Monument 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Hong Kong, monument to the Chinese money-making instinct:  Summer 2006 (Last Trip to Asia with Sole Fruit of Her Loins)

Hong Kong, monument to the Chinese money-making instinct: Summer 2006 (Last Trip to Asia with Sole Fruit of Her Loins)

The Golden Gate Bridge:  View From Land's End, San Francisco:  December 2008

The Golden Gate Bridge: View From Land’s End, San Francisco: December 2008

The Layout of Stonehenge: Diagram From SOLVING STONEHENGE, by Anthony Johnson. Self has always been fascinated by the abiding mystery of these stones.  She even used the monument in a short story that got published in Wigleaf ("Stonehenge/Pacifica")

The Layout of Stonehenge: Diagram From SOLVING STONEHENGE, by Anthony Johnson. Self has always been fascinated by the abiding mystery of these stones. She even used the monument in a short story that got published in Wigleaf in 2008:  “Stonehenge/Pacifica”

Excerpt, “Stonehenge/Pacifica” published in Wigleaf (1/11/2012):

It was a dream I had, some restless night.  One of those weeks or months or years when we were worried about money.

But when were we ever not worried?

First there was the mortgage, and then the two.

And then your mother got sick, and your father died.

You can read the story in its entirety, here.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

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

Fan Fiction, Sherlock and Self

In Edinburgh, in the Surgeon’s Museum (which is located in the University of Edinburgh Medical School), there is a special exhibit on the man who served as the inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes (Doyle studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh).  Since self is extremely nosy, she decided to open a closed door that was at the far end of the exhibit area, and saw an empty amphitheater, with rows and rows of wooden desks all facing a proscenium.  Class was not in session.

Today, self is thinking about Sherlock Holmes because she is once again tackling her Pile of Stuff (which is absolutely exploding with unread magazines).  The January 27, 2014 issue of The New Yorker is what she is looking at this afternoon.  There’s a very interesting article by Emily Nussbaum called  FAN FRICTION:  SHERLOCK AND ITS AUDIENCES.

As self proceeds through the article, she learns that a particular scene in Sherlock Season 3 was inspired by Sherlock Holmes fan fiction.  Can you guess which one, dear blog readers?

One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, one thousand four, one thousand five . . .

Time’s up!

We’re at a critical moment:  Holmes is on the roof of a building, preparing to jump. Somehow,  Moriarty winds up there, too, and leans in for a kiss.  Self’s jaw almost dropped to the floor.

Self knew it!  She knew it!  Because it’s in the same episode where a group of London geeks (fan fiction practitioners) sit in someone’s cramped and cluttered apartment and conjecture about the two years Sherlock was thought by everyone to have perished.  (They also tweet theories using hashtag #sherlocklives)

Anyhoo, self loves the Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock.  The first time she saw the actor was in a movie called Amazing Grace, where he played anti-slavery parliamentarian Pitt.  At that point in time, there was only one reason self wanted to see the movie, and that was Ioaon Gruffud.  She had absolutely no idea where the filmmakers had picked up the beady-eyed Cumberbatch.  Only years later, after watching her first episode of Sherlock, did self finally “get” the Cumberbatch affect:  the lankiness!  The floppy, messy hair!  The cigarette pants!  The sexy!

In the series, “when Sherlock reads a crime scene, enormous words appear on the screen, like an on-line word cloud.”

Sherlock, Nussbaum writes, “has inspired reams of slash fiction.”  Today, “you can find slash fic about almost any character you can imagine, from Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy onward.”

Self recently registered for membership in fanfiction.net, and she can attest how addictive it is.  There are actually people who leave comments like these:

“I work as a waiter and I’m right now in an alley behind the restaurant, hoping for an update to your story before my boss comes out and catches me . . . “

“I’m on a cruise of the Mediterranean and I keep thinking up excuses to go back to my room so I can check for any updates of your story.  My family thinks I’m nuts . . . “

Never, ever will self reveal her fanfiction.net identity, because she’s doing very fluffy writing.  She follows seven writers.  She hopes with all her heart they don’t turn out to be 14, but they might be.  Because they still worry about getting “caught” during chemistry class or skipping math class to do some urgent reading in the bathroom!

She’s heard it so many times:  The internet is the death of books.  It may be the death of books, but it is definitely a clarion call to the imagination, and to the power of the simple act of reading.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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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