Angela Carter: What Is a Fairy Tale?

Someone once asked Angela Carter what her idea of a fairy tale was. She responded:

“A fairy tale is a story where one king goes to another king to ask for a cup of sugar.”

The quote appears on the back cover of Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales, a personal copy of which self purchased in Edinburgh, almost three years ago.

More to chew on: a link to a Salon.com interview conducted by Laura Miller on the publication of The Turnip Princess and Other Rediscovered Fairy Tales.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Eunoia Review: Last Wednesday of February 2015

By the time we fled our house
and the jackals
we’d become expert thieves,
really wonderful liars.
We smiled and told people how happy we were
while picking their pockets.

– excerpt from “Muscle Memory,” by Len Kuntz

*     *     *     *     *

For special occasions we ate
Glorified Rice,
white rice slathered with whipped cream and pineapple chunks.
Before that was German food,
hamburger baked inside dough,
fried dough and potatoes

– excerpt from “Glorified Rice,” by Len Kuntz

Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State and the author of the story collection Dark Sunshine (Connotation Press).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Symmetry 4: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Met a couple of interesting artists at the Codex International Book Fair, held at the Port of Richmond last week.

Here’s the work of one of them, Gisella Mott, from Hamburg, Germany. She illustrated a tale from the Brothers Grimm:

An illustration by German artist Gisela Mott, of a tale from the Brothers Grimm

Symmetry of Creatures: An illustration by German artist Gisella Mott, of a tale from the Brothers Grimm

Here are Gisella’s arms, holding open the picture book so that self could see the illustrations better:

DSCN8661

The last picture is of a very utilitarian room: the laundry room of the Mendocino Art Center. There are two matching cups, which means: symmetry of function and form!

Shelves, Laundry Room of the Mendocino Art Center

Shelves, Laundry Room of the Mendocino Art Center

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Masters of Style: A List

Self is teaching a two-day class on travel writing this weekend.

The great thing about teaching is, it makes you ponder your own predilections.

Because unless you yourself are very clear about the kind of writing you favor, you will never, in self’s humble opinion, be able to communicate anything worthwhile to your students.

These are the writers whose books have stayed longest in self’s head and heart. Some have only written one book. Doesn’t matter. The point is, their names have become part of self’s font of inspiration.

Debra Ginsberg * Kyoko Mori * Chang-rae Lee * Annie Ernaux * Tim Parks * Ron Carlson * Alison Moore * Mo Yan * Thomas Lynch * V. S. Naipaul * Gish Jen * Deborah Digges * Paul Theroux * Kathryn Harrison * Jason Elliott * W. G. Sebald * Nina Berberova * Peter Hessler * Michael Herr * Ruth Reichl * Tony Horwitz * Elmore Leonard * Brian Hall * Nicholson Baker

(Aaargh, list is getting long! Perhaps she’ll do a Part 2 later)

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Scale 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

WordPress Daily Post Photo ChallengeSCALE

“This week, play with scale. Insert something into a scene to highlight size: your two-year-old in a field of flowers. A dime next to a huge cinnamon roll you picked up at the bakery.”

First, Mendocino houses, the sky at sunset:

Sunset, Little Lake Street, Mendocino

Sunset, Little Lake Street, Mendocino

Flowers in the Redwood City Farmers Market:

Flower Stand, Redwood City Farmers Market (The vendor's stall is that white tent behind the flowers)

Flower Stand, Redwood City Farmers Market (The vendor’s stall is that white tent behind the flowers)

Ahmanson Building, Los Angeles County Museum of Art:

"Smoke" by Tony Smith, in the lobby of the Ahmanson Building, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

“Smoke” by Tony Smith, in the lobby of the Ahmanson Building, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Marcus Cumberlege: First Wednesday of February 2015

from firelines (London: Anvil Press Poetry) by Marcus Cumberlege (who self discovered when she was at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, last May)

Children of Lir

Cork of the dark waters
Connaught of the storms
Meath of still pastures
Our triangle, our forms

Everywhere we come from
Everywhere we go
Swans grow sleeves of crimson
The ancient ring-marks show

Ireland is a no-man’s-land
Where dead and living meet
Finola’s ‘flower-stung’ fingers
Knit Pearse’s winding-sheet

Coffin-ships trawl the ocean
And on beds tilled long ago
The shadowy birds of winter
Claw crosses in the snow.

