Self’s MC Writes a Letter to the Archbishop of Madrid

This self-isolation thing is the gift that keeps on giving. Self is churning out 16th century correspondence like nobody’s business.

Here’s an excerpt from a letter she — or rather, her Main Character — composed about twenty minutes ago. It’s first draft (though self has been reading 16th century for months now, so the voice is definitely something she is used to). Apologies for the lack of transition between paragraphs. Her MC’s a little, shall we say, distracted!

Your Reverence,

This is not the first time the English have resorted to such methods. In fact, I am told there are half a dozen Spaniards held in such manner. The situation of the prisoners is very precarious, for the English say they have no compunction about hanging them if no ransom is forthcoming.

In other news, the Filipinas is much heartened by the fact that three galleons made it unmolested to New Spain. They will shortly be on their return journey, and I have put in an order for two icons of the Blessed Virgin.

Those English blackguards! They’re nothing but mercenaries!

Also, please hurry delivering those Blessed Virgin icons to Isla del Fuego.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Self Writes 16th Century

Self wrote the below section in a tone deliberately deadpan. It’s from her novel, Camarote de Marinero: Voyages.

An archivist to a young missionary who is shortly to depart Spain for the Philippines (1597):

  • As regards your health. The only hospitals are in Manila. You will be ill, but there is no help. There are two seasons, the dry and the wet. Fever is common during the wet season.

Am Writing Historical Fiction: Letter to Brother Matias from Dorotea (His Secret Love)

Dorotea writes from Spain. She is high-born and literate, a rarity for those times. Also: she is married to Matias’s brother (She has

Self’s MC, Matias, is a missionary on Isla del Fuego, a mythical island in the central Philippines.

January 19th 1671

Dear Matias,

I write this by the light of a weak candle, looking out the window at the morning star. It seems to wink at me. My God, I have not been able to sleep, not since your mother’s illness. Now, the year has turned, I force myself to pick up a quill and write to you. Her cheeks were still ruddy a week ago. Yesterday, her eyes were dull as marbles. Forgive me, my dear, for I must cause you pain.

Poetry Monday: Jose Wendell Capili

Ohtaue

(Prelude to a rice festival)

from the collection A Madness of Birds (University of the Philippines Press, 1998)

Call it staple.
Marsh grass with stems
veiled in leaf sheaths.
From a farmer’s thatched
cottage, it is the speech
of earth nourishing
a roothold, green and firm
like frogs torching on a path.
A cool breeze of fall
spells harvest.
Rice grains are hard,
mellowing when cooked,
a passion flickered
when ascetics donning
orange robes reflect
the shape of parasol pots
containing each grain.
A luminous space
of children strumming
arpeggiolike strings
invite settlers to wear
pearls and summer kimonos
dyed from playful
shades of light.
Bamboo flutes hum
while people eat rice.


Jose Wendell P. Capili graduated from the University of Santo Tomas and holds a Masters in Philosophy degree in Social Anthropology from Cambridge University (England). He is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including the Korea Foundation, The Carlos Palanca Foundation, The Cultural Center of the Philippines and Silliman University. He teaches at the University of the Philippines in Diliman.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Glass, Cups, Saucers

WHAT FUN! Self loves Glass, Cups, and Saucers. Just in general. Thank you, Cee Neuner!

Good morning, Silay! Hometown of Dear Departed Food Writer Doreen G. Fernandez: Self visited in September.

20190914_083342

Gamboa House, Silay: September 2019

Hello, Ateneo Classmates! Reunion Dinner

DSCN0427

Makati, September 2019

Hello, Prague! At the Globe Bookstore/Coffeeshop. Self was in Prague with her niece, Irene.

DSCN0178

May 2019

What a year 2019 was!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Poetry Tuesday: Simeon Dumdum, Jr.

Night Deer

from the collection Poems: Selected and New (Ateneo de Manila University Press)

It was deer dark when I opened the door,
I mean in the blackness I could make out
The free form of a fawn, a nose
Would be there small and cold, would cloud
My face, and if I stretched my hand I’d hold
A funny little jaw, how dark the round
Night, and it would kneel if it was stroked
And I would pat it, and about
This deer, of course, I’d been feeling the road,
Touch and its tale, and darkness you could count
How many deer —
And then I would not close
The door so they could come and ring around,
Darkness and its animals, so you would know.


Simeon Dumdum, Jr. once studied for the priesthood in Galway, Ireland, but left the seminary to take up law. He has won prizes from the Palanca and Focus Philippines.

Revising Ch. X of CAMAROTE DE MARINERO (98k Words, Novel)

Chapter X of Camarote de Marinero

Who Owns This Island?

The Philippines, 1652

The soldiers spotted Ka Bukay, standing uncertainly at the edge of the forest. Ka Bukay had taken the precaution of laying down his bow and arrows.

“You there!” a soldier called out to Ka Bukay. “Who owns this island?”

Ka Bukay knew Spanish, for he was intelligent and besides had worked on a mission on the next island, before coming home to Isla del Fuego.

“God,” Ka Bukay answered.

“No,” the tall soldier responded. “Spain owns this island.”

Poetry Sunday: Alfredo Navarra Salanga (1948-1988)

Anniversary

from the collection One Hundred Love Poems: Love Poetry Since 1905, edited by Gemino H. Abad and Alfred A. Yuson (The University of the Philippines Press)

Why celebrate the day we married
With a poem about your hair?
Perhaps because I’ve always wondered
how it would have been if left uncut:
after ten long years it could have grown
maybe long enough to brush the floor.
But life is very much like hair.
(or should that be the other way around?):
the cutting of it marks beginnings.
We have been blessed, the two of us,
with the resiliency of your hair —
we have always been capable of growth
and of not losing our way

1985

Poetry Friday: Eric Gamalinda

INCANTATION/ A SCROLL

published in Caracoa 18 (April 1988)

The madman and the hypocrite roam this city I didn’t want to die in
I have seen my generation scour the alleys for scraps and sex
have seen the gentlest people throw up in disgust unhappy and
impolite
and the needle piercing the skin and the ooze of impossible
blood
all of them fortify my battlements i.e. not even the leaves
tremble at the thought of decay
and even as this man dies or that one fails I am learned or
am fallen
not defeated but bracing for the next attack
the symmetry of vespers and arrows
now the inner midnight is descending and the fine opens and closes
over someone’s sad mouth holding back the howl
with its immaculate crises and blooms of violets
and always I am he
I burn in the beatified rainbows
I am driven insane by the simplest wind
and when this man fails or that one exults
I am he/I am lessened/I exult


What a poem. That first line.

Poetry Saturday: Emmanuel Torres

Freedom

After a haiku by Rolando Pangan

(from the collection The Smile on Smokey Mountain, Winner of the Philippine National Book Award for Poetry)

Not having to hear
The guard singing as his keys
Dangle steps away.


Emmanuel Torres was a professor of English at self’s alma mater, the Ateneo de Manila University, and curator of the Ateneo Art Gallery. He received his masters in English from the State University of Iowa and was a member of Paul Engle’s Iowa Writers Workshop from 1955-1957.

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