Crab Orchard Review, Vol. 19 No. 2 (The West Coast & Beyond Issue)

The latest in a series of issues focusing on “Place.” Crab Orchard Review initiated the series in 2009, at a time when, according to the Editors’ Prologue, Vol. 19 No. 2, it seemed that the magazine might go under.

The “Land of Lincoln: Writing From and About Illinois” issue became the first series on place because Carolyn Alessio, Crab Orchard Review’s Prose Editor, was born “in the Chicago suburbs and lives in the city itself today.” The issue focused on two of Chicago’s literary greats, Carl Sandberg and Gwendolyn Brooks.

Next followed “Old & New: Re-Visions of the American South.”

At that point, everyone was very aware that Crab Orchard Review was approaching its 20th year.  So the editors decided to make the review’s 2012, 2013 and 2014 “special issues into a kind of anthology exploring the United States of America and its regions as a subject.”

The series developed into four issues: “Old & New: Re-Visions of the American South,” “the North,” “Prairies, Plains, Mountains, Deserts” and, finally, “The West Coast & Beyond” (California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawai’i, the Commonwealth countries, territories and areas of U.S. occupation)

Now, in this “final edition in the series,” the editors point out that they have managed to “include at least one story, poem, or essay about, or work by an author born in or living in every one of the fifteen states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.”

Here’s an excerpt from a poem by one of the writers in the issue, April Christiansen.  Her poem is “The Great Seattle Fire, June 6, 1889”:

Shouts, pitched water, the surface glazed,
boiled over. Glue embers tumbled into shavings
littering a turpentine-soaked floor, and men
grabbed their coats, flew to the stairwell as flames

fastened themselves to the building’s walls,
inching towards the liquor warehouse next door.
Glass shattered, the crisp smell of burnt alcohol and paint
filled the sidewalks, and a crowd gathered.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Diane Arbus in the Year 1928

from Diane Arbus: A Chronology, 1923 -1971, by Elisabeth Sussman and Doon Arbus:

In September, following in her brother’s footsteps, she enrolls at the Ethical Culture School on 63rd Street and Central Park West, a progressive private school begun by Felix Adler, founder of the Ethical Culture Society (1878). Originally known as The Workingman’s School, it emphasizes moral education, psychological development, teacher training, and the integration of “manual arts” with academics. The academic curriculum is designed to parallel the evolution of human civilization, from tree dwellers to contemporary society. Students in each grade study their subjects through the lens of a particular time period and culture.

The school is still in existence! Self just googled. Here’s the link. The name’s been modified but the address is the same.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

Elsewhere: a Lit Mag for Writing About Place

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS, ELSEWHERE:

“We envision Elsewhere to be a space for work that has trouble finding its place. We are interested in creative work that deals with marginalization in some form or another. We don’t think of race, gender, class and sexuality as dirty words or as problems to be dealt with outside of literature and art. Rather, we think of them as central to creative activity.”

So, send them your stuff, dear blog readers.

*    *     *    *

A few weeks ago, self was traipsing around southern California in the company of her ex-Assumption Convent classmates (even just typing those words — Assumption Convent — sounds quaint to self’s California ears!). And one of them agreed to spend the day with self, driving to and from San Diego.

And after almost three hours of driving, the two of us ended up in Balboa Park. In a section that was very very hot, with small trails and a children’s playground. And after some woebegone wandering about, self found the greatest discovery:  THE MUSEUM OF TORTURE. And she persuaded her classmate to venture inside and have a look. And indeed there were so many wonders contained therein, wonders such as:

  • the self-mortifying iron ring
  • the iron chastity belt
  • The “Iron Maiden” of Nuremberg (the last recorded use of which was August 1515)
  • All manner of scourges and flails

Self will not get too much into it, but suffice it to say, this museum is so interesting, situated right in Balboa Park.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Denzel Bloody Denzel: Thoughts on “The Equalizer”

Isn’t Denzel getting too old for this kind of stuff?  Nope.  Assuredly not.  No one is too old to try becoming Charles “Il Bruto” Bronson.

Isn’t Chloe Moretz too young to be playing a hooker?  Nope. Because Jodie Foster showed the way. Next to play a hooker should be Abigail Breslin.

Was the movie theater full or not full? Self can always predict whether a movie has legs from the size of the audience of the first screening on opening weekend. The theater was 3/4 full.

Why did this movie remind her (sort of) of Training Day?  Because it had the same director, Anton Fuqua. (What a name. Self thinks it was inevitable that the boy born Anton Fuqua would turn into Movie Director Anton Fuqua)

How We Know Denzel’s Character is an Upstanding Citizen:  He never once tries to flirt with Chloe Moretz’s character. Even though she is pretty darn cute.  Instead, he talks to her about his ex-wife. And about Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. Which clearly proves he is celibate. And noble. Has only the best interests of Chloe Moretz at heart when he engages her in light banter.

In addition, he helps a colleague during a hold-up — helpfully emptying her till for her and urging her to comply with the hold-upper’s demand for her ring.

When Denzel Makes His Intense Glare, we know that it is curtains for whoever is on the receiving end of said Glare.

Self only closed her eyes about four times. Not out of boredom but out of I-Can’t-Take-All-This-Gore responses.

The Hit Man in this movie was from Bourne 2. An elegant, dapper gent with a mournful countenance. It always helps when the Hit Man looks like he might have stumbled in from a GQ ad. This time, he did not have a British accent.

