Self Got The Full-On Star Treatment From TAYO Magazine!

Oh the FEEELZ!

TAYO Magazine posted an interview with self.

Check it out.

The banner they used for self’s interview was a picture she took in The Red Room of Café Paradiso in Cork.  That is in fact the ceiling light. Love Ger and her cooking and her warmth and all her fun group of friends who invited self to share their champagne.

Self’s author pic was taken (years ago, cancha tell) by none other than the fabulous Stella Kalaw.

(It’s very funny because self thought all she was doing was having dinner — in Karilagan restaurant, just hailing distance from Max’s in South San Francisco — with Melissa Sipin-Gabon, fiction writer and editor of TAYO, and it turns out what she was actually doing was giving an interview. BWAH HA HA HAAAA!  If only self had an Effie Trinket around to prep for her propo! Any gaffes are entirely her own)

Stay tuned.


Going Live This Week at EUNOIA REVIEW: Two Short Shorts

Self has been reading Eunoia Review for several years now.

She loves the writing.  They publish poetry (beautiful poetry) and a kind of prose self considers “TransGenre.” Fits right up her alley.  Ever since self heard the word “TransGenre,” a few years back (Hotel Amerika featured her piece “Ghosts” in their TransGenre issue, and gave a name to the kind of short short stuff self had just begun writing), she loves the word.  TransGenre: not sure if you need to capitalize the “G.”

Which reminds her:  She has to look and see if Hotel Amerika is at the AWP Book Fair!

She didn’t know anything about the editor, Ian Chung, until he sent her a message yesterday, saying the two pieces he’d accepted for the review were going live this week.

That’s when she decided to google him and found out that he edits the review from Singapore!

She wants to make sure she puts this announcement in before heading to the craziness of the AWP annual conference, this year being held in Seattle.

Self’s head is about to explode.  She got a message from PANK late last night, and then just remembered she hadn’t yet submitted her signed author contract to Philippine Speculative Fiction vol. 9, and it’s due Mar. 1.

Panic attack!  Nice panic attack, though.

This morning, she decided that the best thing for her to calm down would be to take a yoga class, and lo and behold, she got to Peacebank in downtown Redwood City, five minutes early, but after she checked in, there was no space.  Wall to wall yoga mats, and no one wanted to budge even a few inches to give her a chance to squeeze in.  Stone-faced, all!

The two people manning the check-in desk looked so impatient when self said there was no space.  They said, maybe you can ask someone to move?  Are you kidding?  Did you see the grim-faced visage of everyone in the class when they saw self stumble in, clue-less and panting? 

Which meant:  good-by, yoga class!  Au revoir!  Till we meet again!  Whenever or wherever!

In the meantime, self almost forgot:  the link to Eunoia Review!

Here it is, dear blog readers.  Enjoy.

Coming Soon in 5_Trope

5_Trope is a very nifty literary magazine that soon, very soon, will be posting some new content:  fiction/poetry/creative nonfiction/art that includes — SHAZZAM! — self’s story, “Hollow.”

“Hollow” is her anti-ode to Daly City/Colma/South San Francisco.

Self loves that cluster of cities, don’t get her wrong.

It is the most amazing place.  Where else can one find, in just one city:  Goldilocks, Max’s of the Philippines, Ma Mon Luk, Lucky Chances casino & restaurant, Ling Nam, Intramuros, Ongpin Noodle House, and all the charming eateries of her childhood?

Anyhoo, self appears to be getting ahead of herself, again.

Check it out now, dear blog readers.

And stay tuned.

Cadence: Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo’s “The Painting”

With any luck, self will finally get to the last story of The Best Philippine Short Stories of the Twentieth Century, edited by Isagani Cruz, which she began reading — oh, let’s see — about a decade ago.

The story self is reading at the moment is a marvel of unreliable narration.  The fact that the narrator is a young priest (from an illustrious family — even better!) makes the story feel very “slippery.”

The story begins with the priest telling the story of his family’s connection to the national hero (and there is only one, so if you are Filipino then you know who that hero is).

We proceed to the sacred mountain, and to the cult that venerates Jose Rizal as a minor deity.  And to the native priestesses — call them babaylan, if you wish.

I wonder if any of you have ever seen these priestesses.  They are impressive individuals.  All have a commanding presence, and some are strikingly beautiful.  This one was very tall and very fair, with strongly chiseled features in an ageless face; large, penetrating eyes, and long hair drawn back in a bun.  She had changed from her vestments into a loose white robe and was sitting in one of the wooden benches to one side of the chapel, where she always received people who wished to consult with her.

The Suprema was speaking with someone whose appearance was a striking contrast to hers — a woman in her late forties or early fifties, perhaps, of medium height, plain-looking, and a little on the stout side, her hair cut short, as though she did not wish to be bothered with it.  She wore thick glasses and a simple dress of some unfashionable color — I believe it was purple.  One of her shoes had fallen off, and she was swinging a bare foot to and fro as she talked.  They appeared to be having a good time, for their conversation was punctuated by laughter.

