Serendipitous: Philip Larkin, THE COMPLETE POEMS

It’s always the bookshelves self ends up perusing first, when she is staying with friends.

This is self’s first visit to Angela’s home, so of course the books are so enticing, an undiscovered country.

In the study, self’s eyes landed on a hardbound copy of The Complete Poems of Philip Larkin, whose poetry she only began to read very recently. While she was in Ireland, earlier this year.

She spends the morning perusing his Complete Poems. Here’s one:


Jake Balokowsky, my biographer,
Has this page microfilmed. Sitting inside
His air-conditioned cell at Kennedy
In jeans and sneakers, he’s no call to hide
Some slight impatience with his destiny:
‘I’m stuck with this old fart at least a year;

I wanted to teach school in Tel Aviv,
But Myra’s folks’ — he makes the money sign –
‘Insisted I got tenure. When there’s kids — ‘
He shrugs. ‘It’s stinking dead, the research line;
Just let me put this bastard on the skids,
I’ll get a couple of semesters leave

To work on Protest Theatrer.’ They both rise,
Make for the Coke dispenser. ‘What’s he like?
Christ, I just told you. Oh, you know the thing,
That crummy textbook stuff from Freshman Psych,
Not out of kicks or something happening -
One of those old-type natural fouled-up guys.’

Here’s a review of The Complete Poems of Philip Larkin from The Telegraph.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Cover Art: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge is COVER ART.  Say what? When self first saw the prompt, she had no idea what kinds of things to post.

The prompt reads, in part:

Post “examples of cover art that uses photography to convey a mood and to suggest what we might find in the work itself.  They have a quality that echoes a particular character . . . “

All right, then.  For the past few years, self has been writing a novel whose working title is The Vanquished.

It’s about the Philippines during World War II, and is set on Dear Departed Dad’s home island of Negros.

Since it’s still in progress, self is jumping way ahead of herself here, but she’ll just go ahead and scan photos that might serve as possible cover art.  Below are two.

The third photo reflects a theme of a short story she wrote called “The Freeze.”

The porch of the Gaston House, just before Manapla, Negros Occidental

The porch of the Gaston House, just before Manapla, Negros Occidental

Self found herself paying more attention to the interior of the Church of San Isidro Labrador (Lassi)

Interior of the Church of San Isidro Labrador, in the town of Lassi, on the Island of Siquijor

Self’s short story about the coming of a new Ice Age is called the Freeze.  It begins:

Redwood, Oak, Laurel, Manzanita, Pine.

Redwood, Oak, Laurel, Manzanita, Pine.

Redwood, Oak, Laurel, Manzanita, Pine.

The Grounds of Hawthornden, southern Scotland

A Wood in Southern Scotland

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.


1st Day in Chicago: “Smokefall”

Self embarked on this trip to see plays.

She’s always felt that Chicago is a much more exciting theater city than New York.

Every time she comes (this is only her 3rd time), she sees plays. Didn’t Second City originate here? Second City once did a play on Rod Blagojevich’s hair. It was called “Rod Blagojevich: Superstar.”  Second City is sort of like LA’s Upright Citizens Brigade.

Now Rahm Emmanuel’s in charge.

Last night, self and poet Angela Narciso Torres went to see “Smokefall.”

As in her last play at the Goodman, “Desire Under the Elms,” the set was a mix of realistic and symbolic elements. In “Desire,” there was a huge carcass of a butchered pig hanging above the stage (To give credit where credit is due, it was Angela who remembered about the pig carcass. Self is embarrassed to admit that the one memory that burns most brightly in her mind about “Desire Under the Elms” is Pablo Schreiber, Liev’s half-brother, appearing in the buff).  In last night’s “Smokefall” there was a 1950s kind of kitchen, yellow table and chairs, and a deep red sofa. At the very back of the stage was a slanted gray platform, which characters used to run up and down or to declaim inner monologues and so forth. Clever!

After the play, there was Q & A. Self must say, the first time she ever experienced this kind of after-performance discussion was at the Goodman. Now Cal Shakes has started doing this (at least, they did it last year, after the production of Wilde’s “Lady Windermere’s Fan”) It is wonderful to have discussion, right after, because everyone’s head is still popping with ideas.  There was a young man in the audience, sitting in the row directly in front of self and her friend, who looked like the Second Coming of Chris Blackett, even down to the voice (Chris is self’s nephew; he lives in New York City).

Someone asked why the play was called “Smokefall,” which was a very good question.  And the Goodman’s artistic director (who had said he would be joined by some of the actors, but wasn’t) said the word “Smokefall” was taken from a T. S. Eliot poem called “Burnt Norton.” Here’s an excerpt (which was printed on a bookmark inserted into the play’s programme):

Time past and time future
Allow but a little

To be conscious is not
to be in time

But only in time
can the moment in the

The moment in the arbour
where the rain beat,

The moment in the
draughty church at

Be remembered; involved
with past and future.

Only through time
time is conquered.

– T. S. Eliot, “Burnt Norton” (1935)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Lives of Cities: Night, Chicago

Self is still somewhat stuck in last week’s Photo Challenge, REFRACTION.

