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19 Feb 2013

Eli Pagunsan, 14: How the Palm Springs Writers Guild Helped Change My Life

Written by  Eli Pagunsan
Eli Pagunsan participates in the Palm Springs Writer's Guild Grammar Game in December. Eli Pagunsan participates in the Palm Springs Writer's Guild Grammar Game in December. Courtesy of the Palm Springs Writers Guild

My name is Eli Pagunsan, and I’m a 14-year-old aspiring writer.

I’m a regular teenage kid. I go to school, and then I have chores to do at home. I love to read about history and current events. With everything that is going on in the world, sometimes I wonder how any of us manage not to have an overload.

I started writing about eight months ago, when I created a story titled “Road to Allentown.” I think that after years of being exposed to news about war, somehow, I had to get it out of my system. I did not have anyone I could relate to about topics like that, so I began writing—a combination of pure imagination and facts.

As the story evolved, I turned to the Internet for more inspiration. I used forums and met people who inspired me about certain characters. The Internet was an extremely useful tool, as it provided me with the insight of many people from across the world, with just a single click of a mouse.

At this time the story is still in process; the characters and the conflict still evolving. So, we will see.

Writing takes me to a special place. It makes me think. Just like any kid my age, I would rather spend my time online surfing or playing games. But I realized that If I am not careful, I would be wasting precious hours acquiring irrelevant information. But it is challenging to find kids my age who like to talk about things that I am interested in, like current events or politics. And so writing helps me a lot. It helps me argue about topics, and to express my opinion about certain things, like the fiscal cliff, gun control, illegal immigration and others, without annoying the kid next to me. Writing is my reprieve.

I am grateful that I live in the Coachella Valley. I don’t think I would find another place in the world that would be as beautiful and inspiring as this place we live in. Despite all the things happening in the world, I feel safe and protected here. Maybe it is the beautiful mountains surrounding us. Maybe it is the weather. Maybe it is the nice people. Who would not get inspired when they are surrounded by such positive things?

I asked my mom to send me to writing camps to develop my skill. I have always felt that I have a million of ideas floating in my head; I was lost, and I needed help to harness them altogether. It took us months of research, online, calling around and asking people about writing camps, and the closest we could find was in Los Angeles. That was not feasible, because my mom works, and I have two other siblings.

Then she came across the Palm Springs Writing Guild. I told her I knew about it and that it is for professionals only, definitely not for a beginner like me. She argued that the membership guidelines did not specify age or experience, and that the worst the guild could do was say was “no.”

So here I am. I am ecstatic and beyond thankful to be a member of PSWG. It is quite a privilege to learn about writing from such accomplished people. For them to take me under their wings inspires me to be a better person for my generation.

Thank you, PSWG. It is long road from here, and I am glad you that you are with me.

The guild puts on a variety of events and activities, and the next monthly meeting takes place at 2 p.m., Saturday, March 2, at the Rancho Mirage Library Community Room, 71100 Highway 111. It will feature a talk by author Andrew Neiderman. For more information about the Palm Springs Writers Guild, visit palmspringswritersguild.org.

1 comment

  • Comment Link Bob Hurlbert Wednesday, 20 February 2013 16:41 posted by Bob Hurlbert

    I first noticed Eli at a Guild meeting in the Spring of 2012. He had asked a pertinent question to the featured speaker. Later, he raised his hand in answer to a speaker query to the audience. I couldn't help but introduce myself. Eli is destined for success, in whatever endeavor he pursues. His classmates, his friends, all most likely learn something important from him in each conversation. Keep going, Eli. You're on the right track!

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