The Writers Studio Tucson- Presents Advanced Workshop Spring Reading

The Writers Studio Tucson Advanced Workshop Spring Reading
w/ David Anderson Reneé Bibby, Lela Scott MacNeil, & Lilian Vercauteren

Saturday, April 19
Free and Open to the Public

The Writers Studio Tucson is proud to present a new reading series featuring the work of writers from The Writers Studio Advanced Workshop. Founded in New York City by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Philip Schultz, the Writers Studio has been helping writers achieve full creative potential since 1987. With branches in New York, San Francisco, Amsterdam, and Tucson, the Writers Studio offers a supportive community for writers to study craft and achieve their writing goals. Join our writers as they read new work developed during their time at the Writers Studio.

David Anderson was raised in Ohio, came to Arizona to attend the University, and has been here ever since. He is a former teacher and school administrator, and he currently writes and takes photographs in Catalina, Arizona. He is a student in the Advanced Workshop at the Writers Studio Tucson.


Whenever Reneé Bibby gets a new version of Word she changes to the autocorrect to automatically add the accent aigu onto the last e. As she was learning to write her name, her parents dubbed the necessary diacritic as a “special feather,” cracking the normal world open to reveal a world of whimsy, the unique, and off-beat—all themes that now infuse her writing. She is a fiction writer, a student of the Advanced Workshop at the Writers Studio, Tucson, a teacher at the Writer Studio, and a founding member of the Low Writer Collective. She has been published in Black & BLUE, andCrack The Spine.

Lela Scott MacNeil was born in Los Alamos, New Mexico, same as the atomic bomb. She has, at various points in her life, been a young girl in a Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tale, an indie film producer, a scofflaw, a small-time revolutionary, a screenwriter, a big-time corporate marketing executive, a film festival organizer, a tattoo enthusiast, and a recovering New Yorker. She currently works for the University of Arizona Press and teaches creative writing at the Writers Studio Tucson. She is an MFA Candidate in Fiction at the University of Arizona and a student in the Advanced Workshop at the Writers Studio Tucson. Her fiction is forthcoming from Gertrude and Gutter Books.

Although Lilian Vercauteren likes to tell her friends that she was born in Narnia, it was in actuality Naarden, a small fortified, star-shaped city not too far from a place called Amsterdam. Taking a break from the Dutch weather, she flew to the US at age 22 with the famous last words, “I will be back in a year or so.” Of course “or so” is always open for various interpretations. Eight years later she lives in Tucson, where she started following the yellow brick road, better known as creative fiction writing that might one day fork off into screen writing. She is a student in the Advanced Class of the Writers Studio and a member of the Low Writers Collective. While she misses the ocean, she compensates with an acquired taste for monsoons and tacos. Both are wet and salty after all.


Leave a comment

Filed under Performances, Workshops & Conferences

Kore Press- 2014 Winner of the Kore Press First Book Award & Recent Releases

Kore Press- 2014 Winner of the Kore Press First Book Award & Recent Releases

selected by Joy Harjo
Congratulations to the winner
and two finalists! And big thanks to the 300 poets who submitted, to the readers and final judge.

Kore contest judge Joy Harjo
(2014 Gugenheim Fellow)
said of the winning work, SILENT ANTOMIES: This is
one of the most unique poetry collections. It’s a kind of graphic poetry book, but that’s not exactly it either. Poetry unfurls within, outside and through images. The images are stark representations that include bottles that have been excavated from a disappeared age, contemporary ultrasound images of a fetus, family photographs and charts. They establish stark bridges between ancestor and descendant time and presence. This collection is highly experimental and exciting.

Monica Ong is a poet and artist dwelling in experimental spaces. She completed her MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design in Digital Media, and is also a Kundiman poetry fellow. Her work has been published in Seneca Review, Drunken Boat, Glassworks Magazine, Tidal Basin Review, and others. An exhibiting artist for over a decade, she draws from her professional design practice to innovate on the alchemy of text and image.

Congratulations to the finalists: Sass Brown (Alexandria, Virginia) for USA-1000, and Jennifer Franklin (New York, New York) for DAUGHTER.

Call for Open Submissions:
7 days left to submit
April 24, 2014
Allison Green Comments on Open Submissions
Allison Green, Open Submissions participant

2014 Open Submissions
Kore Press is accepting submissions of full-length manuscripts through April 24th. The open submissions’ editors review work for publication AND provide 200 words critical feedback for each writer. We receive about 300 mss and select 3-5/year. Thanks for thinking of Kore for your words! We’d love to see what you are working on. See full guidelines here.

