Sunday, May 3 at The Digital Sala

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The MC in I CAPTURE THE CASTLE

Cassandra wants to be a writer. Thinks of herself as a writer. Even though the family is so impoverished, and the father who is a writer cannot support them. The family dines on cold Brussels sprouts and cold rice.

p. 95:

  • My hand is very tired but I want to go on writing. I keep resting and thinking. All day I have been two people — the me imprisoned in yesterday and the me out here on the mound; and now there is a third me trying to get in — the me in what is going to happen next.

Stay tuned.

Reading: I CAPTURE THE CASTLE, p. 26

Chapter III

  • When I read a book, I put in all the imagination I can, so that it is almost like writing the book as well as reading it — or rather, it is like living it.
  • I dont intend to let myself become the kind of author who can only work in seclusion — after all, Jane Austen wrote in the sitting-room and merely covered up her work when a visitor called (though I bet she thought a thing or two) — but I am not quite Jane Austen yet and there are limits to what I can stand.

NOTE: Dodie Smith (1896- 1990), an English writer, wrote I Capture the Castle while living in Malibu in the 1940s. It was her first novel.

Sentence of the Day: Self’s Own

From her novel Blue Water, Distant Shores, which she is re-naming Camarote de Marinero: Voyages

(Also, self is considering not going to AWP, for it would be such a distraction. No kidding. All she would end up doing is hole up in her hotel room, writing. Which she can very well do at home. But ooops, she’ll be charged a penalty. Aargh)

Trigger Warning: Run-On Sentence

To Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth I

From Martin de Rasa, Viceroy of New Spain

June the 8th, 1579

A Relation of the Circumstances of the Loss of the Nuestra Señora de la Concepcion

80 pounds of gold, 26 pounds of silver, 13 chests of silver coins, and jewels (pearls, jades, rubies, and other precious stones) for which the residents of Manila demand restitution. For that cargo was intended for the Audiencia, and other vital instruments of government in these Islands. And now the soldiers must go unpaid, and are close to mutiny.

But, truly, Viceroy of New Spain, why should Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth I care if Spanish soldiers are close to mutiny? lol

Self has just introduced SIR FRANCIS DRAKE into her narrative.

Stay tuned.

“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.

Currently Reading SOLVING STONEHENGE, by Anthony Johnson

The book was a gift from the author, who self has never met. He mailed it to Redwood City from Oxford University, where he taught. Self was blogging about Stonehenge (and was also writing flash about Stonehenge — those flash can still be found in Wigleaf). He left her a message on this blog. Then sent her the book.

In 1992, a burial site was discovered, 5 km east of Stonehenge. It was the grave of an adult man, “around 35-45 years old.” The man was deemed to be important because “ten times the usual number of finds accompanied the body.” He “had been laid on his left side … facing north.” Buried with him were:

  • two archer’s wristguards (one of which was made from black sandstone and came from the coast, 50 km away)
  • three copper knives
  • He must “have been buried with a bow and a quiver containing arrows, for 17 flint arrowheads were also present.”
  • a type of miniature anvil known as a ‘cushion stone’
  • a pair of sheet gold loop earrings

In 1993, a second grave was discovered, 6 km east of Stonehenge. This contained “the remains of seven individuals, all males: three adults, a teenager, and three children.” The oldest individual was “buried with his legs tucked up” and his head again pointing north.

The man in the 1992 grave has been given the name the Amesbury Archer.

In 2001, at Rameldry Farm, in Fife, Scotland, “a farmer’s plough caught the capstone covering an early Bronze Age” grave. Inside “a stone cist lay the skeleton of an adult male around 40 – 45 years, whose bones produced a radiocarbon date of 2280 – 1970 BC.”

Why is self reading so diligently about Bronze Age graves? She’s trying to finish her horror story and it’s about a team of scientists who stumble on some very disturbing findings in Antarctica. Hoping she can absorb some of the language.

She has so many questions: Why were people buried with heads facing north? Did they come from the north? Why were the oldest individuals around 40-45 years old, was that the normal life expectancy in the Bronze Age? Why were the graves of males exclusively? Where were the females buried?

More:

Suddenly, around 1700 BC, there is a disruption in the quality and quantity of metalwork found in graves in Britain. This coincided with “the apparent abandonment of Stonehenge.” By 1400 BC, “it appears that Stonehenge, already some 1,000 years old, had been abandoned.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

How ‘The Hobbit’ Began

from Douglas A. Anderson’s Introduction to The Annotated Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien

  • Tolkien often recounted how he began the story. One hot summer day, he was sitting at his desk, correcting students’ examination papers (then called School Certificate papers) on English literature. He told an interviewer, “One of the candidates had mercifully left one of the pages with no writing on it, which is the best thing that can possibly happen to an examiner, and I wrote on it: ‘In a hole in the ground lived a hobbit.’ Names always generate a story in my mind: eventually I thought I’d better find out what hobbits were like.” Elsewhere he added, “Later on, some months later, I thought this was too good to leave just on the back of the examination paper . . . “

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

When Will She Finish This (From a Year Ago)

TO DO

Weekend in Mendocino: Clouds lower, spit rain. The meadows on the headlands are green like Ireland’s. No flowers yet, it’s still early in the year.

Out there, where the surf meets the cliffs, lives a Kraken.

The Training in Miracles: p. 158 of Self’s Historical (Well, Maybe NOT So Historical After All) Novel

From 4:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., this group was kept constantly occupied with reading and rigorous forms of self-affliction: lying face-down on the stone floor of the chapel, or bathing from a pump in the chilly pre-dawn. This was calculated to prepare them for the rigors of an overseas mission. They dedicated themselves to the study of languages, such as Dutch, English, French, and German. They received medical instruction, for they would be required to run hospitals. Last, they received guidance in the writing of their own sermons, and in the performance of miracles.

(If indeed this turns out to be an ACTUAL HISTORICAL NOVEL, then self will have to cut out all the parts about miracles)

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.

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