Currently Reading SOLVING STONEHENGE, by Anthony Johnson

The book was a gift from the author, who self has never met. He mailed it to Redwood City from Oxford University, where he taught. Self was blogging about Stonehenge (and was also writing flash about Stonehenge — those flash can still be found in Wigleaf). He left her a message on this blog. Then sent her the book.

In 1992, a burial site was discovered, 5 km east of Stonehenge. It was the grave of an adult man, “around 35-45 years old.” The man was deemed to be important because “ten times the usual number of finds accompanied the body.” He “had been laid on his left side … facing north.” Buried with him were:

  • two archer’s wristguards (one of which was made from black sandstone and came from the coast, 50 km away)
  • three copper knives
  • He must “have been buried with a bow and a quiver containing arrows, for 17 flint arrowheads were also present.”
  • a type of miniature anvil known as a ‘cushion stone’
  • a pair of sheet gold loop earrings

In 1993, a second grave was discovered, 6 km east of Stonehenge. This contained “the remains of seven individuals, all males: three adults, a teenager, and three children.” The oldest individual was “buried with his legs tucked up” and his head again pointing north.

The man in the 1992 grave has been given the name the Amesbury Archer.

In 2001, at Rameldry Farm, in Fife, Scotland, “a farmer’s plough caught the capstone covering an early Bronze Age” grave. Inside “a stone cist lay the skeleton of an adult male around 40 – 45 years, whose bones produced a radiocarbon date of 2280 – 1970 BC.”

Why is self reading so diligently about Bronze Age graves? She’s trying to finish her horror story and it’s about a team of scientists who stumble on some very disturbing findings in Antarctica. Hoping she can absorb some of the language.

She has so many questions: Why were people buried with heads facing north? Did they come from the north? Why were the oldest individuals around 40-45 years old, was that the normal life expectancy in the Bronze Age? Why were the graves of males exclusively? Where were the females buried?

More:

Suddenly, around 1700 BC, there is a disruption in the quality and quantity of metalwork found in graves in Britain. This coincided with “the apparent abandonment of Stonehenge.” By 1400 BC, “it appears that Stonehenge, already some 1,000 years old, had been abandoned.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Kathryn Ferguson: The Haunting of the Mexican Border, A Woman’s Journey

Half the time, self is reading this book with deep anxiety. Why? Because the author is a woman and self’s background is conditioning her to expect an ‘incident.’ But, so far, Ferguson’s encounters have been refreshingly free of ‘Bad Hombres.’

p. 54:

One of my first faux pax in the Sierra is to tell Hiram, a Norogachic vaquero and friend of Santiago’s, that I like his horse while he is saddling up a mule. Politely but firmly he explains the difference. Mules and horses look alike. Except mules have long ears. I have since become a great observer of ears. I don’t want to call someone a jackass who isn’t.

Stay tuned.

Stanford Spokes: A Summer 2020 Learning Project

One Summer. 6 Students. 6 Bikes. 10 States.

This summer, six Stanford students will spend three months biking from San Francisco to D.C., teaching hands-on educational workshops to local middle school and high school students along the way.

Read all about the project here.

Map+Final

Stay tuned.

Anthropology of Food: Doreen G. Fernandez

Doreen G. Fernandez was self’s Freshman English professor at the Ateneo de Manila University. Her greatness was in her writing. She wrote beautifully about her subject: Philippine food, and its long history.

Recently, self began re-reading her book Tikim: Essays on Philippine Food and Culture (Anvil Publishing, Philippines, 1994)

Her Process:

My teachers are all those who give me information about food: market vendors, street sellers, cooks, chefs, waiters, restaurant and carinderia owners, farmers, tricycle drivers, gardeners, fishermen, aficionados, nutritionists, readers of my columns, friends, food critics and historians, fellow researchers, authors of books (and cookbooks), writers of columns, food anthropologists — everyone who eats and cares.

— Doreen G. Fernandez, 13 June 1994


For self, the biggest, most interesting stop in her very brief late December visit to Santa Fe, New Mexico was the Farmer’s Market. It was bitter cold, snow lined the tracks of the railyard just adjacent, and inside a vast warehouse were smells, the indescribable smells of chili, pine, roasted coffee. Oh, heaven.

