Re-Reading Self’s Own Work

As self is trying to decide what to read at next week’s Stereo/Story performance at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland, she thinks it would be wise to go over a few of her stories, especially the ones from her second collection, Mayor of the Roses.  There’s a story she wrote, “Extinction,” which was first published in ZYZZYVA.  It’s about the mythical land of P________  .  The story is divided into sections, each with their own sub-titles.  Here’s a section called “Symbiosis” :

SYMBIOSIS from Mayor of the Roses:  Stories (Miami University Press)

In P_________, as in all countries, there was a ruling class.  But the rulers of P_________ were more than extraordinarily dependent on a lower class.  And the lower class liked very much to go to the movies.  Consequently, the movie stars  —  the male ones, at least  —  became the ruling class.

These movies were generally of very poor quality.  Curiously, the female stars were named after soft drinks:  that is, they had names like Pepsi and Sarsi, and they liked to take all their clothes off.  Later, Pepsi hung herself, and Sarsi went mad.  After a few years, no one even remembered them.

One movie star became very famous for his roles as an aggressive policeman.  He was constantly karate-chopping a gang of robbers or mowing down thugs with an Armalite.  He is now the President of the country.  The people have a special name for him, only two syllables.  They don’t bother calling him “Mr. President.”  They know him by the two-syllable name.  Such a country!

Pace, Brillante Mendoza.  “Extinction” is still one of self’s favorite stories.

Janice Y. K. Lee in The Wall Street Journal: Five Best Novels Set in the British-Colonial East

Self will post the entire list and attempt to keep commentary to a minimum, as there have been far too many shocks to self’s system today (such as shopping, and making dinner, and looking over a story she just sent out to a couple of places and finding therein the most glaring typos, aaargh!).  Unfortunately, self cut out the article without including the date when it was published.  She thinks it was the Weekend Edition of Feb. 5, 2010.

Apologies for being so muddled!  Self is leaving in a week for Washington DC, where it is snowing heavily and self hates hates hates the cold.  And she wonders if she can really post from over there, even though she is sure she will have very little time.

But she will be meeting many new people at The Writer’s Center!

Without further ado, the five novels Janice Lee has deemed worthy of note:

  1. Michelle de Kretser’s The Hamilton Case, 2003 (Self truly adores this writer, and has read every novel she has ever written, and they are all good)
  2. Emily Hahn’s China to Me, 1944 (Self had never heard of this writer  before.  Oh, why is this book included in a list of novels, when Lee describes it as “an unapologetic memoir”?  Go figure)
  3. Robert Towers’ The Necklace of Kali, 1960 (Again, another writer self has never heard of.  Thank you, Ms. Lee, for bringing him to self’s attention!)
  4. Amitay Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies, 2008 (Self has heard of this book, read rave reviews about it, but has not yet gotten around to reading it)
  5. Han Suyin’s A Many-Splendored Thing, 1952 (OMG, just the author’s name alone is enough to conjure visions of exotica.  Self has heard of this author —  Dearest Mum, a most voracious reader, who speeds through Garcia Marquez novels in one night, may have mentioned her to self)

What else did self do today, aside from read and go to Marina Market in San Mateo, and watch the Superbowl (Yay for the Saints!) and cook dinner and obssess over the typos in a story?  She planted an azalea.  This one has a very fancy name:  Azalea southern indica “Duc du Rohan.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

3rd Most Gorgeous Day of 2010: Watching the Superbowl

It is 4:31 pm in Redwood City.  The Colts are leading the Saints 10 to 3, and self has seen mostly Budweiser commercials.  There was one particularly stupid one showing people forming a human bridge so that a truck loaded with Buds can cross a ravine.  The one with the “Lost” theme was pretty good, though.

Self has learned the following things today:

  • One of self’s Assumption High School classmates is running for President of the Philippines (Jamby Madrigal; she had a sister named “Choo-Choo.”  Self’s Tagalog nickname is “Batchoy.”  Like the soup.  So, that’s Exhibit A and B for the idiosyncracies of Philippine names)
  • Gringo Honasan is the biggest spending Philippine senator (Must be all those favors he hands out, right and left)
  • Overseas Filipinos can now apply for dual citizenship, at any Philippine Embassy, anywhere in the world (Since the law was passed by the Philippine Congress, however, very few have availed of this opportunity)
  • If you spend $30 for groceries at Marina Food on S. Norfolk in San Mateo, you get a $3 coupon, and since a large serving of pancit bihon is only $3, you can get it practically for free (Sales tax is 61 cents).  And spinach/tofu/miso soup packets are on sale for $1.39 each (originally $1.99)
  • Henning Mankell’s Before the Frost has a disturbing scene of our heroine stumbling in un-announced on her mother, who is walking around the kitchen naked and taking great big swigs of vodka, directly from the bottle (But self still loves the book, loves loves loves it, and is sad because she’s very close to finishing it.  Her next book is another “dark” one:  Joyce Carol Oates’ Missing Mom)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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