Gibbs Cadiz a.k.a. Gibo tagged me to do this...
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Turn to page 123.
3. Mark the fifth sentence. Pick up the next three sentences and post. (In other words, post sentence nos. 6-8 on page 123.)
4. Acknowledge the book and the author.
5. Tag 3 people in turn.
If a man and a woman danced with their arms around each other, people assumed that they were having an improper relationship and started to spread the word. Reactionary newspapers wrote groundless articles that gave social dancing a bad name, and so most people had made up their minds that it was unwholesome. We’d just have to resign ourselves to hearing that sort of talk.
- from NAOMI by Junichiro Tanizaki
Actually this is my second copy of this book. My first one, I got from one of those National Book Store year- round sales, bought for 35 pesos about 10 years ago in Recto. Among my finds then were books by Mishima, Oe, Amos Oz, Kundera and Marquez. The second one I got for free in the book exchange in the local library here.
I remember while reading this book for the second time the advice a Filipina writer- editor of an on-line Literary Publication that features literary works by Filipinos in the Diaspora gave me during our correspondence years ago.
She once told me that if ever I should write stories I should refrain from delving into the views of the fairer sex or simply put, me writing stories with a central female character is a no-no.
Her point was what do I know about how women think or feel?
I deferred to her at that time out of respect and as was my custom of not engaging in debates with my volunteer “mentor” of the old school and just let 'em pass without much ado but believe you me based on my experience alone, I can say that I know a lot about how the mind of a woman works than what the members of the Order of the Daughters of Eve would give me credit to and I ‘m sure I am not the only one who can lay a claim on this. Ha-ha.
On a related topic, a friend of mine once lamented that the reason the readership audience of Filipino short stories, poetry and other literary works never reach the mainstream because some people especially in the academe have their own so-called "pre-conceived notions," "inherent bias" and “sets of standards” for them to consider some works to be worthy of their time and that if you’re not a product of these and that workshops usually run by these “elite circle of award- winning writers” and members of the “literary mafia” in the Philippines you're not qualified to be in their inner circle.
On the surface, some of these accusations have basis no matter how small they are and we can say that some of these “authorities” are really averse to the idea of emerging writers succeeding in the field that are not products of their workshops nor enrolled in their “reputable“ schools, colleges and universities. That’s why, my friend added that if you read the works of some Filipino writers that they support you will find their writings boring and as my friend observed, “pare- pareho lang ang style at dating mula noon hanggang ngayon.”
On a deeper note, I still think that a well- written story with or without help from these "authorities" will eventually find its way to the mainstream and succeed based on its own merit.
I believe that writing is a passion and an exercise of the human soul to freely express itself without being judged. Instead of criticizing or fault- finding, I usually approach everything reading- wise from the author’s point of view and appreciate his work and vision for its originality no matter what style or medium he uses. And if you really look into some of the most successful writers of our time, they did not even have formal “writing” education, workshop trainings nor PhD’s and other fancy letters attached to their hallowed names.
Anyway, the late Japanese author Junichiro Tanizaki's Naomi is a compelling read and you'll be amazed by the power of his pen for his works deals mostly about women as his central characters and coming from a male- dominated society that is Japan, it is really a wonder how he was able to do it with a lot of color and depth in his characters without really trying.
But great writers have great minds and you never really can fathom the things that lurks in the deepest recesses of their brains.
And so the “meme” tagging continues…
1. Mirror, mirror on the wall, what kind of book will this geek produce?
2. Let’s see what’s inside your mind about this meme thing,
NOTE: Blog Update:
Let's get ready to stumble (The Charles Barkley vs. Dick Bavetta Race)