5/11/2009

Kulukabildo sa Kulokabildo

(Usa ka proyekto sa klase ni Dr. Hope S. Yu; Cebuano Studies Center, San Carlos University)

Precious: When did you start to like writing Cebuano poems?

Edgar: Dihang naungo ko pagbasag Bisaya, mga 1990, ug nakaamgo nga puyde diay magsulat-sulat. Pero panugilanon ray akong nakuptag gamay, wala sa pamalak. I couldn’t claim myself as poet. Balak-balak ra man nang akoa, gani kataw-anan man kaayo . . . most of my published work nga "balak" kuno, kaniadto pa to, kadtong abi nakog sayon ra ang pamalak. (When I became addicted to reading Bisaya, around 1990, and I realized that it was alright to write. But it was only short stories that I mastered a bit, none with poetry. I could not claim myself as a poet. What I write is seemingly poetry, they’re even very funny . . . most of my published works which are so-to-speak "poems", these are dated poems, when I thought writing poetry was easy.)

Precious: Who inspired and motivated you to pursue this passion for writing?

Edgar: Ang Bisaya man gyoy nakadasig nako ug ang maayong mga sinulat nga nangapatik niini maoy nakapaturok sa pako aron sulayan paglupad ang kalibotan sa mga ungo sa panulat. Ang giya ni magsusulat Fidel B. Mag-usara, "Tip Sa Gustong Mag-writer" nga giseryal sa Bisaya maoy naghidhid og lana aron ko makakapakapa. I never had any foreign influences, although I like the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Gabriel Marquez, Mark Twain, Steinbeck, etc. Pero diyotay ra kaayo kog nabasa kay kini laging daginoton ra tag Iningles. Basic tinuod kaayo tong "Tip…" ni Mag-usara pero mao ray hagdanang akong gisukaran sa paglayat. Tingali tungod kay dili "teyoriya" ang gitudlo kondili ang "unsaon" which is haom kaayo sa mga bag-ong nagsugod sama nako adtong tungora. Ang mga teyoriya god komplikado kaayo nga makapahisalaag hinuon sa mga nanagtuon, labi na sa nangambisyon dayon og taas. Basic "Tip…" plus paningkamot ug experience maoy ako. Ang sagad nakong tambag sa mga nanagtuon, sama sa bisikleta, ang paghanas usa sa pagpadagan maoy unahon, ug kon may kahanas na, ayha pa mosulayg eksibisyon. Kon moeksibisyon dayon nga kulang pa sa kahanas, ang kamumo lang unya. (The Bisaya was what really inspired me and the excellent works that were printed there enabled wings [for me] to try flying in the world of those wizards [addicted] to writing. Fidel B. Mag-usara’s guide, "Tips for those aspiring Writers," which was serialized in the Bisaya, rubbed me with the witching oil so that I could flap my wings. I never had any foreign influences although I like the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Gabriel Marquez, Mark Twain, Steinbeck, etc. But I read only a few because my English was too sparse. Mag-usara’s "Tip . . ." was very basic but it was the only measure I started before leaping [into writing]. Perhaps because it did not espouse theory, rather, "how" to write, which is very accurate for beginners like me, at that time. Theories are very complicated that instead of guiding the student, especially those who have high ambitions, they mislead you. Basic "Tip . . ." and striving hard and experience, these helped me. My usual advice to aspiring writers: like the bicycle, the practice of how to run it ought to be the first [thing to learn], and if there is a bit of mastery, then that is when one tries to do some exhibition. If one goes for exhibition and mastery is wanting, one will just hit one’s face with the street.)

Precious: Personally, what do you think is the function and relevance of poetry or literature in general in our lives?

Edgar: Dako kaayo— for literature is life. Kinabuhi ang literatura. Basag maayong mga sinulat ug makakaplag kag mga kuptanan nga makabarog. Nihit ug talagsaon kaayo, kon duna man, ing tawong maalamon nga dili reader. Gani bisan sa Bisaya magazine lang, nakamatikod ko nga kadtong tinuod gyod nga reader sa Bisaya, maoy tawo nga aduna gyoy panlantaw—may direksiyon, may giladmon. Pero kadtong tawong dili himasa maoy tawong dili interesado sa kinabuhi. (It has a huge impact – for literature is life. Life is literature. Read well-written works and you will discover handrails that can stand. These are very exceptional and rare, if ever there are, people who are knowledgeable but are not readers. Even with just the Bisaya, I noticed that the real readers of the Bisaya are the ones who have foresight – have direction, have depth. But those people who don’t care to read aren’t really interested in life.)

