The real world, in general, does not treasure writers.
Or, rather: the things writers treasure—silence, daydreams, a rich inner life, the music of language, solitude—are the things that the real world may not consider important. People working outside the academe—people like me—feel this acutely. Who would pay me to critique a literary work? Who would pay me for every hour I spend untangling a story’s plot? Who would give me a comfortable room in order to read?
Joining a workshop, in many ways, is like stepping into an alternate reality. It’s like accompanying Einstein’s twin who travels near the speed of light and experiences time slowing down. It’s like carving a space where you and your strange thoughts are welcome.
When I was invited as Panelist for the inaugural Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio Writers Workshop (ALBWW), which was also the first national-level workshop focused on speculative fiction or sapantaha, I immediately said yes. How can you say no to history? This was also a chance for me to listen to celebrated author and playwright Prof. Lapeña-Bonifacio, who, together with the late fictionist Francisco Arcellana and the poet Alejandrino G. Hufana, created and established the UP Creative Writing Center, which she headed as Director from 1986 to 1995. As a sophomore I watched her “Ang Paglalakbay ni Sisa: Isang Noh sa Laguna” at the University Theater, and as a junior I won a prize in the Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio Literary Awards for “Sugar Pi”. It was like coming full circle. A homecoming of sorts.
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|Workshop Director Charlson Ong welcoming the Fellows.|
|Prof. Lapeña-Bonifacio at the start of the workshop.|
|Vlad and I watched the English version of Distrito de Molo on the first night of the workshop. We took the Fellows to the Filipino version on Sunday. Happy I was able to watch this twice!|
|We ate so much during this workshop. Thank you UP-ICW for spoiling us!|