Word of the Day, 3rd Sunday of August 2019

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KINAADMAN is a Visayan word signifying both knowledge and wisdom. The sailboat (vinta, a familiar sight in southern Philippines seas) carries on its sail the letter K in the old native syllabary.

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In the olden days, Filipinos were sailors. Using only the stars for guidance, our fast-moving sailboats ranged far across the Pacific — to Guam, the Micronesian Islands, even  Hawai’i.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Pearl Shop, Philippines

It always surprises her to learn that self’s got a following. Not here, IN THE PHILIPPINES. Which has thrived in her TOTAL ABSENCE. Like, go figure. In fact, she’s on the curriculum in the University of the Philippines.

She remembers giving a reading at a hotel in Cebu during International PEN, and all her books sold. Every last copy. Amazing, right? It sold out, even though the book was expensive by Philippine standards: 500 pesos per, almost $10 US. For a country like the Philippines, to have sold out at that price, for a writer who rarely goes home, is truly something.

She was at a dinner after her reading, and someone tapped her on her shoulder. She turned, and a woman self did not know said, “I just wanted you to know. I really loved The Lost Language.”

At the Cebu Airport the next day, a stranger came up, introduced himself, and said he flew from Cagayan de Oro to Cebu, JUST TO HEAR HER READ. Her hair was a sweaty mess, her clothes were rumpled. If she had known people would recognize her, she would have gone to a parlor.

Dearest Mum is always berating self for her lack of style. She looks, Dearest Mum said, like a slob. Because she has no compunction about wearing any old thing that happens to be clean.

The man who spoke to her at the airport in Cebu turned out to be a writer himself. He gave her a copy of his book. He writes plays. His book was published IN DIALECT which is so totally earth-shattering and amazing. No English translation, and self doesn’t know the dialect. But. Still. Self really believes in regional literature. Because literature from the margins is MORE powerful.

The writer’s name was Carlos A. Aréjola.

Here are the production notes, setting, cast of characters etc. from his play Unang Yugto:

Tagpuan (Setting): Cottage sa isang resort (A cottage in a resort)

Panahon (Time): Kasalukuyan (The Present)

CHARACTERS:

Edwin – matangkad, guapo (tall, handsome)

Toledo – mestisuhin (mestizo), 18 taong gulang (18 years old)

Dagul – 21, moreno (dark-skinned), medyo pandak (somewhat short), may body piercings.

Falcon – mestisuhin (mestizo), ayos na ayos ang buhok (Hair fussed over; sorry, that’s the best she can come up with)

Dalawang Dalaga (2 girls): college girls, magaganda (beautiful), mapuputi (white-skinned)

Mga Pasahero Sa Airport (Passengers in the Airport)

Cagayan de Oro isn’t exactly unknown, it’s a very populous province. But she’s never set foot in Cagayan de Oro, never given a reading there, doesn’t know a single person from Cagayan de Oro. Somehow, over there, in her home country, her book (with no marketing at all), has trickled from the urban centers to the provinces. Which means her work is embraced as a  vital part of Philippine culture. The knowledge is so humbling.

(Here, there’s a 40 Filipino Writers You Must Read List, which is published every December from San Francisco. She’s never on that list)

A few days ago, on Facebook, she met the owner of a shop called The Pearl Shop. Self accepted his friend request and then he told her that they sell her book. She said, Hey, I could send you some autographed copies if you like!

He was happy at the news.

The store is in Manila, and they are a purveyor of PEARLS (not a bookstore, in other words).

Heart Eyes, Pearl Shop.

To the end of time.

 

Again, a Shift

Did not finish The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. With only one or two exceptions, the case studies were elderly people. Everyone knows growing old SUCKS. Oliver Sacks is masterful in telling all the different ways. Next!

Diving into Tim Dee’s Landfill: Notes on Gull Watching and Trash Picking in the Anthropocene, a book self began reading a while back, which got pushed back because when traveling, she finds novels easier to digest.

Tim Dee did not always have a fascination for gulls, just as gulls are no longer necessarily seagulls.

pp. 17 – 18:

Calling them seagulls is wrong — that was one of the first things I learned as a novice bird-boy. They are as much inland among us as they are far out over the waves. Yet, in fact, this state of life for them is new. Over the past hundred years, human modernity has brought gulls ashore. They have lived in our slipstream, following trawlers, ploughs, dust-carts . . . They live as we do, walking the built-up world and grabbing a bite where they can.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: WATER

The prompt is WATER IN NATURE.

Clearly self hasn’t been spending much time outdoors because she had to go all the way back to May, in Prague, to find pictures of a body of water.

