My first experience of a writing workshop via ANWW20 was nothing short of magical. And since I immediately won a spot on my first try, I was feeling confident, so I decided to try my luck and apply to another workshop. Now, I was eyeing for a spot at the Cordillera Creative Writing Workshop, which was hosted by my alma matter, the University of the Philippines Baguio.
So, last August, I spent a considerable amount of time writing an essay as part of my entry for the Cordillera Creative Writing Workshop. I initially planned to submit a collection of Pangasinan poems, which in retrospect would have been easier to accomplish since I already had an existing collection that only needed some revising. Instead, I decided to challenge myself and start from scratch. I told myself I was going to write an essay in Pangasinan, something I’ve never done before, and I’m going to write about the plight of writing in my mother tongue. To make things even more difficult, I decided to write a lyric essay, which was a new and unconventional genre.
I chose to go this route because although I write poetry, I am primarily an essayist and would like to get more feedback on that genre. In addition, I wanted to gauge how much experimental genres, such as the lyric essay, are accepted in mainstream literary circles here in the Philippines. But most importantly, I wanted to write an essay in Pangasinan and get feedback for it. The essay I submitted was Mulimuli Pangasiniani, which I also translated in English (Perturbations on Pangasiniani).
Just about a week after submitting, I received an email saying that my application to the workshop was rejected.