Blair & Robertson’s THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, 1493 – 1803

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1000 sets were printed of this massive series.

Self has Copy No. 179 on her MacBook Air.

60 volumes.

She does all her writing in son’s room, where daily she looks at the map of the Philippines that’s been hanging there for over two decades. She doubts if son even knows the names of the two main islands, Luzon and Mindanao. This is self’s failing.

No woman is mentioned in the first nine volumes.

Later, there is a decree about educating the sons of Spanish civil officials. And in volume 10, a mention of nuns.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Travels with Charley: Deer Isle, Maine

Steinbeck has very interesting things to say about Deer Isle.

Digression: Self always wanted to visit Maine, because there is a teacher there — in Bates College — who has taught her story “Lenox Hill, December 1991” in self’s collection Mayor of the Roses, for decades.

pp. 41 – 42:

  • Maine speech is very like that in West Country England, the double vowels pronounced as they are in Anglo-Saxon, but the resemblance is doubly strong in Deer Isle. And the coastal people below the Bristol Channel are secret people, and perhaps magic people. There’s aught behind their eyes, hidden away so deep that perhaps even they do not know they have it. To put it plainly, this Isle is like Avalon; it must disappear when you are not there.

It sounds a little like California’s northern coast. Self always begins writing fables when she’s in Mendocino. Must be the craggy cliffs, the deep forests, the crashing ocean. During her latest trip to Mendocino, early this year, this sentence occurred to her as she was driving through redwoods: They chased daylight into a gloomy forest.

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Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, April 2018

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

The Priest in Murcia (1730)

Self struggles to give her main character, Matias, a backstory. So that he does not just show up in the Philippines ready with his demon-fighting abilities.

The parts set in Murcia (Why Murcia? Because on self’s island in the Philippines, her family’s land is near the town of Murcia. Someone from Murcia, Spain, obviously, came to the island, felt homesick, started a mission, and gave the adjoining community the name of his hometown in Spain)

So, back to Murcia, Spain. Self begins with the marriage (arranged) between Matias’s parents.

Doña Francisca’s family crest depicts the Cross of Calvary on a checkerboard pattern of yellow, white, and black. Don Rodrigo’s — well, there is no family crest. No matter. He possesses wealth.

Francisca’s dowry includes land on the south bank of the Segura. It is this land, coming into the possession of Matias’s father, that starts him on the path towards social standing and great material wealth. Eventually, he devises his own crest: a golden salamander on a deep red background.

He was in the light, now. Everyone looked at him with something resembling awe.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Opening Sentence, Work-In-Progress: Blue Water, Distant Shores (Working Title)

Backstory: A young Spanish priest makes it to the Philippines. His assigned task: fighting demons. It is 1755.

The old servant woman who greeted Matias at the door led him into a tiled foyer in which were aligned three austere-looking chairs of soot-black wood.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Story-in-Progress: “Feint” (Dystopia)

I was not born with this sense of foreboding, just as my parents weren’t born with a sense of despair.

Work-in-Progress: “Losing a Body” (Genre: Fantasy)

Self has been working on flash. This story’s been growing by accretion, to four pages now:

There had been moments of deep humiliation, as well as moments of anger and sadness. He realized that most of these had something to do with a physical shortcoming.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Work-In-Progress: “Feint” (Genre: Dystopia)

For a woman who could not write a word of dialogue when she began her Creative Writing Program (and who moreover wrote in English, which was not the native tongue in her country of origin), her stories now seem to consist of nothing but.

“Is that you, Maa?”

“Yes. Can you send Le Ponant?”

“No. Why? I’ll have to clear it.”

“How long will that take?”

“A day or two. Is it lunchtime there?”

“No.”

“Well, it is, here. I’ve got to go.”

Stay tuned, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

 

 

#amwritinghistoricalfiction about the Philippines

Letter of Father Pedro Sanz to the Bishop of Manila

Octubre, 1752

Your Reverence,

I am already old, weary, and in poor health. When you first granted this position to me, and ordered me to serve you in this Island, I complied with your wishes, with not a word of complaint. I had already been many years in Nueva España, and exerted myself in every way. I arrived in Isla del Fuego and built a church, just as you commanded, and put in order the lives of the indios. By the grace of God, all turned out well. God has willed that Your Reverence’s wishes be fulfilled.

Now, I am exhausted. The need to recover my health and the declining health of my widowed mother force me to beg Your Reverence to allow me to return home.

May the Lord keep you.

Fr. Pedro Sanz

Isla del Fuego, Filipinas

NOTE: There is no island named Isla del Fuego in the Philippines. Self just made up the name.

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A Side Door of the Church of St. John Lasi on Siquijor, in the central Philippines: Such Stillness Outside! Also: Great Heat

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Sun Struck, No Mind: 2nd Tuesday of June 2018

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River Styx, Special Double Issue: “A Readable Feast” (2008)

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Francisco Arcellana was born 6 September 1916 in Santa Cruz, Manila, the fourth of 18 children. A graduate of the University of the Philippines, he went on to become a 1956-57 Rockefeller Foundation Creative Writing Fellow and attended the University of Iowa Writers Workshop and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 15, 2018: Bayanihan Community Center, 1010 Mission Street, San Francisco

A Benefit for the Inday Dolls:

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