Well. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but… we’re still living in an alternate reality, and it’s just getting worse. I was hoping things would be back to “normal” by this time, but no dice.
Fiction is becoming more comforting and reliable than real life. And while I’m as angry and astounded as everyone else about global proceedings, I find myself delving more into fiction (specifically, those about future worlds) for solace.
I’ve also been reading more local novels and anthologies. I spent the past year taking fiction techniques and workshop classes for grad school (and writing my own short stories), so I wanted to see how other Filipino writers do science fiction and speculative fiction. Or, put in another way, I wanted to see how different our class lessons are from what’s actually being published and demanded by readers.
There are some places that you can’t help but return to, and not just once. For me, Baguio City is one of those constant destinations.
Baguio reminds me of long road trips with family and siblings’ friends in the ’90s, way back when an eight-hour travel time from Manila was normal, and the long way through Dau was the “shortest” route. Baguio is where we all go to escape the unbearable heat in the city. Baguio’s where you stop if you’re headed further north, e.g. Sagada, Ilocos, or San Juan.
More recently, Baguio is the first place that comes to mind whenever I want to get away from everyone else, but still be just one bus ride away in case there’s an emergency at home. I now also think of Baguio whenever I want to score some great books.
I was back in Baguio yet again last month. This time around, I was a writing fellow for creative nonfiction (CNF) at this year’s UST National Writers’ Workshop. (So yeah, I got in.) While the workshop kept all of us busy for a week – and those damn storms Gorio and Huaning kept us mostly indoors – we had two days to roam around the city and do whatever we wanted.
I just came home from a five-day holiday in the City of Pines, two of which were mostly spent on the road. Needed a quick, within-the-budget getaway, and I really missed Baguio’s cold weather. I also wanted to return to a place I’ve been to many times, and not spend so much time adjusting and devoting valuable hours to the usual tourist traps. Another factor: I wanted to go somewhere that’s far enough from everything and everyone, but near enough so I can easily get home in case of emergencies.
The Baguio I knew back then is so much different from the one that exists today. It now has more people, more traffic, and definitely more pollution (and less pine tress and much less of that wonderful pine smell), to name a few basic differences. But there are still plenty of awesome, not-so-touristy places to check out. Continue reading “Bookworming In Baguio!”
I’m a working writer. My life is shaped by deadlines, guidelines, headlines, bylines, and lines. But when it comes to my personal writing projects, I’m stuck in a dreadful years-long creative rut.
A few weeks back, I “finished” writing my first short story in seven years. I still think some parts need to be redone, but for now I’ll leave it as is. It felt real nice to do what I’ve loved doing before I started working, and it sure made me happy. But it also frustrated me; writing was never this hard for me back then. In my most recent effort, I was self-editing before closing paragraphs, doubting in the middle of outlining, overhauling while writing, and comparing and recalling similar stories as I typed. The ideas sound great in my head, but look shitty on paper and on screen.
For me, Sundays are real special. It’s the only day in the week that’s completely free of work and other professional/personal obligations. I can spend the whole day doing what I like, whenever and however I want.
This Sunday, I chose to stay in; relax; and go through my e-mail, RSS/social media feeds and saved articles/pages. (Yeah. I like living a boring life.) I save so much online material, but rarely have the time to read them all (or, OK, some of them). Today, I can do that; time for a quick run-through — and a new and more focused Snippets format! Continue reading “Sunday Slowdown.”