This afternoon, Shimmer magazine’s editor emailed me to say they have accepted my short story, “The Star Maiden.” This story is very dear to me for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, it was written for my Filipina mother as a birthday present 🙂 It means a lot that I can show her this story as just a small reminder of how much her experiences mean to me.
Second, it’s my first Filipino SFF story. When I write about certain settings, I’m infinitely more comfortable talking about a place I’ve actually visited. Unfortunately, on the occasions when my family traveled to the Philippines, I had to stay behind. Because I’ve visited India twice (I’m half-Indian), I feel more comfortable setting a number of my short stories within that setting. So, that’s another reason this story is important. New ground!
As for the story…
“The Star Maiden” is about constellations and grandmothers, stories you can’t remember but want to, languages you should know but don’t, and the infinite hope of love. At times, it was difficult and emotionally exhausting to write, but I hope it resonates with readers.
One of my critique partners pointed out that this might be considered a “selkie” tale. Selkies are Otherworldly beings in Celtic mythology that don the skin of a seal and take the form of beautiful maidens. The myth usually goes like this: handsome fisherman sees beautiful woman with a seal pelt beside her; takes the skin; marries the woman; eventually she finds it and returns to the sea. The Filipino fairytale *does* follow this pattern, to an extent.
I’m sure it will feel familiar to many, but isn’t that a wonderful thing? That there are some stories that captivate us as a people that they transcend cultural boundaries? My English professor astutely pointed out that there are only a handful of original stories. Everything else just adds new flesh on old bones.
What do you think?