'Professional Lola’ inspired by Fil-Am author's love for family
 
 
 
 
 
 

‘Professional Lola’ inspired by Fil-Am author’s love for family

The book is a collection of short stories about love, family and identity
/ 05:39 PM July 09, 2024

EP Tuazon

Filipino American author EP Tuazon has released a short story collection, “A Professional Lola and Other Stories.” CONTRIBUTED

LOS ANGELES — Filipino American EP Tuazon has released “A Professional Lola and Other Stories.”

The book is a collection of short stories that “blend literary fiction with the surreal to present the contemporary Filipino American experience and its universal themes of love, family and identity.”

As the book’s title hints at, in one of the tales in the collection, a family hires an actress to play their beloved grandmother at a party.

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Other scenarios that readers can encounter include a couple craving Filipino food robbing a panaderya (bakery), a coven of Filipino witches casting a spell on their husbands and a Lolo transforming into a Lola.

These are just a few of among the roster of pieces “beautifully grounded in culture and vividly and meticulously painted to make the absurd seem mundane and the commonplace, sinister.”

Inspiration

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In an interview with Berkely Fiction Review, Tuazon spoke of how instrumental his maternal and paternal grandmothers were in his upbringing. “Both of my Lolas …  regardless of what’s going on, even if it’s hard, even if they’re having a bad day, they still took care of us.

“I thought of that as something really endearing but also professional. Despite who you’re dealing with, I always saw my lolas [giving] us 100 percent of their love, almost like a professional,” they said.

Tuazon also mentioned that they love to incorporate elements into stories to include “some sort of representation” of their background as a Filipino American.

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They said in the interview, “There’s writing out there by other Filipino Americans and there are a lot of other Filipino writers [whose work] I really like, but [they do not necessarily reflect] the kind of experience that I had growing up.

“I wanted to write a story based on those kinds of experiences from my point of view of what the culture is like. This is a love story to my family. Everybody has a different perspective of the Filipino American experience, but I wanted to share mine and there’s a lot of humor to it.”

Tuazon said that coming up with this collection of stories has “made me a lot closer to the people I love and care about and to my culture.”

Process

Talking to Inquirer.net USA, Tuazon shared that they started writing in high school and college. “I fell in love with reading in college. I feel like I learned a lot from [the books] I love to read. Slowly, I learned.”

“I used to find an author and read everything they’ve ever written. I’m still reading and learning and being amazed by all the new ways people can tell a story.”

Tuazon mentioned Filipino American writers Jessica Hagedorn and Lysley Tenorio among their list of favorite authors.

When it came time to write their own book, Tuazon explained that the earliest story in the collection was written in 2017. “It took about two years to find homes for most of the stories in different magazines.” Eventually, the stories were compiled into the book. “So the whole process of the book was probably seven years!” they added with a laugh.

Overall, Tuazon, wanted to feature stories about identity. “Lola, lolo, brother, sister, ate, kuya, husband, wife. Gender, sexuality, kababayan. In addition, I wanted to showcase different facets of the Filipino American diaspora.”

Walter Ang is the author of Barangay to Broadway: Filipino American Theater. Available at Amazon, Bookshop and other online booksellers.

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TAGS: Fil-Am, Filipino American books
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