Turns of Place is an intimate letter exchange between writers and friends, Stephanie Gonzaga and Johna Baylon, on travel, home, and the act of journeying.
We began this project in 2014 with the single purpose of building with our words. Living apart – Stef in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines, Johna in Hong Kong – with the common experience of moving while growing up, and travelling frequently, we decided to focus on themes around travel, home and identity. The letter format, meanwhile, challenged us both – a poet and prose writer – to wade into uncomfortable territory, one unpacking her imagery and the other, turning monologue into dialogue.
Three years, life transitions and multiple creative hiatuses later, here we are.
Turns of Place is a compilation of the letters we've exchanged, not necessarily in consecutive, back-and-forth order, but rather in our personal sequence, as we would've written them to the other as we meditated on the themes we covered.
It's been our pleasure writing these and putting them together, and it is our hope that you might find them equally enjoyable to read. Thank you for being here, and for following our exchange as it unfolds.
Stephanie Gonzaga is a writer, avid collector, bibliophile, and mom to three kids and two dogs. She graduated with a BA in Literature at De La Salle University - Manila. You can find her contributing to her favorite online communities, #bookstagramming, and listening to interesting conversations on Twitter @heysstef.
Johna Baylon is a writer, editor and photographer. She is also an advocate of mental health, and the author of Out On Seventh Street (2014), a self-published collection of non-fiction short stories. After seven years in Manila, she has returned to Hong Kong, where she grew up and is now based. She is currently working on her next collection.