Weeeee Zafra said she enjoyed reading my entry and that she could hear my voice!

And so I joined Jessica Zafra’s LitWit Challenge 2.10 on her webiste Jessica Rules the Universe last week with the theme “The Story of Your Life”, where Zafra wanted her readers to write about yes, the story of their life in 1,000 words max without using adjectives or adverbs. The winner gets a collection of short stories by the late John Updike, and novels by Russell Banks and Kathryn Walker.

I submitted this entry:

Grade 1 ako nung nag-aral ako mag-swimming sa Milo Sports Clinic sa Ultra. Hindi ako natutong mag-swimming. Nung nag-excursion kami sa Laguna, habang nagtatampisaw ako sa swimming pool, akala ko ay malulunod na ako nang dumulas sa kamay ko ang gamit kong salbabida. Doon ako natutong mag-swimming. (Hindi ko na maalala kung freestyle ba yun o bobbing. Ang naaalala ko lang ay tubig at mga bubbles sa mukha ko. Buti na lang wala pang liwanag mula satunnel.) May mga bagay talaga na hindi kailangang ituro sayo para matutunan mo. Tulad ng kung gaano nakakahiyang malunod sa isang swimming pool kahit na may gamit kang salbabida.

Grade 3 ako nung nag-singing lessons ako sa Center for Pop Music Philippines nung bumisita sila sa eskwelahan namin isang summer. Sabi ni Teacher, ang tamang pagkanta daw ay ang kumanta galing sa diaphragm, hindi galing sa throat. Kinanta ko nun yung The Greatest Love of All at My Favorite Things galing sa diaphragm; naabot ko naman. Pero pagkatapos ng labing-dalawang taon, kinanta ko ang Alone ni Heart,Luha ng Aegis at You Oughtta Know ni Alanis sa videoke galing sa ikabuturan ng puso at esophagus ko, at laging above 90 ang iskor ko. May mga kanta talagang dina-diaphragm, tino-throat at ini-esophagus. At may mga kantang iniiyak na lang, sabay next song please.

Grade 6 ako nung napadaan kami ni Mama sa isang stall sa Robinson’s Galleria. May isang mama na nag-do-drowing ng mukha ng artista. Pagbalik namin, nag-enroll ako sa kanya ng painting. Nung natapos na ang sessions ko, naipinta ko ang kapatid at pinsan ko. At hindi lang yun, kamukha pa nila. (Nakasabit ngayon sa bahay; hindi na nila kamukha ngayon.) Ngayon, hindi na ako marunong mag- painting. May mga bagay talaga na makakalimutan mo kahit gusto mo mang maalala uli, at may mga bagay na maaalala mo kahit kailan, kahit ayaw mo nang alalahanin.

College na ako nung nag-aral ako mag-gitara sa Yamaha sa Megamall. Marunong naman akong mag-gitara, pero Line to Heaven lang ng Introvoys at Leaving on a Jetplane, na ang chords ay parehong D-A-G-A lang. Sa Yamaha, tinuro sa akin ang kung paano tumipa at kung ano’ng chords ang katumbas ng string sa fret. Ngayon, wala na akong maalala sa mga yun, pero saulo ko pa rin ang chords ng Line to Heaven kahit nakapikit. Kahit kailan, ang walang tatalo sa guro na kung tawagin ay experience. At Jingle Magazine.

Apat na taon matapos kong kunin ang pinakahuli kong lessons, hindi pa rin ako nadala sa pagkamalas ko sa pagkuha ng mga ganun. Gusto ko pa rin kumuha ng pottery classes kay Ugu Bigyan sa Tiaong, ng glassblowing classes sa Katipunan, ng painting classes sa Vargas Museum, at kahit ng streetdance classes sa kung saang studio. May mga bagay na kailangang gustuhing matutunan para matutunan, at may mga bagay ding kahit hindi mo man matutunan hanggang dulo, siguradong may matutunan ka pa ring iba.

Tulad ng it’s the thought that counts.#

Every day after submitting this, I would visit her webiste at least twice to check out the other entries and if Zafra left a comment for my piece (she usually comments on the entries that either had violations or caught her eye, in a good way). I didn’t get any.

(Although when I submitted for the previous contest, the LitWit Challenge 2.9: The End of the Affair, where Zafra wanted a break-up story without the Star Cinema and Twilight cheese (she had a Yucch meter that she updated daily), she had this to say: “Ilaya: Oy, contemporary romance. The one-letter breakup. Nice.” It was the best press of the Refresh button I’ve ever done. It made me feel like I’m actually a writer, like I’m already published author. and I couldn’t stop smiling; it’s Zafra. I’m not so much of a fan, but it’s Zafra, and do I really have to say it twice? Anyway, you can find my non-winning entry here.)

I visited her site for the 10th or so time today, and finally, she has news about the Challenge’s winner. And she had this to say:

“Parlo lover, Pangngalang Pambalana, Ayie, pulsar, Benjamin_of_12, ilaya, lance: I enjoyed reading your entries, I thought I could hear your voices. Iceproof and Momelia: I like how you exposed yourselves, not to get a little sympathy but to purge.”

Ilaya, that’s me, that’s me! And it’s happy, happy night. I didn’t win, but Zafra saying she enjoyed reading my entry? More than enough.

Zafra, you make me want to write more, and I say that in the least cheesy way possible.#

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