Self Interviews Dearest Mum’s Maid

For a story, of course. Delicately she hears the phone ringing — tinkle, tinkle — in a house she already knows is empty. But, of course, the maid will pick up. Self knows this.

The maid tells self that her mother is “out.” She is always out. Self doesn’t care to ask where. Instead, she asks the maid, “Who are you?” And the maid answers, “The maid.”

Self then says, “I know you’re the maid. But what’s your name?”

And the maid says, “Nena.” Which is so funny, because that is in fact Dearest Mum’s name as well. So there are two Nenas in the house there, in Manila.

Then self tells Read the rest of this entry »

Coetzee, Shteyngart Bite Metaphorical Dust ?

Self feels like putting this book down. Oh God, she can’t stand it: 2 a.m. and she just can’t seem to pry her fingers from the pages of J.M. Coetzee’s Slow Man. Why couldn’t she just float into Dreamland after watching “Justified” Episode 5 (Quite a title this episode had: “The Lord of War and Thunder”), the one where Raylan has a teaser of a sex scene with Ava in a motel room; the same episode where we see Raylan casually pushing a slime-ball into a room occupied by two other slime-balls, simply by prodding his back ever-so-gently with his Dad’s baseball bat, all the while engaging in (what’s quickly becoming his established) off-the-cuff repartee; also the one where he pretends to be an out-of-work day laborer who offers to fix up a woman’s yard for free, just so he can learn the whereabouts of the woman’s fugitive-from-the-law husband (You can come fix self’s yard anytime, Raylan!); the one where he . . .

Self, stop it! You are just too much! Not everyone in the blogosphere shares your love of “Justified” and Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens!

Okey-dokey, self will mosey back to more serious topics: which is books.

The other day, she prodded herself through one-fourth of erstwhile favorite author J. M. Coetzee’s Slow Man. Even recommended it to her students at UCLA Extension, for heaven’s sake! Then she found out from reader reviews at that there will be a very interesting development: a woman will appear, a woman who goes by the name of Elizabeth Costello, who is actually J. M. Coetzee’s alter ego. Apparently, on a lecture circuit, Coetzee found he was unable to talk about himself except through the voice of a character, so he created Elizabeth Costello. Frankly, this makes self think Coetzee is freaking nuts. But she reads on, for she did so love his earlier novels, especially Life and Times of Michael K

Self actually does make it to the passage where Elizabeth Costello appears (at 3 a.m.), and Ms. Costello seems like a very ordinary woman. Finally, self decides she can’t swallow all this deconstruction or meta-fiction or whatever and decides to return the book to the library.

Next on her reading list is Gary Shteyngart’s Absurdistan. Oh, self had high hopes for this book. Top Ten on the New York Times Books of the Year, etc etc. Apparently, it is hilarious. Even Amazon readers find it hilarious. The hero is 325 lbs., farts, and is the sole progeny of the 1,238th richest man in Russia. He has his own bodyguard who is such an enabler he places plate after plate of Beluga caviar in front of our hero, and — well, why does this remind self so much of the fresh hell of Manila? Self does not need Gary Shteyngart to tell her that such creatures as 325-lb. spoiled only sons of rich crooks exist! She doesn’t need anyone to tell her that rich people are the same everywhere, whether they are from Moscow or Manila: they all still want their kids to get American educations! Preferably from Stanford or Harvard! (Self’s own Dear Departed Dad went to Georgetown Law School; hubby’s Dear Departed Dad got his PhD in Chemistry from MIT) Why is self not laughing in the bris removal scene (That’s circumcision, to those of you not in the know)? Or whenever she reads the name of corpulent hero’s American college: Accidental College, har har har — reminds her of Occidental College, where indeed some of son’s Sacred Heart Prep classmates did end up (Except, Occidental’s not in the midwest, like the one of Shteyngart’s hero. No, Occidental is in the flower-filled paradise of Pasadena. And also happens to be a very good school)

But wait, what’s this? Amazon reader says the book is about “the obssessive fascination with male sexual pleasure.”


John's Space .....

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Asian Cultural Experience

Preserving the history and legacy of Salinas Chinatown

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through style and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery


Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog


Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

CSP Archives

Archive of the CSP

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other

Random Storyteller

A crazy quilt of poems, stories, and humor by Catherine Hamrick