LUCIFER: Princeps

As part of the research for self’s novel-in-progress (about a 25-year-old Spanish priest who is sent to the Philippines — in 1756 — to fight demons), self haunted the Atlantis Bookshop in London, last summer. Atlantis has books on every supernatural subject you can think of: witches, gnomes, fairies, elves, ghosts and, yes, angels and demons. It’s a wee little space on Museum Way, off Great Russell Street.

Met a woman who asked, of all things, about the Hukbalahap (Communist insurgency in the Philippines, most active in the 1950s). Not even Filipinos ever bring up the Hukbalahap. Will wonders never cease?

So, self is reading the chapter about sacrificial goats (as opposed to sacrificial lambs, how refreshing) and is reminded of something her Hong Kong writer friend, Maloy, told her: never pick up a stray umbrella, especially if you see one on a rainy day.

The chapter of Lucifer: Princeps self is reading is about Hittite ritual (Hittites are in the Bible. Believe Nebuchadnezzar was one? Or maybe he wasn’t. Sometimes self’s memory is very spotty):

p. 70: . . .  Hittite ritual describes how a woman transfers the evil onto a mouse, which is then released.

Which, in connection with the stray umbrellas her friend Maloy warned self against picking up: People who are having a spell of bad luck sometimes leave personal items — like umbrellas — out in the open for unsuspecting strangers to pick up. When another person picks up the umbrella, the bad luck gets transferred to them.

Self will never forget how, just after Maloy shared her story, a furled umbrella came bumping tok-tok-tok down the giant outdoor escalator (We were going to Maloy’s apartment, which was on the Mid-Level. Can you imagine giving an address that goes xx-xx, Mid-Level, Escalator x, Hong Kong?) Self just stared at it in total fascination.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Serenity: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is SERENITY.

The prompt on The Daily Post site is accompanied by a shot of a giant Buddha that was taken on Lantau Island in Hong Kong (Cannot tell you how long self has been wanting to go to Lantau Island, for this very reason)

Anyhoo, on this overcast day, self decided to go south on Highway 1. Destination: Bridget Dolan’s Pub in Elk, which alas turned out to be closed (Opens at 4:30 p.m. — Self would never drive that stretch of Highway after dark. She white-knuckled it in broad daylight — not so much because of the road’s sharp twists and turns, but because there were a number of speeding trucks who kept almost bumping up behind her and hardly gave self any time to pull over)

She did stop once, to take a couple of pictures. Here are a few of the ones she took. By sheer happenstance, they seem to go well with this week’s prompt:

Just South of Mendocino on Highway 1

Just South of Mendocino on Highway 1

Off Highway 1, a few miles south of Mendocino

More of the same off Highway 1

Self recalls seeing a sign saying Van Damme State Park, across the highway.

Self recalls seeing a sign saying Van Damme State Park, across the highway. Doesn’t that piece of driftwood just look FANTASTIC? Self was almost tempted to drag it to her car and bring it home to use as a table base but she’d probably have been breaking some law . . .

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Reading List, 3rd Wednesday of July (2014)

Time for self to get serious again with her reading.

These are the list of books she plans to read.  It is telling that they are all novels.

Well, the last one, by Alan Furst, is more of a thriller.

She’s never read him before, so she’s glad for a chance to get to know him.

Without further ado, the list:

  • Sebastian Barry’s The Secret Scripture (Self adores Barry)
  • Richard Price’s The Lush Life (It’s set in New York City.  Self loves New York City.)
  • Janice Y. K. Lee’s The Piano Teacher (It’s set in Hong Kong.  Self loves Hong Kong.)
  • Alan Furst’s Dark Star (Self doesn’t know where this is set.  In fact, she hardly knows anything about this novel except that it was recommended in a back issue of Condé Nast Traveler)

Here’s a passage from The Secret Scripture, pp. 11 -12:

It is funny, but it strikes me that a person without anecdotes that they nurse while they live, and that survive them, are more likely to be utterly lost not only to history but the family following them.  Of course this is the fate of most souls, reducing entire lives, no matter how vivid and wonderful, to those sad black names on withering family trees, with half a date dangling after and a question mark.

My father’s happiness not only redeemed him, but drove him to stories, and keeps him even now alive in me, like a second more patient and more pleasing soul . . .

