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“You look familiar,” Wency whispered. Slowly, he bent his knees before getting down on all fours, looking up at Lester through the narrow gaps of his bangs. “Very familiar.”
QUESTION: In a few sentences, can you tell me about Matchpoint Mishap? In words that you haven’t used to describe it before. Not including the book description…
M: Not including the malandi sila part.
M: I’d like to think of it as a coming of age story. Yeah, I’d like to think of it as a coming of age story where the– the main character explores both– Ang hirap!
C: Kaya mo yan.
M: It’s a coming of age story. It’s a coming of age story… it’s a coming of age story! [laughter]
Actually alam mo I always find it difficult to summarize my stories. But, yeah, it’s a coming of age story. And, parang, basta it just shows how– ugh, fine.
Bilang di ko pa maisip yung description mismo. The goal was to actually show people that this is what happens with guys or girls who are going through this really tough time. Kasi, sinasabi ng iba it’s just a phase. Maybe for some it’s a phase. Pero it’s more of a turning point in your life, diba? Where you find yourself. And you create your identity dun sa part na yun ng life mo. I wanted to show that dun sa story. So if I were to describe Matchpoint Mishap in– in a sentence??
C: In two sentences naman.
M: In two sentences, okay, eto. Matchpoint Mishap is a coming of age story where Lester the Main Character just finds himself and discovers what he really wants. And by what he really wants hindi lang siya material things. As in, what does he want to be? Who does he want to be? Who are the people he wants to stick with? And who are these people who will help him grow and accept himself?
QUESTION: Was writing a gay themed story your first choice?
M: Well, explanation: The trope I got was Hate You, Love You. I needed a setting where the characters won’t just hate each other for the sake of hating each other. Pero they’ll hate each other because may na-trigger na emotion dun sa isa’t-isa. It’s perceived as hatred when in fact, it’s not hatred. Maybe it’s– there’s an underlying respect. Or parang, shet this person made me realize things.
Was it my first choice? Actually, hinde. I wanted to go with a guy and a girl. Kaya lang sabi ko parang, it’s normal. And it’s more interesting to show the relationship of two guys, blossoming from what seems to be a hate-hate relationship na naging rivalry, and so on.
QUESTION: Did you ever worry about the risks of writing a gay themed story?
M: Yes! [laughter]
C: What were your thoughts??
M: I actually consulted with Mina first. Tanong ko sa kanya parang, ‘Mina, would you know how receptive people are to gay themed stories?’ Sabi niya, ‘I have no idea. But I’m all for it.’ So sabi ko okay, at least I had her blessing. Isa pang na-raise ni Mina na point was, do I actually know about the topic?
M: Well I haven’t really experienced it but I know a lot of people. I mean, my cousin is gay. I have a lot of gay friends. I even have a gay bestfriend. So I think from their experiences, I can draw something realistic and something that will not trample on their domain.
QUESTION: Why Badminton?
M: Because I love Badminton!
C: I thought you liked Tennis more?
M: I do like Tennis but I played Badminton for a time. Aside from that, kaya ko siya ginawang sports, kasi gusto ko talaga i-tap yung rivalry aspect. And the whole shenanigans about the two guys, that actually came from a real story. Yun nga lang, that relationship ended badly. The other guy just upped and left for no reason and until now parang hindi pa rin sila nagkakaayos. Ang naging question non, bakit hanggang ngayon, bakit pangit pa rin yung relationship nila? One of them is already married to a woman, by the way.
C: Oh wow.
M: Yeah, so parang ang tanong namin was: Kaya ba hindi pa rin sila okay ni guy A, kasi di pa rin niya matanggap na at one point napa-question siya ng sexuality niya dahil dito? So that’s where the story came from.
QUESTION: Did the entire story go as planned? Or were there unexpected changes that happened?
M: [nervous laughter] [a/n: the sound of impending doom, lbr :p]
Oh my god half way through the story I wanted Lester and Jessica to end up together.
M: Sa totoo lang. Because Jessica ended up being a loveable character. As in, half way through, I actually wanted them to get together. Kaya lang Lester was trying so hard to be this perfect person for Jessica. Versus yung effect sa kanya ni Wency na he’s helping Lester accept kung ano ba talaga siya.
QUESTION: What is the best response that you’ve gotten so far about your story?
M: Well, one of my friends said na the descriptions really came through. As in, very clear. Such that naimagine niya yung lighting sa court 10, or yung sensation pag nagka-clash yung rackets ni Lester and Wency. Yun ang pinaka nagustuhan kong feedback. Nakaka-touch. Kasi parang, those little things stuck with people.
QUESTION: What was the worst, if there have been any?
M: The worst… ‘Ang haba naman nito!’
C: That’s the worst?? Swerte!
M: Ewan ko. The worst feedback ko kasi galing sakin eh. Kasi parang at some point tinatanong ko na sarili ko, ‘Tama pa rin ba tong sinusulat ko? Should I even be writing this?’ And may isang part dun yung sobrang madramang part parang sabi ko, ‘Tama ba na ganito ang reaksyon ni *toot* kay *toot* nung nalaman niya na *toot*?’ [laughter] You’ll find out!
[a/n: Let it be known that Mads was actually saying ‘toot’ out loud.]
QUESTION: Did you learn anything from your characters? Did they teach you something while you were writing them?
M: Um… it’s okay to make stupid decisions? Stupid and sometimes irrational decisions, as long as you try to make things right eventually. Yun, Number one. Number two, there are some things you can’t change. You just have to accept it. And three, even if the world is against you, as long as you believe that you can still make things right, go.
[sings] Don’t stop– believing, hold on to that feeling!
C: Damn. It.
Madelyn Tuviera is a twenty-something woman whose ideal way of spending a day is sipping coffee while writing (and trying not to spill coffee on said output). She started writing when she was in fifth grade and hasn’t looked back since. She’s grossly fascinated with drama, romance, and tiny creatures that can be tamed and kept in capsules. She does not grammar on weekends. But she does think of writing 99.9% of the time. Blog | Twitter