The Anointing Portion of an English Coronation

from Anne Glenconner’s engrossing memoir, Lady In Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown:

The anointing is considered the most vital part of any coronation, because without this sacred moment, the new King or Queen cannot be crowned. So significant and so holy is it that, despite the traditional canopy set up around her, held by four Knights of the Garter, the cameras were diverted so she was hidden from view, with only a handful of people, including me, able to witness it.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 72: WAITING

It is easy for self to come up with pictures for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge  #72 this week: WAITING.

Less than a week ago, she and two other friends waited at Oxford University’s Examination Schools for the start of the inaugural lecture by newly appointed Professor of Poetry Alice Oswald, who is the first woman ever to be appointed to that prestigious position.

Self took the second picture while visiting London’s Canary Wharf. Evern since she saw the handmaidens, she’s been wondering what/ who they’re waiting for.

The third picture is of self in Prague, where she’d gone in May with her niece. The other woman in the picture is a Filipina; we started chatting.

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Prague, May 2019

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Women and Knives: from Alcina’s History of the Bisayan People in the Philippine Islands

Thank the gods self was able to carve out a week in Oxford. Since she left the Tyrone Guthrie Centre on Oct. 27, it’s been very hectic. She hasn’t had time to read the Philippine history books, like Alcina’s, which she checked out of Stanford’s Green Library and which she’s lugged from Stanford to Dublin to Annaghmakerrig to Dublin to Manchester to London and finally here, to Oxford.

But walking around the Oxford Botanic Garden, and wandering into stores that sell old maps, and attending services two days in a row at Christ Church — all of that — is certainly reviving her interest in Alcina!

Francisco Ignacio Alcina was a Jesuit missionary who ended his great work in 1665. Self is reading it in a bilingual translation published by the oldest university in the Philippines, the University of Santo Tomas.

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Christ Church, Oxford: Remembrance Day

from Chapter 6: Concerning other mechanical arts which they knew in their antiquity and have preserved till today with improvements

  • The women have different types of knives of various shapes, but all are of iron. Some resemble the bolo, others are like ours which they call sipul in some regions and in others, dipang. They are accustomed to place their little rings of iron on the ends so that they make little sounds. These are valuable to the women and rarely will one be seen without them. In some towns, they always carry them in their hands when they go out of their houses so that they travel prepared for whatever might occur in the way of cutting something and even of wounding each other perhaps when they quarrel. In a town one woman killed another with one of these little knives because of jealousy. A very small wound is required to draw the soul from the body.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The San Francisco Bay Area in The Overstory

p. 378:  SPOILER-FREE

Three months later, a machine shed in a lumber yard up near the Olympic Peninsula explodes. Mimi reads about it in the Chronicle. She’s sitting on the grass by the Conservatory of Flowers, in the corner of Golden Gate Park, a ten-minute walk from the hilltop, University of San Francisco, where she’s finishing her master’s degree in rehabilitation and mental health counseling.

Newspaper Sidebar: Timeline of Ecological Terror, 1980 – 1999

Ha! Richard Powers gets the flavor of the San Francisco Bay Area down in spades. Wonder where he lives?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Opening, New Flash

Living and breathing Philippine history for two weeks does have its advantages. Such as

HISTORICAL FLASH! HISTORICAL FLASH! HISTORICAL FLASH!

  • In the city of Manila, on the twentieth of May, in the year one-thousand, five-hundred and eighty-nine, Doctor Santiago de Marquina saw a girl he estimated to be about fourteen years of age rising about a foot above the floor while she made her confession. This occurrence took place in the chapel of the convent of the Barefoot Saint Clares, situated by the Puerto Real in the old fort known as Intramuros.

Stay tuned.

Writing of the Day: The MC’s Sister Writes a Letter

What self is doing, she does not know. She just keeps tossing off letter after letter. Like, not only does she accept the throwdown of writing about 18th century Philippines, she has to make the whole thing epistolary!

Anyhoo, this section’s fresh as fresh, as she made the whole thing up about an hour ago. Thoughts?

