Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes


interview

Posted on April 05, 2005 by jimparedes

I was interviewed via the net by Svelte Roque a few weeks ago for a website for our (you guessd it!) kababayans. It was an interview I thoroughly enjoyed as we burned cyberspace from Manila to Belgium for a few hours exchanging emails. Come to think of it, we should have just chatted. ha ha! Allow me a little ego room and share this with you. It will only be an excerpt though. If you feel it’s worth reading, please visit http://www.pinoyexpats.org

Thanks, Svelte!

JIM P: IT ALL BEGAN WHEN I MET YOU By Svelte Rogue

It’s almost like a scene from “Entrapment”. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Connery go through a maze of invisible laser threads that guard a priceless work of art. It’s after hours and the museum is closed for the night. The inaccessible pieces are the most heavily guarded.

Cut to reality. Today, anyone with a connection, be it dial-up or broadband, can access the internet. There are restricted sites; after all, beauty and quality come at a price. If you know where to look, you can tap into the bursting new literature of modern times, the weblog.
The internet can be a very exciting place where the old and the new kiss.

Then there is this article at hand. If you were alive during the 70s, the following words will most certainly be familiar to you: “pumapatak na naman ang ulan sa bubong ng bahay…” If you lived through the tumultuous days of EDSA I (1986), these words resonate in your memory:
“handog ng Pilipino sa mundo – mapayapang paraang pagbabago…
katotohanan, kalayaan, katarungan…” Any guitar-playing-loving Pinoy would know the voices and faces behind the first song. How can anyone not know the Apo Hiking Society? (link: http://apohikingsociety.org/) The more discerning fan would recognise the hand that penned the 2nd song that captured the sentiments of a hopeful people yearning for change and a dignified life for all.

Jim Paredes is the man behind Apo’s songs. Jim’s a songwriter, for heaven’s sake. “I got my first guitar at age 11. I wrote my first song at age 15… I don’t read or write music. I write completely by feel. I save the melody and lyrics and work with an arranger for recordings. I wrote my first book in 1999.” Yes, he writes more than songs.

And captures more than just words with his eye. He shoots photography.
“I’ve been taking pictures for about 10 years… I am still learning my style here but my methodology or my way of taking pictures is to follow where fascination takes me regarding my subjects. I try to immerse myself with the subject. Lately, I have been attracted to ‘dark’
pictures, thick shadows…”

He dives. “Man!! Diving is like being in Mars or another planet. It’s overwhelming.”

He teaches. “I love to teach and the main reason is selfish. I teach because I learn as much and it clarifies me to express and teach things that are important to me. It certainly [is] not for the money. I feel that at my age, it is important to pass on what I believe are valuable things learned in my life. I enjoy teaching and give it the greatest care and attention. I look back at some teachers who had such an impact on me and I emulate them by being that kind of teacher to my students.
If I am to spend an x number of hours in class and get paid peanuts, I might as well give and get quality time from it.”

He is an artisan with these thoughts. “Basically, I am a snob pagdating sa art. Generally, pag nagawa na, ayaw ko na gawin. I never buy records/CDs that are popular. I am not a loud artist. I think I kinda go about things with more subtlety in expressing what I want to say. For influences, I listen to world music-not American Top 40.”

He blogs. *you do a double take* But he’s famous! I’m not kidding. Jim, tell my uninitiated friend why you blog. “Because I don’t believe that fame is THAT big a deal. Really! So Why should I not blog. Because I am famous? Huh?” Oops! Ok, ok, take it easy, Jim. “Ikaw naman! Did I sound galit? It’s just that from where I am I really feel fame is overrated.”
See? Told ya. But does he have time to blog? *still a bit disbelieving* Well, he says it’s a great outlet. Right, Jim? “Blogging is a great outlet.” See??? He’s so normal! Sure he is. He would reconsider his fame status, though, if he were Paul McCartney. Yeah, right. Yes, too! He said so himself! “Well maybe if I were Paul McCartney it would be different. Ha ha!!” See??? *you hand me over 500 pesos* Oo na. Panalo ka na. There’s more. Let me give you a sneak peek of my session with Jim P.
We were thousands of kilometres apart, but the way he answered my questions, you would think he had been sitting just across me.

Me: What kinds of blogs do you read? Do you frequent other blogs?

Jim: I like all sorts of blogs but gravitate towards those that sort of deal with spirituality, or at least reflect a depth of emotional interiority of the blogger. It does not have to be that deep but it has to be honest.

Me: What kind of writing do you do in your blogs, Jim?

Jim: Stuff I think about and do. I try to give it an angle that will go beyond the voyeuristic thrill I imagine people have when they read a so-called celeb blog, if you know what I mean. It’s a blog I wish to share with everyone, not just fans.

There’s so much that can happen in the simplest of exchanges. Jim and I have yet to meet each other personally. While the Oscar’s played from 2:30-5:30 in the morning here in Europe, Jim was answering my questions
7 hours away.

PE (before watching the Oscar’s): Tell us about yourself, Jim. What you do, what you really love to do, what you’re forced to do, what makes you uncomfortable, what makes your heart go wild, what captures your fancy…

Jim, midmorning in the Philippines: I am an artist in many aspects. I sing, perform write songs, write books, teach, take photos, and ruminate about life. I love to do all of the above plus diving, long walks, travel, meditation, and just finding myself thrown into unknown situations which can spell adventure. I am also the type who is learning constantly from people and from everything I encounter.
I try to be present 100% to everything I am doing and everywhere I am.

