“Soy la voz de Dios”

Translation: I am the Voice of God.

These words are carved into a massive bell in a church in the Philippine province of Iloilo (just across a narrow strait from Dear Departed Dad’s home province, Negros, in the central Philippines) The bell weighs 10.4 tons, don’t even ask self how workers managed to get it up into the bell tower. Can you imagine that ringing for every mass? The sound is very deep.

Self decided to write a new chapter for Camarote de Marinero today.

It begins:

When he first met Ta-hum, who was his cook, his factotum, who cared for him the way a mother cares for a child, even though she was 10 years younger, he himself had been a young man, with all the imperfections of youth.

Now?

Soy la voz de Dios, he intoned.

Tahum is a Hiligaynon word meaning “beautiful.”

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Camarote de Marinero: Self’s MC Meets the Archbishop

The Archbishop to Matias:

These are the matters that you must report on: number of baptisms; deaths, of officials and clergy; fires; condition of the ports; salaries, especially if there are upward adjustments; arrivals and departures; conflicts; fiscal status; the foundation of hospitals; prices of commodities and goods; taxes; tributes; profits; ordinary expenses; relations with the Sangleys (that is what they call the Chinese); the influence of local healers.”

— Excerpt from self’s novel, Camarote de Marinero

#amwriting About Voyaging

They were not as accomplished at sea voyaging, not like their cousins the Portuguese. Those weak cousins of theirs had voyaged far earlier, perhaps less sure of their ability to hang on to Iberian earth and rock.

Everywhere a Portuguese ship went, that was Portugal. The ship’s deck became Mother. The ports they entered were also Mother. The Mother’s embrace gradually spanned worlds.

Blair & Robertson: A HISTORY OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, vol. 13

  • Permission is given (February 23, 1604) for the Augustinian Recollects to establish themselves in the Philippines.

More than four centuries later, self starts to write a novel about an Augustinian priest who is sent to the Philippines to fight demons.

In Progress: The Philippines, April 1942

In mid-April, Honorato was sent to the mountains.  He had just turned 18.  Don Geronimo worried because he was tall, because he was good-looking, because he was the eldest and bore the hopes of his parents on his slender shoulders.  Hide, his father told him.  Get as far away from here as you can.

In Process

Story. Working Title: WOLFEN ATTACKS BOWL

Wolfen enters the chat.

Bowl: So, Wolfen, are you about to kill us?

Wolfen: Who are you?

Bowl: Bowl.

Wolfen: Am I attacking you?

Bowl: No.

Wolfen: Are you attacking me?

Bowl: Yes.

Wolfen: Stop it.

Bowl: lol

Wolfen: lol

ReAction: lol

Aztec Soldier: lol

More Writing in a Pandemic

Further in self’s novel about the World War II occupation of the city of Bacolod in the central Philippines (72k words so far):

Don Geronimo entered Honorato’s room just as his eldest son was about to get dressed. It was eight o’clock.

“The Japanese are here,” he said.

Honorato said nothing.

There was a group of them, some in uniform, some in civilian clothing. They had told Don Geronimo they were there to put the Daku Balay under the protection of the Imperial Japanese Army. “We are forbidden to leave the premises without permission. Go through the kitchen. Moses is waiting for you by the side gate.”

20190908_170235

The Daku Balay, Burgos Street, Bacolod City: It was used by the Japanese High Command during World War II. Self’s grandfather sent her uncle to the mountains. Her father, only 12 at the time, stayed home.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

#amwriting of First Contact

Cortez had just conquered the Aztecs, and their ancient cities were filled with gold.

The Spanish thought there was gold in the Philippines, too.

First sight of the Philippines by the Spanish:

  • Limasawa has the shape of a finger thrust into the ocean; its topography is generally flat. Butuan is much larger, a ring of beach surrounding a mountain wreathed in clouds, whose topmost peaks flash in fading evening light, flash like prince’s metal.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

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.”

“I’m All for Spare Writing, But — “

The above was the response of an English agency to self’s horror story, The Rorqual.

It’s taken her years, but the writing of this has been an absolute joy. And, no matter how many changes self makes to the main narrative, this first paragraph is a given:

  • The report came from somewhere on the Bering Sea. The pair had left the Black Hills the previous morning. The woman, it appeared, was headed for Baranof, the man for Kuiu. Both were on foot.

BARANOF? KUIU? WTH, self has never been to that part of the world.  Nevertheless, that first paragraph came to her whole, some years ago. Not one word has self ever cut. It’s not so much information as rhythm self sought to establish here. And this first paragraph, the rhythm it sets forth, is what has enabled self to proceed.

So many magazines refuse to even take a look: “We don’t do genre.”

Most people who have read her manuscript use the word “ambitious.” One even called it massively ambitious.

But if you don’t go for broke with your writing, why even bother? Sure, she fails about as often as she manages to connect, but the failing is part of her process. Writing is the one activity where self operates without the benefit of a safety net, which is why, in her humble opinion, the activity is so “pure.”

As for genre, self swims in genre. She adores genre.

Stay tuned.

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