The Seed of an Idea: Our Origin Story

The Seed of an Idea: Our Origin Story

Dear friends,

I want to tell you the story of how Living Hyphen began.

The seed of this idea was born in the fall of 2015 at Toronto’s Feminist Art Conference when I attended a powerhouse panel about (the lack of) diversity in Canadian literature. The panel was stacked with writers of colour with tons of experience to share about the publishing industry.  I listened to these panelists - all writers of color - talk about the difficulties they faced in getting their work published, simply because their stories did not conform to the "Canadian narrative”. Either that or their stories were not "ethnic" enough.

As a writer and as a woman of colour, this deeply unsettled me.

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR: WELCOME

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR: WELCOME

Dear friends,

I am Filipino-Canadian. I was born in Manila, Philippines and moved to Toronto, Canada when I was just four years old. I’m in my late twenties now and my life has been a constant tug of war, an ongoing push and pull of these two places, two cultures, two identities. In short, it has been a life of living in between, of living in the hyphen.

I have never felt particularly Filipino. Growing up, I never adhered to cultural traditions. I could never really relate to the Filipino kids at school. I never had a debut or a cotillion. My parents never subscribed to the Filipino Channel to watch the latest teleseryes or variety shows. We barely, if ever, went to church. Up until high school, my closest friends were always Chinese or Vietnamese. When I got to university and started working and dating, I was/am surrounded by white people. I have always worn this difference with pride.

But I have also always felt strongly, inherently, and boldly Filipino. Something about the inextricable bonds between my family. The unwavering gratitude and obligation I feel towards my parents. That soul-wrenching love for song and dance. The natural warmth that I feel and exude. This unnameable spirit of resistance and defiance. I have always worn this essence with pride.

That these two truths could exist at once is something that has boggled me my whole life.