thank yous are in order, and while Angela and i always difficult to go all me! me! me! or I! I! I! on our blogs, almost two months into 2013, it would seem wrong to not fall back on that i, if only so i can talk to a you and articulate gratefulness.
the year kicked off with being offered a regular Opinion column over at The Manila Times. i had hoped i could get away with putting a logo instead of my face on it, but no dice. so every Thursday, my literal paper trail continues. let’s see how long i can keep it up — or how long The Times can handle me. hehe.
i also found myself talking to college students about writing and social media, in two different instances early in the year.
this is Ivan, who was responsible for getting me to the University of Baguio‘s Literary Festival 2013. on day one they had Vim Nadera do a lecture and workshop on writing the tanaga; on day two, they had me do the same for popular criticism. i put up their output and my comments here.
in the afternoon (yes, this is what we call lagare!), i read a short essay on Of Love and Other Lemons for an author’s talk at The Cloud. with a small group of Baguio writers and students, and the happy ambience of the cloud, it felt like right to be talking to people about the writing. persistent questions about Burn After Reading aside, it was great to touch base with people who are interested in writing and reading local work, if not those who are open to going all indie, too.
the above photo is by Becky from Dubai, who was ending her studies at UP Baguio and was taking home with her a copy of the book. had i known there were people who didn’t understand Filipino in that group, i would’ve made the effort to speak less of it. good thing Becky has Lui, who was also sprawled (sprawled talaga?) on the stairs of the cloud during the talk. :)
yes, the cloud is this homey and comfortable, and it truly is the perfect place for an author’s talk, especially for newbie ones like moi.
a week after Baguio, was UPLB, which was, as expected, wonderful in its … contradictions.
poster pa lang nakakatuwa na. :)
but the UPLB talk was actually wonderful because it was balanced between Vin Dancel and me, and Bogart the Explorer and Ramon Bautista who to me is Ramones. it was the perfect combination of people who all navigate the world wide web, live off it to some extent, if not completely. it helped that Vin and I went first, and Bogart and Ramones went after us, because really, there’s no going after someone who can lecture completely in an Australian accent, and another who talked about love. i kid you not.
it seems like an interesting subject of study: the fictional characters that Bogart and Ramon keep, and their non-fictional premise. it seems like something that only these times can produce diba?
these are Ramones and Marco doing their fictional selves against the non-fictional fertility tree, that of course Ramon insisted we go to.
this is all four of us as real people. haha. thank you to UP ADS for inviting me, with these three guys who rocked it of course.
being part of this list by Samantha King, Kara Ortigas and Margarita Buenaventura, girls i do not know from eve, rocked my world. it was also humbling.
both Dewi Lestari and the late Yasmin Ahmad were doing work and practicing creativity in spaces that are far less democratic than the Philippines. being a female writer in Indonesia like Dewi and a filmmaker in Malaysia like Yasmin, and deciding to deal with issues that are silenced, truths that are denied, can only be far more difficult than writing in Manila. this is not to celebrate the democracy of the Philippines, as it is to say that when you are unclear about who’s oppressing you in society, then you tend to imagine yourself free. that can only be easier than knowing who or what you’re up against, and deciding to go on with what you think needs to be said, regardless.
and nothing can be more humbling than the story of Malala Yousafzai, shot by the Taliban who admit that it was because
in fact Malala is only fighting for her right to go to school in her native Swat, in Pakistan, where the Taliban has banned girls from getting an education. her diary of living under the Taliban began to be published by BBC in 2009, under a pseudonym. in October 2012 she was shot by the Taliban on her way to school. no, the Taliban shot at the bus she was on, which means they didn’t just hit Malala, they hit two others.
Malala was hit on the head, was flown out of Pakistan to Britain for medical attention, and has since given a February 2013 interview, where she talks about a Malala Fund for school girls in Pakistan. the Taliban has said they will shoot her again if she survived this shooting.
it is beyond me that life of Malala’s, and even the life of Dewi and Indonesia, the life Yasmin had lived in Malaysia, but that isn’t because we are in a democracy in the Philippines. i think more than that, i cannot imagine it because i do not know of bravery beyond words, and i know that navigating the falsities after all of freedom, the kind that we live with in this country, the kind that we don’t like putting into words — these don’t endanger my life, as it might merely affect relationships and work, present and future. it seems so puny given Malala.
so no, no illusions of being worthy of these other girls, but certainly thankful that whatever it is i do in this context is appreciated and will be articulated by three girls, who are brave enough, too. so thank you.
so of course my tatay bought the paper itself, haha. :)
and because all i have are words, here’s the literal paper trail that has come out in The Times so far. am still trying to adjust to the routine of 2013 (yes, please, keep it coming), but will be blogging more, too, as i find that it is this blog that has gotten me writing more outside of it.