We give writing workshops at the Ayala Museum. The workshops consist of three two-hour sessions of lectures, exercises, and group discussions held over three weeks. The most recent workshop, on The Personal Essay, concluded last week. The next one, Writing Boot Camp, will start on 3 September 2015. For more information or to make a reservation, email Marj Villaflores, email@example.com.
This month we are featuring, with their permission, essays by the participants. The last batch was half-standup comedy, half-trauma ward. We encouraged everyone to get over their fear of exposure, embarrassment and “What will people think?” Here are some of the results.
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The Rock Bottom Story
by Cristina de la Paz
I’ve been trying to write a book for some time. I’d like to call it an autobiography of sorts. It doesn’t have quite the right beginning since I can’t really tell where everything starts. I could just start from the middle but where is the middle? As for the end. . .there are many ends, I just don’t know when and where to stop.
This is my story. Not a chronological series of events from the day I was born to the day I die, but a collection of moments in between that would make for a really good story. The kind of story that folks would think was based on a movie and not the other way around, like a life-imitating-art kind of scenario. I heard stories like those where I ended up, and I thought the same exact thing: “Boy, that sure sounds like a plot for a movie.” But then I get to my story and all film comparisons go flying out the window.
I’ve been trying to tell a story about how my life turned to absolute hell. That moment where I crashed, burned, hit rock bottom and dragged myself, bloodied and torn through a wasteland of drama and disillusion. Where does one start with such a tale? The beginning is a blur, the middle a sea of confusion and the end—well, the end is where I am.
So I guess I start at the end.
I have been off booze and drugs for a year and a few months. It would have been three years and a few months had it not been for an errant Negroni during a trip to the US, but that’s a moot point. Really. I had gone a long way to get to that point in California and, after I finished that drink I realized I made a mistake and swore it won’t ever happen again, and it hasn’t.