I’ve found my way here, after a short delay. Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, guest-blogging from the Netherlands. For the curious, you can find out more about me here. I am a Filipino writer. I can’t predict what I’ll be posting about most of the time, but this first post is something that I’ve been thinking about and which I hope will resonate with some of you.
I recently had an online exchange with a couple of young writers from the Philippines where we talked about writing and the challenges that we face as writers coming from a culture that is so influenced by the West.Â This exchange was triggered largely by a post I wrote about a conversation I had with Chris Beckett at Eastercon where Chris asked me what kind of science fiction a Filipino writer would write. (This was after I told Chris how Philippine Literature follows a realist tradition and that as of yet we donâ€™t have an established science fiction tradition.)
In another conversation (also at Eastercon) with the writer Gareth Owens, I found myself forced to think on the kind of fiction that I was writing and in doing that I came to understand how the work I produce reflects the things that concern me at the time of writing.
These conversations reminded me yet again of the words Ted Chiang gave to us at Clarion West: Find that thing that only you can write about and write it.
I was thinking of Ted Chiangâ€™s words when I was talking with Chris Beckett and I found myself telling him about highland mythology as I had grown up hearing it. How the great god who dwelt in the Skyworld came down to the mountains to give rice to the mountain people. How he taught the mountain people to plant rice and to cook it. I said to Chris that if I were to look at this myth with a science fiction mindset, I would see the god as being an alien or perhaps someone of the same race coming from a far-far future bringing this particular gift of rice as a means of providing for the people he was descended from. And indeed, if we think about it, to the people of the mountains, he was offering them a higher form of technology.