Writers In Talks 2015

6:18:00 PM

In a surprise appearance to the komikeros' panel, Ricky Lee gifted the audience with a short but sweet piece of advice: “Magsulat kayo. ‘Wag kayo matakot magkamali.” He said that even experienced writers make mistakes. In fact, some of the most successful ones were led to their destinies by certain mistakes.

“Magsulat kayo. ‘Wag kayo matakot magkamali.”

Please take this in context. It's normal, absolutely human to make mistakes. Your boss, your coworker, your professor, your editor, your publisher, your readerthey all know that. And I'm also quite certain they know the difference between an error committed sans malice and downright sloppy work. Don't be the guy nobody wants to work with.

A photo posted by Danielle (@awsmchos) on

Arriving late and leaving early, I felt a bit skeptical about sharing the very little of what we learned from last Saturday's Writers in Talks. I thought our time at the event was too short and our learnings too bare. Then I was reminded of what the Para Kay B writer said and how that alone is worthy of stressing.

The hall was packed mostly with Lit majors, then some fans of participating speakers, and a few graduates like me and Emarrah who consider affairs like WIT an extra-curricular activity of sorts. Thanks to the worsening weekend traffic of Manila (NOT), we missed the first two panels and a spoken word performance. We only got in halfway through the Komik Talk headlined by Tepai Pascual, Mervin Malonzo, Freely Abrigo and Paolo Chikiamco. Trese's creators, Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldissimo, also came to show their support.

Emarrah and I didn't really find much to take away from this set since our writing experiences fall under different disciplines. We worked together as multimedia journalists for adobo magazine, and are now pursuing careers in public relations and advertising respectively. But there was one exchange during the Q&A that caught my attention. The subject of antiheroes was brought on the table and one of the panelists (sorry, forgot who) had this to say:

"Whether the Filipinos want an anti-hero [say, for example, Davao's Rodrigo Duterte] to represent them, that's weird. For Gen X, yes [it was a time of rebellion]. But millennials, you guys are hopeful."

Well, that is true. And one of the things I am hoping for is that Alexandra Trese would pave the way for more antiheroes in Filipino pop culture.

Next in the modified programme was the Reader's Panel with Mannix Abrera, Ricky Lee, Eros Atalia and Carlo Vergara. That it was decided to have the roles flipped for this panel, was an interesting setup. Instead of opening the floor for the attendees to ask questions, the guests were tasked to pick everyone else's brains. I'll share in list form the panel threw and, if you have the time and interest, you may share your answers via the comments section (mine in red):

1. Bakit ka nagbabasa?
For research and leisure. 

2. Alin ang mas madalas mong kaharap at alin ang preferred mo: screen o [printed na] libro?
Work and personal lifestyle demands lot of screen time. I don't think one is better than the other. I read ebooks for convenience, but I do own printed copies.

3. Kung may gusto kang itanong kay Sir Ricky [Lee], ano iyon?

4. Kunyari nagpadala kayo ng mensahe sa favorite niyong author, ano'ng una niyong naiisip kapag 'di agad siya nakakapagbigay ng feedback? Nagagalit ba kayo?
I've never done this before, but I think I would understand if it would take a while for the response to come or even if it never does. I think fans are sometimes out of line with their sense of entitlement. 

5. Hanggang magkano ang willing mong gastusin para sa [Filipino] komiks?
If it's really good, I'd pay as much as I would for imported comics. Marvel's singles retail for P150-300.

6. Show of hands, mas bababasahin mo ba ang libro na nanalo ng awards?
I don't care much for awards. In books and in advertising. ;)

7. Mas gusto mo ba kung ang binabasa mo ay may humor, romance o social commentary?
I like humor and social commentary.

8. Para sa iyo ba, ang pagbabasa ay isang personal experience?

9. Meron bang libro na nag-udyok sayo na lumapit sa isang tao para lang sabihin na "kelangan mo 'tong basahin"?
To writer friends: Ray Bradbury's 'Zen in the Art of Writing' and Rilke's 'Letters to a Young Poet'. To everyone else: William Golding's 'Lord of the Flies'. Because. 

10. Ano ang pinaka-memorable line na nabasa mo sa isang libro?
"But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated." From Hemingway's 'The Old Man and the Sea'.

We left shortly after this one.

Writers in Talks was presented by Visprint, Inc in cooperation with the UST Literary Society, on March 21, 2015 at the St. Raymund's Building of University of Santo Tomas campus in Manila.

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