A Fitting Honor For Frankie

23 May

On my recent visit to Manila, the Jose family were extra busy. Paper with large clasps were piled on the third floor round table where writers gather then end of each month. Tessie was checking the assembled stacks.

“La Salle University has a new library. On the fourteenth floor a room will house the F. Sionil Jose Archive. Frankie will formally donate his papers July 11. I have until May 25th to check manuscripts and papers before handing them over. The Library needs time to catalog before the dedication.” Frankie’s novels have been known to sustain at least five revisions.

Near the table, in a corner on a pedastel, Frankie’s bust in his ubiquitous beret, rests. Executed in 2011, the likeness is clear, the expression bland. For the archive, a new bust is scheduled to be executed. I hope the new likenesse catches Frankie’s somber, keen expression, a look sharing kinship with Winston Churchill, a tribute to Frankie’s self-appointed role as cultural conscience and watchdog of the Philippines.

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