A Conversation with the Manila Bulletin

A few days ago, self received a few questions about her writing life from the Manila Bulletin.

The first question was: What makes a good short story?

Self thinks she wrote an absolutely brilliant answer to this question šŸ™‚ She said something about discovery. Read the rest of this entry »

Late Saturday Night Reading: A Newspaper Story

It’s late at night, self should be going to bed, but instead she picks up last Sunday’s Chronicle. The sentence that catches her eye is this:

“It’s the call that every parent fears from the moment your child is born . . . You expect to hear, ‘There’s been a car crash.’ You don’t expect, your daughter has been attacked in a bakery.”

Self has seen son twice this summer. The second time was when she went with him to rent a tow-truck and a dollie so that he could pick up his disabled car in King City. It’s true that she fears an accident every time he drives north and back. Mostly, she worries that he will fall asleep and drift off the road. And so she reads the newspaper story with more than usual interest.

In the story self reads, a 15-year-old girl, sheltered, who attends a private school in San Francisco, drops by the Borders in Stonetown after school. This is the same Borders that self read in, over two years ago. It was March. This was her first reading for her second collection, Mayor of the Roses. Self sees the store so clearly in her mind as she reads the story.

The teen-ager proceeds to West Portal and walks up Portola Drive, looking for a snack. Self, too, has walked on this very street. She, too, has eaten there when she used to teach a writing class at San Francisco State.

The teen-ager enters a bakery. At which point, the story becomes very strange: As the girl is leaving the store, a man hits her — hard — on the back of the head.

Self’s question is: Why this particular girl?

Read the rest of this entry »

A (Pinter-esque) Domestic Drama in Two Scenes

Today hubby was invited to a barbecue.

Where, self asked. Whereupon, the following conversation ensued:


Imagine: a living room. TV is going. Furniture rather indistinct because of wafting cigarette smoke.

Imagine: two characters, a husband and wife, both in middle age. Wife is very fetching. Reminds audience of older version of Vanessa Minillo. Husband has a paunch, is balding.

Hubby (in answer to self’s question): In Fremont.

Self: Who invited you?

Hubby: Just someone I know.

Self: Know from where?

Hubby: From my old company.

Self (incredulous): Your old company? Someone from there invited you? (Pause) Well, at least they still like you.

Hubby: (mumble mumble)

Self: What if your old boss shows up?

Hubby: He isn’t invited. Besides, he got fired.

Self (astonished): DON got fired?

Hubby (with relish): Yup.

Self: Well, maybe you didn’t have to quit after all.


Read the rest of this entry »

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