Wednesday, October 09, 2002

intertexuality

It’s interesting to wake up one day and find yourself a participant in a movement. Normally, literary movements are things you look at in an historical perspective, seeking to understand their origins and what influences they bring to bear on the status quo, if any.

A lot of current writers have the feeling of alienation, thinking that while they do not exist alone in the universe of writers, they seemingly write in the equivalent of a vacuum. But the truth of the matter is very very few writers write alone.

They are usually informed by the writing of others, be it the work of those who have come before (that they’ve read or otherwise assimilated) or the corpus of their contemporaries. Education also informs the current writers, opening doors to technique, manner and criticism. It’s simply a matter of discerning where in the spectrum of current-day movements you stand (or sit or lie or sleep).

Here in the Philippines, I thought I had long ago abandoned any possibility of being involved in the current movements, as defined by the work of my older contemporaries in fiction and academic discourse. There was a time when I was still “in touch” and fed and read with the best of them, producing work of my own. I wrote plays and prose and verse that seemed to echo Zeitgeist, or at least the spirit of the times that we all seemed to hold in common, describing, analyzing, humanizing as much as we dared.

Things changed when I entered the commercial world, and all “writerly” things seemed to have no space, no relevance, no value. I learned new jargon, learned to communicate product messages, learned to speak to the market – instead of the reader.

But a couple of years back, I took up the pen again, and found that, like riding a bicycle, I could never truly forget the taste of words. I was still a man in the interstice of things, a little slower, a little behind, but still engaged in the commonality of experience.

Taking one step forward, I breathed deeply of the notion of intertexuality and found the circle of writers who thought and felt and created in a fashion most akin to my sensibilities.

Hence our current work. My current work. My coterie is putting the finishing touches on what we hope will be engaging, entertaining and reflective of what we feel and want to say. If the timetable is held sacrosanct, by the end of next week I should have an interesting announcement to make.

What we are creating will not change the face of Filipino literature. I do not promise startling insight into the human condition nor answers to age-old unanswerables. Nor do will we purport to offer sublime social commentary, political or otherwise. A movement need not be grandiose nor should it, by character or ambition, seek to change the world.

But it should have motion in a definite direction.

We begin with the smallest of ripples.

And we're having fun.


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