In Honor of Self’s First Sign-Up For NaNoWriMo (Which She Will Fail Miserably At, Since She’s Also Moving About Ireland, Plus Teaching)

An excerpt from her now 257-page novel-in-progress about a fighting priest in 18th century Spain:

He decided to play a trick on his mother — to punish her for leaving him alone so long. Perhaps all children suffer from this: the mistaken impression that they have power. Even if just over their mothers.

It seems strange that she is writing science fiction, fantasy, and 18th century historical fiction.

But, hers not to reason why. At least there’s a muse in there, somewhere.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading: DO NO HARM, by Henry Marsh

Self is behind her Goodreads reading challenge: she set herself a challenge of reading 30 books in 2017. So far, she’s read 22.

Of the books she’s read so far in 2017, her favorites are:

  • Waterloo, the History of Four Days, Three Armies, and Three Battles, by Bernard Cornwall (read in August)
  • Barbarian Days, by New Yorker writer and avid ex-surfer William Finnegan (started mid-June, finished mid-July)
  • This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison (read this in the first half of June)
  • The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey, by Rinker Buck (read this in May, in — of all places — Paris)
  • Montcalm and Wolfe: The Decline and Fall of the French Empire in North America, by Francis Parkman (started mid-February, finished a month later)

The book she is currently reading, Do No Harm, by English neurosurgeon Henry Marsh, is pretty fascinating and may well move into her list of favorites by the time she’s finished. It’s her first medical memoir in a long time. She used to read nothing but: Atul Gawande, Jeremy Toobin, Oliver Sacks, Irwin Yalom, Abraham Verghese, Jerome Groopman. Her interest in this field started in 1991, when her only sister passed away suddenly in a New York hospital on the Upper East Side, Lenox Hill.

Marsh is very, very good at describing not just the technical aspects of brain surgery, but the emotional aspects as well:

“Anxiety might be contagious, but confidence is also contagious, and as I walked to the hospital car park I felt buoyed up by my patients’ trust.” — pp. 22 – 23

 

#amwritingspacefantasy “This Is End”

“Space has a thousand milky eyes,” Fire Lizard says. “Each one a galaxy, waiting to be birthed.”

I think of Her’s eyes.

Calculate trajectory of Omega-H3823. How many light jumps?

Old Selves

(Someone else in this place is awake, and it’s the wee hours. Strangely enough, she enjoys the sound of someone ascending and descending the narrow stairs outside her room — not barreling down but going up and down with light footsteps, and not once does she even think: banshees)

Self was looking for an old story, “Flight,” which appeared in Prism International years ago. She did a google search and landed on an old bio from Poets & Writers, dated 2012.

She is amazed because the list of publishing credits is a long one, and she didn’t realize, she never realizes until it’s too late or it’s over.

Cafe Irreal, Hotel Amerika, Hyphen, Isotope, New Orleans Review, Phoebe, Prism International, Sou’wester, The Chattahoochee Review, Wigleaf . . .

It surprises her, that list. How’d she do all that? And with her, of all people, not knowing.

Oh, she didn’t know because it was another person: someone who in everyday life wasn’t “a writer.” Just, you know, someone who lives in a house and gardens and is a poor driver and is something of a klutz. That’s her. The one who got all those stories out sounds like a person with a lot of nerve, a lot of determination and focus. And those two people couldn’t possibly be in this same body. Right? Right?

What has she done in the five years since? Crab Orchard Review. Witness. Quarterly West. Bellingham Review. decomP. Monkeybicycle.

Is she slowing down?

Don’t panic, self! You came close with Paris Review. Came close with another, and another, and another literary magazine. Got your first personal rejection from Missouri Review. Got to be in Wigleaf’s 50 Top Flash of 2016. Got to be a semi-finalist this year in American Short Fiction’s Short(er) Fiction Contest.

You started writing fantasy, remember? The stories in Prism International and New Orleans Review were the first. Only the first.

She’s thinking about the story in Hotel Amerika, Ghosts, which begins:

She dreamt about her sister, dead these many years. It seemed she was in a place of ghosts.

Stay tuned.

 

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