you know the song of ace of base, i saw the sign? “i saw the sign, and it opened up my eyes, i saw the sign!” this was definitely my anthem yesterday when i found out i made it to a literary workshop!
it started with me cramming to meet the deadline. i was editing my poems beginning apr 8, then rushing to LBC on apr 14 to meet the apr 15 cut-off. that time, i prayed to God that i am marking this as a source of a sign, that if i don’t make it to THIS workshop, then i would have to stop writing poetry as my craft, as one of my vocation. i can write poems and verses in my journals, but i would have to stop myself from working towards being recognized as a poet if i don’t make it to this workshop. for the rest of april, i was worried. i even went so far as negotiating with God regarding the condition i set; i was agitated because if i didn’t make it, i shall then block the very oxygen of my life.
the said workshop’s organizing committee only accepts 15 participants from all over the Philippines for poetry, fiction and plays; language choice is not a barrier since translations are required.
i found out i was accepted yesterday; the first two persons whom i shared the good news with were eugeney and nimu, two of the sincere people in my office. i cried to them, even wiping my tears using eugene’s sleeve (yikes, embarassing). sir adel wasn’t around, so i wasn’t able to tell him. then i broke the news to my sister and to the other important people in my life. they didn’t know it was a life or death situation for me. and now, God gave me a great sign, and I reclaimed what is, hopefully, truly mine.
now it’s back to reality: 1) the horrors of packing (i’m a hoarder; for an overnight trip, i do panic-packing. good luck to me since this workshop is a 6-day affair); 2) the plane ride; 3) me going off alone, first time, to mindanao (before i got accepted, i only had a vague knowledge where iligan is) when friends know for a fact i am hopeless with directions and locations (i got lost in admu even during my 3rd year there; glorietta is still a maze for me; rockwell is survival land); 4) my works being shorn to bits by criticisms, my dignity being thrown out the window onto mindanao mud; 5) socializing with strangers; 6) taking a leave from work (oh, the withdrawal symptoms and the guilt!). i am so grateful that a friend of mine offered to fix the trip requirements (plane reservations, oh the horror). (jaja, don’t worry, i’m slowly but surely learning the ropes. i shall be a candice in no time [fingers crossed])
but at the end of the day, it will all work out. it has to. what doesn’t kill me will make me stronger. as louise gluck asserts, “i need you, and i claim you.” and i indeed needed this; it was given to me, i am claiming it, and i am so damn grateful.
May 2, 2008
[my full name here]
Dear Ms. [my surname],
Congratulations! You have been chosen one of 15 writing fellows to ___________________to be held at _______ on May 26-31, 2008.
As a writing fellow for poetry (English) from Luzon, you will be given a transportation allowance of P6,000.00 and free board and lodging.
Please confirm your attendance on or before May 16.
If you are accepting the writing fellowship, we expect you to be present during the opening program on May 26. Please prepare an offering (pen, flower, handkerchief, drawing, etc.) and a prayer for writers during the opening program.