State of Mind: Horoscope

“You are quite adept at expressing your passion creatively today with the powerful Scorpio Moon’s presence in your 5th House of Spontaneity.”


Stay tuned.

Transtromer: Train Poem for The Hunger Games

Regular readers of this blog know that self is a fan of:

  • Hunger Games/Everlark/fan fiction
  • Shadowhunters/Victorian Steampunk/ anything related to Will Herondale
  • Dystopia
  • Poetry, all kinds (Miguel Hernandez, Tomas Transtromer, Luisa Igloria, R. Z. Linmark being self’s enduring favorites)
  • Fiction (Current faves: Mary Gaitskill and Kurt Vonnegut)

In honor of a deleted scenes from The Hunger Games movies finally crawling its way into the universe (Katniss & Peeta discussing the meaning of throwing bread), here is a train poem from Transtromer. Because self is all about intersecting universes:


2 a.m. moonlight. The train has stopped
out in the middle of the plain. Far away, points of light in a town,
flickering coldly at the horizon.

As when someone has fallen into a dream so deep
he’ll never remember having been there
when he comes back to his room.

As when someone has fallen into an illness so deep
everything his days were becomes a few flickering points, a swarm,
cold and tiny on the horizon.

The train is standing quite still.
2 a.m.: bright moonlight, few stars.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

LUCIFER: Princeps

As part of the research for self’s novel-in-progress (about a 25-year-old Spanish priest who is sent to the Philippines — in 1756 — to fight demons), self haunted the Atlantis Bookshop in London, last summer. Atlantis has books on every supernatural subject you can think of: witches, gnomes, fairies, elves, ghosts and, yes, angels and demons. It’s a wee little space on Museum Way, off Great Russell Street.

Met a woman who asked, of all things, about the Hukbalahap (Communist insurgency in the Philippines, most active in the 1950s). Not even Filipinos ever bring up the Hukbalahap. Will wonders never cease?

So, self is reading the chapter about sacrificial goats (as opposed to sacrificial lambs, how refreshing) and is reminded of something her Hong Kong writer friend, Maloy, told her: never pick up a stray umbrella, especially if you see one on a rainy day.

The chapter of Lucifer: Princeps self is reading is about Hittite ritual (Hittites are in the Bible. Believe Nebuchadnezzar was one? Or maybe he wasn’t. Sometimes self’s memory is very spotty):

p. 70: . . .  Hittite ritual describes how a woman transfers the evil onto a mouse, which is then released.

Which, in connection with the stray umbrellas her friend Maloy warned self against picking up: People who are having a spell of bad luck sometimes leave personal items — like umbrellas — out in the open for unsuspecting strangers to pick up. When another person picks up the umbrella, the bad luck gets transferred to them.

Self will never forget how, just after Maloy shared her story, a furled umbrella came bumping tok-tok-tok down the giant outdoor escalator (We were going to Maloy’s apartment, which was on the Mid-Level. Can you imagine giving an address that goes xx-xx, Mid-Level, Escalator x, Hong Kong?) Self just stared at it in total fascination.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

(Then the God of War) by Jehanne Dubrow

In Witness, the Trans/lation Issue:

after Mary Barnard’s translations of Sappho

Bragged that he could drag off
my husband in a metal box,
which in his hands would be

more toy than new technology,
a plastic warship in a rising tub,
and Ares a toddler climbing in,

splash of bubbles, soap, bashing
together boats. What little brunt
it takes to sink a floating thing.

Jehanne Dubrow is the author of five poetry collections, including Red Army Red (2012) and Stateside (2010), from Northwestern University Press. Her new book, The Arranged Marriage, is available from University of New Mexico Press.

WIP: A Sequel to “First Life” ( published self’s “First Life” in July 2015.

There were the characters:

  • Dragon, the main character
  • Fire Lizard, the teacher
  • Big, a classmate
  • Drinker, a classmate
  • Her, a classmate, Dragon’s “Friends with Benefits”

The setting: a classroom in the Philippines, where it’s snowing

Self decided to try writing a story about what happens the day after the events in “First Life.” So, we’re back to the same classroom, with the same students (minus, of course, Her), the same teacher, Fire Lizard, and a new student, Fur.

Class begins. Fire Lizard tells the students to turn on their cornea slips.

“We all nod. The slips engage. Mine are still a bit fuzzy. Tears can do that to you.”

