Quote of the Day: T. J. Stiles

It was reading this quote that persuaded self she needed to join the Authors Guild:

I have supplemented my income with secondary activities. I teach now and then on a freelance basis. I have done some freelance commercial writing. But two years ago I lost my big freelance client, and my income has dropped by 20 to 40 percent a year. In the past, I have resorted to desperate measures. I like to say my last book is so big because it’s a tombstone to the 401k that gave its life so the book could live.

— from “Among the Digital Luddites,” Authors Guild Bulletin, Winter 2015

SHINE 2: Night in the City

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is SHINE.

Which is why self took her camera along when she caught a FACINE (Filipino Arts & Cinema International) 23 film screening at the Little Roxie on 16th St.


Halloween Already! San Francisco goes all out!


Heading to the Little Roxie on 16th St.

The film, Ari: My Life With a King, was sweet and gentle and lovely. Rooted in place.

Great script, great editing. By a first-time filmmaker, too. Remember his name:  Carlo Enciso Catu.

Self would like to give a shout-out to Mauro Feria Tumbocon, Jr. for nurturing this festival, now in its 23rd year.

The Festival’s last day is tomorrow. Tickets for individual films are $10.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Lysley Tenorio

“It was always a bogus-looking act, but at some point I just assumed that Filipinos were somehow predisposed to believing anyone who claimed to understand their pain.”

— from the story “Felix Starro” in the Lysley Tenorio collection, Monstress

Local 2: Street Art, San Francisco

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is LOCAL.


4th St., San Francisco, This Morning

Hundreds of people passed by this sign, probably. How many noticed the art?


So whimsical! A closer look at the art.

Only in San Francisco. So random. Who was the artist?

This was on 4th and King, across the street from the Safeway.


Self doesn’t know why, this made her think of Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “It is only with the heart that one can see wisely.”

Oh, San Francisco. Crazy city. Crazy people. Art is everywhere.

Stay tuned.


Curious About the Kevin Hart Movie?

And you are! You know you are!

If you can’t get there, because you’re one of the 99% of Americans who have to work in an office (as opposed to tele-commuting, where no one can see you clock in or clock out, and no one will know if you decide to break up your workday by sneaking into a local cineplex), all you have to do is go to this great movie review website, http://www.rogerebert.com, and read the (3-star) review there, by Odie Henderson.

Self must confess: this is the very first review by Henderson she’s ever read. So she cannot believe it when he writes, “. . .  I don’t have very much to tell you . . . I can’t tell you the jokes because I wouldn’t do them justice . . . My work here is done. Thank you, America! Good night and God bless!”

Mr. Henderson, if you should ever feel the need to branch out from your current line of work (movie reviewer: but why would you ever want to do that? Self would kill, KILL, for a job such as yours), she thinks you might be able to get a gig somewhere as a stand-up comedian.

Stay tuned.

Visionary Art in Umm Al-Kheir

Self recognizes that she’s moving soooo slowly through The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine. But she is absolutely fascinated by its intimate glimpses of men and women, settlers and Palestinians.

In the chapter on the village of Umm al-Kheir, we meet a man named Eid Suleiman al-Hathalin. Self swears: every time she quotes from Ehrenreich’s book, she has to double-check the spelling of everything at least three times. But she really really wants to get Eid’s name right. He is a true original: a vegan in Palestine (“I love animals, but it’s not that. Meat is very heavy.”), and also a found-art sculptor.

His sculptures, gleaming and immaculate, filled five metal shelves beside the door. There were two bulldozers — one with wheels and one with treads — plus a dump truck and an excavator, all of them Caterpillars and painted a deep, glossy yellow. There was the old Black Hawk I had seen before, plus a white Volvo 420 big rig, and a green John Deere tractor hauling a trailer. Each piece was about two feet long and built to scale with an astonishing degree of perfectionism.

Eid proudly shows Ehrenreich the excavator:

He showed me how the machine’s body detached from the treads, and the cab from the body. The cab was only slightly larger than his fist. “I didn’t forget any details,” he said, “even the ladder here that the operator can use.” It had perfect little side mirrors too, and radio antennae, and its door opened on a tiny hinge and there was a seat inside for the driver, a gearshift in the floor, a tiny control panel panel complete with tiny dials. Eid had carved the chair from a bottle of shampoo and the windows from plastic soda bottles. The mirrors and lights he made from CDs and the reflective panel on the back of the machine was cut from a cast-off license plate. The whole thing was fully functional — the excavator swiveled on its treads, and its arm extended and bent at three joints.

