The Making of Writer Marissa Jarmin Hartwig | Pinay.com
- Isagani Cruz
As an educator, critic, and publisher, I am always on the lookout for fresh writing talent. I want to encourage writers with something significant to share with the rest of humanity.
When I first read a sample of the writing of Marissa Jarmin Hartwig, I immediately realized that here was an undiscovered gem of a thinker and writer. Having first met her a long time ago when she was still a student and I was a teacher at the University of the Philippines, I was pleasantly surprised when she discovered me on Facebook. One Facebook message led to another, and fairly soon, we were corresponding via email about her writing.
My small publishing house, Libro Amigo Publishers, published her first book, an autobiography by her father Martin V. Jarmin, himself quite an interesting and influential fellow. The book was published under the title “The Mountain and the Metropolis: An Autobiography,” by Martin V. Jarmin (2012). Marissa did such a good job of editing the manuscript left by her father that I did not stop until I convinced her to edit her own writings into a book. She had compiled quite a number of texts (from meditations to advice pieces to poems). Once she set her mind to editing her own book, everything became quite easy for me. I merely had to suggest an improvement here and there, and soon, I published her second book, “Life Is A Dance: Reflections on Defining My Truth” (2013). An eBook publisher, Flipside Publishing, became interested in doing a eBook edition, and Amazon.com eventually carried the title.
What is remarkable about her first book is the way she culls from her father’s story her own guiding principles in life. Be self-made. Be brave. Be humble. Have integrity. Love life. Use silence as a strength. Remain hopeful. Keep the faith. Success can be had through sheer determination. Work hard. Never give up. Aim high and go for it. Anything is possible if you just believe. Believe in yourself. Believe in the Creator.
In her own book, Marissa builds on the lessons she learned from her father while he was alive, as well as from her father’s memoirs. “Life Is A Dance” is the story of a woman who believed, not just in herself, but in the Universe. The book recounts—sometimes in candid detail—how she grew from a child who looked at the world as magical to an adult who still looks at the world as magical. She punctuates her narrative with various dances that she herself dances alone or in company. Life itself, as the title puts it, is a dance, where the dancer is the dance, the dance and the dancer being one in unity with the Universe. Every dance is circular, in that a dance ends where it begins, or begins again after it ends. So does the book, which encircles the reader and shows the reader how to live a life spiraling up to the heavens.
What Marissa is as a person is as fascinating as her book (as her relatives and friends swear). Her book reveals both the Marissa that is a person and the Marissa that is a writer. Both person and writer live only for other people. The flesh-and-blood Marissa works with little children and with adults who work with little children. She exemplifies in real life how to ensure that the future is bright for all children, young and old. The author Marissa works with words and with adults who like to read and enjoy words. The literary Marissa exemplifies in literary life how to yoke together disparate elements (to borrow a trope from T. S. Eliot), such as sound and silence, movement and stillness, joy and sorrow, fortunes and misfortunes. Telling one’s story truthfully and inspiring readers to go and do likewise are not easy things to do, but Marissa Jarmin Hartwig has done both.
Isagani R. Cruz is a writer, literary critic, publisher and educator. He is currently president of The Manila Times College and governor of the Philippine National Book Development Board. Cruz heads the Manila Critics Circle, the Filipinas Licensing Copyright Society, Books for Philippine Schools Foundation, Libro Amigo Publishers, Libro Amigo Editorial Services, and C&E Foundation. Previously, he was a Philippine undersecretary of education. You can read more about him and his works in his blog.
Photos courtesy of Marissa Jarmin Hartwig and Isagani R. Cruz.
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IRC Germany BonnHe heads the Manila Critics Circle, the Filipinas Licensing Copyright Society, Wika ng Kultura at Agham, Books for Philippine Schools Foundation, and C&E Foundation. He helped set up the Philippine Association of Scholarly and Academic Publishers, the Philippine Journals Online project of the Oxford-based International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP), and the Philippine E-Journals project of C&E Publishing. He is the former President of the Philippine Studies Association, the Philippine Fulbright Scholars Association, and the Asia Pacific Writers Partnership. He is a retired Senior Bibliographer of the Modern Language Association of America. He has been decorated by the Government of France as a Chevalier dans l’Ordre National du Mérite and by the Ramain family as Honorary Sultan of Iligan City. He is a Project Director of the Foundation for Upgrading the Standard of Education and was the Program Director of the Philippine Cultural Education Program of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. He is a member of the Commission on Higher Education Technical Panel on General Education, the English Speaking Union Philippines, the Technical Advisory Council of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology, and Engineering, and iCubed.us of Hong Kong.
05112010021He writes plays, essays, biographies, corporate histories, and short stories in Filipino and English, for which he has won numerous national and international awards, including the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards in Literature Hall of Fame, the Southeast Asian Writers (SEAWRITE) Award, and the 2010 Outstanding Filipino Award (TOFIL).
He has written or edited more than seventy books.He writes weekly columns on education for Philippine Star and Pilipino Mirror. He is a blogger, Facebooker, Twitter, and Google Plusser.
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