Sunday, May 14, 2006
Purveyor of Toothpaste
I have avoided writing anything about the Dumaguete Writers Workshop. I'm not even taking down any notes. I plan on just soaking it all in, and letting the ideas ferment. I just feel that it's too close to write about.
Patricia Evangelista's column today, "Sun, sand, and pens", provides a snapshot of the fellows, including me:
The fellows are an interesting bunch. There’s Doug Candano, who discourses on international politics and literary criticism one minute, then scratches his head and stutters confusedly the next when someone mentions Judy Ann Santos. It’s interesting to wonder how such a cherubic face can produce the subtlety and darkness that characterize his work. There’s Larissa Suarez, the baby of the group, 17 years old and fresh out of high school, whose wide-eyed innocence belies the astonishing grasp of human emotion shown in her work. Then there’s Mitch Sarile, the madonna with the mischievous smile, whose advice solves most of my financial woes at one go. “When there’s free food, eat. They’ll think you’re a pig, but at least you’re full.” Photographic evidence (co-starring orange-flavored cookies, variations of pizza, and heavily spiced sisig) will attest to my utter belief in her philosophy.
There are poets Andrea Teran and Darwin Chiong, whose love for adventure has them posing beside No Parking signs in the dead of the night to the tune of Ana’s clicking camera. There’s Erin Cabanawan, whose quiet calm hides a dry wit that permeates even her stories. Dumaguete-based Dom Cimafranca plays tour guide, toothpaste supplier and babysitter, showing an unwavering patience to the volley of questions that range from where-to-eat to who-to-meet. Also Inno Habana, the pretty boy in a baseball cap with a penchant for horror.
And then there’s Ana Neri, the 27-year-old Cebuana beauty with the face of a 17-year-old. Sometimes we catch her on her cell phone, whispering good night to her daughter. At the breakfast table, she passes Vitamin C to the sniffling Inno, and for good measure dispenses the pills to everyone in the table. Last but not least is 41-year-old Noel Pingoy, “Doc,” the quiet, unassuming cancer specialist whose writing can wring tears from the toughest critic, and whose idea of a writing workshop involved five-inch-thick books and a board exam.
What she forgets to mention is that I also sell phone cards, vitamins, cold medicine, and Extra Joss. Hey, gotta make hay while the sun shines. No sense in being a starving artist.