rcloenen_ruiz (rcloenen_ruiz) wrote,

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Song of the Body Cartographer

I've signed up for the Clarion West Write-a-thon and I hope to be more successful at blogging about my progress than I was last year. Of course, last year I had a spotty internet connection--so this year I have no excuse.

My Write-a-thon page is here and thanks to the repeated rt's, we've achieved the goal of 200 participating writers and in so doing some very generous sponsors are giving a total of 2000 dollars to the workshop. Yay!!!

I'm doubly pleased then that just as the Write-a-thon is getting off the ground, my short story, Song of the Body Cartographer, has been published and is now available for everyone's reading pleasure at Philippine Genre Stories.

I thought I'd blog a bit about Song of the Body Cartographer, not only because this is the first story I sent out after my fallow year, but also because this story represents a number of things to me. It's also an extracted story from my wip--so yes, it's part of something bigger. Writing this wip is a real challenge for me. It's probably going to be my longest story yet.

On the PGS site, the illustration used is Remedios Varo's Creation of the Birds. This picture inspired me to write a previous flash piece which was published by Byzarium (it's still available here), and perhaps this image sunk so deep in my mind that when Kenneth Yu asked if I had an idea for an illustration of the piece, I couldn't help but think of this painting and how I imagined the Timor'an would look somewhat like this. The painting does play a crucial part in the big world story--and its significance comes out partially in the section where Siren thinks about Corazon's depiction of the Qa'ta. I was trying to imagine how an artist from Lower Ayudan would paint a transformation, and it's still me conversing with this piece of art which Varo created.

But at the heart of the inspiration for Song of the Body Cartographer and the larger wip, are the conversations on women's bodies that we conduct back and forth as we reclaim ourselves. It comes from reading history, reading commentaries, reading poetry, and discussing with other feminists. It also comes from a weariness with having to surrender the body to male approval or to the male gaze and it is born out of this place inside me that wants to turn a deaf ear to what society and convention dictates as being the one true way of seeing story or living life as a woman.

I look at the female body and think of the power of the spirit inside that vessel and I think of how this vessel is subjected to so much outside pressure in an attempt to suppress and subjugate that power. I believe in women and in the things that we can accomplish when we band together because I have seen it with my own eyes. When we shed ourselves of the imposed guilt at being woman, when we choose to embrace our own definition of the right way to go about being women and being with women, we reclaim our power. We return to that image that is true woman: pure and unsullied, full of strength and light.

If you liked Song of the Body Cartographer, please consider sponsoring me during the Clarion West Write-a-thon. :) Thank you for reading.
Tags: clarion west write-a-thon, inspiration, philippine genre stories, publication, woman's body and power

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