Thursday, April 26, 2007

dumaguete workshop

Krip Yuson has an article in the Philippine Star about the upcoming 46th Dumaguete Writers Workshop (or is it properly called the Silliman Writers Workshop now?).

It brought back memories of my summer there in 1992, with Sarge Lacuesta and my (then-secret) crush Mailen Paterno-Locsin. I was much younger then, quite the brash guy, and Mom Tiempo thought I was a powerkeg waiting to explode. I remember having so much unfocused anger coming in. At what precisely, I don't recall. But when it was over, I didn't want to leave. I'd found my new home away from home.

I was more of a dramatist then, with only a handful of published short stories to my name. I didn't want to get in the workshop via my plays though. It was my craft with fiction that I knew I needed help with. The workshop sessions affected me deeply.

I remember agreeing, foolishly, to go to Cebu with Sarge. His stipulation was that we did not take a plane. I didn't realize how terrible the journey would be for this city boy. The highlight of the trip was being crammed in a bus with pigs. By the time we arrived in Cebu, I was caked in dust and smelled haram. Oh, plus I think Sarge and I saw a UFO or something (noo noo noo noo noo noo noo noo).

It's an amazing three weeks because for that span of time you only have one hat to wear - a writer's hat. When you take it off, the real you is revealed. When you wear it, you can choose what "you" to reveal. It's a maddening truth/lies me/not me dichotomy thing that is both libertating and enslaving.

Fifteen years later, I think I've finally found the writerly road I want to travel.

And I'm excited for the new writing fellows who are going to take their first hops, skips and jumps down strange and wondrous paths.

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