Matthew Park Imagines “The Freeze”

Matthew Park is a young artist who just did the most fabulously beautiful illustration for a Read the rest of this entry »

This Evening, Tomas Transtromer

When self was with Angela Narciso Torres in Venice Beach in November, Angela took self to A Small World, a fabulous bookstore fronting the beach. Self ended up getting poetry collections by Neruda and Tomas Transtromer.

This evening, self is looking through Transtromer’s collection The Great Enigma (Pretty fabulous, that title!), translated by Robin Fulton.

The back cover has the New York Times quoting Transtromer as saying, “My poems are meeting places.”

Oh. Wow. Self can’t even. Just. Kill her now.

Here’s an excerpt from Transtromer’s Balakirev’s Dream:

 The black grand piano, the gleaming spider
trembled at the center of its net of music.

In the concert hall a land was conjured up
where stones were no heavier than dew.

Love, love, love those images.

Stay tuned.

Express Yourself 4: More Artists!

One of the most interesting artists self has ever met is Kim Thoman, who comes every January to the Mendocino Art Center to incubate new work. (Just thought of using that word “incubate” — Haaa, Self likes it!)

In the few weeks she’d been in Mendocino, she’d filled up the walls of her studio, and began using the floor. Self was in deep anxiety that her klutzy ways would end up making her step (inadvertently) on one of these pieces. Here’s one of those “floor” pieces:

Kim Thoman's Work-in-Progress

Kim Thoman’s Work-in-Progress

The other fabulous artist self got to know here is Mary Ellen Campbell. She drove to Mendocino from her home in New York State, with that kayak strapped to the top of her car. She’s been here since September:

Mary Ellen Campbell's fabulous kayak (strapped to the top of her car) goes everywhere she goes.

Mary Ellen Campbell’s fabulous kayak (strapped to the top of her car) goes everywhere she goes.

Finally, something from the home of self’s childhood friend, Connie Ignacio Genato, which is — yup, uh-huh, self’s feelings exactly:

This angel sits right next to framed pictures of family and friends in Connie Ignacio Genato's home in southern California.

This angel sits right next to framed pictures of family and friends in Connie Ignacio Genato’s home in southern California.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Express Yourself 3: Easy When You’re With Old Friends

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is EXPRESS YOURSELF. In posting on this theme, self has focused — twice — on artistic expression.

But here are two other kinds of expression: facial expression and doggie expression!

Having breakfast outside with Connie Ignacio Genato, best friends since grade school in Manila

Having breakfast outside with Connie Ignacio Genato, best friends since grade school in Manila

Looks like Connie's Li'l Crits are hungry! Her dogs' names are Bauer (after Jack Bauer of the TV show 24), Kobe, and Macho.

Looks like Connie’s Li’l Crits are hungry! Her dogs’ names are Bauer (after Jack Bauer of the TV show 24), Kobe, and Macho.

Angela Narciso Torres's son, Matthew, is an undergrad in a Fine Arts Program in USC. Here he is holding up a watercolor he made for the title poem of Angela's first book, BLOOD ORANGE.

Angela Narciso Torres’s son, Matthew, is an undergrad in a Fine Arts Program in USC. Here he is holding up a watercolor he made for the title poem of Angela’s first book, BLOOD ORANGE.

And here is the poem:

BLOOD ORANGES

At the river’s edge —
strewn seed, vermilion
petals from blood oranges

we ate. A branch
stoops from the weight
of phantom fruit. Falling,

the leaves exhale
the spice-heavy air,
its punishing sweet.

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