Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Not a wallflower at a party

Or so I think. I just couldn't forgive myself if I missed a milestone like F. Sionil Jose's 90th birthday party. Occasions like that are about the only time I see, press palms with or buss my writing mentors, idols and confreres. A friend said that in her excitement, she hyperventilated that night and forgot to have her picture taken with friends she hadn't seen in a long time.

While I was recuperating in Baguio from an ailment I would rather not discuss at length and my husband was forced to stay home and stay still because of a knee fracture, we went on a reading marathon of Manong Frankie's short stories and novels. It reached a point where we'd try to discuss what we had read and ended up mixing the characters and plots. Rolly counted how many times Frankie used the word "sybarite" in a novel. That sounds like my husband all right. You can keep the editor at home but not the editor from NOT working.

Thank you to the people who pressed the button of my camera so I can have a few mementos of the evening of Dec. 3 at the Cultural Center's main lobby.

Alfredo Roces, who I've been reading since high school, the birthday boy and fictionist Rony Diaz

It was Manong Frankie who told my class of high school kids: "You must not forgive a writer his sins just because he's a good writer." He's shown with a reader who's glad to have a few seconds with him before he was deluged with more well-wishers.

With Tessie Jose, who continues to make Frankie's life of letters possible, and sculptor Julie Lluch. Manang Tessie has kept her figure. This was the same outfit she wore when Frankie turned 80.

The heavyweights' table, only because two other National Artists for Literature are sharing space: Bienvenido Lumbera and Cirilo Bautista. The writers' wives are by their side, too: Shayne Lumbera and Rose Bautista.

Ka Satur Ocampo and Ka Universe Gilda Cordero Fernando

Three muses of literature Susan Lara, Marj Evasco and Gilda

Two publishing greats: Eugenia "Eggie" Apostol and Gilda yet again

Celeste Legaspi sings "Gaano Kita Kamahal" for the birthday celebrator (he with the black beret)

Blurry though it may seem this precious photo of laughing writing couple Roger and Fe Mangahas is full of meaning to me: love conquers all, especially dictatorships, aging and personal tragedies.

The untouched birthday cake that features likenesses of the covers of Frankie's novels. The cake people flocked to was the one baked by Estrel's, specializing in caramel cakes. It was given by the University of Santo Tomas's The Varsitarian which Frankie edited in his youth.
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