Sunday, January 12, 2014

Tag Team Interview: Dang Bagas & Aldy Aguirre (2 of 3)

Here is part 2 of 3 of the tag team interview I had with Dang Bagas and Aldy Aguirre on their book, The Little Girl in a Box (Adarna House 2013). Part 1 of the interview was posted last December 19, 2013

In the story, the box is a powerful metaphor. Readers may interpret the box into many things. As an artist, how can a "box" or "boxes" help you become better at your craft? 

DB: As a writer, I sometimes liken the box to my own limitations and to the limitations set by the industries I write for. I mean, working as a writer, there were lots of times when I felt “boxed in” or “trapped in a box” or “forced in a box”. But, and this I realized early on in my writing career, that this box can be moved, or one can work around it or shape it and color it any which way I want it to be. Doing that is certainly hard work but the only thing that should stop an artist from doing so is a lack of imagination and afterwards, determining choices that work, then determination to stick by these choices, at whatever cost.

Actually visualizing my craft as something like a box already helps me make it better cause then I know I could make it what I want it to be though I am still working on that: letting my imagination go freely, making the right choices, and sticking to these choices according to what is the best for me, and the stories that I write.

AA: A big box full of inspirations would certainly come in handy, and thinking out of my box usually helps too.

What is the story/picture book you wish you've written/illustrated? Why? 

DB:  Asking me this question is like asking me which star in the universe I’d like to go to cause there’s lots and lots, countless lots, of stories out there that I wish I’d written.

If I can name only one, I would say Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief,  because fifteen years ago, I was working on a story about the children of our epic heroes and diwatas (Lam-Ang, Bantugan, Mariang Sinukuan, etc.) discovering they’re the children of mythical gods, discovering they have powers and banding together to save the world. But real life got in the way and I shelved the story. And now, with the Percy Jackson series, I can’t write this story without it looking like a rip-off! Oh well… Yes, universe, lesson learned: heed the call of stories demanding to be written and try not to leave them behind.

If I can name more, I wish I’ve written Anne of Green Gables, The Little House in the Prairie, Where the Wild Things are, The Giver, The Story Girl, The Earthsea series, The Chocolate Factory, The Wizard of Oz, The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, Charlotte’s Web, Looking for Alaska, Tall Story, A Wrinkle in Time, Chika Chika Boom Boom, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Bridge to Terabithia, Alamat ng Ampalaya, Ang Barumbadong Bus, Coraline, Tuwing Sabado, The Graveyard Book, The Disc World series. The Monstrumologist, The Dragon Rider, The Thief Lord…

Ok, enough, there’s more, it’s a really long list, as many as the number of books in my shelves, as many as the books I’ve read and read again and again and again. And this is the same reason why I wish I’d written these stories – I have kept all of these stories close to me; I have loved and will love these stories for the rest of my life. That is the writer’s dream: that one’s stories be loved, read again and again, for years and years and generations to come.

AA: Hmm, I never actually thought of wanting to illustrate picture books that I’ve read. I think they will not be as great or the opposite, if the pictures will be different from what they are right now.

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