Submit your mss
Sweet National Poetry Month Deals from Kore Press
Free Shipping & New Book Bundles
Cori A. Winrock and Jen McClanaghan’s gorgeous new titles get

4 New titles for $55 & free shipping ($70 value)
THIS COALITION OF BONES of Bones by Cori A. Winrock
RIVER LEGS by Jen McClanaghan
The Best of Kore Press Poetry edited by Ann Dernier

Six Pack for $60 & free shipping ($84 value)
This Coalition of Bones by Cori A. Winrock
River Legs by Jen McClanaghan
The Bright Field of Everything by Deborah Fries
PLUS 3 handmade chapbooks
REVENANT by Stephanie Balzer
REDSHIFT poems by Joni Wallace

Two-for-one Deborah Fries in April! Buy the new release The Bright Field of Everything and get her first collection, Various Modes of Departure, as a gift! ORDER NOW

For 20 years, Kore Press has provided a socially progressive forum for the contemporary voices of women writers and girls

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Pinterest
240 N Court, Tucson, AZ 85701 – 520-327-2127


Leave a comment

Filed under Books to Read

Australian Writers’ Centre 17 April 2014- Employment Opportunities & Student Successes & Sydney Writers’ Festival & Many Writing Courses

Australian Writers’ Centre  17 April 2014- Employment Opportunities & Student Successes & Sydney Writers’ Festival & Many Writing Courses

It’s an exciting time here at the Australian Writers’ Centre. We’re expanding our team so if you’re interested in working here, we’d love to hear from you. I’m looking for an Amazing Operations Manager to keep the wheels of our busy centre running smoothly.

I’m also looking for a Brilliant Content Manager/Subeditor who loves words and can manage our blog, magazine, articles, newsletters and so on.

When I first started the Centre nine years ago, I never thought that we would end up teaching more than 17,000 students from all over Australia. Beyond that, I never imagined that I would meet so many amazing people, many of whom have become firm friends. Our students inspire me every single day and I’m so thrilled that we can play a small part in helping their writing dreams come true. If you want to be a part of something special – and you have the skills to fulfil the above roles – I’d love to hear from you.

TIP: “More than” or “over”?

The world of copy editors was rocked recently by an announcement by the editors of one of America’s most important style guides. At a meeting of the American Copy Editors Society, the Associated Press Stylebook editors announced that they’ll be adjusting their stance on the use of “more than” and “over”. From now on, the two can be used interchangeably to indicate a greater numerical value. For example:

She rides more than 15km a day.
She rides over 15km a day.

Traditionally, the preferred usage in this case has been “more than”. But an exception was always made for statements such as “over 50 years old”, or a comparative statement like “over 30% more students attended”.

So AP have taken a stand. According to the editors, “We decided on the change because it has become common usage. We’re not dictating that people use ‘over’ – only that they may use it as well as ‘more than’ to indicate greater numerical value.”

In British English, it seems any distinction between “more than” and “over” was abandoned long ago. Even the Macquarie Dictionary says over is synonymous with “in excess of, or more than”. So you can safely use either in your writing and usually the decision will be based on which option sounds better. For example:

There were more than 50 Easter eggs hidden throughout the office.
There were over 100 guests at the wedding.

Sydney Writers’ Festival

We’re counting down the days to the Sydney Writers’ Festival and are especially looking forward to the events our very own presenters will be appearing at.

Patti Miller, our Life Writing guru, will be appearing at Stranger than Fiction? Historical Memory and the Past on Friday 23 May. This is a free session so make sure you get along and check it out.

Travel Memoir and Creative Writing Stage 1 presenter Claire Scobie will also be presenting a session at the festival, with screenwriter David Roach.

And Writing Books for Children and Young Adults presenter Judith Ridge will be busy at the Primary School Days sessions in Parramatta and Penrith, as well as appearing in panel sessions Once Upon a Time: Myth & Fairytale (with yet another AWC presenter, Kate Forsyth) and will be interviewing internationally renowned kids’ book author Dav Pilkey.

We hope to see you there!

Student Success – Christine Piper
Australian Writers’ Centre magazine

We received some very exciting news this week from former student Christine Piper (NSW). She completed a travel writing course with us and has just been awarded the 2014 Calibre Prize for an Outstanding Essay.

Her essay, “Unearthing the Past”, is about Japan’s biological warfare experimentation program during World War II and the more recent civilian movement to uncover the truth, and has been published in the current issue of Australian Book Review.

Congratulations, Christine!
Courses starting soon
You’ll find a course starting soon to suit your writing goals:

Enroll now!
Online course: Writing
Picture Books
Your online course starts:
The week beginning 21 April 2014
Where a picture is not actually worth
1000 words…
Book now
Enroll now!
Writing Books for Children and Young Adults
Your course starts:
Wednesday 30 April 2014
Inspire and entertain a new generation
of readers
Book now
Enroll now!
Creative Writing Stage 1
Your course starts:
Thursday 1 May 2014
Stories, ideas, fiction … where will your imagination take you?
Book now

So you want to be a writer podcast

We talk about Julia Gillard’s obsession with Game of Thrones, the train wreck that is the Real Housewives of Melbourne, the new documentary “American Blogger” and more blog to book successes. We also chat to our Writer in Residence Kylie Mason, who talks about what an editor does and how to find one.

