"Revolutionaries", an excerpt from the novel, people we trust, in about place journal's Geographies of justice issue
My seventh published novel excerpt (!!!) has been published in About Place Journal's Geographies of Justice issue! This novel chapter depicts a meeting between a young man who came of age during the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines, and a former activist who once knew his rebel older brother, and it all takes place after the fall of the dictatorship in 1986. Have a read, and then check out the rest of this amazing issue!
My long short story/novella, "Inheritances", is in the latest issue of Your Impossible Voice, and is about a Manila yuppie forced to confront his memories of an abusive childhood when his father has a nervous breakdown. I wrote this way back in 2014, before we even thought that a person like Duterte could become president, and so it contains the optimism Filipinos briefly felt during the economic boom of the Aquino years. Perhaps it's a time capsule? You can read the story here and the issue where it appears here.
I also did an audio recording of me reading from the story! You can listen to that here.
An essay I wrote during this pandemic about my journey as a tango dancer in New Zealand, intergenerational trauma, and the effects of colonialism on the body, "A Shared Stillness", appears in the Spring 2021 issue of Colorado Review, a literary journal I've admired and looked up to ever since I was an MFA student. It's been made available online, and print and digital copies of the journal can be ordered on their website. The entire issue can also be accessed via Project Muse if one has institutional library access. It was my wish, while writing this essay, to honor my paternal grandparents, Armando and Peregrina Macansantos, both tango dancers and survivors of war and trauma, as well as the city of Zamboanga, my father's hometown and the setting for much of this essay. Many thanks to Stephanie G'schwind for making my dream of appearing in Colorado Review come true. In her introduction to this issue, she writes:
In “A Shared Stillness,” Monica Macansantos considers the possibilities for connection and healing through tango, drawing on her family’s trauma and her own grief.
I had the honor of presenting on the AWP 2021 panel, "The Cultural Contours of Grief" with Frankie Rollins, Kimi Eisele, and Michelle Chikaonda. We spoke about how we wrote into our grief after devastating personal losses, how writing helped us gain our bearings in the midst of devastation, and how leaning into our grief allowed us to open our hearts up to the world. This was my first time to be on a panel at AWP and though I would've loved to meet these lovely women and our audience in person, I'm loving the flexibility of the online format. If registered, one can access our panel until April 2021.
On December 4, 2020 (or December 5, early morning in the Philippines), I took part in About Place Journal's "Works of Resistance, Resilience" reading series, reading an excerpt from my essay, "Little Girls". I am happy that this pandemic has encouraged literary journals and organizations to explore alternative means of gathering writers to share their work (such as Zoom) so that people like me who live outside the U.S. can still participate these activities. A recording of the event was posted on YouTube.
(cover artwork by Lisa Thorpe.)
I am pleased to share that my lyric essay, "Little Girls", is in the latest issue of About Place Journal with a theme of "Works of Resistance, Resilience". I wrote about how my late father's guava tree blossomed for the first time in its lifetime during this pandemic, bringing solace and joy to my mother and I while quarantined in our home. The blossoms bursting forth from the tree become our "little girls":
[W]earing skirtfuls of petals and crowned with starry white anthers, they were little princesses emerging from my father’s guava tree to cheer us up as the pandemic wore on with no end in sight.
Read the full essay here and the issue where it appears here.
I am pleased to share that another excerpt from my unpublished novel, People We Trust, appears in the latest issue of Oyster River Pages. Entitled "A Visit to General Lim Street", this excerpt shows Gabriel, a young insurance agent (who first appears in "An Unexplained Kindness", published earlier this year in Anomaly) paying a visit to the father of an old friend, an activist named Paulette who disappeared under mysterious circumstances during the Marcos dictatorship. Over the course of this visit, he crosses paths with Diwata, Paulette's daughter whom his own brother may have fathered. You can read the story here. The editors of Oyster River Pages have put together a great issue too, which you can read here.
(My father, with his favorite tablea chocolate, in Iloilo.)
My newest essay, which appears in Issue 17 of Lunch Ticket, is about how my father, the late poet Francis C. Macansantos, showered his love upon his family by nourishing us with delicious meals, and how his love for me survived in the midst of death as I strove to recreate his dishes. It's also about his mother, my Lola Peregrina, and how her spirit of vitality and joy sustained him, as their love continues to sustain me in the kitchen and beyond. I am so happy that it came out in time for Father's Day--you can read the full essay here and the Lunch Ticket issue where it appears here.
(Katherine Mansfield. Source: Archives New Zealand.)
My newest piece, up on New Zealand's The Pantograph Punch, is about how reading Katherine Mansfield's short fiction taught me to slow down, and allow light to shine through my days amidst the darkness and despair of this pandemic. This is the first time I wrote an essay that straddles literary criticism and memoir, and I enjoyed the process immensely. Read the full essay here.
"A recognition of her own mortality allowed her to write honestly about death, even as life, and human kindness, continued to shine through her work."
UPDATE (6/17/2020): This essay was featured in The Spinoff's Daily News roundup--you'll have to scroll to the end of this article to see the wonderful things The Spinoff staff said about my essay. I am so honored to see its warm reception in New Zealand and around the world.
UPDATE (10/1/2020): A version of this essay will appear in Vol. 13 of Katherine Mansfield Studies, published by the Katherine Mansfield Society and the Edinburgh University Press, in 2021.
The Opening Chapter of my Unpublished Novel, People We Trust, is in the latest issue of anmly/anomalous press
The opening chapter of my unpublished novel, People We Trust, is in the latest issue of ANMLY! Entitled "An Unexplained Kindness", this chapter takes place during the EDSA People Power Revolution of 1986 that ousted the Marcoses from power, and shows how the revolution unfolded in my hometown of Baguio City. Despite its many disappointments, I still feel that the EDSA Revolution of 1986 was a pivotal moment in Philippine history, which is why I chose it for my novel's opening. I am currently seeking representation for this novel about the Marcos dictatorship's impact on the lives of two brothers and a woman they love, and I welcome interested literary agents to read this opening chapter. More here.