Precious: How do you find the essence of Cebuano balak compared to English poems?

Edgar: Para nako, duha ni ka butang nga managlahi, may iya-iyang hiyas, may iya-iyang lami. But, if you wish to write the English life, then write it in English. Pero kon gusto kang mosulat sa kinabuhi sa mga Bisaya, nan, sulata sa Binisaya kay mao ra nay dalan nga magmatinud-anon ka sa imong tinguha. How can a non-speaker appreciate the "linaw-oy nga utan," or the "kan-ong binlod binahogag linat-ang monggos pinaresag ginamos"? Bi, will it stimulate the taste buds far better other than to be written in Cebuano? In my "Bingo" for instance, there’s a line saying "Sa letrang ‘N’— sipag buto, kuwatro nga may singko— numero kuwarentay singko . . ." Tinuod, puyde ni ma-translate pero lisod nang ma-retain ang tone sa estorya that depicts the way our folk play the game. (For me, these are two different things, they have their own gems, have different flavours. But, if you wish to write the English life, then write it in English. But if you want to write on the lives of the Bisaya, then, write in the Bisayan language, because this is the only path where you will become steadfast in your goals. How can a non-speaker appreciate the "hodge-podge of vegetables," or the "fine grained rice topped over by monggo soup paired with salted fish"? Bi, will it stimulate the taste buds far better other than what is written in Cebuano? In my "Bingo" for instance, there’s a line saying "On the letter N – loud explosion, a four with a five, number 45 . . ." True, this can be translated but it will be difficult to retain the tone of the story that depicts the way our folks play the game.)

Precious: As a contemporary Cebuano writer, do you sometimes deviate from the traditional tone of Cebuano poetry, which is often very serious?

Edgar: Tingali kaniadto, dihang nagdahom pa ko nga makamao na kong mobalak. Sorry to say. . . pero sa tinuod lang, mga produkto lang nang balaka sa biga sa bag-ong nagtuon. Para nako, wala may nakabentaha aning giingong "traditional or lyric poetry" tandi sa "free verse." Parehas nang nindot og resulta sa makamao gyod. Nahitabo lang tingali nga gipakasayon lang nako kaniadto ang pamalak. (Maybe then, when I had illusions that I knew how to write poetry. Sorry to say . . . but in all honesty, those poems were products of a beginner’s lust. For me, nothing is comparable to what is called traditional or lyric poetry against free verse. Both have beautiful results for one who knows [how to use these forms]. I must have just played with poetry then.)

Precious: Do you think rhymes would make a poem more readable?

Edgar: Dili tanan. I mean, mas mo-prefer ko sa katukma sa pagkagamit sa mga pulong ug sa gipintal nga image niini kaysa pagrima. Pero nindot sad ang rhyming basta substantial lang ang pagkakompos. Gani, saludo kaayo ko sa "Hikalimtan" ni Ranudo. Perog rima-rima lang, garay-garay, mitagam na ko. Dili ingon kasayon nga kon makamao lang kang mogaray-garay ug morima-rima, balak na dayon. I mean, takos ba tang tawgog literary artist kon ang atong sinulat mahimo rang masulat og mga greyd siks? (Not all [of them]. I mean, I prefer the preciseness in the use of words and the images sketched rather than rhyme. But rhyming is also beautiful so long as its composition is substantial. Indeed, I applaud Ranudo’s "Hikalimtan." But if these were just rhymes or verses, I’ve had enough of these. It is not as easy that when you know versification and rhyme, it would be a poem. I mean, would it be adequate to be called literary artist if our writings can be written by grade six students?)

Precious: What is your most preferred theme in writing poetry?

Edgar: Bisan unsa lang, basta naay mo-spark nga ideya – mosulay-sulay kog tagik panagsa. (Anything, so long as there is a spark of an idea – I try to create sometimes.)

Precious: As far as you can remember, what was your first poem?

