“Use initiation stories to lure youth to literature,” veteran writer urges readers

UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies Director Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo (Photo by Vladlynn Nona Maryse L. Tadeo/ The Varsitarian)

A veteran Thomasian writer said the youth can be lured into the study of literature by initiation stories, or stories about childhood experiences.

“All stories are ‘initiation stories.’ It means that the main character is initiated to different aspects of life beginning with the very first lessons,” said Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, director of the UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies, in a book discussion last Aug. 5.

Hidalgo cited her short story collection titled “Catch a Falling Star,” as a work that contains initiation stories.

However, these stories should not be intended to exclusively give moral lessons to their readers, she said.

“I don’t have any specific goal that I want to achieve in every reader. However, I have my intentions or purpose in telling the story,” she said.

Literature learning can also be more entertaining by listening to popular songs, for those who want to learn how to write poetry, she said.

“We should start sa mga kilala nilang [artists]. You don’t realize that they’re reading literature. Writing should be taught in a relaxed manner,” she said.

Hidalgo said diary writing, which has now evolved into blogs, is also a helpful tool in developing one’s writing skills.

“You have turned to blogs [these days]. That’s a form of diary. You also tell stories there —from the most important thing to the most silly stories,” she said.

The book discussion was hosted by the Pinoy Reads Pinoy Books, an organization that promotes Filipino authors.


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