he know?” A soft voice jolted me out of my reverie, and I realized I’ve been sitting
on the floor at the basketball court staring at my best friend Jack Tolentino,
for the past five minutes.
staved off the same question, with different variations, several times over the
past two years that I immediately fell into pattern.
Play dumb when asked. This step does not, by any means, work.
what?” I turned to find one of my good guy friends, Dante Constantino, looking
at me solemnly from under his bushy eyebrows while he squatted down behind me.
gestured impatiently to Jack. “That you’re in love with him!”
Deny, deny, deny, with the “He’s my best friend, for God’s sake!” thrown in for
good measure. I used to snort in disbelief but one of my previous ‘interrogators’
told me he didn’t believe me because of that snort. I was too emphatic in my
denial, leading him to, correctly, conclude that I was, in fact, in love with
tall, guitar-playing, poetry-enthusiast yet sporty, Jack.
tilted my head back just a bit and laughed, not too loud, not too
soft—everything in moderation. “Hahaha! I’m not in love with him. He’s my best
friend, for God’s sake! You know that, Dante.”
who sees you looking at him can see it, Aurelia Tiengco.”
Well up in tears, which usually got people to back off, especially when I
explained that I was still grieving over my ex, Ken de la Cruz, who dumped me
two years ago for a popular cheerleader. I didn’t believe he was going out with
her until the ‘fact’ spread throughout the university that Mr. Ex was quite
good with his tongue in various places. A squirming Jack, already a good friend
of mine at that time, had to explain that to me, as Ken has never even tried to
get past first base with me. I felt like a cow afterwards. So Jack, being the
kind of guy you take home to meet your parents, made me feel like a very
beautiful girl—inside and out—and I promptly fell in love with him.
it cliché, or transference of feelings, or whatever you want to call it. I
simply called it torture, and sometimes, utter stupidity.
I joined Mina V. Esguerra's Steamy Romance class (for free!), and we had our first face-to-face class last January 18 in the Buqo office in Cybergate Tower 3. Since I have never attended a creative writing class before (if you want to talk about politics and economics and how the two are related and affect each other, though, I'm your woman), I learned a lot from the class.
Some of the things said in class were a reiteration of the group emails we received prior to the face-to-face discussion. We went over the heat levels, ranging from 0 to 5, which was also very helpful in knowing how to classify our future novels/ebooks, in case we want to sell them and have to set an age bracket. So far I have written heat 0 (unpublished) novellas, and maybe a 1, but nothing as graphic as 2 to 5 yet. I don't think I'll ever write 5, though. Five, if you're not yet aware, is erotica. Interestingly, I also found out that romance/erotica writers don't consider the Fifty Shades trilogy to be erotic because the sex was between the two main characters, and there was no inclusion of a third party into their bed play. That was really surprising to know.
We also discussed the four story tropes, given the general letters of A, B, C, D. For our class' purposes, A people have to write about Love at First Sight. B - The One That Got Away. C - Friends to Lovers. D - Opposites Attract.
Since it was my first time writing anything with this much heat in it, I had a hard time writing the steamy scene. Was I too graphic? Not graphic enough for level 3? Am I getting the actions right? Is this even possible?! Can I just go back to level 1? Am I getting the sounds right? I had to fire up my imagination and push myself beyond the limits of my imagination. And this is so beyond my comfort zone that I am glad I use a pen name.
I remember the penguins and the tigers and the bears,
I remember the forevers, the promises and illicit kisses,
I remember the rustle of sheets, the whispers—
The sound of your groans, my moans—all our best.
I don't think I would have re-started on this path if I hadn't met two awesome people who inspired me with their relentless drive to keep going and publish their story.
One is Kesh Tanglao, author of the fab, kilig-much novella, The Real Score. I have never honestly indulged in romantic fantasies involving artists because they are so up there, but this one has got me imagining myself dating a certain Mr. T, whom shall remain nameless because I am still hoping I'd get to date him someday, and God-forbid he'll ever find out I've been gaga over him for ages.
The second is Anne Plaza, of In Over Her Head, a story that hits a bit closer to home for so many reasons. I cannot tell you how many laughs I've had over that one because of certain similarities, or the times I've shouted, "No!" haha silly me.
This is a project that was fifteen years in the dreaming, and three months in the making.
This is me, finally writing -- something I almost didn't pursue, until my godmother told me one day, "I'm still waiting for your story, anak!" And so the dream was revived. As they said, the universe will conspire with you to fulfill your goal.
So I met some people who really inspired me because they were doing the dream.