The 52nd UP National Writers Workshop has officially ended and the fellows and panelists have left Baguio City. Thank you for viewing our live blog and see you all again next year!
Congratulations to 52nd UPNWW fellow Jim Libiran for winning first place! Congratulations also to finalists Ralph Semino Galán and Richard Gappi, as well as to the other competing fellows Beverly Siy, Gabriela Lee, Charmaine Carreon, and Chuckberry Pascual.
We would also like to congratulate Allan Cariño who won second place, and Jenny Cariño, who won third.
Again, we would like to thank NBDB for its generous gift of books, writing journals, and posters for the Poetry Slam and for our workshop fellows.
Dalisay: History is of value to the writer as a means of knowing who we are, why we are. The past continues to happen. As Thomas Larson says, the memoirist stands with self-doubt rather than with the historian’s certainty. It cannot be a record of the past that autobiography tries to be; the memoir is a history. What the memoir does is to connect the past self to the present self.
Context is vital to the definition of this self. In the memoir, how we lived with ourselves teeter-totters with how we lived with others. The best memoirists, Larson says, don’t deliberately create events – they don’t have to. Memory has far more of its own agency than we thought. There’s no escape from chronology, Larson says; the whole point of the memoir is that one thing leads to another. The memoir is itself a story, yet is also part of a longer story yet to be grasped and told. To preserve that not knowing; that tentativeness, is vital to the memoir.
To me, a memoirist needs no introduction; the memoir itself is the introduction.
Siy: Masaya ang tone pero parang nakabulsa ang mga lungkot. Para sa akin, mas powerful ang ganoon.
Pascual: Sana mas mature ang approach; baka dapat mas may wisdom.
Lumbera: Mas maganda sana kung medyo hindi straightforward. Mas maganda kung may mga detour.
Libiran: Kumbaga sa film, mas may texture sana. The air, the climate, streetlights, neon signs – those are part of the texture.
Dalisay: What is the real subject of these two works? Is it about an aborted relationship or a disrupted friendship? Or is it something that should hover above that? Is there an overarching but implied subject?
Lee: I can’t help but compare the two pieces; I felt that the layers of emotion that was present in the first piece was not sustained until the second.
Dalisay: When we write a memoir, we write about ourselves, and then there will always be the next question ‘so what?’ What’s it to you now? And what’s it to me? What are the issues that connect us; how is that my story too?
Abad: If your entire project is snatches from the past, what is the ‘tuhog;’ the overarching thing?
Lumbera: I think that what links the two pieces together is getting over trauma.
Libiran: We should sense in the two stories an evolution of sorts.
Dalisay: You have to frame the narrative. And sometimes it helps to do this visually.
Pascual: Pwedeng gamitin ang sarili, pero sana platform lang sya for something else para lang di rin maubos ang material; di maging tedious.
Chavez: I really admire Jack’s work because a memoir is a very difficult genre to write. The honesty of it all; that you were able to show the aspect of the othering of the self, race, class, and gender, is impressive. I felt though that it could be tempered a bit; to have more restrained, without taking away the dramatic aspect.
Galan: There’s a certain kind of directness in the storytelling na perhaps pwede pang landiin.
Dalisay: This is a memoir, and memoir requires even more processing.
Abad: What does this experience mean to the remembering self now? That is where the insight might be. There might be some other encounters and elements that would provoke the memory and then perhaps the insight. Ano ang insight beyond the emotions?
Dalisay: Yes, It has to go beyond the raw emotion; it has to have a transcendent quality – suddenly, it’s not about you; it’s about us.
JCR: Ang trajectory of remembering, kapag hindi mo nakita, nawawalan ng coherence. You start with your dramatic present, and from there, how do you connect it to your past? Kailangang down memory lane, pero paano ka ngayon babalik? Kailan nagkakaroon ng wisdom para isulat sa memoir? Kasi kapag naisulat mo na iyan, hindi mo na iyan isusulat uli.
Tolentino: Ang naappreciate ko dito ay ang ambivalence: hindi sya talunan, pero hindi rin naman sya nanalo sa kanyang experiences. Doubly ambivalent pa dahil queer pa ang ambivalence. Ang creative nonfiction, pinaka-demanding sa lahat ng genres dahil mahirap magkumpisal sa mga bagay-bagay na hindi ka pa handing ikumpisal. Ang expectation namin, from our end, ay pleasurable reading ito – kailangang magaan. Nakukulangan ako dahil walang contemplative state na nagrereflect ang author; na may small epiphany na magaganap sa last part. Ito nga ay remembering pero pwede ka namang magdismember.
Rio Alma: ang una mong problema, ano ba ang gusto kong sabihin tungkol sa paksa? At ang mas malaking problema, paano ko sasabihin ang tungkol sa paksa? Kung walang present; kung walang tension between the present and the past, wala kang memoir. Sa akin, dahil wala itong present, hindi ito memoir. Hindi mo makikita ung ano ang paksa nito na may kinalaman sa present. Nawawala ang isang paa; therefore story lamang ito.
Libiran: I suggest na magsulat, magwala ka muna; magbranch out, at saka ka na mag-isip. I-archive mo sya into past and present, at saka mo na gamiting device ang time. Laruin mo sya; hindi naman ang lahat ng insight ay kailangang epiphanic.
Ong: Have you ever tried to write fiction? Is there material that are fictionalized? Sa akin, what hangs over this is betrayal; yun ang trauma.
Rodriguez: Sa tingin ko, importanteng iconnect ang individual memory sa mga nangyayari sa pligid sa panahong iyon.
Baquiran: Sa akin, malinaw na ang trajectory ng dalawang kwento ni Jack. Dapat dahan-dahan; sensual ang description ng pagdaloy ng time.
Dalisay: Kaya nga para sa akin, dapat ma-edit para mas compacted ang portions ng kwento. Kung ikukwento mo ito efficiently, nasa Los Angeles ka na nyan; Queen ka na. Hindi mo na iniisip ang lalaki; kailangan na ng maturity. Right now, parang drawing na drawing ang naratibo kaya halos mappredict mo na.
Chavez: One way to put it in the present would be to show how you are taking care of your sick mother. Another thing is to bring back and forth the narrative of time.
JCR: Bakit walang ibang tao sa kwento? Puro nakasentro sa persona at di naipapakita ang interaksyon sa ibang tao. Para bang ang memory na naiwan sa iyo ay pag-ibig lang. Baka pwedeng maipakita na kaya ganoong kalaki ang epekto ng pagmamahal na iyon sa iyo ay dahil walang ibang nagmamahal sa iyo.
