Inspired in Yorkshire: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

There are so many photographs from this summer that self can use to illustrate this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: INSPIRATION.

But she’ll stick to her most recent album: photographs of Yorkshire.

Which means the Hockney gallery at the Salts Mill in Shipley.

Café in the Salts Mill, Shipley, Yorkshire

Café in the Salts Mill, Shipley, Yorkshire

An old high school chum (who self hadn’t seen since high school graduation) drove her around. Fun!

The Salts Mill is a massive place. But the man who owned it was an enlightened being who built subdivisions for his workers and kept them off the drink with strict supervision.

The Salts Mills, Shipley

The Salts Mills, Shipley

And the Hockneys! Incredible. A whole floor is devoted to the first release group of his “The Arrival of Sprint 2011″ – David Hockney Editioned Works.

Close-up of one of David Hockney's editioned

Close-up of one of David Hockney’s editioned “The Arrival of Spring 2011″ at the Salts Mills, Shipley, Yorkshire

Self had NO idea there was such a museum in Yorkshire. Of course, she knew Yorkshire = the Brontes. And that is reason enough to go and pay homage.

But throw in David Hockney? And a converted mill? Priceless.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Close-Up 3: Joan and John, Abigail and Pigeons

Dear Joan and John McGavin, are you ready for your close-up?

Here, dear blog readers, is a portrait of the hip-pest couple in England, on their wedding day:

Joan and John: We are the Cool-est!

Joan and John: We are the Cool-est!

Dear Abigail: Are YOU ready for your close-up? Because you are the most entertaining eight-year-old in all of England:

Abigail sang for us Sunday. Oh my goodness! Paging Simon Cowell!

Abigail sang for us Sunday. Oh my goodness! Paging Simon Cowell!

Russell Square is a beautiful little square with a café and benches and a fountain. Self has taken many pictures of it. But this was the first time she zoomed in on the birds. Thank you, WordPress Daily Post, for providing the prompt! Here are pigeons, ready for their close-up:

A Confabulation of Birds at the Russell Square Fountain

A Confabulation of Birds at the Russell Square Fountain

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Emigrant Woman’s Tale, Performed at the Fiddlers Green Festival, Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

Self met poet Csilla Toldy at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig, last year.

Csilla has a fascinating backstory: born and raised in Hungary, she managed to make it through the Iron Curtain when she was just 18 years old.

Sunday, July 19, self got the opportunity to hear Csilla and singer/songwriter Fil Campell interweave their stories of crossing borders (Fil was born and raised in County Donegal) in the Fiddlers Green Festival in Rostrevor, and it was a very moving experience.

The performance grew out of a book, The Emigrant Woman’s Tale, which was published this year by Lapwing Publications in Belfast.

The book is fascinating, but if you have the chance to catch the performances live, self would urge you to do it. Csilla and Fil are performing in Newcastle in Northern Ireland on Aug. 14, 7:30 p.m., at Annesley Hall. And on Oct. 22 they are performing at 6 p.m. in Linenhall Library in Belfast.

Rostrevor, Northern Ireland, July 2015

Rostrevor, Northern Ireland, July 2015

An Excerpt from Csilla Toldy’s piece “Growing Up Under the Red Star”:

At age three I graduated into the kindergarten in Gorky Avenue. It was a cold place with high ceilings that got lost in grey mist, teeming with hostile children and hostile wardens. I was wild, and often violent with the children, and resentful towards the adults. I used to bite children, and quite understandably, they did not like me. Nowadays, any child behaving like this could be labelled with some fancy syndrome, but in the Hungary of the 1960s, they had a different practice. Children had to be installed into society, no matter what. It was only a question of time and patience.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Journey of Emigrant Women/ Csilla Tolday and Fil Campbell

Self visited Rostrevor because Csilla Toldy was performing in the Fiddlers Green Festival.

Csilla, a poet from Hungary, and Fil Campbell, a songwriter who grew up in Belleck, on the Donegal border, were telling stories.

Csilla came through the “green border” at 18.

Fil grew up during The Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The two women came together, decided to tell their stories as layered narrative: Csilla’s poetry and short prose, Fil’s memoir and her folk songs. The result was a book, The Emigrant Women’s Tale (Lapwing Publications, Belfast, 2015) that comes with a CD.

Yesterday’s performance: What. An. Event. Self can’t even.

And it happened in Rostrevor.

The two women are amazing.

Rostrevor is amazing.

Also, and self didn’t know this before: C. S. Lewis was born in Belfast; Northern Ireland was his spiritual home.

In Rostrevor there is a trail called The Narnia Trail.

STEP INTO THE WARDROBE!

Start of The Narnia Trail, Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

Start of The Narnia Trail, Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

How can one resist?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Half and Half 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, HALF AND HALF, is about “splitting” your canvas “into two.”

