carlos malvar

For this year’s “Bersong Europinoy”, Instituto Cervantes invited me and Sting Lacson / Garry Potter / GP Abrajano to perform, and they asked for a sample poem which they’ll put in the chapbook/pamphlet as souvenir. I sent this short piece, confident of the musicality of it (original in Filipino), but they translated it in English because the audience in the event is… well, internationale.

And can I just say reading my work in translation is so… sweet. It reads more enchanting now, like it went through something, it went somewhere, then it came back to me, all grown up, and it’s a different baby, and I still recognize it as MY baby, but, my, how it has grown up, and I wonder if it still recognizes me.

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Bersong Europinoy
2pm, April 16, 2011
Instituto Cervantes

Excerpt from Carlos Malvar's lecture "Storytelling, Storyselling", delivered June 15, 2011 at the Central Mindanao University

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            GETTING INTO TROUBLE WITHOUT GETTING CAUGHT. It’s not enough to read and write to be a writer. It’s also important to live a life worth writing about. If you have done nothing but wake up in the morning, go to school, go to class, and go straight home, then what are you going to write about?

            Thus, I suggest that you try to get into as much trouble as you can without getting caught.

            First, have your heart broken. Or better yet, break someone’s heart. Ruin that one chance you have at happiness. CHEAT on your boyfriend, LIE to your girlfriend.

            At least once in your college life should you be so drunk that you’ll sleep on the street. Get so drunk that you lose your glasses on your way home. Get so drunk that you’ll swear to God you’ll never touch a drop of vodka every again, swear; and then get drunk again next Friday.

            Go somewhere… even if you don’t know how to get there. Get lost, and don’t ask for directions. Play poker and bet all the money in your pocket. Eat in a fancy restaurant, and leave without paying the bill.

            Do these things, not just so you will have something to write about, but so that you’ll gain a better understanding of the characters you will eventually write. Not all of your characters will be heroes, or even less, heroic. Some of them will be assholes, some of them will be bitches, some of them will be the worst persons that have never lived.

            See, that’s one of the things that you need to learn not just about being a writer, but about yourself. You and all that you will experience in life will make your stories unique. What will make your stories stand out from the rest of the books on the same shelf is that YOU wrote them, and only YOU could have written them. The “boy-meets-girl” story has been written over and over again throughout the ages, but when you incorporate your experience and wisdom in writing that story, you make it your OWN story.