Edgar: Dili na ko maka-recollect sa eksakto gyod. Pero ang una nakong gidahom nga nakasuwat kog balak mao tong "Tuaw Sa Ginapos". Kini laging bag-o pang naungo, init pa kaayo, kutob sa masulat ipadala dayon sa editor. Didto pa ko sa Bogo ana, nanindag bisan unsa sa merkado. Natayming lang nga diri na kos Manila (bag-ong sakop sa staff sa Bisaya) pagkapatik. (I cannot remember exactly. But the first poem I believed I wrote was "Cries of the Fettered." The case with the newly addicted, one is so impassioned, whatever is produced is immediately sent to the editor. I was still in Bogo then, selling whatever [I could sell] at the market. It just so happened that I was already in Manila [new recruit as staff of the Bisaya] when it got published.)

Precious: To whom do you usually show your new poems?

Edgar: Kasagaran editor ray unang makabasa. Unsaon laging kaniadto wa pa man koy nakailang writer sa Bogo. Karon pod nga daghan na nuon kog kaila ug uso nang email, wala na sad kaayo ko mosulayg balak. (Usually, it’s the editor who gets to read first. It happened that I didn’t know any writers in Bogo then. It’s only recently that I’ve made new acquaintances and the e-mail is in fashion.)

Precious: Who is your mentor in Cebuano writing?

Edgar: Sa basic, literally, si Maestro Fidel Mag-usara. The rest is experience. Pero, tingali, nabaid ko sa actual practice sa opisina sa Bisaya. Dakong bentaha nga makatan-aw ka halos kada adlaw sa edited manuscripts nga akong i-proofread kaniadto, kon giunsa pagtuwad-tuali sa editor ang manuskrito usa pa mogawas sa magasin. (In the basic level, it’s Maestro Fidel Mag-usara. The rest is experience. But, perhaps, my skills were honed by actual practice at the Bisaya office. It is decidedly an advantage to be able to read every day the edited manuscripts that I proofread before, how the editor rehashed a manuscript before it was published in the magazine.)

Precious: If I let you name three writers, both foreign and local, who have given you much inspiration in writing, who would these writers be?

Edgar: Nadani kog maayo sa simbolismo ni Arturo Peñaserada specially sa iyang winning piece nga "Ang Iyang Hukom"; sa talagsaon, almost all quotable nga prosa ni Gremer Chan Reyes; sa maritmohong naratibo ni Tibs Baguio, plus sa katinuod o purity sa lengguwahe ni Tem Adlawan. (I am most fascinated by the symbolism of Arturo Peñaserada, especially his winning piece "His Decision;" by the exceptionalism, almost all quotable prose of Gremer Chan Reyes; the rhythmic narrative of Tibs Baguio, plus the sincerity or purity of Tem Adlawan’s language.)

Precious: Indeed, it is evident in your poems that you are a very keen observer. You can make extraordinary poems out of ordinary things in this mundane world. May I know what is in the mind of Edgar whenever he sees something pedestrian like traffic jams during rush hours or beggars on the streets? Is a poem brewing in your mind or does it take days or weeks for you to make a poem?