Blimey, she can’t for the life of her think of anything for this week’s challenge, which is something to do with book covers.

So she’ll just go ahead and post these pictures of a Chicago office building, after hours.




Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The Dynamics (Of Being Filipino in America) — Post # 1

You appear as the merest glimpse in a story written by others.

The writer James Hamilton-Paterson used to live in the Philippines. He wrote about the experience in his book Playing With Water. A writer for the Boston Review said that “he eked out a living on a remote Southeast Asian island” and “still has a bamboo hut” there.

Best-selling author continues to live in a bamboo hut.  LOL.

In recent years, however, self has been reading about Hamilton-Paterson (she almost hates him for having such a long name, hyphenated)  in Italy.  So perhaps he’s moved on.

The question is, once you’ve lived for a number of years in a bamboo hut on a remote Southeast Asian island, can you ever really move on? Maybe you can, physically. But, in your heart?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Clothesonfilm on “Sons of Anarchy”

Before self hotfoots it to the Red Orchid Theatre to see “Strandline,” her play of the day, she has been mad-googling Chicago area libraries and archives.

And catching up on a few blogs she hasn’t checked for a while. One of these being Clothesonfilm.

Clothesonfilm was the blog that opened her eyes to the importance of Read the rest of this entry »

Refraction 3: House of Humor, Redwood City

Since yesterday, self has been taking a lot of pictures around her neighborhood, all with the theme of REFRACTION firmly in mind.

She went into a local costume store, House of Humor, and took a couple of pictures. She hopes they fit the theme this week. They’re not so much about light as about the unexpected. More like the refraction that happens when you expect 2 + 2 to = 4, but it doesn’t.

That’s Halloween for ya.  The whole holiday is about refraction.  The kids around the block turn into ghosts and goblins. At least for a few hours.

Self gets to try on a new disguise.

That’s why she loves it.  She loves Halloween. She mourns when she can’t personally hand out the candy.

The House of Humor on El Camino Real in Redwood City: What an achievement, self hasn't stepped inside in about 10 years.

The House of Humor on El Camino Real in Redwood City: What an achievement, self hasn’t stepped inside in about 10 years.  She was hoping to find a good selection of Hunger Games wigs, but she only saw one Hunger Games thing, and it was Katniss Everdeen’s arena suit in Catching Fire.

Look at those giant bugs!

Look at those giant bugs!

Who is that supposed to be in the rocking chair? Frankenstein?

Who is that supposed to be in the rocking chair? Frankenstein? She finds it really eerie that his gaze is directed upwards, towards the ceiling.

Here's her "Effie Trinket" wig, which admittedly is a pretty lame imitation . . .

Here’s her “Effie Trinket” wig, which admittedly is a pretty lame imitation. Someone told her she might be able to get the curls to stay up if she used a lot of hairspray. Paging Cinna!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Refraction 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is REFRACTION.

Self really likes the way this blogger (Matt von P) and this blogger (Enjoying Life Wherever We Are) interpreted the theme.

And here are some of her own takes.

Capiz Shell Ceiling Light, Café Uma, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental

Capiz Shell Ceiling Light, Café Uma, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental

Street Corner, Venice: April 2013

Street Corner, Venice: April 2013

Taken from a vaporetto crossing the Venetian Lagoon:  April 2013

Heading across the Venetian Lagoon on a vaporetto: April 2013


Whenever she ran out of money, she would do something like fortune-telling.  People would reward her for helping them find lost things or missing persons.  She would have preferred not to take the money. Powers bestowed by heaven should not be exchanged for worldly goods.

–  The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, p. 89

Sigh. Self adores Murakami.

This book. Self has no words.

Stay tuned.

NaNoWriMo 2014 Almost Upon Us, Looking Back at NaNoWriMo 2013

Self has never signed up for NaNoWriMo (Also, she has never applied to UCross. Self’s just saying. Nothing against Wyoming. You know what? Right this very second, she’s going to apply for a residency to UCross!)

The New York Times Book Review she is reading is the one from Nov. 17, 2013 (Her pile of back-reading is HUMONGOUS! Simply HUMONGOUS!)

A little over a month ago, when self was cooling her heels in southern California, she looked over Fall course offerings for UCLA Extension and saw that there was a class offered on “Achieving Your NaNoWriMo Goal.” And she quickly contacted the Program Administrator to indicate that she wished to enroll. She was informed that the class was “on-site.” And ya know, that’s 10 weeks of weekly on-site meetings, and self can’t commit to being in one place for 10 weeks. Seriously! So she regretfully had to pass up taking the class.

Here’s an excerpt from the article on NaNoWriMo 2013 which was in the Nov. 17, 2013 NYTBR:

We’re now past the halfway point of National Novel Writing Month — or, as it’s inelegantly shortened online, NaNoWriMo — when aspiring authors aim to produce 50,000 words during November. More than 277,000 writers signed up for the sprint this year. Erin Morgenstern, whose best-selling novel The Night Circus originated as part of the exercise, once advised: “Don’t delete anything. Just keep writing. And if you don’t want to look at it, change the font to white.”

Excellent advise! How does one register for NaNoWriMo 2014?

Stay tuned.



« Older entries


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 677 other followers