Mark Arisgado has been a regular Contributing Writer since we launched last 2014. His thoughts and stories, mainly based on his experiences with other people, have always been bound by a common theme: giving back.
As advocates of giving back to the community, we were always drawn to his insights on how we can make the world a better place through our acts of selflessness, compassion, and kindness. We share his stories because it is our hope to continue to inspire the community through them, and to ignite a desire to live the way he does- a life that’s lived for others.
Read all about Mark’s story as a writer and as a Community Member of Brew Your Best Year below.
WHO IS HE? Mark Joseph Z. Arisgado
WHAT DOES HE DO? Mark currently works as a Project Director under the Business Development Group of Micara Land, Inc., a real estate company. At the same time he is a storyteller, a poet, and an aspiring playwright.
1. Tell us about your story as an artist. How did you discover your love for art?
The love for writing and performing in front of people started when I was a kid. I used to compete in these fields.
2. What kind of artist/writer are you? Describe your style/niche and how has this changed through the years.
I write poems in Filipino (Tagalog). In 2010, I joined the annual five-month long poetry clinic conducted by the Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo (LIRA), the oldest organization of young poets writing in Filipino. The sessions – lectures and workshops – were held every Saturday and Sunday, from 9am to 5pm. I am very thankful for the opportunity to be a fellow of the LIRA Poetry Clinic.
I am currently attending the sessions of The Writers Bloc, an organization of Filipino playwrights. Sir Rody Vera, a prolific, Palanca-winning playwright, facilitates the sessions every first and third Sunday of the month. I enjoy watching theater productions and I want that someday, I can write a story that is worthy to be staged. Prior to this, last year, I was also able to qualify for Star Cinema’s screenplay writing workshop facilitated by Sir Ricky Lee.
As a storyteller, I have been attending storytelling and performance workshops to further enhance my skills. I look for opportunities where I can showcase this talent and bring happiness to people, especially, the kids.
3. What is the highlight of your practice so far?
As a poet, my works have been published in ANI, the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ (CCP) Literary Journal, since 2011, and in the LIRA’s 30th Anniversary Anthology of Poetry.
4. Where do you get inspiration?
From what I feel at the moment, after reading a book, watching a film or a play, hearing a news, listening to music, and seeing an event, among others.
5. What is your creative process like?
It starts with inspiration. Once I have identified what I want to write about, as well as the message I want to convey, I have to write the first draft. It is not a clean draft. I will write anything that comes to my mind related to the topic and message that I chose to develop. I will edit the draft until I achieve the output that satisfies me. Often, I ask friends to read the output and get their reactions. I will revise, if I think that there is a need to do so.
6. Do you experience creative blocks? What do you do when this happens?
Yes, a lot of times. When I experience writers’ block, I just rest and unwind, first. Then, I will read a book, watch a movie, or do anything that could provide me even with a tiny bit of inspiration. I just need to start somewhere.
7. How do you choose what artwork/photo to create)?
It all depends on what inspires me.
8. Who are some of the individuals you look up to in line with your craft?
I really love Pete Lacaba. The simplicity and wittiness of his poems make them powerful. That’s why when I saw him in CCP during the Performatura 2015, I did not miss the chance to take a photo with him.
9. What’s your favorite artwork/photo that you’ve written/created?
The poem titled “Niño”, which was published in ANI Journal Disaster and Survival Issue in 2011. It was inspired by a real life event, when our community in Catmon, Malabon was razed by fire in 2010, leaving hundreds of families homeless.
10. What kinds of challenges are associated with your craft/job and how do you
For poetry, the pressure of having a collection is always a challenge! I haven’t started yet with a collection to work on. But this year, I promised myself to start having one and to stop procrastinating anymore.
11. What are your biggest lessons as an artist?
You cannot please everyone with your output. People will say both good and bad things about your work. You must handle criticism with maturity.
12. What do you believe is an important factor in creating a good piece of art?
Being clear with the message you want to convey. You are writing not for yourself, but for an audience. If you want to make an impact, achieve clarity in your message.
13. What advice can you give the community, especially emerging artists?
Always pay it forward. Put your talents into good use by continuously inspiring others. We have the power to change lives with our creative outputs.
14. What is Brew Your Best Year to you and how has it inspired you as an artist?
2016 is a milestone year for me, as I am turned 30 this year (March 26). I wrote in my The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf® Giving Journal at the start of the year that just like the line from my favorite song, “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” (by John Legend and Meghan Trainor), “…we’re not promised tomorrow.” Brew Your Best Year reminds me not to procrastinate and just do the things that I would otherwise set aside, in the belief that there will be a time for these in the future.