Dear blog readers, self can hardly wait to see where this story is going!

Stay tuned.

Jose “Butch” Dalisay in MANILA NOIR

It is hawwwttt!  Hawwwttt as all get out!

Today was self’s day to meet Joanne H downtown.  Joanne H is the mother of Tom H, who has been friends with son since elementary school in St. Raymond’s.  There is a very funny story connected with today’s meet-up, which self will share with dear blog readers when she is a little less pressed for time.  Anyhoo, it is so hot today, unbelievable.  But The Ancient One has somehow survived the entire bristling afternoon on the deck, not moving.  Self thinks to herself:  She’s bought it!  But the minute The Ancient One hears the creak of the wood floors inside the house, self hears the rhythmic thump of her tail against the deck: Thump thump thump thump thump.  Tears spring to self’s eyes.  The Ancient One is the most enduring, most loyal pet — no, GIFT — ever.  To reward her for her unparalleled loyalty and spunk, self unwraps one of the rib-eye bones from last night’s dinner and heaves it onto Bella’s doggie dish.

The Ancient One

The Ancient One

Then, she resumes her reading.  Which, this afternoon, is Manila Noir.

The further self gets, the more riveted she is by the material.  She just finished F. H. Batacan’s marvelous “Comforter of the Afflicted” and has begun Jose “Butch” Dalisay’s “The Professor’s Wife.”  The setting of Dalisay’s story is Diliman, where the University of the Philippines is situated.  Self wanted to attend this university, she would have chosen Anthropology as her major.  It’s hard to get in, but she did make it.  She eventually opted to attend Dear Departed Dad’s alma mater, Ateneo de Manila, instead.

Back to the Butch Dalisay story.  It is excellent.  In addition, it is one of the drollest stories she has ever read.  Considering it’s in a book called Manila Noir, one would hardly expect that level of wit and drollery, but let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth, dear readers!


Here’s the Backstory:  A professor in Diliman is fondly remembered by a witty narrator.  The narrator is very interested in analyzing how the professor ended up with his young and luscious wife, Lalaine.  The couple are fodder for salacious gossip all over the campus.

I can imagine Professor Sanvictores coming to UP as a young instructor, eager to make his mark in history.  Or was it economics that he first signed up for?  This was years before his stint as a teaching assistant and doctoral candidate in Minnesota, where he picked up and cultivated the American accent that many coeds found charming, if not irresistible.  Now, every two-bit club and radio deejay and call center agent has one, but none of them can come up with and use a word like “contumacious” the way the professor did to describe certain tribal chieftains in old New Zealand.

I was dying to ask either the professor or Lalaine herself how the two of them met, and more than that, how they ended up being man and wife.  I mean, what ever did they see in each other?  But of course, silly, I knew what he saw in her, I could see that even with my eyes shut.  But what about Lalaine?  I could understand her developing a schoolgirl crush on him, especially if he put on that Minnesota affect and gave his sophomore-class version of his lecture on Rizal’s women and free love in the nineteenth century.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

“Portents,” Part 3: In Which Our Heroine Wends Her Lonely Way Around Makati

Backstory:  Filipina is pregnant.  And unmarried.  Not exactly A Fate Worse Than Death, but close.

All the taxis were taken, and the buses were so full people were sprouting out the windows.  I could see the passengers crammed together like fillings in an enormous sandwich, bumping and rubbing against each other with every lurch of the bus.  Maybe if someone asks who my kid’s father is, I could say I took a really crowded bus and got knocked up.

By the time I got back to my apartment my feet were throbbing.  A menu from a pizza parlor that delivered had been shoved under my door:  reading it I had a sudden wild craving for anchovy pizza.  Pregnant women are supposed to have these wild cravings, but I was slightly worried.  I’ve heard old people say that what you crave during pregnancy determines how your child will turn out.  For instance, if you crave guavas, your child will be stubborn.

Which sets self to wondering:  that word, guavas.  How long has it been?  How long has it been, self, since you’ve tasted one of those?

Back to the Jessica Zafra story:

I switched the TV on.  There was this soap opera about a little girl whom everyone maltreated.  The actress who played the little girl was so good at being a martyr, it was as if she had a sign on her forehead that said, “Kick me.”  The soap was interrupted by a news broadcast:  262 more Filipinos had fled Kuwait.  A middle-aged woman told a reporter she had been raped by Iraqi soldiers.  Why should I be ashamed, she said, I didn’t want it to happen.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Personal Library # 26: Son’s Room, Part 7

When will self ever finish this book tabulation project, she wonders?

She is still counting books in the tall bookcase in son’s room.

There are 20 books on the third shelf.

877 + 21 = 898 Total Books Counted Thus Far

Of course, on this shelf, as on the previous ones, there are, in addition to books:  an MGM Grand room key;  rocks, both shiny and not; corn husk people (obviously, some grade school art project), and many, many video games like Command and Conquer.

