On May 9, 2010 a good friend of mine is celebrating her birthday in heaven. Astrid Tobias, writer and life's consummate lover is SLIA's Author of the Month. Liwliwa Malabed, our common friend, shares these wonderful memories of Astrid. She also did this beautiful portrait of her.
Astrid is a Salanga Prize winner and Palanca Awardee. She has left a handful of storybooks, media projects and a host of advocacy in culture and the arts.
Recall the first time you met her.
Yikes. I didn't like Astrid the first time we talked (but I did like her hoodie jacket with ears!) around 9 yrs ago. She asked me a question and I was still answering her first question when she launched in to another question! Then when i tried to answer her second question, she turned to another writer in our office (Agay, I think) and she talked to her instead! Hahaha. Yan, ADHD nga.
How well do you know Astrid as a writer/author? You may discuss her writing style, the creative process she underwent, her craft and choice of themes in writing stories for children.
She can come up with wonderful stories overnight. When I told her that her story (MALANG) was chosen for the Crucible project, she was so surprised because she just wrote it overnight!
What's your favorite Astrid Tobias story? Please explain.
Bayong ng Kuting. Kasi KUTING. Two years ago, Astrid and I were in Pililia, Rizal for a training. We saw three black kittens abandoned by their mother and we decided to take them home. In the process of putting them in the box, Astrid was bitten by one of the kittens. The story Ang Bayong ng Kuting reminds me of THIS story.
What do you think is Astrid's greatest contribution to Philippine Children's Literature? Or what legacy did she leave us - colleagues and friends in the industry?
Astrid was always in a hurry and when she left, we understood why. She made us take a look at our life and go do things we've always wanted. To quote her: Gogogo!
In Children's Literature, aside from KUTING, she also worked for children's media where kids write, produce and direct. She held workshops all over the country, teaching kids how to use the video camera.
How can we, in the industry, keep Astrid's memory alive?
Keep writing, and maybe teach kids what we know. Hold workshops for them.
Any message you wish to say or give her?
Hay. I'm thankful for the last two years I shared closely with her. To my headhunter and go-getter: bitin pa ako (I want more), but I'm happy with all those moments (pig-out moments, massage+obernyt-kina-danggit moments, ukay moments, planning world domination moments). I'm trying to gogogo, instead of tsakana (later on) and next time!
*Art Angel, a TV show for kids, will air Astrid's story Bayong ng Kuting today at 9AM.