Thought for Tax Sunday, April 2019

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Self travels the world.

And does her best to be happy.

That is all.

Opening Sentence of the Day: Yiyun Li

  • Once upon a time, I was addicted to a salon.

— First Line, All Will Be Well, in the 11 March 2019 New Yorker

Thursday Read: The Economist, 16 March 2019

An article on Artemisia Gentileschi is in the Books section.

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Illustration: Gentileschi’s Judith Beheading Holofernes

“Gentileschi’s Self-Portrait as St. Catherine of Alexandria was acquired last year by the National Gallery in London, becoming only the 21st work by a woman in a 2,300-piece collection.”

Artemisia Gentileschi was the “first female artist to be admitted to the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence.” She was raped by Agostino Tassi, who her father had hired “to teach her perspective.” Her father “petitioned the pope for compensation. His daughter was considered damaged goods.” The case went to trial. Tassi, found guilty, “was exiled from Rome,” but continued to receive commissions from successive popes.

Gentileschi was “married off to a mediocre artist” but “nevertheless set up her own studio . . . She worked in Naples and London. She became the great artist she always wanted to be.”

“A play about Gentileschi’s travails that won awards at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year, transferred to London and will soon be staged elsewhere.”

“Roughly 60 paintings by Gentileschi survive . . . ”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: ASYMMETRY, by Lisa Halliday

Now that his book was done, a number of deferred medical matters could be addressed, including a colonoscopy, a prostate screening, and some tests a pulmonologist had recommended to investigate a recent shortness of breath.

Asymmetry, p. 67

Very much enjoying this collection of novellas. The first one, Folly, reads a bit like Francoise Sagan, if Aimez vous Brahms were set in Manhattan.

Another sentence:

Considerations complicated by this maddening habit of wanting something only until she’d got it, at which point she wanted something else.

Stay tuned.

Prairie Schooner: The Opioid Issue (Winter 2018), Guest Edited by Glenna Luschei

Ray Murphy, from a letter quoted in the Introduction by Glenna Luschei:

Virtually all of my writing about opiates stems from writing about injury. I never address opiates as a recreational drug. Be interesting to see how many other submissions you get that come out of injury and pain, and then progress into dependency and possibly full-blown addiction.

The second piece in the issue is Marsha de la O’s Paradise Motel. An excerpt:

Black flame, blue spoon, now the shadow
draws close a cloak as wide as Lake Michigan,
robed and rocked in god’s water, rippling
indigo. From out on the street the rush of cars

weave through their harmonies —
those vessels I’ve entered one by one,
riding out currents on a raft of fire.

Marsha de la O’s new collection, Every Ravening Thing, is just out from Pitt Poetry.

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

The Laughter of My Father, by Carlos Bulosan

One of our foremost Filipino writers was a migrant worker who died at 40 of tuberculosis, in a Seattle boarding house.

His name was Carlos Bulosan, and The Laughter of My Father was one of Dear Departed Dad’s favorite books (Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino found this copy for me, previously used naturally!)

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Reading it now, self can understand why. She’s reading the Bantam edition, published August 1946.

p. 2:

Laughter was our only wealth. Father was a laughing man. He would go into the living room and stand in front of the tall mirror, stretching his mouth into grotesque shapes with his fingers and making faces at himself; then he would rush into the kitchen, roaring with laughter.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Cousin’s Farm, Oliva Dos, near the town of Murcia in the Central Philippines

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Near Murcia, Negros Occidental, the Philippines

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Path cleared for a tractor, Oliva Dos, near Murcia

Self lived the first 20 years of her life without knowing there was another Murcia. In Spain.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Antonio Vivencio del Rosario Archives, University of Santo Tomas, Manila

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Main Building, University of Santo Tomas, Manila: January 2018

The University of Santo Tomas is the oldest university in the Philippines. The first book printed in the Philippines, the Doctrina Christiana, is housed there, in the Antonio Vivencio del Rosario Library (named after self’s great-great-grandfather). At the opening, self’s great uncle, who donated the money for the archives, cited a thesis self had written in the Ateneo de Manila, which traced the del Rosario family history back, four generations. But self wasn’t there. Her brothers went, and great was their shock when they heard her name mentioned as the reason the archives exit. (Self couldn’t go because — well, she couldn’t afford the airfare. Husband was out of work. None of her family offered to make up the fare)

She FINALLY got to drop by in January 2018, met the librarians, and took pictures. The archives survive on the generosity of individual donors. Three full-time employees are responsible for digitizing the vast collection.

“How many books have been digitized so far?” self asked.

The answer: 150.

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Self is thinking about the archives because today she decided to try and work on her 18th century novel-in-progress, Blue Water, Distant Shores. Her novel — a product of over-reach, self is no historian — is about a Spanish priest who, in 1736, is sent to the Philippines to fight demons. She’s reading about books by the early missionaries, books like the Ilocano catechism of 1621, translated by Fray Francisco Lopez.

“Your books should be here, ma’am,” she remembers the librarians telling her. “We’ll add them to the display.”

What? No . . .

On second thought! She’ll contact her press right now. Please send copies to the Antonio Vivencio del Rosario Archives in University of Santo Tomas, stat!

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Found these copies of self’s third short story collection in the National Bookstore in Gateway Mall, Cubao, Metro-Manila! (January 2018)

Afterwards, self dropped by the Program in Creative Writing, and got to pose for a picture with the professors:

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University of Santo Tomas, January 2018: Creative Writing Program Director Jing Hidalgo is on self’s right.

Dearest Mum’s only response, when self showed her the pictures: Why are you so short?

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lol

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More From Gary Kamiya

Love Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco. Reading the essays in it painstakingly slowly.

Gary Kamiya was one of the founders of Salon.com (still going strong!). An ex-fellow Fellow from Stanford, Jim Paul, used to write for them. As did Chitra Divakaruni. As did Laura Miller. As did Heather Havrilesky.

Self is on Essay # 5, The Harbor at the End of the World:

A 1508 map by Johannes Ruysch depicts South America as the New World, with Asia in the place where North America actually is.

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Private beach access for this homeowner along the Mendocino coast

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Cost of Living, p. 57: Déja Vu to Rachel Cusk

The main character, Deborah Levy (also the name of the author, lol), attends an editorial meeting in London. She decides to bike there and gets oil all over her hands. Then the meeting commences.

The Cost of Living, p. 57:

The executives sat around a polished oak table in a windowless room. They were intelligent, experienced, groomed, at the top of their game. I was offered a glass of water and accepted it gratefully. After a while, I realized I had an old-fashioned idea of what a meeting such as this one should be like, and I had acquired it from watching too many black and white movies. What I had in mind was an atmosphere in which we sipped negronis in a nightclub in Rome, plotting the main arc of the film while dancers adorned in feathers cavorted in the background.

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