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Italicized words, and not othering myself in The Quiet is Loud

One of my favourite conversations with my editor for The Quiet is Loud went something like this:

Me: So, we’re not italicizing the Filipino words, right?
Amazing Editor Bryan Ibeas of Invisible Publishing: Fuck no we’re not.

I know that the conversation would have gone the same way if anyone else at Invisible were my editor, but hearing Bryan say it, hearing a fellow Filipino give me implicit permission to not other myself in my own work, was one of the most validating experiences of my life. Because of it, I opened the taps and put in all the “Filipino stuff” I’d wanted to but felt nervous about adding.

The Quiet is Loud is not the kind of book some people think of when they imagine Filipino literature, but that’s what I love about it. It’s not an immigrant story. It’s not a poverty story. It’s not a story of trauma arising from its racial/cultural identity. Some cultural elements have brief explanation, some have none. Freya’s dad is superstitious and never chided for it. It doesn’t put Filipino culture on a pedestal, nor does it apologize for it. The Filipinoness is just there with all its facets. And the story wouldn’t be what it is without it.

Happy Asian Heritage Month/Asian American Pacific Islander Month and, next month, Filipino Heritage Month! 🇵🇭 Check out this post for more ways The Quiet is Loud celebrates Filipinoness and explores mixed-race heritage.

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