You can listen to the podcast here or find it on iTunes here. If you don’t use iTunes you can get the feed here.

Did you know? Lipogram

What’s a lipogram? It’s a form of word game or literary trick that involves writing without a particular letter. The word lipogram comes from the Greek adjective lipogrammatos which means ‘wanting a letter’ and the term most probably first came into use in English in the 18th or 19th century – though lipograms themselves have been around much longer.

There are plenty of classical examples of lipograms – Greek poets Laranda and Tryhphiodorus were famous for their lipogrammatic versions of Homeric poems. But probably the most famous example in English is the 1939 novel by Ernest Vincent Wright, Gadsby. The 50,000 word book does not contain one letter ‘e’, but despite this, critics praised the work.

Another impressive lipogrammatic example is French writer Georges Perec’s novel A Void (La Disparition) written in 1969. Again, he’s avoided the letter ‘e’ throughout the novel. Even more remarkable is Gilbert Adair’s English translation – it also avoids use of the letter ‘e’.

Plan ahead – Grammar and Punctuation Essentials
Enrol now!

Why do I need an apostrophe for “kids’ books” and not “books for kids”? What’s the difference between which and that? Where should I put the comma? Do I even need the comma?

Grammar and punctuation can seem overwhelming but once you know the basic rules, you can confidently approach almost any writing task. Our one-day seminar Grammar and Punctuation Essentials is an intensive and interactive day that will leave you with knowledge you can apply immediately. No longer will you need to fear apostrophes!

Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When: Thursday 15 May 2014
Time: 9am–5pm

Let us help you now.

Oops Word

This week’s oops word is a doozy. We snapped this business sign in Victoria because, well, it’s not often you see to so badly misused! This sign writer should have written “No job TOO big. No job TOO small”. Too is what you use to express “to an excessive extent or degree”. To is a preposition suggesting motion or direction towards something.

WEBPICK: Hemingway app

Want to write like Hemingway? Then check out this desktop app. Simply enter your text then click on “Edit” and you’ll receive a grade on the readability of your writing.

We ran our tip on lipograms through the Hemingway App and got a readability score of 13 (or “OK”). There was one sentence that was too long and we used two adverbs (and should aim for one or none). But there were no words that could be simpler and we managed to avoid the use of passive voice.

Okay, so it’s extremely prescriptive. But it’s also fun, and not a bad way to weed out unnecessary adverbs or passive phrases.

Upcoming course dates
Online courses
Online course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge/Cathie Tasker
Week beginning Monday 21 April 2014 for five weeks

Online course: Writing Picture Books with Cathie Tasker
Week beginning Monday 21 April 2014 for five weeks

Online course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Cathie Tasker/Pamela Freeman – NEW DATE
Week beginning Monday 28 April 2014 for five weeks

Online course: Advanced Fiction Writing Techniques with Cathie Tasker/Pamela Freeman
Week beginning Monday 28 April 2014 for five weeks

Online course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Sue White/Allison Tait – NEW DATE
Week beginning Monday 28 April 2014 for five weeks

Online course: Travel Writing with Sue White
Week beginning Monday 5 May 2014 for five weeks

Sydney courses
Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge
Starting Wednesday 30 April 2014 for five weeks

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman
Starting Thursday 1 May 2014 for five weeks

Course: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle
Thursday 1 May 2014 (one-day course)

Seminar: Blogging for Beginners with Kim Berry
Thursday 1 May 2014 (two-hour evening seminar)

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with James Roy
Saturday 3 May and Saturday 10 May 2014 (2 consecutive Saturdays)

Course: Life Writing with Patti Miller
Saturday 3 May and Saturday 10 May 2014 (2 consecutive Saturdays)

Course: Professional Business Writing with Sue White
Thursday 8 May 2014 (one-day course)

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
Starting Thursday 8 May 2014 for five weeks

Course: Travel Writing with Sue White
Saturday 10 May and Sunday 11 May 2014 (2 consecutive days)

Seminar: Build Your Profile Using Twitter with Kerri Sackville
Tuesday 13 May 2014 (two-hour evening seminar)

Course: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
Thursday 15 May 2014 (one-day course)

Seminar: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett
Saturday 17 May 2014 (two-hour morning seminar)

Seminar: How to Create and Sell Your eBook with Anna Maguire
Monday 19 May 2014 (two-hour evening seminar)

Course: Editing Essentials with Deb Doyle
Wednesday 21 May 2014 (one-day course)

