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November  5 was supposed to be an exciting day. It was the day of the sixth installment of our monthly poetry show, the Writers Gig at Wharf Galley. But I woke up to an early morning SMS from the cellphone number of a dear motherly writer-friend Jo Bisuna, saying that she already died at 5AM. Memories of our conversations during literary events and sleep-overs flashed before me. The sad realization that I would never see her alive again took over me and my entire day.

Last summer, we organized a fund-raising campaign for her. Wharf Galley was swarming with people: writers, friends, artists, civil society. Surely, Ms. Jo reminded us that art is a communal activity, and must be shared with the people.

So WG6 was also in a way, a tribute for her. We offered 20-second silence to pray for her eternal and restful repose. No longer she will suffer the pain of cancer.

It was a rainy night so we started a little late. But as always, we start with a blast. The Super Poet Genome Project did a rendition of Rivermaya’s “Ipoipo,” adding a poem somewhere in the song. The anthem song “Di Kami Papayag na Walang Makata sa Lipunan” followed suit. The band also played gig favorites “Uniberso” and “Seekin the Cause.” Kevin de Quiroz was the host for the night. The readers were: Ronel Astor, Jerome M. Hipolito, Jan Kevin de Quiroz, Jay Salvosa, Jusan Misolas, John Michael Bazcoguin and Jose Jason L. Chancoco. Theater dance group Fire n Ice as led by Dr. Tess Consulta-Francisco proved once more that poetry is also dance, as their moves complemented the poetic energy sent floating in the air by the previous readers.After the show, literary discussions over rounds of beer ensued. The pivotal issue was: Why do you write in the first place? In trying to answer this question, we looked into the works presented by the attendees for constructive critiquing. Inputs on imagery, poetic tension and voice came out, as well as warnings against pulpit poetics.

Remembering Ms. Jo Bisuna, we concluded that writing is a life-long passion and must not be clouded by over-emphasis on things that could be superficial, like literary awards. Literary arts must be shared with the community, as the people is the sanctuary of every writer. And as we go on to pursue various professions and disciplines, the pen must never be forgotten.