Interview with Ano Ba

I was featured in the Pilipinx diaspora zine Ano Ba and below is my mini interview. I’m in the second issue and the theme was anger. My piece was produced from a prompt from Serena Valentino‘s comic book script writing class. She asked us to write a dialogue (and strictly dialogue, no gestures or setting or description) between us, as the author and our protagonist (in this case, Regina Cordova who is a fictionalized version of me) or between the protagonist and a secondary character. I chose the former cuz I thought it would be fun and a lot more interesting. Here’s a sneak preview of the work. I hope you enjoy the interview!

This week’s featured contributor is Eileen Ramos, writer of a fiction dialogue entitled “The Author & the Protagonist.” She is a queer bipolar Pinay American writer with a history of psychoses. As a mental health advocate and a lover of words, she hopes to bring light and give voice to those who are forced to hide in shame.

Where did you grow up? I’m from New Jersey, where I was born and raised.
On the playground where I spent most of my days (JK. I had to lol)

What would be a “perfect” day for you?
My perfect day would involve reading an engrossing book that depicts a Pilipinx like me, creating a work that catches me off guard, having a lively & deep conversation with a loved one, and eating a new, now favorite food. I’d also love to participate in something immersive, whether it’s experimental theater, an interactive art exhibit, a social role playing game, and whatever else you have. Crying happy tears, learning something new, and filling up empty pages in many ways would make the day immaculate as well.

If you could travel anywhere without any issues, where would you go?
I’d go straight to Japan and see my best friend Chelsea. We’d go to the Studio Ghibili museum, visit ALL the other museums and galleries, stay at quirky hotels, eat all sorts of sushi and ramen, enter every bookstore, see the cherry blossoms, and visit shrines and temples. Go to cool cafes, do karaoke, and sight see at all the islands. My instagram would be glorious.

What are you all about?
I’m all about experimental literature, learning new words, zines, exhibits, and guerilla art. I especially love all things literary: book shops, book art, festivals of all kinds, the brooklyn art library, print books, storytelling apps, and ephemera. Dresses, fortune cookie slips, and discovering new facets of the world and within myself. Anything that makes me want to clap my hands and/or giggle. Connecting on a deeper level and whatever makes me want to write or create once I’m done with it. Defying the odds and other people while succeeding always brings a smile to my smug face hah.

What does being Pilipinx mean to you?
Being Pilipinx means being a descendant of those who have been oppressed for centuries, yet being blessed with their resilience and inner fire. It’s being part of a community that’s innately welcoming, bonding, and worth being close to. It can also mean being invisible but knowing you’re necessary to society. There’s hearty laughter, true compassion, and doing what’s right for your family even when it requires self-sacrifice. While there’s stubbornness and tempers flaring, I feel like being Pilipinx involves patience for the long run and ultimately hope.

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