one of the blurbs for this first book asked: what took you so long, ina?
and in truth, i’d like to think i took exactly the amount of time i needed. much of what’s in Of Love and Other Lemons is about refusing to write the way i’m expected to, or at least the way i did when i wrote mirrors. i read too much of the personal essay as it’s written and published in these shores, but also i read poetry in english by our contemporary women poets. i read works in English and Filipino. but more than the reading, i’d like to think i took my time at living: through teaching, some broken hearts, losses large and larger, a career in writing, writing, writing.
i’d like to think that i let this book brew, let it happen as it should, and as it has. it would only be because of the three years of writing about art and culture that i could have these artists as part of this book, as they willingly let me use their works. Buen Calubayan, Dina Gadia, Mark Salvatus, J. Pacena and Farley del Rosario are kindred spirits, whose work i admire, but who i admire equally as people who remain humble despite the trappings of being artist. that they trusted me with their works is a lesson in humility for me, too.
Petra Magno and Bianca Ma. Guerrero are ex-students in Ateneo, who have become my daughters / sisters / fans / counselors since they became adults (or since i became an adult? haha!) post-their-graduation. much of the drawings here are theirs, some old work, many new ones. they let me do with these as i pleased, and i cannot wait for both these girls to take flight as artists, because i know they will regardless of what they’re doing with their lives now.
it would only be in March of this year that i’d meet Josel Nicolas and Michael David, comics creators of Windmills and Kubori Kikiam, respectively. both willingly did work for this book, even when they didn’t know me from eve. Josel’s work completed the whole section of interconnected short short essays about the most fleeting of conversations. David, well, was the perfect guy for the pieces that talked about sex and freedom. having him do those particular pieces were liberating in itself.
it is also David’s presence in this book of essays that reminds more glaringly about why i needed to publish this independently, the way Angela did Revolutionary Routes, the way we are actually also coming out with The Filipino is Worth Blogging For. there is nothing like the freedom to choose the form(s) in which you will write and take liberties with the language you will use. but also there’s just ignoring those lines drawn between comics and literature, art and comics, paintings and illustrations, and in the end deciding unilaterally about how you want this book to turn out, which images you want to appear with the text you wrote. buckling down to do the layout for the book, i found there were works i could let go of, but many others i couldn’t. i found that i knew the tone i wanted this book to take, the images i as reader would demand that it have.
and yes, this book also needed to wait until i became exposed to the indie publishing sphere (again) through BLTX and all the small and indie publishers there. now the goal too is to put up a teeny tiny press (we’re calling it BoutiqueBooks) that will publish the books of people whose work we (that is Anina, Daryll, Drey and Larry) believe should be read.
Of Love and Other Lemons as such is really a book that has taken its time at being made. and which, given the people who are part of it — artists, writers of blurbs | foreword | afterword, book cover designer, musicians performing at the launch included — is exactly the kind of love that i know can withstand the lemons. :)
at least until the next book.
come join us at the book launch! July 19 2012, 6PM onwards at Chef’s Bistro on Scout Gandia corner Tomas Morato. first 100 bottles of beer are on me (though you’d have to beat the artists to that). music starts at 7:00 with Carlos Castano, Johnoy Danao, Vin Dancel and Gloc-9 — all friends and kindred spirits, too!
we’re also launching this!