Dinner at Sunzibar

By: Raymund Fernandez July 24,2018 - 08:50 PM

FERNANDEZ

Sometimes good fortune comes to us. Otherwise, we really have to search for it.

It is true I could have gone somewhere else on what the balmy weather promised to be an almost perfect Saturday.

This place, being Cebu, there is no lack for possibilities.

We have been thinking Go-kart racing. But there was this year’s Cebu Literary Festival, aka Litfest.

And I had some friends whom the social networks said would be part of it: Larry Ypil and Merlie Alunan. I seldom ever meet them. Larry is based now in Singapore, Merlie in Tacloban.

I heard they would be here for Litfest in separate panels. I did not want to let pass the opportunity to listen to them with Estela, to whom I am married; afterwards, perhaps to talk.

Lunch seemed too hectic so we decided dinner in a place called Sunzibar Saboroso at Robinson’e Galleria. Merlie’s daughter, Mayanne owns and manages the place with her partner, Doctor Bong, of UP Cebu. Sunzibar is therefore a place existing for me inside the serendipity of a loose matrix of friendships and histories.

I bumped across quite a number of writer-friends at Litfest: Jun and Gingging Dumdum, Resil Mojares, and quite a number of emerging young writers. Books were on sale.

Overall, it was a good day to contemplate, once again, the state of literature and book writing.

I am personally interested in book design, which field is unfortunately not yet part of the discussion here. But literature and writing are quite a big interesting field. And I found quite reassuring the fact of so many younger writers.

They bring forward the work of a generation of writers now going into their golden years.

Of which generation, I am perhaps included, this fact indicated in part by my ever useful senior citizen card.

I am happy to be my age in these days and age.

The literary world is actually quite more exciting now than ever before. Add here the fact of graphic arts and graphic literature.

These brought in the younger audience composing the majority of people present at the festival. My congratulations then for the event and to the people behind it!

I missed quite a number of people I hoped would be there.

But I hear there is some amount of discord among younger writers these days.

So what else is new? It is ever the nature of literature to thrive on tensions.

These are not always related to current literary discourses.

They should be. I am worried that there is not too much discussion related to stylistic and philosophical issues.

The question of collective identity seems to be eroding.

I would have preferred a discussion on “Realism vs. Fantasy.” Larry Ypil and I talk about the issue from time to time over whiskey or wine. I find the issue quite interesting. I wonder whether there is a specific quality of local Realism as much as there is quite a perceivable quality of local
fantasy.

It would have been an endless issue to chew on, but there was dinner with Merlie, Larry, and a few other friends. The food was sumptuous, the conversation fine. Literature as food for us; and vice versa.

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