Paano ko uunawain kung bakit ka nandyan kung di mo naman ipinakita? Kumbaga kung hagdan yan, di ko makita kung paano ka napunta dyan. Ang gusto ko, sabay tayong maglalakad at kukwentuhan mo ako. Hindi lang naman ang tauhan ang ihuhumanize mo kundi ikaw mismo.
Lahat naman tayo ay umiibig. Why is your love better better than ours? Bubuuuin mo yun.
Bakit kapag kinukwento mo sa amin, mas engaging kaysa sa written? Ang literature naman ay di lang written; marami namang ibang possibilities.
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A WRITER’S JOURNEY TO MEMOIR WRITING
I developed an early love for literature as a child. While most boys my age would play tumbang preso or siyatong or climb guava trees and catch spiders under the scorching heat of the midday sun, I would get the storybook my mother gave me during Christmas and holler at the young kids, about four or five years old, to come and gather around the wooden staircase of Lolo Jessie. I would borrow the kiddie blackboard, ruler, and chalk of my neighbor and read aloud passages from the storybook. If I saw inattentive kids who seemed uninterested in listening to my retelling of Why the Pineapple Has Many Eyes or Chicken Little, I would bang on the board. I would ask the kids who said what and what happened to whom in the story. They would answer in unison as I flashed illustrations from the book. I was fascinated by the stories that I was reading to them, totally lost in the world of Pina, the disobedient child, and Chicken Little, the innocent fowl who thought the world was over after an acorn fell on his head.
One day, I thought to myself, I will be writing my own stories.
THE DECISION TO WRITE CREATIVE NONFICTION
I turned to creative writing, specifically to nonfiction writing, because of advice from a dear friend. He said that I have a “natural gift of story‑telling.” I didn’t believe this at first. Although I had taken enough units of creative writing both in my masteral and doctoral studies, I do not consider myself a writer. I have always thought of myself as a performer, having some background in the performing arts and being a former speech teacher. However, another friend of mine, in one of our meetings in Café Adriatico, Malate (“conclaves” as we fondly call them), told me that I have a knack for telling stories. He said to me, “Since you are biracial, born a few hundred meters from Clark Air Base, I bet you have a bagful of personal stories to tell. Why don’t you start writing them down?”
I did write essays and poems as far back as high school but didn’t have the confidence to have them critiqued or even to apply to be a fellow in creative writing workshops. I felt my writings were amateurish. But as I grew older, my fears subsided. In the end, what remains is my desire to tell the stories and be heard. I guess it is an important thing for me to hear my own stories in my own voice, without fear or embarrassment.
As I started writing, I realized that having a bagful of stories to tell is not enough. The bigger chunk of the problem lies in the telling of these stories. Sometimes, I would wake up in the middle of the night when I would feel this “itch” of a memory waiting to be written down. But as I would start writing it, I’d be suddenly stumped, sometimes looking out the window for hours. I couldn’t find the right words to describe a memory. No descriptive detail to illustrate the remembrance. All that would remain was the “itch.”
I would end up making an outline of those memories and I would write them down on a memo sheet. I said to myself, I will deal with them later when the stories are finally ready to be told. I was pretty sure that that time would come. But then the memos only piled up inside an envelope. They would remain untouched and unwritten for years.
THE PROBLEM OF MEMORY
For me, the act of mentally recounting the past has always been easy but extremely difficult to do in writing. One has not only to search internally—what is in one’s mind and heart about these recollections and how one felt about them when they were happening – but also to investigate tangible objects to further check the veracity of these memories.
I started browsing through my photo albums to aid me in reconfiguring the past. The pictures initially were a big help. By looking at them, I was able to go back to the exact space and time when the sights and scents were real. But I eventually discovered that pictures are just visual representations of these occurrences. They can only provide superficial references about the memory. Because memory is fleeting, the pictures can only do so much. I have discovered that memories, like pictures, can only help to remember what you want to remember. It is selective. Everything else is a haze.
I would also have conversations with friends whom I grew up with and family members who, despite their recognition of the narratives I wanted to write about, had rather different versions and/or recollections of the stories. They might well have accused me of fabrication. I realized too that this confessional writing might be interpreted by my family and friends as self‑indulgent or self‑absorbed.
I went back to the places I had been to, the settings of the narratives—the movie house, the school, the church, some of the houses we lived in, even the manhole, which surprisingly, is still there, still uncovered. I am amused at the thought that perhaps I am the only one who remembers these things the way they were, or in a certain way, from a different perspective. Perhaps everything that I remember has not only been forgotten or obliterated by family and friends; perhaps they did not happen at all.
I realized that mulling over these stories in my head would not help me in any way. So I forced myself to write. As I looked at the paper before me, with the pen in my right hand, I felt it was the right time for these stories to be written. I looked at the memo sheets and figured them out one by one. With a deep sigh, I started writing. Never mind the rules and conventions of writing. I would deal with them later.
After writing a couple of personal narratives, I learned that the past is a bleak universe. I wanted to picture the past as a perfect and uncorrupted space. But as I swam along its depths, my perceptions changed. Unraveling the past made me realize two important things— first, the past could be altered by someone who tries to revisit it; and second, the past is never in a fixed‑time continuum.
As a writer, I am aware that if one wishes to play around with the facts, he runs the risk of falsifying his accounts. But the present carries only residues and remains of the past, so when one tries to write about it, he won’t be able to actually recapture the past completely.
This brought me to the idea that much as I would like to remember the past for what I deem it was, I can only write about what it meant to me, as a child then, and what it means to me as an adult now. I would discover in my later readings that Annie Dillard, a respected memoirist, calls this “fashioning the text.” Eventually, the work that I am writing replaces the memories that I keep about my past. I did my best not to misrepresent things, to be as truthful as I can be. I have also examined what might have been “false memories” and discarded them.
MY POETICS AS A CREATIVE NONFICTION WRITER
Most of the narratives I wrote revolve around one overarching theme – the initiation of the persona or the “I” – to the “first times.” “Grease Trap” is about my first job, “The Missing Link” is my first attempt to converse with my father, “Sine Paraiso” is my first experience watching a movie, “The Princess and the Cockroach” is a story of my first love and first heartbreak, and so on.
I know that initiation is one of the favorite and most common themes in fiction and nonfiction. Ernest Hemingway and N.V.M. Gonzalez used this in their many stories like “The Killers” and “Children of the Ash Covered Loam,” respectively. There is something about “first time” stories that will always haunt the person to whom “they” happened. As a writer, these “first time” stories naturally provide a fertile material for memoir writing.
