Monday, September 17, 2007

Creative Writing 111 with U.P.'s Professor Emil Flores

Also on September 17, 2007, on the same day that Luis Katigbak gave a talk to the high school students of Philippine Science High School (but this time at 11:30 a.m., not at eight o'clock on a Monday morning), I was also invited to sit-in with the Creative Writing class students of Professor Emil M. Flores of the University of the Philippines, Diliman. In fact, it was this noon-time class that was the "blind-item" subject of one of my earlier posts (thank you to Prof. Flores and to the class for letting me post about this fully this time, and thank you to Kristine Dumalanta for emailing me about your class to begin with).

Prof. Flores explained to me that in this class, CW 111, he was allowed to shape the curriculum around Science Fiction and Fantasy, as against CW 110 which deals with the Philippines' rich vein of domestic realism stories. As I mentioned in that previous post, the class critiqued the stories "Beneath the Acacia" by Celestine Trinidad and "The Final Interview" by Sean Uy, which came out in PGS2. This time, I was able to sit-in the class's workshop of original fiction written by the students themselves. I was able to browse through work that included stories set in an alternate, magical Philippines, in the Cordilleras to be specific; and a story about a seemingly perfect couple, which, upon losing one member to death, refused to allow that to stop them from being together. Interesting stuff, as befits creative writing majors. In listening to Prof. Flores's students I heard many interesting points made as these young writers tried to help each other develop and improve their work. Prof. Flores too gave his comments and insights to guide the formation of their stories.

It was a good experience to see these young writers work and help each other with their writing. I encouraged them to continue, and to submit anywhere and everywhere they could. I'm grateful to them and to Prof. Flores for having me over, and if they and I have the time, I would gladly show up again.

Four schools visited so far (I.C.A., Xavier, Pisay, U.P.), with the promise of more to come. It's clear to me that the young readers are there, and so is the Pinoy talent for writing. But even without these visits, I think we all kinda' knew that already, didn't we?

Prof. Flores told me things before the start of his class that will be the confusing subject of my next post, what looks to be a long one. I'm glad that it'll be posted on this blog as digitized content on the web, otherwise I might end up wasting a lot of paper and ink.


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