Monday, January 02, 2006


During one of those holiday season get-togethers with balikbayan friends, I was asked what enterprise already at work in New York could be developed here in Manila. Instantaneously, I thought of the New York Times article I read about communal work spaces. Creating one in Metro Manila will definitely provide our local talent with an ideal environment to hone their craft — similar to The Village Quill in Manhattan or the Writers Junction in Venice Beach, California.

In this New York Times article, A Cubicle For You And Your Muse, its author, Liesl Schillinger, claimed the idea of a communal work space is not new, that “the tradition began in Lower Manhattan nearly 30 years ago, when a group of writers, including the biographer Nancy Milford, banded together to rent an office. In 1978 the group incorporated as the nonprofit organization the Writers Room, which has fostered the creation of more than a thousand books and screenplays, said Donna Brodie, the executive director since 1994. Today it has a roster of 400 writers who take turns at 40 desks on the top floor of a building on Broadway at Astor Place. Members include Lawrence Block, the best-selling mystery writer, and Michael Berg, a writer of the screenplay for Ice Age, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2003.”

The author also quoted a writer of short stories, Ms. Manghnani, who explained: "If I'm at home working, people don't respect you that much; they call or text or e-mail, or make arrangements to have coffee. But if I'm at a place that sounds legitimate to other people - a library or a writers' room - they don't disturb me as much. No one calls you at the gym and says, 'Let’s go have a burger.' "

For Metro Manila, such work spaces should also welcome graphic and Web artists. Other than English-proficient call center agents, our country has an abundance of talent that is good enough for overseas outsourced creative projects. Better we provide them now with the optional ideal space where they could further develop their skills.

Photo credit: Ruby Washington/The New York Times



posted by Señor Enrique at 4:14 PM


Blogger niceheart said...

I can relate to what Ms. Manghnani said about people bothering you when you work at home. When I first started working at home, I had a hard time explaining to people that "I may be at home, but I am working. I have a production quota to meet."

There are people who can understand this and there are just some who don't.

January 02, 2006 11:11 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

why not?

January 03, 2006 5:38 AM  

Blogger Tina said...

communal work space for writers is a great idea since writing is a very solitary activity. interesting piece senor.

March 04, 2008 6:11 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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