Under the wings of Milagros Tanlayco and Ophelia Dimalanta, who were considered vanguards of New Criticism at UST, I was exposed to everything I know about form: epiphany, organic unity, the objective correlative, etc. I may have patterned the narratives I wrote using fiction’s narrative arc – exposition, rising action, climax, denouement.
In the first parts of the narratives, the “I” is somehow enmeshed in some kind of struggle or unmanageable conflict like the inability to watch Miss Universe or the wading through the typhoon waters. Then the persona finds some kind of strength, either physical, emotional or mental from the constraints of his own circumstances, and experiences an epiphany at the end. Perhaps I am particularly drawn to characters in literature who, like Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, Meggie Cleary in The Thornbirds or Harlan Brown in The Frontrunner, are initially defeated by some events that are bigger than they are, but who win in the end because of their sheer determination and unwavering faith. They were my character heroes. When I revisited my own narratives, I was amused to see some similarities between myself and them, even if my conflicts seemed trivial compared to theirs.
MY POLITICS AS A WRITER
I have always felt different. I have been carrying an American‑sounding family name, which belonged to a race that was not known to me. This did not give me a comfortable feeling when I was growing up. I remember one of my teachers joked about my surname when I was in fourth grade. He said that I might be the heir apparent of the biggest company that manufactured the Juicy Fruit and the Double Mint Gums. I answered him sheepishly that that name was Wrigley, spelled with an “r.” “Your father may have been the bastard son then,” he quipped. I never responded again. It became too difficult for me to explain the mystery of my origin.
As a child, I wanted so much to blend with the others. To look and be the same with others, that was my pledge, my dream. To just keep going and not be noticed because of how I look and how my family name is pronounced, and not have to explain why this is so – that would have been such a relief. I never wanted to be different, yet I always felt different.
I grew up hearing the gossip that my mother was a prostitute. That she might have met my father in a bar and consequently bore two illegitimate sons – my brother and I. I had a half-sister and a half-brother who did not at all look like me. Classmates and neighbors would call me names like “mestisong bangus” and “anak ng Kano, pero made in the Philippines.” I did not fully understand the implications of such epithets at that time.
I also grew up with practically no money. Mother, who had not finished school, had no stable job and had four children to raise, relied mostly on the kindness of relatives and friends. My sister, who was the eldest, had to work at sixteen years old. It was a good thing that I got monthly support from the Pearl S. Buck Foundation, which helped me from kindergarten to college.
Growing up gay is also another hurdle I had to overcome. I already felt different because of the color of my skin and the way my family name sounded. And then, this. I didn’t know what this was. I didn’t know the word at that time. I didn’t know anyone who was like me. All I knew was that I was different because I felt different. The friends I hung out with were girls or the kids who were my “students” in Lolo Jessie’s stairs. My male classmates would call me “shokeng tisoy,” and “ay, manay,” as they flipped their hands and swayed their hips.
Looking back, I realize now that these hurdles were blessings in disguise. They have become the rich material I needed for writing. I have analyzed the interrelationship of race (because I am half‑white), class (because I was born poor), and gender (because I am gay), how these “structures” have shaped my experiences and how they have provided me with the “voice” I am to use in telling my stories. I use “voice” here as a metaphor that appropriately comes from challenging the silence that has enveloped me for many years.
While I did not understand then – how I might have been marginalized because of my race, class and gender – I have come to comprehend through the writing of these stories. The writing is, firstly, a way to address these forms of oppression and a strategy to emancipate myself. These writings have become my tangible attempts at self-preservation.
Secondly, these memoirs are an approach to uncover, rediscover and recover the past. So much of the experiences I had in the past were just plain memories. Initially, I thought of them as a pile of completed events and encounters that will no longer have any association to the present. I did not understand or, at least, did not give much thought to, the consequences or effects of these events and encounters. Writing about them did not only give me a chance to revisit them but also to understand and flesh out who I really was at the time these were happening. Memoirs are, after all, literary representations of memory.
I grew up in an environment where institutional patriarchal religion is kept at bay. What I was introduced to when I was growing up as a gay boy in Angeles City was practical spirituality, quite different from the conservative religious sect with its hieratic power and authority figure. I did not learn the church teachings on virtues from doctrines but on the everyday graces from the goodness of familiar people. When I was growing up, I had this idea that as long as I am a good person, I shall have served my purpose. I tried becoming a good son, a good student, a good friend, a good employee, a good teacher, a good administrator. I have devoted my life taking care of my mother, which to me is the very fulfillment of purpose and duty, stronger than any religious dogma or vow.
Also my narratives do not reflect any moral issues or conflict with religion (being Catholic), although I now teach in a Catholic institution. The narratives that I wrote that had hints of homosexuality were about my first love and first heartbreak (“The Princess and the Cockroach”), which happened when I was sixteen, and the narrative about watching the Miss Universe (“… Miss Philippines!”), which happened when I was eleven, and therefore, were not considered immoral. I did not write about homosexual affairs or sexual encounters.
When I was thirteen years old and a first year high school student, I kept a diary. There, I would write all the activities that I had and all the rantings of a typical teenager about his life and the world he lived in. But then life got boring. I felt that I was writing the same entries over and over again – boy crushes, school assignments and projects, the things that made me happy or worried, the kids who I had quarrels with, etc.
There was nothing new to write about. Also, I was afraid that my sister and brothers would discover my innermost thoughts and secrets. So I decided to stop keeping a diary. My only experiences of writing were the articles and essays I had to finish for our school paper. I was a member of the editorial board of our student paper, both in high school and college.
But I knew deep down that one day, I would write my personal stories. I only wrote in English. I never wrote in Filipino, or Kapampangan, or Bicolano, even if I was fluent in these languages, both oral and written. I guess I was one of those people who believe that English is the only language that matters. My heroes were my English teachers in high school, college, and even in graduate school. I used to think that the only measure of intelligence is the ability to speak and write in English.
So I finished AB English, and consequently taught English, Speech, and Communication Arts subjects for more than a decade. I then took MA in Literature, which basically is a master’s program in English.