20191228_125705

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Maybe Self Will Pull Some of the Letters in Her Novel and Send Out as Self-Contained Short Stories

Here’s one:

THE BISHOP OF MANILA WRITES TO HIS CATHOLIC ROYAL MAJESTY

26 Junio 1755

Most Powerful Lord,

When you assign someone to come to govern this land, your Majesty should take into account that you are not sending a person who will have to face investigation but an absolute king who does not have any superior, nor anyone to be accountable to but who should be solely motivated by fear of God, the service of Your Majesty and the zeal for the popular good, because there is no means to stop him, and all remedies are useless and without effect. In view of this, and of the fact that Your Majesty cannot make men of wax, nor know their feelings, nor have them close at hand, it does not amaze me that the person appointed does not turn out to be worthy.

 

20190906_132742

Manuel E. Benavides Library, University of Santo Tomas, Manila (founded 1611)

Self may have gotten a lot of things wrong, but not the tone. NOT THE TONE.

Stay tuned.

 

A Photo a Week Challenge: ATMOSPHERIC

Viveka on my guilty pleasures has the most beguiling photographs on this week’s Photo-a-Week Challenge: ATMOSPHERIC. So inspiring!

Thank you, Nancy Merrill, for the prompt: Share a photo (or two or three) with a distinct atmosphere.

Here are a few of self’s atmospheric shots.

Liverpool Docks, yesterday:

20191101_132546

Park in front of IMMA (Ireland Museum of Modern Art, Dublin):

20191029_150351

Dublin, park in front of IMMA, last Tuesday, 29 October 2019

The TGC at Annaghmakerrig, where self spent October:

20191019_122443

Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig, Republic of Ireland, last week of October

What is it about the Fall? It’s becoming self’s favorite season to travel.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Setting: Isla del Fuego

from self’s novel:

  • It has a circuit of nearly a hundred leagues and a length of about fifty leagues, for it is very narrow. At the two extremities it is, at the widest place, about twenty leagues wide. All along the coast are to be found bays that curve in different directions.

This, dear blog readers, is self’s mythical island in the central Philippines. The place where her ambitious MC (a priest!) lives out his life, in the 18th century.

Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: from Blue Water, Distant Shores

Going to be sending this out for query in the next few days.

p. 24:

  • The soft breeze blowing through carried a scent of river mud and a tinge of something else, something pungent and rich, reminding him of the canals back home, the estuaries that carried effluvia from Murcia to the sea.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: Francisco Ignacio Alcina, S.J.

  • It is an established fact that these natives came here in boats and since all these are islands, they could not come in any other manner.

History of the Bisayan People in the Philippine Islands, 1668

Writing of the Day: The MC’s Sister Writes a Letter

What self is doing, she does not know. She just keeps tossing off letter after letter. Like, not only does she accept the throwdown of writing about 18th century Philippines, she has to make the whole thing epistolary!

Anyhoo, this section’s fresh as fresh, as she made the whole thing up about an hour ago. Thoughts?

You wrote that it is useless to appeal to the Bishop in Manila, for he cares more for “musk, civet, and pearls” than for his priests, which necessitates your appealing to Spain. And the Governor General is no better, you say, for he “struts about in the richest of silks and brocades”. If this individual were to somehow present to me at this very moment, I would demand that he be strung up from the highest gibbet. For are these things you have requested not proper and necessary for any human being, never mind those who are representatives of the Church and our country?

I am inclined to write a letter to the King himself, to inform him of what is truly going on in the islands, for He may well not know. Oh, to what lengths are we driven to serve both Our God and Our Lord!

Your loving sister,

Dorotea

In so many previous drafts (maybe the 1st to the 10th draft), Dorotea was the MC’s (secret) love interest, but self was unable to keep up the tension after the MC left for his mission in the Philippines, so she decided to turn Dorotea into his sister. There was more to the letter (e.g. curses to the English etc for occupying the islands, which they did for two years, in the early 1760s. They ultimately decided that the country didn’t have enough gold or silver to justify them staying.)

Stay tuned, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

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