Carrie Ryan in AFTER: NINETEEN STORIES OF APOCALYPSE AND DYSTOPIA

Self has already blogged about this story, Carrie Ryan’s “After the Cure.” It is so bleak and beautiful.

What’s the use of being a “rehabilitated” zombie when everyone still hates you?

Self gets that Read the rest of this entry »

Matthew Park Imagines “The Freeze”

Matthew Park is a young artist who just did the most fabulously beautiful illustration for a Read the rest of this entry »

Depth 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is “Depth” — The prompt suggests using a picture “that suggests volume, a distance between surface and bottom.”

Here are three more takes on that theme!

The first two are from a walk self took along Little Lake Street:

Love these overlapping leaves . . .

Love these overlapping leaves . . .

Still the same garden . . .

Still the same garden . . .

This last picture is of self’s own backyard, just before Christmas . . .

DSCN8129

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Colm Toibin Sentence of the Day

Self has now read almost 50 pages of Brooklyn and can state definitively that she has no idea — none — what those people are going on about, the ones who say Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn is flat, dull, slow, and that he fails utterly at catching the feminine point of view etc etc etc

Because she’s been entranced from the get-go.

It’s even been making inroads into her reading of Hunger Games fan fiction which, if you know how much fan fiction self usually reads daily is saying a lot, lol.

Eilis, who when we last encountered her on p. 29 was sent rudely packing when she informed her employer she was leaving for America, now has to endure everyone being happy that she is going away, while she herself feels sick with anxiety and trepidation. On p. 46, she’s in a tiny cabin “deep in the belly of” a ship, she vomited into the corridor, she has to share a bathroom with occupants of another cabin who appropriated it for themselves and never unlock the door that leads to her cabin, but the worst thing about all this is that Eilis realizes “that she would never be able to tell anyone how sick she felt.”

And with all this came the feeling that she had done something wrong, that it was somehow her fault that Georgina had gone elsewhere and that her neighbors had locked the bathroom door, and her fault that she had vomited all over the cabin and had not succeeded in cleaning up the mess.

What’s so brilliant about the writing is that self understands this woman perfectly. Self means, she understands how a woman who’s been deprived of the use of a bathroom during a trans-atlantic voyage, a woman who is never on the receiving end of any kindness whatsoever, assumes the burden for everything that goes wrong. And self does mean everything. Of course, the poor girl. Still, such women do exist.

BTW, that vomiting scene is written in such excruciating detail that self feels she ought to honor the fact that she spent half an hour reading about hurling by writing that scene into her fan fiction. She has to be very careful, however, which character does the vomit. Peeta? Nah. Katniss? Nah. Gale? Nah. Haymitch? Hmmm, now there’s a likely candidate!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Depth: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is DEPTH.

As self understands the prompt, it’s to post pictures that project a sense of volume, or space. Since self is in Mendocino, here are three pictures she took during her daily peregrinations around town. Hopefully, all three imply the existence of a larger space.

Self taking a shot of the outside of the Textile Artists Studio at the MAC

Self taking a shot of the outside of the Textile Artists Studio at the MAC

View of the Mendocino Headlands from Main Street

View of the Mendocino Headlands from Main Street

The Mendocino Hotel's Front Parlor

The Mendocino Hotel’s Front Parlor

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: BROOKLYN, by Colm Toibin

p. 29:

There was no day that passed without an event.

Stories About Magic and Science Fiction

Why is self so attracted to stories about magic?

Don’t really know.

Self’s first experience with angst came from fairy tales. She fell in love with Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling and The Little Mermaid. She always cried at the end of The Little Mermaid.

Then, she read Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris while she was a grad student at Stanford. She found the idea of a sentient planet mind-blowing! Positively transcendent! The movie with George Clooney was terrible!

On to her reading of the afternoon:  the Preface by Maria Tatar to her The Annotated Brothers Grimm (Self has been reading it and stopping every other sentence. This is a problem. Possibly, she won’t finish it in this lifetime. Oh! She also downloaded the episode of Face/Off with Josh Hutcherson as a guest judge. The guy is just too adorable. Too. Too. Too!)

