A literary career is no easy pursuit. Unlike a nine to five profession in which a supervisor appraises one’s performance and then offers a promotion, no set pattern exists on how one makes it as an author. As of the publication of my first novel, “Potato Queen” in 2005, I had amassed a stack of at least 220 rejection letters from literary journals, agents, and publishers over a ten-year period. I continue my quest to find a home for novels I have written since, the latest of which is entitled “My Wonder Years in Hollywood,” a story about the effect of Hollywood on an Asian-American man during his formative years in the Philippines, the United States, and France. I mention my rejections with pride. If acceptance had come easily, then I would never have discovered the good things about myself that have enabled me to persevere – that I’m tenacious, dedicated, and passionate.
Certain people and events have inspired me, too. No artist is born out of a void, and so not to give credit where credit is due is to be foolhardy. Vincent Van Gogh never knew fame and fortune; John Steinbeck endured 75 rejections before his first publication; and music critics lambasted Maria Callas as possessing an ugly voice. Yet despite these obstacles… or perhaps because of them… these personalities rose above the crowd to create art of mythological stature.
I am also lucky to hail from a country that continues to be a hot bed of political intrigue. The Spanish and American colonization of the Philippines, along with the Marcos dictatorship and its aftermath, have plunged the country into cultural and economic rubble. From this rubble we Filipinos have many stories to tell on the grand scale of a Hollywood epic.
I save my family for last because their belief in me has been the most inspiring. What more can I say? Simply, that I write to immortalize the people I love.
Here are my thoughts on the treasures of the world – from still pictures to moving pictures, from ghosts of memories past to dreams of the future – that have made me the person and the writer that I am.
Enjoy my blog.
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I’ll try this again. Last week I attempted to write a note and it didn’t accept my email . . . or something, so I lost what I had written. I’m not a “hard core” reader, so I’m not sure how much of your blog I’ll get into, but I did just read what you wrote above on this page. Clearly, you have the ability to express yourself and enjoy writing, whatever the outcome. I have a friend in his late 70s who has learned both to love life more and express himself in his poetry without so much concern about “acceptance,” though he was once published in the New Yorker magazine. Jonathan was a dark and frequently negative, yet interesting person when I met him. Today with lots of therapy he has turned that around and become much satisfied in his art. I think his therapist has also encouraged him to expand his sketching and pastel work of sexy young men that he invites to his place; another part of his artist growth, late in life. Peace! Richard from the movies group!
Thank you for your message, Richard. Just read it now. What an inspiring message about your friend, also named Richard. For as long as we are alive, we are capable of marvelous accomplishments.
Thank you, great post.
Mwo3nu I think this is a real great blog post.Thanks Again. Fantastic.
I really like your blog articles. Thanks for the insight you provide the readers.
I think I have a signed copy of your novel . . which I am enjoying very much (I’m on Chapter 18 of “Potato Queen). I lived across from Cala Foods at the corner of Leavenworth and California Street 1977-78 when I was 23. Interesting to read how SF was in the 90s–and of course to read about Juancho’s experiencing of that city. I look forward to reading more of your work.
Thank you, Gregor. I’m flattered and touched that you are reading and enjoying my novel.
I just read “Neighbor” — it’s really good, very sweet, very open!
Thank you, Gabriel. How very touching that you would read my story.
Hi Rafaelito: Your writing is so inspiring to me! I came to California from Hawaii as a shy young girl but I too have a deep love of English literature and art and am an admirer of beauty in all it’s forms including words strung together like so many delicate pearls. I am sure many underestimate our abilities…and our indeed our souls but you remind me that that is not what matters. What matters is to write… because you must. Thank you.
Hello, Selina. I just read your comment now. I apologize that it’s taken me this long, as I hardly check my comments box. I am very grateful for your appreciation of my postings. Yes – get your voice out there so that you will be hard and appreciated and encourage others to do likewise. We must inspire each other.
I read your piece in the Gay and Lesbian Review. It was great. We all long to be seen and yet, sometimes it never happens in the way we desire it.
Thank you. I appreciate your reading my piece. I apologize for this late response, as I hardly check my blog messages.