|1:02: Done with lunch, back from a short walk to buy cigs. Hinihingal ako. Alfar's work-in-progress workshop starts at 1:30 pm, but I'm not sure if it'd be appropriate to liveblog about it, since you guys haven't yet read the text. I'll maybe keep this sparse, just keep an eye (ear) out for interesting soundbites. Rakenrol. (Oh, and naligo na ako.)
1:29: All set. Sir Butch Dalisay moderating.
1:34: New lesson learned: May convention pala sa fantasy, a sort of map for the narrative, which goes, Separation, Initiation, Return. Cool, when taken in relation to the structure of pre-colonial epics, 'no? Anyway, Alfar says he'll diverge from it. I'm really apprehensive about giving out spoilers here, so bear with me, bok. At least may sense of suspense kayo sa paglabas ng nobelang ito, a.
1:42: A few statements about novelistic space, and its expansiveness. Sense of excitement for the novelist-- ang sarap laruin, ang lawak.
1:47: Discussion re: naming of characters. Echoes of discussion yesterday re: Ichi Batacan's characters. Sir Butch mentioned something about our apparent attachment to Spanish names. As for Dean, hindi pa fixed ang names; he just "needs to put as much as he can down, before he polishes." Part of polishing is revising some names.
1:50: Sir Butch's practice: go out of his way to find as nondescript a name as possible. Para 'yung character maaalala lang because of, well, the way he was characterized. This in context of realist fiction: symbolic, charged names are "unearned mileage."
1:59: Dean draws map of narrative structure. Interesting device for fictionists, novelists, to allow for a better anchorhold on the use of time, as it moves forward in the story.
2:03: Problematic of having young protagonists coming across as, well, automatically Young Adult ang genre. In this case, though, may mga details na inappropriate for such a genre. The general sense I get is that it, of course, is a publishing concern.
2:04: Ichi Batacan: Question re: strikingness of details/images. Mentions me-- because this is a question she'd like to ask me later, pag ako na ang nakasalang sa workshop: Where do these come from? Sir Rio nudges me and say, "Speculative ka rin pala, e," then laughs. In a more serious tone, he adds, "It just comes."
2:12: Alfar still "coming to terms with (his) identity as a novelist." Perhaps because of the expansiveness of the form.
2:13: Also, like Ichi Batacan, mentions uneasiness about his earlier novel, which in some parts makes him cringe. "Looking back, I could've written it a lot better."
2:15: Vim Yapan comments about uneasiness with specfic: Parang lahat device lang na kailangang nasa loob nu'ng mundo nu'ng novel. Tanong: Gaano mo kalayang inaappropriate yung culture mo sa loob ng specfic na piyesa? Interesting point re: the absence of parallel universes dito sa Pilipinas. Wala tayong Hogwarts. Ang patay nakalibing lang sa tabi ng bahay, kasi pinapaniwalaan na nandiyan lang siya sa paligid.
2:17: Alfar: Cultural exploitation akin to pillaging, but also appropriation. "Specfic has every right to invent." Ang pagkakagets ko, parang lunsaran lang ang kultura for the imagining.
2:19: Sir Ricky: "If you give specfic that much space, then what are the constraints?"
2:20: "The things I do for the story need to be useful to the story. Whatever liberties I take must be of service to the story." Hindi siya arbitrary; back to yesterday's discussion on his poetics: Story takes primacy.
2:22: Talking about design. A bit of uneasiness dahil may kaunting reference sa workshop process.
2:25: Sir Butch: "Everything is a negotiable here, pero bahala kayo kung gusto ninyong tanggapin o balewalain 'yung sinasabi. There is nothing prescriptive here."
2:26: Talk about fiction as "diskarte ng writer 'yan." All writing is diskarte, bok, di ba?
2:29: About to close na. Back to specfic writing. Carljoe Javier: "Hindi naman porke't wala tayong space program, hindi na tayo puwedeng magkuwento tungkol sa space." Story is king pa rin daw.
Labels: dean alfar, liveblogging, up national writers workshop 2009