Course: Writing About Interiors, Style and Design with Nigel Bartlett
Starting Wednesday 21 May 2014 for two weeks

Course: Business Writing Essentials with Kate Hennessy
Thursday 22 May 2014 (one-day course)

Seminar: Blogging for Beginners with Kim Berry
Saturday 24 May 2014 (two-hour evening seminar)

Seminar: From Blog to Book with Kerri Sackville
Tuesday 27 May 2014 (two-hour evening seminar)

Course: Food Writing with Carli Ratcliff
Saturday 31 May and Sunday 1 June 2014 (2 consecutive days)

Course: Screenwriting Stage 2 with Tim Gooding
Starting Tuesday 3 June 2014 for five weeks

Course: Write Your Novel with Pamela Freeman
Starts Wednesday 4 June 2014 (6 month program)

Course: Life Writing with Patti Miller
Starting Thursday 5 June 2014 for six weeks

Course: Introduction to Novel Writing with Pamela Freeman
Starting Thursday 12 June 2014 for six weeks

Course: Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 with Sue White – NEW DATE
Saturday 14 June and Sunday 15 June 2014 (2 consecutive days)

Weekend course: Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie
Saturday 21 June and Sunday 22 June 2014 (2 consecutive days)

Course: Advanced Fiction Writing Techniques with Pamela Freeman
Starting Wednesday 25 June 2014 for five weeks

Seminar: Self-publishing: How to do it with Geoff Bartlett
Tuesday 15 July 2014 (two-hour evening seminar)

Course: PR and Media Releases That Get Results with Catriona
Wednesday 16 July 2014 (one-day course)

Weekend course: History, Mystery and Magic with Kate Forsyth
Saturday 19 July and Sunday 20 July 2014 (2 consecutive days)

Weekend Course: Write a Chick Lit Novel with Lisa Heidke – NEW DATE
Saturday 19 July and Sunday 20 July 2014 (2 consecutive days)

Course: Thriller Writing with L.A. Larkin
Starting Tuesday 22 July 2014 for five weeks

Course: Life Writing Masterclass with Patti Miller
Starting Friday 25 July 2014 for eight weeks

Course: Plotting and Planning with Kate Forsyth
Starting Tuesday 19 August 2014 for two weeks

Weekend course: Fantasy, Science Fiction and More with Pamela Freeman
Saturday 13 September and Sunday 14 September 2014 (2 consecutive days)

Overseas writing tours
Food Writing in Vietnam with Carli Ratcliff
When: Friday 16 May to Saturday 24 May 2014

Writing the Senses in Bali with Patti Miller
When: Saturday 12 July to Saturday 19 July 2014

Writing in Oxford with Kate Forsyth
When: Sunday 7 September to Monday 15 September 2014

Memoir Writing in Paris with Patti Miller
When: Thursday 23 October to Saturday 8 November 2014

Best wishes,
Valerie Khoo
National Director

Australian Writers’ Centre

Sydney and Online: (02) 9929 0088
Melbourne: (03) 9005 6737
Perth: (08) 9468 0177
Australian Writers’ Centre | National office: Suite 3, 55 Lavender Street Milsons Point, New South Wales 2061 Australia 02 9929 0088


Leave a comment

Filed under Workshops & Conferences

National Writers Union Tucson- Hosts Author Jacky Turchick & Open Mic

National Writers Union Tucson- Hosts Author Jacky Turchick & Open Mic
The National Writers Union will be hosting an open mic on Monday, April 21, starting at 6:15 or shortly thereafter. The open mic is for spoken word only but is open to all forms of spoken word (fiction, essays, poetry, articles, polemics, etc.). So bring something to read!

The lead reader will be Jacky Turchick, co-author of the children’s book “The Pancake Tree” that was recently published by Alicja Mann at Word Studio (

The event will be held in our new location, the Maker House at 283 N. Stone Ave., two blocks north of the downtown branch of the Pima County Public Library. There is free parking after 6 p.m. in the Franklin lot, right across the street from Maker House, as well as some parking along Stone Avenue itself (remember, metered parking is also free in the evenings). Anybody with mobility issues should use the main, East side building entrance off of Stone. For a map of both the location and the available parking, go to the bottom of the Maker House’s homepage at Also please note that the Maker House does not serve meals, but does offer a full range of drinks, including wine and beer. Since there will be no meal, we will be meeting at 6 p.m. instead of 5:30 as we did at Fronimo’s.

