Three-Picture Story: AWP Book Fair, Washington State Convention Center, Seattle

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge was THREES: Telling a Three-Picture Story.

It’s a good thing self is at the AWP 2014 conference in Seattle. She has lots and lots of material. Today, she wandered the Book Fair with her roommate, poet and Director of Creative Writing at Old Dominion University, Luisa A. Igloria.

Stopped at the table for the Hugo House.  Found out that they’re hosting readings every night.  Tonight’s features Roxane Gay (editor of PANK magazine, which just accepted one of self’s stories for publication, Happy Happy Joy Joy!), John Haskell, Leslie Jamison, Brett Fletcher Lauer, and Amy Leach.

At the Hugo House Table, a "Reaping" of Sorts!

At the Hugo House Table, a “Reaping” of Sorts!

The Richard Hugo House in Seattle had a table at the AWP Book Fair.

Luisa reaches into the bowl to find her fortune.

Luisa and self each picked one.

Luisa and self each picked one.  This was self’s (!!!).  She likes!


Self realizes this is a four-picture story.  But she’s never been good at following directions.  Never.

Stay tuned.

The Never-Ending Threes: Self Simply Can’t Get Enough (of This Week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge)

For the first time in the history of this blog, self did not follow her self-imposed rule of posting pictures in this exact sequence: most recent pictures first.

Because of The Daily Post prompt this week, THREES, she decided she’d try for a sequence that served a narrative: Wide view, closer, and closer still.

She took all of these pictures in the space of 10 minutes from her room on the 27th floor of the Seattle Sheraton.

The Restless Eye: Sunset From the 27th Floor, Seattle Sheraton

The Restless Eye: Sunset From the 27th Floor, Seattle Sheraton

Ferryboat, Puget Sound

Ferryboat, Puget Sound

People Moving in Glowing Squares of Light

People Moving in Glowing Squares of Light

Lillian H finished her novel and got it accepted for publication, she revealed a few weeks ago.

She worked on it for many years.  It was always a project shoved in a drawer.

Then, she said, then came 9/11.  That’s why she finished it.

For some reason, self decides to look at a post she wrote from Tel Aviv in 2008.  Ying was dying in a hospital there.  Self was teaching in a community college.  She took two weeks off —  two weeks! — to see her dying sister-in-law.  The Dean killed her for it afterwards.  She lasted only one more quarter.

She remembers being struck by this statement:  “The city is constructed by its gaps.” (Fragments of the European City, by Stephen Barber, 1995)

So many writers milling about as self doggedly writes this post.  Many must wonder at her stubborn abstraction.  A few linger, circle around her, hesitate.  She knows by their feet.  She never looks up.  The square of chairs around her remains undisturbed.  (Quite a feat, considering the only place self can get free wi-fi is the lobby, and that’s where she typed all her posts today)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

AWP Registration: The Overwhelming-ness of Everything

AWP conference registration began today, at 12 noon: Very long lines, but the one for registrants whose last names began with the letters V – Z was by far the shortest.  Thank goodness for self’s last name!

She decided to strike up a conversation with the young woman standing directly behind self.  She’s an MFA student at Southern Oregon University. She’s also the assistant editor for the student-run literary magazine, Severine (currently taking submissions in all genres)

Anyhoo, the line moved pretty quickly.  The young woman who took self’s registration and handed her the official name tag was flustered and kept apologizing for making self spell each letter of her last name.  Her name tag said, Volunteer.  Self hastened to reassure her.  As she handed over self’s badge she said:  “Hang on to this.  It’s $50 for a replacement.” (!!!)

Then self went to have some lunch (Mediterranean lentil soup).  And while she was sitting there, poring over the panels, she couldn’t help eavesdropping on two young women who took the seats next to her.  What caught her interest was how organized they were being about it all, and the fact that one of them wanted to check out specifically science fiction and fantasy panels.  She turned her head, and lo and behold, she recognized one of the young women as the one she’d just been conversing with in the registration line!

The editor and assistant editor, respectively, of SEVERINE, Southern Oregon University's literary magazine:  Linz Moore and Mallory Young

The editor and assistant editor, respectively, of SEVERINE, Southern Oregon University’s literary magazine: Linz Moore and Mallory Young

Their table at the Book Fair is Troglodyte Press.

And, because the two young women were so photogenic, I decided to take another picture:

The Editor and Assistant Editor of New Literary Magazine SEVERINE, currently open for submissions!