Note to Future Hit-Men:  Never pick on someone who works at Home Depot or places similar. Just think of the array of weapons the target will have at his/her disposal:  Hammers, all sizes; chainsaws, both battery-operated and not; screwdrivers, both electric and non-electric; nails. If the Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction had been working in a Home Depot, he wouldn’t have been so limited in his choice of revenge weapons. If the Transporter’s Jason Stathan had Home Depot instead of a limo at his disposal, he’d have been prancing down the aisles with wild abandon.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

White Whale Review

This evening, self decides to re-visit some of the literary journals who’ve solicited and published her work.

There is a reason why, on this blog, self begins to list her publications only starting from 2007: that was the year when she began getting published again.

Yes indeed, dear blog readers:  Just because one has two books under one’s belt is no guarantee of your survival as a writer. And for a period of several years, self received not one single acceptance.

But she hung on.  For which, thank God.

In the meantime, while she was suffering through the acute discomfort of many-years-not-getting-published, she started a blog. This blog. She was writing, but purely for entertainment. Slowly, editors began to write her, leaving comments on the blog.

And that’s how she came to be published in White Whale Review. One of the editors contacted her.  Her story, “Dumaguete,” appeared in Issue 1.2

It’s been a while since she dropped by; she decides to visit this evening, and finds out, Holy Cow, they’re now on Issue 6.2.

So they did not fold.

It’s almost a miracle.

Nighttime 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is NIGHTTIME.

Self looooves taking nighttime shots. She was about to write that she *never* uses flash, but remembers that the picture she took of the giant puppet was taken with flash.  Otherwise, there would undoubtedly have been more blurring.

Karaoke Bar, Bacolod.  Self heard singing from there almost every night.

Karaoke Bar, Bacolod. Self heard singing from there almost every night.

Lacson Street, downtown Bacolod, during Masskara 2012

Lacson Street, downtown Bacolod, during Masskara 2012.  Local high schools compete to create the best giant puppets. Judging is on the last day of the Masskara Festival.

The Moon!  Looking white and ghostly through the French doors at the back of her house.

The Moon! Looking white and ghostly through the French doors at the back of self’s house in Redwood City, CA.

Books of The Economist, 22 February 2014 (Can Self Be Any More Behind in Reading

First, a novel. There is usually only one fiction review in each issue of The Economist. This one is in a box — the fact that it is means it must be special.

The Undertaking, by Audrey Magee (Atlantic Books) :

  • The best elements of this novel are intrusions of war into the domestic sphere.
  • A German soldier named Peter Ferber enlists the service of a marriage bureau and weds a girl he has never met in order to get home leave.

Next, a book about climate change:

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert (Henry Holt) :

  • As the climate warms, catastrophe looms. Yet it is oddly pleasurable to read Elizabeth Kolbert’s new book, which offers a ramble through mass extinctions, present and past.  Five such episodes in the past have 450 million years have wiped out plant and animal life on huge scales.

Finally, a biography of an American poet whose name seems to be popping up everywhere these days:

E. E. Cummings:  A Life, by Susan Cheever (Pantheon)

  • It was only in New York that he felt free. Surrounded by writers such as Marianne Moore and Edmund Wilson, and photographers such as Walker Evans, he spent over 40 years in Greenwich Village, living in the same apartment.
  • He wrote nearly 3,000 poems, two novels and four plays, as well as painting portraits.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Nighttime: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week, the WordPress Photo Challenge asks us to share our photos of nighttime:

What nocturnal photos do you like taking? Whether it’s a street sky, a street lamp, or the shadows cast by your cat, share them with us.

101, 10:30 p.m., Saturday Night, May 2013

Heading home on 101, 10:30 p.m., Saturday Night, May 2013

Chatting outside Church of the Gesu, Ateneo, October 2013

Chatting outside Church of the Gesu, Ateneo, October 2013

In the backyard, looking at the moon to bury my disappointment over Chiefs vs Broncos

In the backyard, looking at the moon to bury my disappointment over Chiefs vs Broncos, 2012

“River, I Have Known Your Source”: Anvil Press Poetry, England

Self doesn’t remember how or why she bookmarked Anvil Press Poetry. She did it a couple of months ago, when she was traveling in Ireland and England. When she was meeting so many artists, so many people.

On the Anvil Press Poetry website, the “poem of the month” is by Nina Cassian. Self loves it:

“Origins”

River, I have known your source:
sparkling water crocheting quickly through
rock’s rigid garment. Yes, I knew,
river, I have known your source.

With my palm I touched your coolness
and beyond, a splendor not to miss,
the new grass was waiting for your kiss.
With my palm I touched your coolness.

You can read the rest of the poem here.

Founded in 1968 by Peter Jay and now based in Greenwich, southe-east London, Anvil Press is England’s longest-standing independent poetry publisher.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Endurance 3: Various Interpretations of This Week’s WordPress Photo Challenge

Again, self knows nothing about the creator of this. sculpture. It stands just outside the Olympic Theatre (the one designed by Palladio) in Vicenza.

Self knows nothing about the creator of this. sculpture. It stands just outside the Teatro Olimpico (designed by Palladio in the late 16th century) in Vicenza.

Backyard Watering: Takes Endurance, especially in the summer.

Backyard Watering: Takes Endurance, especially in the summer.

Spam was first introduced to the Philippines by the Americans. Now we Filipinos crave it -- it's become "comfort food."

Spam was first introduced to the Philippines by the Americans. Now we Filipinos crave it — it’s become “comfort food.”

 

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