Phoebe Journal: Annual Spring Contest

Contest Deadline:  March 19, 2017

Prize:  $400 and publication in Phoebe 46.2 (online issue)

Entry Fee:  $9

Poetry submission: 3 to 5 poems per submission, up to a maximum of 10 pages

Prose submission: 1 piece per submission, maximum 5,000 words

Here’s the link to their submission page.

Fiction Judge is Patricia Park.

Poetry Judge is Monica Youn.

Nonfiction Judge is Elena Passarello.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading: Sally Potter’s Screenplay for YES

Last year, self saw Sally Potter’s Yes at the London Review Bookshop and the filmmaker herself was present to do Q & A afterwards. Self asked Potter if the screenplay had been published, and when Potter said yes, it was available in the U.S., self almost broke out into a Happy Happy Joy Joy dance.

Can she just tell dear blog readers how she adores this screenplay, the fact that it is written in iambic pentameter from first to last is glorious.


Scene: An Irish woman (played by a luminous Joan Allen) who’s moved to New York returns to Belfast to visit her dying aunt in a hospital. The following passage is the aunt’s interior monologue:

AUNT

No one explained to me when I was young
Why time only goes forward. Hold your tongue
Was what they said when I asked them about
The universe and such and why we can’t
Do all that much about it when we make
A mess of things. If only a mistake
Could be corrected. Wind life back and start
Again. The second time we’d know the art
Of living. But we only get one go;
No dress rehearsals, this one is the show,
And we don’t know it. I don’t see the rhyme
Or reason in this so-called grand design . . .

(A priest enters the ward quietly and rapidly gives the last rites, making the sign of the cross and softly muttering a prayer)

But then I don’t believe. There is no sign
Of him up there as far as I’m concerned.
See . . . if there’s one thing that I’ve truly learned
It’s this: it’s down to me.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Matt Zoller Seitz Reviews “Love & Friendship” (Another of Self’s Favorite Movies of 2016)

Really nice review. Read it in http://www.rogerebert.com.

Kudos to Director Whit Stillman, lead Kate Beckinsale, and Xavier Samuel, who plays the man Beckinsale’s character sets her sights on.

  • “Love & Friendship feels like it was inevitable. The director Whit Stillman adapting Jane Austen is one of those ideas that sounds like it’s made up because it’s so perfect, like Wes Anderson announcing that he’s going to make an animated film about foxes based on a book by Roald Dahl.”
  • “Stillman’s films are comedies of manners . . .  the more brazen or ambitious characters run roughshod over people who have, well, manners.”
  • The main character, Susan, “is distinguished by her audacity, not just in her wants and desires but in the way she talks to other people, turning subtext into text in a way most people would not do unless the person they were talking about was in another room, or another state. But they’re standing right there! And they can’t get their minds around how staggeringly rude and entitled Susan is — most of all Reginald, who’s played with great precision by Samuel as a decent man who is so stunned by Susan’s nerve that he can barely bring himself to reprimand her: he’s too busy marveling at her existence.”

In addition, self is looking forward to seeing the following films, hopefully in the next few weeks:

  • Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson
  • Paul Verhoeven’s Elle
  • Denzel Washington’s adaptation of August Wilson’s Fences
  • Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea
  • Disney’s Moana

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

In Which Sunny and Self Discuss/De-Construct “Passengers”

Of course, because this is the future and we write fan fiction, watching “Passengers” leads to some interesting gender flipping in our de-construction of said movie.

The idea of having Jennifer Lawrence doing the choosing was entirely Sunny’s. Self thought: Go for it!

Exhibit A

Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: “Sleeping Beauty in Space,” a Review of PASSENGERS by Sunny Lanning

The movie is beautiful, brilliantly shot. The clean, curving lines of the halls and rooms, the luxurious amenities, the sense of echoing, empty space both within and without the ship, which employs a novel design style. The lingering shot on the long lines of Chris Pratt’s naked back and buttocks fits right into the elegant overall design.

— Sunny Lanning, in her blog Sincerely, Sunny

Self has been having an off-blog exchange with Sunny Lanning about things we like, and one of the things we like is J-Law.

