Call for Submissions: Michigan Quarterly Review Special Issue on Iran

The issue to be guest-edited by Kathryn Babyan, Associate Professor of Iranian History and Culture at the University of Michigan, “seeks to present a collective of voices and reflections born in the shadow of revolution. We especially encourage translations from Persian, Kurdish, Armenian, and Azeri languages spoken in Iran.”

Here’s the link to the journal’s submissions page. Work will be accepted through 30 June 2018.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Desire” Part 7

The manager of the boardinghouse paced the lobby, throwing curses right and left. His wife, who was in charge of the kitchen, moaned Dios mio, Dios mio. One couldn’t have asked about breakfast at such a time. Epifanio wandered the streets, willing himself into exhaustion.

Eventually, he found himself on the street with the bar. He felt like sinking down on the pavement, but looked in disgust at the gobs of spit that formed a dense pattern by the gutters. When the woman finally came out, she seemed to be looking for him. Her eyes found him, and he sensed the invitation and longing. He came forward.

“What’s your name?” he asked. He spoke very softly, hoarse with fear and desire.

“Honey,” she said, smiling. “What’s yours?”

He shook his head and paused. Then he decided that she deserved to know at least this about him: “Epifanio,” he said.

She kept smiling. She leaned against him. He could feel her small breasts, pressed against his chest. He raised his right arm to circle her waist.

“You like me?” she whispered.

He nodded. From his pocket, he pulled out all the money he had. She grabbed the bills eagerly and started to count. Then she said, “You rich? Did you really mean to offer this much?”

He didn’t even know how much he had in his pocket. When did he get the money? This morning? He saw the eyes of the dead man. He staunched the memory.

“Yes, I meant to offer that much,” he asserted. He felt manly now. Strong.

Honey laughed. “You can have me the whole night,” she said.

Epifanio nodded. She drew him inside.

THE END

A Week in the Life

Watched the RBG movie.

Only a week later, RBG would make the news again for a dissenting opinion: She and Sotomayor were the two dissenting votes when the Supreme Court of the United States voted that the baker in Colorado could refuse to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

Afterwards, people asked:

Why couldn’t they have gotten someone else to order the cake? The baker would never have known . . .

lol

Self would like to point out that on the basis of the cakes in the bakery (from TV clips), that baker is not particularly good at cake design. So, not much of a loss there (at least, not in her humble opinion). Self wants to offer to pay for a REALLY REALLY fabulous cake and send it to the couple. Even though, of course, the occasion now belongs to a distant past.

Then Kate Spade died.

Then she watched the testimony of the former President of Michigan State to a committee, and heard that Dr. Larry Nasser “volunteered” his services, therefore he never presented a medical bill, therefore there was no accountability either for what he was doing to the female athletes he examined.

One commenter on The Daily Beast pointed out that Dr. Nasser was doing pelvic examinations for ankle injuries. Self thinks that one of the reasons he operated so freely for so long was that Michigan State didn’t want it revealed he was providing all his services for free. And mebbe something about that struck them as mildly un-ethical? The tragedy was that Michigan State was so easily manipulated, when all they had to do was find a competent doctor who was not providing free services. Were they experiencing a budget crisis or what, for 20 years? Definitely the Michigan State president and the US Olympic Committee are culpable. For not just failing to provide oversight, but also for being so stunningly cheap that they thought of Dr. Nasser as a real find! (Well, he was a real find all right: a stalker in sheep’s clothing)

Then she watched Rose McGowan on Dr. Oz.

Then there was an election.

In San Francisco, the mayoral race was (and remains) tight: between a woman and a gay man.

Judge Persky was recalled, with votes in favor at 60%.

The day of the election, self was on the Stanford campus, attending a Feminist, Sexuality & Gender Studies event at Stanford. She learned a lot. Especially from that young woman who did a study of the number of abortion clinics in Texas, and showed that year by year the numbers declined, so rapidly that from a high of almost 300 in 2013, there are only a few abortion clinics operating today in Texas.

The night of the elections, self was so elated over the Persky recall that she stayed up all night, following tweets. In fact, it feels like she hasn’t slept since Tuesday.

Then she had to look up the term “carceral feminism.”

Then she read on Twitter that the recall will have a negative effect on “black and brown people.” (Count self in on one of those categories. Self is definitely not white) So nice to know self is part of that undefined sea of black and brown!

Then she heard Bernie Sanders was weighing in and self thought: No, go away Bernie Sanders.

Then a lot of judges weighed in and said the recall was a threat to judicial independence. Which Persky brought up himself. Which makes no sense because if there really was such a need for judicial independence, why are all county judges elected? Shouldn’t they be appointed?

Also, it’s interesting that most of the people who clamor the loudest against the recall result only spoke up after the fact, when the recall became successful. Which means there is nothing at all wrong with the process. Only, self guesses, the result.

Regarding “concerning blow to judicial independence” and how the recall effect is that now judges will feel “pressure.”

Since Persky was up for re-election in 2022, there was always that pressure. But what the recall did was save many victims who might have come before him between now and 2022. Because self has no doubt that had he remained in office four more years, Persky would have continued to sentence criminals with maximum leniency (especially if they were white Stanford males, like Brock Turner). Digression: Self read somewhere that Turner’s dad questioned why his son should be punished for “20 minutes of action.” Right? The apple does not fall far from the tree.

Then Bourdain died. Self was very, very sad. While he lived, she knew the world could not be a totally bad place, even under 45. Now another iconoclastic voice has been snuffed out, and self is really afraid for what will happen in 2020.

Then self learned from the news that Bourdain was dating Asia Argento, who was sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein. And Bourdain, bless his heart, spoke passionately on behalf of the #metoo movement.

What a loss. Mr. Sardonic, Bourdain, was 100% behind #metoo, we could have used more of him.

Then self discovered that Persky is a Stanford grad, so he and self have something in common. She loves the school because she studied Chinese there, and afterwards spent two years as a Creative Writing fellow. That Stanford Law School professor who led the recall movement made her feel truly, truly grateful and proud to be a graduate.

There was a tweeter who said that the Stanford law school professor had no credentials, and was not even a real lawyer. Good thing self checked and saw the tweeter had only 50 followers, she would have responded.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

MIKHAIL AND MARGARITA, pp. 138 – 139 mentions Gogol

Loving this book because of all the writerly mentions. In addition to Bulgakov (Must watch the movie with Charlotte Rampling), there are Osip Mandelstam, Mayakovsky, Anna Akhmatova . . .

All tortured, sent into exile, heartbreaking. But at least their words survived.

On p. 138, there’s a mention of Gogol (Self has to type on the floor, sitting on throw pillows; sitting at a desk gives her hand and wrist cramps. But the other day, she noticed spiders crawling over her legs and feet and she’s like constantly on the alert with Off! spray).

p. 138:

In his later years, Gogol had become convinced that God had abandoned him. Tortured, half-crazed, he burnt his remaining manuscripts only days before he died. As though the promise of man’s redemption must perish with him. He claimed the Devil had tricked him into doing so. He’d been only forty-one.

p. 139:

In 1931 when Gogol’s body was exhumed he was discovered to be facing downward. The writer had had a terrible fear of being buried alive, so much so that he’d willed his casket be fitted with a breathing tube as well as a rope by which to sound some external bell if needed.

As the grimness gathers around Bulgakov, the novel can only get more depressing. But so far, self has been able to persist.

This novel won the 2017 First Novel Prize from New York’s Center for Fiction, “the only literary center in the United States devoted to the art of fiction.”

Kudos to Ms. Himes.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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