12 December 2008

Manila Times column for 12 December 2008 "The Ricky Lee experience, literary"

original post here.

i don't know what happened to the title, but my original was "the ricky lee experience, literary version." oh well...

By Libay Linsangan Cantor
The Ricky Lee experience, literary

As I mentioned last week, perhaps it is hard for a Filipino scriptwriter not to come upon foremost scriptwriter Ricky Lee in film circles. But who’s to say that literary writers won’t chance upon Lee in the literary circles as well?

It might be hard to believe that writers could write in different formats. A scriptwriter could also be a journalist, writer of magazine articles, nonfiction essays, short stories, stage plays, poetry, even song lyrics. Yes, Lee has been all that, and now, a novelist, too.

In November, he launched his first novel Para Kay B (o kung paano dinevastate ng pag-ibig ang 4 out of 5 sa atin). Interesting title, but that didn’t come out “un-workshopped” so to speak. This is where my literary Ricky Lee experience comes in.

In October, a friend said she was doing a survey about a book title of a novel about love. She wanted to see how the title would stand up to others at the Filipiniana sections of bookstores. She gave a gist of the story (a writer writing about his characters and the characters’ own stories unfold), its style (meta-fiction type of development), and its intended audience (everyone who can read). Needless to say, they want the book to be bought.

But amidst dwindling sales of books written by Filipino authors, my friend and her novelist friend were worried about the public’s—especially the younger ones’—reception of the novel. Thus, I gave my two cents’ worth about the original title (I disagreed) and explained my decision. I suggested that she should create an online poll to see if the title will hold.

She revealed that the novelist is none other than Ricky Lee, a good friend of hers, and a literary writer at heart. In the 1980s, he already published a collection of short stories and essays, and has two more novels to launch by next year, along with a short story collection.

I rethought my answer to her survey and concluded that any title he puts there would be irrelevant, as the tag “a novel by Ricky Lee” will be its main selling point anyway. Whatever this man writes is sure to be a hit—movies, TV shows and now novels.

I was right. The hundreds of supporters who lined up to get a copy of his book were testament enough that Lee is a formidable writer in the literary circles as well.

Comments? Suggestions? Email libay.scribevibe@gmail.com.

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