My adviser and former boss, however, has told me that I am equally good, if not better, in Filipino. In our daily conversations, she would catch my attention whenever I say phrases like “pinanday na siya ng panahon” or “nagtutunggali ang dilim at liwanag.” She would ask me, “What did you say?” Sometimes because of instant self‑consciousness, I would roll my eyes and fail to remember what I said. She encouraged me to write in Filipino. “You don’t know that your command of the language is good and that’s beautiful, because it flows naturally to you.” Eventually, I would like to write and publish creative nonfiction in Filipino.
Lastly, I wrote these narratives because I felt that the understanding of my past would help me better understand myself today. Maybe these memoirs that I wrote will provide me with a depiction of what Germans call Bildung– what I have learned so far, in the course of my journey. In a sense, I am still looking for answers. Perhaps, I thought, I would find some of them as I wrote these stories.
I wrote these narratives because the need stemmed from a deeper necessity to clarify myself – to reflect, to examine personal demons, and to reassess myself.
MY WRITING STRATEGIES
I have come to realize that all my narratives contain the element of humor, even the ones that were difficult to confess, for example, the narratives on my first discovery of the cinema and the initial experience I had of watching the Miss Universe pageant. At first, I didn’t intend them to be funny. They were written this way because that was how I remembered them.
In the introduction to his book, Inventing the Truth: the Art and Craft of Memoir (1985), William Zinsser says: “Humor is the writer’s armor against hard emotions—and therefore, in the case of memoir, one more version of the truth.” (4) I remember that I was crying and laughing at the same time while reading Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir (1996) especially the part when Frank (who was about four years old at that time) and his little brother Malachy (who was two) are running and trying to cover the pig’s head with their clumsy and feeble hands (because that’s what they’re going to have for Christmas dinner due to extreme poverty and which they don’t want their neighbors to know about), but the rain was drenching the newspaper that was covering the pig’s head. The paper was falling off, exposing the pig’s head and the people who saw it burst out laughing. I was laughing too, with tears in my eyes. I have never forgotten this scene.
When I started becoming conscious about the craft of memoir writing, I rewrote some of the narratives, injecting humor in them. This has become my tone; it has become my voice – humorous, to an extent self‑deprecating. Humor cushions the abrasive edges of the experience. It prevents the story from being too morbid or tragic. I wanted to capture the innocence of who I was as a child. As a child, all one cares about is whether his mother is going to buy him ice cream or will permit him to play outside. One is not yet conscious of internal conflicts or social injustice.
As a writer, I think this is how I want to portray the subject who is me in the narratives. I guess I might be considered a happy person. Students, employees and even lovers find me funny even when I am already dead serious. I always find Woody Allen hilarious, with his neurotic comportment and dead‑pan expression. But the happiness is a camouflage. In comedy, the tears are always below the surface. When I saw Care Divas, a musical comedy about gays in Israel who are caregivers by day and “divas” by night, I was smiling, with a constant lump in my throat. The good thing about being funny is that people are instantly drawn to you. The unfortunate thing is that you cannot easily be taken seriously.
There seems to be some bias against comedy in literary circles. In literary awards, very few humorous or funny stories win. Perhaps, they are not taken as seriously as tragic stories by judges of contests.
But humor is a strategy that marginalized people utilize in order to cope with even the most trying of times. It is the language of the oppressed. As a child growing up plagued by so many insecurities, I realize now that being funny and having a cheerful disposition was what helped me overcome all the trials I had to experience.
So, conscious or not, my stories will always reveal something funny or humorous. As a writer of humorous narratives, this is my blessing and my curse. However I believe that, ultimately, one is what one writes.
I found out the importance of the present in uncovering the past. I used to think that the past is past. It is constant and one cannot change it. One cannot go back to it no matter how hard he tries. Later on, I realized that over the years, the personal stories that I had been keeping inside my head had changed so much that I, could no longer distinguish between memory and imagination. Did a thing actually happen? Or did I unconsciously embellish and distort? In other words, the present had altered the past. I need the present to talk about my past. But I also need the past to explain my present. Both the past and the present are necessary when writing personal narratives, especially memoirs.
I had to change the names of some people in my stories. Narratives are told from a specific point of view – mine – and, issues of privacy of persons would therefore be compromised. I understand that there might have been other versions of these narratives, if they are told from their perspective. So I had intentionally changed their names in order to protect them.
I wanted to write several short personal narratives instead of one long narrative. I do not see my life story as a single entity following a specific linear course. In fact, I see different and variegated versions of myself who could well be different characters in conflict, enacting different plots – the “I,” never being the same again. When we recollect events in our past, do we not only do so in broken and fragmented parts and not in toto or as complete, organic wholes? Life is not linear and progressive. Neither are my narratives.
The stories I have written focus not on a life lived in its entirety from birth to the present. They are vignettes—fragments of a perceived life story. But I have arranged them in a roughly chronological order – because I believe that the reader will be better able to participate in the narratives, i.e., to engage with the experiences narrated, if he or she is able to “place” them within the context of the phases of my life.
In the matter of technical strategies / devices, I have made rich use of the flashback structure, starting with a particular scene in the present and then moving back in the past. This is a strategy most commonly found in memoirs, for example those written by Butch Dalisay, Gemino H. Abad and Bienvenido N. Santos. The narrative “Houses” is an example of this. I began with how houses are viewed by those who live in them, and then shifted to the kinds of houses our family lived in when I was growing up. The narrative ends with living in a condominium unit, very different from the houses we lived in when I was a child.
I have also made use of scenes and dialogue. I think I might have acquired the taste for these devices because of my love for cinema and the dramatic art. I have enjoyed watching scenes come to life. Later in creative writing classes and workshops, I learned that beginners need to show rather than tell their stories, which really means putting more drama into the writing through enactment.
Theodore Rees Cheney has aptly explained this: “We believe what we see; we distrust what we’re told” (1991, 11). Thus, I have attempted to juxtapose bits of exposition with scene; I became conscious that I should not just explain everything. Dialogue enables readers to “hear” the characters. It also enables readers to feel that they are “present” in the narratives, like real witnesses.
In the narrative, “The Missing Link,” I had an emotionally charged telephone conversation with my stepmother, wife of my father whom I had not seen. The exact conversation is recorded almost like a transcription. But the emotions I felt during the conversation could not be transcribed, so I included some of my reflections after the conversations.
I have also employed rhetorical techniques usually found in essays. One is the technique of definition. In “…Miss Philippines!” I started the narrative by stating the definition of beauty in the context of the Philippine setting. I was trying to explore the reason for Filipinos’ being obsessed with the concept of beauty, hence, perpetually fascinated with beauty pageants. Along with my personal experience of watching beauty pageants, I am offering other definitions of beauty and connecting these with my struggle as a kid just wanting to watch the pageant from somebody else’s TV set. I defined beauty as something which can also be associated with redemption, or which can save a poor child from his miserable circumstances.
