here first. until we are there.

speaking in tongues

something on writing, and the need to stop apologizing for writing in a specific language.

excerpt from The Other (Larry Ypil)

I’ve always pushed for the writing of stories and poems that choose to explore personal, private, and local experiences.

Having always preferred the concrete image of a drinking glass to any highfalutin philosophical concept of thirst, the black shape of the head of a Japanese doll to any historical debate on World War II, the held hand over any well-defended idea of “eternal love” (no matter how elegantly stated the argument), I’ve always felt the true power of literature was not to be found in some “deep” insight or abstract concept, but to be mined in the humdrum outline of our ordinary days.

The more local, the better. The more bisdak (authentic Cebuano), the better. I’ll probably always have a soft spot for stories and poems that are about actual cities, actual towns, streets where people have died and lived, rooms, actual rooms, the one right outside this one, where someone enters and leaves. Banilad, Mango Avenue, that old house in Escario Street.

But when it comes to the issue of language, I’ve always been skeptical of the debate. Given this obviously local character in a local setting doing “local” things (whatever that is), is one meant to write this in the “local” tongue (like Cebuano) or an alien tongue (like English)? And so the question usually goes.

the whole article is here


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