Opening, Self’s Camarote de Marinero

What do you think?

  • On the last day of November, on the feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle, the Genoese pilot of the Santa Maria found a current.  It led to a vast and peaceful ocean, an ocean whose purring sighs and amber warmth held us firmly in its liquid embrace. The weather was mild, the sea an unbroken stretch of glass. Suddenly, we forgot scurvy and exhaustion, and even the last dreadful sight of the men put ashore in Guam, the ones slain by the cannibal Chamorros.  The terrible screams from the beach had carried across the water to the black ships.  Oh, the horror!

I think this is READY.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

How Self’s Novel Began

A few minutes ago, self went to her previous MacBook Air to transfer old story files (which she should have done years ago, but anyhoo).

There was this fragment called A Myriad Wildernesses. She didn’t recognize the title but, after opening the file, she realized that this was early Camarote de Marinero.

There was no clear historical period, and the only character named is Matias, the young priest. In fact, it’s a very mysterious short story, and reads almost like fable. It begins:

An old servant woman greeted Matias at the door and led him through a tiled foyer. At the far end was a heavy door, next to which were arranged three austere-looking chairs of soot-black wood. The woman did not seem to want to engage in any kind of interaction with him, so he simply followed her and then stared at the chairs while she disappeared somewhere. Matias deliberated before finally selecting the chair furthest away from the door.

This was first draft. How this grew a novel that’s (currently) 408 pages is amazing to self.

It’s told in a really simple, straightforward voice, too, which is in contrast to the subject: Matias is reporting to the Bishop his sighting of an angel (This scene completely disappeared from the novel in its present state. Maybe she can turn it into a standalone short story.)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sentence of the Day: CAMAROTE DE MARINERO

  • If only our pilot had not found the current that led us to the shining archipelago! — p. 15, Camarote de Marinero, self’s (experimental, 16th century, mostly epistolary) novel of the Philippines

Synopsis Is Hard to Write

Self keeps re-reading Camarote de Marinero, and so far she really likes it (lucky!) It’s written mostly in epistolary form, in very florid language. For example:

Letter to El Adelantado Miguel Lopez de Legazpi from His Royal Catholic Majesty Philip II:

  • If indeed they were turned into slaves, ourselves shall rescue them. Lest we give our cousins the Portuguese and our enemies the Dutch and the English occasion to lose their respect for Spain.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Now to Write a Synopsis

There was the glaring sand, and the fringe of coconut trees.  Hovering above the trees was the spine of a mountain. And beyond? Only a profound and mysterious silence.

— self’s novel of 16th century Philippines, Camarote de Marinero

One Last Read-Through: CAMAROTE DE MARINERO

“But,” the Archbishop continued, looking carefully at Matias, “you need not concern yourself with that. Mindanao is the Governor General’s problem. These are the matters that you must report on: number of baptisms; deaths, of officials and clergy; fires; condition of the ports; salaries, especially if there are upward adjustments; arrivals and departures; conflicts; fiscal status; the foundation of hospitals; prices of commodities and goods; taxes; tributes; profits; ordinary expenses; relations with the Sangleys (that is what they call the Chinese); the influence of local healers.”

Camarote de Marinero, Part I, Extranjero

Self is quite proud of that little passage.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Camarote de Marinero: At Last!

Self has been working on this novel for ages. Writing historical fiction is hard.

They were not as accomplished at sea voyaging, not like their cousins the Portuguese. Those, perhaps less sure of their ability to hang on to Iberian earth and rock, had begun voyaging a century earlier. Everywhere a Portuguese ship went, that was Portugal. The ship’s deck became Mother. The ports they entered were also Mother. The Mother’s embrace gradually spanned worlds.

“Soy la voz de Dios”

Translation: I am the Voice of God.

These words are carved into a massive bell in a church in the Philippine province of Iloilo (just across a narrow strait from Dear Departed Dad’s home province, Negros, in the central Philippines) The bell weighs 10.4 tons, don’t even ask self how workers managed to get it up into the bell tower. Can you imagine that ringing for every mass? The sound is very deep.

Self decided to write a new chapter for Camarote de Marinero today.

It begins:

When he first met Ta-hum, who was his cook, his factotum, who cared for him the way a mother cares for a child, even though she was 10 years younger, he himself had been a young man, with all the imperfections of youth.

Now?

Soy la voz de Dios, he intoned.

Tahum is a Hiligaynon word meaning “beautiful.”

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Camarote de Marinero: Self’s MC Meets the Archbishop

The Archbishop to Matias:

These are the matters that you must report on: number of baptisms; deaths, of officials and clergy; fires; condition of the ports; salaries, especially if there are upward adjustments; arrivals and departures; conflicts; fiscal status; the foundation of hospitals; prices of commodities and goods; taxes; tributes; profits; ordinary expenses; relations with the Sangleys (that is what they call the Chinese); the influence of local healers.”

— Excerpt from self’s novel, Camarote de Marinero

#amwriting About Voyaging

They were not as accomplished at sea voyaging, not like their cousins the Portuguese. Those weak cousins of theirs had voyaged far earlier, perhaps less sure of their ability to hang on to Iberian earth and rock.

Everywhere a Portuguese ship went, that was Portugal. The ship’s deck became Mother. The ports they entered were also Mother. The Mother’s embrace gradually spanned worlds.

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