Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Kuwentong Musmos: Palihan para sa Pagsusulat ng Kuwentong Pambata

How many times have you gotten drunk so bad that a hangover is inevitable the morning after? A few times back in college? Recently? Just because.

Well, a hangover is never a good thing, except for events worth getting drunk in. The hangover lasts for days and it is a good feeling you wish to bottle and preserve. So you keep it in a flask. You take it with you wherever you go. For days when you need some sunshine and happy thoughts, you uncork the bottle and take little sips of the memory. Invigorating! 

The Kuwentong Musmos Writing Workshop for Beginning Readers I attended last week in Bohol is just like that, an experience that left me with a pleasant hangover. Who wouldn’t be if you are among your people, talking, listening, creating stories not just for Filipino children but for the children of the world. Organized by Room to Read (RTR) and Adarna House, the workshop was a Voltes Five moment!

Twenty Filipino writers from the country's leading publishing houses of children's books banded together. The result was forty manuscripts that tackled themes on identity, gender equality and inclusion written for beginning readers. It was hard work. And it was for a god cause. As  Al Santos of RTR said, "Your stories will be read by a child who has never seen or opened a book before." How can I say no to this project? The little things I do as a librarian, teacher and author suddenly expands. I become a part of something bigger than the round hole I plug my square peg in ( yes, I don’t fit most of the time and it’s a miracle that things work out sometimes).

The inputs made by the four publishing houses during the five day workshop weren’t at all new things for me but what they said amplified, affirmed and validated what I have always believed in. Invest in human capital (Anvil Publishing); Create imperfect characters and let them go through challenges (Adarna House); Take courage, use language responsibly and take risks (Lampara Books); Every writer has a world view that is reflected in his/her works (OMF/Hiyas) So, children’s book writer, what do you believe in? 

I believe in three things.

I believe in love. I believe in family. I believe that, with the use of appropriate methods, reading and literacy can change lives.

There were twenty of us who left Bohol last week. I would like to think that we came out of the experience as good writers and better persons. As of writing, many of us have received call backs from our respective publishers to revise the manuscripts in preparation for the illustrators' workshop in Baguio next week. The Kuwentong Musmos Writing Workshop is in-progress and the learning experience I took away from it, I will keep forever. 

Now, it’s time to share what I gained from the workshop. 

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