Edgar: Depende ni kon may ideya nga mo-spark out of ordinary things we encounter in day-to-day life. Kasagaran, i-brainstorm dayon nako kon naay ideya nga mo-spark, mabalak man o masugilanon. I-internalize dayon kay kon padugayon, kasagaran mawala ra, abton sa kapuol. Kon magambalay na sa hunahuna, i-draft na dayon kon may time. Hinuon, kon ang ideya makita nakong nindot gyod kaayo, pero wala pa matibuok sa hunahuna ang posibleng estruktura, ako pa kining pahinugon. Ang akong "Ugang Dugo Sa Kamot ni Manoling" mikabat og kaping tuig usa nako ma-transform into text. Pero ang "Bingo" (appeared first in Bisaya as essay), nasulat nakog usa ra ka lingkod. Nagduwa ra mig Bingo anang Domingo dayon pagka ugma, Lunes, gitipa dayon nako pagsulod sa opisina. Ang ideya god sa usa ka sulatonon walay kalainan sa usa ka crush. Kalit lang nimong mabagtan. Kon grabeg arrive ang maong crush ug ma-inlove ka, magsige nag panguhit sa hunahuna. Usahay di ka matuhay sa imo untang buhaton kay mosapaw man nang panuwaya na. Mao nang kon imong entertinon, makauyab gyod kag sugilanon o balak ba. Pero kon dili sad nimo tagdon, mawala ra sa hunahuna kadugayan. Pero kadtong sugilanon nakong "Bagyo", yunik to, dili ideya ang unang mikilat. Gi-assign to ngari nako sa editor. I was so shock that time when Editor Ago gave me an illustration saying "O, himoi nig sugilanon." Bugoy man god tong mga illustrator sa una sa LPI, labi na sa mga amigo na sa editor, usahay maghimo-himo ra to silag illustration unya ihatag nila sa editor. Aron mabayran, pabuhatan pod sa editor og estorya sa mga writer. Pagtan-aw nako sa drowing, piskot . . . babaye may nagpatong inahak! Siyempre, na-challenge ko adto. Seguro mga 3 or more weeks gyod tingali to usa pa nako matibuok ang plot sa "Bagyo." Dugay nakong maneho kay giseguro man nako how the story work on the illustration and vice versa. (That depends on whether or not there are ideas that spark out of ordinary things we encounter in day-to-day life. Usually, I brainstorm when there are ideas that spark up, be this poetic or narrative. I immediately internalize this because if you leave it far too long, it will fade away, caught by boredom. When it is structured in the mind, then I write a draft if there is time. However, if I see that the idea is very good, but the possible structure has not yet been captured in mind, I wait for it to mature. My story, "Ugang Dugo sa Kamot ni Manoling" (Dried Blood on Manoling’s Hand) took more than a year before I could transform it into text. But "Bingo" (which appeared first in Bisaya as essay), I wrote in only one sitting. We played bingo that Sunday and the following day, Monday, I worked on it the moment I reached the office. The idea of a story is not any different from that of a crush. You suddenly encounter her. If the impact of that crush is great and if you fall in love, it will always beckon the imagination. There are times you can’t do your work properly because that spectre will overlap your thoughts. That’s why, if you entertain it, you get to have an affair with a story or a poem perhaps. But if you don’t pay heed, it later leaves the mind. But my story "Bagyo" (Storm) was unique, since it wasn’t an idea that struck lightning. It was assigned to me by the editor. I was so shocked that time when Editor Ago gave me an illustration, saying, "Okay, make a story out of this." The illustrators of the LPI used to be naughty, especially those who were friends with the editor, sometimes they made up illustrations and gave these to the editor. So they would get paid, the editors asked the writers to write stories [from these]. When I looked at the drawing, what a pest, a woman with someone on top! Of course, I was challenged by that. I think it took me three or more weeks before the plot of "Bagyo" concretized. It took long figuring it out because I made sure how the story worked on the illustration and vice versa.)

Precious: What is the best time for you to write poetry?

Edgar: Wala koy definite time sa pagsulat. Ang importante lang nga masabot nakong daan si Misis nga "Hala, ihurot nag sugo daan nang imong mga ipabuhat nako kay igkahuman naa koy suwaton." Puwerteng paita nang mao na untay pag-andar sa sulog sa ideya apan mapugos ka pagtindog aron sugton ang sugo sa asawa. Ambot kapila na ko kagisiig draft aning akong uyab, din-a maihap. Pero dihang nauso namo ang panagsabot, wan-a siya makahimo sa maong krimen. Husay na. Kausa, aron ko makasulat nga way tugaw, akong gidalag panuroy akong pamilya sa Luneta. Samtang ang mga bata (duha pay baby namo adto) nalingaw sa lapad nga hawan binantayan ni Misis, mipahiluna kos usa sa mga ang-ang sa hagdanan sa Rizal Museum. Seguro mga duha ka oras kapin, pagtindog nako human na ang gikinamot pagsulat nga sugilanong "Ang Tawo Sa Kangitngit." (I have no definite time for writing. What is important is that I get to agree with the Wife that "Hala, complete the list of all the errands you need me to run because I’m going to write after I’m done with these things." It’s an arduous process when you have already caught the momentum of the stream of ideas and you are forced to stand up to respond to the errand the wife asks you to run. I don’t know how many times my drafts have been torn to pieces by my sweetheart, there’s no counting. But when we got into an agreement, she was no longer able to perpetuate that crime. It was settled. Once, so that I could write without interruption, I took my family out to Luneta. While the kids (we had two babies then) amused themselves in the wide space watched over by the wife, I eased myself onto the steps of the Rizal Museum. Maybe that took more than a couple of hours, and when I got up, the handwritten version of the "Ang Tawo sa Kangitngit" (The Man in the Dark) was already complete.)

