So I attended two events which involved the participation of young writers — and by “young” I mean those who are just starting out. Last Thursday I attended the summer PaperCup Session (the first of a series?) held by the organization’s new core group, and just this weekend I was able to observe this year’s Saringsing Writers’ Workshop sponsored by the city government and the Parasurat Bikolnon. April is also the Philippines’s “National Literature Month.” So yeah, the timing is cool.
Until now I’m still mulling over the components of a young writer’s springboard. Generations change, dynamics change: we’re in a time when motivation needs reformulation. How do we convince a millenial to come out of her or his shell? When everyone feels so comfortable hiding inside the anon cave how do we gently pull them out of the shadows?
Since Ahj was a participant in the Saringsing Writers’ Workshop I was able to sit-in as an observer. I also invited some of the recent ALA core members but only two were able to show up. I read some of the works, listened to a plethora of arguments, and watched the reaction of the fellows amidst the exchange of comments from the panelists.
Just a reflection: though confidence is usually pushed to a young writer when it comes to igniting her or his career, I believe the person also needs the proper amount of humility. You see, we usually blame low self-esteem as the culprit to one’s non-movement. That’s [kinda] true. But for young writers, I do believe that some, if not most, are just way too proud to have their works be corrected or critiqued or outright rejected.
In the school where I work, what prevents students from getting their prose/poetry out there is the fear of criticism. When social media warps our values to cohere with PR principles, we start to have this inherent requirement of presenting ourselves as perfect, amiable individuals with spotless outputs (the selfie principle). In my class, correction marks, may they be inked red or blue or green, is already a cause for a shitload of distress, and so the students feel so anxious when invited to submit creative pieces. They avoid rejection, while some don’t want to look stupid. For them, the priority is to retain their surface status quo.
Unfortunately they never see the wisdom behind the comments and corrections. Much positivity have been given that anything which comes close to something negative is automatically shunned. Everyone seems to be a little too nice that even mediocre or subpar works are praised by instructors, and it’s totally killing the value of revision.
When I observed the fellows I was happy to realize that we still have young writers who showed humility to the craft, manifesting a deep amount of reverence to the altar of ink and paper. This is what the region needs. They are the future of creative writing & literature, of history & identity.