Amazing. Simply amazing.

Eid’s dream is “to have one of his pieces added to the permanent collection of the Caterpillar museum at the corporation’s headquarters in Peoria, Illinois.”

Stay tuned.

More Nostalgia for Venice

More from the watershed trip self took with Margarita Donnelly (founder and managing editor of Calyx Press) in April/May 2013, less than two years before she succumbed to cancer. We rented a small two-bedroom apartment in Ca’ San Toma, Venice. Margarita’s adventurous spirit far exceeded self’s.


The Bridge of Sighs, April 2013: View From the Doge’s Palace


San Marco Square on a Rainy April Day


Self on the Rialto Bridge, April 2013: Margarita must have taken the picture. Even though self’s face isn’t visible, she really likes this picture for the mysterious red umbrella.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Listen to “Spores,” Read by Morgan Cook

Morgan, an actor from Galway, says this story sounds like “outer space in a North Dublin chip shop.”

He pulled together a reading of it, just to show self why.

Here’s the link to the audio, on decomP Magazine.

It’s the first of self’s dystopian science fiction/fantasy series (written in very cracked syntax). Thanks so much to decomP for giving it a home!

The story (which self wrote in Ireland) begins:

K thinks the boss is in love with her.

She looks like a mosaic puffball, her skin covered with checkered patterns

The boss was born Earthstar. He’d never look her way. His spores were meant to go else: to a Silverleaf. Or a Shag. Not K that smelled like wet rot. All scaly cap and throat gills. She belonged with other Common.

Varnish and varnish. I’ll say this for K: she is tenacious. Especially about her delusions.

“Me mom’s a thick,” she said once. “A focking thick.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

From “Utopias” by Alfredo Zaldivar (New Letters, vol. 82 nos. 3 & 4)

The poem is in the New Letters Cuban issue.

Excerpt from Utopias, by Alfredo Zaldivar, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Randall:

I romanticized the tent they gave me
the fierce hand that caressed my skin
the assigned word
and promised touch.

I didn’t take into account the fragility
of the dying stag
who sleeps among beasts
the few doves who fly
when the lights go on.

I didn’t see the labyrinths surrounding the tent
the fear of conceding passion to terror.

I fled with such precision
that only my obsession for being on time
could ignore those flights.

Alfredo Zaldivar is co-founder of Vigia, a cultural arts magazine and publishing house based in Matanzas, Cuba.

Everlark Comments

Self began a new multi-chapter fan fic last week. (It’ll be her 9th; this is really getting out of hand but whatever).

In the last couple of chapters, readers have been more or less agreed:

  • Why does Katniss keep asking Peeta so many questions it is weird but he answers them anyway?

(It’s called: device for advancement of the plot, dah-lings!)

  • This chick has word vomit or something! (Uh-oh!)
  • Katniss has the worst foot-in-mouth tendency ever!

Self finds all these comments somewhat endearing, what the hey!

Self had no idea, none, that her Katniss she was crossing boundaries. Shows you how much she has to learn about modern-day courtship rituals.

One time, self wrote something about a boyfriend visiting his girl in her college (They were having a long-distance relationship) and he ended up spending the night in her dorm room and readers were like: What? That’s so not OKAY! (Really? Why? People did that all the time when — never mind!)

Someone else told her today: Your writing is so different than most (If you only knew, dear Everlark fan fic reader!), it’s so lyrical. My problem is: Why are your chapters so short?

(It’s called subtlety and restraint, dah-ling! Because self is quite the flash fiction writer! Oops! In fan fic, it’s not flash-fiction, it’s called a ONE-SHOT!)

Self finally decided to partner with another Everlark fan fic writer. And together, we are writing an AU to the AU that is all Everlark.

She works hard, self’s collaborator. She has written one of the 10 most-read Everlark fan fics EVER. That is according to statistics compiled by this famous xxx fan fic website. The fact that she agreed to write outtakes for self is so humbling. Not to mention, hers are triple the length of self’s. And so much more funny!

Packed with tattooed girls and bands and grunge clubs. Which of course self has no first-hand knowledge of because she is really a nun writing from a cloister on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Pray Mother Superior doesn’t find out!

Stay tuned.

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