The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Friday, October 21, 2005

"Feeling is concerned with questions of value

Feeling tells one, for instance, whether a thing is acceptable or agreeable or not. It tells one what a thing is worth to her."

"It is only much later when we realize what we had then, how we were then, what mattered to us then, who we were, what we lost, what we hoped for, what we gave up. When we look back, we do so through the lens of selected memories; and when we do, we trigger a flood of nostalgia—associations leading to other associations: images into words, words into songs, songs into the trembling memory of a touch, that kiss, that promise, that time."—Dean Francis Alfar

What about you? Whenever you look back, what do you remember?

Here's an excerpt of an e-mail I received a few days ago:

Friday, October 21, 2005

Hi Guys:
Warm Bodies 3: Nostalgia Galore is now out!
Thank you very much for a memorable (and should I say, star-studded) Warm Bodies 3. See you all in WB4!

Oscar, on behalf of Jonathan and Noreen

Warm Bodies is a series of essays collected from everywhere in the growing Filipino blogging community, selected and then compiled to represent a particular theme. Already the third in the series, Nostalgia Galore tackles mostly the '80s—a decade fraught with personal meaning to people like me who, in that era, were either little tots only starting to explore their neighborhood or pubescent rascals or rebels overwhelmed to realize that the same neighborhood was, after all, just a small box inside a much, much bigger world.

I am one of the lucky 15 bloggers whose submitted entries comprise the current volume of Warm Bodies.

art by Oliver Pulumbarit, 2005

I am posting below my contribution to the Nostalgia Galore as well as excerpts from the other essays. My gratitude goes especially to Oscar Alvarez Jr., Noreen Capili, and Jonathan Catalla—the triumvirate of editors behind this bold and brilliant undertaking. Thank you also to Oliver Pulumbarit for choosing my music icon Robert Smith to represent me and my article on the cover of the anthology. But most of all, I thank Charlotte Belialba for believing in me--lest she didn't forward to me the e-mail invitation to join Warm Bodies, I wouldn't have had the chance to submit an entry in the first place.

My life has always been musical
by aLfie vera mella

My whole life I consider not only a fantasy-fiction novel—which has its own maps, worlds, characters and creatures, history, languages and cultures—but more so an epic movie—which runs on a backdrop of diverse landscapes and has a soundtrack of its own.

Since childhood, my life has already been musical; I can still remember sonically the artists that constantly played on the phonograph in my family's first home (The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Carpenters, The Cascades, The Hollies, The Monkees, The Zombies, Johnny Mathis, and Matt Monro to name a few)—I still listen to them to this day, with fondness and with yearning to return to the particular moment each song automatically conjures. Sometimes all I need to do is close my eyes and take a deep breath, and the melody begins to play in my mind, recollecting bittersweet memories that keep the child in me alive and forever curious about the world.

For me, listening to music is plucking golden leafs from the lush tree of my childhood, picking fruits that have long been ripe.

In the '70s through the '80s, we owned a restaurant, Atin-Atin on F.B. Harrison Street in Pasay City, at which we had a jukebox—that wonderful sound machine that transformed many a tot's night into magical moments. I remember the days when I would insert one coin after another into the machine, press the combination of letters and numbers, and listen in bliss as the songs played one by one ("Honesty" by Billy Joel and "Knife" by Rockwell were the most unforgettable).

These were perhaps the main reason music has always been a part of me. My life has always been musical—from my childhood through my youth to where I am now and who I have become.

Songs will always remind me of various emotions and memories—the sadness and solitariness on many days, my lullabies on many sleepless nights; the joy and innocence of childhood and youth, a source of inspiration; the fears and uncertainties amidst high hopes and expectations.

However, New Wave is the genre of music I love the most—which I discovered during my pubescent years in the early '80s. I will be grateful forever for The Cure, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, The Lotus Eaters, New Order, Siouxsie & the Banshees, The Smiths, Spandau Ballet, Tears for Fears, The Wild Swans, and the endless roster of New Wave artists whose songs have made and continue to make my life melodically documentable. They comprise the soundtrack of my life. Their songs shall grace my wedding day. They will be the music that shalt one day be played on my wake and funeral march.

And, in case I haven't told you this yet: My father said he got my name from a song; yes, from that Burt Bacharach song—the song which, I believe, perfectly describes the path I've long chosen to take; a song I would like to believe had been composed just for me.