In “Let’s Play Magic!” I employed the device of analogy or extended metaphor by describing an actor on stage as a magician. In many respects, they are one and the same – an actor using the element of illusion to bring his character to life, and a magician orchestrating his tricks for audiences to marvel at. The actor utilizes dialogue, make‑up and the “fourth wall” to cast his spell. The magician makes use of a wand, a hat and the smoke to cast his.
I believe that the best narratives are those which cover the most evocative descriptive details and images. In the narrative “Surviving Ondoy,” which recounts my walking through the floodwaters with my bag on top of my head, I was observing what people around me were doing and I tried my best to capture them in words. In “Sine Paraiso,” I did the same in describing the interior of the movie house before and while the film was projected on the screen.
The titles are an important part of my narratives. They are a kind of “kicker” of the narratives. “Sine Paraiso,” which is my homage to film, is an off‑shoot of “Cinema Paradiso,” the Italian film (also the Italian translation of my title) that pays tribute to the magic of cinema. “Bui Doi in the City of Angels” is a narrative about how I became a member of an American‑sponsored organization in Angeles City; while “Classroom Jitters” is the story of my first day at UST as a teacher. Those came more easily to me than “The Princess and the Cockroach” (which is the story of my first love), and “The Missing Link” (which is the story of attempting to connect with a father I never had). The more personal narratives are the ones that were more difficult to find titles for.
I also have a penchant for using metaphors that are a bit gross and slimy, as evident in the titles, “Falling into a Manhole,” “The Princess and the Cockroach,” and “Grease Trap.” But I hope I am never tasteless.
The pronoun “I” is very evident in all the narratives, because they deal mainly with my feelings in the circumstances I describe – getting stuck in the manhole, listening to the Miss Universe pageant with ears pressed to the wall, watching a Nora Aunor movie inside a dim movie house for the first time. More important than the events themselves are the feelings and impressions that I had as they were taking place when I was still a child, and my insights into them now, as an adult.
I have titled this collection of narratives “Falling into the Manhole: A Memoir” not only because there is a narrative in the collection with this title, but also because I am deeply fascinated about the concept of falling, and the steps people take in getting up from the mire. When I fell and was stuck in the manhole for a time, I had a different view of the world – vehicles were bigger and people were taller and everything seemed ready to swallow you up. It was a frightening feeling. When I was a child, I had that same kind of feeling. Everybody was smarter, older, stronger, taller, and better looking than me. But I guess I chose to survive. I got up from the pit.
We all fall into pits of self‑hate sometimes, which is what the manhole is a metaphor of in my narratives. We just have to remind ourselves that after we fall into the manhole, we need to get out of it.
I have appropriated an “I” who seems to derive pleasure in relating his most embarrassing moments, “washing his dirty laundry,” so to speak. This is not mere self‑indulgence. The “I” does not wallow. He picks himself up, and the same voice is that of someone wounded who, however is a survivor. And I hope this voice resonates through all the narratives.
THE NEXT PROJECT
What I intend to write about next would be a continuation of the narratives I had previously written in my first creative nonfiction collection. While my first book dealt mostly on initiation stories, where the “I” is a child, perceiving the world from a young and naïve perspective, the second book would focus on the adult “I,” who has, more or less gained a wider, deeper and more mature insight about his world.
In the first collection, there is a narrative titled “…Miss Philippines!” which presents me as a young boy of eleven who watched the Miss Universe pageant for the first time, from someone else’s TV set. My heroine then was 3rd runner-up, Chat Silayan. In the second book, I intend to write about my first experience of watching the Miss Universe live, some thirty two years later, in Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, where another Miss Philippines candidate, Janine Tugonon, became a runner-up in the said pageant.
In my first book, the narrative “Sine Paraiso,” recounts my recollection watching the first film that I saw (“Banaue” starring Nora Aunor and Christopher de Leon), paying homage to this visual art that has tremendously influenced me. In my next book project, I will write about my first experience as an actor in the film “Lola” directed by Brilliante Mendoza, many years later.
The narrative you see in this paper, “The Princess and the Cockroach,” accounts for the first time I fell in love as a teenager. This was part of the first memoir that was published. What I am submitting in this workshop is the unpublished narrative, “The Queen in the City of Angels,” which hopefully, will be a part of my next book, and it tells about meeting my first love in the US after twenty seven years.
In the previous book, I wrote an emotional narrative about taking care of my mother who was afflicted with both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. In the new collection, I intend to write about my experiences about her death several months ago, and the different phases and stages of grief I had to go through.
Also, there is a narrative about my stage acting debut at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in the first book titled “Let’s Play Magic.” In the new collection, I plan to write about my experiences as a charter member of the UST Graduate School Academic Theater, performing in key cities in the US – New York City, Washington D.C., Tampa, Jersey City and Bergenfield.
In many respects, there are many parallel narratives between the first book and the new creative nonfiction I am currently writing. What would be different are the lessons and the insights I learned from them – both as the person who experienced them and as the writer who has written about them. In a way, the persona and the writer have come full circle, from a naïve and passive, but observant fellow to someone who has learned to take full measure of his life, and accept all its surprises and disappointments.
One friend suggested that the second book of memoirs should be titled, Rising from the Manhole, but I am still open to other ideas and suggestions.
Gappi: Noong una kong mabasa ang kay Emman, malakas para sa akin ang degree ng timpi.
Libiran: Yung nga tula ni Emman, ito ang koleksyong masayang dalhin sa alone time mo; sasamahan kang maglakad – kita dito ang birtud ng pagiging mahinahon. Unspoken syempre dito ang mga lihim nya; sana may kaunting katapangan sa pagpapahiwatig ng mga lihim.
Rio Alma: Ang ibig mo bang sabihin, ang pagiging tahimik ay sya ring pagiging detached?
Libiran: Double-edged ang pagiging mahinahon at pagiging sparse ang mga linya; parang malalaking patak lang sya sa gripo na doon mo lang pwedeng kunin ang lahat. Gusto ko syang makilala pa nang mas mabuti at mas makilala pa ang sarili bilang mambabasa.