Yup, that’s right. J-Law.

Self knows it’s sort of fashionable to dump on her right now. Indulge in fond memories of “Winter’s Bone” (which was truly great).

Self knows, “Passengers” did not get good reviews. Self reads Everlark tumblrs on a daily basis and people are wondering what happened to J-Law, blah blah blah.

Self has a feeling J-Law will endure.

In the meantime, enjoy the parallels Sunny Lanning draws between “Passengers” and Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty.”

Self’s own personal take on the disappointment with the movie (Note: Self has not seen “Passengers.” But she kinda gets the process Chris Pratt is or has embarked on. It’s called Hollywoodization.), the blown hopes: it’s Pratt. In this role, he’s reaching for that next level. Self doesn’t argue that a J-Law would find him attractive — hot, even. But can we just not make the effort so predictable right now? It just seems so determined and so cynical.

Sunny found that originally “Passengers” was a Keanu Reeves project. Keanu/ J-Law would have been an interesting pairing!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Magellan’s Mirror”: Self’s Pushcart-Nominated Story, 2012

Magellan’s Mirror

  • Note: In this story, The Philippines is the home of giants. In the history books, Ferdinand Magellan is credited with their discovery.

During the next week, no natives appeared on the shore. The beach was empty as it had been on the first day, before the crew had sighted Enrique. The men looked up at the sky, cloudless and blue. Under their breaths, they cursed their leader.

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The Beach at Capitola-by-the-Sea, late December 2016

In the middle of the third week, four of the giants were seen gesticulating on the shore. The sailors shook their heads. The natives importuned them with tragic gestures. Finally, the tribesmen boarded a massive canoe and began paddling towards the Trinidad. Magellan ordered his men to welcome them warmly. The crew offered the visitors their fill of wine. Just as the giants were sleepily dozing off, Magellan had his men shackle them.


Thanks to J Journal for nominating self’s story for the Pushcart. Self took the historical journey of Ferdinand Magellan and included magical elements. She has a Part II, called “Vanquisher.” And a third story, called “Residents of the Deep,” which she began at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, 2014, which takes place centuries later (1840s)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Liu Xia: “Days”

from her collection Empty Chairs: Selected Poems, translated from the Chinese by Ming Di and Jennifer Stern (Graywolf Press, 2015)

Days

Our life, like the calendar
on the wall,
presents a stale picture.

Friends come at night
and I cook enough dishes to cover the table —
remembering to put salt in each.
You get chatty
without even drinking wine.
Everyone is happy and eats chicken feet
until the bones are sucked white.

At dawn, our friends are suddenly gone
like a breeze.
The sunflowers on the window curtain
are crazily bright
against the light.
Cigarette ashes and beautiful fish bones
are jammed down our throats.
Without looking at each other
we climb into bed.

Liu Xia is a Chinese poet and artist who has lived under strict house arrest since her husband, poet and activist Liu Xiaobo, was imprisoned in 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power” and received the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Medical Students Practicing Calligraphy

Because why not?

Have you seen the scribbles on patients’ charts?

Can you read, honestly read them?

Here are a pair of gals who are in medical school and are practicing calligraphy and also displaying excellent judgment in choosing an excerpt from self’s work-in-progress, Toad!

Stay tuned.

Self’s Accident Story, “Dust”

It was sunny, a glorious day. April was sometimes cold but Jocelyn thought she could sense summer coming, around the corner.

The girl who clipped them, that afternoon in April, was just 18. Driving her red Ford mustang at a speed that was just short of criminal, she’d gotten her driver’s license only that month.

The Ford Explorer rolled over and over and over. For almost two years, she saw the image flash into her mind, often just before she lay her head down to sleep. Then she had to get up and pace the bedroom, or take two Ambien if there was something important to do the next day.

By the time the vehicle came to rest, by the center divider on the southbound 101, her son was dead. It had happened quickly. Jocelyn was glad.

“After Us, the Deluge”

The Force wasn’t enough today.

RIP, Carrie Fisher.

2016, self is so done.

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Vanishing Point, Capitola-by-the-Sea

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