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Back in The Netherlands

Three months can fly by in the wink of an eye. We arrived back here on Saturday and have been in The Netherlands for a week now.  It's been quite a busy week as we get back into the routine of things, the kids are back home and back in school, and I have to re-adjust and get back into the swing of doing the laundry, ironing, sorting, clearing up the house and figuring out what to do with our backyard turned jungle.

I sent out mails to my CW class as well as to the expatworkshop talking about the fruitful months in The Philippines. To say I was able to accomplish my write-a-thon goals is an understatement. I completed work on two short stories, almost completed a third, wrote additional words to my novel in progress, gathered tons on material for my wip, and came home with a secret book project.

I spent an intensive number of weeks up in the mountains of Ifugao soaking up the atmosphere, culture, walking about, filming, taking pictures of plantlife, asking questions and looking for publications in the native tongue.

My methodology was random, just like the way I write: seat of the pants and totally going off on instinct. I revisited places from my childhood memories, walked through ricefields, figured out walking times...how long does it take to walk from point a to point b? How much nimbleness does it take to run up and down a mountainside? And just think of how the Ifugao race downhill on their handcarved scooters...talk about adrenalin pushing. After all, they do that on a scooter without brakes.

Talking to people was definitely a good thing. There is nothing to revive the memory of language as well as listening to it being spoken.  There is also the rhythm of English being spoken by people who live in a certain place. The Ifugao speak English with a different intonation and with a different rhythm. It's just different.

Anyway, I am picking up Ifugao again and relearning Ilocano as well.

I went through a lot of Banawags in the hopes of finding an Ilocano languaged speculative fiction story. I browsed through lots of publications in the hope of finding Filipino languaged sf&f stories. What I discovered: the majority of stories with a fantastic element are written for children. Most of these stories wind up with some sort of moral or point. There are tons of these kinds of stories in National Bookstore, but they are in the children's section and are sold as thin books with brightly colored illustrations. Very nice, but really with a moral at the end. Not really what I was looking for.

I was finally able to stumble on a very slim volume of science fiction and fantasy stories written in Tagalog. This volume is the first Filipino Languaged anthology of its kind. There was only one copy squeezed in between lots of big books about the Philippines. I rather enjoyed browsing through the book and I brought home a copy so I could spend more time reading and thinking on what's between the pages.

But if there is a noticeable lack of sf&f written by Filipinos in the Filipino language, there is certainly no dearth when it comes to horror publications. There were tons of magazine type horror publications in National Bookstore. My godsister took pics, but I forgot to get a copy of her pics. Horror, when well done, can be really good. But these publications consisted mostly of ghost story/ ghost sightings/ monster sightings type of stuff---all at flash length.

I had more success with the National Library where thanks to the intervention of one of my nieces, I was finally able to get a copies of the reading matter that I sorely needed for my work in progress. I brought home a good number of research books on the Ifugao culture, Ifugao myth and history, as well as archeological reports on the discovery of and the culture of the Ifugao.

At the moment, my head feels pretty full. It's stuffed with lots of things learned and experienced and I suppose it will take sometime for me to absorb all that.

more later....


Sep. 10th, 2011 08:31 pm (UTC)
Paolo told me about Bhex Arcega's project...and I also hope she finishes it. Reading through the Filipino language anthology, I had to think of just how lovely our language sounds when written by masters of Filipino wordsmithery.

Nick Carbo once told me: there's nothing lovelier than our national language. Just take the word "kayumanggi". It sounds so poetic and so lovely...where "brown" sounds simply brown.
Sep. 10th, 2011 08:34 pm (UTC)
An interesting thought about sf and non-mythic fantasy. I'm thinking my thoughts about that as well, but that's probably going to be too lengthy for this reply. hehe.

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