When you walk let your heart lead the way
And you'll find love any day, Alfie


Here are excerpts from the other essays.

from "Old Makati" by Chrissy Icamina:
"I once threw a fit when I was dragged to Kimpura on my birthday, which was then at the current location of Essenses. Why did small ol' me hit the roof? Well, I daresay that anyone below ten years old would rather celebrate his or her birthday at a McDonald's or Jollibee instead of at some spruce Japanese resto——"

from "My (Inner) Sharonian" by Clarissa Estuar:
"Marriage does something to men. It changes them. Those who remain constant only do so in the areas that are regrettable, like a guy who's married to one of my friends who despairs because he doesn't know how to replace 'that rubber thingie [the filler float] that stops the water inside the toilet's water closet——'"

from "Signs of Dread after a Certain Age" by Ian Rosales Casocot:
"I think the fear of becoming old basically springs from the fear of not having accomplished anything by a certain age. We want to die remembered, immortalized. We want to die having done something worthwhile for the world. Each passing year of not realizing the most basic of our dreams adds to that apprehension——"

from "Dragonfly Days" by Janella Cacdac:
"In those summer days, there were plenty of dragonfiles. In blue, green, red, brown, gold, they glittered in the sun. Armed with makeshift nets of plastic bags attached to barbecue sticks, we would catch them as they whizzed past us. Then we'd happily watch them buzz furiously inside the plastic bags until the sport tired us and we decided to let them free——"

from "Hindi Na 'ko Iiyak" by Joan Pauline Talubo:
"Naaalala ko pa ang eksena sa airport. Kumawala ka mula sa pagkakayakap ko, hinawakan mo ang mukha ko, pinahid ng panyo ang mga luha at tumingin ka sa aking mga mata.

"'Ipangako mo sa akin na ito na ang huling beses na iiyak ka dahil sa akin, ha?'"

from "Episode: Driving Me Daisy" by Joel Macaventa:
"I would only bow my head but, deep inside, I'd berate myself for failing to be a perfect son. I would always try not to cry in front of them——"

from "Shaider Champorado" by John Bert Rodriguez:
"The sight of evaporated milk on the surface of champorado excites me. It reminds me of the sky when Shaider enters time space warp and defeats the enemy——"

from "I keep rememberin' when..." by Maren:
"I knew that when we walked out my front door and I turned the key to lock it, Donnie would be the guy to grab my wrist and pull me to the side of our garden and just kiss me——"

from "The Memory of Trees" by Mavic Ricasata:
"When I was 10, I had a crush with a boy named Noel Ramos, and we rode the school bus together to go home. I remember flaming fire trees in Sangley Point and the bright yellow school bus, and "One Day in Your Life" was playing on the radio——"

from "Anamnesis" by Roni Baticulon:
"Kung nagkataong psychiatric patient ako, kawawa yung kukuha ng anamnesis sa akin. Andami-dami kong maikuk'wento; puro naman walang kwenta. Parang wala tuloy akong ginawa noong bata ako kundi magkulong sa bahay at manood ng telebisyon——"

from "Why Don't You Just Take My Wallet" by Ruby Grace de Vera:
"I was feeling nostalgic so I picked out the very first Nancy Drew I ever read, The Mysterious Mannequin. I was bowled over by that book (Remember, I was ten and CSI hasn't been invented yet). A carpet that has clues! Imagine that. And it was 20% off!"

from "Old Shoes Still Fit" by Ceola:
"Highschool wasn't a particularly enjoyable experience. The convent school I went to was one of the best in the country, but, to me, it was a toffee-nosed, antiquated, extremely despotic institution run by wimpled wardens——"

from "Fifteen" by Noreen Capili:
"Fifteen years after the night you offered your hanky and told me to wipe my tears, here I am... I lost count of how many times I cried for you. You saw me cry for the first time. What you didn't see were the buckets of tears I shed over you after that night. What you didn't know (and still don't know) was that, fifteen years after the incident, I am still thinking about you——"

from "What about the '90s?" by Sky:
"If the '70s was chrome, and the '80s was neon, black was appropriate for the '90s Philippines, when—with its long spells of blackouts—rechargeable lamps, generators, and hand fans sold like hotcakes——"

What about you, what do you remember?


Read here the entirety of Warm Bodies 3: Nostalgia Galore. Or, might as well, download it from there. It's an e-book, by the way; and it's for free.


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