Back to Maria Tatar! Here’s a passage she just finished reading:

Danger lurks in every corner of the world, and the encounter with it has a fierce inevitability that becomes a rule of the genre. Villainy: this was the . . . function that fuels the plots of fairy tales.

It just occurs to self that she has a long list of horror stories she’s written. She’ll see if she can append them to this post — when she has a little more time. But, right off the top of her head, here are a few: Seeing in PANK 9.5, The Departure in Philippine Genre Stories. Ghosts really get to her. Ghosts and the Apocalypse.

The writers she met at Hawthornden (June 2012), Joan McGavin and Jenny Lewis, told the most excellent ghost stories. They fueled her imagination and sent it roaring out of the gate. We’d talk about everything from Dolly the Sheep (whose likeness is in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh) to ghost children (Self recalls Jenny saying, “The worst ghosts are ghost children.” Wheeee! Couldn’t sleep after that because she kept thinking there was a ghost child lurking somewhere in her room).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Starting BROOKLYN, by Colm Toibin

With great, truly superhuman effort, self forced herself to finish reading Silas Marner.

Part of the reason she was so reluctant was — aside from the fact that George Eliot is simply great — she didn’t think she’d be able to get into Brooklyn. The reviews she read on-line led her to think it might be meandering and somewhat dull.

But, that just goes to show how very idiosyncratic self’s tastes in reading are. Because the minute she began reading Brooklyn, she was completely entranced.

An excerpt (pp. 28 – 29):

“Well, I just came to say that I’ll be going to America in about a month’s time,” Eilis said. “I’m going to work there and I wanted to give you plenty of notice.”

Miss Kelly stood back from the counter. “Is that right?” she asked.

“But I’ll be here on Sundays of course until I go.”

“Is it a reference you’re looking for?”

“No. Not at all. I just came to let you know.”

“Well, that’s lovely now. So we’ll see you when you come home on holidays, if you’ll still be talking to everyone.”

“I’ll be here on Sunday,” Eilis said.

“Ah, no, we won’t be needing you at all. If you’re going, you’re best to go.”

“But I could come.”

“No, you couldn’t. There’d be too much talk about you and there’d be too much distraction and we’re very busy on a Sunday, as you know, without that.”

“I was hoping I could work until I left.”

“Not here you can’t. So be off with you now.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

This Evening, Tomas Transtromer

When self was with Angela Narciso Torres in Venice Beach in November, Angela took self to A Small World, a fabulous bookstore fronting the beach. Self ended up getting poetry collections by Neruda and Tomas Transtromer.

This evening, self is looking through Transtromer’s collection The Great Enigma (Pretty fabulous, that title!), translated by Robin Fulton.

The back cover has the New York Times quoting Transtromer as saying, “My poems are meeting places.”

Oh. Wow. Self can’t even. Just. Kill her now.

Here’s an excerpt from Transtromer’s Balakirev’s Dream:

 The black grand piano, the gleaming spider
trembled at the center of its net of music.

In the concert hall a land was conjured up
where stones were no heavier than dew.

Love, love, love those images.

Stay tuned.

Watched “Snowpiercer”

Boy oh boy what a disappointment.

She had been so looking forward to seeing it, most of last year.

She ordered it from Netflix streaming yesterday.

And sure, Chris Evans was in it, but it didn’t have to be Chris Evans, it could just have been any guy with a beard, because he was totally camouflaged under crummy grey outfits, for the entire movie.

And the lighting was very dark, which often made it hard for self to distinguish who was who.

Self did get a big kick out of Tilda Swinton as Mason, though. Talk about a unique career trajectory: She broke self’s heart in We Need to Talk About Kevin, she was a great and fearsome angel in Constantine (directed by FLAW — Francis “Hunger Games/Catching Fire” Lawrence). She has just been a consistently interesting actress. Who would have thought? She’s very odd-looking.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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