Because of the brownouts, trafficrnlights often did not work. Sometimesrnthere were poUce to direct the flow ofrntraffic, and sometimes there were not. Irnhad been making my way with a group ofrnfaculty women from St. Scholastica’srnCollege to a fast-food Chinese restaurant.rnI have traveled a lot and havernnever met a warmer, friendlier, morernwelcoming people than Filipinos. Arngood thing, too, I thought, as I imagined,rnmarooned there on the traffic island,rnthat I might have to give up allrnhope of returning home. I would marry,rnbecome a citizen and east my defiantrnbut losing vote for Miriam Santiago, andrngrow old on my own little “island”rnamong the more than 7,000 that makernup the archipelago that is the Philippines.rnAll around me were trucks, cars,rntaxicabs, jeepneys, tricycles, and pedicabs.rnPedieabs are bicycles with sidecars;rntricycles are motorcycles with sidecars;rnjeepneys, ostensibly anotherrnmethod of public transportation, are arnmobile art form. This really is recycling.rnJeeps left over from Worid War II arernpainted in elaborate, colorful detail, outfittedrnwith model horses, dressed in flagsrnand pennants, draped with purple curtains,rnand named. Banana Magnet, saidrnone. Desert, said another, as if it werernthe punch line to a running, or rolling,rnjoke. Last Waltz was the mournful titlernof a third. Then there was the jeepneyrnthat demanded, pugnaciously. Saint orrnSinner: I felt put on the spot.rnAt St. Scholastica’s I had read a paperrnon the short fiction of women in thernUnited States today. E-erywhere I went,rn1 met Filipino writers and scholars whornwere not only acquainted with the workrnof American writers—they were frequentlyrnacquainted with the writersrnthemselves. A number had been to thernInternational Writing Workshop inrnIowa City. Ed and Edith Tiempo recalledrnbeing in Paul Engle’s class alongsidernthe now late Flannery O’Connor.rnMimeographing was expensive backrnthen, Edith Tiempo said, so the studentsrnread their stories aloud in class. But theyrnhad to ask Engle to read O’Connor’s storiesrnfor her, because no one could understandrnthat Georgia accent. “She hadrnan annoying habit of twisting a lock ofrnhair at her forehead,” Edith said, laughingrnsoftly, adding that when Engle foundrnunconvincing a sex scene O’Connor hadrnwritten the author responded, “Comernout to my ear and I’ll show you how it’srndone.”rnI loved these stories and scribbledrnthem down in my spiral notebook atrnnight in my wonderful room in thernManila Hotel, where the MacArthurrnSuite can be booked for $1,400 a dayrnand often is—by the Japanese, who, presumably,rnthink $1,400 a day is not toornmuch to pay for the right to report torntheir friends that they have slept in thernMacArthur Suite. From my more modestrnroom I could look out at Manila Bayrnwith its twinkling cargo ships, the worldrncoming and going and always bigger thanrnI’d dreamed. It is stories like this thatrnlink us, make us members of a larger literaryrncommunity. Gossip makes us realrnto one another.rnAnother writer, F. Sionil Josc% prolificrnand outspoken, whose Three FilipinornWomen was recently published in thernUnited States by Random House, explainedrnto me that Melville and Emersonrnare the American writers “relevant”rnto him, because they made an Americanrntradition, “throwing off the colonial influence.”rnHe likes the contemporaryrnblack writers for the same reason.rnWeaving—amazingly—among therncars were adults and children selling singlernsticks of gum, cigarettes, amthing. Arnboy tapped on a window and opened hisrnpalm, begging. No doubt he lived, if hernhad any address at all, in the poor-beyond-rnsaying Tondo district. I could sayrnhow seeing him made me feel, but Irncan’t say how he felt. The Filipino writersrnwill have to tell us that. Every countryrnfinds its own words. And out of thosernwords it constructs an idea of itself. Literature,rnalso, makes us real to one another.rnAt the University of the Philippines,rnthe splendidly lively National Artist FranciscornAreellana (“That means I get tornbe buried for free”) pointed out that deconstruetionistrntheory comes from thernFrench—”an ovcrrcfined culture,” hernsaid nicely.rnTo be in search of a language withrnwhich to define one’s sense of oneself,rnone’s entire country—how exciting! Andrnhere in the West we are so eager to discardrnwhat we know that we turn a deafrnear even to our own words, eliminatingrnthe text, the author, the authoritativernvoice. I began to understand the lure ofrnthe East, the temptation to believe inrnsomething besides criticism.rnAreellana was inducting students intornthe UP Writing Club. He made themrnraise their right hands. “I promise tornwrite, write, WRITE,” he had them repeatrnafter him. “And never be silenced!”rnI was clutching a light canvas bag arnformer student had made for me. Shernhad printed my name on one side andrnthe cover art from one of my novels onrnthe other, and I used the bag to carry thernbooks 1 would be giving readings from. Irnwas also carrying my paper on womenrnwriters. And I was also earrxing a Sportsacrnbag that held mv money and passportrnand cosmetics and sunglasses andrnsunscreen. I was clutching this stuff andrnstanding there, in the middle of a streetrnin Manila, and waiting for traffic to slacken,rnand these arc some of the thoughts Irnwas thinking.rnWhy did the writer cross the road? Itrnwas never simply to get to the other side.rnKelly Cherry is a writer living inrnMadison, Wisconsin. Her collection ofrnpoetry God’s Loud I land was recentlyrnpublished by Louisiana StaternUniversity Press.rnLIBERAL ARTSrnj’ni; sc:iKCK oi- GO.MPI .i ri’ioxrn.•,s A ^t•^llil of tlie icecut ceoiiinnie dountum and reckictioii in tcilcral support of bothrnmilitary .ind iioniiiilitaiA ri-s-eareli, j()b.s for Ph.D.’.s in ^t•it’Ill•(.• ;iiid I’liginfcring are iiicrea>rni’.ii;ly scnrcc. Dr. I);iid 1.. CSoodstein, a ])hy’>ici>t ,iiicl vice j^roTOst of tlit; (CaliforniarnInslilutc of Icthnoio^y, woiries in the American Scholar ,i!v)ul the lepcnuisioiisrnof more iind iiioic’ scientist;, competing for fewer .iiid fewer rcscarcfi dollars.rnGrnduate and underf;iadiiat<‘ science inajors. for eNamjile, are clmosing careers asrnman.ii;eincnt con.sultaiits and Will Strcel all;^l^^^s ralher tlian ;:.’> laboratory rcseaiclicr’j.rnYet most university labs have .siirvied despite tin: absenee ot .Xmerican students,rn..l^ research [jositions are filled mnie and more hy foreign ^tlIdcnt.s—some ofrnwliom benefit from federal grants and subsidies to the universitie’.. -X* (ioodsteinrnvsiite.s, “(Congress and the public don’t seem u;t to have noticed that, while lirgclv ignoriiiijrnour own students, we are putting our monc- and our best talent into tramins;rnoureiojioiiiie (•ompelilors.rnJANUARY 1994/39rnrnrn