Wednesday, April 22, 2015

happy birthday, mom.

I never knew then that this would be the last time I’d be seeing this elegant woman next to me in the photo above. That is Edith Lopez Tiempo. This was in 2011, during one of the many nightly events in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Silliman University National Writers Workshop, the oldest creative writing workshop in Asia she founded with her husband Edilberto Tiempo. She was 92 then but she always seemed so strong, full of life and humor. We had a small chat and I was amazed that she could still recall my name after so many years. That is her gift among many others, and the gift she has shared to us is this deep understanding of passion in literature and, basically, life which will always be remembered. There is a reason why we call her Mom; she is not only a National Artist, not only a teacher, but also a gentle nurturer of timeless wisdom. She offered criticism but never judgment, she provided insight and never insult. She is a life changer—especially to the person writing this blog entry. In a journal I had her autographed on back in 2008, she wrote, “Jordan. How proud I am to have a writer who is biblically approved.” Well, Mom, I am also biblically thankful. Happy birthday once again.

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