Thursday, December 21, 2023

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, from Cecilia Brainard


I wish all my readers the best this holiday season! Blessings to you and your loved ones.

I am sharing with you a poem that appeared in the November 2024 issue of the Philippine Graphic.  I do not always write poetry so this is "rare" if you will. Further, the Graphic, along with Focus Philippines and Mr. & Ms. were some of the magazines that published my early writings, and so this publication of "My Mother's Skirts" is special to me.

You can still get a copy of the November 2023 Graphic from Lazada.  To those abroad, I am sharing this snapshot of the cover and page with my story. 

Tags: Christmas story, Cecilia Brainard poems, Philippine literature,  Cebuano literature 

Monday, December 11, 2023

Interview of Author Cecilia Brainard by Lennie Jean Panugaling


Interview of Cecilia Brainard by Lennie Jean Panugaling from Carcar City College

Language Research Subject “The Heart of Cecilia Manguerra’s Masterpieces”

Stories studied: A Very Short Story, Flying a Kite, My Mother Is Dying

Hello Lennie Jean,

Thank you for the interview. I recommend that you also do research about my work aside from the three short shorts. Recommended links:   (Check out interviews and sources) (On the side are “Cecilia Brainard Fiction” for more stories that you can read, including novel excerpts)  (The Cebuana in the World: Cecilia Manguerra Brainard Writing Out of Cebu. Watch documentary, and please “Like” on Youtube. Thank you.)

Interviewer: Yesterday, our panelists were excited to find out that you responded to me on Facebook, leaving them intrigued about the prevalence of heartbreak in your stories. As you navigate the creative process, what influences or thoughts guide you to infuse your narratives with poignant emotions? Are personal painful memories a significant source of inspiration for you?

Cecilia Brainard:  You have chosen three of my stories referred to as Fast Fiction or Short Shorts, meaning each story is under a thousand words long. Stories this short are written in a precise way, with each word having relevance in the story. In some ways, they are almost like poetry.

Why do my stories deal with poignant emotions? Are personal painful memories a significant source of inspiration for me?

 Two important elements of story telling are “character” and “conflict”. If you analyze good stories, you will find that there is a main character who has some kind of conflict or problem. The story revolves around how the character deals with the conflict. Stories will involve the emotions of the characters. There are other elements in storytelling like plot, dialogue, voice, and so on, but I’m focusing on these two elements in order to answer your question. If you write of a character who doesn’t have conflict, who is perfectly happy for instance, you will not have a story. A character without conflict or a problem will have no challenges; he/she will not be motivated to do anything; your written work will be static or will meander and boring.

            This is why when I work with my characters, when I am figuring out their stories, I have to find out what their conflicts/problems are. And I have to find out how my characters will respond to these conflicts (or stresses). The decisions they make in response to their conflicts constitute what we call plot. Their emotional reactions and changes are called character development (or character arc); and this is what makes the piece feel like a story.

            To answer your second question about whether personal painful memories are a significant source of inspiration for me: I don’t rely solely on my memories for inspiration, but draw from history, from folklore, from personal observation of the people I have come across. For instance, my first novel When the Rainbow Goddess is about World War Two in the Philippines. I used many stories I heard from my parents in this novel. I have many stories that have been inspired by my childhood in Cebu, and these stories integrate memories of the people I knew or had seen and my own personal life.

 Check out the documentary about me The Cebuana in the World: Cecilia Manguerra Brainard Writing Out of Cebu – see link above. The documentary will give you an idea of the various stories I tell and where they come from.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Interview of Author Cecilia Brainard by Cris Al Maglinte Cagoscos


For Cris Al Maglinte Cagoscos & Classmates

Cebu Technology University-Moalboal Campus

“Literary Analysis: Narrative Strategies and Cultural Implications in Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

Short Stories”

Re "Flip Gothic" and "Woman with Horns", we would like to ask what inspired and motivated you to write these two stories and how they relate to your past experiences.

Hi, Cris,

Thank you and your classmates for your interest.

I highly recommend that you do some research as well about my work – see links below, and there are more links listed in my official website. 

Recommended Links: - Click on “About” and check out Interviews and Sources

The Cebuana in the World: Cecilia Manguerra Brainard Writing Out of Cebu -

Visit and search “Woman With Horns” and “Flip Gothic” in my blog:

Re Woman with Horns

Woman with Horns was one of my earlier short stories when I was interested in the historical background of Cebu, albeit transformed as Ubec in my imagination. In schools I had been taught that “Magellan discovered the Philippines” which I realized was a fallacy because the Philippines had people way before Magellan showed up. In other words that statement “Magellan discovered the Philippines” was coming from a Eurocentric point of view. I was keenly aware of the Western orientation in the Philippines, by the books we read, the movies that we saw, the music that we danced to, our awe at American or European cultures.