The Priest in Murcia (1730)

Self struggles to give her main character, Matias, a backstory. So that he does not just show up in the Philippines ready with his demon-fighting abilities.

The parts set in Murcia (Why Murcia? Because on self’s island in the Philippines, her family’s land is near the town of Murcia. Someone from Murcia, Spain, obviously, came to the island, felt homesick, started a mission, and gave the adjoining community the name of his hometown in Spain)

So, back to Murcia, Spain. Self begins with the marriage (arranged) between Matias’s parents.

Doña Francisca’s family crest depicts the Cross of Calvary on a checkerboard pattern of yellow, white, and black. Don Rodrigo’s — well, there is no family crest. No matter. He possesses wealth.

Francisca’s dowry includes land on the south bank of the Segura. It is this land, coming into the possession of Matias’s father, that starts him on the path towards social standing and great material wealth. Eventually, he devises his own crest: a golden salamander on a deep red background.

He was in the light, now. Everyone looked at him with something resembling awe.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Opening Sentence, Work-In-Progress: Blue Water, Distant Shores (Working Title)

Backstory: A young Spanish priest makes it to the Philippines. His assigned task: fighting demons. It is 1755.

The old servant woman who greeted Matias at the door led him into a tiled foyer in which were aligned three austere-looking chairs of soot-black wood.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Jane Austen, Process

  • On March 18, 1817, Jane Austen stopped writing a book. We know the date because she wrote it at the end of the manuscript, on January 27th of that year. In the seven weeks in between, she had completed eleven chapters and slightly more than nine pages of a twelfth — some twenty-three thousand five-hundred words. The final sentence in the manuscript runs as follows: “Poor Mr. Hollis! — It was impossible not to feel him hardly used; to be obliged to stand back in his own House and see the best place by the fire constantly occupied by Sir H.D.”

— Anthony Lane, Last Laugh: Jane Austen’s Final, Surprising, Unfinished Novel

(The New Yorker, 13 March 2017)

To read:

  • Sanditon (her last novel, unfinished)
  • Persuasion
  • Northanger Abbey

Story-in-Progress: “Feint” (Dystopia)

I was not born with this sense of foreboding, just as my parents weren’t born with a sense of despair.

Work-in-Progress: “Losing a Body” (Genre: Fantasy)

Self has been working on flash. This story’s been growing by accretion, to four pages now:

There had been moments of deep humiliation, as well as moments of anger and sadness. He realized that most of these had something to do with a physical shortcoming.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Work-In-Progress: “Feint” (Genre: Dystopia)

For a woman who could not write a word of dialogue when she began her Creative Writing Program (and who moreover wrote in English, which was not the native tongue in her country of origin), her stories now seem to consist of nothing but.

“Is that you, Maa?”

“Yes. Can you send Le Ponant?”

“No. Why? I’ll have to clear it.”

“How long will that take?”

“A day or two. Is it lunchtime there?”

“No.”

“Well, it is, here. I’ve got to go.”

Stay tuned, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

 

 

#amwritinghistoricalfiction about the Philippines

Letter of Father Pedro Sanz to the Bishop of Manila

Octubre, 1752

Your Reverence,

I am already old, weary, and in poor health. When you first granted this position to me, and ordered me to serve you in this Island, I complied with your wishes, with not a word of complaint. I had already been many years in Nueva España, and exerted myself in every way. I arrived in Isla del Fuego and built a church, just as you commanded, and put in order the lives of the indios. By the grace of God, all turned out well. God has willed that Your Reverence’s wishes be fulfilled.

Now, I am exhausted. The need to recover my health and the declining health of my widowed mother force me to beg Your Reverence to allow me to return home.

May the Lord keep you.

Fr. Pedro Sanz

Isla del Fuego, Filipinas

NOTE: There is no island named Isla del Fuego in the Philippines. Self just made up the name.

DSCN4181

A Side Door of the Church of St. John Lasi on Siquijor, in the central Philippines: Such Stillness Outside! Also: Great Heat

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Work-in-Progress: The Rorqual

Word Count: 6,313

The day he noticed the first strange animals, Pitt had been missing over a week. Joshua was looking down at a bird. He couldn’t be sure what kind of bird it was, it had an odd wing structure.

He felt a premonition, a twinge. He got those, sometimes, every year or so. It was always a signal of some change, not always bad.

Novel-in-Progress: A Priest’s Letter to His Superior in Madrid, 24 March 1760

Before, the natives were mere shadows, moving silently through the forest, keeping their distance. They left scarcely more evidence of their comings and goings than wild animals. The forest is their home, and I do my utmost to show them that I respect it, as much as they do. I know that they feel themselves intimately connected to the great Nature around and about them. They believe Spirits live in the whispering trees and speak to them from babbling streams. Nature is full of omens, both of good or evil.

The Castaway in TREASURE ISLAND

Do you know that when self reads a book, she mines it for every possible use? Like, in her own writing?

Right now, she’s 316 pages into writing a very dense novel that she hopes will allow readers to see what the Philippines was like in its natural, unspoiled state, before the friars turned the islands into dioceses. (Her manuscript used to be 319 pages, just an hour ago. But — really, the plot is just there so she can say something important. Hopefully. She also realizes she’s probably shooting herself in the foot by admitting this on her blog, but anyhoo! It’s not like the world is beating a path to her door!)

After castaway and the narrator get past the introductions, they first talk about cheese, and then:

“Well, now, Jim, I’ve lived that rough as you’d be ashamed to hear of.”

(Self wishes he would just say, she’s sure it can’t be that scandalous because there is literally NO ONE ELSE on that island. In other words, we are not talking Lord of the Flies here)

“Now, for instance, you wouldn’t think I had had a pious mother — to look at me?” he asked.

“Why, no, not in particular,” I answered.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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