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HOW I LOST MY NOVEL (the Real Story)

Posted by on 3-03-12 in fieldtripstotherealworld.com, Writing | 33 comments

HOW I LOST MY NOVEL (the Real Story)

Back when I was still working in the editorial department of a magazine, I began writing a novel in my spare time. This went on for around two and a half years. After six months of turning it over in my mind (“Should I? Shouldn’t I?”) I made a big decision: I’d quit my job and devote my time to finishing my novel. I had enough savings to last me comfortably for about half a year. (By the way: if you want to read the crazy comic strip version of this story, see it here. If you want to know what REALLY happened, read...

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ALL THE THINGS WE HAVEN’T DONE

Posted by on 9-09-13 in Charlene F. Sawit, fieldtripstotherealworld.com | 1 comment

ALL THE THINGS WE HAVEN’T DONE

  A friend once said something that I’ve never really forgotten. Some years ago, when I was a student in England, I was living in a somewhat creepy mansion-turned student hall with many students who came from different countries. We each had our own rooms, but we shared common areas—like the kitchen where we cooked our meals, the laundry room where we washed our clothes, and a living room where we sometimes gathered to watch football on TV. These friends were, like me, getting used to living in a foreign place away from their...

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The Childhood Contest: Sun and Stars

Posted by on 9-09-12 in Childhood contest, Writing | 1 comment

The Childhood Contest: Sun and Stars

I know it’s been a long time coming, but here it is: the Childhood contest winner for art! The winning illustration, called Paint the Greys Away, was submitted by Angela Taguiang, who draws and designs for a living, is “a lover of all things hand made” and is a member of Ang INK (The Ilustrador ng Kabataan or Illustrators for Children, an association of artists “committed to the creation and promotion of illustrations for children”). Angela said in her email: “I decided to send this over because it...

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L.I.T.E.R.A.L. 01: Have you ever been published?

Posted by on 8-08-12 in fieldtripstotherealworld.com, L.I.T.E.R.A.L., Writing | 5 comments

L.I.T.E.R.A.L. 01: Have you ever been published?

I was, for a long time, one of those writers who worked alone and had no idea how to get in touch with other writers (something which I mentioned in my first Postcards on Writing post). But every now and then, I did have idle daydreams of stumbling onto a community: I imagined myself walking into some dark, smoke-fogged dive bar, full of people having scintillating and somewhat drunken discussions in dim corners. All these people would be eccentric and fascinating in their own ways, and all these people would be writers. Anyway, I had this...

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ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF “MY KOTONG TITSER”

Posted by on 8-08-12 in Childhood contest | Comments Off

ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF “MY KOTONG TITSER”

Hello there, below is the English translation to the winning story submitted in the ‘writing’ category of the ‘Childhood’ contest. I have to warn you, it’s difficult to capture the story’s original, somewhat tongue-in-cheek flavor in English (things are just doubly expressive and funny in the original Tagalog version). Anyway, before you read on, here are a few things that need explaining: Kotong–a Tagalog slang word which refers to the act of asking for a bribe or demanding money from...

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THE CHILDHOOD CONTEST: Floods and Evil Teachers

Posted by on 8-08-12 in Childhood contest | 0 comments

THE CHILDHOOD CONTEST: Floods and Evil Teachers

  It’s still raining as I write this, and supposedly two more typhoons will be howling into the country this month alone. Since my last post, schools, churches and even a friend’s art gallery were converted into evacuation centers for people displaced by the floods. But as I said on my Facebook writer page, every year the rain and floods come, and every year people endure–with the same attitude of dignity, resilience, hope, compassion, generosity, and (even in the worst of times) that difficult-to-explain but...

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THE CHILDHOOD CONTEST: Toys and Ants

Posted by on 8-08-12 in Childhood contest | 0 comments

THE CHILDHOOD CONTEST: Toys and Ants

Hello everyone, sorry for being away the last few weeks–there’ve been typhoons, weddings, renovations, art exhibits, and quite a bit of work to be done–but now I’m back and I’d like to start sharing some of the submissions for the Field Trips writing, photography, and art contest (which is a dry run for future contests on this blog). The theme of this contest was “Childhood”, and this first submission is a winner for photography. Technically there’s nothing amazing about this picture (as you can...

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POSTCARDS ON WRITING 5: Cesar Hernando tells stories through cinema

Posted by on 7-07-12 in fieldtripstotherealworld.com, Postcards on Writing | 2 comments

POSTCARDS ON WRITING 5: Cesar Hernando tells stories through cinema

When I first met Cesar Hernando, I was an art student and he was my figure drawing teacher. I knew him as the guy who looked over our shoulders as we drew portraits of the men and women that stood naked before us on a wooden platform. I’d later learn that Sir Hernando (which is what we all called him) had worked in the film industry for several decades as a production designer, director, actor, and writer–and he was an important part of some of Philippine cinema’s most iconic films. I got in touch with Sir Hernando about a...

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POSTCARDS ON WRITING 4: Questions from a 17-year-old wonder girl

Posted by on 6-06-12 in Postcards on Writing | 0 comments

POSTCARDS ON WRITING 4: Questions from a 17-year-old wonder girl

Bright young thing and cool cat Chelsea Fernando, who’s been granted a full scholarship at Brown University (where she’ll be taking up Literary Criticism–I imagine her someday being the next Michiko Kakutani and writing skewering book reviews in The New York Times) sent me some interview questions about writing some time ago. I’ve finally gotten around to answering her questions–well, half of them anyway (I promise to answer the rest in a future post). I’m glad she’s my cousin–hopefully, years...

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Find of the Day: TOYS! (The 2012 Philippine Toy Convention)

Posted by on 6-06-12 in Find of the Day | 0 comments

Find of the Day: TOYS! (The 2012 Philippine Toy Convention)

Filipino geeks of yore will tell you stories about how they had to enter the rat’s maze that was the old mall in Greenhills (or visit various cramped shops along highways and in the corners of malls) in order to get their fix of certain comics, videos, toys, or CDs. Plus, years ago, if you dressed up as a superhero or cartoon character and wandered around in public on a day other than Halloween, you were either mentally unstable or promoting a theme park. Large-scale comic and toy conventions were a western or Japanese thing, and events...

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Postcards on Writing 3: How to Give a Good Speech

Posted by on 6-06-12 in Postcards on Writing | 0 comments

Postcards on Writing 3: How to Give a Good Speech

A few weeks ago, out of the blue, I received a message from a young man named Kuka Roque, who proudly attached the speech that his younger brother Gab (who recently graduated summa cum laude at the University of the Philippines, Diliman) delivered at his graduation. The speech was good, and I wrote Kuka back asking if I could pick his brother’s brains about how he ended up writing it. I know we usually talk about fiction in the Postcards on Writing series, but since we all end up writing a speech at least once in our lives (or at least,...

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