Sunday, March 20, 2011

Imaginaccion XIII: The Conception of Existentia

All my life, I've been dreaming to produce my own book. Write my own novel or a compendium of poems and short stories, something like that. Just to be able to hold a thin pile of softbound paper of literary gems in my hands that I could call my own--that would be a dream come true.

This dream has been my guide when I applied to the Lyceum Independent Sentinel. I was choosing between the Features section and the Literary section, trying to gauge the things I can get while I give my full service. Being a Features Ed would be alright, but I know that if I become a Literary Editor, I will be the one to handle the conception of the annual literary folio of Lyceum--the Imaginaccion.

A voice in my head said,"Hey, that can be yours. It wouldn't matter if your first printed baby would be a synergy of literary minds from your school, right? As long as you're the mom...heck, it wouldn't matter who the dads would be." I chuckled at the thought (that obviously sounded a tad wrong, haha) and said, "Yeah, why not". So here I am, the Editor-in-Chief of the thirteenth Imaginaccion.

Here I will share to you what it took us--I and the literary team--to produce Existentia: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Heavenly Virtues.


First, we have to come up with the theme. Initially, I wanted to have a circus- or carnival-themed Imagi, something colorful and lively. The Sentinel EIC, Kat Manapat, told me that it's okay and the topic suits my personality (haha), but she said I have to come up with sub-topics, like what she did in Equipoise. Chopping the circus theme didn't feel right--would I think of the acts--chapter one as Knife Throwing and chapter two as Juggling? Or the people who run the circus--chapter one as Ring Master and chapter two as Tightrope Walker? It felt wrong, so I tried to think of something else to propose. I included the Fates (Birth, Living, Death), Music (sounds and lyrics, or something like that) and Heaven and Hell. After all the discussions and suggestions, we end up choosing the Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Heavenly Virtues and their never-ending existence in the human soul. And thus, the idea of Existentia was born.


I can't produce the book on my own, obviously, so the Imagi team was formed. By default, the assistant literary editor, Raisa Dela Cruz, would be the Associate Editor. I chose Kat Manapat as the Managing Editor (but due to some complications she became the Lit Ed); Marc Abila and Kenneth Cabusay as the Literary Editors (...and again due to some complications they became the Managing Eds); Debbie Nunez and Armon Clavecillas as the creative consultants; Jerick Sanchez as chief photographer; Janine Astete as Chief Illustrator; Krizia Nhel Gayo as the Production Manager; and JM Manaloto as the Promotions Manager.



We started moving as early as October, sending out letters to judges, conceptualizing the book launching, emailing potential sponsors, holding photo shoots for the editorial board, making AVPs, etc. Stressful, yes, but we're doing our best for this year's Imagi to be successful.


I've been to a couple of Imagi's before, but the 2010 competition was the first where I was the one giving the contest. It was all different, yet all the same. While the contest was ongoing, I felt a common denominator with all the people in the competition venue: we're just students who want to express ourselves through literary pieces. I was different because of one little thing: I was sitting behind an editor's desk.

Anyway, the days of the competition were also the peak of my asthma attacks that December, so it was a bit hard to go and move around to finish everything for the competition. Still, with the help of the Team, I was able to finish my tasks. :)


Not everything went smoothly, though. The Lyceum Independent Sentinel faced some budget problems halfway through the conception of the book, and we need to cut down the budget for it. The grand book launching idea was scrapped; everyone agreed on just putting up a booth or preparing a soft launching for it. We're okay with it, but we tried pushing to maintain the alloted money for the book.

Also, we were having publisher dilemma at that time. We can't get a quotation for the folio, which we need badly and immediately so we could already send a budget request...but everything was just so slow. After a couple of more tries and several times of getting unfavorable responses, we gave up and looked for other publishers. That's where Mr. Eros Atalia and the Think N' Print Publishing House came in.


Everyone was required to move, because every minute was precious. We penned our poems and stories (I drew the illustrations for my pieces too), rejected, approved, and edited entries and contributions. It wasn't as easy as it sounds; we need to work like machines, and we were having problems about who to layout the book. Debbie was a little reluctant at first, but she accepted the job anyway (hello? additional salary? haha!)

One of our most memorable experiences in making the book was our overnight session at Sir Atalia's publishing house in Cavite. We proofread the whole night (I think I was the only one who didn't sleep; everybody else was able to get some naps) and helped lay out the whole book until the last minute of our stay at Think N' Print. We sometimes inserted lots of "chikahan" and munched on the available snacks there to drive the stress away. It was hard, but we made it a point to always remind ourselves that it's going to be worth it in the end.

I was thankful that Debbie's the graphics and layout artist. She knew what she wanted, and it always turned out that what she wanted was the best for the book. If she was just a regular layout editor, she'd just make the simplest and plainest layout for the folio--but Debbie is Debbie, and that meant defying what's normal and standing out because of stark unconventionality in a the best possible way. If you see the book, you'll get what I mean.


Imaginaccion XIII was born on February 21, 2011. Mr. Atalia delivered 1,200 copies to our school early  Monday morning; Debbie and I were there to get the check from the cashier and pay Mr. Atalia. There was a little discussion about the final product when we finally got out hands on it, especially about the printing quality, which was not what we were expecting... Be that as it may, we went on to continue the book launching. By 11:30AM of that day, the whole school was able to see the folio.



There were still a lot of responsibilities to fulfill even after the release of the folio, but everybody's relieved that the production was all done. There were lots of lessons learned, great moments experienced--and okay, let's all be honest--salary! Haha. I loved the book unreservedly despite its not-so-okay printing, and I will treasure it as the first published book that I could call our own. Whether you view it as a craft of a literary harem (lol) or as just a compendium of artistic minds on paper, it will always be a proof that Lyceum has a lot of creative minds that are worthy of being read.

Cheers! :)

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