poetry & tsismis: emily's blog

January 20, 2013

The Winds of January: NVM visits

I know this blog has been MIA, but life happens. I’ve been sick for more than a week, woke up and tried to post this on Facebook and *poof* it was gone! (augh) So I typed it out again here. Follow me on Twitter for more daily updates: @emilylawsin

NVM Gonzalez plays violin at his Hayward, California home, after the Pangarap: Filipino American Literature Symposium, 1992. Photo by Emily Lawsin.

NVM Gonzalez plays violin at his Hayward, California home, after the Pangarap: Filipino American Literature Symposium, 1992. Photo by Emily Lawsin.

The Winds of January: NVM visits

© by Emily P. Lawsin

Sunday, January 20, 2013

I was awakened twice in the middle of the night by 60 miles-per-hour winds, silver maple and birch branches crashing and rolling down our pitched roof. When I was finally able to fall back asleep at 5 AM, I had a dream about my former professor, the late author and Philippine National Artist, NVM Gonzalez. We were at a ceremony honoring him, I’m not sure where or why.

I kept getting voice mails from my late mother and her friend, Auntie Flori Montante, founder of Pagdiriwang and the Filipino Cultural Heritage Society of Washington, who passed away two weeks ago. They said, “Peter Bacho says that you should give the award, anak.” Peter is a family friend from Seattle, an American Book Award winner, and my former professor too. “He said he can’t be there, so you should do it.”

“What?” I was frantic, running in circles, “What award, a plaque? Where? Hello?”

As I tripped down a hall, a glowing NVM walked in, with an entourage spanning the bright yellow walls. He squinted through his glasses, waved me to him with his cane, stretched out his arms, and said, “Emily, my dear!”

My jaw dropped. “What are you doing here?” I said.

“Do not be afraid,” NVM said. “These nice fellows just wanted to have a party. What are you writing these days?”

“You remember me?”

“Of course I do. Why wouldn’t I?” he said. Then he was whisked up to the stage, where his violin sat on a gold altar. He sat in a throne and played the most beautiful song: the music of wrinkled eyebrows, with each bend of his bow, then wide-eyed smiles as he plucked upbeat notes.

I looked up to take a photograph and noticed a white placard on an easel next to him that said, THE WINDS OF APRIL”.

In the dream, it was supposed to be the title of the song that he played. In reality, it is the title of the last book that he signed for me when I visited him in Manila, the last time that I saw him.

Then I suddenly woke up, with a smile and a tear in my eye. The winds had died down and the sun was shining through my bedroom window on this cold January day.

Salamat po, NVM, thank you, for visiting me.

Michigan 10:56 AM


# # #

1:04 PM ET:

Detroit Free Press reports 195,000 without power in Michigan due to 60 m.p.h. winds.



  1. So much *Like*! And love. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing this with us all.

    Anna Alves

    Comment by slayerella — January 21, 2013 @ 5:02 pm | Reply

    • Maraming Salamat, Anna! NVM’s spirit lives through us all. 🙂

      Comment by EL — March 1, 2013 @ 10:41 am | Reply

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