Online Reading for MsAligned 3, Hosted by Redwood City Library: Thursday, 25 February, 5:30 pm

Dear blog readers:

Here’s your chance to listen to some of the contributors to Ms Aligned 3: Women Writing About Men!

Online reading February 25 for the Redwood City Library, 5:30 p.m. – 6:45.

Here are just a few of the lovely authors who will be reading:

Pat Matsueda (Series Editor) * Lillian Howan * Donna Lee Miele * Angela Nishimoto * Cassandra Lane * Jill McCabe Johnson * Rachel King * Ryan Nicole Granados * Grace Loh Prasad

In the Grip

So where is self at in High As the Waters Rise? She’s in very leisurely reading mode. She’s about a fourth of the way through.

It is such an interesting book. Aside from the language, which is gorgeous (the translation is excellent!), the MC has arrived at some major turning points:

  1. He decides to return to Matyas’s home in Hungary, bringing with him Matyas’ few possessions.
  2. He decides to order himself a fine, expensive suit.
  3. Matyas’s older sister tells the MC: “I won’t do anyone the favor of keeping quiet.”

Good for her! You go, sister! (Her name is Patricia, which happens to be self’s middle name; it’s self’s paternal grandmother’s name, who died when Dear Departed Dad was 16. He was in boarding school in Manila. Long story)

Seriously, this novel is so sad. Not only because the MC has clearly lost someone he loves, but because there is such coldness from their employer. Eight days after the death, the MC gets word that the search has officially been called off. He knows it never started.

In the meantime, the reader is treated to very precise renderings of the following places: Tangier, Madrid, Budapest, and an oil rig named Ocean Monarch, somewhere in the Atlantic.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Headline of the Day: Wall Street Journal

p. B4, Thursday, 28 January 2021


Challenges include imprisonment of leader . . .

Beyond the pandemic, the company is contending with its de facto leader Lee Jae-yong back behind bars.

“Imprisonment of leader” is really a big challenge. I mean, it’s probably the biggest.

In smaller type on the same page:


Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Poetry Thursday: Luisa A. Igloria

from Luisa A. Igloria’s collection Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (Crab Orchard Review & Southern Illinois University Press, 2020)

Mother: Three Pictures (An Excerpt)

She is beautiful in that photograph where they are dancing in a
roomful of other couples. She has a beauty mole penciled on her
cheek, slightly to the right of her lip. Her eyebrows are two perfect
arches, her hair a dark beehive. I think there are dots on her dress.
Where is this photograph? I would very much like to have it.

The above, Dearest Mum, when she was a young Filipina pianist in New York City, 1950s.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

She is beautiful in that photograph where they are dancing in a

Link of the Week: FIVE SOUTH

The best hygiene for beginning writers or intermediate writers is to write a hell of a lot of short stories.Ray Bradbury

The Way to Read Melancholy

High as the Waters Rise is so overwhelmingly sad.

It’s the story of a worker on an oil rig in the middle of the Atlantic whose partner (partner in work, but also his lover) gets swept out to sea. There is no grieving. He is sent off the rig at once, as if he has something infectious. So he retraces the steps he and his lover made, the hotels they stayed in, between gigs.

Waaah! Can anything be so unbearably lonely?

As he’s being ferried to shore, the man looks back at the rig, growing smaller in the distance.

He goes to Tangier, and

There was no one. The air hung in the whitewashed alleys, the room lay in twilight behind closed shutters, outside he heard people on scooters, smelled the cloud of exhaust, a bluish smoke, he didn’t move.

High as the Waters Rise, p. 30

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

1st Full Week Under 46

How’s it been going?


Joe signed ever so many Executive Orders. The White House dogs have their own official Twitter account. Jill Biden posed with her dogs in a gorgeous white dress with pinafore sleeves. Janet Yellen was confirmed as Secretary of the Treasury. A guy named A. Blinken is US Secretary of State. 45 GOP Senators are cowards. Despite last night’s storm, self’s garbage cans were all present and accounted for. And she is still finding her current read, High as the Waters Rise, by first-time novelist Anja Kampmann, engrossing.

The MC’s finally managed to get off that blasted oil rig in the middle of the Atlantic, but he’s suffering from full-on melancholy because he had an unorthodox relationship — friends with benefits? — with a co-worker who got swept off the rig in a storm.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sentence of the Day: HIGH AS THE WATERS RISE, p. 13

Setting a novel on an oil rig in the middle of the Atlantic is pretty audacious for a first-time novelist. If Anja Kampmann can pull this off, really make that setting work, from first to last, I’ll take my hat off to her.

  • The Ocean Monarch had spent years in the North Sea before it had been towed down south, a semisubmersible, a colossus that was getting on in years, the wall above Waclav’s bed shone with the greasy handprints of other workers.


Translated from the German by Anne Posten

A love affair of sorts on an oil rig!

Self forgets how she came to hear about this novel, it must have been a literary award list. It’s her first novel by a German writer in aaaaaages. And it is Kampmann’s first novel.

Chapter One, Westerly:

  • He sat erect, ignoring the jibes that the crane operator was bellowing from the next table like a fat pig. Shane showed off for the new guys, barking at the floorhands to put more chemicals in the drilling fluid, to bring him water, or to hose down the deck again and again. Only when they sat weak and exhausted next to him, enduring his crude jokes, did his face take on the air of absence that for him signaled satisfaction. Then he could sit there as if his eyes were made of glass.

So far 2021, she’s read three books and loved one: The Relentless Moon, Book # 3 of the Lady Astronaut Series, by Mary Robinette Kowal.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sentence of the Day: NO RULES RULES, p. 136

Wow, TV is just killing self, right now. She’s on CNN (standard stuff) and Twitter (Trump’s Diet Coke ordering button! That’s almost — sweet! It is better that the red button ordered Diet Coke, it could have been ordering a nuclear strike!)

In the meantime, she is still reading No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention.

p. 136: Our big threat in the long run is not making a mistake, it’s lack of innovation.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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