ON JANUARY 23, I announced on Facebook that I would conduct a free 14-day online Master Class in Creative Writing starting February 1 to celebrate the Philippine National Arts Month.
The master class, of course, is free under the auspices of The Peter Solis Nery Foundation for Hiligaynon Literature and the Arts, Inc.
It is the least I can do to promote literary arts while stationed in my current home state of Maryland.
By January 31, I had 140 participants (see Peter Solis Nery’s February 2019 Master Class in Creative Writing on Facebook) from all over the world, including some writers from Africa.
But mostly, Filipino writers from all over the Philippines, and such places like Hong Kong and Australia.
At least 10 of these are graduates of my previous workshops.
But most are new names/faces to me.
New faces maybe, but some have long writing history including Wattpad, school publications, diocesan journals, online writing groups, and other literary forums.
Some are published authors, and some are in the process of preparing their first books.
But mostly, these are writers who have heard my name; and by word of mouth, are just excited to work with me.
I have no deluded expectation that the 140 will all finish the course.
I have seen this before.
I’ll be lucky if 50% will stick it out with me until the finish.
I have no problem working in big groups.
But if a workshop is involved, my ideal workshop size is twenty participants.
I envisioned this as a master class.
But we started early, and I see the need to improvise and modify as we go along.
Some sort of workshop is necessary.
I like what I said in my welcome remarks—
First of all, thank you for your attendance, and commitment to attend this Master Class. Because of your dedication, I will match your enthusiasm and interest with sincerity and honesty.
I will try to give as much as I can, and share what knowledge and experience I have accumulated through the years.
Again, thank you for your trust.
If you find that what I teach here is wanting, that only means you have gone way ahead, and far beyond me.
Congratulations! You may leave the group/class at anytime.
Maybe you don’t need a teacher anymore.
Maybe there are other teachers who can serve you better.
No hard feelings. It’s not like I have to refund you something.
This class is free!
If you feel you have joined the group by mistake, you may want to hang around a little bit until you are sure that you don’t like it.
Because once you leave the group, I will not take you in again in this particular class.
Maybe I’ll see you in my future classes/workshops.
I only ask that you participate.
Again, it could be as simple as making a comment just to make your presence felt.
‘Likes’ do not count.
Be generous with words of appreciation.
Point out what exactly it is that you like.
Your comments will be instructive to me, and to your classmates.
And, if you are sincere, that will encourage others to sincerely comment on your works, too.
Love begets love. I always believed that.
A Peter Solis Nery class (or workshop) is a life experience.
(Life-changing for some, I am told.)
It is always geared towards building a community.
A family. Like a Peter Solis Nery literary family.
I mean, some people later move on to make their own families.
But if you have stayed with me for a while, and consider me your literary family, I will most likely not deny you in the future.
I am always proud of my students, and their achievements, big and small.
And I always try to be better in what I do so that my students will always be proud of me, as some great/kind spirit who crossed their path at a certain time.
It is my fondest wish that you learned something about creative writing in this class.
But if not that, I would be happy if you discovered something special about yourself during this class—even if it is just the realization that you do not have what it takes to fight the battles and struggles of being a writer.
Because, guess what, being a writer is not the be-all of this life.
Or this workshop.
In fact, only the profound experience of Life is.
And this is my Master Class: that you will be happy in your pursuit of life as a creative—whether it is as a writer, artist, teacher, reader, photographer, Facebooker, fashionista, or just alternative personal lifestylist.
I just want you to feel someone understood you, or took time to understand you, at this particular moment of your personal (and creative) development.
Even if that someone said No.
Even if that someone thinks he knows you better than you do./PN