TIKIM: Stories | Hezekiah Louie R. Zaraspe, LPT, MA
Food for Thought
by Augusto Antonio Aguila
There is always a good reason to celebrate when a writer publishes his first book. To welcome a new writer to the fold means that there is indeed great hope for humanity, because he has chosen a path that will provide him the opportunity to open people’s eyes to the truth, fuel their passion, guide them in making a stand on important issues, and of course, free their minds from the shackles of prejudice and bigotry.
It gives me such joy when a student tells me that he or she wants to become a writer. While most would be lured by more lucrative professions, these young minds choose to walk the road less travelled, and I admire them all the more for braving the challenges that go with becoming a writer.
Tikim is the first short story collection of Hezekiah Louie Zaraspe. Louie, as he is fondly called in UST, was my student in Philippine Literature and Creative Writing in the undergraduate level and eventually as a graduate student at the UST Graduate School where he earned the degree, Master of Arts in Creative Writing. Even during his undergraduate days, Louie has shown a lot of promise as a writer. The creative works that he submitted in my class were all very impresssive, which was precisely the reason why I encouraged him to enroll in the MA Creative Writing program in UST, where he was given a scholarship. Louie does not shy away from crtiicism as long as he knows that it will help him improve his craft as a writer. It took him only a few years just before and after finishing his MA to publish stories, poems, and creative nonfiction pieces in literary anthologies, literary journals, the literary sections of reputable magazines and broadsheets. All of these he has accomplished on his own. I was overjoyed that one of my best students is now doing well both as a writer and a teacher.
Hezekiah Louie Zaraspe’s “Tikim” talks about what goes on in people’s daily lives and finds a goldmine in the bosom of everyday things and experiences. His treatment of various subject matter like friendship, romance, identity, bullying, parenting, infatuation, secrets, and chance encounters in his short stories is akin to giving someone a taste of what is unspoken, what is beyond one’s reach, and what is kept hidden. Louie Zaraspe has mastered the art of subtlety. As a fictionist he doesn’t need to go all the way; he wants to leave something to the imagination, to make the reader yearn for more, only to be told that less is indeed more. The power of Zaraspe’s writing lies in the tease that leaves the reader with a “lump-in-the-throat” kind of feeling for he can turn a mundane situation into a bittersweet moment; the unspoken or the unsaid into the most audible sound one can hear; the inaccessible into the most clearly understood reality like a dagger that cuts deep. With Tikim, Hezekiah Louie Zaraspe has arrived as a fictionist. We look forward to his future work, but just like his stories, he will surely tell us that the secret is always in the waiting.
Hezekiah Louie Zaraspe’s initial collection of short stories boasts of tales and narratives that are strange, yet totally familiar to us. It is a fine collection of stories that speak to us, whether directly in our face, or subtly, in a nuanced manner. A model, after a brief stint in Singapore, coming home and reminiscing over a cup of tea; a father telling an unfinished tale to his son before death sets in; a children’s story highlighting a stirring lesson – that after being diced, sliced and cut, life can turn into a beautiful recipe. These and more. There is something calm and serene about Zaraspe’s telling of these stories. Don’t let this tranquility fool you, though. Because behind it is a composite mind who is basically familiar with the multiphasic human condition. Like the collection’s title, Tikim, the writer only gives us a taste, a glimpse of what stories he will be writing next.
John Jack G. Wigley
Author of Falling Into the Manhole: A Memoir and Hantong: Mga Kuwento
Pinapaangat ng Tikim ang pagkakawangki ng pagkain at pagkukuwento, kung paanong kapwa ito niluluto at sinasangkapan rin ng pangarap at pagnanasa. Halina’t tikman ang lasa ng pagkukuwento sa mga akda ni Hezekiah Louie Zaraspe.
Chuckberry J. Pascual
Author of Ang Nawawala and Mars, May Zombie!
|Dimensions||10 × 2 × 20 cm|
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