The layering or pairing of voices in this manuscript happened by accident or experiment, the “what if I do this,” while moving stuff around the page, un-breaking and re-breaking lines, figuring out who was speaking where and when and to whom. Then it clicked, made sense to continue layering throughout, whether in dialogue or harmony, or in contradiction. Or really, because so many are speaking at once, and no matter how disparate we think their stories are, they are really not. They’re just saying similar things in different ways, using different language.
As well, since I’d started with a Q&A format, it made sense to me that there was dialogue and multiple speakers already there. This is generally like talking to a room full of people, doing my best to transcribe the spirited, light, grave, frank, profound conversations all happening at once.
I’m energized by some of the lightness, specificity, and peculiarity of some of the Pinay responses. Not necessarily awkwardness or quirk, but a nice self-assuredness, of not having to take the self so seriously all the time.
And finally for today, I am also pleased that a publisher will be reading this manuscript relatively soon, with interest. Let me now leave you with some polyvocality:
How do you love? Willing to leave half Of my body behind, Without a permission slip, While what remains of me Feeds on your marrow. It’s worked out pretty well.
And your mirror? Bubblegum lip glossed, I was never a singkil princess Knuckle cracking, polished toes, I was never a santacruzan queen Fake eyelashes, push up bra I was never a curtsying debutante Gum-smacking babygirl I was never a tiaraed Miss Fil Am
Who is your mother? Crisanta, Alejandra, Natividad – Nostril-flaring, dressmaking, Achara-bottling women. Corazon, Engracia, Benilda – Women who stood vigil At the stove and at the table.
And her voice? Operatic. Imeldific. Dahil sa iyo on magic mic Brass bowl contralto. Big hair scandalosa, Karaoke reverb, or accompanied by Blinding bling bouffant, Velvet throat booming, The church pianist, metronome Tawdry matrona, Slash and burn symphony, Clicking, cha cha cha tempo Flagrant combustion.