Still On P. 27 of THE DOOR

  • All the time, my stepfather was shaking and swearing, because call-up letters were flying around like birds.

This evening self suddenly thinks about her World War II novel (244 pages) and realizes it has no heart. The only thing it describes is how an 18-year-old is sent into the mountains with the enkargado.

When Bacolod was occupied, self’s Dear Departed Dad was 12. The Japanese High Command chose the biggest house in Bacolod to commandeer. Which at the time was Dear Departed Dad’s family’s house.

It had a winding staircase made of imported Carrara marble! With a working Otis elevator! Of course the occupiers must have marveled about how that house had come to be, in such a small island in the center of the Philippines.

Must have been pretty tense, right? When self knew her grandfather, he was an old man in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the neck down. He was always that way, always a sublime paralytic in her memory. It wasn’t until six years ago that self learned that her grandfather suffered the stroke during the Occupation.

There’s a war story self’s Dear Departed Dad told her about how, one day, everyone in Bacolod was made to line up around the Plaza. There was a prisoner seated in the middle of the Plaza and he was beaten pretty badly. The guards wanted him to point out his accomplices. Right when two of my father’s uncles passed in front of the prisoner, his guards gave him a particularly vicious beating. And his arm came up and he pointed, without thought. And he was pointing at one of my father’s uncles. Who was immediately taken away and never seen again.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: WOOD

Another Cee Neuner Fun Foto Challenge! For the next few weeks, Cee asks us to take inspiration from a photograph. Here is the photograph for Week 3.

Self got to spend time in the City yesterday. She was with her niece Angela, who introduced self to the wonder of Tea Bear Café, whose walls were either real or synthetic wood. And self has no idea what the dice were meant to represent:

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Saturday, 28 July 2018: Tea Bear Café, San Francisco Chinatown

And there’s an adorable picture of the bear in Tea Bear!

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The Bear Has Its Close-up

And here’s the view just outside the café: Washington Park, where a Chinese dance performance was happening.

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Washington Square, Chinatown, San Francisco

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Third Character in THE SUMMER BOOK

The third character on the island, who mostly doesn’t make an appearance, not for many pages, is the little girl’s father. He represents a powerful mystery. Why doesn’t he accompany the little girl on her island explorations? Where is his wife?

This mysterious man gradually assumes shape and definition, first from the mention of his worn bathrobe. His relatives try to throw it away but it comes floating back to the island, smelling strongly of seaweed, and then he wears it everyday the rest of that summer.

There’s another section, when he leaves the island to get supplies, and there’s a storm. He is delayed, and the grandmother has to talk the little girl into believing that he’s in no danger, while her eyes constantly scan the horizon. The moment the grandmother catches sight of a rim of white surf on the horizon (which is the father in his boat, powering through the storm, and drenched through), there is such a powerful relief in the grandmother, and in self.

It was blowing hard, and the sun was setting. She was far-sighted and saw the boat half an hour before it reached the island — a moustache of white foam that would appear at irregular intervals and sometimes vanish entirely.

A few sections later, a mysterious boat pulls up and beaches on the island. The father “puts on his pants” and runs to the shore to greet the visitors. He never comes back that night. The girl hears music coming from the boat and wants to go check it out, but her grandmother says they have to wait for the father to come and get them. They wait and wait, but of course he never does come, and the little girl is furious.

Who is this man? This mysterious figure who is always stuck in the house (unless he is putting on his pants to run towards visiting boats) and does not roam the island as his daughter and mother do?

p. 134:

The guest room was cool and quiet, and Papa sat working at his desk on the other side of the wall.

“I like it when he’s working,” Sophia said. “I always know he’s there.”

Self is enjoying this book so much; she regrets that she’s gotten close to the end.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

THE SUMMER BOOK, p. 95

This book just keeps getting better and better. Self loves it.

p. 94: “Sophia’s father had a special bathrobe that he loved.”

Some of the relatives, arriving to give “the island a good cleaning,” decide that the bathrobe has outlived its usefulness and carry it down to the water to float away.

The robe, however, returns, borne by the waves and smelling of seaweed.

p. 95: “Papa wore virtually nothing else that whole summer. Then there was the spring when they discovered a family of mice had been living in the robe.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lord of the Flies: Terrible and Beautiful

p. 181:

The parachute took the figure forward, furrowing the lagoon, and humped it over the reef and out to sea.

Is this nightmare scenario believable? Absolutely.

Stay tuned.

AWAKENING That Has Nothing to Do With a Photo Challenge

Self thinks she’s going to change her spirit animal.

It used to be a turtle.

When she was growing up, her parents gave her, each birthday, a Steuben glass animal. She has a whole collection of Steuben glass turtles. Even, a Steuben glass toad.

She thinks she’d rather be a dolphin.

Dolphins are playful.

Dolphins are not poky-slow animals.

COME ON, SELF! YOU ARE NOT A TURTLE! YOU ARE NOT A TOAD!!!

YOU ARE A DOLPHIN!

Awakening.

Stay tuned.

Beloved 2: From Self’s Recent Trip to Manila, January 2018

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First cousin on mother’s side: Maitoni Cu-Unjieng

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Home-Cooked Food, with Lots of Fried Garlic

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Self is named after this iconic Filipino soup from the central Philippine islands: Batchoy

#amwritingfiction: “The Hole Over the Islands”

Self is really crushing the writing. This is her 2nd story in two days.

AMAZING.

#sowoke

It must be her recent trip to the Philippines.

No, it must be her recent trip to London and the Philippines.

No, it must be her recent trip to Paris and London and the Philippines.

No, it must be her recent trip to Ireland and Paris and London and the Philippines.

NEVERTHELESS!!!

The following story is true.

You probably know that Filipinos are considered very spiritual people. Imelda Marcos was quoted as saying that the spiritist attribute that Filipinos have is due to the direct connection of the Philippines with a black hole directly over the islands. Or something like that. Well, this story has something to do with ghosts and spirits.

Back in 1982 (or so), during All Saints Day (or is that All Souls’ Day?), our family decided to contact my Dear Departed Dad by playing ‘spirit of the glass.’

‘Spirit of the glass’ is kind of like a Ouija Board, but instead of a disc, it uses an upside-down glass.

(Story to be continued. Stay tuned)

Silence: Antonio Vivencio del Rosario Heritage Library, University of Santo Tomas, Manila

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge (as of 17 January 2018) is SILENCE.

I love having time to myself — solitude re-charges me . . .  I had never really immersed myself in a long stretch of silence beyond my occasional hour-long meditation sessions. I went to this hermitage on a silent retreat for uninterrupted, unstructured time to think, to walk, to read, and just be.

— Cheri Lucas Rowlands, The Daily Post

The University of Santo Tomas is the oldest university in the Philippines. It was founded in 1611.

During a recent three-week sojourn in Manila (city of her birth), self had the privilege to drop by the University a visit. Her first stop: the Antonio Vivencio Historical Library, named after self’s great-grandfather.

How her heart ached to see these precious books, 30,000 volumes (which had been carried out of Intramuros by hand, just before the Battle for the liberation of Manila, at the end of World War II).

If she could, she would happily spend the rest of her days in that library.

But she is back now in San Francisco. When will she return to Manila? Who knows.

The answer is: SILENCE.

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Weathered 2: Still Manila

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Alice, Who’s Been Working for Tito Tony (with the cane) and Tita Aida Since Forever!

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The Manila Metro Light Transit (MRT) is very old and quite weathered. Here it is, above the main artery of Metro-Manila, the perpetually traffic-choked Epifanio de los Santos (EDSA)

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Son at Seven: Picture in a (Quite) Weathered Frame

 

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