the role of revolutionists…I can’t help feeling so frustrated and angry at all the lies and corruption all over the place, the hiya that used to characterize our culture is just about obliterated…
The What the Hell For, etc. novel I started 10 years ago and discarded around 1980…I don’t know how long it will take me to finish revising…it used to take me years. I know there’s precious little time but I tire easily…So I’m starting another novel. Just found a great title for it (SO MANY DIFFERENT PLACES), culled from a poem by Neruda…Has anything like this happened to you?...
…Every time my chest hurts, I’m reminded of my mortality. (I had good visits with Estrella just before she died!) And I sober up. I take it easy.

Do the same, young man. Remember me to Linda and the daughters. As ever, Ben. Jan. 27, 1984..."

Photos show Linda and Leonard Casper, and Bienvenido N. Santos.

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Tags: Philippine literature, Filipino literature, Pinoylit, Philippine critics, Filipino books 

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