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Showing posts from 2020

Words for un-company

On sad yet hopeful days my favorite word is unfurling, evoking ferns. On sad and dark days, the word that keeps me company is unhinged. Despite every awful thing it denotes, it's still an open door.

Good mother, good academic?

I wrote this four years ago. The struggle remains the same, so yes, publish. And god, I so want to be over this dilemma. 2016. Yesterday I was proofreading my manuscript at home when the Little Big Boss came over crying. I had to put my pen down and console her. She didn't want to leave my lap so we compromised. We put her play doh on the table and I tried to work while she played. It went smoothly -- for about five minutes! Haha! The Artist in Residence is familiar with this scene. Starting when she was eight years old, she had to come along with me to academic conferences. She'd stay in her chair reading, or drawing and writing in her notebooks. People praised her and commented on how she was remarkably well-behaved. I had no idea just how remarkable her ability to sit still and focus was, until the Little Big Boss came along. With this one, sitting together quietly for a stretch of time is a much bigger challenge. The things that kept the Artist content at conference

Book Review: Heirloom Recipes of the Cordillera

There are at least two reasons this book is important: 1.      It’s about time, and, 2.      It’s about time. First, it’s about time such a book is published: a collection of recipes gathered from the hearths of the Cordillera region. For what does the act of publishing do? Beyond documentation, the act of publishing is to declare that a thing exists and to announce it to the world: “This is our food, our knowledge, our heritage.” It is to make a thing available to readers. We need more books like this. A question we are regularly asked in Mt. Cloud Bookshop is, “Do you have new books on the Cordillera?” Sadly, more often than not the answer is no. Not yet. In the past eight years of our existence, we can count on my fingers and toes the number of new titles on the region. This is just a drop in the bucket, compared to the volume of books being published in Manila today. This may seem surprising, but people want more books and they want more books from

Partaking, Taking Part*

I was asked to speak today about body language and indigenous expressions, but I can’t talk about dance and I can’t talk about tattoos. My friend, Irene Bawer-Bimuyag dances and weaves so beautifully, she takes away words. She has a traditional Kalinga tattoo on her arm and it is rightfully hers. She is Lubuagan-born. I can’t talk about performance or performativity. When my friend, Dumay Solinggay takes the stage she brings all her ancestors with her. She is Cervantes-born. I can’t “speak in tongues” --much less read or write in indigenous languages. My friend, Chatelyne Wansi walks for hours to visit kailian, to sit with them, convince them, and guide them in writing about themselves in their own language. She publishes their writings in a magazine entirely in Kankanaey, and refuses to translate their work into English. She is Kibungan-born. I wish they could have been here in my place. I wish you could meet them. But I’m going to take a side step around body languages