Day 4: BRIGHT SQUARES

More about the theme for April: Bright Squares

Self will attempt to post squares every day through April.

This installment (#4) is all about BRIGHT BOOK COVERS.

  • Caroline Kim’s collection won the Drue Heinze Literature Prize.
  • Horacio de la Costa was a great historian. Self thinks his books are classics.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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.

Personal Bookshelf: Eman Lacaba

He was from my school.

A poet.

Took to the mountains, joined the rebels.

Was shot — “salvaged” is what they called it back then.

The military says they did it in self-defense.

I still remember the whispers: “Did you hear? Eman Lacaba was shot!”

His funeral mass was held in my school.

Legend.

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

Sentence of the Day: from a Letter by Don Pedro de Acuña, Governor General of the Philippines, Manila, 1608

Apologies, dear blog readers, self’s veering between the Philippines in 1600 and Grimdark must be causing whiplash!

Anyhoo, here is the Sentence of the Day, from Blair & Robertson’s A History of the Philippine Islands, vol. 14:

Letter from Governor General Don Pedro de Acuña to the Viceroy of Nueva España:

  • Since the Spaniards are a sensible and prudent people, we must therefore be grieved for having slain so many people, and repent thereof.

After reading which, self can only say, Hell’s Bells. The “so many people” slain — indios, right?

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Blair & Robertson: A History of the Philippine Islands, vol. 14 (1603 – 1609)

I pore over a list of Itemized Expenditures, 18 August 1608. Most of the items are salaries.

I mean.

No wonder the Fort in Manila was in ruins. No wonder there was never enough ammunition. Even the priests had salaries (“salaries for ecclesiastics”).

Salaried officials:

  • Government officials, alcaldes, and other local officials
  • Government workmen: pilots, sailors, and etc.
  • Ecclesiastics
  • Collectors of tribute
  • Soldiers and their officers
  • Wardens of forts

Meanwhile, the indios were paid nothing for their labor (Who built all those churches? Surely not the salaried officials!)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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.

Favorite Photos 2020

The Jesuits in the Philippines, 1581 – 1768

Horacio de la Costa was dying of liver cancer before self arrived at Ateneo de Manila, and so she never took a class from one of the greatest Filipino writers.

Last month, she called Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino (Her go-to place for science fiction — she ordered the first six books of The Expanse from them — as well as hard-to-find books like The Laughter of My Father, by Filipino migrant worker Carlos Bulosan) and they were able to get her a copy of de la Costa’s The Jesuits in the Philippines, 1581 – 1768. The book arrived a few days ago, wowowowowow

From the Preface:

  • A grant from the New York Province of the Society of Jesus enabled me to spend several months in Europe in 1951, which I employed in gathering additional material in Roman and Spanish archives . . . In 1955 the Ateneo de Manila, of whose teaching staff I am a member, granted me leave of absence to undertake the actual writing of the history. A grant from the Philippine Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus permitted my doing this at Georgetown University, close to the great repository of the Library of Congress.

From Chapter One: The First Mission

In 1540, Pope Paul III granted the approval of the Holy See to a new religious order organized by a Basque gentleman . . .

Only 12 years later, the Jesuits were at “the gates of China.” They had founded “mission centers along the far-flung line of Portuguese trading posts from Goa to the Moluccas and obtained a foothold in Japan.” There were Jesuit missionaries in Abyssinia, the Congo, and Brazil. “The mission of Florida was opened in 1566, that of Peru in 1568, and that of Mexico in 1572.” In January 1581, a “little band” of Jesuit missionaries took “the road that dipped down from Mexico City to the little seaport of Acapulco where the galleon San Martin, 400 tons,” captained by Luis de Sahagosa, “waited to take them across the Pacific.”

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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