Here’s a cringe-worthy disclosure: I wrote a short story collection way back in high school. It was part of my senior year thesis, a requirement for graduation. Our school had its own publishing arm that printed anthologies and literary titles. To my knowledge, mine was the only one they never released.
The admin at that time held a strictly conservative view on art. They questioned many aspects of my collection. Why write in colloquial Filipino? Why center the theme on something so bleak like poverty and political unrest? My biggest influences then were the prose of Jun Cruz Reyes and Lualhati Bautista, and the poetry of Emman Lacaba.
The school decided that my language was too vulgar and the theme was too mature for my age. They had a point. But I was a typical teenager with a penchant for romanticizing identity and selfhood. Ultimately I felt defeated and, ah, misunderstood.