Chavez: I don’t seem to know if I have to look at the sweep of his projects what the rationale of the whole collection is. There are a lot of strong pieces, but it is not consistent. What as I see as the chief characteristic of you poetry is ambiguity as trope. I would like to believe that in fact, the meditative silences are deliberate. But you get a sense of frustration because I’m torn between different interpretations. In the end, I get the feeling that hindi mo pa rin nakikita ang voice mo. I think that because we are poets, we really need to be incisive and restrained in this form.
Lumbera: But in the poem you pointed out as weak, the whole point exactly is that he is confused in the end as to what he could make of his experience. So all the previous lines lead to that sense.
Chavez: What I want is not to make the ambiguity clear but how the ambiguity can be further incised into the poetry.
Rio Alma: Pero actually, ang mismong feeling dito ang ambiguous. Sa kanyang tula tungkol kay Jesse Robredo, makikitang may iba syang paraan ng pagconfront sa isang social event. At napakalakas ng pagkakasulat ng tula. Kapag sinabi mo na mahina ito, e ito ang kanyang paraan sa pagconfront sa social reality.
Nadera: Kung kunwari ay kumanta si Kenny Rogers o Barry Manilow ng kanta ng iba, parang nagiging kanila na ito; may pag-aangkin. May ganito ring kapangyarihan ang mga tula ni Emman.
Abad: Sinabi na tahimik, mahinahon, mapag-isip – ang poetry nya ay reflective. Noong sinabi ni Vim na magpaulan ka na lamang para lumamig ang ulo mo, hindi ganoon ang pagbasa ko sa dito. There is so much peace and delight in nature, and yet the human situation ay masama. Ganoon ang dating sa akin.
Carreon: Sanay ako sa malakas na public na political poetry sa Filipino. This is the first time na nakabasa ako ng maraming tula na quiet. What I love about it is that I sense that he was trying to capture that gap between the outside; the social, and the inside, which is personal. Pero naroon parin lagi ang feelings – the turning of the leaf: that’s what I get from his poems.
Tolentino: Necessarily tahimik ang mga tula dahil metaphysical; contemplative ang mga ito. Mas prayer-like ang ganitong meditations. Ang contemplative moment nya ay bukas din at nakaka-relate tayo. Quite personal ang mga tulang ito.
Baquiran: Sabay-sabay ang role nya: Tatay, amo, and at the same time ay andoon ang caring. May ganoong mise en scene, may layering ng feelings.
Chavez: When we read them, we all had different interpretations – it provokes so many different readings. Which is why I said that the ambiguity is trope.
Lumbera: Ang makikitang mga imahe dito – ang mga damong ligaw, ang mga bulalaklak –ito ang laman ng tula na repleksyon sa loob ng nagsasalita sa tula. Malinaw na may kinalaman ito sa iba’t ibang damdamin na naiwan sa nagsasalita. Si Emman, para kasi syang English poet; ito rin ang technique ng Filipino poets in English; that so much is left unsaid. It is the reader’s duty to pierce into the heart of the experience.
Kidlat Tahimik: Pinapanood ko ang pingpong game nyo; isa lamang akong spectator pero napunta sa akin ang bola. Sa sinabi ni Bien about comparing it to English poets, sa sikolohiyang Pilipino, sinasabing ang kultura ng West ay explicit, at ang sa atin ay tacit pero maraming nuances sa kalawakan ng words. Kaya ang kapwa culture natin ay pakiramdaman. Siguro ang pinapasukan natin ay ang paradigm ng makata bilang wordsmith; sa spoken, maraming vsuals na lumalabas. Maaaring conflict yun to those who feel na dapat na ipako ang words and yet maraming pino-provoke.
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Paggagap Sa Ligalig
(O Kung Ano ang Aking Isinusulat, Bakit, at Paano)
“Sa tinig na puspos ng mahinahong pagtanggap sa mga bagay na karaniwan, hindi gayon kahinahon kung tanggapin, dinala ako ng persona ng mga tula (na kaynipis na pantabing sa mismong may-akda!) sa bai-baitang na paggagap…sa ligalig, isang kalagayang kaakibat ng pag-iral ng tao.”
Ang pangungusap sa itaas ay sipi mula sa introduksiyon ni Benilda Santos sa aking unang aklat na pinamagatang “Dalawang Pulgada at Tubig”. Sa aking palagay, nahuli ni Ma’am Beni sa pungungusap na ito ang buod ng aking pagmamakata. Sa pangungusap na ito mahihinuha kung paano ako magsulat, kung ano ang aking isinusulat, at kung bakit ako nagsusulat. Hihimayin ko ang pangungusap, at susubukang ipaliwanang ang aking ibig sabihin.
“Sa tinig na puspos ng mahinahong pagtanggap…”
Una, kinilatis ni Ma’am Beni ang tinig ng aking mga tula bilang “mahinahon”. Ikinagalak ko ito dahil ganoon nga ang nais kong maging katangian ng aking mga tula – tahimik, maunawain, at pala-isip.
Mahalaga sa akin ang panimulang kagaanan ng isang tula. Yaong astang bukas, mapag-anyaya, at nagpapalakas sa paniniwala ng karaniwang mambabasa na hindi komplikado ang tula at may makukuha siya mula rito, kahit sa unang pasada pa lamang. Ngunit mahalaga rin sa akin na matuklasan ng mambabasa, pagkatapos niyang daanan ang tula, na napadpad pala siya sa kalagitnaan ng isang napukaw na guniguni. Kaakibat ng pagkatuklas na ito ang bunsod ng kanyang hangaring muling basahin ang tula, nang sa gayon ay masiyahan siya sa lalim at/o liwanag ng pagmumuning handog nito.
Halimbawa, isang tula sa aking kasalukuyang binubuong koleksiyon ang may pamagat na “Gutom Lamang”. Sa unang saknong nito, inilalahad ng tula ang isang nakababagabag na pangyayari sa Amerika. Pangkaraniwan ang gamit na tono at mga salita.
Alas-dos ng umaga.
Buhay pa ang telebisyon,
at patayan sa kanilang panig ng mundo
ang ibinabalita ng mga Amerikano.
Ganito ang tunog ng malaking bahagi ng tula, at animong mahinahon at walang kinalaman sa persona ng tula ang pangyayaring binabanggit. Subalit sa huling saknong, lilitaw ang ideya na hindi malayo kundi kalahok ang persona sa mga pangyayaring kanyang mistulang ipinagkibit-balikat lamang.
Alas-dos ng umaga.
Pinatay ko ang telebisyon
at nagtungo sa kusina.
Kumakalam ang aking sikmura.