National Writers Union
(UAW Local 1981/AFL-CIO)
Tucson Unit

Leave a comment

Filed under Books to Read

Playwrights Foundation- Des Voix … Biennial 2014 & Lens on: CHRISTOPHE HONORÉ

Playwrights Foundation- Des Voix … Biennial 2014 & Lens on: CHRISTOPHE HONORÉ

It’s rare to encounter a play that climbs so insidiously into your psyche, whose impact you don’t even reckon until your unconscious alerts you to its presence.
Honoré had crafted such a piece…”
– Kimberly Jannarone, Translator – Death of a Young Man


For years people have been entranced by Christophe Honoré’s idiosyncratic voice for the stage and screen. Widely known for films such as Ma Mére, Love Songs, and Beloved, his new Métamorphoses is one of the most highly anticipated films of 2014. Unafraid to tackle subjects like HIV and the topic of death in chilling beguiling ways, we are thrilled that he will present his play Death of a Young Man, newly translated to English.

Des Voix … Biennial 2014
A Festival of New French Plays and Cinema
May 1-25

Christophe Honoré is one of four French playwrights featured on the festival. To Learn more click here!
The Des Voix Festival is produced by Playwrights Foundation, Tides Theatre and Cutting Ball Theater.

French Cinema Screenings

Mood Indigo
May 4 at 8pm

Le Chef
May 4 at 5:30pm

Experience It All
3 New Translations, an American Premiere, 5 Films & the Bal Littéraire!
Only $90 for one, $160 for two people

Festival Weekend
Thursday, May 8
7:30pm Where and When we Died
by Riad Gahmi – Rob Melrose, Trans.

Friday, May 9
8pm Bal Littéraire: A New Play Nightclub – An insta-play performance and dance party written in 48 hours by French and American playwrights!

Saturday, May 10
2pm One Upon Another by Léonore Confino – Michelle Haner, Trans
4pm Where and When we Died
8pm Death of a Young Man by Christophe Honoré – Kimberly Jannarone & Erik Butler, Trans.

Sunday, May 11
2pm Death of a Young Man
5pm Communiqué n˚10 by Samuel Gallet – Rob Melrose Trans – Produced by Cutting Ball Theater (running Thur-Sun, April 25-May 25)
7:30pm One Upon Another

French Cinema: Screenings

May 18
May 25
Paulette 5:30pm
Queen Margot
Age of Panic
All Staged Readings at Tides Theatre, 533 Sutter St. 2nd Floor/ Powell & Mason.
All Films playing at Tides Theatre, 533 Sutter St. 2nd Floor / Powell & Mason.
Communique n˚ 10 at Exit on Taylor St., 141 Taylor St.
Read our Blog! Like Us! @pwfoundation

Playwrights Foundation uses Vendini for ticketing, marketing, and box office management.

Playwrights Foundation – 1616-16th Street, Suite 350, San Francisco, CA, 94103, (415) 626-2176
Vendini, Inc. – 660 Market Street, San Francisco, CA, 94104, 1 (800) 901-7173

View as a web page. @pwfoundation


Leave a comment

Filed under Performances

Randy Ford Author- POSTE RESTANTE MANILA Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Thirteen

Jose avoided his torturers’ eyes. He looked up at a bare ceiling or down at a wet floor. By then Jose was very weak. Torture had taken everything out of him. He could hardly stand and felt sad too, weak and sad. It was already a month since he was taken from his apartment in Ermita to Camp Crame. He had never been inside Camp Crame before then, though Camp Crame wasn’t far from the University of the Philippines.

Jose attempted a hunger strike. Failing, he considered there was problem with heroism. “In detention there weren’t many options,” former detainees said, “I know some prisoners have survived solitary confinement without going mad. Some prisoners have survived solitary confinement for years, but many prisoners simply can’t take it.” When I think of Jose, it’s clear to me that, even without torture, detention would’ve taken a toll on him. And a hunger strike seems in character, and before another incarnation he might’ve joined the communist party and Jose Maria Sison in his fight against repression and fascism, but I can’t picture him ever considering himself a hero. They left marks on his body, which were identified as burns from electrocution.

“The next time I kill you,” Pilate said, “I won’t leave any marks.”

Each time they killed one of the activists, they moved a step forward. Then, very patiently, they waited. They hoped their actions would be affective.

“Pnoy’s action of going after all corrupt government officials is in line with his saying that he wanted to prosecute corrupt government officials so that they will no longer be emulated by coming generations of public servants. It is high time untouchables were sent to jail so that Pnoy’s government can truly address the root cause of Philippine poverty, which is corruption.’ And we can’t fight graft and corruption by simply delivering wang-wang speeches!”

