detail from Labels for Hair Ribbons by Manuel Ocampo a delectable selection of oriental appetizers
Sunday, November 24, 2002


: . Restless Ghosts:

I've finally posted the second half of The Haunting of the Filipino Writer by Resil Mojares. For anyone who would like to cite the essay in a research paper, I've inserted notes that indicate the page numbers where sections of the online version can be found in the original printed version. An excerpt:
    Haunting is a form of desire. As the sign of what is amiss, a lack unfulfilled, the shade of something left unfinished, it does not only point to the past but to the future. It is what the Tagalog word for memory, gunita, signifies: to dream not only of something past but the trace of what one had desired but had not quite accomplished. To be haunted is to be suspended in a dream between past and future. Few metaphors as perfect can be found for the act of writing...
    While it is the soul a writer seeks, it is in the haunting of its absence that he does his best work. It is in this haunting that the nation will be created -- and not in that condition of denial where one refuses to acknowledge that one has been shocked, seduced, or has been violated. Shock, seduction, and sin are elements in the field in which creativity flourishes -- for so long as we can (and surely shall) prove ourselves strong enough to weave the various strands of our shared sense of self and nation, a fuller and richer soul.
    And then, even then, may the possibilities continue to haunt us.

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