Precious: Do you prefer writing short stories more than poems?

Edgar: Sa ako nang gikaingon sa unahan, dili gyod ko magbabalak. Sayon ra pagsulat og garay-garay, pero ang tinuod nga balak, dili lalim, uy! Pasulata lang kog sugilanon, aylang nang balak. Pero I love poetry. Mao nang usahay, mosulay-sulay sad ko. (As I stated in the beginning, I am not a poet. It is easy to write verse, but the real poem, is not a joke, uy! Let me write a story, not a poem. But I love poetry. That’s why, I sometimes try my hand in it.)

Precious: In the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, you were one of the three judges for the short story genre. What are your standards for determining a literary piece merits an award?

Edgar: Usa ka abstract nga pulong ang "standard" especially when it comes to literary pieces. Wala niy klarong dagway. Ang klaro mao nga nag-agad ni sa kapasidad sa usa ka huwes pagtan-aw sa mga merito sa usa ka obra. Ang tahas mao ang pagpili og labing maayo o labing angayan sa pasidungog out of all entries. Para nako, ang angayng padag-on mao kadtong obra nga nakapakita og taas nga kalidad isip gama sa arte segun sa disiplina nga iyang gimugna. Kompetisyon ang Palanca Award, busa kadtong nakapasundayag og labing maayong eksibisyon sa arte sa panulat maoy angayng sab-ongan sa lukong sa laurel. Apan kon pananglit, mahitabo nga sa tanang salmot walay nakaangkon sa akong saludo, palabihon kong walay ideklarar nga mananaog kaysa padag-on ang usa nga dili takos ug maghatag lang nuog mansa sa balaang literatura— labi na sa ngalan sa literaturang Bisaya. Hinuon, sa duha ka higayon nakong paghukom sa Palanca, wala pa mahitabo nga gikapos sa kalidad ang mga salmot. (The term "standard" is an abstract word especially when it comes to literary pieces. It does not have a clear form. What is evident is that it is dependent on the capacity of a judge to find the merit of a work. The task is to choose the best if not the most suitable for the award out of all the entries. For me, the winner is the work that exhibits high quality as art according to the discipline in which it is created. The Palanca award is a competition, so the one who has revealed the best artistic writing exhibition merits the crown of laurels. However, should it happen that none of the entries merit my approval, I’d rather no winner be declared than to have a winner who is not suitable and will become a stain to the sacred literature – especially in the name of Bisayan literature. Although in two events when I’ve judged in the Palanca, it has not happened that the entries were wanting in quality.)

Precious: What is the usual meter of your poems? Do you consider meter an essential part of writing a poem?

Edgar: Wala pa koy sinukod nga balak. Pero aminado ko nga usa ka importanteng disiplina sa pamalak ang meter. But not that essential. Daghang maayong balak nga dili sinukod ug rinima. Pero daghan sang sinukod nga maayo. Duha man lang god na ka managlahing disiplina. In fact, every piece of a literature, either poetry or fiction has its own discipline. (I don’t have any measured poetry. But I admit that meter in poetry is an important discipline. But it’s not that essential. There are many poems that have no meter and rhyme. But there are many which are metered and good. These are two different disciplines. In fact, every piece of literature, either poetry or fiction, has its own discipline.)

Precious: What makes the works of Edgar Godin different from other works of contemporary poets in Cebuano? What is the "signature" with which readers can identify your work without your name written as author?

Edgar: Actually, dili ko aware sa akong writing style kaniadto. Kini gong writing style (trademark), motungha man lang kuno sa usa ka writer once nga makaprodyus na siyag igo-igong gidaghanon sa mga sinulat. Basta seryoso lang siya sa iyang gibuhat uban sa iyang creative instinct, dili ra damhon nga naay molutaw nga something unique sa iyang mga obra. Butang ni nga dili tinuyo. Matod pa ni Omar Khalid sa iyang seryeng "Mubong Kurso Sa Pagsulat og Sugilanon," ang birtud kuno sa akong mga sinulat nga lahi kaayo tandi sa uban, which I agree, mao ang akong "art of questioning." Ang akong narrative sagad nga naay sal-ot nga mga pangutana. Ug kini kuno epektibo kaayong mitrabaho diha sa obra. Nahinumdom ko nga duna gani koy usa ka sugilanon (nalimot na ko sa ulohan) diin ang usa ka taas-taas nga paragraph halos gitibuok sa pulos interrogative sentences. (Actually, I wasn’t aware of my writing style then. This writing style (trademark), is said to only come once the writer has produced a substantial amount of writing. So long as the writer is serious about the work and with creative instinct, unexpectedly there will emerge something unique in the works. Something unintended. According to Omar Khalid in his serial "Mubong Kurso sa Pagsulat og Sugilanon" (Short Course on Writing the Short Story), the virtue of my writing which is different compared to others, which I agree with, is my "art of questioning." My narratives usually are inserted with questions. And these are said to work effectively in the narratives. I remember that I had a story (I forgot the title) where a lengthy paragraph was mostly made up of interrogative sentences.)