ORAPRONOBIS Directed by Lino Brocka Screenplay by Jose F. Lacaba

On the night of April 16, 1985, in the obscure town of Dolores, Father Anthony Hill, of St. Joachin Parish (originally from Post, Texas), dreamed a dream that bothered him. Father Hill had just given last rites to an alleged rebel, and in his dream he exchanged places with the deceased man …he was shot in the chest. The deceased man was shot in the chest. And no one knew what the stakes were or why he was shot. Stakes for the country, however, were enormous. With an attempted assassination of the Pope and the EDSA revolt, they were enormous, and Father Anthony (in his dream) was cut down in his prime. The priest liked to dig in his garden and the assassin knew it, which provided him the opportunity he needed. The dreamer also rode horses and punched cattle as a boy, and was unable to do the same thing in the Philippines, and wasn’t sure whether he was in Texas or the Philippines in his dream. It was the clangor of rain that woke him up and not his dream. The Orapronobis, a local cult, had executed the rebel, and what Father Hill didn’t know was that they were after him too. It was dawn, and the cult leader, Kumander Kontra (Roco) was entering Dolores, looking for the priest.

On that morning authorities received word that Major Kontra was in town; on that same morning Father Hill was shot in the head. Father Hill was working in his garden, a small plot in the courtyard behind the church. Remember the name Major Kontra. Major Kontra was the leader of the Orapronobis, murderers of a rebel who was thought to have been a Satanist and a communist. In 1974 this rebel had been all for Marcos. His zeal then put him in the center of those who placed their faith in Maros’ New Society and at odds with the very people he would later be accused of joining. There was not a person who knew for sure what Major Kontra stood for, or why he was considered important enough to be placed on a hit list. The hit was professionally done but was somehow blotched. Father Hill gave him his last rites. This blunder (which sealed the priest’s fate) embarrassed authorities and caused them to put more pressure on the Orapronobis.

Father Hill’s first reaction was sadness. He was sad and hated tyranny in any form, especially vigilantism, vigilantism that had sanctioned the Orapronobis. In vain he tried to convince himself that communists represented the real threat. In vain he tried to justify vigilantism and that communists were the real threat and not those who were killing them. He never stopped thinking about how his own country attempted to contain communism or stop thinking of senseless killing elsewhere in Southeast Asia. He rightly anticipated that he’d somehow get caught up in it.

Before his own murder, he died hundreds of times and in hundreds of ways: by bombs, machineguns, and machetes, by lone assailants and gangs, from a distance and at close range. He faced these imaginary scenarios as bravely as he could but each time a little less so. When he heard about Major Kontra and how he led the Orapronobis, Father Hill somehow knew who would kill him. Then he told himself that reality doesn’t often coincide with what actually happens and logically concluded that he needed to do everything possible to protect himself. Still he knew that it wouldn’t be enough.

Relying on his faith, Father asked to die of natural causes and thus avoid a gruesome end. Finally, he tossed the whole notion that he had become a target. Still he couldn’t sleep at night. He couldn’t sleep, and he tried to find some way to ease his mind. He knew that he didn’t have much time. He reasoned aloud, “Regardless how long I have, I am not ready to die. I am vulnerable and mortal.” And nights that he couldn’t sleep seemed interminably long. There were moments when he longed for a rifle shot that would set him free, but for better or worse, he wasn’t prepared for it. When he woke on the morning Major Kontra came looking for him, he followed his usual routine. He practiced penance and prayed, after which he dug in his garden.

Father Hill was well into his sixties. Aside from a few friendships and his obligations (which never seemed like a chore to him), he had few interests outside of his gardening. Like all priests, he measured his success by the size of his flock, while asking his flock to measure him by his service. All the years he spent in the Philippines now to him seemed worth it. They seemed worth it for complex reasons that he never explained. He never explained why he became a priest either. His reasons for becoming a priest, for serving in the Philippines and sacrificing so much were obscured by his alleged involvement in revolution. Father Hill never intended to get involved. He never intended to and the reasons he had were also complex. It was also perplexing. After the Second Vatican Council Father Hill became interested in liberation theology and began reading theologians such as Gustavo Gutiérrez, Leonardo Boff, Juan Luis Segundo, and Hugo Assmann, and that was just as the Catholic church aspired to become “the church of the poor.” Unfortunately the practice of Liberation theology in the Philippines was risky. It was risky, and unfortunately Father Hill got labeled a communist. But Father Hill wasn’t a communist. He made a habit of emphasizing that he wasn’t and that there was an absolute clash between the Catholic Church and Marxist dogma, which meant that he couldn’t have been a communist. Father Hill also believed that there were no absolutes when it came to facts. To the priest’s chagrin facts were clear: like thunder and storm, heat and cold everyone understood them. From the pulpit, Father Hill made the mistake of calling for justice, peace, equity, land reform, and citizen participation. But in spite of an unequivocal and inspired stance, he thought because he was an American he’d be given a pass. Father Hill felt that Liberation theology was essential after Marcos declared martial law because it gave poor people a voice, something the president was advocating anyway.

