Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Christmas!

I am a bit busy right now for my Christmas break. Preparing Christmas gifts and meals for my friends and siblings. I like to leave you a beautiful recent illustration of Rima Staines' Father Christmas.

Happy Christmas! :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Strange Tales and Pictures from Spain

Since I collect some stories around me for my ideas in my stories, let me tell you some of them. I'd like to tell you these three strange tales, two from my folks, and one came from a tour last semester. These stories, along with others, are kept in my notebooks, written doodle-like or jotting-down-notes way. These notes include the weirdest dreams, newspaper and magazine articles, and other people’s experiences or things that just sprung up in my mind .

The first tale came from a funny and friendly classmate named Iris. She told me that her clan is influential in their town, and they are considered to be the “kings” of their place. And most of her kinfolks are, well not surprisingly, fat police officers, and, surprisingly, even shadow rebels in our country, hiding in the mountains but then exert a strange influence in the country side by virtue of fear. But that’s not my tale. The story goes back long ago, about one of her ancestors. The woman was being chased by a number of tribesmen called the "Headhunters". When they got nearer, a member of the tribe threw an axe towards her, and her head was severed. But the body still kept on running after the head fell to the ground, until the body bumped on a tree and fell.

The second tale came from my father. The story was about my uncle named C--*. C-- was considered the black sheep of the family, and he seldom spends his time with his family. One day, he and his friends decided to cheat in examination. When they knew that their teacher had discovered what they have done, the culprits burnt the room where the exam papers were kept. Days later, the police chased after them. All were caught except C--, who fled into the mountains and hid for some time. C-- came back to his home after his case was forgotten. Unsurprisingly, my grandpa greeted him with lashes.

The third tale came from an educational tour last semester in my Art Studies class. We went to a huge ancestral house in Quezon called Casa Tribunal (click here for more detail of the house) It was an 1831 house built by Don Diego Enriquez, the Gobernadorcillo of the place at that time. The house had curious tunnels that can fit a carriage, leading to a huge town church nearby and the priests’ graveyard. The tale is about the old pictures in the house. The pictures mostly depict festivals and parades in the town. But each picture this “black woman” appeared over and over again, and the pictures are taken between 1890’s and 1960’s.

Recently I also encountered this interesting work of Edward Gorey entitled "The Gashlycrumb Tinies". My Creative Writing professor told us to read this as an assignment. It was a rhyming abecedarium about, in the very gory Gorey manner, children depicting dying in different ways. Delightfully, Gorey is very consistent with this style in all of his books, that inked Edwardian Gothic filled with stifled furniture and stifled lives inside stifling houses, where the entertainment is often delivered by Misfortune, but instead of horrifying, you are led to feel more of melancholy for them. Everyone seems terribly resigned to their cases, and to long faces. Death or the undead are the only things that seem to enliven them. I heard this alphabet before, but it is quite good to remember this kind of, supposedly, nursery rhyme. I just wonder if we, adults or ones a bit older than children, just underestimate children’s imagination, that we usually limit their stories to happy ones, populated with only cheerful characters, contrary to what Gorey, and even what the Brothers Grimm did for me, who came up with this eccentric, or rather morbid, branch of children’s literature that captivated my imagination with welcome monsters longer than those kitschy, pastel-hued stories did.

Last week I also received through mail these beautiful pictures from the Bunny in Spain. She took it while staying in Santiago de Compostela for her scholarship. They are all beautiful pictures! The amber colors of the sun and the old bricks and the trees that resembles of Arthur Rackham’s. The picture of a rustic squirrel perched on the scrolls of a park bench in amber light is my favorite.

* I just don’t like to mention my Uncle’s name.