#amwriting a Longer Short Story

It opens:

  • David Fowler and his wife, Edith, were from Iowa. They were both blonde, blue-eyed, stocky – real, true-blooded, plains Americans. Gusts of a wholesome Midwest freshness came with them on the steamer across the Pacific.

A Young Priest Is Sent to the Philippines to Replace a Murdered Friar (Novel Excerpt)

Camarote de Marinero

 “Father, here you go. You have your own room.”

There was a narrow platform which he presumed was his bed. Beneath the platform was a small cabinet.

“Your things here,” the boy said.

Later, he overheard the men talking about him: they called him cochino. Even though Matias was not fat, not even close to, he knew the most well-fed men in the villages were usually the friars. It was new to him, the contempt, the disrespect, because usually men of the cloth were treated with deference. At least, this had been the case in Spain.

Another time, he heard the captain say, “sin experiencia del mundo” and assumed he was the one being referred to.

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.

Hedgebrook to Self: There’s Always Centrum

Years ago, when Calyx Publisher Margarita Donnelly was still alive, she told self about Hedgebrook. She said, It’s the most magical place. But you can only go once. So don’t waste it.

Self had Hedgebrook, that tantalizing lure, in the back of her mind, for decades. Eventually, she started writing a novel. Then she thought: This could be finally be the project I can apply to Hedgebrook for.

She did not hear back on her application, for almost a year.

Wow, they must have tons of applications, self thought.

Finally, because her landlady was pressuring her to extend her lease, and self didn’t want to do that if she was going to Hedgebrook, she decided to call Hedgebrook.

“Umm, hello,” self said. “Have the results of next year’s residencies already been released?”

Impactful (maybe also painful) silence.

Who is this?

“Marianne Villanueva.”

Another long silence. “The results were announced six months ago. We’ll have someone call you.”

And that’s when self’s gut fell all the way to the bottom of her shoes.

Sure enough, someone did call to tell self she’d been rejected. Not wait-listed. Just flat-out rejected. “There’s Centrum, if you like the area,” said the caller.

“Oh,” self said. “Thanks so much for the recommendation.”

Stay tuned.

Self’s Dystopian Imagination

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Lake Annagmakerrig: 4:30 a.m., 8 November 2018

Boy was the last of four. Alive just this morning. Fell through the ice chasing after a shadow that he thought was food.

What food. What a fool. There’s no food on the ice. Not on top, not under.

Hadn’t he told the boy, over and over: Watch the sky. The food will come as a drop.

I been watching, the boy said. For weeks.

— from self’s short story “Ice”

Her piece was published in Bellingham Review’s annual on-line issue, November 2017.

Read it in its entirety, here.

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.

 

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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.

 

Gloomy Forest 1 (#amwriting)

Self is attempting to finish all she has left unfinished.

Attempt # 1:

The woman took the letter and set off, but soon got lost and found herself wandering in a forest. In the gathering darkness she saw a faint light glimmering among the trees. She made for it and eventually found herself in front of a cottage. Inside, an old woman sat dozing at a cheerful fire. The old woman took fright at the sudden appearance of the stranger and demanded, “Where have you sprung from and where are you going?” The woman answered, “I’m taking a letter” but forgot everything else. In the end, what is true is what remains.

 

A Photo a Week Challenge: In the Neighborhood

Love this week’s Photo a Week Challenge.

Self is heading home soon. Here are three pictures she took just before she left on her latest trip:

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Kepler’s Books and Magazines, Menlo Park, California: Self read here when her first book came out, ages and ages and ages ago.

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Courthouse Square, Redwood City, California: This has been her home for almost as long as she’s lived in America. It’s one of the most vibrant, ethnically-mixed places on the Peninsula.

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Stanford University, which made of self a writer.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

When Will She Finish This (From a Year Ago)

TO DO

Weekend in Mendocino: Clouds lower, spit rain. The meadows on the headlands are green like Ireland’s. No flowers yet, it’s still early in the year.

Out there, where the surf meets the cliffs, lives a Kraken.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 70: MONOCHROME

P. A. Moed quotes Kim Hunter:

. . . emotions come through much stronger in black and white. Color is distracting in a way, it pleases the eye but it doesn’t necessarily reach the heart.

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Domestic Terminal, Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila: September 2019

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Sitting at an Outdoor Table, Café Borrone, Menlo Park, California: August 2019

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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