Pluma: PH Literary Sessions

I have just come back from an insanely refreshing event last weekend hosted by Yabang Pinoy and CBTL's Brew Your Best Year. To be honest, I've always been afraid to call myself an artist, because heck, I haven't been published as a writer or recognized as a spoken word poet. But I realize we all gotta start somewhere -- a daily journal, a blog, a short story, or that first open mic performance. I am nowhere near these great and established writers at the Pluma: PH Literary Sessions, but I have my own story to tell, and it's important because it's very human and because it's Filipino.

I could go on and on about practical writing tips, or travel blogs' social media strategy, or the step-by-step to getting published. But I'm just gonna share my top 3 life lessons from this event.

You have to have a purpose

Just like with anything we ought to do, writing has to have a purpose. We always have to come back to why we're writing our piece. What's our objective? Are we focused on delivering that message, or are we being true to what we started out to do? Or sometimes purpose asks, is it really worth it? Why do I have to struggle this much just to say this and that? The more we focus on our purpose, the clearer our stories become. And remember, all masterpieces have a purpose (Ephesians 2:10). *wink, wink*

No words or stories are ever wasted

All the authors kept repeating that phrase in a variety of ways. Nikki Alfar described it as her folder entitled, "Amazing shit that didn't make it", and Marla Miniano associated it with, "No love is ever wasted." As Elizabeth Gilbert would put it, all love eventually becomes help. Your stories are basically your heart being poured out into words. They are filled with so many lessons, so much meaning, and a whole lot of pain and joy. And it helps. It helps other people know that they are not alone. It helps you reaffirm who you are just by reading through the string of words that didn't make it. When you speak these words out loud, it doesn't come back to you empty. Yes, you probably won't hear about it the way you expected, but it echoes in the lives of people who have taken it and turned it into something that's their own. Eventually you'll be able to use that torn-out chapter in another story, or maybe use that idea to make something new and tremendously better.

Filipino pride, baby!

This weekend was a revelation to me, not just with Yabang Pinoy, but also with Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf's World Health Day celebration, where I met a lot of advocates for mental health care in the Philippines. I am honored to witness the grassroots efforts of passionate people to build the nation, and meet authors who have made literature so authentically Filipino. Right now, at this moment, we are given the exciting opportunity to build and grow and take ownership of our culture, literature, arts, and other facets of being Filipino. Movements are coming alive to make us see what we've been blind to all along -- that we have something deeply beautiful and authentic, and no one else can fight for it but Filipinos themselves. We've been living in the shadows of foreign goods for too long. It's time to recognize our own worth. It's time.

With that, I promise to fall in-love with the Philippines even more by watching one theater show a month and purchasing one book a week that is created by Filipinos. I'll do my part to build and love the land that has helped me become who I am as a writer, artist, and a human being.

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