Ilokano writing and collective literary irrelevance.

Ilokano writing and collective literary irrelevance. 

I ISSUED OUT a challenge to our Ilokano writers when I made public my notes on the recently concluded 2014 Palanca for the Ilokano Short Story. 

The challenge was for those who want to listen, for those who are sensitive to their social and ethical obligation as writers, and to those who have the talent to write. In the world of writing, we can use the binary and say: this group is good, and the other one is trying to make it appear as good, but they are not simply good enough.

Writing is a gift.

Writing is an in-born talent, an endowment from life as from the heavens and the skies and the seas and the birds and the oceans. In short, there are born writers, and in that conversion in the Aristotelian notion of the semantics of sentences, we can say: Writers are born, not made.

Well, there are born writers, but there are born writers who, for reasons they themselves know, squander their talent. It is like that Parable of the Talents in the sacred book of Christians.

But there are those who are serious in life as in the life of their mind and in the life of their craft that they care to listen.

Those who do not care to listen, you know right off the bat: either they are faking it that they have got the talent, or that they are so full of themselves that they now have what I call 'a misplaced feeling of self-importance.' In Ilokano, this translates as 'isuda laeng ti nalaing.'

Among writers, among artist, among those in the crazy world of art, there are many of these examples of the miserable, the wretched, the garbage. We can only say this, Sayang!

One talented writer, when I publicized those notes on my verdict, wrote back, au naturel, effortless, and told me, in public too, and I paraphrase him: "Thank you for these notes. What you said is a challenge, indeed. I just hope that the rest of us creatures of Ilokano writing will take these observations to heart and that we will not be hurt in the wrong way.'

I wrote him back: 'I hope so. Otherwise, Ilokano writing will result in collective literary irrelevance.'

That's it: Collective literary irrelevance.

I hope that in the end--and paging our critic, Apo Junley Lorenzana Lazaga--we will never say, Sayang!

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