So where have I been this past few weeks, you ask?
First off, I want to apologize for the lack of recent posts in this dark alley, Gentle Readers. I know the usual LIFE/WORK-gets-in-the-way-of-fun excuse is so clichéd by now, though partly it’s still one of the reasons… and this little event that is so close to my bookish heart.
So you see, last Saturday, July 23, 2011, I was busy preparing for this little gathering of special people, passionate readers one and all, of this little clique who goes by the name of Goodreads—The Filipino Group, for an extraordinary gathering we fondly call Meet Up, this one now on its fifth iteration.
K.D., our dear moderator, put up a list of the attending members and by the sheer numbers alone we fairly know beforehand that this will be the biggest Meet Up among ‘em — 40 attendees all! Just imagine my surprise when I arrived at Congo Grille in El Pueblo and this was the first thing that I saw…
Aside from that, what’s different with this recent Meet Up is that we tried to give it a semblance of “formality” going with a detailed program that includes the following activities…
As I said we quite have a crowd, so in order to make things organized (and to keep up with our tight schedule) each member are given a set of getting-to-know-you questions which must be answered in 2 minutes or less. The questionnaire and the activity were facilitated by Louize.
Next was the Question and Answer Forum moderated by Tina. We are so blessed to have Samantha Sotto as one of our special guests, a first time Filipino author who wrote her debut novel Before Ever After published by none other than Radom House — one of the biggest book publishers in the US — under its Crown Publishing Group! Hearing her story how her book came about is nothing short of inspiring for wannabe writers out there. From being a simple mom who have to wait three hours each day in order to save gas to fetch her son home (her family lives in Parañaque and her son attends preschool in Ateneo in Quezon City), she productively spent these hours writing her soon-to-be-novel with the sole intention at first of getting over and done with her “hangover” after reading Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife. She also relates to us the painstaking process and amazing journey her novel went through as she hunts for a book agent, from the nerve-wracking story revisions she have to do as instructed by her editor up to the book’s eventual publication. Her story is a testament that believing in your dreams and having the strength to risk and stand up to it pays off in due course. We must always dream BIG!
Then writer Mina V. Esguerra took the stage. She’s the author of light romances/chic list such as My Imaginary Ex, No Strings Attached, Fairy Tale Fail and Love Your Frenemies. I like the contrast that her talk gave in light of what Samantha Sotto earlier discussed as she informs us of self-publishing, along with heavy self-marketing, via the use of the new media of e-books.
While Kristel Autencio, editor of Vibal’s Vee Press Imprint shares with us her love of crime fiction and I was delighted to know that there’s still a local publisher that’s willing to bet on the potential of some yet-to-be-discovered writing talents.
One of the fascinating highlights of the Special Guest Q & A is when Caz Edmunds, radio DJ of Dream FM 106.7’S Soul Candy, a singer and songwriter who just released his debut album Love Has Found Me (out now at your nearest record store) declared that there should be ban on revivals! Take this from this guy who originally composed most of the songs in his album and had the group whooping with applause and laughter when he said this.
I think it’s time for us to take a breather and greet our members K.D. and Joyzi along with Guest Author Samantha Sotto a HAPPY BIRTHDAY with a good ole birthday cake!
But the afternoon isn’t over yet (though we’re harried by the 3:30 cutoff time of our room reservation) so we hurriedly played Literay Pop Quiz —with a Twist!, a not so unusual pop quiz by your usual definition, moderated by yours truly. Let me just beg off from posting the mechanics of this game for it was so complicated even the players are clueless what to do! Ahaha! Lesson learned, I think we should just play Pictionary in the upcoming Meet Ups. Nevertheless, we had such a good time playing this and I thank the both teams and all the players for being cooperative where I was vague and I was quite proud that after the game was done we have a winning team who, as a price, got a book of their choice from the book pile table.
Then chaos ensued for a fierce battle of….
We then changed venue and went to Madarin Wok for a round of book talk/chickahan and to play Pinoy Henyo! For this game five winning players who will guess the mystery word will get to go home a brand new, signed copy of Samantha Sotto’s book Before Ever After! Much thanks for the books, Sam!
Afterwards some of us even went on “bookstore-window-display hopping” at some of the bookstores at the nearby Megamall then we capped the night with a barrel of beer (Thanks K.D.!) as is the Filipino custom of merriment!
Let’s cheers to that!
In ending let me repost my message in the group’s Meet Up thread:
To everyone, Thank You! for making Meet Up 5 possible and memorable. To say I had fun is an understatement… no wait, the day was a blast!!!
Hoping to see every one of you soon!
So ano, Meet Up 6th na ba? ^_^