"A book is a gift you can open again and again."--Garrison Keillor
I am so happy that the University of Guam and the team of Storyboard-A Journal of Pacific Imagery continue to publish this literary and artistic collection of work. My first experience was with Storyboard 6 in 1999. I was a graduate student at UOG and teaching at JFKHS. When I was an undergrad, I tried submitting poetry--only to be rejected, twice. I took that as a sign that poetry wasn’t my forte’. But in grad school, in a feminist literature class, Dr. Jeanine Talley my professor was also the new editor. Like a snail coming out of her shell, I began to show pieces to her. She liked my essays and encouraged me to submit. I was at this point nurturing a desire to write novels and was penning short stories when I could.
So, in Storyboard 6, two of my poems were featured and I was elated! Then, my regular life--teaching, parents, boyfriend-- eclipsed my writing dreams. I was able to ride this little wave of being published for a short time. I got my fix with opinion pieces in the PDN. I did a stint with Marine Drive Magazine for a few months. When I called a boutique owner for an interview, she said, “I do not want to contribute to a magazine that has underaged girls on the cover who are half dressed.” I agreed, and as a teacher of teenagers who were reading the magazine and seeing my name attached to articles (even if those articles were about sandwiches or coffee shops) I had to make a choice. I quit.
With that, another opportunity arose the next week with MDM’s sister magazine. I met the very serious editor and began another short burst of writing with Guam Business magazine. It felt like real work and churning out facts and putting a spin on it was good exercise, but it wasn’t my passion.
So, moving forward, the joy of UOG’s Storyboard fell to the wayside. I believe they lacked an editor for a few years and for Storyboard 11, a call for entries was made. I was already off-island when my Auntie Patty sent me the flyer. I contacted the editor and verified that I was qualified. She indicated that as long as I was an alum I was good. Ten years after my first appearance in this journal, I submitted three short stories. There was a blind review of all entries and two made the cut.
This Friday, Storyboard 12 is being unveiled on Guam and like last year, I can’t be there. Something about $1,500.00 for a plane ticket and 6,000+miles over the Pacific Ocean holding me back. Thankfully, my brother will be attending, cruising from our grandmother Julia’s 1st death anniversary mass in Asan to East Hagatna to represent me. I miss my grandmother and find it poetic, if you will that the unveiling falls on her anniversary.
I wrote the short story, “Reach” for my mother. It is more than loosely based on her ‘crossing’ from life in South Korea to life as an adopted Chamorrita, because that she is. She is living her life as a Chamorro and I am proud of her.**Painting is of my omma (left) holding me, grandfather, mom's sister, Yong Cha with daughter.--painted by my brother, Sonny K. Chargualaf
Excerpt, “Reach” 2012:
Un Cha signed her name on the letter, written in Korean for the only man she loved. She tucked it into her purse and dressed into the black outfit her daughter helped her pick out. They found their funeral garb at a Korean clothing store in Anigua. With her children and her grandson in tow, Un Cha left their home and sat quietly during the drive to Asan church, in the village that Ted grew up. She imagined many times what her husband was like as a child and often thought that her three children were solid reminders of his legacy.
Before the funeral director closed the casket for the final time, Un Cha walked up alone.
“Yobo, my love. I will meet you again someday. I love you.” Un Cha placed the love letter securely in Ted’s cold hands, still strong, still the color of earth. She bowed deeply and hugged him. Her children were by her side, anchoring her in the world of the living, when all she wanted was to crawl into the space with her husband.
Happy Mother’s Day, Omma!