May 23, 2015

The reluctant fellow

After stalling for the last four years, and with the goading of three senior writers (Vim Nadera, Eugene Evasco and Ricky de Ungria who tried to convince me from August 2012 to February this year), I finally gave in to the urge and submitted an application to the annual UP National Writers Workshop. Now on its 54th year, the Workshop has evolved into a platform for midcareer writers to meet colleagues who also share the birthing pains of a new book and have their manuscripts critiqued by the country's leading literary figures. Until ten years ago, the Workshop was designed to help and cultivate young starting writers but a lot of workshops are already taking care of the beginners (Silliman, Iligan, Ateneo) so the UPNWW took care of the more experienced, published ones.

So I became a fellow, a very reluctant one. And for a week, I switched hats -from filmmaker to writer- and traveled to Baguio and spent a week breathing the cool Cordillera air with a hint of pine and hashish, inebriated in a mix of booze and poetry, and surrendered myself and my ego to the sharpened knives of writers who have walked this same path a long time ago.

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