This Conversation

Self was in Oxford.

Oxford, as in UK.

The year she got shortlisted for the Saboteur Awards.

Funny, that was also her first visit to Ireland.

In fact, she was IN Ireland when she got the e-mail from her publisher. In Florida.

“Oh,” self e-mailed. “I don’t think I can make it to Oxford, Mississippi. Because, I’m in Ireland.”

And her publisher said, “Well, if you’re in Ireland, I think that’s a lot closer to Oxford than where I am.”

And self thought, Huh, that’s funny.

Then she got an e-mail from the Saboteur Awards people, giving her directions on getting to Oxford. Which included going to London, then taking a train . . .

Wait. London. Train.

HOLY COW YOU CANNOT BE TELLING HER SHE WAS UP FOR A BRITISH AWARD?

Like hell, she said!

Anyhoo, she wound up in Oxford, UK. Drinking champagne, thank you very much. A young woman comes up to self, introduces herself as a Ph.D. student from Oxford. Oxford University, not Oxford as in Oxford, Mississippi. LOL.

The young woman asks self what she does to relax.

Self doesn’t even have to think about it: “I write Fan Fiction.”

And this young woman, this doctoral candidate in Oxford University, doesn’t bat an eyelash. She comes right back at self with: “Which universe?”

And self goes: “Hunger Games. Everlark.”

And that is the honest truth.

Stay tuned.

Poetry Workshop, St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, UK

Self is signed up for this, her first poetry workshop EVER. Sort of excited and nervous at the same time.

Jenny Lewis (fabulous poet, her book is Taking Mesopotamia; met her at Hawthornden) organizes and teaches it together with another fabulous poet, Kate Miller.

3 Spaces Left!

Here are particulars:

DISTANCE AND DEFINITION

Saturday, 28 May 2016
10:30 to 4:30
St. Hilda’s College, Oxford
GBP 50/45

“So much depends, she thought, upon distance: whether people are near us or far from us . . . ” — To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf

Workshop Process: “We’ll explore the perennial dilemma of the observer whose memory also feeds in information about a place or an event: how closely to focus on foreground, what space feels like, how changes in atmosphere and the fall of light heighten the experience of entering and occupying the world presented on the page.”

Workshop Materials: “Bring an example of an over-stuffed poem or notebook in need of a good walk.” (What does this mean? Must be a reference to something uniquely British)

Here’s the link for how to sign up. (Cancellations up to seven days before the event will be fully refunded)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Ice”: Self’s Story, Forthcoming From Bellingham Review

It’s the future. Nothing survives:

Sunlight, shadows, wind. Strangely, no birds.

Out there, ice caps, cold as knives.

Steam from her mouth, his mouth, none from the boy who lay between them. She cradling the boy’s face but he knowing what.

She knowing what but not able to bear it.

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2016 AWP Bookfair, Los Angeles Convention Center

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Abstract in Annaghmakerrig

Instead of seeing “specific objects and people,” focus on “shapes, compositions, and textures.”

— Ben Huberman, The Daily Post

Here you go, lovelies: self’s abstracts for today, all pictures she took in her cottage at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig.

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Detail of Painting in Unit # 1, Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig

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Window of Unit # 1, Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig

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Shade Pull, Unit # 1, Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig

Stay tuned.

Abstract: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 22 April 2016

# 1: Wall, Soho, New York City, November 2015

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Building Wall: Soho, New York City, November 2015

# 2: Fire Escape, Valencia Street, San Francisco, October 2015

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#3: Taxi Ride from Newark Int’l Airport to Manhattan, September 2015

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This week’s Photo Challenge from The Daily Post is:

  • Turn the concrete and familiar into something new and mysterious.

Self’s always had a commitment to the abstract, lol. She has thousands of pictures in this vein.

Here are just three.

Stay tuned.

Bowie: Lyrics, “Life on Mars”

Sailors fighting in the dance-hall
Oh man!
Look at those cavemen go
It’s the freakiest show.

— David Bowie, “Life on Mars”

This is a pretty freakish year.

Just because. First, Bowie and now

Prince

“When Doves Cry” — Aaargh, aaaargh, be still, self’s beating heart!

It’s too much.

Last week, in Heathrow, eating a sandwich and waiting for her flight to Dublin, her ears pricked up as Bowie came over the piped-in sound system: LIFE ON MARS.

What. An. Incredible. Song.

