The dilemma of the storyteller-A A +A
Saturday, July 21, 2012
DIGGING up stories and listening to others as related by real people comes the realization that there are still a lot that remains unwritten, especially about our region.
The sad part, however, is that many of those who can tell these stories have already passed on, leaving a void with half-forgotten memories that managed to lodge in the corner of yet another person’s in cells who may not even have been listening well to the story-teller.
Almost every night after work, I sit down in front of the television and watch telenovela. Like all telenovelas we are fed with, the stories are engrossing at the start, and then the writers would get caught in the twist and turns of their own stories they couldn’t extricate themselves and thus come up with incredible scripts, like Miguel being able to gain entrance into Dona Margaret’s house after having left it, and assumingly after the assistant Kenneth should’ve have made sure the doors are now locked. I mean, hello, if you live in fear of someone whom you find inside your house and that someone left without harming you albeit with a threat, wouldn’t you plug up every possible entrance afterward?
But then, that’s how it is when you have sworn never to get a cable television as it gets in the way of your tasks and you have the tendency to just sit through hours and hours of National Geographic and Discovery Channel in near catatonia; you are hostaged with what is being given out for free.
That leads me back to the stories that very few know, have heard, and have read. The books are piling higher and higher, faster than available reading time could accommodate. I envy the gifted chroniclers in whatever form. There is this Moro intellectual who can tackle Philippine history in whatever period including the barely known eras of sultanates and their international treaties long before the Spaniards came. There is this lumad leader, just a few years younger than me, I think, who can remember all the significant events in their village down to the exact date.
Here I am, the writer, but with a very short attention span trying hard to sit down and learn, but most of all remember. The effort is astounding. Sit. No. Read. Yes. What’s his name? Who? Which one? Which book are you reading now? All five. I pick up another one when I lose interest on the present.
Now? Where did I put down book number two?
Indeed, not all things fall into place. A village chronicler only has his memory, he doesn’t write anything down. A writer can hardly keep up with where her attention jumps to, and an intellectual is limited to his peers and his college.
Concentration needs to be mustered, and just as the mind is all psyched up, work demands attention. Darn.
How nice it is to live a life just listening and scribbling the stories of long ago, while upping your nose at the present and all its petty concerns. But food has to be bought and so you buckle down. Lucky are we, there are some other storytellers who have the patience to put everything in writing; Mac Tiu, Brother Karl, Paring Bert, Moymoy Abinales, Manong Ernie Corsino to name just a few. They write for Mindanao, but many of the Mindanawons are not even aware they exist; some of their books are already out of print, while the mainstream society prefers to know the person and not the writings.
We move on, year after year, without a clear concept of our collective past and appreciation of our ancestors’ memories. While I scramble through my room looking for that second of the five books, the interest on the other four now suspended simply because one is missing. And they are not even related. Not an iota bit related. Where’s the television remote? email@example.com
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 22, 2012.