Still More Letters from the Governor General to His Royal Catholic etc. Majesty Philip II

I have located the site of Fray Escay’s old mission. It was on the southern tip of Isla del Fuego, where a wide river (which the natives inform me, though I do not know whether to believe them, is called the No-Name River) empties into the Philippine Sea. None of the structures remain, except for a ruined tower which seems to have been in recent use.

Over 100k Words, Keep Going

Added a new letter from the Governor General to Philip II (after whom the Philippines was named). Self’s main narrative is stuffed with about two dozen of the most circumlocutious letters!

To His Sacred Catholic Royal Majesty:

The Moros begin their yearly raids. They always coincide with the end of the monsoon.

Reading Gemino H. Abad

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The Nothing That Speaks:

The poems come thick and fast today. I cannot cope. Poem after poem, half-words — and without words still.

I hardly cope.


Gemino H. Abad is a poet, literary critic, historian and professor emeritus of literature and creative writing at the University of the Philippines. In 2009, he received Italy’s premiere literary award, the Rome Prize.

Alas! BR, Chapter III

  • I returned home for the Long Vacation without plans and without money.

To Be In Such a World! BR, p. 50

It’s not like self is even getting that much of a Catholic vibe, to be honest.

What she is getting a lot of are the aesthetics of being young, male, white, and attending Oxford:

It was the last Sunday of term; the last of the year. As I went to my bath, the quad filled with gowned and surpliced undergraduates drifting from chapel to hall. As I came back they were standing in groups, smoking; Jasper had bicycled in from his digs to be among them.

I walked down the empty Broad to breakfast, as I often did on Sundays, at a tea-shop opposite Balliol.

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Oxford University, November 2018

Sentence of the Day: BR, p. 37

While the narrator and his boring chum Collins take themselves to Ravenna (which no one will be going to for the duration because COVID-19) for the summer:

  • I wrote long letters to Sebastian and called daily at the post office for his answers.

Ah, the pining!

Stay tuned.

A Word of Advice, Cousin

Brideshead Revisited, p. 36:

“None of these people you go around with pull any weight in their own colleges, and that’s the real test. They think because they’ve got a lot of money to throw about, they can do anything.

And that’s another thing. I don’t know what allowance my uncle makes you, but I don’t mind betting you’re spending double. All this,” he said, including in a wide sweep of his hand the evidence of profligacy about him. It was true. My room had cast aside its austere winter garments, and by not very slow stages, assumed a richer wardrobe. “Is that paid for?” (the box of a hundred cabinet Partagas on the sideboard) “or those?” (a dozen frivolous, new books on the table) “or those?” (a Lalique decanter and glasses) “or that peculiarly noisome object” (a human skull lately purchased from the School of Medicine, which, resting on a bowl of roses, formed, at the moment, the chief decoration of my table. It bore the motto Et in arcadia ego inscribed on its forehead.)

“Yes,” I said, glad to be clear of one charge. “I had to pay cash for the skull.”

“You can’t be doing any work. Not that that matters particularly if you’re making something of your career elsewhere — but are you? Have you spoken at the Union or at any of the clubs? Are you connected with any of the magazines? And your clothes!”

Love Letter: Am Writing (Historical Fiction)

Dorotea has a very complicated backstory. She is high-born; her parents were taken by the plague; she was adopted by Matias’s family, who then treated her as a servant:

To Dorotea, My Love,

 Indeed, you were a somber, quiet child, who rarely smiled. But I cannot blame you for that, as you were left orphaned at a very young age. I heard mother remark that you were strong, and quick for your age. Whatever task you were given, you performed with cheerful energy. 

And then they put you to work in the kitchen. I grew up watching you fetch, carry, and scrub. I never heard a word of complaint from you. You swept floors, you did the washing – not just of my family’s, but of the other servants. Yet you never complained.  

You served others first, and then washed their plates. Your room was a straw pallet by the hearth. A dog should have been treated better. If the highest form of prayer is patience and humility, then, Dorotea, your place in Heaven is assured.

The only time anything like emotion could be seen on your face was during the singing of the psalms. Then, you seemed to forget yourself entirely, casting aside your shyness to raise your voice, loud and strong, and so heavenly was your voice that I could feast on its memory for a week. Nay, a month!

Do you remember that day when I found you sitting by yourself in the courtyard?

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.

The Run of His Life: The People vs O. J. Simpson

p. 48:

  • Simpson received virtually no education at USC. Even today, he can barely write a grammatical sentence.

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