Thesis rut

I'm stuck in a thesis rut. Ever since I heard that a book on the history and culture of Las Piñas has been launched and is set to be released in bookstores "early this year," I've been waiting for it to come out before making any major revisions on my thesis stories. So far, there's no sign of the book. Maybe I should go back to my original plan and start researching on my own.

I have a story brewing in my head that's set in the Manila Memorial Park, probably one of the country's most beautiful cemeteries. It's actually a storyline that's been working itself out since college. I don't know why it takes me so long to write, when my stories are always very simple. Well, actually, I do know. Because I'm so lazy to make outlines. But I ought to start putting structure, not just in writing, but in everything I do in my life.

The thing with structure is, it doesn't seem to leave much space for magic. Or maybe that's just my shallow understanding of it. Maybe it's much like science or math and this whole business of the creation of the universe--when you understand the science or math behind it, you also find that you are looking at magic.

My thesis project

My thesis project is a collection of short stories set in Southern Manila, specifically Muntinlupa, Parañaque, and Las Piñas. Even more specifically, the Southern Manila of my childhood and adolescence. It's not as simple as it seems, though, because even if its clear to me that I'm referring to the more suburban areas, Southern Manila still includes the poorer areas of Parañaque, like Baclaran, a place I've only been to maybe four or five times in my entire life; the "other side" of Muntinlupa, which I've been to even less times; and the Las Piñas area that I only pass through when we take short cuts to the City of Manila, the place which has the historical Bamboo Organ, which I've never seen--or don't recall ever seeing. This Bamboo Organ of international renown that is Las Piñas in the minds of my would-be readers.

How to make such a seemingly bland place live in fiction? My first assignment, according to my mentor, is to make a written map of the place.