The previous day . . . well, just read the story on

“Change is difficult,” Fire Lizard says, for the first time looking at me with something like sympathy. “Disruptive. Care for a memory wipe? A yellow pill?”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


State of Mind: Mendocino, February 2016

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge (2016 Week # 9) is STATE OF MIND.

  • “Every photo we take says something about our emotions at the moment of taking it.”

So, what was self’s state of mind when she took these three pictures? She took them during her daily walks around Mendocino Village. For the second year in a row, she’s been fortunate to have a place at the Mendocino Art Center. Her state of mind in Mendocino can safely be summed up as: very Zen.


Garden Bakery, Mendocino: They have the best turkey empanadas!


Mendocino Art Center (commonly referred to as the MAC), Little Lake Street, Mendocino


Saw these signs in a shop window on Main Street. Very, very Mendocino. Hey, look at self! She’s a mermaid!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.



Self has been laughing for two days straight. Ever since she started Chapter XXIV of Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano. She can’t remember reading with this much gusto since — Mary Gaitskill’s Bad Behavior? Wait, that was just two months ago. Anyhoo . . .

In the world of Player Piano, which is supposed to be science fiction but is so AU self wishes she could wake Kurt Vonnegut from his grave and tell him he was in the wrong category, everyone is classified by occupation, and there are book clubs (You’d think that would be the first to go in the world of the future but anyhoo). These clubs are run like so:

pp. 210 – 211

“A lot of research goes into what’s run off, believe me. Surveys of public reading tastes, readability and appeal tests on books being considered. Heavens, running off an unpopular book would put a club out of business like that!” He snapped his fingers ominously. “The way they keep culture so cheap is by knowing in advance what and how much of it people want. They get it right, right down to the color of the jacket. Gutenberg would be amazed.”

“Gutenberg?” said Khashdrahr.

“Sure — the man who invented movable type. First man to mass-produce Bibles.”

Alla sutta takki?” said the Shah.

“Eh?” said Halyard.

“Shah wants to know if he made a survey first.”

“Anyway,” said the girl, “my husband’s book was rejected by the Council.”

“Badly written,” said Halyard primly. “The standards are high.”

“Beautifully written,” she said patiently. “But it was twenty-seven pages longer than the maximum length; its readability quotient was 26.3, and — “

“No club will touch anything with an RQ above 17,” explained Halyard.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


SEASONS 3: Mendocino, Last Thursday of February 2016

It was an absolutely gorgeous day. Self went for a walk around the village.


Mendocino Village has many examples of whimsical garden art!


Spring is in the air! This table and chairs was in front of a local beauty salon.

And, for election season, Bernie Sanders would like to extend a warm welcome!


Every local person self has spoken to so far is a Bernie Sanders supporter. Clearly, Mendocino is HIS town.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Vonnegut Quote of the Day

Today, self wandered into a bookstore in Fort Bragg. She wandered in to look up some books on her reading list. She handed the young woman at the cashier’s desk a very old clipping from the Wall Street Journal with the following book titles underlined:

  • Ovid’s Metamorphosis
  • Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels
  • Voltaire’s Candide

It wasn’t until a couple of minutes later that she realized it was a used bookstore. With a pretty extensive collection of vinyl. The record player reminded her of the one she saw at her hotel in Trieste, 2013.

Anyhoo, back to the main topic: She’s still reading Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano. According to the nerds of a feather blog, Player Piano is ranked # 12 out of 15 Vonnegut novels. She really thinks it ought to be ranked much higher. Just saying.

It’s described as science fiction but self thinks it’s more AU (Alternate Universe). The AU comes so trippingly off her tongue now that she is so heavily into reading fan fiction.

p. 182:

  • In analyzing the magical quality of the afternoon during the cocktail hour, Paul realized what had happened: for the first time since he’d made up his mind to quit, he really hadn’t given a damn about the system, about the Meadows, about intramural politics. He’d tried not to give a damn before, but he hadn’t had much luck.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


More Seasons: 2016 Daily Post Photo Challenge # 8

It warmed up this week.

Self is still in Mendocino.

She likes walking to the bookstore on Main Street, Gallery Bookshop, and then taking pictures of the headlands. Because she was trying to find subjects for this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge, SEASONS, she focused on the flowers in the meadow in front of her:


Flowers are popping up in the meadow across from the Gallery Bookshop on Main Street, Mendocino.


More Flowers, Same Meadow


These flowers are tiny. Self had to do an extreme close-up. Good thing her fingers didn’t shake as much as they usually do.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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