Mahinahon pa rin ang mga salita, bagaman nahulog na sa sariling kalagayan ng persona ang pagmumuni ng tula, kaya napakalapit na ng karanasan.
“…mga bagay na karaniwan, hindi gayon kahinahon kung tanggapin…”
Kakambal ng mahinahong tinig ang pagtalakay sa mga bagay na, kung iisipin ay nakagagalit o lubhang nakababagabag. Ang matibay na talaban ng dalawang elementong ito ang nais kong maging sentrong pinagmumulan ng anumang husay ng aking pagtula.
Halimbawa, ang tulang “Iwan Mo Lang Ang Banig” ay naglalaman ng mga agam-agam ng dukhang ama ng isang nagdarahop na pamilya. Sa kaliwanagan ng buwan, nakita niyang lumalagos sa mga butas ng kanyang bubong ang mga silahis, at naisip niyang nais nang kunin ng langit ang kanyang sawimpalad na mag-anak. Waring puspos ng nakapagtatakang pag-unawa at buong-buong pagsuko ang nasambit ng persona sa dulo ng tula.
Kung babawiin mo na sila,
daklutin mo na mula sa sahig.
Iwan mo lang ang banig.
Tulad ng halimbawa sa itaas, madalas kong ituring na paksa ang mga usaping kinakaharap ng ating lipunan – kahirapan, katiwalian, etc. Bukod dito, madalas ding maging paksa ng aking mga tula ang mga personal na karanasan at ang paminsan-minsang pamimilosopiya. Halimbawa nito ang tulang “Bata, Umaawit” na bunga ng aking pagkasumpong sa kung paano bumirit kasabay ng isang palabas sa telebisyon ang aking limang-taong gulang na anak, at ng “Tula ng Pagdilim” na siya ko namang patambis sa kung gaano katiyak ang dahan-dahan at di-namamalayang pagkaligaw ng tao.
“…persona ng mga tula (na kaynipis na pantabing sa mismong may-akda!)…”
Tahimik kung aking ituring ang sarili, at ito marahil ang dahilan kung bakit (nais kong mabansagang) “mahinahon” ang aking mga tula. Batay sa aking karanasan, hindi ko magawang ihiwalay ang sariling naturalesa mula sa pagsulat ng tula. Lumilitaw ito palagi, marahil dahil sa kakulangan ng aking kakayahan sa pagsusulat. Halimbawa, subukan ko man, parang hindi ko makayang sumulat ng isang tulang sumisigaw o naghihimagsik. Sa isang banda, maaari din namang bunga ito ng mismong kalikasan ng tula bilang tulay na nag-uugnay sa kaluluwa at sa mundong pisikal. Ang tula ay paglalambing sa iniibig. Ang tula ay pagtugis sa kasalanan. Ang tula ay pagtawag sa Diyos. Ang tula ay paggunita sa yumao. Ang tula ay pagkilala at pagpapakilala sa kapwa.
“…paggagap…sa ligalig, isang kalagayang kaakibat ng pag-iral ng tao.”
Bago sumindi ang bombilya sa aking isip, bago magliwanag ang paningin ng diwa at magsimulang dumiin ang mga daliri sa keypad ng computer, mauuna muna ang pagdanas ng isang uring ligalig. Mayroon akong makikita, maririnig, o mababasa, may malalanghap, malalasahan, o madarama, at biglang-bigla, maiiba ang aking pagbibigay-kahulugan sa mga bagay. Kapagkaminsan naman, may mga saloobin at damdamin na magluluwal ng sarili, o mga ala-alang bubuhos na lamang nang walang-pasintabi at lulunod sa pang-unawa, ngunit huhupa rin naman matapos ang madisiplinang pag-iisip. Ang pagmamakata, para sa akin, ay ganito – isang paraan ng paggagap sa samu’t-saring pangamba. Maaring ihambing sa karanasan ng pagkapuwing. Yaong biglang-biglang sasakop sa mata ng loob, at guguluhin pansamantala ang matabang at ordinaryong pagdanas sa mga bagay. Yaong sandaling gagambala sa kamalayan, at kapagkaminsan magbubunsod pa ng pagsikip ng lalamunan at sagabal sa paglunok. Yaong kapag lumipas na, ginhawa.
JCR: Kapag nagsusulat ka nang pang-hanapbuhay, parang hindi ka kagalang-galang; ito ang dilemma ng mga manunulat tulad ni Bebang. Pati ang mga bagay; ang ating mga gamit, ay bahagi rin ng ating kaisipan. Kung titignan natin ang gawa ni Bebang, pwede itong tungkol sa gender, pwede itong urban legend, at pwede rin itong ChickLit. Ang isa pang ibinibigay dito ni Bebang, ang source of material: ang pain as laughter.
Chavez: Binanggit mo na mayroon ka ring pagkukulang; kasi it takes two to tango. Instead of just narrating the faults of the guy, I was wondering if it would add greater depth and dimension if you would put this angle.
Wigley: In your case, that this would pass as a novel, but we know that this is creative nonfiction. Hindi k aba mapupuna na talagang kinatay-katay mo ang ama? In a way, hindi ka ba nagkaroon ng alinlangan na in another perspective, maaring hindi ganoon ang kwento?
JCR: Are you talking here as the character? Or are you talking here as the author? Kasi magkaiba iyon. Kaya nga sinabi kong may problema sa kategorisasyon.
Siy: Fiction siya talaga, kasi hindi ko ito gagawin sa totoong buhay. Fantasy ko siya; na gusto ko syang mamatay, pero ipapakita ko rin na mali ito, kaya mamamatay rin ang nanay.
Libiran: Sa akin, kahit sabihin ni Bebang na fiction ito, alam kong totoo ito. Ang strength nito, marami talagang audience at maraming tatamaan ito. Sana kung gaano karaming tokens o detalye mong inexplain sa amin sa everyday travails ng nanay, sana ganoon rin karami ang detalye dito. At hindi kailangang maging physical ang death ng tatay. Non-death as death; ang transformation – magiging therapeutic ito sa maraming readers.
Pascual: Kung imamarket mo sya bilang popular fiction, sino ang target audience; single mothers ba? Teenagers?
Siy: Definitely hindi sya for young adults.
Chavez: I was wondering if we could put in the carnivalesque in the Bakhtinian perspective. I think that we could actually have more subtlety in the revenge, because women are more capable of the more scheming things than men who have more ordinary, mundane minds.
Libiran: Subtle na nga because of the revenge which is not a revenge; which is revenge.
