On Top: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Miami Holocaust Memorial, South Beach. The giant hand pointing at the sky is only the first thing you see as you approach.

Miami Holocaust Memorial, South Beach. The giant hand pointing at the sky is the first thing you notice on the approach.

View from the Airplane on the way to Miami, November 2013

Clouds, Sunset:  Airplane View en route to Miami, November 2013

Bacolod City: the view from her hotel room

Dear Departed Dad’s Hometown, Bacolod City:  Self never tired of the view from her hotel balcony.

3rd Thursday of April 2014: Tired (But Not Depressed)

Hey, hey, people, it’s been a long day, and self is sitting in front of her computer, tired.

One thing she is so happy about, this year, is that her garden is so — fecund.  That’s the only way she can think to describe it.  Plants that haven’t thrown off a bloom in years — like her Sheila’s Perfume — suddenly have big, fat flowers.  Her oldest clematis, a montana rubens, suddenly has growth lower down on its gnarled, woody stem.  And the wisteria she thought she’d killed is luscious, winding over the falling-down trellis, almost choking off the old wood.

Self checked out a site called Grey Magazine, and loves it.  It seems to be a magazine about Italy, which is probably why she bookmarked it.  But as she scrolls to the bottom of the page, she sees other things, like an article about the Reykjavik Fashion Festival (There’s one country — Iceland — she’d love to visit one day) and a review of a production of Bohéme.  And there’s a fabulous, absolutely fabulous picture of the actress Charlotte Rampling (still a knockout).

Well, all this musing started because she sat down at her desk, read a new piece of fanfiction, thought of something, wrote it down, finished it — bam, bam, bam.  It’s just one page, but self thinks it is fabulous.

Self thinks all her pieces are fabulous.  That is, she thinks they are fabulous right after she finishes, or thinks she has finished.  The feeling doesn’t last long, so she might as well enjoy the right now.

This new one-page flash fiction takes place in a future universe.  It’s called “Memories of Trees” and is so angst-y and self loves it.

She remembered that when she spoke to Zack’s class last Monday, one of the students remarked that her story “Mayor of the Roses” and her story “Thing” — one set in a small town in Laguna and the other set in a dystopian future universe (Self swore she would never use the word dystopian again, especially after gazillions of reviewers used it when reviewing Hunger Games:  Catching Fire, but she is forced to admit that it certainly is a very effective word, and anyway her fiction really is DYSTOPIAN, she’s not trying to be clever or anything, just really really honest) — seemed to have similar themes.  Self’s first reaction was to go:  Oh no!  Because she hates thinking of herself as being so transparent and predictable.  Which was not a useful line of thought:  no one who’s predictable can be fabulous.

After much perusing of the newly re-designed Daily Post,self finally realized that it still has the links to other people’s blogs, a feature she thought had been lost.  With the old layout, she would click on “Post a Comment,” and all the people who had posted on the week’s photo challenge would then appear on a list of links.  Self would methodically move down this list, looking at each blog.

With the re-design, self couldn’t find a button for “Post a Comment.”  Only today did she realize that the links still exist, although in a very different form.  All self had to do was scroll down to the very bottom of the page, where there is a gallery of squares.  Clicking on one of these squares immediately brings one to a blog post on the week’s photo challenge.  In other words, the links are so much more visual now.

OK, so here’s what self has lined up for next week:  She will board a plane for London.  She will arrive in London.  She signed up for a tour of Stonehenge, which takes place the day after her arrival.  Jennie Lewis’s new poetry collection, Taking Mesopotamia, is having a reading at the British Museum on April 27, and self has tickets for that.  Then, she’s the guest of Joan McGavin for a few days.  Then she flies to Dublin.  Then she sees FATHER HASLAM, who she hasn’t seen in 20 years.  Father Haslam has asked a fellow priest, Father McCabe, to drive her to the Tyrone Guthrie Center.  She will then be in a self-catering cottage in the Tyrone Guthrie Center.  There is wi-fi, so she will really have to wean herself off Facebook.  Then Penny arrives in Dublin.  Then self clears out of her self-catering cottage and takes a long train trip to Cork, where she’s booked into a magnificent Irish country home that serves four-course dinners every night. Then she loses her passport so she can’t go home and will have to stay another couple of weeks until she gets a new passport.  She’ll live off Irish ale and get fat.  She won’t be able to squeeze into an Economy airplane seat, so she’ll just have to be bumped up to First Class.  She will live happily ever after.

THE END.

Monument: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The Daily Post has a completely new look.  Self was mighty confused because she received no advance warning.

It’s a maroon color theme.

As usual, self gets ahead of herself.

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is MONUMENT.  Herewith, three photographs representing three of the places she has traveled to in 2012 and 2013:

The Venetian Lion:  San Marco Square, April 2013

The Venetian Lion: San Marco Square, April 2013

Cathedral of Sacre Coeur:  Paris, July 2012

Cathedral of Sacre Coeur: Paris, July 2012

The Golden Temple:  Amritsar, Punjab, January 2012

The Golden Temple: Amritsar, Punjab, January 2012

 

Stairs: Threshold 5, WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Self loves her writers group.  Here we are, ascending the steps to jay's place.

Self loves her writers group. Here are Caroline and Grace, ascending the steps to Jay’s place.

Entrance to the Bechtel International Center on the Stanford campus:  Self bought her first bike here.

Entrance to the Bechtel International Center on the Stanford campus: Self bought her first bike here, eons ago.

