What is the value of myth in the modern world? Why tell more stories?
Myths help us in the continuing work of defining our identities as Filipinos, as we get fragmented and assimilated, as we adopt and adapt, as we narrow and broaden our concept of what it means to be us. This is, in essence, what we have lost, and what we yearn to find – pieces that we know to ours, to be us, that we can take back into ourselves even as we grow as individuals, as a people, in an increasingly multi-cultural world.
Our core culture is what we share in common: whether we never left the islands, or became immigrants to blessed America, or were born and raised in a country that has become a new homeland. There is no denying our heritage even as we choose whatever else we add to it. The old stories are imbedded in our bones, the old songs ring in our blood. Acceptance of this primal Filipino-ness, articulated through our literature, empowers us to negotiate all our tomorrows with a finer sense of distinctiveness. Our stories make us who and what we are.
To move into the future we need to understand our past. We need to understand what we have lost. We need to seek, to find, to ask, to answer.
We need to claim and reclaim, interpret and reinterpret, and invent (for how soon does today become yesterday?) and reinvent the myths of our heartland, transforming the elements of the past into the fundamentals of the future. We need to contemporize magic and wonder, reimagining the deathless marvels of the old with the fresh insight – and pain - of the modern world, and create new stories that honor where we came from. At the same time, we need to speak about where we are and where we long to be. We need to remember and we need to create new memories – new mythologies that make sense to us, that have meaning, that have relevance, that have truth.
And thus this anthology, these stories and poems – kwentos – of lost things, which use Philippine myths as jumping off points to articulate and make tangible this sense of questing and of questioning.
Now go, read, and find.
Dean Francis Alfar