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The idea for a literary e-zine must come from serious beginnings.

This one didn't. Instead, the idea took hold among a motley group of individuals who spent a year in cyberspace supposedly discussing literature (since the forum was called The RPLiterature Group) but who instead found themselves bantering and exchanging the trivia of daily life. What seemed to take over was an intent to reinvent the idea of family. Superfluous made-over nicknames attest to the growing camaraderie. Would some semblance of the literary ever take place or even flourish in this environment? Only time would tell. But it would take more than time to make it happen.

It takes a serious stab and a dash of letting go to sustain a camaraderie. A serious stab at life itself—new life being formed among us. And a letting go of life (for one of us) to forge this sense of family.

OUR OWN VOICE was made possible because the RPLiterature group became family. The incredible thing about family is that one can fiddle around with a chemistry set, risk a combustible result and never feel set apart. It is from this base of unconditional support that a fanciful idea was launched. The mindset that ruled was that we plunge—not hesitate, not ponder over—but plunge. And so we have!

This premiere issue is dedicated to Maria "Pepot" Novales who shared with us the ravaging effects of the cancer that ruled her days for seven months—and she did this all in fun and banter. Pepot gave us every opportunity to be heroic, gracious, witty and—best of all—to pour out our hoarded selves on a daily basis to be more than what we are. Without her, we carry on, sustained by memories of her postings which are now in the realm of homespun literature. She shared her own voice at a time when self-pity could have driven her to a sense of isolation. Instead she bonded with strangers and made them friends.

Today, the page is blank. How is it that we mourn the passing of writers whom we've known only through their writings? Why do we feel such a deep personal loss?

We found a kindred spirit in cyberspace and we lost her there on the page. It would be easy to deny and convince ourselves that she, in pixel form, couldn't possibly have the same impact of losing a friend or a loved one. Ah, but there's the rub! All of us who have felt connected by the written word have transcended the "virtual" and have become quietly real to each other.

From this circle of bonding, let a new circle be formed as we open up to share with you OUR OWN VOICE.

Remé-Antonia Grefalda
31 January 2001

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THE STAFF

EDITOR
Remé-Antonia Grefalda

ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Nadine Sarreal

EDITORIAL BOARD
Geejay Arriola
Seb Koh
Zonia Velasco

GRAPHIC AND WEB DESIGNER
Geejay Arriola

COPYRIGHT
2001

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