Sunday, July 01, 2012


Here's the fourth of snapshot series posting an image of my working desk every Sunday:

Among the contents of the desk today are

--recent issue of literary journal Aufgabe, edited by E. Tracy Grinnell, Julian T. Brolawski and erica kaufman, which includes a usefully educational section on Salvadoran poetry edited by guest editor Christian Nagler. It was a real treat to read the poems of Salvadoran poets (all new to me and probably to you readers so check them out): Krisma Mancia, Miguel Huezo-Mixco, Luis Alvarenga, Teresa Andrade, Otoniel Guevara, Rafael Menjivar Ochoa, Claudia Herodier and Roque Dalton.

--on the laptop screen with a print-out on the desk is the manuscript of my mother's forthcoming book! Yep, my Mom will come out with her FIRST book at age 82: DAWAC and Other Memoir-Narratives by Beatriz Tilan Tabios. I, no doubt, will be talking more about this in future blog posts but, for now, let me say that this book will include her recollections of her World War II experiences, including hiding from the Japanese army as it invaded the Philippines. Here's a section that talks about when she and her family ran to the forests to hide--it was during those times that, to while away the time, she ended up reading Greek poets for the first time! As this section shows, it's interesting to see the weaving of WWII lived experience with references to older wars:
     Someone came to the forest to let us know that the [Japanese] enemy had not yet come back from the east. The Soriano family would have gone into the forest, too. So we stayed where we were. I had my little book, the Iliad.  I added it to the things in my bag. It was light anyway so it didn’t make a difference even if I had to carry it while we were walking and sometimes running up the hillsides. I started reading it as soon as we sat down in a spot surrounded by low bushes. I was engrossed in the fight between Hector and Achilles. I wanted to know who would win. I was cheering for Hector. My mother told my brothers and me that we could eat some of the brown sugar we had in our bags. My brothers did, but I saved mine in case we would stay there longer.
     All of a sudden we heard gun shots, continuous gun shots. It sounded like many guns were fired at the same time. We all dove into a large hole near us. I was on top of those who reached the hole ahead of me. I heard the men whisper, “Machine guns!” We remained crouched for a long time. When the suspense overcame me, I stood up. I saw a Japanese soldier standing on a high ridge south of us. I dropped back to my crouching position. I didn’t tell the others what I saw, but I was expecting to be pierced by a bayonet any minute.

Good ol' Mom. She pulled it off and deserves to reap the reward: a book!  I am so proud of her.

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