Doreen Fernandez: When the World Was New

In 1953 Albert Herre listed 2,175 marine and freshwater species inhabiting Philippine waters, the first extensive checklist. Twenty-seven additional species were added later, bringing the total to 2,202. Some of these are ornamental, some not edible, some not attractive as food fish, but usable as fish meal or fish balls or for fermentation into patis and bagoong. Most of them have regional names, and may be difficult to pin to their scientific and other names.

Doreen Fernandez, from an unpublished manuscript, When the World Was New

Self thought she had every book Doreen had written, until last year, when she went to Silay, Doreen’s childhood home. There was a book she didn’t have: Fruits of the Philippines. A few months ago, self found a copy by going on Amazon, and ordering from a third-party vendor in New Jersey. It arrived several weeks ago. Joy!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Caroline Kim, Very Much on Self’s Mind

Dear blog readers, are you in for a treat.

Caroline Kim, winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, and currently on the Long List for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection, has agreed to share with self her process for writing a short story.

The story we’ll be parsing is Mr. Oh, the first story in the collection. Among other things, self will be asking her why this story came first. Or, put another way, how does she decide the order in which to put her stories?

Caroline’s answers to self’s questions will be posted next week. But read her story first. Read her collection, the entire collection. If you think of any questions, you can leave comments here, and self will pass on to Caroline.

So excited! SQUEEEE!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Opening Sentence, 12 YEARS A SLAVE

“Having been born a freeman, and for more than 30 yrs enjoyed the blessings of liberty in a free State — and having at the end of that time been kidnapped and sold into slavery, where I remained, until happily rescued in the month of January 1853, after a bondage of twelve years — it has been suggested that an account of my life and fortunes would not be uninteresting to the public.”

12 Years a Slave, by Solomon Northup (first published 1853)

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