"AY, IRAYA!" This lament is the wellspring of this essay. Ay is an everyday exclamation in Bikol, my home region in the Philippines. It is a spontaneous response of surprise or strong emotion, be it joy, grief, hope, or despair. Iraya, meanwhile, is a directional reference to place. In my native language Bikolano, it means 'from where the water flows, the wellspring in the hills'- as opposed to Ilawod, which means 'away from the water source'. Consider this framework: if water is the physical basis of survival, story is its psychic heart. Daily we move to Iraya or Ilawod, towards and away from the original source of water or story, but always our frame of reference is water and story.