Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia: “The Heart of the World”

The cover of Colin Poole's TONLE SAP, The Heart of Cambodia's Natural Heritage (Thailand:  River Books, 2005)

The cover of Colin Poole’s TONLE SAP, The Heart of Cambodia’s Natural Heritage (Thailand: River Books, 2005)

In 2004, self and her sister-in-law, Ying, took a trip to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat. We stayed in a house ($10/day for a room, including meals) and hired a driver.

The monument was crawling with tourists. One morning, desperate, self and Ying awoke at 4 a.m. and had the driver bring us to the temples. Across the giant causeway, which was barely light, we saw at least a hundred photographers, cameras pointed at the horizon, waiting for the first rays of the sun to appear. It was very dispiriting.

The thing self remembers most from the trip is not the temples. It was Tonle Sap Lake. Self and Ying hired a boat and threaded our way through the floating villages.

In 2008, Ying passed away in Tel Aviv. Self saw her for the last time a couple of months before. Her eyes were so sad.

Self’s story, “The Peacock,” is about that trip to Cambodia. She’s never been able to get it published, but she keeps trying.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Available Now: Your Impossible Voice, Issue 5

Today self heard from the editors of Your Impossible Voice that Issue No. 5 is out!

YAY!

The story they took is “The Elephant.” Self actually sent if from Cork, Ireland. It was the morning she was transferring from Ballyvolane House to Café Paradiso. You know, self just fell in love with Cork and wishes she had stayed there an extra week.

But, back to Your Impossible Voice and “The Elephant.” It is actually quite a disturbing story, but it is what it is. Here’s an excerpt:

For over a week, the elephant’s wild thrashings sent reverberations throughout the ship. It threw itself against the walls of its container, again and again. Sea monsters, the crew awoke thinking. We’re all going to die!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

“Memories of Trees” : Live Now on PITHEAD CHAPEL, Vol. 3, Issue 9

I’m one of three people still living who can tell what a mango tree looks like.  I’m important because they think they can learn how to make more.

– “Memories of Trees,” Pithead Chapel, Vol. 3, Issue 9 (September 2014)

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 »

    Work in Progress: Inspired by the Darren Aronofsky Movie

    How many readers actually saw “Noah” when it was in theaters earlier this year? The speculative fiction film version of “Noah,” the one that starred Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connolly? Self loved it. In fact, it’s still one of her favorite movies of the year.

    Self is calling this work-in-progress “The Ark.”:

    Two by two, the counting went on, day and night.

    In moonlight sometimes Noah heard his wife singing.

    No more than two, Noah said. One pair, that’s all we can take.

    His wife began to argue with him. There must be a way, she insisted. Her eyes had that stormy look. Like lake water in spring, when the wind blows hard around.

    Right now, it stands at around five pages, double-spaced (1,000 words). Happiness!

    Stay tuned.

    Teaching Non-Fiction

    Self is in the middle of teaching an on-line class for UCLA Extension right now, “Essential Beginnings in Nonfiction.” The book she is using is Judith Barrington’s Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art.

    From Chapter 3, which self is having the students discuss this week:

    Do not make the mistake of thinking it is easier to tell the stories you have lived than to make up fictitious stories about imaginary people.  It is no easier to write your own story well than it is to write anything else well.

    Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

    2nd Thursday of August (2014): A Poem By Joan McGavin

    Met Joan McGavin two years ago, in Hawthornden (where she also met Jenny Lewis; and Alison Amend; and Hamish) and had many wonderful adventures which she looks back on with fondness.

    Joan is expecting her first grandchild very soon. Self thought of her today while having her car washed: the Auto-Pride on Woodside Road has a great gift shop, with all manner of gift cards. Self chose one with a cheerful yellow envelope and a parade of babies on the front.

    Joan is currently the Hampshire Poet of 2014 and is organizing the Winchester Poetry Festival and is mega-busy.

    Her collection, Flannelgraphs, was published by Oversteps Books.

