Many of us live in our own self-imposed bubble. We mingle, yet more often than not, establish no real connection. We see each other with our eyes, but not with our ears or heart. Perhaps some of us are in fact escapists–anchored to everyday routines but longing to experience something out of the ordinary.
We can’t all literally go to far-off places, or always do what we wish to do. However, we can create new worlds, experience extraordinary things, and everything in between as we get the ink flowing. Participating in the Write! Sessions opened our minds to this experience.
Everyone – students, established writers, seminarians, singers, immigration officers, and whoever else -we have the freedom to express ourselves through writing. (Oh, if you were wondering, yes, these starkly different types of people actually participated in the writing sessions).
For our session in particular, the first thirty minutes was spent writing anything under the sun. Then a few of us read it out to fellow modern-day wordsmiths (no pressure to share if you’re a bit shy, by the way). After that, we took a little snack break, and just got to know each other further. What followed was a structured writing exercise–this time, a theme was provided and we wrote anything about the theme (ours was writing in the eyes of a foreigner in Cebu) for fifteen minutes. Thereafter, we shared our essays, poetry, letters, etc. Those may be simple exercises, but the more we shared our prose and listened to others’ works, the more we established a connection. Even for a brief time, we got past that metaphoric bubble and stepped into each other’s worlds.
You may wonder though, “who made this writing–this sharing of ideas possible?” Indeed. Who catalyzed this converging of different minds all in one place?
Let me introduce a man with a deep passion for the arts. He is the brainchild for notable groups and events like Little Boy Productions and Cebu Lit Fest. These are but a few of what he has done in the name of literature. Without further ado, let me get you acquainted with Mr. Hendri Go.
Hello, Hendri! I appreciate how you have the time to get interviewed about one of your current projects. What inspired this type of workshop?
I attended similar write-ins in New York and Lisbon and I thought this would be a cool thing to do in Cebu. No pressure, democratic, with a bit of socializing and building a community.
I see! Well, one of the things that I’m personally intrigued about is the fact that the Write! workshops don’t have any sort of entry fee.
Well, it’s volunteer-run, and it’s not really a workshop per se, more like a peer review group. It’s the spirit of volunteerism we want to tap into, the same spirit for Cebu LitFest, which is happening by the way on November 26. Shameless plug there.
Write! seems to be quite the success seeing how there are numerous schedules to accommodate different lit-enthusiasts. How was the scheduling and their intervals planned?
Well since we are in IT park (East West cafe, our venue), we had to program the schedule of those who work in the call centers in the area, so we have the weeknight sessions, and then we have Saturday afternoons for those who keep a more regular work or school schedule. We wanted to cast a wide net.
For our dear readers, how will they know more about the available schedules?
We post regularly on the Write! event page, which is linked to the Cebu Literary Festival page on Facebook. Or you can just 0915-445-3049 to register. Special shout out to our organizing team Ken, Mariz, Ansut, Leonor and Paula for all the help.
By the way, I’m curious about the venue. What made East West stand out as the workshop-venue choice?
I’m part owner of the cafe, hehehe.
Is there a possibility for other locations you would choose?
If it’s a free location, sure. That’s the only way we can do this for free.
From what I’ve observed from one of the workshops, there were different types of writing–poetry, essays, stories–what is your preferred type of writing?
I like to read and write creative non-fiction. One that I’ve been recommending to friends is “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” by Katharine Boo.
What object/theme or from whom do you draw inspiration?
Travel! I’m always on the lookout for ideas to bring home to Cebu.
How do you personally overcome writer’s block?
Writing prompts. And attending sessions like Write!
I thank you for letting us know more about Write! and sharing your ideas with us. Before we end, any word of advice for aspiring writers?
Write often and write as honestly as you can and write for yourself.