“When to sessions of sweet silent thought,
I summon remembrance of things awry!”
— Toto Gonzalez’s parody of Marcel Proust 😛
No, I cannot be Marcel Proust. I am not that eloquent nor that elegant. Scott Moncrieff would be exasperated in attempting to translate me! Also, my surroundings are certainly not dotted with chateaux, villas, gardens, and town houses [ hotel particulier ]. My circles are not composed of princes and princesses, dukes and duchesses, counts and countesses, and barons and baronesses. I have not met the likes of the Duc and Duchesse de Guermantes. So where would I get the inspiration???
I am from Manila, Philippines. It can be a beautiful place, as any other can be, if you possess the wherewithal. If not, it can be ghastly the way any other place in the world can be as well. I am nationalistic: I am proud of our brave, strong and venturesome people, our fertile and mineral-rich land, our all-absorbing culture, our difficult but victorious history. But as an obsessive-compulsive perfectionist, I am cursed to find faults in everything, not only here, but everywhere else in the world as well!
My life here is neither eloquent nor elegant. It is droll! We have our own frequently inelegant versions of chateaux, villas, gardens, and town houses [ not the Parisian hotel particulier, more like ghetto housing 😛 ]. We have our own downscale versions of princes and princesses, dukes and duchesses, counts and countesses, and barons and baronesses. We have our own wrong versions of the Duc and Duchesse de Guermantes. As Fate would have it, there are actually many inspirations for comic writing…
“Hellohowareyou, darling? Meet Kitty. Kitty here knew Proust!”
“Tell me, Kitty… how was Proust?”
[ from Dominick Dunne’s “The Two Mrs. Grenvilles” ]
“Remembrance of Things Awry”… 😛 😛 😛
In the past forty years, I have experienced the martial splendor and unrivaled stranglehold of the Ferdinand Marcos era [ which I thought would never end ], witnessed the idealistic Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino presidency, jumped into the incredible surging optimism of the Fidel Ramos era, confounded by the controversial faux pro-poor Joseph Estrada tenure, and contemplated the current strongwoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo presidency.
As our family elders have all passed, I now also hold the memories of generations past… Some three hundred years back to 1700 in the Philippines, and a few more hundred years back in Mother Spain. That is a lot… I have many stories from the 1800s, and that is more than enough!
I am waiting hopefully, like all Filipinos, for the Great Tide that will finally propel the Philippines to real progress and eventual First World stature…!!! I will not even begin to think of the Great Crash that may finally sink the Philippines to economic Hades and consequential non-existent stature…!!! 😛
So here are the recollections… “remembrance of things awry”!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