Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Sagittarian spirit

"Those who invented the zodiac were mythmakers who wanted to preserve universal truths in the unchanging sky. That is one way of reconnecting with your inner self. In Medieval astro, you are your Ascendant, not your Sun sign. Your Mars is in Aries. Aries is the warrior. Sagittarius is called the divine warrior."

- Resti Santiago, Medieval Astrologer (in a PM addressed to me)

My rising sign is Sagittarius. And some of my friends who are also into astrology have told me that I have the tendency to scatter my arrows. Meaning, take up things on a whim, start all kinds of endeavors, nurture many interests. In other words, walang focus.

This could be a bad thing. But I would like to believe, because I have surprisingly become a positive person (or it could be something that has always been inside of me, this positive attitude), that in my case, this is a good thing. I tend to start projects as soon as thoughts about them inhabit my mind.

Some people have a hard time with beginnings. I don't. A blank sheet of paper, for example, doesn't intimidate me. A daunting task usually doesn't scare me. When I started a small children's organization, Isang Bata (www.isangbata.blogspot.com), pure energy and inspiration fueled my actions. It wasn't easy, but it flowed naturally. And I flowed with it.

In 2011, I joined an international humanitarian agency as a consultant. I worked with them for a couple of years and those two years were pure torture, as far as dealing with Finance and Admin was concerned. I liked the work, and in fact have given a lot to fulfill my responsibilities (the job entailed travel to Maguindanao, Cotabato, and other high-risk areas). My experiences here deserve a separate entry altogether. Anyway.

It came to a point where I needed to send strongly-worded messages to my contacts in the agency because the relationship had become utterly abusive, one-sided, and unjust. One day perhaps I could write about this in greater detail. And then it came to a point where I got so pissed that I had to do something more concrete and more pro-active than simply send biting emails to Finance.

Take note that at that point, I had 18 solid years of experience in freelance writing under my belt, and I knew for a fact that it was not an isolated case. Decent clients are so hard to find and writers, specifically Filipino freelance writers, have been getting the dirty end of the deal for DECADES.

The time was ripe for the Freelance Writers' Guild of the Philippines.

Fast forward to September 16, 2012, more than a year after I thought about forming an organization of Filipino freelance writers that will protect the welfare of these marginalized and undervalued workers: members of the Guild (total of 450, with close to a hundred in attendance) gathered together for the second General Assembly.

It was a productive, enlightening, and highly successful event. I brought my son with me, of course. Towards the end of the event, however, I developed a horrible migraine and could not function anymore. But apart from this temporary affliction, I thought the activity exceeded all expectations.

Here are the highlights, in pictures.

Delivering my welcome speech: If writers will not settle for peanuts, bad clients will have to settle for bad grammar.

The crowd during the 2nd General Assembly of FWGP

Celine Roque gave a riveting presentation. Which Bowi understood.

Depressing: Presenting the Rates Survey the Guild conducted among freelance writers.

Mabuhay ang Pilipinong manunulat!

Ms. Southern Illinois was our guest, together with NASA scientist Jojo Sayson.

Bowi was master of raffle ceremonies :) He had fun doing this, obviously.

Dino Manrique and Bebang Siy with the Executive Committee members, minus Claire, Lorna and myself.

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