Southern Vivid

In a few days, self is hopping on a plane and heading south to visit Sole Fruit of Her Loins.  It’s been an age, almost a year, since she’s been down there.

Which is a pity because self hugely enjoys the southern part of her home state.  Movie nut that she is, how could she not?

The southern part of California is like the northern part, only everything is bigger and the weather is always warmer.   South means huge palmettos, gardens as lush and colorful as a Rousseau painting, Vroman’s, and The Huntington Botanic Gardens.  It means Claremont and driving and malls that feel shiny and new and women with great tans and poodles.

It means cavernous movie theaters where you get to pick a seat based on a seating chart (Just like in the movie theaters in that mall in Magalang, Pampanga!)

Anyhoo, travel energizes self.  Always.

And, son and Jennie are there.  Which means self will not be alone, as she usually is during her hectic peregrinations.

Now, she will have dinners to share and people to talk to.  She will discover new restaurants (though the milk shakes down south are humongous.  Those could keep you going two full days, at least)

And you know what else is down south?  Her Villanueva relatives from Bacolod —  woot hoot!  For some reason, they all settled down there.  All except for niece Ri Na, who’s in Sacramento (Must visit her soon!)

Yesterday, self received both good news and bad news.

The good was that she got an e-mail from the editors of the Crab Orchard Review that her short story “Crackers” had been accepted for their special issue on writing from The West and Beyond, which is planned for publication in September this year.

Right after that, she got two contest results, and naturally she did not win or even place.

Back to the good.

Ever since self got that e-mail from Crab Orchard Review, she’s been checking her “in” box almost every two hours, just to make sure she didn’t dream the whole thing.  Because, folks, she’s been sending her stories to this particular magazine for decades.  She sometimes panics and thinks:  It’s a mistake!  They didn’t mean to put self’s name on the acceptance letter!  Someone will apologize and say, That letter wasn’t meant for you!  It was meant for someone else!

Anyhoo, self still hasn’t gotten the retraction, so she still feels pretty great.

Deciding which books to bring along is harder than the decision about what to wear.  First of all, BLGF is 1000-plus pages and is, moreover, hardcover, so if self decides to bring it she will have to check in her luggage.  Must. Discuss. With. Jennie.

Self happened to glance at her text messages just a minute ago, and there’s another message from Jennie to dress “business casual” for an event she’s taking self to.  Oooh, fun!  Self asks Jennie whether that means a suit, or can she just wear a skirt and sweater?  Does she need to bring along pumps?

Self had almost decided to leave BLGF behind, in favor of some less prodigious paperback, when she gets yet another Jennie Text:  Bring your books!

YAY!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

BLGF: Skopje I

Aside from knowing that Skopje is in Macedonia, self doesn’t know a thing about it.

One does not have to know anything about Skopje or Macedonia to appreciate RW’s writing, however.  The quote below is from p. 634:

But now we were on the bridge, in the cold air that blows off the Vardar, which carries with it the snake-like chill of those rivers which grow big quite soon after they leave the snow mountains.  On the black waters the embankment lamps made shuddering pools of golden oil; behind them the new houses, simple and artless yet shaped by a good tradition of living, made un-Western shapes against the darkness; very high above the town the bright windows of a fortress shone where one had expected the stars.  We turned off the bridge to an embankment.  The river rushed beside us, above us the flocks of silver clouds rushed over the black firmament, on the pavement shuffled a crowd, so close-set that they could no longer hurry, the night making their clothes darker and their faces lighter than they would be by day, before them going the happy sound of festival chatter, pressing towards the church with the sightseeing greed that is the peculiar charm of an Eastern congregation.  They might have been going to see the elephants.  We stepped from our fiacre and joined them, shuffled with them down a side street, and found ourselves facing a church that looked like neither a church nor a circus, but an opulent two-storied farm building.

Coming up next:  Skopje II, Skopje III, Skopje’s Black Mountain, and The Plain of Kossovo I.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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