Abad: I was shocked by the outline that the mother was killed. It is very, very important that the relationship between the mother and son is established, Instead, there is just so much hatred as motivation. How can there be a realization on the part of the kid and on the part of the mother? How can we bring out some good side of the father? There are deaths that are more horrible than physical death.
Gappi: Na-shock ako na ang bata ang papatay sa nanay: una, high school na bata iyan. Sana makapaglatag ng malinaw na motivation para ito gawin ng bata.
JCR: Kailangan nating alalahanin na ito ay work in progress, at maraming pwedeng suggestions.
Ong: It’s a plan. How it can be carried out; the execution, ang pinoproblema ko – ito ang bigger problem.
JCR: Sana ipinakita ang reaksyon ng aso; ang ganitong maliliit na details ang nakakatulong sa buong drama.
Wigley: Actually, malakas ang paggamit sa aso. Nakakatawa sya, pero of all the things na pwedeng gawin, bakit ang aso pa ang ginamit sa pagpatay ng tatay – you have to make that very convincing. Ang concern ko, ang mangyayari dito, patriarchal pa rin ang pagbasa, kasi ang tatay parin ang mananalo in the end. Ang mga ipinaglalaban mo, talo silang lahat and the guy wins in the end.
Tolentino: Tinitignan ko ito bilang ChickLit, dahil malakas ang fantasy ng women dito na walang rules. Kung hahanapin natin ang political correctness, magiging mabigat ito. Sa mga komento kung autobiographical ba ito o hindi, the author is dead; hindi naman alam ng readers ang buhay ni Bebang.
Rodriguez: Sa usapin na kung hinuhugot sa personal na karanasyan ang material para isalin sa dark comedy, mahalaga din na humiwalay na tayo sa pagiging personal na akda. Kung ganoon ay mas maraming posibilidad ang maaaring patunguhan ng akda. Kailangang pasukin ang sikolohiya ng mga tauhan.
JCR: Ang lumalabas ay kay raming sangkap ng materyal na ito at ang daming possibilities, at kailangang magdesisyon ni Bebang kung ano ang talagang gusto nyang timpla.
Lee: Nakuha ko ang comedy; natatawa ako sa kanya. Pero noong kinukwento kanina ang outline, sa point that the child kills the mother, it’s uncomfortable kasi di na-set up ang motivation.
Careon: Nasiyahan ako noong binasa ko sya; pero may biglang transition from happy to dark nang walang preparation. How about if the mom tries to be a good dad; to embody the ideal father?
Rio Alma: Mayroon akong isang proposal, pero bago iyon, gusto kong pansinin ang title at ang sentimyentong kaugnay nito. Nabobother ako sa ideya ng nanay na kapag public school ay pangit. Bilang teacher ng public school, hindi naman pwede sigurong ganoon. Ang aking proposal, baguhin ang karakter ng nanay. Piniprivilege kasi ang nanay; para syang supermom. Bakit hindi natin palitawing tanga pala ang nanay, for example? Na hindi sya ganoon kagaling as a person, hindi siya ideal. Sa ganoon, mas maraming humor na maipapasok.
Nadera: Bilang bunga ng public school, nakakainsulto siya sa umpisa palang. Maraming public schools na mas magaling pa sa private school. Makaka-turn off yan sa prospective readers. Kung gagawin nating realistic ang kwento, kung papatayin ang tatay, gastos pa iyon, bakit di nalang ituon sa pagpapaaral ng anak? Dapat linawin rin ang pakay sa pangunahin tauhan; ano ba ang gusto mong maging tingin sa iyong tauhan; gusto mo bang irespeto sya?
JCR: Bago mo pa isulat, isipin mo na kung bakit ganoon mag-isip ang tauhan mo; linawin ang motivation. Otherwise, the character is flat.
Velasco: Pagkatapos kong basahin ang iyong poetics, naunawaan kong ganito ang pagkakasulat kasi nga dark humor. Wala akong problema sa outline kahit sa fact na papatayin ang nanay. Ang sa akin ay magiging mahirap doon, ang execution. Tulad na nga ng sinabi kanina ni Sir Roland, ay news article a couple of weeks ago na may Japanese kid na pinatay ang nanay nya; chopped her up inside their apartment. Bilang manunulat, ang pinoproblema ko dito ay ang maaaring epekto nito sa mambabasa, na nagbubukas ito ng mga posibilidad at maaaring hindi i-take lang bilang dark humor.
Lumbera: Sa mungkahi na sinupin ang karakter o sikolohiya ng nanay, kung pag-isipan mo ng malalim at malawak ang karakter ng iyong tauhan, posible na mag-iiba ang direksyon ng iyong nobela o kwento. Ang problema ngayon, mayroon nang set form ang awtor: na ito ay nagbibigay ng dark humor. Ang padron na iyon creates problems; iyon ay mahirap sa katuparan kung magiging tapat ang awtor sa paglikha ng karakter. Napaka-nipis ng paglalarawan sa karakter ng anak at ng nanay.
Libiran: Kapag sinabi mo na na comedy ang iyong sinusulat at joke ang lahat, wala nang tatawa. Sana i-flesh out nang kaunti ang kalaban mo. At ang human points ang nagpapa-endear sa character.
Chavez: Since sexual politics is the underlying theme, I’d like to see some lewdness in some of your chapters. Because yours is a humorous project anyway, I’d like to put in a lovemaking scene.
Nadera: Sana may ideya tayo kung bakit ganoon ka-iresponsable ang tatay sa kwento. At kahit sa hindi seryosong paraan, pwede kang magkoment sa sistema natin ng edukasyon, etc.
Wigley: Since hindi naman ganoon ka-bright ang nanay, bakit hindi nalang pwedeng pinlano nya na kumuha ng asong may rabies para patayin ang tatay, pero in the end ay sya ang nakagat? Para hindi naman ganoon kabigat ang death ng nanay.
Abad: Hindi naman sana na ang motivation ng bawat palpak is a comic intent; sana every palpak illuminates further the character. And the writer still has to be responsible for the effect the work might have on the readers. It is actually a moral responsibility.
Lumbera: Sa ngayon, ang akda na iniharap sa atin ay isa pa lamang outline. Kapag nasimulan mo nang malagyan ng detalye ang katauhan ng nanay, ng anak, ng eskwelahan, saka na uugma ang suggestions para sa akda. At dapat handa ka nang ang direksyon ng iyong kwento ay maiiba. Ang kwento ay mayroon nang potensyal na dumako sa iba’t ibang tema at iba’t ibang resulta.
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