|Photo: Jill Lejano|
I took the stage and I just had to veer away from my script. I was overcome with emotion.
“We are at your book launch, Pam,” I said, which was really a statement more than an observation. We were really at her book launch. It was truly happening.
The place was packed, and later, during the book signing, the line snaked past its alloted space in National Bookstore. (Sorry, I’m not too good with distances.) Extra chairs had to be brought out. It took close to three hours before the last book was autographed.
I swelled with pride. I couldn’t imagine what it must have felt for Pam to see how much people supported her.
* * * *
I’ve pretty much relaxed from the time I wrote the preceding post to the time I got to the venue. That was until I saw kids—as in children—in the audience. The speech I prepared wasn’t exactly for the little ones.
I went out of the shop to go over my material again, mentally editing out lines, careful not to wreck punchlines. When I went back inside, I saw the grandmother and manang-looking types. I then snuck into a quieter area of National, where I internally debated what I should leave out of my story.
Thank gad my sister didn’t arrive until after my speech; otherwise, her appearance would’ve entailed another round of editing altogether.
I never got to finalize my revisions when the host began introducing me. Thanks to Gary and Georgina who gave me encouragement as I made my way to the podium; that helped 🙂
* * * *
When I was in college, I used to get extra allowance from my dad by pretending that I was dating Pam. I mean, I would have gone on an actual date with Pam, if Pam was Anderson Cooper.
When I told her this, she was more than okay with it; she laughed out loud, or what we nowadays refer to as LOL.
I love LOL. Pam loves LOLing. I’m happy to be friends with someone—an editor at that—who can get behind my use of LOL without judgment.
So yes, she was amused by it. That was the first of two periods of my life wherein I’ve pretended that Pam and I were more than just platonic friends. The second time was when we were in the dingiest of gay bars, somewhere in Manila, where Claire Danes would have certainly not been happy. It looked like the type that would get raided by the police every now and then, complete with TV Patrol cameras. The men wore Mickey Mouse bath towels. They showered on stage using a batya and tabo. It was that type.
We were sitting on a couch among friends, when, without warning, the lights dimmed and the men started coming onto us from different directions; the Mickey Mouse towels gone. It was terrifying, and in my panic, I began acting strange.
I began acting straight.
I wrapped my arm around Pam’s shoulder and tried to keep the men away by announcing: “Pare, walang ganyanan, bro.”
Or Pards. Tsong. Tol. Ah, I can’t remember. I’m sure Pam would; she has excellent memory.
That was a good time, no? That was pretty funny, no?
So why didn’t you include that in your book?
I bought your book on the very week it was out in National Bookstore. I excitedly went home, flipped through the pages, and I didn’t find the story? That was not cool. There was no LOL in that, girl.
I would have felt bad about the snob, really, if I didn’t hear the Anvil publishers talk about releasing Part Two. Yep, I heard it over there. So you’ve a chance to redeem yourself.
But seriously, I think the reason why people loved Paper Cuts was one, the gay bar story wasn’t there; and two, there’s nothing condescending or self-righteous in Pam’s work. There’s nothing irreverent—even if she discussed how her mother rubbed a vibrator on her face (by the way, that sentence is just so wrong; one shouldn’t string those words together ever)—she deftly wrote it in clean, good humor. There was no self-deprecation; too much of it and it appears as false humility.
Instead, we find a pleasant read, a refreshing read in that it has no hatred or spite, without being saccharine. I think that combination is amiss in the generation of young writers today.
So thank you for helping us temporarily forget the chaos of real life—one with car nappings and bombings—by reminding us of the good life—wherein one loves her job, one loves her friends and one loves her family… with few exceptions. And that’s alright, because that only makes it real and attainable for all of us.
Congratulations on your latest achievement and I look forward to many others.
* * * *
The first few lines were rocky for me as I was still struggling with my nerves and the front rows were filled with strangers (Mon and friends were seated all the way at the back). While I appreciated the two ladies somewhere in the second, third row that would laugh every time I’d say something which I intended to be funny, I did see faces that were… deadma. They were hard to look at and they did distract me.
Eventually, more people reacted to my material and I think it was at that point when I didn’t care much about how I’d be received; I just wanted to tell the room how awesome my best friend is 🙂
|I look so smitten here, lol!
Photo: Lianne Bacorro
(Thanks Chelle for sharing it!)