5/31/2018

Only for Young Writers


Due to the dreadful traffic condition, which has worsened from nasty to nastiest in the last year, I  vowed never to travel outside of our district anymore.  My decision has led to missed reunions, art shows, special events, etc.

My last trip to Makati (45 km from where I live) took me four hours and that was cruel punishment for someone whose bladder was close to bursting.

But my friend Neni, to whom I cannot say no, invited me to facilitate a workshop for precocious kids who love to read and write. Double whammy! I can never say no either to encouraging kids who have the potential to be the next generation of writers.

It took my driver—who incessantly complained from the time he revved up the engine to the time we reached the venue—more than two hours to navigate what could have been a 30–minute drive. As a peace offering, I treated him to a lip-smacking lunch in a Japanese restaurant where his scowl turned to, well, something akin to a smirk.

His smirk finally turned into a smile when he realized that the workshop venue would be in a bookstore—and with a coffee shop! Knowing him all these almost 50 years of traffic and non-traffic togetherness, I had no doubt I could leave him there for hours—if not forever. There is something about books and coffee that make a good mistress.

The children, ages 7 to 12, were everything I wished every kid would be. I asked if they had read this book and that. All hands went up with every title mentioned.
These bookworms excelled in all the creativity exercises. They were alert (I never once lost their attention) and wrote with gusto. 
“Writers see old, tired things with fresh, new eyes," I said. In a blink, they went to work. Reading their pieces later, I knew we were on the same page.
On our drive home, the traffic was even worse. It was the perfect time for passenger me to complain or even curse (forgive me, Lord). But looking back to the one-and-a-half hours I spent with the kids, whose bright writing future awaits, I could only think of grace.

I’d do it again—but only for young writers.


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