Mula Quiapo Hanggang Caloocan: A Talk with Ricky Lee and What Was Left On Me (part 1)

Film enthusiasts, readers, or could just be anybody that has nothing to do with the craft of writing, surely may have heard the name Ricky Lee. (Though there are still times that the name is mistaken to that of Ricky Lo). He is a screen writer of not just famous films bit also award winning such as Himala, Jose Rizal, and Anak to name just a few, but let us not talk about his works for there are surely some other time for that. What I wanted to share is how I finally met him after hearing from my book club members, from Fanny Garcia, and from reading his name not just once in Lualhati Bautista’s In Sisterhood – Lea at Lualhati.

So who is Ricky Lee? I should have asked him this question for I don’t feel like giving up a word that would not suit him, but as a reader personally appreciates a book, in simple words Ricky Lee is a writer, a story teller may fit better, but the best would be a reader, definitely a reader. To his close friends he could be another person. Like everyone of us, he also has some humble beginnings. A story he shared of how he was able to start his dreams.

As a young boy then he would always go to a library and borrow books. (He was looking for an escape, as he said – although now that I’m writing this, doubt started to fill my thoughts on what he really did say). While doing the process of borrowing and returning and borrowing books, he had this habit of ripping of his favorite parts from the book. He doesn’t know yet then how wrong is it to do such thing, especially that nobody tells him it was wrong. In the long run, he started thinking how he could possibly one day make the best book that will ever be made because he plans of compiling his collection of ripped parts, take note that his collection is the best parts of the books he read. Also, in the process he had the sense that the librarian noticed his actions with the books, though the librarian never confronted him about it. Then just came the time that he already knew how wrong his work was, he stopped. Though until this day, he is grateful of the librarian that let him realize his mistakes.

That is just one thing of the many he shared. Then he continued by talking about the little people inside us (yung maliit na tao sa loob ng bawat isa). He said that as he was looking at us he can’t see the physical us, but rather the people inside us. So what is the little people Ricky Lee is talking about?

He chose to use as an example the movie Up, from Pixar’s. He asked us what we saw in Carl, the protagonist. We answered that he’s an old man, angered by his current environment, that is why he was, supposed to be, sent away from his home to some home for the aged. But then he met Russell, and the story started, as if it didn’t yet for the first ten minutes. (The first ten minutes…) Then slowly, we started to see the little people inside Carl. When he was realizing what was that he wanted in the first place – back when he and Ellie started their club. You see, that is what little people do, they tell us what we want rather than what we need. In this case, Carl wanted to go to Paradise Falls for Ellie. And with events continuing, he was enlightened at how he needed to move on from Ellie, at how the furniture simply turned to be a metaphor of Carl’s luggage in life, and eventually abandoning the house, which Carl sees as Ellie herself. Overall as a restorative movie (which Ricky Lee also explained but I won’t emphasize), it ended attaining the protagonists wants and needs. Is the little people now clear to you?

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