I finally found time this past weekend to format two short stories that were originally published many years ago in literary journals and are now up in the Stories section of my website. “We are thinking of you,” my “latest” short story – and I say that with a toss of a laugh – was published in the online magazine, Serpentine, in 2001. “Manong” was published by Equinox, Vol. II, in the Fall of 1993. “Winter Freeze” appeared in Many Mountains Moving, Vol. IV, No. 1, in 1995 (or was it 1996 or 1997?).
As you can see, I wasn’t concentrating on the short story form when I began research for A Village in the Fields. My thesis at Syracuse University was a collection of short stories called Terra Bella. I actually wrote “We are thinking of you” and “Manong” while at Syracuse, and then revised them after I graduated in 1990. I always had it in the back of my mind to return to this collection and toss out much of the contents, which were admittedly weak and hastily written to fill up the pages, and replace them with more interesting and better executed stories. That’s still the aim, many decades later.
As I was formatting “Manong” and “Winter Freeze,” I stopped myself from doing any revisions, although I did make some minor edits along the way. Could these stories be better? Absolutely. Will I go back and revise them? More than likely if I decide to include them in this short story collection about the Filipino-American community in Terra Bella. But for now, for the purpose of having these stories accessible when you can’t find them anywhere else, I wanted to keep them as is because it’s a snapshot of who I was as a writer those many years ago. It’s my measuring stick.
If you read them, you’ll see names of characters who are townspeople from Terra Bella who are in my novel. And some of the themes are lifted and transferred to A Village in the Fields. And whereas those themes in my novel are not so overt, they were very transparent coming from the fingertips of this emerging writer.
As I resume researching, storyboarding, note-taking, and reading for my second novel, I also look forward to becoming a better short story writer, really learning the craft of writing a short story. Finally. Oh, if only there were more hours in the day.