Monday, May 18, 2020

Kuwentong Musmos Author Interview: Dr. Luis "Tito Dok" Gatmaitan (2 of 2)

Dr. Gatmaitan with Ivan Reverente 
Post Script to Dr. Luis "Tito Dok" Gatmatan's Author Interview
Through​ ​the​ ​interview,​ ​Dr.​ ​Gatmaitan​ ​has​ ​given​ ​us​ ​a​ ​glimpse​ ​of​ ​how​ ​far​ ​hard​ ​work​ ​can take​ ​a​ ​person.​ ​He​ ​stated​ ​in​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​answers​ ​he​ ​gave:​ ​“It’s​ ​not​ ​enough​ ​that​ ​you​ ​have​ ​a​ ​gift​ ​of being​ ​able​ ​to​ ​write​ ​creatively.​ ​You’ve​ ​got​ ​to​ ​hone​ ​this​ ​talent​ ​and​ ​make​ ​it​ ​grow.”​ ​He​ ​started writing​ ​at​ ​a​ ​young​ ​age,​ ​especially​ ​when​ ​his​ ​teachers​ ​would​ ​ask​ ​him​ ​to​ ​write​ ​about​ ​a​ ​certain theme​ ​(i.e.​ ​​What​ ​was​ ​your​ ​favorite​ ​summer​ ​experience?)​ ​That,​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​his​ ​exposure​ ​to different​ ​kinds​ ​of​ ​literature,​ ​is​ ​what​ ​shaped​ ​him​ ​to​ ​be​ ​the​ ​writer​ ​that​ ​he​ ​is​ ​today.​ ​While​ ​balancing school--from​ ​high​ ​school​ ​to​ ​medical​ ​school--his​ ​success​ ​in​ ​writing​ ​did​ ​not​ ​diminish.​ ​Instead, with​ ​the​ ​opportunities​ ​he​ ​had​ ​been​ ​given,​ ​such​ ​as​ ​being​ ​the​ ​editor-in-chief​ ​of​ ​his​ ​medical school’s​ ​official​ ​publication,​ ​​CADUCEUS,​ ​he​ ​was​ ​able​ ​to​ ​further​ ​develop​ ​his​ ​skills​ ​as​ ​a​ ​writer. He​ ​also​ ​told​ ​us​ ​that​ ​the​ ​struggles​ ​we​ ​face​ ​as​ ​writers​ ​should​ ​never​ ​be​ ​enough​ ​to​ ​stop​ ​us​ ​from writing.​ ​Instead,​ ​the​ ​struggles​ ​we​ ​face​ ​should​ ​be​ ​a​ ​driving​ ​force​ ​for​ ​us​ ​to​ ​become​ ​better​ ​than​ ​our current​ ​selves.​ ​Those​ ​struggles​ ​should​ ​merely​ ​serve​ ​as​ ​a​ ​reminder​ ​to​ ​not​ ​repeat​ ​the​ ​mistakes​ ​we make​ ​and​ ​to​ ​strive​ ​beyond​ ​our​ ​limitations.
Tito Dok with friends at the press launch of RtR Books
Dr.​ ​Gatmaitan​ ​has​ ​also​ ​encouraged​ ​us​ ​to​ ​go​ ​beyond​ ​what​ ​we​ ​think​ ​we​ ​are​ ​capable​ ​of​ ​and to​ ​allow​ ​ourselves​ ​to​ ​think​ ​outside​ ​of​ ​the​ ​box.​ ​According​ ​to​ ​him,​ ​being​ ​inspired​ ​should​ ​not​ ​be limited​ ​to​ ​the​ ​things​ ​that​ ​we​ ​experience​ ​ourselves​ ​or​ ​the​ ​things​ ​that​ ​we​ ​see​ ​or​ ​observe.​ ​To​ ​be​ ​able to​ ​write​ ​something​ ​well,​ ​we​ ​need​ ​to​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​fully​ ​immerse​ ​ourselves​ ​in​ ​what​ ​is​ ​going​ ​on around​ ​us,​ ​even​ ​in​ ​those​ ​events​ ​that​ ​we​ ​may​ ​dismiss​ ​as​ ​insignificant​ ​and​ ​mundane.​ ​At​ ​times,​ ​it​ ​is in​ ​those​ ​events​ ​that​ ​we​ ​are​ ​able​ ​to​ ​write​ ​a​ ​beautiful​ ​story.​ ​One​ ​example​ ​is​ ​Dr.​ ​Gatmaitan’s experience​ ​with​ ​a​ ​cancer​ ​survivor​ ​who​ ​was​ ​more​ ​worried​ ​about​ ​losing​ ​hair​ ​than​ ​battling leukemia.​ ​She​ ​had​ ​become​ ​the​ ​inspiration​ ​for​ ​his​ ​story​ ​​Ang​ ​Pambihirang​ ​Buhok​ ​ni​ ​Rachel.
