Murakami: p. 89 of THE WIND-UP BIRD CHRONICLE

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.

 

 

Refraction: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Last year, some former college classmates took her to the Church of the Gesu, on the grounds of her alma mater, the Ateneo de Manila.

Since this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is REFRACTION, which has everything to do with light — light refracted, self presumes, as through a prism.

Here’s part of The Daily Post prompt:

  • For this photo challenge, show us what REFRACTION means to you.  It could be an image taken in a reflective surface, it could be light bent from behind an object . . .

The first picture is the interior of the Church of the Gesu in her old college, the Ateneo de Manila, in Diliman, Quezon City, Metro-Manila.

Church of the Gesu, Ateneo de Manila, Diliman, Quezon City

Church of the Gesu, Ateneo de Manila, Diliman, Quezon City

The next two pictures were taken from the back seat of a car. She’s not sure where she was going. But she loves taking pictures of the streets of Manila, especially from within a moving vehicle. She likes the reflections from the car window, the streaks of light and color and movement, the inevitable roughness and blur.

Streets of Manila, Refracted (Through a Car Window)

Streets of Manila, Refracted (Through a Car Window)

More of the Streets of Manila as Seen Through a Car Window

More of the Streets of Manila as Seen Through a Car Window

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

First NYTBR Post in Forever: 15 December 2013

Do not look a gift horse in the mouth.  It’s been nearly a year since this issue came into self’s hands. She has since suspended her New York Times Book Review subscription (in case dear blog readers were wondering. It was just too depressing seeing the book review in her mailbox every week, and not being able to read for months and months and months.)

It just so happens that the By the Book interview is with Michael Connelly, and he has many, many interesting book recommendations, which include the following:

  • Act of War:  Lyndon Johnson, North Korea, and the Capture of the Spy Ship Pueblo, by Jack Cheevers
  • The Public Burning, by Robert Coover
  • The Little Sister, by Raymond Chandler

This issue also has the list of Ten Best Books of 2013, and since self is well aware that time is a river, and self is disappearing quick, she has to be choosy about which of the Ten she really really wants to read, and it is these:

In Fiction

  • Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • The Flamethrowers, by Rachel Kushner
  • Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson
  • Tenth of December: Stories, by George Saunders

In Nonfiction

  • Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, by Sheri Fink
  • Wave, by Sonali Deraniyagala

One of the highlights of this issue is a review (by Anthony Doerr) of Brown Dog: Novellas, by Jim Harrison.  Self doesn’t know why exactly but she’s loved Jim Harrison for a long long time. His books are violent, they are pungent, they are precise, and they are very, very funny.

And here’s a round-up of a burgeoning sub-genre, the cookbook as memoir:

  • Biting Through the Skin: An Indian Kitchen in America’s Heartland, by Nina Mukerjee Furstenau
  • Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal, by Abigail Carroll
  • Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie: Midwestern Writers and Food, by Peggy Wolff

And here’s a sub of a sub-genre, the fate of elephants in America:

  • Topsy: The Startling Story of the Crooked-Tailed Elephant, P. T. Barnum, and the American Wizard Thomas Edison, by Michael Daly
  • Behemoth:  The History of the Elephant in America, by Ronald B. Tobias

And one about elephants in Africa:

  • Silent Thunder, by Katy Payne

Finally, much thanks to Rivka Galchen and Pankaj Mishra for recommending (in the end-paper, Bookends) two books by authors self hasn’t yet read:

  • My Struggle, by Norwegian writer Ove Knausgaard
  • Zibaldone, by Giacomo Leopardi

Whew! Finally self has arrived at the end of a monster post. Stay tuned.

 

 

Endurance: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is ENDURANCE.

Show us what endurance means to you. Is it that high-school diploma, beads of sweat earned on a long run, a treasured family heirloom, or something else entirely?

Street Vendor, South Super Highway, Manila: That smile. Wonder how much money he makes selling from car to car when the traffic stalls. Warrant ya, NOT MUCH.

Street Vendor, South Super Highway, Manila: That smile. Wonder how much money he makes selling from car to car when the traffic stalls. Warrant ya, NOT MUCH. Still, he endures.

Gracie dozes -- Self missed spending time with her when she started traveling. Adopted at 1 yr. old, she passed away three years ago from complications of diabetes. But she had the biggest, bravest heart.

