About Bodies of Water.
Bodies of Water, is a love letter; a missive to the strong Filipinas in my life, and a prayer to the homeland whose creatures and myths I grew up wondering about and wondrous for. It is also a wistful note to the Philippine plantations my mother’s family have cared for through generations. This book is a documenting of the cultural myths my father put me to bed with and a revisionist take on them. Bodies of Water is roughly 193,000 words in length and is literary fiction that wanders into the magic realism genre.
Here’s the blur from the back cover:
The Philippines are bodies of water, and so are we — Following the lives of four generations of women with an innate ability to speak to water, Bodies of Water straddles the border between reality and magic. Set against the lush and vibrant backdrop of rural Philippine life, familial myths collide with historical events and people. All the while, creatures of legend and folklore pulled from the rich tapestry that is the Philippine oral tradition lurk just beyond the safety of home in the dark, deep jungle. Vida, Valentina, Lailani and Karagatan know the secrets of the body; the water in each of us speaks to them. These women are healers, survivors and mothers. Yet more than simply tracing the lineage of these women whose personal history is weighty with magic and mysticism, Bodies of Water anchors these women to reality, placing them within historical events. World War II, the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, the reign of Marcos, and the subsequent diaspora of the Philippine people serve to ground — not drown these women, for they’ve learned to breathe underwater.Yves Lamson’s mythological revisionist fiction aims to preserve the intangible histories of the Philippine oral tradition. By filling in the plot holes present within the folklore due to the passage of time and generational retellings, he gives the stories the ability to hold more water. At times historical, but always infused with magic, Bodies of Water challenges you to make waves — there’s an ocean inside you already.
About the Launch.
After trying to procure an agent and also directly querying publishers and getting requests for full-reads and eventual silent “no’s” (very annoying that this a practice in the industry), I decided I had to take matters into my own hands. I’m glad that I did.
After an existential crisis (as us writers are prone to have!) I dusted myself off and said, “Well, if I had the time to write this book for them, then I definitely have the time to read this book for them.” This thought sent me on the journey that brought me to the launch of Bodies of Water as a pure audiobook. It initially felt right, especially when I consider my motivations for writing the novel were to preserve the intangible histories and to share the stories I’ve loved and modified. The intangible histories are the stories we’re told in the Philippine oral tradition, and what better way to preserve these stories than to not only write them down, but use my voice to share them. Call it a high five or a tip of the hat to the storytellers that came before me.
The chapters were recorded, they were ready to be published, but then at a gathering with friends I was met with a stark truth: people want to hold physical books. I wrestled with the idea, it felt like failure to self-publish. But I pushed myself to learn inDesign, I hunted for fonts that captured my text, I tapped artist and friend Daphany Kien to go back into Photoshop and create a printable cover. I hunted for the right printing press, and finally the day came when my first 500 copies rolled off the press.
I had something in my hands, physical proof that I’d written a book. There’s something profoundly powerful about the written word, there’s something incredibly intimate about it.
So here it is. Bodies of Water.