    Self likes this poem in particular because she’s just finished writing a short story called “The Freeze.”

    New Skills

    for the globally warmer world
    will include flood wading
    taught by out of work
    circus performers
    ex-stilt walkers
    acrobats and the like.

    Anger management
    will be increasingly called for
    with levels of overcrowding
    making those living
    jowl by cheek
    more and more likely
    to go for the jugular
    of their nearest neighbours.
    Our tutors are tried and tested.

    Tear control –
    though not strictly part of our current
    Adult Education provision –
    is an old skill;
    revision, one-day courses
    will be offered
    by our highly qualified staff
    of tsunami victims.
    Haitians.

    Joan speaks so pointedly, though softly.

    Stay tuned.

    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.

     

    Virtual Blog Tour: And Introducing . . .

    Self got tagged, so now it’s her turn to tag three others.

    The three artists self tagged for the Virtual Blog Tour are:

    • Luisa A. Igloria, poet and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA
    • Stella Kalaw, photographer, Emeryville, CA
    • Kathleen Burkhalter, writer, New Bedford, MA

    She’ll start with Luisa, and follow up with Stella Kalaw and Kathleen Burkhalter in later posts.

    About Luisa A. Igloria:

    Poet and Professor Luisa A. Igloria, at home in Virginia

    Poet and Professor Luisa A. Igloria, at home in Virginia

    Luisa’s recent books include Ode to the Heart Smaller Than a Pencil Eraser (winner of the 2014 May Swenson Prize), Night Willow:  Prose Poems (forthcoming from Phoenicia Publishing, Montreal), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Press, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (winner of the 2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press), Trill & Mordent (Word Tech Editions, 2005).

    Luisa has degrees from the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she was a Fulbright Fellow from 1992 to 1995.  She has lived and worked in Hampton Roads for the last 13 years.  She enjoys cooking with her family, book-binding, and listening to tango music.

    Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

     

    Tagged! Virtual Blog Tour

    Self has a lot of catching up to do with regards to honoring the lovely Rashaan Alexis-Meneses’ tagging of Kanlaon for the Virtual Blog Tour.

    She was tagged two weeks ago, but summer is always a blur.  In the summer, self’s brain seems to work at half-time.  Not. Kidding.

    Nevertheless, she is now at full attention and ready to participate!

    First things first:

    THANKS MUCH, MZ RASHAAN:

    “. . .  in your blog you acknowledge the people who invited you, answer four given questions about your work and your process, then invite three other people to participate.”

    For this post only, self will drop the 3rd person arch-ness and go for first person SINCERE.

    My responses are only slightly tongue-in-cheek.

    What are you currently working on?

    A series of speculative fiction stories, most of them flash, all of them intriguing. LOL LOL LOL

    One of them, “The Elephant,” will appear in the next issue of Your Impossible Voice.

    “The Secret Room” is already up, on Café Irreal.

    How does your work differ from others of its genre?

    I don’t “do” narratives of identity.

    I write narratives of deformity.

    We’re all monsters.  In one way or another.  Inside.

    I dig deep to find that which makes us wretched.

    Why do you write/ create what you do?

    Because I can’t help myself.  And because writing, frankly, is the only thing I’m REALLY good at.

    Honestly, if someone had told me, way back when, “Your life will be spent mostly in an empty room (empty of people, that is), writing stories of deep despondency, for which you will be paid nada,” I would promptly have said, “You’re crazy!” or, “You’re dreaming!” or, “Do you think I’m some kind of martyr?” Turns out I am all of those things:  crazy/demented dreamer/ martyr.  Maybe ALL writers are all of these things. Ugh. Welcome to my Pity Party.

    How does your writing/ creating process work?

    The angrier I am, the better I write.  So I try to stay angry.

    I like to think of my process as SLASH AND BURN.

    P. S.  It’s really fun to “do” anger in flash fiction.

    *     *     *     *     *

    Spreading the love to:  Stella Kalaw; Luisa Igloria; Kathleen Burkhalter

    Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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