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Celebrity figures have it all, don’t they? They are lauded by the public for being discovered, for having “arrived.” Such is the fast track of exceptional talents shared with the world with the aid of well-paid publicists, of course, or ubiquitous postings on youTube.

Seldom encouraged or shunted to near oblivion are those who have been tried and sustained by the labyrinthine process—appearing in small presses, or enthralling small audiences. Invisibility is their lot. But they are the true winners, they who plod on despite the absence of celebrity adulation.

Then there are cases of false modesty, motivating our one-step-forward, two-step-backward procrastination; most times, we cop out or postpone for yet another day because it takes too much effort and courage to step up to the plate to offer our talents. The risk of rejection is always there.

The bottom line is that it takes owning up to an avocation, being open to the chance of being rejected or endorsed that hidden and unprecedented talents are brought to light.

In completing our tenth year, Our Own Voice is proud to announce its 2010 Resident Poet, Eileen R. Tabios. Eileen shared the intimate beginnings of our publishing attempts in cyberspace when she accepted our invitation to contribute an essay to the maiden issue.

On a personal level, I thank her for the warmth she extended on our first meeting. By lending her name to a literary project with a zero track record, she unknowingly raised the bar. We could have gloried in our maiden effort and comfortably remained as a one-issue release but for the fact that her presence in the issue attracted others to follow her lead and likewise challenged the extent of our editorial commitment.

You might say I was emboldened to be more than a fly-by-night editor by her singular gesture. By her contribution— a stunning essay on Artist, V.C. Igarta—she endorsed a medium which envisioned literary icons sharing the same space with unknown neophyte writers. Was such a direction sustainable for the future? Wouldn’t established writers prefer a space where they could rub shoulders with their own kind, talent for talent, equal skills and high profiles, a gathering of the cream of the crop as they say? Eileen Tabios’ continuing contributions to issues of Our Own Voice dismissed elitism and affirmed OOV’s direction to nurture emerging talent while recognizing established literati.

On the eve of a new year marking our 30th issue, I place for the record this journal’s indebtedness to Nadine Sarreal, OOV’s compass during its early years. Nadine diverted precious years away from her own writing life in order to guide a neophyte editor and staff into cyberspace publishing; she introduced Our Own Voice to her network of writers, editors and publishers who, through the years, became contributors to and endorsers of Our Own Voice.

When readers inquire about certain articles that appeared 3 or 4 years ago and we forward these queries to authors, who do you suppose were giddy with delight?  Imagine whirling dervishes in the universe because some form of exultation takes place among us.

The future of this literary venture relies on the commitment of writers, artists and editors pooling their resources together to inspire a reader out there to say, “I can do this too—I can submit.” Or “I can write a better story.” And, “I can put out a similar medium for my own peer group.”

It was just such an experience of being inspired that pushed some of our readers who urged us to visit http://www.postcardsfrommanila.com/. And so we are pleased to welcome Bobby Wong, Jr. to the staff of Our Own Voice for his magnanimous offer to contribute his works as our guest art photographer for our 2010 Frontispieces. Thank you, Bobby.

And to you out there, thank you for your recurring visits to Our Own Voice.

Reme-Antonia Grefalda
December 2009

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Remé-Antonia Grefalda

Aileen Ibardaloza-Cassinetto

Victoria Paz Cruz
Seb Koh
Yolanda Palis

Geejay Arriola

Eileen Tabios

copyright 2009

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