Friday, February 1, 2008

Buy Me, Me, Me, Me

There are worse things than death. Apparently, one of them is being a writer in the Philippines. Be a journalist and expect to disappear into another dimension or to have a shorter lifespan than your 90-year old diabetic grandmother. Be an online writer and expect to wring your brains dry for the cost of a meal a day. The worst fate however is reserved for the serious creative writers, many of whom have to rely on the mercy of their long suffering parents and relatives for their meals and whose talents are largely met with a “Huh?!” by the uncomprehending public.

Two Filipino authors in my reading list seem to confirm the sad state of books and book writers in the Philippines. Conrado de Quiros says writing books in the Phillipines will only earn you enough beer money. Bob Ong also says in one of his books that it would take a good Filipino author 3 years to sell at least 1,000 copies of his books. To survive as a writer in the Philippines, you need to have a full time job you partially hate, be an enterprising businessman or have a face as thick as the telephone directory so you can live on donations from people who constantly mistake (or not) your pensive mood for hunger.

I must confess, despite my claim of wanting to work again as the head of a corporate firing squad, I have this subdued suicidal wish to one day become a great book writer. By “great” I could mean great as in popular great or great as in, “I feel great but I am dirt poor but that’s okay because I am an intelligent artist who will have her rewards in the after life granting that the Filipinos in heaven or hell are more inclined to read books.” If one of my evil friends becomes a supervisor in hell, I will ask him to make reading my books a requirement.

Of course, that’s even granting that I have talent at all. How can you tell if you have talent to justify making a career suicide for the sake of art? How can you tell if you’re not the only one who thinks you’re talented? How can you tell if your mother isn’t bleeding her pension fund dry just to buy 1,000 copies of your work?

While you are helping me answer these questions, do drop by the local bookstore and help me support our great (popular and “I feel great”) writers. Buy their books and get a bonus freebie-- improvement of the dwindling national collective intellect. Here are only some of these great authors:

1. Bob Ong

2. Pol Medina, Jr.

3. Jessica Zafra

4. Ambeth Ocampo

5. Conrado de Quiros

6. Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo

7. gracemags- who, if she finds out more than ten people think she has enough talent will publish books entitled: Memories of Sanity, Save Me From Extinction and I’m Going to Die Poor Because I Think I’m an Artist; What’s Your Excuse?

21 comments:

  1. Thanks for the comment Grace, taga cebu ka ba....? Nabasa ko kasi yung comment mo dun sa kalesa sa art-blog ko.... Just curious lang kasi kung taga cebu ka that means na magkakapit-city lang tayo dun sa visayas kasi i'm from iloilo city too....! =D

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  2. May bagong Aathor na akong aabangan. Ano na nga pala sa plano mo? Godbless

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  3. hi pepe. oo taga cebu ako. aba! mag kapitbahay pala ang cities natin. :) nice to meet a fellow visayan :) thanks for dropping by pepe

    Z. talagang feel ko magsulat. gusto ko something about activism pero humorous. kung baga inspiring filipino people to become activists in the sense na they learn to change themselves first so they can change the country. pero alam mo, natatakot ako eh. hehehe. medyo insecure lang naman. ewan ko ba kung kaya ko talaga. thanks Z

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  4. Note nga pala. na born ako sa baguio and lived for 10 years there. lumipat ako sa cebu and lived there for another 13 years. ngayon nasa mindanao na ako. astig anoh! natirahan ko ang 3 main island groups ng pinas!

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  5. I enjoy your post on your country and your situations. keep it up, i learn something everytime i read you.

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  6. thank you very much dave. so nice of you to drop by :)

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  7. Ma'am G, you have talent okay???? In behalf of the entire 06-07 editorial board of Campus Observer, I order you to squash your thoughts of being talentless 'cause they are not true.

    *drumroll please*

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  8. hahaha. thanks sandy. :) hey about mary, i'll do my best but i wish i had some other way to communicate with her. i can't seem to send her mail. any other idea how to contact her aside from sms? you know na, it's so mahal! :)

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  9. hindi ako makabili ng mga libro ng mga pinoy dahil ang mamahal tapos wala pa sa booksale. pulubi lang ako kaya dun lang ako nakakabili. sana may manglibre minsan.

    "bj"

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  10. haha. bunso naman. yung kay bob ong at pol medina 150 lang naman eh. hehehe. sige pag gradweyt mo at makatrabaho ka na saka ka bumili :)

    pag naging millionaire ako padadalhan kita ng librong pinoy :)

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  11. ma'am!! go for it!!! think of the bragging rights!!

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  12. oh yeah im so glad you mentioned bob ong! i thought i was the only one who read his books. nobody else could seem to relate hehe.

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  13. hahaha. thanks for the boost aimee. i will seriously try to get over my cowardice. hehe.

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  14. hehehe. he's great. his style fits me to a T :)

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  15. Ma'am if those are real books your planning to author, I will buy them in a heartbeat. stop kidding yourself ma'am, you're an awesome writer. You deserve a friggen palanca award if the people who gave those awards read you. Someday ma'am you will write a book and pull a J.K. Rowling. Mark my words. Just learn to embrace that you are born for greatness. I know I believe that in you. :-)

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  16. oooooo (chills). that kinda scares me. :) really, i've always been insecure :)

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  17. Hintayin ko na lang yung kay Gracemags.

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  18. hehehe. salamat anino :)

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  19. writing is hell according to lois lane..but still i am so grateful to be doing something i love :-)

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  20. thank you honey and mnemosyne twin for dropping by. i hope to drop by your blogs too soon :)

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