The prompt is about composition. Oh how self loves those kinds of prompts.

From The Daily Post:

This week, share an image that has two clear halves, literally or figuratively.

So, here’s what self came up with today:

2nd Floor, The Plough, off Great Russell Street, London

2nd Floor, The Plough, off Great Russell Street, London

Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

So, this last picture, self wasn’t sure what she was trying to do here, but she definitely sees two sight lines, two visual planes: foreground and trees. She’ll just go ahead and post it:

Near the Start of The Narnia Trail in Rostrevor, Northern Ireland (C. S. Lewis loved Rostrevor!)

Near the Start of The Narnia Trail in Rostrevor, Northern Ireland (C. S. Lewis loved Rostrevor!)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Announcing: The First Annual Margarita Donnelly Prize for Prose Writing (Deadline for Entries: Sept. 30, 2015)

Margarita Donnelly's Last AWP, Seattle 2014. Pictured: Margarita and Brenna Crotty, Calyx Senior Editor

Margarita Donnelly’s Last AWP, Seattle 2014. Pictured: Margarita and Brenna Crotty, Calyx Senior Editor

She was indomitable, that is all.

Met her first at: Bookstore in the Mission

Self read her story “Ginseng.”

Margarita went up to self afterwards and asked, “You got more like those?”

(Yes, sitting in a file cabinet; Four years past the Stanford University Creative Writing Program, and self was such a coward that she never sent the manuscript out:  WHEEE!)

What better way to honor her legacy than a prose contest? Calyx, the press Margarita co-founded, launched the Prize on July 1. Here’s the link to their website. The contest is open to both fiction and nonfiction.

  • Deadline for Entries: Sept. 30, 2015
  • Reading Fee:  $20 (check payable to Calyx)
  • Maximum Length of piece:  10,000 words

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Muse 4: Swans! At the Lake in Annaghmakerrig!

Today, after a hard day of writing, self walked down to the lake:

Swan Sighting at the Lake!

Swan Sighting at the Lake!

And saw her first swans! (Actually, that’s not quite right. She was down at the lake yesterday evening, and saw swans then, too)

Self will share with dear blog readers that it was because of the swans she saw in Ireland that she wrote a story called “The Ark.” And, earlier this year, it was published by Local Nomad. Which, self just wants to say, is a really beautiful on-line journal. And it is all done by one woman: Jean Vengua.

Her story begins thus:

There were great stores of food laid up, for Noah knew that the flood would last a long time. The hull began to groan with the weight, intensifying his anxiety.

Two Swans!

Two Swans!

And here are swans, diving for food:

DSCN0430

And now, back to the writing desk!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Vivid 2: 28 Chinese Artists at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is VIVID.

To self, “vivid” is all about color. Or warmth. Or illumination.

Self spent yesterday afternoon at the Asian Art Museum (The traffic heading into San Francisco is just horrible, UGH) and saw many vivid pieces of art from the current show, “28 Chinese Artists From the Ruddell Family Collection” :

Tattoo 11, 1994 by Qiu Zhije (b. 1969, Fujian China)

Tattoo 11, 1994 by Qiu Zhijie (b. 1969, Fujian China)

“Darkness Illuminates Me” by Qiu Zhijie, 2009

The artist Zhang Huan covered his body with honey and oil and sat in a public toilet (Size: 12 square meters) and waited for the flies to land, then had someone take his picture:

“12 Square Meters” by Zhang Huan (b. 1965, Henan, China)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Poem Written for Self

You are courageous.

You are bright.

You have so much to pursue —

Best wishes for your grand adventures ahead!

DSCN9868

2nd Quote of the Day: From Self’s Short Story, “Lizard” Included in the Collection, GINSENG AND OTHER TALES FROM MANILA (Published in the U.S. by Calyx Press)

They must have been sitting there a long time. Her grandmother was leaning forward, saying something in a low, insistent voice, while Wito’s mother listened with bent head. Wito saw how intently her grandmother gazed at her mother, how there seemed to be something about her mother that kept drawing the older woman forward, so that it seemed she might reach out any moment and touch or, perhaps, hit her. Wito saw how her mother hung her head, and knew that she was crying. The back of her neck, covered with fine, black hair, looked narrow and exposed. Wito thought she caught the words shameful and waste, but then her grandmother saw her and broke off aprubtly.

When Wito went up to greet her grandmother, the old woman’s cheek felt dry, like parchment, whereas her mother’s cheek was soft and moist, and when Wito turned to leave, her mother softly said “no” and pulled her close. Her mother’s arms encircled her, forcing her to face her grandmother.

—  Marianne Villanueva, “Lizard,” included in The 100 Best Philippine Short Stories in English, Manila: Tahanan Books, edited by Isagani Cruz

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