Saturday, December 23, 2017

"Christmas Eve, 1908", Fiction by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard #literature #Philippines

Christmas Eve, 1908
Excerpt from The Newspaper Widow, novel by
The Newspaper Widow is published by University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2017
Available from Amazon

Time had taken on a rubber quality, stretching here and there, never fixed despite the insistent tick-tocking of the Grandfather clock in their living room. Jose had lost all notion of what day or time it was, and he slept and awoke at strange hours. It was Fernanda who announced that they should “join the world.” Earlier that day she had taken out her pearl jewelry and gold hair comb and she had put on a black satin skirt and blouse of gossamer fabric. He was surprised by this, her vanity, her declaration that she was ready to relinquish her mourning. For over four months, Jose and Fernanda had shared a cocoon of darkness and dread, confining themselves to their house, avoiding people, even his parents, sending out their servant, their sole umbilical cord to the world. During that time, they said very little to each other, but they shared a bond that was to some degree like a balm.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Guest Blogger: Smoothies and More by Bing V. Jacala #health #Maryknoll

Inspired by a recent college reunion, Barbara (Bing V.) Jacala) decided to share the wisdom gained by her classmates in an ongoing column, "The Sage Women We Have Become: Conversations of College Chums Who Met 50 Years After Graduation." 

As my Guest Blogger, she will share health and beauty tips, as well as favorite recipes of these "sage women." Her first entry is "Smoothies And More."

Bing graduated from Maryknoll College, Philippines in 1968. She was an advertising copywriter, a training officer at the Philippine National Media Center, and a Colombo Plan scholar to the United Kingdom. She resided on Guam for 40 years where she held many positions including features editor, chief of staff in the Guam legislature, and adult education program manager.

Thanks Bing! ~ Cecilia

Conversations of College Chums Who Met 50 Years After Graduation

by Bing V. Jacala

We were sheltered but in Maryknoll our minds were liberated. We read widely and discussed assertively. This is what we found again in each other when we met 50 years after graduation. In reuniting for a week of renewal we discovered that when we stepped into the outside world, our attempts at conquering the world all began with self development and preservation. Here we share a glimpse into our journey.

Group photo of the Maryknollers who met in Toronto (Bing is front, second from the left)

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Brainard Christmas Family Pictures

I'm sharing a collage of past Christmas photos of the Brainard family and a recent picture taken of
Cecilia and Lauren enjoying the fake snow after the Christmas Concert in San Pedro, California.

Merry Christmas!

Tags: #Christmas #family #pictures

Read also:

Pictures: Maryknoll College Classmates Christmas Lunch

Tina and Andy Heiter, who are veritable Snow Birds, have left the cold winter of Switzerland for their home in Southern California. This was a good excuse to have them and some other classmates over for lunch. These women had attended the Maryknoll College mini-reunion in Toronto where some serious bonding occurred. We were delighted to see one another again and also happy that the "men in our lives" got along very well.

The women group pictures show seated l-r: Bing Velasco Jacala and Maria Ciocon; standing l-r: Cecilia Brainard, Rose Cua Go, and Tina Borja Heiter.  I'm sharing other pictures.  Enjoy!

L-R: Lauren, Sim, Andy, Jack, Herm

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Mactan, 50 Years Ago And Now, article in Positively Filipino by Cecilia Brainard #VietnamWar #Philippines

Mactan, 50 Years Ago And Now
By Cecilia Manguerra Brainard
Published in Positively Filipino, September 27, 2017 (Click here to read PF)

The last time I visited Mactan, I stayed in a five-star resort with a man-made lagoon in the middle of clusters of handsome Colonial-style buildings. It felt like a picture-perfect village with well-appointed rooms, pools, tennis courts, and wonderful restaurants. The spa offered a variety of massages and had wonderful hot and cold pools with cascading falls. The beach fronting the sea had fine white sand (bought by the ton and dumped there to cover the rocky shore). There were horse-drawn carriages, a fortune teller you could consult for fun, and I even saw mermaids in the lagoon – fake but fanciful creatures that rounded-out the sense of being in a fantasy world.

There are many seaside resorts such as this one in Mactan, and I had to reflect on how different Mactan is now, compared to what it had been when I was growing up.

When I was a child and living in Cebu, the Island of Mactan was a dry, unremarkable place that we visited only once in a while. Despite being only 8 miles away from Cebu, Mactan seemed cut off by a deep channel. Before bridges were built, we had to take a ferry to get across, and it was a major expedition to picnic there on beaches that had jellyfish and spiny sea urchins. We children preferred the Cebu beaches in Talisay or Liloan where we would swim, go clamming and eat lechon, atsara, puso (rice in woven packets), and my favorite consilva or caramelized sliced plantains. The beaches of Mactan did not offer such a variety of local delicacies.

Books by Filipino American for Gift Giving by Cecilia Brainard #Literature

Books by Filipino Americans for Gift Giving
By Cecilia Manguerra Brainard
Published in Positively Filipino, Decemter 13, 2017 (Click here to read PF)

Let’s face it -- most Christmas gifts are set aside after December 25. The clothes, purses, and knick-knacks are put away and sometimes forgotten or, worse still, set aside as white elephant gifts.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Brainard Christmas Pictures Through the Years

Thursday, December 7, 2017

World War Two Novel: When the Rainbow Goddess Wept by Cecilia Brainard

Today, December 7, is the 76th Anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which started World War II in the Pacific in 1941.

I wrote about the coming of age of a young girl during World War Two in the Philippines. When the Rainbow Goddess Wept first came out as Song of Yvonne in the Philippines, but Dutton/Penguin picked it up in the US. Later the University of Michigan Press published it as well. This novel has been in print since 1991. It is the most circulated of my books.  

 Here are some reviews of the book. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

From Cebu to Ubec: Inspiration for The Newspaper Widow, novel by Cecilia Brainard

I enjoy movies like Shakespeare in Love and The Man Who Invented Christmas.  The first one is a fictional romantic comedy about Shakespeare infatuated with Viola de Lesseps during the time he was working on Romeo and Juliet. The Man Who Invented Christmas relates how Charles Dickens came to write the novella, A Christmas Carol.

These movies amuse me because it's true that some writers will take bits and pieces and weave these into their stories. The facial expression that the movie-Charles Dickens gets when a name or event strikes him as "material", reminds me of when something hits me too, and my creative self recognizes this as important in my work, and I feel as if I'm in twilight zone.

In some cases, these bits of inspiration are a throw-away statement or anecdote overheard, or some bit of information that the author read, or a name that strikes his/her fancy, a bit of truth, a bit of fantasy, a memory, some imaginings.  Even the author hardly knows just where exactly the characters, or scenes, or details from his/her creation came from -- not with precision, because the creative mind whips around here and there collecting material and tailoring these until the end product is new.