Thursday, May 6, 2010

Post-Iyas Creative Writing Workshop: Balay Kalinungan Thriller

Poster c/o Jordan Carnice

I've been in the mountains--Valencia, Dumaguete--for the past few days, and internet has become quite a rare commodity, like drugs you'd get only from black markets...or your neighborhood druggie. Now I have a chance to blog about my last workshop. Later on, I will blog about Dumaguete, haha, if I'm not lazy.

It's been some five or so days since I attended the 10th Iyas workshop in Bacolod. I am beginning to miss the scrumptious food of Balay Kalinungan, the two-bed room with the white lady that hovered over my head, and of course, the people--my co-fellows and the panelists that left us with all sorts of quotable quotes.

There, I was able to re-bond with my highschool friend, Alyza. It's funny how it felt like deja vu. It's as if nothing has changed and we're still doin' our artsy stuff, talking about boys like a bunch of giggly girls (alright, delete giggly).

I've met a bunch of great people, writers in the regional language--Jess, Elsed, Paul, Glenn, Sim... It was such an eye-opening experience to get a glimpse of the sensibilities of those from different areas of the Philippines. I tended to have quite a myopic view of Philippine lit, but now I'm amazed at the plethora of material available to us, only we don't get the chance to explore them. It made me wish I could speak and write at least one more Filipino language aside from my rather poor tagalog.

I'll never forget my tangential encounter with a ghost. I was quite lucky to be knocked out with booze, since I didn't get to see the "white lady", whatever the hell that is (spirit, elemental, some levitating buddha, who cares; it's freaky). It was really like being in a thriller movie. I think it was in Day 2 when, after closing the lights and rolling in for sleep, suddenly something falls, and we hear a clatter in the room. My roommate and I ask each other "was that you?" And of course none of us had moved. I opened the table lamp, and it flickers, along with an electrical buzzing.

The lamp died, plunging the room in darkness.

Alyza and I were screaming like birds (chickens?) until we got that goddamed light to open again. We then found out that a cup had fallen to the floor. Problem is, from its position on the table, it couldn't have fallen. Nope. It just couldn't. Anyhow, that must have been the spirit's paramdam already.

The next day, that's when it happened. That's when the frickin white lady hovered over my head. The freakiest part is that my roommate thought I was reading manuscripts in the dark. She saw the "entity" moving from side to side, like how a little girl does when waiting for her cotton candy. The lady was wearing this translucent, billowing white cloth, eerily radiant in the moonlight. Moonlight that shouldn't have been there since we kept our curtains closed, yet found them open upon opening the table lamp. A number of other things were out of place in our room--the cabinet was open, some things were misplaced...

Well that's one experience I really felt like writing about. About the critiques I got for "Doble Kara" my long short story, basically I need to improve the dialogues, the flow of the plot (the panelists said it's pretty flat), characterization, setting, umm the others are in my notebook. Haha.

Anyhow that's probably it for this post. It was great. The piaya was great. And wow that was random.

P.S. Here's a pic of everyone, c/o vernan jagunap:

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