for a few days these days, i bask in local celebrity status as hometown heroine.
a press release issued by the University was published in the local papers last Tuesday, coinciding with the blessing of our University Press, where i was also invited. so, at the blessing, it felt like my own coming out party too, although i was just one of the guests. everyone flocked around me and congratulated me and asked about royalties and stuff. haha. i graciously humored them, sharing the limelight by letting them in on a little secret-- i haven't even received a single centavo from my first award-winning story 3 years ago yet!
then, of course, there's family, telling one and all about my win, and being congratulated, too, for being my family. : ) i enjoy this part, having them bask in the celebrity feeling, too. God knows how they've put up with me and my unpredictable passions all these time!
the Chinese Lee family association put out a half page ad in the local papers today to congratulate me and the family, and proudly claiming me (and the win) as one of their own. : ) then my old Chinese high school's alumni association president wants to interview me, too, as they will put out a big streamer congratulating me right there across the school gates. no problem. the limelight is big enough for all of us!!!
then, earlier today, a journalist-friend sent me an email interview as she wanted to feature me in her column tomorrow. just a while ago this evening, somebody from Manila-based Newsbreak asked for my email address for another email interview they want to do, too, so they can feature me in their next issue. my sister, who's a television host herself, has arranged to interview me in her women's talk show, Amiga, for next week. : )
through this all, what touched me the most, though, were two little comments from a university literature professor, known for her very exacting standards, acerbic tongue and sarcastic humor, who asked for the two other entries i also submitted to the Salanga Prize (but which did not win, as my third entry was the one which won) to be published in the arts and culture journal she was editing.
mrs. G knows my personal story, as she was already a literature professor then way back when i was still studying at the same university im now teaching in. and she has been sitting in at most of the writing workshops i have been granted fellowships to, too, so in a sense, she has watched my growth too as a writer, over the years.
after reading my two other stories (which she calls narrative poems... i didn't even think of them as poems!), she mentioned a grammar lapse or two (of course : >) and then later on texted me, "your stories remind me of W. Blake's Songs of Innocence, Songs of Experience." i texted her back, ": > why?" and she said, "they are written with a child's voice, but with a higher mystical meaning at the same time."
that warmed my heart, coming from her.
and then, her clincher: "the drought is finally over, Jean. your time has finally come."
: ) : ) : )