Venice, April 2013:  Steps Leading to the Water (All steps in Venice eventually lead to the water)

Venice, April 2013: Steps Leading to the Water (ALL steps in Venice eventually lead to the water. Self liked the moss on this one, though)

Threshold 2, WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: What Lies Beyond?

A Writer's Apartment in Paris.  The door leads to her bedroom.

July 2012:  A Writer’s Apartment in Paris. The door leads to her bedroom.

June 2012, Hawthornden:  Every day for one month, selfI passed through this portal.

June 2012, Hawthornden Writers Retreat, Scotland: Every day for one month, self passed through this portal.  Sometimes it felt like entering an enchanted kingdom.

The Red Door to the Shed:  It used to be dark brown. Self decided to paint it red over a decade ago.

The Red Door to the Shed: It used to be dark brown. Self decided to paint it red over a decade ago.

Threshold: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Threshold: That point just before the action happens.

Any moment, someone is going to walk through that door. Or self will go to her garden. Or she’ll see something transcendent, like I. M. Pei’s glass pyramid,  just outside the Louvre.

A threshold is a transitional point:  in life as well as in physical space.

The room where self keeps all her files and magazines is just across the hallway from the bedroom.

Home in Redwood City:  the room where self keeps all her files and magazines is just across the hallway from the bedroom.

The front door opens directly onto the living room.  This is what the front door looks like when self is lolling on her couch.

Still Another Shot of Home:  The front door opens directly onto the living room. This is what self sees when she looks at the front door from the vantage point of her couch.

Approaching the Main Courtyard to the Louvre

Paris, July 2012:  Approaching the I. M. Pei Pyramid just Outside the Louvre

Reflections 6: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Reflection = Reverie = Being Lost in Thought

Passengers on the Vaporetto:  Venice, April 2013

Passengers on the Vaporetto: Venice, April 2013

Peets Coffee on Broadway, Downtown Redwood City

Peets Coffee on Broadway, Downtown Redwood City

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2013 (It's scheduled to re-open two years from now -- in 2016)

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2013 (It’s scheduled to re-open two years from now — in 2016)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Kyi May Kaung: Berlin, 2005

In October 2005, self and a bunch of other Southeast Asian writers were flown to Berlin to give a reading at the House of World Culture as part of a conference called “Sending Signals.”  Musicians, writers, film-makers, and visual artists from Burma, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines were gathered in a hotel at the edge of the Tiergarten.  That was also where self met the writers Linh Dinh and Rattawut Lapcharoensap, and where she met a poet from Burma, Kyi May Kaung.

All these years later, self still keeps in touch with Kyi.

Self once saw an Escalade in the Costco parking lot with the license plate “Myanmar.”  She couldn’t believe it and rushed home to call Kyi.

Her somewhat acerbic response:  “If the license plate was Myanmar then I am 100% sure the car belonged to a member of the ruling party.  They’re the only ones who refer to Burma as Myanmar.”

That was a moment.

In December last year, self asked Kyi if it would be OK to post some of her poetry in this blog.  Kyi sent over six poems.  Self doesn’t know why it took her three whole months to get one of Kyi’s poems posted but here, at last, is one:

Travel warning for Burma — some places may be closed.  Ethnic cleansing going on — in 1962 they called it “cleaning the Augean stables.”

Actually, that wasn’t poetry.  That came from one of Kyi’s tweets.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

 

Reflections 5: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This is a set of photographs as well as a short reflection on a three-week trip to Venice self embarked on in April-May last year.

After over 30 years at the helm of Calyx Books, Margarita had retired. It had always been her dream to re-visit her childhood home in Venezuela, but the political situation made that difficult.

Venice was the stand-in.  Margarita found an apartment in Ca’ San Toma.

Even though self ended up losing a suitcase (long story, never mind), she took hundreds of pictures and re-visited a city that had haunted her dreams since she first laid eyes on it as a child of 11.

April was a good time to go.  There still weren’t that many tourists.  By May, however, the city was getting noticeably more crowded and stressful.  When she next visits Venice, she’ll try for earlier in the year: start of April, perhaps.

Dear blog readers, don’t even think of visiting Venice in the warm months of summer.  In the summer, the canals’ turgid water would no doubt have an undeniable odor, and the large cruise ships nosing into one end of San Marco Square would disgorge even greater hordes of tourists.  As it was, self never got to see the inside of the San Marco Cathedral.  The lines were too long — stretching all the way down one side of the square. May was the cusp.  She was glad she got to flee to Trieste for a few days.

On a vaporetto, late April 2013

Early Evening n the vaporetto to Murano, late April 2013

On the way to the Grand Canal

Just off the Grand Canal

Somewhere Near the Apartment in Ca' San Toma

Somewhere Near the Apartment in Ca’ San Toma

 

Reflections 4: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Self loved the way the window light fell on the wood table in her hotel room in Trieste.

She loved Trieste so much that she bought a painting there.

Hotel, Trieste

Hotel, Trieste:  1st week of May 2013

She also loved the quietude of the island of Torcello, which she re-visited in 2013 (Her first visit to Torcello was when she was 11)

Torcello:  late April 2013

Torcello: late April 2013

The last shot was taken on the island of Burano (both Burano and Torcello are accessible by vaporetto from San Marco Square).  She loved the lace museum and found the restaurants there much better than the ones on Murano or even any of the ones in the vicinity of San Marco Square:

April 2013:  Burano

Burano:  Late April 2013

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

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