Dr.​ ​Gatmaitan​ ​also​ ​let​ ​us​ ​know​ ​that​ ​once​ ​we​ ​have​ ​already​ ​come​ ​up​ ​with​ ​an​ ​idea,​ ​there​ ​is no​ ​need​ ​to​ ​follow​ ​a​ ​specific,​ ​definite​ ​process​ ​while​ ​writing​ ​the​ ​story.​ ​He​ ​himself​ ​does​ ​not​ ​follow an​ ​exact​ ​procedure.​ ​​​Instead,​ ​he​ ​writes​ ​a​ ​general​ ​outline​ ​of​ ​how​ ​he​ ​wants​ ​the​ ​story​ ​to​ ​go,​ ​which makes​ ​the​ ​piece​ ​unified​ ​and​ ​coherent.​ ​He​ ​said​ ​that​ ​being​ ​overly​ ​cautious​ ​about​ ​the​ ​way​ ​we​ ​write can​ ​turn​ ​into​ ​a​ ​hindrance;​ ​we​ ​must​ ​simply​ ​let​ ​our​ ​ideas​ ​flow​ ​on​ ​their​ ​own.​ ​We​ ​realized​ ​that​ ​Dr. Gatmaitan​ ​was​ ​right,​ ​because​ ​if​ ​we​ ​limit​ ​ourselves​ ​to​ ​a​ ​certain​ ​process,​ ​it​ ​is​ ​possible​ ​that​ ​our stories​ ​will​ ​be​ ​too​ ​“straight,”​ ​or​ ​no​ ​different​ ​from​ ​other​ ​stories​ ​that​ ​have​ ​already​ ​been​ ​written. His​ ​words​ ​encouraged​ ​us​ ​to​ ​allow​ ​our​ ​creative​ ​juices​ ​to​ ​flow​ ​and​ ​to​ ​not​ ​be​ ​afraid​ ​of​ ​popularly established​ ​rules​ ​that​ ​could​ ​bind​ ​us.
Last​ ​but​ ​not​ ​the​ ​least,​ ​when​ ​we​ ​asked​ ​Dr.​ ​Gatmaitan​ ​what​ ​advice​ ​he​ ​would​ ​like​ ​to​ ​give aspiring​ ​writers​ ​and​ ​creative​ ​writing​ ​students,​ ​he​ ​said​ ​“to​ ​read​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​(both​ ​fiction​ ​and​ ​non-fiction). To​ ​be​ ​very​ ​observant.​ ​To​ ​capture​ ​moments​ ​of​ ​epiphany​ ​in​ ​print.​ ​To​ ​jot​ ​down​ ​the​ ​ideas immediately​ ​when​ ​they​ ​come​ ​to​ ​you.​ ​To​ ​write​ ​every​ ​single​ ​day.”​ ​These​ ​words​ ​strike​ ​anew​ ​the spirit​ ​of​ ​writing​ ​and​ ​the​ ​heart​ ​behind​ ​it.​ ​Since​ ​writing​ ​is​ ​his​ ​passion,​ ​he​ ​never​ ​stops​ ​doing​ ​it​ ​and finds​ ​it​ ​in​ ​every​ ​walk​ ​of​ ​his​ ​life.​ ​With​ ​these​ ​words,​ ​he​ ​reminds​ ​us​ ​to​ ​never​ ​tire​ ​of​ ​our​ ​passions and​ ​of​ ​our​ ​desire​ ​to​ ​touch​ ​the​ ​lives​ ​of​ ​other​ ​people.​ ​He​ ​said​ ​that​ ​despite​ ​the​ ​struggles​ ​he​ ​has faced,​ ​he​ ​never​ ​tires​ ​of​ ​writing​ ​because​ ​it​ ​gives​ ​him​ ​joy.​ ​“Writing​ ​is​ ​like​ ​breathing,”​ ​he​ ​said.​ ​“If you​ ​stop​ ​to​ ​breathe,​ ​you​ ​die.”​ ​In​ ​the​ ​same​ ​way,​ ​whether​ ​it​ ​be​ ​writing,​ ​painting,​ ​designing, singing,​ ​teaching,​ ​analyzing​ ​data,​ ​balancing​ ​the​ ​balance​ ​sheet,​ ​etc.,​ ​our​ ​passion​ ​will​ ​only​ ​keep burning​ ​if​ ​we​ ​keep​ ​fueling​ ​the​ ​fire.​ ​In​ ​everything​ ​we​ ​do,​ ​we​ ​must​ ​work​ ​at​ ​it​ ​with​ ​all​ ​that​ ​we​ ​can, in​ ​every​ ​possible​ ​time,​ ​and​ ​in​ ​any​ ​possible​ ​way.​ ​Then​ ​that​ ​day​ ​will​ ​come​ ​when​ ​we​ ​too​ ​will succeed​ ​in​ ​sharing​ ​that​ ​passion​ ​with​ ​others.
Just​ ​like​ ​Dr.​ ​Gatmaitan,​ ​we​ ​can​ ​start​ ​small​ ​and​ ​let​ ​our​ ​success​ ​speak​ ​louder.​ ​We​ ​do​ ​not have​ ​to​ ​aim​ ​to​ ​be​ ​big;​ ​only​ ​our​ ​impact​ ​in​ ​this​ ​world​ ​should​ ​be.​ ​Either​ ​way,​ ​what​ ​matters​ ​most​ ​is allowing​ ​our​ ​passion​ ​and​ ​enthusiasm​ ​to​ ​keep​ ​burning​ ​and​ ​letting​ ​that​ ​flame​ ​make​ ​a​ ​difference​ ​in the​ ​world--a​ ​world​ ​that​ ​always​ ​needs​ ​a​ ​little​ ​more​ ​life​ ​and​ ​color.

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