The execution was as dramatic as the director could make it. The scene was set in Doloras, a rugged mountain town, with unpaved streets. In the background, one hears the Internationale, and as a backdrop we have the church. It is the first scene of the movie Lino’s Brocka s movie, and we have men carrying rifles in search of enemies and thinking every man they meet is a rebel that should be quickly eliminated. (Church bells were pealing six times and suns rays glorified windows inside the church, since they were stained glass.) The Orapronobis are following orders. Major Kontra hasn’t met Father Hill. Yet he thinks Father Hill is a communist, but he has an uncomfortable feeling because he hasn’t killed a priest before.

They barge in on him, but it’s apparent- though the priest doesn’t recognize them, he has the uncomfortable feeling that he has seen them before. Major Kontra has just burned his scooter and succeeds with his men in getting inside the garden where the assassination occurs. Remember the revolution is over. The revolution is over, but the fight has just begun. Here’s where the movie credits begin to roll. And soon a certain Jimmy Cordero emerges. Cordero is a former priest and a former rebel who was imprisoned by Marcos. Upon his release and after the People Power Revolution he marries a human rights activist. With the new president in power, Jimmy Cordero intends to settle down and becomes complacent. Meanwhile lines have become blurred, and violence increases. The Orapronobis (still led by Major Kontra) continues its butchery, except now their status has changed and they have become defenders of democracy. In spite of this Cordero remains unmoved until he’s touched directly by violence.

When he revisits the remote village where he used to fight, Cordero sees that things haven’t changed. This is when he finally realizes that quiet resistance and diplomacy won’t work within a system that is corrupt to the core. The picture becomes clear. It becomes clear that ordinary citizens are not safe. They are being shot and harassed. Ambushes are frequently, and finally Jimmy Cordero and an ex-sweetheart become victims. Towards the end of the movie, after it has discredited the myth the People Power Revolution has embraced, vigilantes kill his son, and there’s a dramatic scene of him carrying the body as he marches with it to the church. Nobody can not be moved, or miss the (symbolic) significance. When Jimmy goes home after this he sees his sleeping wife and newly born baby, and finally retrieves a former comrade’s gun and telephone number.

Cordero had never asked himself whether Corazon Aquino was strong enough to control the cultic vigilantes that she used. Cordero didn’t worry when she said she wasn’t a politician. He didn’t react until he was directly affected. Cordero felt that violence that I have mentioned was not as significant as it was and that the restoration of democracy was more important. He believed Aquino when she declared, “We’re finally free. The long agony is over.” Cordero had finished the first act of his life as a priest and a rebel. The sacrifices involved made it possible for him to feel like he had paid his dues, changing him in ways that he hadn’t expected. He thought with most of his life ahead of him that he wanted to become a family man. Cordero found a wife who was an activist and thought: “If in some fashion I can be useful and am able to make my voice heard, I’ll have more influence than I had before. I’ll go on the radio and television, which will justify why I don’t join my comrades. Grant me these days of happiness with my wife.” This was before he returned to the remote village where he used to fight.

Before he returned to this remote village he didn’t think about his old sweetheart and the possibility that he had a son back there. His wife even asked him, “Why do you want to go back?” Cordero answered: “I’m looking for something I’ve lost.” His wife said to him: “Go if you must go, but remember you’re no longer a priest. People will recognize you and react accordingly.” He looked at himself in a mirror, and Cordero saw a matured man. He shook his head and said, “The priest they knew was not a very good one.” And he saw the rebel he became as if he were in the distance. Suddenly sure of himself, he hugged his wife and, in a God-like voice, tried to reassure her. “I’ll be back before our baby is born.” At this point she couldn’t stop him.

Cordero saw that God was not impassive. Rather his God was dynamically involved in lives of the oppressed and exploited. Once he reached the village he knew that he would be reminded again of Jesus’ example of struggling for the poor and the outcast.

From afar, Cordero envisaged a village filled with people who were at last free of tyranny. The reality was the opposite, the opposite of what he had hoped for. This was because the Orapronobis were on a killing spree. Several soldiers…all in uniform…were stopping everyone at a checkpoint before they entered the village. They went through the bus that Cordero was on. They looked over everyone’s papers. The bus had to wait until everyone was cleared. Cordero, more insignificant than he once was, never knew who they were looking for. He tried to avoid looking directly at the soldiers. To seem unconcerned, he stared off into space. Cordero didn’t say anything. He relinquished his papers as calmly as he could and somehow kept his hands from shaking. He didn’t know what was going on, or why it mattered, but wouldn’t have been surprised if someone had told him that they were looking for communists. Vainly he tried to convince himself that all of this was necessary when they had the Orapronobis working for them.

The work of the director came to a halt. More moviegoers would’ve known the ending of the ORAPRONOBIS had it not been banned. At the time there were vigilantes roaming the countryside and incidents of violence resulted in deaths. Cordero, therefore, could’ve easily lost his life. Like the movie star Jess Lapid, who was fast with his fist, Jimmy Cordero could’ve also died by a gun, but unlike Lapid, let’s make him immortal like Jose Rizal.

