Thursday, April 03, 2003

wind, river and flame

Selecting the subject matter for an anthology of new stories is not an easy task.

There is a plethora of interesting things to write about, given the premise of using geographical elements as a jumping off point.

A story about the wind, for example, could utilize what has been established by the Greek and Roman writers about the names and nature of winds (which must be contextualized and made our own, naturally). The four winds - Favonius (or Zephyr), Notus (or Auster), Boreas (or Aquilo), and Eurus - each have their own personality. If I had to choose, I'd write about Favonius, from which the adjective "favonian" comes from (two meanings - either pertaining to the west wind; or mild). So we'll have a story about a blind child who befriends the gentlest of winds, learning from heartfelt whispers about how the most important things are invisible.

A story about a river, on the other hand, can be taken from an series of incidents in Palawan, where children on passing riverboats are cautioned to close their eyes and never ever even think of attracting the attention of the beautiful woman who suddenly appears in the water beside their vessel. Of course, someone does, and we learn about the odd world between freshwater and saltwater, and why tears are salty.

Flame would be about a young boy in a fishing boat out at sea at night, alone save for his Petromax. When a giant ball of flame suddenly illuminates the sea, he sees a ghostly ship, a balanggay. But of course, flames never last, and epiphanies derived from fleeting illusions are of dubious worth.

The matching set of sky, sea and mountain stories should follow similar themes (but I really want an undermountain story about a young girl who escapes from the nuno sa punso).


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