The Editor and Assistant Editor of New Literary Magazine SEVERINE, currently open for submissions!

Self thought dear blog readers might like to know that the Moroccan lentil soup was excellent, and self polished off the whole thing in a jiffy:

Lunch:  Moroccan Lentil Soup, from an eatery inside the Convention Center

Lunch: Moroccan Lentil Soup, from an eatery inside the Convention Center

(A woman who works for Crab Creek Review just introduced herself.  Self loves the random-ness of all these conversations!  Crab Creek Review, self learned, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.  And yes, it is ALSO currently open for submissions.)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Still More Threes: From the City of Glass

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge prompt is THREES.

This is her third post on that theme.

All the glass art is on display in the lobby of the Sheraton Seattle, downtown:

Crazy Quilt Teapot:  Richard Marquis, 1981

Crazy Quilt Teapot: Richard Marquis, 1981

Fritz Dreisbach:  Untitled from the "Mongo Series," 1982

Fritz Dreisbach: Untitled from the “Mongo Series,” 1982

Self doesn't know who did this massive glass arrangement, right next to the Short Order Daily Grill, is by ----?  TBA

This massive glass creation is by Dale Chihuly.  It’s called “Flower Form 2” and self thinks it is really special, the only Chihuly she’s ever seen that is not exploding with color.  It’s right next to a sandwich shop in the Sheraton lobby.

After yesterday, when self went gallery hopping around Pioneer Square, she’s been entranced by this city’s profusion of glass displays.

If only she could bring home a vase or something of that nature, to remember this trip by.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Most Irresistible Quote of the Day 2: From The Lizard Queen @GrinningDuchess

Substituting one thing with another that’s just as bad isn’t the same thing as quitting or letting go. —  @GrinningDuchess, Twitter

Amen, @GrinningDuchess.  Amen.

Seattle 2014 Part 2: Glass Blowing

Seattle is Dale Chihuly’s hometown. Funny, after Venice, she was convinced Chihuly was Venetian. That’s because she saw at least two of his enormous public artwork on Murano. Then she arrived in Seattle and found out that there is a Chihuly Museum here.  Which means: he’s from Seattle.  Oh self, you are such a glib storyteller.

She was headed to the Chihuly Museum today, but at the last minute she decided to drop by a glass studio on Occidental Avenue instead.  And she was so glad she did.

All she can say is:  walking along Occidental and going in and out of galleries was waaaay more relaxing — and more fun —  than walking around Murano last spring.  For one thing, there were no tourists.  And the gallery people patiently answered all of her questions.  They talked informatively about the work of their featured artists:  Chris Hawthorn (a discovery of Chihuly’s, the gallery person told her), Robert E. Marx, Richard Kiehl, Ben Butler.

Oh, man.  She wanted to buy something, so badly.  A collage.  A painting.  A glass vase.  A glass lamp.  Or paperweight.  A glass anything.

She kept walking.

She snapped a picture of the window display of Glasshouse Studio, 311 Occidental, billed as “Seattle’s oldest glassblowing studio.”

Glass Deer, Gallery on Occidental

Window Display, Glasshouse Studio, Occidental Ave., Seattle

At the back of Glasshouse, an artist was displaying his glass-blowing technique to some interested on-lookers.  Self watched him extract a glowing nub of orange from a furnace and twirl it, letting the colors bloom.

A Glass-Blowing Studio (Same One with the Deer Window Display)

The artist was making a series of those glass pieces that have flowers inside.

The young man allowed self to take his picture.  She asked his name so she could publish it here:  Michael Cozza.

She never encountered such amiability in Murano, let her tell ya!

Michael Cozza, Glass Blower

Michael Cozza, Glass Blower

Continuing with her peregrinations, self landed in a Discount Clothing Store called The Clothing Company (87 Yesler Way)

There were racks of Joe’s Jeans, Paige, Rich & Skinny, 7 For All Mankind . . . at a third of the department store prices.

Still, she steeled herself . . .

Self, you are in Seattle for AWP!  Which means your focus should be on books!  Books, books, books!

One thing, though:  Seattle is cold.

Next year’s AWP is in Minnesota, which means it will be even colder.

Stay tuned.

Seattle 2014

The minute she gets back to the Bay Area, she’s going to have her MacBook Air’s keyboard fixed.

