rcloenen_ruiz (rcloenen_ruiz) wrote,

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Posting from Clarion West--week four

I wrote this yesterday but forgot to post it. So this is the entry for Tuesday, July 14

On checking my email this morning, I found an email from charlesatan  saying: go check out the July issue of Locus magazine because Rich Horton mentioned you in it. So, I go: OMG, Rich Horton mentioned me. I was definitely nervous because I didn't know what to expect. And OMG again. Rich Horton not only liked my PSFIV story, he listed it as one of his recommended stories. 

Here´s the quote for PSF IV: 

Philippine Speculative Fiction IV is a wide-ranging selection more or less evenly split between science fiction and fantasy. Among the best stories: Rochita Loenen-Ruiz' "Breaking the Spell", "yet another Sleeping Beauty reimagination" --but a very well done and original one.

Rich Horton also mentions Apol Lejano-Massebieu's ""The Sewing Project", "A Retrospective on Diseases for Sale" by Charles Tan, Carljoe Javier's "Dino's Awesome Adventure", Erica Gonzales's "Haya Makes a HUG", and Eliza Victoria's "Parallel". Aside from the above, special mention was given to works by Andrew Drilon, Vincent Michael Simbulan, and Kate Aton-Osias. I would quote the entire piece, but it's getting late and I need to work on my story for the week.


Today is our second day of Week Four at Clarion West and it has been the awesome. Nalo Hopkinson is an inspiring teacher. My story was criticqued yesterday and I was surprised to discover it wasn't as huge an epicfail as I thought it was. It does seem like this is the story that wants to be more than a short story.

Yes, Bear told us we couldn't write an epic plot as a short story and I promptly went ahead and did just that....thankfully, it wasn't such a huge fail as I thought it was.

I had my conference with Nalo and I told her about some of my fears and concerns when it comes to writing my own culture. I told her how a lot of my fear comes from how close the culture is to me and how scared I am of exoticising it--something I really do not want to do. 

Nalo then gave me this advice which I shall print out and tape to a wall in my house when I get home. She said: Tell those voices that tell you to be scared or afraid or hesitant, tell those voices to go outside and play in the street and not bother you because you need to write this stuff.

She said that I may get things wrong, but that's okay because some things I can make up and some things I can shape to the way I want my worlds to be.

I really needed to hear that. And hearing it from a writer whose work I admire and whom I adore was just so freeing. It's like receiving this gift that says: it's all right to dream and to live in the dream and to be the dream. And it's all right to write stuff that isn't necessarily culture-bonded because you have that freedom to be that writer who imagines worlds that aren't always Filipino or set in the real Filipino world. 

This evening we attended Nalo's reading and listening to her read, I realized that this is what makes her fiction so special to me. There's this fabulous voice that just sounds out strong and unique and rings so true and honest and that just makes the heart of me want to say: yes, yes, yes...say that again please in just the way you said it.

I know, I am so starstruck.

I feel that last week's report was very, very truncated in the sense of not having enough time to talk about the wonderful generosity of Nancy Kress and Vonda McIntyre who were our mystery guests on Friday. There they were, two of the most amazing women in the world of SF&F and they were just giving us this time to share the lessons they'd learned along the way to becoming the writers they now are.

One of the most beautiful things I've seen in this community which I hope to someday carry on is this spirit of generosity. It's a generosity that transcends the material, in fact it's a generosity that is reflected in the willingness to share what they have learned through experience, and the goodwill to wish others (who are still on the road and trying to find their way) success in their endeavours.
Tags: clarion west, psfiv squee, rich horton

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