1. Philippine essay (English) These narratives/essays are mementos of an ordinary life—tales of love and loss, reflections on coming of age and confronting the decline, on joys hard won and deep abiding sorrows, fragments of dreams forgotten, forsaken, retrieved, honored... The title is a curtsey to the poet Emily Dickinson’s feathery creature, her singing metaphor for hope. For, to me, both reading and writing are acts of hope. One reads in the hope of finding answers to life’s troubling questions, or perhaps finding better questions. And one writes, guided by the same hope. The inevitable question is: of what use are such memories as these, given the ominous signs that confront us today, signs that can only be interpreted as the coming of even more perilous times? To which my only response is that reading and writing are also acts of faith. Faith in the power of the word to recall, illuminate, and endure, to hold fast particularly during dark days—like those we find ourselves living through. -From the Preface — with Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo.