Self is just back from Chicago. Weather was positively balmy, and self saw four plays: “Apat” at Circa Pintig, “Animal Farm” at Steppenwolf, “Strandline” at A Red Orchid Theatre, and “Smokefall” at the Goodman. BLISS.
Here she is with poet Angela Narciso Torres (Angela’s first book, Blood Orange, won the Willow Book Prize. Angela is an editor of Rhino Magazine). We’re on the train headed downtown from Angela’s place in the suburbs.
Seeing Angela again in a few. She’s giving a reading at Beyond Baroque in Venice Beach, this Sunday, Nov. 2. Can hardly wait.
“Remember you are back by nightfall. The sky looks bright but there is a shiver in the north wind that says there might be a sudden storm. But I am sure you will not be late.” Here he smiled and added, “for you know what night it is.”
— from the Prologue to Dracula, by Bram Stoker
Do dear blog readers know that Bram Stoker was born in Dublin?
Self only found out when she was in Ireland, earlier this year.
Self is still in Angela’s home in Chicago.
One of the books she found here is Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Self found it in the room she has been staying in, the room belonging to Angela’s eldest, currenly an undergrad at USC)
Because this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge theme is COVER ART, here’s a picture of the book cover:
And here’s a bit from the book’s Introduction, written by Marvin Kaye:
Dracula is a late flowering of gothic literature, with its formidable array of proud and iniquitous Counts, its ruined castles, its secrets; natural, supernatural, and unnatural. Certainly, though its expression is more restrained, Stoker’s profane vision wells up from the same dark regions that spawned M. G. Lewis’s fallen Capuchin clergyman in The Monk. Analogies also can be drawn between Stoker’s three-century-old vampire and Charles Maturin’s soul-vampire, Melmoth the Wanderer. But Dracula is more than just a Gothic retread. It is the quintessential reworking and culmination of devices and techniques common to the subgenre of vampire fiction.
Vampire stories share common elements. Almost by definition, they must have an innocent victim or victims menaced by a predatory villain, though sometimes, as in J. Sheridan LeFanu’s novella Carmilla, the vampire is initially winsomely appealing. The victims are typically numerous, though there is usually only one vampire. Dracula bends this latter convention, but not by much. The Count dominates the three “sister” vampires, just as he does the action.
For this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, COVER ART, self is posting two actual covers — one of a recent issue of Prism International, the Vancouver-based literary magazine; another for Elmore Leonard’s Raylan, adapted for TV on F/X as “Justified” — and one projected:
Cover Art, Prism International 50.4 (Spring 2012 Issue): “Soup” by Mandy Barker
For the past couple of years, self has been working on a novella about Dearest Mum’s concert career. She’s chosen to call it “Ambition.” If she ever succeeds in getting it published, this photo of Dearest Mum as a young woman would be the cover. She doesn’t know who took the picture.
It’s always the bookshelves self ends up perusing first, when she is staying with friends.
This is self’s first visit to Angela’s home, so of course the books are so enticing, an undiscovered country.
In the study, self’s eyes landed on a hardbound copy of The Complete Poems of Philip Larkin, whose poetry she only began to read very recently. While she was in Ireland, earlier this year.
She spends the morning perusing his Complete Poems. Here’s one:
Jake Balokowsky, my biographer,
Has this page microfilmed. Sitting inside
His air-conditioned cell at Kennedy
In jeans and sneakers, he’s no call to hide
Some slight impatience with his destiny:
‘I’m stuck with this old fart at least a year;
I wanted to teach school in Tel Aviv,
But Myra’s folks’ — he makes the money sign —
‘Insisted I got tenure. When there’s kids — ‘
He shrugs. ‘It’s stinking dead, the research line;
Just let me put this bastard on the skids,
I’ll get a couple of semesters leave
To work on Protest Theatrer.’ They both rise,
Make for the Coke dispenser. ‘What’s he like?
Christ, I just told you. Oh, you know the thing,
That crummy textbook stuff from Freshman Psych,
Not out of kicks or something happening –
One of those old-type natural fouled-up guys.’
You appear as the merest glimpse in a story written by others.
The writer James Hamilton-Paterson used to live in the Philippines. He wrote about the experience in his book Playing With Water. A writer for the Boston Review said that “he eked out a living on a remote Southeast Asian island” and “still has a bamboo hut” there.
Best-selling author continues to live in a bamboo hut. LOL.
In recent years, however, self has been reading about Hamilton-Paterson (she almost hates him for having such a long name, hyphenated) in Italy. So perhaps he’s moved on.
The question is, once you’ve lived for a number of years in a bamboo hut on a remote Southeast Asian island, can you ever really move on? Maybe you can, physically. But, in your heart?