Six years ago, there was this major conference called Sangandaan 2003 which was meant to commemorate, culturally that is, all the arts and media, whether Filipino or American or Filipino-American, born out of the love-hate relationship between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America from 1899 to 2002.
It was held here on July 6-30, 2003, jointly sponsored by the University of the Philippines, the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the San Francisco State University, in collaboration with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the National Historical Institute, the National Library, the National Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, Ateneo de Manila University, and De La Salle University, and the City College of San Francisco.Indeed, it was more than just a feast for the eye since, aside from visual art and photo exhibits, there were theatre productions, dance performances, concerts, filmand broadcast series, literary, and even culinary events.
And it was not confined to the so-called imperial Manila only because we had Drs. Nicanor Tiongson, Helen Toribio, Priscelina Patajo-Legasto, and Cynthia Banzon-Bautista, among others, as organizers who are known for their social conscience and commitment. It was no surprise if it had an outreach component in Baguio, Dagupan, Pampanga, Los Banos, Legazpi, Iloilo, Cebu, Tacloban, Bohol, and Davao.Anyway, their main aim was to confront, understand, and come to terms with the fact of American colonization in order to hasten the processes of decolonization andnation-building in the Philippines, on the one hand; and the creation of a strong identity and galvanization of all Filipino-Americans into a dynamic force in the United States, on the other.As one of the paper readers, we were obliged to examine both Filipino and Filipino-American cultures , explore these legacies of colonization, and, at the end of the day, empower ourselves as persons and as citizens of nations sharing cultural identities.
Well, we thought we had everything in our heart and mind since we were able to finish Abadillismo: Alejandro G. Abadilla's Filipinization of Free Verse as a Rebellion against American Occupation – not on “Filipino” time -- with audio-visual presentation and all.
But, before the said international conference, the annexation of our country, for us, was just a toss up between Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base.
The Americanization of anything Filipino was limited to nothing else but our ever-reliable jeepney.Eddie Mesa and all the Elvis Presleys of the Philippines were good enough to stand for the Filipino imitation, rejection, assimilation or transformation of elements from American culture during and after the American colonial period.
Ilocanos in Hawaii, we believed, can represent the Filipino diaspora and the expression of rights of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans in the U.S. in the last century.
Plus, the continuing definition and affirmation of Filipino cultural identities,here and abroad, were simply symbolized by each and every dancer or human kinetics major from U.P. or Philippine High School for the Arts, for instance, migrating to Hongkong and other parts of the world in the name of Mickey Mouse and other mascots in Disneyland.
Until we met Tim Tomlinson.
There was this David Bowie or Gary Oldman deadringer, depending on your generation, who offered me a seat beside him in a bus on 9 July 2003 from the Philippine Social Science Center.
Instantaneously, since he was who shared with us our common anti-Bush denominator, we did not notice that we got inside the Jesuit campus in Katipunan quite quickly for a dinner with the rest of the Sangandaan participants .
Funny how time flew when he told us that he was into literature, too.
All of a sudden, it occurred to us that he was the guy Dr. Tiongson was referring to when he mentioned someone who would love to conduct a fiction workshop – free of charge!
Within a week, we were able to form a group of teachers and students from everywhere who jampacked our ICW office simply to find out the need for creating a rich first draft.
Beforehand, we were aware that he is a founding member and president of New York Writers Workshop.
But, eventually, we discovered during his short stay that he would not be an M.F.A. holder from Columbia University for nothing!
Of course, he has been teaching workshops since 1991 at various institutions including New York Writers Workshop, the Writer's Voice, Webster University, Cha-am, Thailand, and the Media Development Authority, Singapore.
A fictionist and a poet, Tim's fiction has appeared in many venues, including The Missouri Review, The Gettysburg Review, Libido, Hampton Shorts, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, and The North American Review. Recent stories can be found online at Pif and Del Sol Review while his haikus have been published in Black Bough, Modern Haiku, Parnassus Literary Journal, Potpourri, and Time Haiku. His articles on travel, scuba diving, and the arts have appeared in The New York Times, The New York Post, The New York Daily News, Musician, Downtown Express and Spa Magazine.
He consults with television and screenwriters for the Media Development Authority in Singapore. He is fiction editor of the webzine ducts.org.
Teaching at New York University courses on writing and contemporary culture, Tim is the co-author of The New York Writers Workshop Portable MFA: A Guide to the Craft of Writing (Writer's Digest, May 2006).
Now, Tim Tomlinson is back.
With his Filipina wife, Deedle Rodriguez. Once more, he would like to give a workshop. Gratis et amore. For poets, this time. He will impart to us the importance of short poetry at Rock Drilon's Mag:Net Gallery along Katipunan on July 27 at 2 p.m. In his latest email, while he is in Cebu, he told us the title of his workshop:
“I'm calling it Finders, Keepers: Poetry Workshop. The idea comes from something Raymond Carver used to say in workshops -- when he heard something he liked, he'd say, "that's a keeper." This one will help poets find a few things, with hopefully a keeper or two among them. I'm enjoying a collection by Rio Alma -- finding inspiration and ideas, and one or two moves I'm going to have to steal. We'll see if I discover any keepers for the reading.”
Later, same day, same place, as part of our monthly O.M.G., or Open Mic Gig, National Artist Virgilio Almario will launch the compact disc of his poetry entitled Tigre sa Zoo featuring G.P. Abrajano, Rebecca Añonuevo, 7 p.m.,Teo Antonio, Michael Coroza, Njel de Mesa, Oshin Kitane, Ruth Elynia Mabanglo, Victor Nierva, Jovy Peregrino, Frank Rivera, Iona Santos, and other surprise guests.
Monkeys and girls are the same. They always fight over a banana. Rats and boys are the same. They are searching for new holes.
Every ticktock of a clock corresponds to an action. When it ticks, something is done and when it tocks, I hope you do not regret happened in the ticks because no matter how hard you try, you can never bring back the time and actions done.