Days have passed since Convos of Books and up until now all we could say is it was one beautiful experience. Just right after this biggest project of ours (to date) we reflected on life and even Metro Manila in general. You know, I will not deny that living in the Philippines and seeing the Metro almost every single day made me lose a little bit of hope for a project like this, especially that our expectations did not meet our reality last Your Letters Live Project in Philippines. But then there’s Bart, he may be thousand miles away from this country, yet he was the one who remained hopeful, which is why we pushed through with this. However, enough about the backstory, because this letter is about our Convos of Books experience that made us see greatness in art, music, words, and strangers in this country.
The 9th of December first introduced us to one stressful traffic from our home up to Tweedle Book Cafe, but the fear of being late is something that did not scare me that time, it was that up to the moment that I have arrived there I was afraid that people won’t come–that I will be disappointing our partners due to a small number of participants to even none. That stressful period of the project was immediately lifted away from me the moment that I saw people come in with their books and writing their letters for their stranger. The last time I saw this moment was in Singapore, the place where we debuted our very first live project, it was beautiful and simply overwhelming.
An hour later everyone’s ready some with their coffee as they wrote a letter and some were simply chatting with the strangers beside them. Mady Marcelino or best known as Hey, Mady! was the first one to start the live happenings, she graced Tweedle Book Cafe’s very own chalkboard. Her final output made us think of a cosy life that we would love to live at some point of our lives, and it is to be surrounded with books with one relaxing view outside.
Few minutes right after Mady started illustrating, the stories about the common theme, Strangers, by the Word of Mouth’s speakers then started to be heard. To tell you honestly this is just my second time to witness something like this; the first time was a slam poetry in uni and this time it’s different, it was simply like a friend telling you a story that could make you laugh or cry. Some of the stories that we have heard were pieces about long distance relationship, depression, (sort of, yet incredibly funny) stalking story, and one enchanting story that made some cry. There were actually more topics and I am so sorry to not cover all was just busy for some things outside the venue, but I promise I will watch all the videos once I have the time!
Speaking of one inspiring tale of success, the founders of Where to Next, Ayen and Rachel, shared their journey with the planners that made them known. What we love about their story as well is they give time to giveback to the tribes that they meet along the course of the travel. So if you also would love to give something back to these communities, might as well grab some of the merch of the duo. Their shop is here: Where to Next
Minutes of breather then came after and together with this idle moment one surprising activity happened because there was a sudden tarot reading session made by one of the Word of Mouth speakers! I remember the time that he wrote to us and to the Word of Mouth team on how he’s really interested to share his story, yet he is nervous, but hey he surprisingly shared his astrological gift too in our event. I don’t know the exact reason on why I did not try this, but I would like to thank Jakey for entertaining the guests and even the entire team of Convos of Books.
Before the event ends the (not so) improv acoustic performance of Lola Amour happened and in that time I felt relaxed, because the last time I witnessed a performance like that was at a bookshop in Australia on where I just knew that I’m happy and contented even just for a moment. Oh and yes it was the band’s first live acoustic performance too, but it was definitely impressive how they fit everything inside the small space of the book café.
Also, watch out for the very first “Conversations of Music” video that will be out real soon!
The very last part of the project totally became one “kris kringle” happening for me, it was like exchanging the gift of stories through words and anonymity. It may not be perfect, but for me it was near perfection that made me say that everything’s worth it and I’m excited for another project like this in the future.
To everyone who participated, thank you, I may never be good with words nor speak about what I am feeling, but know that Bart and I were (and still are) really grateful for letting us in to your lives even for just a few hours of your Saturday in December.
We would also love to thank Marj Ostani for being a lovely friend and inspiration for this project; Tweedle Book Cafe for letting us hold this project inside their home; Nicole, Angelica, Karren, Trina, Edward, Abby, and Hanni for being our awesome volunteers for the day; Krista Ortega for documenting the set of the live performers; the Word of Mouth team and the speakers for bravely sharing their stories at our project; Hey, Mady! for being such a sweet person to add beauty for this project; Lola Amour for giving us some relaxing music to fall in love with; Where To Next and Nolisoli for supporting the event. Additional thanks to our family and friends for being there with us all the way.
We hope to see you all again in the future and we are so excited for our next steps with this project soon!
Eena and of course the backbone of this project, Bart