Gracie dozes — Self missed spending time with her when she started traveling. Adopted at 1 yr. old, she passed away three years ago from complications of diabetes. But she had the biggest, bravest heart. She endured self’s long absences.

Mount Kanlaon: Still active, after thousands of years. It's in the center of Dear Departed Dad's home island of Negros, in the central Philippines.

Mount Kanlaon: Still active, after thousands of years. It’s in the center of Dear Departed Dad’s home island of Negros, in the central Philippines. Its mystery only seems to grow, with each of self’s succeeding visits to Negros. It endures.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

How Could You Possibly Expect

How could you possibly expect writing like this in a spy thriller?  Alan Furst’s writing is so good it is impossible to skim:

Spring died early that year, soft rains came and went, the sky turned its fierce French blue only rarely, a mean little wind arrived at dusk and blew papers around the cobbled streets.  The end of April was generally admitted to be triste, only the surrealists liked such unhappy weather, then summer came before anybody was really ready for it.

–  Dark Star, p. 111

 

Adventure 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

On the way to the Grand Canal

On the way to the Grand Canal:  Self took a trip to Venice with Margarita Donnelly, retired managing editor of Calyx, in April 2013

Pat Shelley, who led the tour to Stonehenge self took in April 2014

Pat Shelley, who led the tour to Stonehenge self took in April 2014

Holy Mother of All Monuments!  Our little band of walkers approached the monument in early evening.

Holy Mother of All Monuments! Our little band of walkers approached the monument in early evening. We had to walk across a sheep meadow. That time of day, the tour buses were finally beginning to thin out.  Our group had the monument almost all to ourselves. It was CHILLY.

Sharing the Love: Last Sunday of August (2014)

Today, while self was poking around in her closet, she came upon a binder where she lists all the literary magazines she’s submitted to, organized per year.

She’s decided to share the 2014 list right here, right now. Because it is so onerous keeping that information to herself.

It’s probably as amazing to self as it is to her readers that there are so many. In truth, in the last few years, she has become rather manic about submissions. Looking back at the long trajectory of her writing life, there were many years when she’d send out to just a handful of magazines. She must be making up for lost time.

And, let’s not kid ourselves, the internet has made a huge difference. Now, it’s so easy to just press a button that says “Submit.” Whereas when she first started sending stuff out, every piece had to be printed out, photocopied, slapped into an envelope, then metered at a post office. Frankly, who had the time?

    • Agni
    • Alaska Quarterly Review (Having serious financial problems, may close)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Dialogue: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

    This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is another — ehem — challenging one.

    DIALOGUE

    They want you to post a pair of photographs that, “when placed next to each other,” open “up to meanings that weren’t there when viewed alone.”

    So here’s self’s first attempt:  two photographs of the Blessed Virgin, both taken at Mission San Gabriel in southern California, Sunday Aug. 24. The only reason she was at the Mission was to meet an old high-school classmate from Manila, Connie Genato, who was singing at the 11:15 mass.

    The Blessed Virgin Mary is iconic in Roman Catholicism, and an object of particular veneration in the Philippines (colony of Spain for 333 years!)

    A statue of the Blessed Virgin In Mission San Gabriel

    A statue of the Blessed Virgin In Mission San Gabriel, near Los Angeles

    Another statue of the Blessed Virgin taken at Mission San Gabriel, this one just outside the church

    Another statue of the Blessed Virgin taken at Mission San Gabriel, this one just outside the church

    In and of themselves, these photographs are nothing much. Together, though, they seem to speak of a child-like simplicity that self finds particularly touching.

    Self has tons of other Blessed Virgin pictures. She might look for those and add later, if she has time.

    Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

    Poem for the 2nd Sunday of August (2014): Angela Narciso Torres

    Angela Narciso Torres was one of the contributors to Going Home to a Landscape, the anthology of Filipino women’s writings co-edited by self and poet Virginia Cerenio and published by Calyx Press in 2003.

    Her poetry collection, Blood Orange, was the winner of the 2013 Willow Books Literature Award for Poetry. Her recent work can be found in the Cimarron Review, the Colorado Review, and Cream City Review.

    Here’s the title poem:

    Blood Oranges

    At the river’s edge –
    strewn seed, vermilion
    petals from blood oranges

    we ate. A branch
    stoops from the weight
    of phantom fruit. Falling,

    the leaves exhale
    the spicy-heavy air,
    its punishing sweet.

    Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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