University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, Manila, 2004
How wise is it to write or speak about a novel-in-waiting? In three lectures, Merlinda Bobis writes about researching and writing her first novel, Fish-Hair Woman, which was published as her third novel because it took her seventeen years to finish it. She validates the writer’s ‘peculiar creative research’ within academia where theorising about literature seems to have more currency than producing it. She argues that all rigorous research in any discipline is creative and humanising. She discusses mythmaking and the transformation of stories using the quest model, and concludes with a detailed examination of ‘the architecture of a dream’, disassembling the nuts and bolts of fiction.
Consider this: your poem or novel has only been lent to you in this moment of creating literature. A gift which is most palpable not during the book signing, but during your reception of such a gift … When you look around your oh-so-ordinary writing room and suddenly you begin to see the hollow on your seat as the absence of a lover, or your tea cup’s handle as something warm and curved like a wife’s languid mood at breakfast. And then you hear her conversations, even her weeping that is like singing, which takes forever to get to the last note.