So, here are some of the books on this shelf:  The Night Angel Trilogy (Books 1, 2, and 3), by Brent Weeks;  Black Hawk Down:  A Story of Modern War, by Mark Bowden (Incidentally, his piece on the killing of OBL, in the December Vanity Fair, was more gripping than the Kathryn Bigelow movie, in self’s humble opinion); Before & After:  Stories From New York, edited by Thomas Beller (This is a very interesting book:  it has two covers, one showing the New York skyline with the WTC towers, and the other showing the day of, with the towers already surrounded by great billowing clouds of smoke.  The “Before” contains a piece by Manny Howard called “The Jumper” that begins:  “I recently spent an afternoon watching a guy entertaining three of New York’s finest on the eastern parapet of the Brooklyn Bridge.”);  Ship Breaker, by Paolo Bacigalupi; The Men Who Play God, a short story collection by the late, great Arturo B. Rotor; and Scunnered:  Slices of Scottish Life in Seventeen Gallus Syllables, by Des Dillon (Sample:  “Attitude:  Treating every time/ like it’s the very last time/ feels like the first time.”)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Personal Library 12

449 + 53 = 502 Total Books Tallied So Far

Self is now starting on the second bookcase in the dining room (Let’s see how long she can keep this up!).  Titles on this shelf include:

The Illustrated Sherlock Holmes TreasuryThe Ophelia Dimalanta Reader:  Selected Prose, vol. 2The World of the Shining Prince, by Ivan Morris;  When the Rainbow Goddess Wept, by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard;  Exactly Here, Exactly Now, by Nadine L. SarrealDeep Light:  New and Selected Poems, 1987 – 2007, by Rebecca McClanahan;  Blood and Soap:  Stories, by Linh Dinh;  The Hmong and the American Immigrant Experience, by Lillian Faderman with Ghia Xiong;  ERAPtion:  How to Speak English Without Really Trial, by Emil P. Jurado and Reli L. German; Life of Pi, by Yann Martel;  Birthmark:  Poems, by Jon Pineda;  The Forbidden Stitch:  An Asian American Women’s Anthology, edited by Shirley Geok-lin Lim, Mayumi Tsutakawa, and Margarita Donnelly (Managing Editor);  Oregon Handbook, 2nd edition, by Stuart Warren & Ted Long Ishikawa (part of the excellent Moon Handbook Travel Series);  The Cebu We Know, edited by Erma M. Cuizon

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Personal Library 11

Merry Christmas, dear blog readers!

It is raining again.

But so what.  Self likes the rain.  As long as it doesn’t come with high winds.  Like, this morning, self was even able to go outside without a poncho and plant a new begonia.  Getting wet now and then is very good for the soul.

Onward with the book tabulation!

Self is now starting with the second bookcase in the dining room.  This is the one right underneath the Santi Bose painting, “The White Room.”  There are 21 books in this area.

428 + 21 = 449 total of books catalogued thus far

Books in this section include:  The Translator’s Diary, by Jon Pineda; The Art of the Novel, by Milan Kundera;  Another Kind of Paradise:  Short Stories From the New Asia-Pacific, edited by Trevor Carolan (Self’s story “Lizard” is in here);  Philippine Speculative Fiction IV:  Literature of the Fantastic, edited by Dean Francis Alfar and Nikki Alfar (Among the authors:  Maryanne Moll, Charles Tan, Apol Lejano-Massebieau);  Against Forgetting:  Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness, edited by Carolyn Forché;  Palayok, by Doreen Fernandez; My Shining Archipelago:  Poems by Talvikki Ansel

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Personal Library 6

First Bookcase in Dining Room, Shelf # 1:  61 books

Selected Titles:

  • San Francisco Nightlife:  Zagat Survey 2006/07 (“Covering over 615 bars, clubs and lounges”)
  • Natural Selection, by Frederick Barthelme
  • The End of the Class War, by Catherine Brady
  • Dark Hours, by Conchitina Cruz (She was in the Filipino women’s anthology self co-edited with Virginia Cerenio, Going Home to a Landscape )
  • How to Clean Practically Anything, by the Editors of Consumer Reports Books with Edward Kippel
  • The Joys of Motherhood, by Buchi Emecheta
  • English-Tagalog-Visayan Pocket Dictionary, by M. Jacobo Enriquez, Jose A. Bautista, and Francis J. Lamolangue, Jr.
  • The Bread of Salt and Other Stories, by N. V. M. Gonzalez
  • Danger and Beauty, by Jessica Hagedorn
  • Type O Negative, by Joel Barraquial Tan
  • Angry White Pyjamas, by Robert Twigger
  • Another Spring, Darkness, by Anuradha Mahapatra, transl. by Carolyn Wright, with Paramita Banerjee and Jyotirmoy Datta
  • Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
  • The Elements of Style, by Strunk & White

150 + 61 = 211 Total Books Counted So Far

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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