Precious: In "Tuaw sa Ginapos," my first impression is that the persona is fighting the lure of temptation, wherein he has to be firm despite the irresistible worldly temptations that somehow bring him into sin. This work actually contextualizes the mid-life crisis of married men. Would this be some form of confessional poetry?

Edgar: It’s not a confession actually, but a homily. Mas duol kon ingnong usa ka wali sa pagpangandam, usa ka pahimangno. Maybe it’s my other way of saying to a lady, "luoy tawon kaayo ko diri, Day, galaway lang sa daplin." Ambot sad lagi nganong mora mag mas lami ang gidili? O kaha, ingon ana lang gyod ang feeling sa wa katilaw og lain. (It’s not a confession actually, but a homily. It’s more appropriate to say it’s a sermon of preparation, an admonition. Maybe, it’s my other way of saying to a lady, "Day, I look so pathetic, salivating on the margins." I don’t know why the forbidden always seems attractive? Or perhaps, that’s the feeling of someone who hasn’t tasted of the forbidden fruit.)

Precious: Who were your readers in mind when you wrote "Tuaw sa Ginapos"?

Edgar: Wala koy gihunahuna nga specific reader when writing this piece. Giadres ko ning balaka sa tanan— sa mga batan-on, labi na sa dalaga’g ulitawo, ingon man mga minyo na. Ang ako lang gihunahuna adtong tungora mao ra gyod nga basig puyde nang mapatik sa Bisaya. Aysus, kay napatik man gyod diay! Mao lagi, wali ra gyod tawon. (I didn’t think of specific readers when writing this piece. I addressed the poem to everyone – to the youth, especially to the young men and women, as well as to the married ones. What I thought of at that time was that it was good enough to publish in the Bisaya. Aysus, and they printed it! That’s it, it was nothing but a sermon.)

Precious: "Ang Bunyag" was considered the shortest published short story in Cebuano. Was that intentional?

Edgar: Maingon nakong intensiyonal tungod sa usa ka hagit. Sa editorial office god, as editor, dili kalikayan nga mapikal ka usahayng magbasa sa mga script nga kandidato nang daan sa rejection especially those works that bear long passages of blah-blah texts. Unsay kapuslanan sa taas nga teksto kon kini naghinobra ug wala na motrabaho? Nganong hagoon pa pagpabasa og taas ang reader kon ingon ra diay kasimple ang sugilanon? Dinhi, na-challenge ko. Nako pa sa hunahuna, "What if magsulat kog, kon mahimo, ang kinamuboang short story?" Gusto nakong pamatud-an nga dili kinahanglang pun-on ang lima o napulo ka papel aron lang makasulat og sugilanon. Literary editor (except poems which is under the editorship of MMJr.) pa ko that time. So, nagsulat ko. Kon milampos ba o wala ang maong obra, bahala na ang reader nga mohusga. Pero wa lang usa nako ipatik sa Bisaya kay lisod nag hiakusahan kong nag-abusar sa katungdanan. Una tong migawas sa Budaya, dayon gi-submit nako sa UP Likhaan 2 or 3 years after kay tayming nga nangita silag mga sampol sa regional literature. Naayonan tingali kay gipatik man nila sa ilang website. Gitampo ko sab ang maong piyesa (with English translation) alang sa usa ka anthology for Asian Literature pero sa pagsulat niini, wala pay balita kon nagamit ba sa mga editor. (I’d say it was intentional because of a challenge posed. At the editorial office, as editor, you can’t avoid becoming irritated reading the scripts which are already candidates for rejection, especially those works that bear long passages of blah-blah texts. What’s the point of long texts when these are excessive and no longer work? Why will the reader be taxed with reading long passages when the point of the story is very simple? There, I was challenged. In my mind, I said, "What if I wrote, if possible, the shortest short story?" I wanted to prove that it is unnecessary to fill five or ten pages to write a story. I was then literary editor at that time (except for the poems under the editorship of MMJr. then.) So I wrote. Whether or not I succeeded, it’s up to the reader to judge. But I didn’t publish it in the Bisaya because it’s difficult to be accused of abuse of office. It first came out in Budaya, then I submitted it to the UP Likhaan, two or three years after, because it coincided with their search for a sample of regional literature. They must have liked it because they published it on their website. I also contributed the same piece (with English translation) to an anthology for Asian Literature but as of this time that we speak, I have yet to have news from the editor if they included it.)

