How a lifelong diarist achieved literary triumph at 72


A 72-year-old journalist and diarist culminated her first-ever book launch at Seda Ayala Center Cebu on Feb. 20, 2024.

Myrna Montera Lopez, a nurse by profession, grew up in Lipa City, Batangas, then moved to Cebu and graduated in nursing from Southern Island Hospital, where she met her husband, a retired physician.

Myrna started her writing journey at a young age by keeping diaries. She was a columnist for Manila Mail US for 10 years, with her column titled “Sa Atin Atin.” While Myrna’s readers did not favor her writing about politics or religion, she and her editor included some pieces on these topics, as well as on travel. However, most of her work evolved into her memoir.

“They were all interested in how I was growing up, and in me being a mother and grandmother, and that’s what garnered the most interest. So, that’s what I did. I wrote about my life and my family,” said Myrna in an interview.

The first book by Myrna, titled “No Limits,” is a poetry anthology that includes her Manila Mail articles alongside a book detailing Myrna’s life journey, entitled “For Life, For Joy, For Love.” Myrna and Winnie Dorotheo Velasquez, her editor, became friends before they became collaborators and released the books together.

Winnie revealed in a speech, “We know people write verse, but she doesn’t only write verse; she also writes very good essays. Poems are the destination of everything she has experienced from her younger years all the way after years. We decided to launch the book together because these two books are very much related. You can’t have one without the other.”

Myrna’s lifelong journey explores the impact of her dream, shaping her life from the earliest moments of her passion for poetry and writing. “This is special. I’ll be 72 this year, so it’s a lifetime; it’s a dream. I didn’t know this would happen. I despaired that I would not have a book written or published at all until my editor came along,” Myrna stated.

Reflecting on her early, less polished works, Myrna offers encouragement to those who are not native English speakers: “We just have to continue to read because, through reading, we can learn the correct syntax, grammar and the proper ways of writing.”

At a successful event, Myrna expressed in a speech, “It didn’t take a village to produce these books, just a hopeful poet and diarist, me, and a friend who set out to facilitate the fulfillment of my dreams.” Myrna’s books can be ordered online through Facebook; the set of books costs P1,000. Myrna’s upcoming book, a romance novel, will be launched at the same time next year. (Shiena Mae V. Guinita, CTU-TC Intern / Writer)


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