Friday, September 24, 2004

agenda-driven

I've been invited to give a talk over at the Ateneo High School as part of their Literacy Month. So next week I'll be one of the speakers at "Real People Talk About Real Stuff". The goal is to get the kids more involved with literature, to show them how it can be part and parcel of their everyday lives and even careers.

My topic: Writing Fiction and Grafiction (it made me really smile reading the formal invitation, because there, in stark black and white, was the term "grafiction").

By now you know how much I enjoy things like this. Like my last lit-related talk for the Inquirer over at the PICC (because my pet-talk to 50 rambunctious 2-7 year olds is a different matter altogether), I believe in taking every decent opportunity to talk about writing (as my poor friends can attest when I get in "the zone").

My agenda this time is to promote the writing and reading of more Filipino speculative and interstitial fiction and the creation of intelligent comic books.

Spec Fic, as I've written about earlier, is almost invisible in our country. We are still stuck in the social realist mode wherein the unspoken rule is that fiction must have someone on a carabao in the fields having an epiphany about the nature of life and family. While this is great, my heart longs for something more fantastic but just as capable of being literary and meaningful. I can show excerpts from texts like Luis Katigbak's "Subterrania" and other great examples.

As for grafiction, my goal is to promote sequential storytelling along literary lines. Not snooty nor inaccesible, but truthful and observant, text that tell stories that mean something, that reflect elements of what makes us human (perhaps even in an odd sense, something social realist hahaha). I have samples from the upcoming Siglo:Passion plus Cast, Wasted, Zsa Zsa Zatunnah, Isaw Atbp., and Arnold Arre galore.

Neither of these modes is boring nor lightweight. Both require as much art, craft and dedication as the so-called "serious literature". Both have the potential to speak volumes about a thousand things in a manner that is engaging and entertaining. Both do not deserve the ghetto they have been thrust into.

And so both will have my advocacy next week.

And if I am able to persuade even just one person to take up the pen and write a wonder tale, or create a mini-comic that is not a manga clone, then perhaps, when I'm older, I'll be pleasantly surprised when I pick up something to read in a bookstore or comic store.

Can love be taught?

literatura


Speaking of which, the latest issue of Literatura, focusing on the winners of the recent Palanca Awards, is up and ready for you to read.

Literatura is an online magazine of Philippine Literature edited by the dedicated Ian Casocot (a multiple Palanca Awardee himself) and is part of the comprehensive A Critical Survey of Philippine Literature).

Here's the TOC ripped from the site (too lazy to convert the all caps, sorry):

ASTERIO ENRICO GUTIERREZ
BLIND
FIRST PRIZE FOR THE SHORT STORY IN ENGLISH

NAYA VALDELLON
CASUALTY
FIRST PRIZE FOR POETRY IN ENGLISH

GLENN SEVILLA MAS
HER FATHER'S HOUSE (COMING)
FIRST PRIZE FOR THE ONE-ACT PLAY IN ENGLISH

WILFREDO O. PASCUAL JR.
DEVOTION
FIRST PRIZE FOR THE ESSAY IN ENGLISH

ANNA FELICIA SANCHEZ
IN SEARCH OF THE STORYBOOK DRAGON (COMING)
SECOND PRIZE FOR THE FULL-LENGTH PLAY IN ENGLISH

DEAN FRANCIS ALFAR
HOLLOW GIRL: A ROMANCE
THIRD PRIZE FOR FUTURISTIC FICTION IN ENGLISH
THE KITE OF STARS (COMING)
SECOND PRIZE FOR THE ONE-ACT PLAY IN ENGLISH

JOEL TOLEDO
LITERATURE
ALL SOULS
SECOND PRIZE FOR POETRY IN ENGLISH

Go and read (especially Willi's essay!).

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