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.