Tuesday, October 09, 2007

write here, write now

I've been keeping an eye on the all the great (and sometimes heated discussions) on the blogosphere concerning spec fic (and what makes Philippine Speculative Fiction); just an eye because of the demands of everyday work (juggling takes up so much time, dammit) and the editing work on the antho and the usual mundane concerns of existence.

Some people have emailed or texted me asking for my reactions, my stands, especially since I'm directly involved (since I am Filipino, I write spec fic and I co-edit the antho).

Like I wrote earlier, I'm happy that people are talking and thinking and taking stands and such. But I think that at a certain point, these writers should stop blogging, stop talking then and there - and start writing stories.

We present our anxieties so much in these posts; let's present them instead in stories, in the wonderful texts of fantasy, science fiction, horror and other genres. Our first priority should be to develop our common body of work, to write stories that we can read and talk about. Even as we agonize over issues of language and identity, we should be acting, doing something, actually writing.

If someone feels strongly that only stories with Filipino elements should be considered Filipino spec fic (or Filipino), then that person should write a story that exemplifies this reasoning - not to prove a point or to promote agenda necessarily, but to tell a story - a beautiful story, a believable text - in that manner.

If someone feels that labels are not needed, then fantastic - but do produce something that does not need labels, some great reading that educates or entertains or whatever, but produce something of worth. Contribute to the growing body of work.

If people want to write about elves, then write about elves. If people want to use scifi as a means of critiquing both the government and revealing the human condition through the lens of Filipino experience, then please please please, write that story. But make sure it is well-written, make sure it is honest and true and believable (yes, even if - especially if - it is spec fic).

I am all for discussions - these are not pointless, no matter how tiresome they may be to some. I have my stands and opinions and biases and reading/writing preferences and can get quite argumentative myself. But at the end of the day, I'd rather shut up and write, and obviate the risk of overthinking something.

And no, there is nothing wrong in talking about things, in wrestling with theory, in trying to make sense of things, in taking a stand, in presenting arguments reasonably, intelligently and respectfully. This is important, and it is important that we talk about it (so no, I'm not being dismissive here).

But take a look at how much writing time our common agonizing (blog posts, comments and offline angsting) is eating up.

At a certain point, we need to do something. Produce something. Yes, even if we are not 100% certain about what we are doing. Even if loud bloggers disagree with us. Even if commentators take pot shots.

Writing should be our first priority. I'd rather see stories and texts duking it out than blog posts.

After a certain time, we writers need to do our job: to shut up, suck it up, and imagine and create and write write write.



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