Friday, December 26, 2003

year in review: writing

Discounting comics (that's an entire other entry), it was an unexpectedly fulfilling year for me.

At the start of the year, one of my stories, L'Aquilone du Estrellas, was published online by Strange Horizons. Earlier, I corresponded with my editor, Jed Hartman, whose incisive suggestions helped shaped the final version of the story. It was my first sale to a publication (in the "modern" era - I used to make a pittance with stories published in National Midweek and similar magazines in the early 90's), and made me love Hinirang even more than I already did.

Speaking of Hinirang, I was able to contribute a number of stories to our little online corner. Exercises in tone and manner that had mixed results but were valuable learning opportunities for me.

In terms of casual writing, I started posting fragments and vignettes on this blog, things that sometimes were products of guerilla writing or sometimes proto-versions of something I'd later complete, plus my occasional laughable forays into poetry. My blog turned one year old this year, and I hope to keep up the discipline of writing something - even if I skip into mundane reportage once in a while.

Around the second quarter, I held an informal writing workshop for my barkada, conducted via email and spiked by lengthy discussions over weekend dinners. I wanted to hone all our skills (my own included) as well as introduce a bit of critical thinking vis-a-vis the texts that we produce. The context of a "living workshop" is one wherein applications of things learned about craft are applied to living, current and dynamic texts, fiction or otherwise. It is about continuous learning, questions, and writing, writing, writing.

I was floored later when my one-act play The Onan Circle won a Palanca Award. I am fond of saying that awards do not really matter, but of course they do - in context, of course. My particular context at that time was that of a writer who felt that his writing days were behind him. One could always write in a vacuum, yes, but sometimes, the validation of peers becomes somewhat of import. I always say that a writer is only as good as his last piece, and almost a decade separated me from my four previous Palancas. This one was sweeter because I felt that I my rustiness could be shaken off, that there were still paper children that could be born of my brain, that I could still be creative despite needing to focus almost all my energies on my business and nuclear family. Perhaps wrong reasons for wanting to win, but it made sense to me.


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