I didn't want to sound self-serving, thus my hesitation in announcing in this space the publication of my third book of poems, Big Mama Sez: Poems Old & New. Fifty-five copies were delivered by my printer, Central Books, in March this year. Some friends asked if there was going to be a book launch or where copies would be available.
I've not grown tired of explaining that it is a gift book, an offering to friends and family who supported me in various ways as the manuscript made its own journey to book form. Yes, I'm in the midst of giving copies away that I now find myself here in Baguio without one. Some 25 remaining copies are stored in Pasig awaiting my return and scheduling of delivery to those concerned.
Big Mama Sez compiles poems written from 1997 (after my second book dangling doll: poems of laughter & desperation came out) to 2013. I noticed how few I wrote from '97 to 2012. In early 2012, I deleted my Facebook account and suddenly I found the time, space, the words to resume composing in verse. A news item, an online article, something said over dinner or casual encounters pushed some buttons that needed pushing. Before long I found myself with enough poems for a volume.
One afternoon, I asked my "prayerers" or "prayer warriors" to help me in my supplication for provisions so I could push through with Project Big Mama Sez. Lo and behold! Not even 20 minutes had passed when a friend committed to cover part of the printing costs. It was the sign I watched out for to indicate that independent publishing was the path to take. My partner Rolly and daughter Kimi added more to the kitty and realized how the book would be a good legacy to the family.
The rest of the requirements fell in place: Gilda Cordero Fernando gave permission for the use of her pregnant flying Darna as cover art; Dr. Elmer Ordoñez wrote an introduction that moved me to tears (because he read the poems objectively and looked at the narrator as persona and not as me); Margie Holmes, defying gravity, found time to write a blurb; Rosario "Chato" Garcellano had a ready afterword.
Crucial to the whole project was the full participation of my designer, Jenny Cariño. She was so easy to work with, gave me sound advice and even chose a highly readable font from a family that is used for the popular Dr. Seuss and Harry Potter books. Purrfect, I purred inside.
The next step: I'm going to turn the book into an e-book, a free book, yes, to make it more widely available, especially to kin and friends abroad. When Jenny is able to free up some time and before my summer vacation ends, we'll work together on the e-book formatting. It'll be my way of saying a big mama "Thank you" to the Universe for sending all that I needed and wanted.