Precious: The images in your poem "Kadtong Pagsum-ok ko sa Katunggan aron Manginhas" are satirical – "buaya," "alimatok," "tambasakan." Was the poem intended to lament the conditions of society?

Edgar: Given na tingali na nga ang writer mosulat sumala sa iyang nasinati, o namatikdan personal man o may labot sa katawhan o komunidad. Butang ni nga dili kalikayan bisag unsaon pa pagtago o paglikay sa tagsulat. Dili man lang god damhon nga masulat nato ang mga panghayhay ug kahinug-o sa palibot, bisag mais nang paminawon usahay. (I think it’s a given that a writer writes according to what he knows or personally observes or has social or communal relevance. This is unavoidable not matter how the writer attempts to hide or sidestep it. We don’t expect that we will write of our discontents and disillusionments with the environment, even if this sounds petty sometimes.)

Precious: You are currently affiliated with the Manila Bulletin. Did being based in Manila ever hinder your Cebuano literary output since most of the people who reside there speak Tagalog?

Edgar: Imposible kaayo na. How could it be, when in fact, I am working for years in my advocacy in Binisaya standardization and currently writing a column entitled "Magtuon Tag Binisaya"? Hinuon, mamatikdan nga wala na kaayo koy literary output sukad lang nga natahasan ta pagpanimon sa Bisaya magazine. Grabe na kaayo ko ka-busy. Dunay daghang ideya nga maayo untang sulaton pero walay panahon pag-entertin kay unsaong kinahanglan mang atimanon ang mga materyal sa weekly magazine. Gawas pa, medyo naliwag akong atensiyon niining pagtuon sa Binisayang pinulongan. Sukad god nga akoy napuli pagka editor, nakita nako nga gikinahanglan gyod nato isip mga Bisaya ang standardization sa Binisaya bisan na lang unta sa spelling. Ngil-ad kaayo nga hangtod karon nanag-iyahay ra tag spell sa atong mga pulong Binisaya. Luoy kaayo tang aninawon kay nagpakita kini sa pagka primitibo pa sa atong paagi sa panulat. Mora na nuon tag dili sibilisado in terms of our own language nga unta duna na may daghang pagtuon bahin niini. Gani, ang Rules on Cebuano spelling niadto pa mang 60’s natuki. Mao nga inay manulat og dugang katitikanong piyesa, maoy nagahinan sa akong ekstrang panahon ang pagsangyaw sa kawsa sa estandardisasyon pinaagi sa gibuksan kong duha ka blogsite. Angay natong tun-an ang atong pinulongan kon tinuod tang nagmahal ug nagpalambo niini. (That’s quite impossible. How could it be, when in fact, I am working for years in my advocacy for the Bisayan standardization of language and currently writing a column entitled "Magtuon Tag Binisaya" (Let’s Learn Bisaya)? But of course, you will notice that I don’t have as much literary output since I was tasked as editor of Bisaya magazine. I’m very busy. There are many ideas that merit writing but there’s no time to entertain these because I need to attend to the weekly magazine’s materials. Aside from that, my attention’s been focused on studying the Bisayan language. Since I became editor, I found out that what we Bisayans need is the standardization of the Bisayan language even if this will just be on the basic level of spelling. We appear to be in a pathetic condition because it shows the primitiveness of our way of writing. It would seem that, in terms of our own language, we aren’t at all civilized, when in fact, there’s a lot of material on this. Say, the Rules on Cebuano spelling had already been discussed in the 60s. That’s why there is a dearth of additional literary pieces, that’s what takes up all my extra time, the advocacy of standardization through the two blogsites I’ve launched. We need to study our language if we truly love and seek its development.)