So, here are three pictures of Prague’s Vltava River, from the trip she took with her niece, Irene, end of May. All these pictures were taken during one beautiful Sunday. She wouldn’t have thought of posting them (She likes to post her travel pictures IN REAL TIME. Which is to say: as they are occurring) but she was going through her photo archives and, well, a river is a natural body of water.

A local told her that in Prague one could never be lost. And he was right! As long as you see a bridge, you can orient yourself. Luckily, the city’s not that big.

And besides, the city is so beautiful. So why be in such a hurry to get to your destination? Just relax, enjoy discovering new streets.

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Families Enjoying Sunday on the Vltava River, Prague, Late May

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Hiring Pleasure Boat on the Vltava River

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The Vltava: Giving the Seine a Run For Its Money

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Poetry Thursday: Luis Palés Matos

Antille, steaming pasture
of freshly crushed cane syrup.
Constant activity of the sugar mill
Molasses Turkish bath.
White-linened aristocracy
skimming over life’s waves
on milk-curdled phrases
and mellifluous metaphors.
Stylized coast drafted
by languid palm trees.

— translated by Rosario Ferré

Luis Palés Matos was born on March 20, 1898, in Guayama, Puerto Rico, a small village with a predominantly black population.

Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #50: TREES

Self is joining a new Photo Challenge: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #50 : TREES.

Thanks to viveka of My Guilty Pleasures for making self aware of this photo challenge.

The pictures below are from a trip to Prague that she took in late May with her niece, Irene.

1.  Trees, Prague, May 2019 (next to the Spanish Synagogue)

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2.  Last Sunday in May 2019: Walking by the National Theatre, Prague

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3. Afternoon Cruise Along the Vltava River

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Adolescents in the System: HINDSIGHT, p. 30

If there’s one thing Hindsight: Coming of Age in the Streets of Hollywood, by former student Sheryl Recinos, is making self angry about, it’s about the way children are treated as pawns by the juvenile system.

Recinos was one of five siblings. One of her brothers was given to foster care when he was 13 (Why? Because the parents needed money and took a German exchange student in his place). Recinos never saw her brother again.

She was sent to an adolescent psych ward at 11. The timing is suspicious: it was the start of summer vacation, when she’d be home all the time. She and her new stepmother did not get along.

The other patients in the psych ward were teenagers. A boy named Keith was kind to her.

p. 30:

Keith left. He was sent away to a boys’ group home a few hours away. For boys with anger issues. I’d never seen him angry. He probably had a fake diagnosis, too. After all, we were in the land of TV commercials showing how you could “fix” your difficult teens by shipping them off to a hospital.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Committed.2: HINDSIGHT, p. 29

An 11-year-old who was relishing the start of summer vacation and long hours of freedom instead finds herself committed to a psych ward by her father and stepmother. She lives in two rooms the entire summer: a bedroom (with barred windows) and a dining room.

Her first conversation is with a boy in the dining room, a day after she’s been committed:

The boy next to me whispered: “You should eat that.”

I looked up at him. He was older than me. In fact, everyone was older than me. I would soon learn that I was the youngest kid on the ward. Eleven-year-olds don’t usually get admitted to the adolescent psych unit. Adolescent was a big new word for me, but it meant twelve and older. I carefully surveyed the room, noticing the nurse watching me closely. I nodded and obediently ate the soggy flakes.

Group time came soon after breakfast. Keith, I learned, was fifteen. He was waiting for placement at a nearby group home, and he had anger issues.

Stay tuned.

Global Dickens

Self spent the morning at the Charles Dickens Museum on 48 Doughty Street, checking out the house where Dickens and his wife spent probably the two happiest years of their marriage. The house offers fascinating glimpses of the man’s domestic life, and the audio tour is highly recommended. She came away with a small fridge magnet showing her favorite painting of Dickens: he sits in his study, surrounded by a cloud of his inventions.

She saw a very distressed copy of David Copperfield and read that this copy “travelled with Robert Falcon Scott and his men to Antarctica in 1910. When half of Scott’s men were stranded in an ice cave for 7 months, they read to each other every night for comfort and entertainment. After 60 nights they finished David Copperfield and, as one of the men wrote, they were very sorry to part with him.”

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Dickens also exists in manga form!

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Quote of the Day: Tim Dee

Landfill: Notes on Gull Watching and Trash Picking in the Anthropocene, p. 21:

  • Early morning Bristol. The bars, along the street where I live, recycle their glass empties of last night.

She knew nothing about Tim Dee before she began this book.

His writing is SO beautiful.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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