During one sleepless night last year, she spilled strawberry jam on her keyboard.  She was trying to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but the knife slipped out of the jam jar, and fell on her keyboard.  Ever since, the keyboard’s stuck.  She can just manage to get some keys to register, but only if she presses with all her might.

It is a beautiful day.  The last time self was in Seattle was 2007.  She was hosted, so she was picked up from the airport, and she was a guest in the home of Maria Batayola.

This is a completely different kind of trip.  She’s staying in a hotel.

The people on the plane were none too friendly.  Everyone was absorbed in reading the papers or reading their iPads.  They also looked very, very white.  And healthy, in that quintessential American way. Great hair, great teeth.  Neat clothing.  The woman seated next to self, who never cracked a smile in her direction, had a Bally tote.

Seattle’s edges are hard and bright.  The streets are surprisingly empty.  Puget Sound, though, is huge:  about 10x the width of San Francisco Bay.  The ferry boats are enormous, they remind her of cruise ships.  The snow-capped mountains glint in the sun.  Just looking at them makes self feel cold.  Self wonders how much a ferry ride costs.  She’d love to explore Bainbridge Island, which she heard has cute little art galleries and coffee shops.

During what was left of today, self decided to walk.  She wound up in Pioneer Square.  The streets were really, really empty, except for a park with a giant chessboard where a young woman was trying to move the chess pieces and some old men were teasing her in a lighthearted way.  Birds flew among the trees.  There were Indian totems off to the side.

She walked some more.  She found a bookstore:

The Globe, a bookstore near Pioneer Park

The Globe, a bookstore near Pioneer Square

In the bookstore loft, self found a very cozy reading nook.

In the bookstore loft, self found a very cozy reading nook.

She also found a bustling bakery near a park:

Grand Central Baking Company, next to Occidental Park

Grand Central Baking Company, next to Occidental Park

Triple-Chocolate Cookie from Grand Central Baking Company:  $1.95, and worth every penny

Triple-Chocolate Cookie from Grand Central Baking Company: $1.95, and worth every penny

That triple-chocolate cookie was just about the best cookie she’s ever tasted.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Most Irresistible Quote of the Day

Not to know is bad.  Not to wish to know is worse. —  Nigerian Proverb


Packing for AWP 2014

Self bought this luggage tag after getting back from Venice:

This had better work . . .

This had better work . . .

It is raining in Seattle.

Perfect.  If self could just sleeeep . . .

Stay tuned.

From the Long-Unheard From (Robert Greene)

The 48 Laws of Power is such an entertaining book!

Whenever self is desperate for a pick-me-up, she lets the book fall open on a random page.

Tonight she lands on Law # 3, p. 19

At the top of the page is a quote from that most learned Jesuit, Baltasar Gracian (1601 – 1658)

Do not be held a cheat, even though it is impossible to live today without being one.  Let your greatest cunning lie in covering up what looks like cunning.


Then self starts to ponder:  what if the shoe were on the other foot?  What if you looked at someone and thought: You are cunning, but I’m on to you.  You think I’m stupid, but I know you’re a cheat.

It truly is exhausting to be cunning.

Whereas, to be able to detect cunning is not only relaxing, it is empowering.  Because it makes you feel absolutely brilliant. Like Sherlock Holmes 3.0.  Especially if you happen to just stumble across the revelation.  While frosting a cake, say.  Draped in an apron.

Self wishes the part that spells out “Observance of the Law” weren’t about 1850 and the young Otto von Bismarck, about the unification of the German states, about the war against Austria, about speechifying.

Self turns the page.  Apparently, von Bismarck came out as a peace advocate, addressing the German parliament and urging it not to declare war against its neighbor.  Then, as soon as he was appointed a member of the cabinet, he goaded a peace-loving king into war with Austria, “crushing the former empire and establishing a mighty German state.”

Interpretation of the Law:  “By being completely insincere and sending misleading signals, however, he deceived everyone, concealed his purpose, and attained everything he wanted.”

But what if you don’t know what you want, and advocate one course of action, but subconsciously want the opposite, and then things just turn out right by sheer coincidence?  Like, what if you’re not insincere, just confused?  And what if things turn out right because you’re lucky, but people think it was because you were insincere?

Just try wrapping your head around that one for a minute!

How did that song from Queen go?

Mama Mia, Mama Mia, Bee-yehl-ze-bub has a devil put aside for me.  For meeeeee!!!  For ME!!!!!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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