In the two years or so since I began to consider myself to be an actual “writer”, one of my greatest pleasures has been meeting and conversing with others who shared my passion. This includes both other writers (and I owe a debt to Kyu, Mia, Joey, Karl and Carljoe for being the first ones to lure me out of the comforts of my home for these conversations) and readers (such as the Filipino Book Bloggers), because every writer must also be an ardent reader (in desire, if not in practice, due to time’s tyranny). There is, I think, often a strange and awkward silence between Filipino readers and writers, like childhood friends who have grown apart and then meet again, neither wishing to probe their earlier shared joys for fear that the other will think them juvenile. A sad state for two groups that should be locked in a symbiotic relationship.
This is why the success of the informal meet-and-greet with Marianne Villanueva (“The Lost Language” and next year’s “Flight”), graciously hosted by Triccie at the Libreria Bookstore at Cubao X, fills me with both joy and optimism. The informal nature of the event (and the venue–I can’t imagine a formal affair that could survive the relaxed atmosphere of Libreria unscathed) allowed an actual conversation between the readers and the writer, one free of any hint of self-conscious marketing or PR. Of course, most of the credit here belongs to Marianne, who is an author who seems uniquely suited to this kind of meet-up: she is warm, candid, gregarious, and genuinely interested in other people. I remember exactly the moment where my anxieties were laid to rest: when, upon hearing Blooey and Honey’s first names, Marianne whipped out a small notebook and began writing them down with evident glee. For all that we learned from Marianne that afternoon, a woman who has a plethora of experiences in the publishing and literary spheres both here and in the United States, she was as intrigued by us as we were by her, and that made a big difference. Marianne did more than sell some books that day–she built new relationships. I hope that in the future, more of us writers can do the same–especially those of us writing genre fiction.
I’m glad that everyone else seems to have had as much fun as I did, Marianne included. Here are posts on the get together from Jason, Chachic and Blooey, as well as a post from Marianne where she answers a few questions that she didn’t have time to address during the meet-up (in the process demonstrating once again her willingness to engage).
Thanks to the book bloggers, and the Flippers, and everyone else who was able to join us last Saturday (including author Danton Remoto and Anvil’s Karina Bolasco) . Let’s do it again soon ^_^
[Title image by Honey and her husband. Great work guys!]