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

 

On the Move 6: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The Star Ferry:  Hong Kong, August 2006

The Star Ferry: Hong Kong, August 2006

IRT-Lexington Line, 86th Street Station, New York City, August 2006

IRT-Lexington Line, 86th Street Station, New York City, August 2006

Andrew de Jesus and his cousins Chris and William Blackett, the foothills behind Cañada College, Redwood City

Andrew de Jesus and his cousins Chris and William Blackett, the foothills behind Cañada College, Redwood City

Monument 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Hong Kong, monument to the Chinese money-making instinct:  Summer 2006 (Last Trip to Asia with Sole Fruit of Her Loins)

Hong Kong, monument to the Chinese money-making instinct: Summer 2006 (Last Trip to Asia with Sole Fruit of Her Loins)

The Golden Gate Bridge:  View From Land's End, San Francisco:  December 2008

The Golden Gate Bridge: View From Land’s End, San Francisco: December 2008

The Layout of Stonehenge: Diagram From SOLVING STONEHENGE, by Anthony Johnson. Self has always been fascinated by the abiding mystery of these stones.  She even used the monument in a short story that got published in Wigleaf ("Stonehenge/Pacifica")

The Layout of Stonehenge: Diagram From SOLVING STONEHENGE, by Anthony Johnson. Self has always been fascinated by the abiding mystery of these stones. She even used the monument in a short story that got published in Wigleaf in 2008:  “Stonehenge/Pacifica”

Excerpt, “Stonehenge/Pacifica” published in Wigleaf (1/11/2012):

It was a dream I had, some restless night.  One of those weeks or months or years when we were worried about money.

But when were we ever not worried?

First there was the mortgage, and then the two.

And then your mother got sick, and your father died.

You can read the story in its entirety, here.

Right after posting this, self decided to book herself a tour of Stonehenge.  An evening tour of Stonehenge, not one of the day tours that take in multiple sites, with Stonehenge thrown in.  That’s on April 26. She has to find a way to get to Salisbury, where the tour starts.  The tour starts in the evening, though, so she has almost the whole of the 26th to figure out how to get there.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

The Sleepwalker

Self wrote a story about a sleepwalker.  It’s a strange and quiet story.  But perhaps it needs more work, for there hasn’t been a nibble in a year of sending out.

Which leads self to the impulse that made her post:  there have been cities where her insomnia was almost overwhelming.  One of these cities was Hong Kong, which she last visited in 2006.  There was such a buzz in her head, but she forced herself to walk around.  That was the last trip she and Sole Fruit of Her Loins ever took together.

The five nights she spent in Berlin were not bad, by comparison.

In Scotland, last summer, self relaxed.  Something about the sunset coming so late, something about knowing there were other writers nearby, only a floor above.  Once, self went up there, to the top floor, and it felt like a dormitory:  everyone was still awake, at 2 a.m.  Self dragged her blanket with her, up the circular stairs.  “What’s the matter?  What’s the matter?” everyone asked.  She slept so peacefully in Scotland.

In Bacolod, she does not sleep peacefully.  Her nerves are jangly.  But it doesn’t matter, because the hotels have 24-hour masahistas.  Such a place!  She loves Bacolod.  Please, please give her masahe, right now!

When she was 11, she went to Europe as part of a Children’s International Summer Village delegation from the Philippines:  four children and an adult chaperone.  Self remembers vividly all the countries she visited:  the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, and her delegation’s final destination, England.  She was so thrilled by her first sight of the Roman coliseum, the Forum, and Venice!  She remembers going for a night-time gondola ride, and all the gondolas arranged around a circular floating stage, festooned with lights, and a woman singing into the sultry air, and self feeling she would never ever experience anything like it in her entire life (and she hasn’t).  She remembers the twisting alleyways, the laundry hanging from tall, narrow houses, the blur of pigeons in San Marco Square.  She even remembers the dress she always seems to be wearing, in her memories of Venice:  a short white shift, with a small red, white and blue anchored on a wee pocket, just below her right shoulder.

She’s decided to bring her Old Navy red pea coat (the one that she bought a few months ago, for $14.99!).  She loves red anything.  She bought a similar coat when she was in Edinburgh.  Margarita says it will still be cold.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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