My heart goes wild at all of the above plus beautiful music, art, a beautiful subject to photograph (lalo na pag babae), [p]oetic experiences of the divine as it manifests [itself] in little things.
Live haikus without words, ika nga.

What am I forced to do? Nothing really. Whatever it is I do is with my consent although some things I least like to do. An example is sitting in formal social events that prevent any real substantive encounters, conversations, etc.

PE: Does this mean you don’t like sitting in noisy bars where you can hardly hear the people you’re with?

Jim: Yes!! I prefer quiet places. I almost cannot stand discos beyond around 30 minutes.

PE: What shocks you?

Thought I’d cut it here. Suspense ba? Wanna read more? Visit http://www.pinoyexpat.org!

17 to “interview”

  1. balikbayan_box says:

    “But being Pinoy can only be found in the heart.”

    no matter how we color our hair
    or bleach, or undergo noselift to get rid of that prominent “pango” nose…. im still proud to be a Filipino.

    Good luck and God bless sa mga shows ninyo!

  2. maun says:

    Wow! What can I say dear teacher.

    Though I smirk a little whenever I talk to friends who are equally fascinated in to “blogging”, and they’d gladly shares “did you know that Mr. Jim Paredes keeps a blog?”. =)

    Thank you for this another eye-opener post, and for reminding us to be always proud as Filipinos.

    More power sir!

  3. isay says:

    What a nice interview and you have shared a lot. Good luck to your next leg of tour. I should spread the news to some acquaintances in Muscat. APO is coming soon!

  4. girlie schramm says:

    i’ve read it 5 days ago at pinoyexpats. you never cease to overwhelm me with the profundity of your thoughts. again & again, i am very well impressed!!!

  5. kassy says:

    ..and i wish you’d never stop blogging! Mr. Paredes.

  6. Anonymous says:

    What entralls me when you convey your thoughts are not so much how ingenious or eloquent you truly are, but in the manner that you express yourself with such pride, rectitude and bravado.

    Since Edsa, sadly, Filipino diasporas around the globe are a representation of our leaders’ greatest failure to harness the best and brightest for the advancement of our own beloved country. It’s however good to read that you continue to be an instrument for the propagation of Filipino pride which is fast becoming diluted among other cultures in our host country.

    I wish you and your family the best as you emigrate to Australia next year.

    Break a leg on our next U.S. tour!

  7. Anonymous says:

    a pinoy can really be seen through his heart.

    another enriching post.

    jey

  8. John says:

    Hi Jim,

    As much as you enjoy doing the shows, I doubt if it’ll equate to the excitement and joy that we, the showgoers, feel watching your shows.

    It was a thrill to see your Chicago and Tampa shows. It was a personal high when you personally visit my cellshop in Chicago. That was truly something!

    All the best,
    John
    http://www.johnreyes.net

  9. isay says:

    it’s me again jim,

    i can’t help but smile thinking about what you said….sitting in formal social events that prevent any real substantive encounters, conversations, etc. it is frequent in my life now and i try to avoid it if i can.

  10. Svelte Rogue says:

    dearest jim.. dyahe!!! as in… pero i’m blushing delightedly all the way to my crooked toes.

    pero…!!! how many times must i tell you… it’s THESS who’s from the netherlands (not even amsterdam hahaha) and i’m in belgium!

    mwahahaha

  11. Jim says:

    Balikbayan, you are right. We may look like a rainbow but it’s a brown heart that beats inside.

    Maun,you are most welcome.

    Isay, tell your friends in Muscat we are definitely going there!

    Girlie, long time no hear. How are you? You are still in my prayers.

    kassy, salamat!! I won’t stop!!!

    Anonymous–salamat. It’s up to all of us to raise the flag high! I still believe in us.

    Hey John, did you get my e?
    Svelte–corrected na!

  12. John says:

    Got it, Jim!

    Thanks for visiting my little blog. I’m sure we’ll meet again somewhere. Perhaps we’ll run (swim?) into each other underwater as we share the same passion for scuba. 😉

  13. Svelte Rogue says:

    thank you jim! *big hug*

  14. rebo says:

    you said to anonymous “it’s all up to us to raise our flag high”. that’s what the group we are forming intends to do. to raise the spirit of our people through our flag. would it be too much to ask if you suggest to your pinoy audience to have a flag in their home or room? we would want to see Filipinos display our flag all over the globe.

  15. marem pavia says:

    Nyak…sorry about the last name mis-spelling. Nicki was laughing when I told her…hehe.

    The interview is wondrous! Good luck on the next leg of your tour…I have an old teacher who might just get to watch daw.

    Love you!

  16. Bettina says:

    Remind me to visit your BLOG all the time. hehehe. I still remember what you said about my site…that it was too loud. it was my first time to make a webpage and didnt know much really. Still learning… Take care

  17. jed says:

    matagal ko nang binibisita ang blogs nyo ni Ala pero ngaun ko lang naisip na famous pla kayo anoh?.. na shock lang ako. hehehe…

    nga pla did you notice na parang ginagawa nang fashion statement ngaun ang pagsali sa mga rallies?…



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