KUWENTO (Stories), Self’s First Book

A copy is in Green Library.

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More Writing in a Pandemic

Further in self’s novel about the World War II occupation of the city of Bacolod in the central Philippines (72k words so far):

Don Geronimo entered Honorato’s room just as his eldest son was about to get dressed. It was eight o’clock.

“The Japanese are here,” he said.

Honorato said nothing.

There was a group of them, some in uniform, some in civilian clothing. They had told Don Geronimo they were there to put the Daku Balay under the protection of the Imperial Japanese Army. “We are forbidden to leave the premises without permission. Go through the kitchen. Moses is waiting for you by the side gate.”

20190908_170235

The Daku Balay, Burgos Street, Bacolod City: It was used by the Japanese High Command during World War II. Self’s grandfather sent her uncle to the mountains. Her father, only 12 at the time, stayed home.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Writing In a Pandemic: Self’s Other Novel

So far, 299 pages, set on the island of Negros in the central Philippines, in the opening months of World War II. Self has not looked at it in almost two years. She’s been devoting most of her time to her 16th century novel, Camarote de Marinero:

In mid-April, Honorato was sent to the mountains.  He had just turned 18.  Don Geronimo worried because he was tall, because he was good-looking, because he was the eldest and bore the hopes of his parents on his slender shoulders.  Hide, his father told him.  Get as far away from here as you can.

The boy, Honorato, spends the war wandering in the mountains with his Dad’s enkargado, Moses. Moses has a bolo and a 32 Colt. Honorato can’t even shoot. But he learns a lot. (Meanwhile, self, who hasn’t shot a gun in her entire life, has to do internet research on the mechanics of a 32 Colt. So she’s learning just as much as Honorato)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sentence of the Day: The Economist, 20 June 2020

When stimulus checks arrived in mid-April, Americans let rip on a broad range of goods. — Leader, p. 7

LOL  LOL  LOL

America is not dead — as long as Americans can shop, there is hope.

During the first week of lockdown, self was very anxious. She worried about stuff like — writing instruments.

Self still writes in longhand, and she needs a special kind of pen. After days of fruitless searching in groceries and supermarkets, frustrated at not being able to find the exact pen she was in the habit of using, she finally found them on Amazon. Sold in packs of 10. They took a bit longer than she expected to arrive, but they did arrive. So that got rid of one of her primal anxieties.

And she makes herself use Door Dash to support local mom-and-pop restaurants (one of self’s favorites, a small Thai restaurant on Woodside Road, closed two weeks after the lockdown, and she was so bereft).

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Revisiting Self’s Melancholy/ What Is Going On With WordPress?

Three years ago, a short story called “This Is End” appeared in the Cost of Paper, vol. 5

It was science fiction about a character self kept using again and again, in different stories. The MC, Dragon, had a girlfriend, Her, who’d gone missing.

He doesn’t know what happened to Her (There are finite ways to disappear in space) but his favorite theory was that she was still alive, on another ship:

Floating, off to the right: the remains of the former space station, the Kobayashi Maru.

It caught fire. The wreckage drifted, was lost. Then found. Then lost, and found again.

And sometimes, when the ships drift past each other (literally ships that pass in the night HA HA HA), Dragon thinks he sees Her, gesturing to him from a window.


AND NOW FOR THE REST OF THIS POST, WHICH IS A VENT ABOUT THE NEW WORDPRESS SYSTEM OF FORMATTING, WHICH IS CALLED BLOCK EDITING.

Suddenly, without warning, right while she was in the middle of typing this post, each paragraph acquired its own frame. Like it was a picture. Which, self doesn’t have to tell dear blog readers, is ridiculous.

BLOCK EDITING WITH THE NEW WORDPRESS SYSTEM OF FORMATTING IS THE WORST.

The text floats in little bubbles, and appears so unstable. One little press of the key, and the entire block disappears.

Oh no! There it is again, but then it disappears again. Sort of like Dragon’s girlfriend, lol

Why mess with a system that worked fine — at least, it did for self.

Now, instead of editing tools being all to the side, they appear in the text, right on top of these little boxes — confusing as heck! She doesn’t need to see extra little visuals on top of each paragraph, what are they doing there, it’s not as if each paragraph requires its own format.

She starts typing and whole paragraphs bloom THAT SHE DID NOT HERSELF TYPE. Oh it’s auto-fill. WordPress remembered that you typed a sentence like this before, so it makes it easy and just copies what you typed before. WHICH MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE, because where would the fun be in blogging if you just copied from something you’d written before?

