Am Writing Historical Fiction: Letter to Brother Matias from Dorotea (His Secret Love)

Dorotea writes from Spain. She is high-born and literate, a rarity for those times. Also: she is married to Matias’s brother (She has

Self’s MC, Matias, is a missionary on Isla del Fuego, a mythical island in the central Philippines.

January 19th 1671

Dear Matias,

I write this by the light of a weak candle, looking out the window at the morning star. It seems to wink at me. My God, I have not been able to sleep, not since your mother’s illness. Now, the year has turned, I force myself to pick up a quill and write to you. Her cheeks were still ruddy a week ago. Yesterday, her eyes were dull as marbles. Forgive me, my dear, for I must cause you pain.

Revising Ch. X of CAMAROTE DE MARINERO (98k Words, Novel)

Chapter X of Camarote de Marinero

Who Owns This Island?

The Philippines, 1652

The soldiers spotted Ka Bukay, standing uncertainly at the edge of the forest. Ka Bukay had taken the precaution of laying down his bow and arrows.

“You there!” a soldier called out to Ka Bukay. “Who owns this island?”

Ka Bukay knew Spanish, for he was intelligent and besides had worked on a mission on the next island, before coming home to Isla del Fuego.

“God,” Ka Bukay answered.

“No,” the tall soldier responded. “Spain owns this island.”

1579: An English Privateer Loots the Nuestra Señora de la Concepcion, a Manila Galleon

from self’s novel Camarote de Marinero: Voyages (in-progress, about 90k words at the moment)

Whereupon five of our Spanish warships were sent to hunt for him, but he refit somewhere on the Northern Pacific coast, where he befriended the natives, who sheltered him a month before he struck out again, for the Moluccas, and eventually home.

Stay tuned.

 

Sentence of the Day: Self’s Own

From her novel Blue Water, Distant Shores, which she is re-naming Camarote de Marinero: Voyages

(Also, self is considering not going to AWP, for it would be such a distraction. No kidding. All she would end up doing is hole up in her hotel room, writing. Which she can very well do at home. But ooops, she’ll be charged a penalty. Aargh)

Trigger Warning: Run-On Sentence

To Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth I

From Martin de Rasa, Viceroy of New Spain

June the 8th, 1579

A Relation of the Circumstances of the Loss of the Nuestra Señora de la Concepcion

80 pounds of gold, 26 pounds of silver, 13 chests of silver coins, and jewels (pearls, jades, rubies, and other precious stones) for which the residents of Manila demand restitution. For that cargo was intended for the Audiencia, and other vital instruments of government in these Islands. And now the soldiers must go unpaid, and are close to mutiny.

But, truly, Viceroy of New Spain, why should Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth I care if Spanish soldiers are close to mutiny? lol

Self has just introduced SIR FRANCIS DRAKE into her narrative.

Stay tuned.

Samareños, 1649

Faithful readers of this blog know all about Francisco Alcina, Jesuit, who wrote A History of the Bisayan People in the Philippine Islands (available in a bilingual translation from University of Santo Tomas Press)

He was sent to the province of Samar, in the Visayan Islands of the central Philippines, to replace two priests who had been murdered in an uprising.

From Bambi L. Harper, Philippine journalist:

. . . the 1649 uprising in Samar did not remain localized. It spread to Leyte, Cebu, Sorsogon, Camarines, Albay and Masbate … the island of Mindanao also followed suit. Churches were razed, friars and government officials killed.

Of course the Spanish quelled it, in the end. Spain remained in the Philippines until the Americans took over, in 1898. Self has written a 365-page novel that circles this traumatic event, which the clergy blamed on the “Evil One.”

In self’s novel, a young priest is sent direct from Spain. His task: to go the Philippines and fight demons (But the real demons are inside himself, who knew)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. 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.

 

Sentence of the Day: Alcina Again, from HISTORIA DE LAS ISLAS e INDIOS DE BISAYAS (Published 1668)

from Chapter 7: Concerning a description of the looms (los telares) of these natives and an account of other arts like the working of precious metals which here are of gold alone, etc.

  • I left that region and lived in another until I returned to it after sixteen or eighteen years and saw her for the second time.

Sentence of the Day: Alcina

“The greatest chiefs are the best smiths.”

— from History of the Bisayan People in the Philippine Islands, published 1668

Women and Knives: from Alcina’s History of the Bisayan People in the Philippine Islands

Thank the gods self was able to carve out a week in Oxford. Since she left the Tyrone Guthrie Centre on Oct. 27, it’s been very hectic. She hasn’t had time to read the Philippine history books, like Alcina’s, which she checked out of Stanford’s Green Library and which she’s lugged from Stanford to Dublin to Annaghmakerrig to Dublin to Manchester to London and finally here, to Oxford.

But walking around the Oxford Botanic Garden, and wandering into stores that sell old maps, and attending services two days in a row at Christ Church — all of that — is certainly reviving her interest in Alcina!

Francisco Ignacio Alcina was a Jesuit missionary who ended his great work in 1665. Self is reading it in a bilingual translation published by the oldest university in the Philippines, the University of Santo Tomas.

20191111_100616

Christ Church, Oxford: Remembrance Day

from Chapter 6: Concerning other mechanical arts which they knew in their antiquity and have preserved till today with improvements

  • The women have different types of knives of various shapes, but all are of iron. Some resemble the bolo, others are like ours which they call sipul in some regions and in others, dipang. They are accustomed to place their little rings of iron on the ends so that they make little sounds. These are valuable to the women and rarely will one be seen without them. In some towns, they always carry them in their hands when they go out of their houses so that they travel prepared for whatever might occur in the way of cutting something and even of wounding each other perhaps when they quarrel. In a town one woman killed another with one of these little knives because of jealousy. A very small wound is required to draw the soul from the body.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

« Older entries

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Asian Cultural Experience

Preserving the history and legacy of Salinas Chinatown

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through style and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery

transcribingmemory

Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

litadoolan

Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

CSP Archives

Archive of the CSP

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other

Random Storyteller

A crazy quilt of poems, stories, and humor

Kanlaon

Just another Wordpress.com weblog