W.G. Sebald is described by Wikipedia as “one of the greatest living authors” until his death in a car crash in 2001, and “a possible future winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature”. His work is described as “curious and wide-ranging mixture of fact (or apparent fact), recollection, or fiction…” and has evolved a literary genre called creative non-fiction.
On a cool Baguio night amidst the haunting ambiance of the Café by the Ruins, Sebald was picked and strung with devotion to Nora Aunor, a komiks rental stall in San Jose City, and Oyet’s journey and travails from Sagada to Bangkok to San Francisco. Baguio’s literary elite in attendance seemed creamed but I heard those stories before so I busied myself with other things like finding the rice wine too sour and the house coffee overrated. The pinikpikan will pass but the Palawan chicken is a big letdown. Next time, I will stick to beer and that superb lumpia of a kesong puti and tinapa bits.
I have not read Sebald and don’t intend too. I’ve had my moment of reading someone big and then unconsciously morphing into a poor ape of that great one. If ever I write seriously, it would be me no matter how ridiculous it will turn out.
The great thing about Sebald-ing in Baguio is finally drinking rice wine and beer with Frank Cimatu (who fell asleep midway into the Ghana-North Korea World Cup match during a post-Sebald-ing nightcap at Casa Vallejo), meeting a flickr denizen for the first time, and saying “Hi!” again to a journalist acquaintance.