With block editing, everything gets so — jiggy. Like the text needs Xanax. The toolboxes and the blocks and the menus keep floating around on the screen, as if the document were suffering from ADD, and self doesn’t know how to get the words to stop moving because they apparently move in response to every slightest twitch of a finger.

And, self discovers to her dismay, she has very twitchy fingers.

FINALLY: This message that suddenly popped up on her Dashboard: START MAKING MONEY FROM YOUR POSTS!

10 (or more) years ago, she asked a friend (who was a marketing whiz, who was being paid big bucks to be said whiz) whether she thought self could release some of her writings as “extras” for people willing to pay a very small amount — say, a dollar. And this marketing whiz (who is still her friend, believe it or not, just not the type of friend she sees a lot, really just someone she encounters occasionally on FB), gaped and said: Why would you charge for something that’s free? I mean, that’s why it’s on the internet, because it’s supposed to be AVAILABLE. You can’t charge for anything on your blog. People would stop reading. And such was self’s faith in her obviously successful friend, she let the matter drop and never explored the idea of making a little money from blogging.

Until today, 12 years later, when she saw this message.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

#amwriting More Dystopia, With a Splash of Mandarin!

Zheng shi ruci.

“Oh, please.”

“Your Mandarin isn’t that bad.”

I sit down. She approaches. She smells different now. I allow her to stroke my cheek. Soon I’m panting and salivating, like one of those dogs.

Pavlovian theory. I learned that somewhere.

#amwriting Dystopia

You’re not permitted in my brain. Get out!

I root around in my head, trying desperately to reach Albert, tossing aside superfluous data, everything I think I don’t need for future transports. I’m under attack! Under attack! Under attack!

Shut down, Albert says. Abort delivery. Good-night.

#amwriting of First Contact

Cortez had just conquered the Aztecs, and their ancient cities were filled with gold.

The Spanish thought there was gold in the Philippines, too.

First sight of the Philippines by the Spanish:

  • Limasawa has the shape of a finger thrust into the ocean; its topography is generally flat. Butuan is much larger, a ring of beach surrounding a mountain wreathed in clouds, whose topmost peaks flash in fading evening light, flash like prince’s metal.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

Process: Stonehenge/Pacifica

Self decided to look through her old MacBook Air (which, judging from the dates on there, had stories dating as far back as 2006) and found an early version of her flash, Stonehenge/Pacifica, which Wigleaf published in 2012.

It is fascinating to compare the two versions. It seems that, early on, Stonehenge/Pacifica was a poem. The line breaks are short:

STONEHENGE/PACIFICA

It was a dream I had, some restless night.
Perhaps one of those weeks/ months/ years
when we were worried about money.
But when were we ever not worried?
First, there was the mortgage,
and then the two.
Then your mother got sick,
and your fathe died.
And my mother I think developed
Alzheimer’s

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

10 Years Ago in Hotel Amerika’s TransGenre Issue

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In that same issue were: Sarah White * Mary Cappello * Elaine Terranova * Kelly Cherry * Jennifer L. Knox * Brian Teare * Ben Quick * Christina Manweller * G. C. Waldrop

GHOSTS

(An excerpt)

I dreamt about my sister, dead these many years. It seemed she was in a place of ghosts. In my dream I put my face up to hers and kissed her cheek and said, “I’ll always be your sister.” But she turned her face away and closed her eyes. Her cheek was cold.

I said, “Do you want me to take you away, dear? Come, come! Let us go!” But she only looked sad and didn’t speak.

My son was with me but in my dream he was a young boy. I mean, my son at seven, not the way he is now. He was impatient with my sighs and tears and wanted to get away from that place. He was bored.

I gave him a pencil and told him, “Draw!” He took the pencil obediently. He drew. But it seemed to cost him great effort.

Now and then I would peep at what he was drawing: a series of empty rectangles. I asked him, “Why don’t you put people in your drawings? See, here, and here, and here. They are all around us!”

He looked up and slowly I saw understanding dawn on his face. He filled his drawings with the outlines of people. I understood then that he, too, could see them, these guests.

I told my sister: You are under a spell. You should never have gotten married. She nodded, but she didn’t seem to want to do anything about it. Eventually I left, I left my sister there in that cold white house in the middle of a barren plain. The landscape looked like that of a northern country, all bare brown fields as if struck by winter. All white trees.

In the back seat of my car was a white box. It made an angry buzz. I wanted to throw it away but I couldn’t because I knew somehow that there was something in that box that belonged to my sister.


Process: As a matter of fact, self did have this dream. Sometimes that happens. If self can get it all down quickly, the story almost writes itself. Which happened here.

Stay safe, dear blog readers.

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