Novel-In-Progress: Hard Pruning

Self has cut so much from her novel-in-progress, Blue Water, Distant Shores, it’s now just 314 pages.

The parts that stay, that made it through three drafts, will be part of the end manuscript now. For sure.

Such as this passage:

The new Gubernador-General announced his intention to establish a system of garrisons ringing the southern Philippine kingdoms of Maranao and Sulu, to contain the Moslem threat. Everyone knew this was idle talk. Spain could not send more soldiers. As the situation stood, she could barely hang on to her prize, the Most Holy City of Manila.

Matias’s watchtower preceded the Church. The site he found was a narrow spit of land that followed the Bago River from its mouth to the Guimaras Strait, which united the Visayan and Sulu Sea.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Really Enjoying JADE CITY

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This is the 2nd of four science fiction books self has with her at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig.

And she ended up working on her historical fiction here (and one horror story).

#lifeyouknow #crazylikethat

She skimmed through The Stone Sky and was operating at serious disadvantage since she was reading the end of a trilogy and didn’t know what a Syl Anagist was or anything. But she was able to piece it together.

Plus, it was a mother-daughter angst story, which self will admit is not her favorite.

When she began Jade City she was quite disheartened to be reading about so many different characters. But the crusty old grandfather intrigued her. And now she’s met Shae, the prodigal daughter.

INTERESTING.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ten Years of THE HUNGER GAMES

All Hail to Suzanne Collins, Queen of Everything.

  • The Hunger Games Aesthetic:

 

Re-Visiting Peter Matthiessen’s THE SNOW LEOPARD

Varanasi at the end of the rainy season, 28 September 1973:

Brown eyes observe us as we pass. Confronted by the pain of Asia, one cannot look and cannot turn away. In India, human misery seems so pervasive that one takes in only stray details; a warped leg or a dead eye, a sick pariah dog eating withered grass, an ancient woman lifting her sari to move her shrunken bowels by the road. Yet in Varanasi there is hope of life that has been abandoned in such cities as Calcutta, which seems resigned to the dead and dying in its gutters. Shiva dances in the spicy foods, in the exhilarated bells of the swarming bicycles, the angry bus horns, the chatter of the temple monkeys, the vermilion tikka dot on the women’s foreheads, even in the scent of charred human flesh that pervades the ghats. The people smile — that is the greatest miracle of all.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry Friday: Omagh Freezes

by Aine MacAodha, from her collection Landscape of Self (Belfast: Lapwing, 2015)

It was early November
I remember because of
How cold it was
A mini ice age it was said.
15 below zero; small towns
In the north stood still
Phone lines came down
From the weight of frost and snow
Burst pipes in the hundreds
And the drains unable to cope
Backed up.
I slid on the ice; tore ligaments
In my arm when I was helped up.
I feel the aches again as winter
Loiters like a threat.
Bones shudder under skin
A warning of another ice age to come.
It was the talk of the town all winter season
From the post office in market street
To the butchers in campsite
It was something different to talk about I suppose.

Aine MacAodha is from Omagh in County Tyrone.

Backstory, Diaspora: THE STONE SKY, Syl Anagist Two

The following passage was taken from a section that deals with: The Stillness. Thniess. Niess.

Damn if self knows what any of these words mean, but she’s only reading the final book of The Broken Earth trilogy, just to have a taste. Nice writing, tho. For sure.

  • The Sylanagistines took their land. The Niess fought, but then responded like any living thing under threat — with diaspora, sending whatever was left of themselves flying forth to take root and perhaps survive where it could. The descendants of these Niess became part of ever land, every people, blending in among the rest and adapting to local customs. They managed to keep hold of who they were, though, continuing to speak their own language even as they grew fluent in other tongues. They maintained some of their old ways, too — like splitting their tongues with salt acid, for reasons known only to them. And while they lost much of the distinctive look that came of isolation within their small land, many retained enough of it that to this day, icewhite eyes and ashblow hair carr a certain stigma.

Why couldn’t the whole book have been written about this?

Fascinating.

Stay tuned.

Power Dynamics: THE STONE SKY, Ch. 4

Trigger Warning: Torture

  • Kill only one, initially. Pick someone who tries to harm you — but only one, even if more than one tries. Disable the others, but take your time killing that one person. Make it painful. Make sure your target screams. That’s important. If the first one that you kill remains silent . . . kill another.

Poetry Wednesday: Another From Tom MacIntyre

from the poem Return Visit (in the collection I Bailed Out at Ardee, which I discovered in a bookshelf in my unit at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig)

There’s a sign,
you that’s one for signs,

you’ve climbed the mountain,
gone into the wood
to touch the stones —

the stones can’t be found.

Scan the view.
Weigh the lean
mid-winter air.

That sapper’s mark
has its eye on me.

I stand there years,

then know-nothing,

Novel-In-Progress: FARM, MOUNTAIN, SEA, Ch. 1

Self’s novel is set on the island of Negros, in the central Philippines, at the start of the Japanese Occupation during World War II. Honorato, an hacendero‘s son, and Moses, the enkargado, are ordered to the mountains by Honorato’s father.

Self is bringing it, people. Just bringing it. Right now, her manuscript stands at 247 pages.

The next day the forest rears up before them, indescribably dense. It takes them a mere hour to reach the first line of trees. Upon entering, they find themselves under a thick canopy of foliage, the light fading to a cathedral dimness. Birds and an occasional monkey frolic overhead.

Moses leads the way, hacking the heavy vines and tree branches that block their path. Soon, his back is soaked with sweat. Honorato watches silently as the enkargado removes his shirt. The older man’s back is ribbed and corded and hard-looking, with small scars pocking the surface, from what past injury Honorato can only guess.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry Tuesday: Tom MacIntyre

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After hours and hours of straight writing, self takes a break by perusing her cottage’s bookshelves for poetry collections.

She finds a collection called I Bailed Out at Ardee (Dedalus), by Tom MacIntyre.

Excerpt from Father

My shoulder knows his coffin
best of all, I was
the one who wasn’t there.

Tom MacIntyre was born in Cavan.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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