Presenting my written works at a gathering for International Women’s Day (IWD) yesterday was an incredibly moving experience.
Allocated a space near the entrance to the event, I created a walk-through visual presentation using white tarpaulin, purple paint and lavender bond paper secured with hollow blocks also painted purple. Stapled on micro-stories written in English and the native dialect Hiligaynon were the feature along with the International Women’s Day logos.
I handed out a short poem/affirmations I created especially for the event which I later read from the stage (call and response style) with the women . How wonderful to say ‘I love you’ to hundreds and hundreds of women including myself.
I was originally asked to sing at the event but when I was also invited to prepare a visual presentation I decided instead to feature one of my poems which speaks to domestic violence; Into His Direction. The poem was written after witnessing a horrible incident a Iloilo City last year. Into His Direction was printed on the IWD colour of purple and posted on a support beam at the Estancia Central School (it may still be there). Unexpectedly one of the ladies translated the poem into Tagalog (the national Philippine language) and together we read the poem to the women following the affirmations.
This is the first time I have presented my poetry and written works in anything but written form and I feel empowered by the positive response. Women young and (many very) old were holding my hands and thanking me for my writing.
Later in the afternoon I gave the tarpaulins to add to the banners the women were carrying through the streets of Estancia during their annual women’s empowerment march. Yes I marched too handing out the little purple pamphlets to school girls along the roadside with Jerry at my side holding my hand.
Yesterday has inspired ideas for presenting my work in new ways and to a wider audience. Mostly I am inspired to keep writing. Write more. Just write.
PS: I’m sure you have already worked it out but Babae Ako translates to ‘I am a Woman’ and what a joy to shout it out in the public market of Estancia.
© 2016 Melinda Irvine