You wrote that it is useless to appeal to the Bishop in Manila, for he cares more for “musk, civet, and pearls” than for his priests, which necessitates your appealing to Spain. And the Governor General is no better, you say, for he “struts about in the richest of silks and brocades”. If this individual were to somehow present to me at this very moment, I would demand that he be strung up from the highest gibbet. For are these things you have requested not proper and necessary for any human being, never mind those who are representatives of the Church and our country?

I am inclined to write a letter to the King himself, to inform him of what is truly going on in the islands, for He may well not know. Oh, to what lengths are we driven to serve both Our God and Our Lord!

Your loving sister,

Dorotea

In so many previous drafts (maybe the 1st to the 10th draft), Dorotea was the MC’s (secret) love interest, but self was unable to keep up the tension after the MC left for his mission in the Philippines, so she decided to turn Dorotea into his sister. There was more to the letter (e.g. curses to the English etc for occupying the islands, which they did for two years, in the early 1760s. They ultimately decided that the country didn’t have enough gold or silver to justify them staying.)

Stay tuned, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

Butler’s Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Saints, vol. IV

St. Hedwiges, Duchess of Poland:

She wore the same cloak and tunic summer and winter; and underneath a rough hair shift, with sleeves of white serge, that it might not be discovered. She fasted every day, except Sundays and great festivals, on which she allowed herself two small refections. For forty years she never ate any flesh, though subject to frequent violent illnesses; except that once, under a grievous distemper in Poland, she took a little, in obedience to the precept of the pope’s legate. On Wednesdays and Fridays her refection was only bread and water. With going to churches barefoot, sometimes over ice and snow, her feet were often blistered, and left the ground stained with traces of her blood; but she carried shoes under her arms, to put on if she met anyone.

Philippa Kelly, Cal Shakes Resident Dramaturg, on MACBETH

Never, ever miss a Cal Shakes Grove Talk. Self has been to a few of these, all delivered by Philippa Kelly, and each is enthralling. Kelly is a superb speaker. She ties in history, puts the play in context, and makes the playgoing experience so rich!

Self learned yesterday that Macbeth was written in 1606.

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She was reminded that a boy played Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s time. Imagine lines like “Milk my breast” from the lips of a boy! Plus the high voice! Self thought about this while observing Liz Sklar’s performance as Lady Macbeth — that is a powerful role that demands an actor equally powerful. A boy just doesn’t cut it.

This evening, self is reading Kelly’s essay in the program brochure. The essay’s title is Can We Forgive Ourselves?

  • Actions can be imagined; but “if it (is) done when ’tis done,” an action has consequences — and if we are thinking and feeling beings, consequences can’t be ignored.

After listening to Kelly, self saw the play as a true horror story. Macbeth and his wife see ghosts everywhere. At the start of the play, they are young and beautiful. By its end they’ve both been driven round the bend. And it is TRAGIC.

Self realizes she has never, ever seen young Macbeth or Lady Macbeth. Until yesterday. It’s not Romeo and Juliet, but Liz Sklar’s Lady Macbeth is LIT!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Photo-A-Week Challenge: STACKED

Fun Challenge this week from Nadia Merrill’s Photo-a-Week:

  • STACKED.

A stack of one of self’s short story collections: The Lost Language

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Published by Anvil Press of the Philippines, TEN YEARS AGO!!!!

A stack of books at the London Review Bookshop, May 2019

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London Review Bookshop: May 2019

On one side of London’s Russell Square is the newly renovated Kimpton-Fitzroy. Love the stacks of ornate, ironwork balconies:

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The Kimpton-Fitzroy off Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

SIGN: Flash Stories by the members of Seventeen Syllables, curated by Grace Loh Prasad for Jellyfish Review

From the Introduction by Grace Loh Prasad:

A hand or patch over one eye. A rainbow flag. A kneeling athlete. An eggplant emoji. A thumb pointing down.

What do these have in common? They are all symbols, representing something more than what is literally pictured. A symbol is a kind of sign — at its simplest, a unit of meaning. Whether they’re labels for places or ideas, indicators of prestige or health, or warnings of what’s ahead, signs operate at a level deeper than language. A sign is like a boat, but instead of water it navigates through meaning, through a shared set of references within a community.

Read the rest of the introduction, here.

Stay tuned.

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