The Remingtons formed firing squad and stood at attention. The poet, standing facing the bay, waited. Somebody pointed out that it was a clear day, and that he could probably see as far as Susong Dalaga, where the mountain formed a silhouette of a naked woman. Somebody also had the forethought to take a photograph of the execution. Rizal refused the customary blindfold and wanted to face the firing squad. Denying the request, the captain raised his saber in the air and yelled in rapid succession, “Preparen! Apunten! Fuego!” While the poet shouted the last two words of the crucified Christ: “Consummatum est!”

Guns were also pointed at Jimmy Cordero, but he wouldn’t die during a quarrel over a girl. He wouldn’t be shot without any ado or provocation. After Lapid was shot the bit player’s barang tagalong was torn, and he was all bloody in the front. Lapid was then rushed to a hospital but was dead on arrival. Lapid was shot at Lanai nightclub, while celebrating the birthday of actress-singer Vilma Valera, and somehow an actor and future president was implicated. There were rumors circulating that Joseph Estrada had been involved in a quarrel with Lapid over the girl, but police cleared Estrada. Shot in a nightclub in Quezon City, during a quarrel over a girl! Hardly heroic! While in the Rizal’s case, he shouted the last two words of the crucified Christ. Jimmy Cordero could well have equaled this. And Lino Brocka’s hero did attempt to cry out when he was shot. When he realized that he was still alive, he tried to move his mouth and not a sound came out. He thought: “The Orapronobis can’t kill me now. I am dead.” He thought: “I’ve passed over.” He thought: “I’m immortal.” Then he reasoned that if that were true, he would’ve stopped breathing. He wanted to test this and dared them to shoot him again.

Lino Brocka’s sequel that he never made. Jimmy Cordero imagined that majority of Filipino people shared his anger and found courage to stand up to dictatorship and violence. He longed for that day. It astonished Cordero that he was still alive and that he was not even bleeding. After a while he woke up. He hadn’t realized that he had fallen asleep. Now the world seemed to be floating by him. A tear still clung to his cheek. He wasn’t in a hospital and was glad that he had made it known that he wouldn’t run away from a fight.

Cordero asked for more time to finish his work. It seems like he was granted that. He was shot and hadn’t felt pain. The Orapronobis were still out to kill him, but in his mind he was invincible. To develop his physique, he learned how to box and wrestle, and twirl a pistol.

Cordero had no credentials except what he lived through. Training he acquired came directly from months he spent in prison and was tempered by years he served as a priest. He wasn’t totally out to get revenge, or even looking for justice, though he hated rampant violence that resulted in so many deaths. Secretly, he cherished his silver bullet. Lino Brocka would’ve turned him into a superhero. I would’ve eliminated some of his bluster and wouldn’t have given Joseph Estrada the part. Nothing would spook my character. As he had bravely stood against Marcos, he would oppose vigilantism. In certain instances, my hero might use a gun. (It wouldn’t be in self-defense because he had a silver bullet.) I have developed a deep affection for Jimmy Cordero, as I’ve envisioned his transformation and modified his character, much in the same way as I’m drawn to the Lone Ranger. Jimmy Cordero would eventually discover the wearying repetition of violence, which hasn’t stopped and considers it a weakness that he hasn’t been able to stop. The day they buried Jess Lapid “was like a holiday in Guagua.” He had all the top actors as pallbearers: Ronnie Poe, Joseph Estrada, Tony Ferrer, Romano Castelivi, and Lou What’sHisName. I’m not sure Lino Brocka attended. Jess Lapid was no matinee idol until he died. Hit in the arm, Lapid had time to stand up and draw his own gun. Another gunman, however, stopped him with two bullets in the back. Lapid twisted for a shot at the other gunman but the one in front of him shot him again in the stomach. Lapid was buried with his boots on, and it was hard to determine who went to the funeral to mourn.

Randy Ford


Leave a comment

Filed under Poste Restante

Sharon Skinner Author- THE NELIG STONES


by Sharon Skinner

Stefani and Robbie aren’t friends. In fact, they can barely stand each other. But when they find themselves magically transported to a land where dragons rule and faeries carry swords, their only way back home is to work together and find the five magical talismans known as the Nelig Stones.

But the dark dragon, Ashkell, and his villainous advisor Greenback, are also searching for the powerful Nelig Stones and plan to use their magic to usurp the Anorian throne and seize control of the realm.

Through perilous adventure, and with the help of some unusual companions, Stefani and Robbie learn that things aren’t always what they seem, that inner strength and friendship are mighty powers that can stand against even the darkest magic, and that home, while not always perfect, might not be such a bad place after all.

Leave a comment

Filed under Randy