Kooky Tuason is the embodiment of an artist who breathes, eats and lives in a world of words. She is a spoken word artist, a writer and an author who also uses her gift in telling stories for educational purposes and multiple advocacies, among others.
“I’m the type of person who likes to keep my hands and my head occupied. I’m a mile-a minute person so every time I come up with an idea, I see to it that I do something about it, that I put it into execution,” Tuason told the The Manila Times during a one-on-one interview.
Looking back, Tuason, who traces her passion for words back to her high school days, got into the spoken word scene—an art form that has become a must-see performance for milennials—in late 2004. She started by recording an album entitled Romancing Venus, where she tapped different women to perform her pieces. A successful outing, she donated the proceeds of her album went to Women’s Crisis Center, and the rest as they say is history.
Tuason is now on her fourth spoken word album, entitled In Transit Manila Meets Toronto, with pieces about Filipinos longing to come home.
Besides her recordings, Tuason also hosted a radio show titled Bigkas Pilipinas on Jam 88.3, which in fact earned her a nomination for Best Culture and Arts Program Host in KBP Golden Dove Awards and Catholic Mass Media Awards.
In 2015, she concurrently launched her website Thinking Man’s Classroom and her book Picket Lines, where she enlisted a hundred women on which she wrote her poems for illustration. She recently finished and kicked off her first musical Tricks, which is actually a performance art, musical, visual art exhibit, and spoken word piece rolled into one show.
Finally, her graphic novel, Eve of Gray, is scheduled for release very soon.
“Anything and everything that has to do with words, that’s my advocacy,” the artist said. “I think words are powerful so use it either to curse or to bless.”
And to bless is what she has chosen to do with words. Tuason has been helping women survive abuse by healing through spoken words workshops. She continually organizes gigs to help spoken word artists and other writers in general to keep doing what they love as she does.
“I want everyone to just go with the flow and allow themselves to be,” she explained.
When The Manila Times asked Tuason what drives her to pursue her meaningful endeavors, she explained, “Since I believe that we are created in the likeness of God, I think it’s innate in us that we ourselves are creators. So parang you need something to do about it. Each one of us has that gift—find your own passion, use it, and inspire others, whatever that [passion]is.”
Love—a favorite subject
Tuason admitted that just like most of her audience and many artists she is also a sucker for love.
“Because everyone wants to hear sappy love stories, and we have a thing for drama,” she explained when asked why love is such a favorite subject among people.
She pointed out though that her works on love are rather different from the pained hugot posts commonly found in social media feeds.
“Instead of writing about negative things, I’d rather write about something positive. I’d rather write about the beauty of love rather than the pain. Of course, they go hand in hand, and I allow myself to feel pain. But at the same time, I look for the glory behind it. There’s always a reason why things happen and I think that’s in order for us to grow.”
According to Tuason, as an artist, she is always in love. “Yes, I am in love. But that doesn’t mean that I am expecting the other to give back the love. The way I see it, so many people define love in so many different ways but in reality, when you expect to be loved back, you’re just being selfish.”
As such, she finds the Filipino cliché “Mamahalin ko yung taong mas mamahalin ako” [I will love the person who will love me more] all wrong.
“I never believed in that because if you wanted to love, just go and love. Why allow yourself to be boxed in? Why should there be boundaries when you can allow yourself to love freely?” she proposed.
Hoping through her work to encourage people to love unconditionally, Tuason promised that those who do will find it rewarding. “This is what I noticed, when you allow yourself to love, to keep falling in love, things just happen—everything is magic around you. You function well, you’re productive, you get things done, you’re inspired, and you’re just happy to share because you have so much love in your heart.”
Tuason believes that the type of love everyone should have is a non-expecting, non-committal type. “You cannot expect everyone to be attracted to you and to conform to your expectations because in the first place, you should not be expecting anything.”
Asked for her take on how to attract love, the eternal optimist poetically replied, “Let’s use the elements of nature. I am thunder, because I am unpredictable, and I am always full of surprises. I am a flame because I am a passionate person. Let them come, let the moth come to you.”
She explained, “Every single one of us is lovable. If you allow yourself to be loved, you don’t need to worry about being attractive because you will attract the right person that’s meant for you. So you’re not supposed to be in a hurry.”
So to all the single peeps out there, here’s one mantra you can shout out this Day of Hearts: “I maybe single but that doesn’t mean that I am not in love!”
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Catch Kooky Tuason in Tricks tonight, 7 p.m. at The Grand Canal McKinley Hill; on February 27 at Conspiracy, and March 29 at RM.74, Davao. She also invites the public to check out her website at thinkingmansclassroom.com