Which country is Mother? Which country caverns me? It only takes language to assimilate — our accent differing from town to town. Please make your voice heard so they can understand you.
– from “Fair Game”
While power lies in the words we speak, it’s the presentation of language that draws the listener; unfortunately, for too many, if you’re not speaking in yur standard ‘merican English it’s heard, but there’s no listening.
There are so many forgotten voices. So many sentences stifled by those who sneer and tell them to speak up, speak more clearly, or simply hold their mother tongue until another time.
In Angela Fabunan’s The Sea that Beckoned, we work to survive in a world that does not feel, look, or speak as our narrator does. It’s an attempt to mature when everything you know is across a sea that beckoned you to the other side, only to have fingers pointed at the girl who didn’t feel, look, and speak as they did.
It’s not just code-switching, but country switching, and accent switching, and the loss of identity that will eventually make you forget who you are, unless of course, you’re strong enough to survive the waves, land at port, and push past the cacophony of confused eyes and voices. It’s the want to return home, to be with those you know so well – to be understood.
It’s the push-and-pull of one language and culture erasing the other; it’s the beauty and decay of both. It’s the changes that feel like too much change. The Sea that Beckoned is the tightrope walk between being ourselves and the self we may yet become.