Precious: As a major figure in Cebuano literature, what is your greatest achievement as a writer?

Edgar: Seguro walay lain kondili ang akong pagkahimong kabahin sa magasing Bisaya and the opportunity to manage it. Ang pagdaog sa mga literary competition mahimong mabatonan ni bisan kinsang may kakugi pagtuon ug pag-apil, pero ang pagka editor sa Bisaya onse (11) pa lang ka tawo ang natugahan since 1930. Ang nakatalagsaon ini kay, sumala sa nahimong tradisyon sa Bisaya magazine, posisyon kini nga i-offer sa usa ka writer— dili sama sa ubang trabaho nga mahimong aplayan. (Perhaps nothing else but being a part of the Bisaya magazine and the opportunity to manage it. Anyone else can winning in literary competitions especially if they have the conscientiousness to study and compete, but being the editor of the Bisaya has only been charged to 11 people since 1930. The rarity of this is, according to what has become the tradition of Bisaya magazine, the position is offered to a writer – unlike other work where one can simply apply.)

Precious: Your works usually feature ideas on temptation and worldly pleasures of people. Why is this so?

Edgar: Ganahan lang gyod ko sa mga temang nagliyok sa misteryo sa gugma ug sa mga komplikasyong dulot niini diha sa usa ka relasyon. Ang pagpakasala sa tawo ug nganong nagpakasala. Kini gong mga elementoha, para nako, butang nga daling makatandog ni bisan kinsa, maka-relate ang tanan, kay kinsa bay wa mahigugma ning kalibotana. Apan kuydaw, kay sa tinuod lang, hapit kitang tanan wala pa makatugkad unsa kining gugma. Nindot ug lalim ang gugma, apan unsa man ang other side niini? (I simply like the themes that revolve around the mystery of love and the complications it gives rise to in a relationship. How and why a person falls into sin. For me, these elements are things that easily touch any one, everyone can relate to these, for who in this world has not fallen in love? Notwithstanding, because in truth, almost all of us have not fathomed what love is. Love is beautiful and profound, but what is its other side?)

Precious: What can you say of the future of Cebuano writing?

Edgar: Napanghilantawan ko ang masanagong ugma sa Literaturang Bisaya. Kon karon pa lang duna nay mga obrang nakamugnag lipak sa natad sa katitikang Bisdak, unsa pa kaha sa umaabot? Ang artist dili mopahulay. Padayon siyang momugna, mo-innovate, ug mo-reinvent alang sa pagtagbaw sa iyang biga sa arte. Gawas pa, ang kahiamgo karon sa paglingi sa gigikanan— ang rehiyonalismo— nagakasangkad. Daghang inilang English writers sa nasod karon nanulat na sa ilang inahang dila, Cirilo Bautista, Rio Alma, Marj Evasco sa paghingalan og pipila. Ang mga eskuylahan, mga unibersidad, mamatikdan usab nga minggahin nag kasibot sa kahinungdanon niini. Nagkadaghan ang mga eskolar ug mga kritiko nga naikag pag-ukab sa giagup-op nang mga relikyas sa kultura. Ug kay nagakalangyab ang awareness, mapanid-an usab ang nagakadaghang batan-on, mga estudyante, nga nahingag pagsalga sa arte sa panulat. Niini, mapaabot nato ang madasigong atmospera sa lumadnong pagpanulat sa nagkaduol nga umaabot. Apan niay akong gikabalak-an, sa kadaghan sa gustong manulat sa Binisaya, pipila ra gyod tawoy ming-ungad pagtuon sa kalag sa pinulongan. Unta, mohingkod usab ang aspetong ortograpikal niini ug mawala na ang espeling nga nagkalandrakas.-- #

2 comments:

Lubi said...

Bay Edgar,
Hinaot dili ka modili sa pagpaambit niining Kulukabildo sa Kulokabildo didto sa Kalubihan.


http://kalubihan.ning.com/profiles/blogs/kulukabildo-sa-kulokabildo-ni

kaabay,
Lubi

egaytalipsai said...

Way blema, Bay. Okey lang. Mas maayong i-links lang aron di mangausab ang formating, sama sa giminolde ug giitalik.