On our first night and day together, the project team convening again after months of painstakingly chasing writers and photographers in order to put together the international sequel to the original anthology, Agam.
We are doing a first pass over submissions from Asia, the Pacific, Africa and Latin America. The initial reading even now haunts all our conversations and makes our hearts hum with grace and trepidation.
Rehana came from Cape Town, Alexandra from Cali, and Padma from Pasay. Feisty and boisterous these women, lovely writers deciphering clues and signs that will bind the submitted stories and allow them to sing.
Istanbul could not have been more appropriate for the task they have chosen to converse and wrestle with. Borders, edges, coasts: This is our setting and what comes to mind in this city is not just hüzün, fado, kundiman, Viennese melancholy, the duduk and the sehenai, but also sunshine and moonshine—companions that will guide the difficult enterprise of giving birth to a new anthology that will face uncertainty squarely, with honesty, and maybe, just maybe, offer durable hope.
Before we broke up for lunch, we reminded ourselves of our mission by listening to a recording of the poet Marjorie Evasco reading in Cebuano her poem Farol de Combate, which she read again in English. Our feet firmly on the ground, yet gliding, we carry on.