And, like today, SAAAAAAD.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Admiration: Daily Post Photo Challenge, 29 April 2016

  • Show us someone or something you admire (and tell us about them, too!)

— Krista, The Daily Post

Here’s one:  David Bowie, who died of cancer early this year. Self cannot get the lyrics of his songs out of her mind. Here, the chorus of “Changes”:

Ch-ch-ch-ch changes
Turn and face the strange

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Listening to David Bowie on YouTube: “Changes”

Here’s another: Keith Tuma, Miami University Press. This man has steered the Press to indie greatness. Seriously.

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Keith Tuma of Miami University Press, at the 2016 AWP Book Fair in Los Angeles

Finally, shout-out to Nutschell Ann Windsor and Phoebe Lim of UCLA Extension’s Writers Program: Grace Under Pressure, Personified. Here they are at the UCLA Extension Writers Program booth at the 2016 AWP Book Fair in Los Angeles (Fabulous book fair, BTW).

UCLA always has the best swag. They gave out, among other goodies, a UBS stick, a leather-bound blank journal, and really good pens.

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Three Cheers for UCLA Extension’s Writers Program! Love the people. Here they are, doing Spin the Wheel at the 2016 AWP Book Fair in Los Angeles.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

More London 2015

SPOILERS FOR THE INFERNAL DEVICES!

London, June 2015: Hunting for Blackfriars Bridge. Because Blackfriars is where Tessa and Jem, the other leg of The Infernal Devices love triangle (Self ships Wessa. Her fanfiction alias would be PeetasandHerondales, if that weren’t already taken. But anyhoo, Blackfriars) meet every year for eternity to see what’s up with each other (after Tessa married Will! Yes!).

June 19, author Cassandra Clare reminds the Shadowhunter universe that Will Herondale died on that day. KA-BOOM! Self is in her lodgings in London, having a melt-down. Wants to get to the Serpentine River, because that’s where Will took Tessa to look at ducks. But she has too many FEELZ.

Here’s a link to a tumblr author whose Shadowhunter graphic illustrations are just so on point.

Stay tuned.

Doctors-in-Training Write Fan Fiction

It never lasts, though.

The minute they become bona fide doctors, they stop writing.

The average life of a fan fiction writer (those who are in medical school, anyway) is about four years. Just long enough to get them through it. Before you know it, there’s this announcement on their tumblr pages:

YAY! I MADE IT! I’M NOW A FULL-FLEDGED DOCTOR!

And before you know it, fictions that are WIP just cut off. Just like that.

So long! It’s been nice knowing you!

Today, self re-visited one of her favorite stories. It’s incomplete. Self isn’t sure the author is a doctor (or a nurse, or in some sort of medical profession), but the writing about injury is pretty matter-of-fact:

Her wrist was sore from writing through the night, and she pinched the tendons between her fingers to soothe the ache. It was slightly crooked from a tumble she had taken down the stairs when she was young, landing on her hands. Years later, after seeing a proper physician, he noted that her Colles’ fracture hadn’t been set correctly. She always thought broken bones were supposed to be unbearably painful, but she hadn’t felt a thing. In fact, while it had limited her flexibility, the stiffened joint improved her aim for archery, giving her a steady hand that could strike the target from twice the distance.

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The Huntington Gardens, Pasadena, California

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Quote of the Day: Helen Ivory

I have always suspected but now
I know for a fact that I am not a human being.
As children, my sister and I were cats.

— from The Double Life of Clocks, by Helen Ivory (Bloodaxe Books, Ltd.)

Abstract 3: Ceiling Light, Unit # 1, Tyrone Guthrie Centre

“Point your camera at something familiar and turn it into something else.”

— Ben Huberman, The Daily Post Photo Challenge

This ceiling light hangs over the stairs in Unit # 1 of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, where self is staying:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Americans Will Talk All Day”

Really?

Pardon, self was not aware.

“Americans will talk all day, but they are terrible listeners . . . ”

— Paul Theroux, Deep South

DEEP SOUTH: Still Another Great Travel Quote

“New York City’s vast Port Authority terminal is a terrifying place in which suddenly to find oneself coping on one’s own . . . It is important to resist the temptation to sit down and weep.”

—  Ethel Mannin, author of American Journey

DEEP SOUTH: Another Great Travel Quote

Charles Dickens, on recalling his travels in America:

  • “I think it is impossible, utterly impossible, for any Englishman to live here, and be happy.”

Stay tuned.

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