Quote of the Day: Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986)

To refuse to countenance a war that does not speak its true name . . . you can no longer mumble the old excuse, “We didn’t know”; and now that you do know, can you continue to feign ignorance or content yourselves with mere token utterances of horrified sympathy?

— Simone de Beauvoir, French author and activist

Lens-Artists Challenge # 183: Memorable Events

Here’s how Leya introduces this week’s Lens-Artists Challenge:

  • This week you will have an opportunity to show us some memorable events – new ones or delightful memories! I had to reflect upon it for some days before I knew what to choose…because life gives us quite some of these very special events, doesn’t it? Happy Birthdays, surprising hikes, meetings with faraway friends, interesting exhibitions, travels to special places…

Yes, life does give us these memorable moments! I’m so happy that my memorable moment happened just two days ago, on the Mendocino Headlands.

I spent a good part of December 2021 here. It’s a quieter time of year, but there were still people around. So it’s quiet, but definitely not lonely. I deliberately stayed away from TV and news, brought a stack of books to read — what more could one ask for?

Since hotel rates were at bargain basement level in January, I decided to drive up again. This time, I was in the throes of editing a manuscript to send out. So, unfortunately, the first couple of days here, I was a hermit in my room.

Then, I got an important call, and I could not get out of it. The hotel is so quiet — I knew I’d be disturbing people if I continued talking in my room. So I headed to the bluffs. It was my first walk in a number of days, the call was cutting in and out, but I didn’t care. Because — WOW! To think this was just a five-minute walk away, and I was so deep into my work I couldn’t even manage getting out. And with the weather so gorgeous, too!

As soon as the call ended, I started taking a bunch of pictures. Here are a few:

Leaving

Self doesn’t know why, the melancholy tone of My Heart really appeals to her. Perhaps one day, she’ll go and visit Sarajevo, see that beautiful city, which has existed so long in her imagination, longer than any other European city except perhaps London.

The last stop on the Father-Son road trip is Phoenix, an apartment complex on 1601 Camelback Road, no. 201. Father and son lived here “twenty years earlier . . . And I had felt more or less at home everywhere, apart from here, at the address 1601 Camelback Road, no. 201! Here I am most foreign. And now I can calmly forget everything.”

Self also just found out that the sketches which are in the book are the author’s own. Simple, stark sketches, which self finds utterly charming. For instance, this one of the outside of the apartment in Phoenix:

Son,

You’re on your way to your home, and I’m at the airport and will soon be on the plane. And the moment I found an empty table in the airport café, I saw a sparrow flying over the large waiting area opposite and I thougt of Tomaz Salamun. A poet, he had the habit, whenever he came to America on his writer’s business, of calling from those hotels within reach of the airport, after his flight had been canceled, or he would simply call from an airport café like this one, and then we would chat while he waited for his flight. Ever since I lived here, my most important contacts with friends have been carried out like that. Over the telephone.

My Heart, p. 117

Lt. Commander Robert W. Copeland on the USS Roberts

“This will be a fight against overwhelming odds from which survival cannot be expected. We will do what damage we can.”

Lt. Commander Robert W. Copeland to the crew of the USS Roberts, 7 a.m. Oct. 25, 1944

Poetry Friday: “Like the Molave” by Rafael Zulueta y da Costa, Written 1940

This poem is epic.

The molave was a Philippine hardwood (said to be impervious to fire), now extinct.

Jose Rizal was the writer of the seminal novels Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. He was tried by the Spanish for inciting a revolution, and shot by firing squad in Manila’s Bagumbayan Field.

Self has not been able to find much about Rafael Zulueta y da Costa. He died in 1990, and apparently this was his only poem. He wrote in English. At the time of writing, the Philippines was still an American colony.

Like the Molave, Part I:

Not yet, Rizal, not yet. Sleep not in peace:
There are a thousand waters to be spanned;
There are a thousand mountains to be crossed;
There are a thousand crosses to be borne.
Our shoulders are not strong; our sinews are
Grown flaccid with dependence, smug with ease
Under another’s wing. Rest not in peace;
Not yet, Rizal, not yet. The land has need
of young blood — and, what younger than your own,
Forever spilled in the great name of freedom,
Forever oblate on the altar of the free?

Not you alone, Rizal. O souls
And spirits of the martyred brave, arise!
Arise and scour the land! Shed once again
Your willing blood! Infuse the vibrant red
Into our thin anemic veins; until
We pick up your Promethean tools and, strong,
Out of the depthless matrix of your faith
In us, and on the silent cliff of freedom,
We carve for all time your marmoreal dream!
Until our people, seeing, are become
Like the molave, firm, resilient, staunch,
Rising on the hillside, unafraid,
Strong in its own fibre; yes, like the molave:

Help for Afghan Refugees

From the CNN website:

  • As the Taliban increases their grip in Afghanistan, thousands of civilians continue to flee their homes fearing retribution, persecution and general chaos. The refugee crisis there is still taking shape amid growing desperation and uncertainty. Relief workers are scrambling to help. You can assist them through the organizations listed here.

Flower of the Day (FOTD), June 7: Roses

Thanks again to Cee Neuner for hosting this wonderful challenge. I love the picture of wild daisies she posted today.

This gorgeous bouquet is from my oldest best friends, Bob and Diane Varner. We lived in side-by-side apartments in Menlo Park, when we were in our twenties. She and Bob moved to El Granada many years ago, but we kept in contact.

Yesterday, I broke the news to them that Dearest Mum didn’t make it. She fought a long, hard battle in Manila with covid, lasted three months. She was admitted to Makati Medical at the height of the latest surge, in March.

I’d been having weekly FaceTimes with her since the start of the New Year. When she missed one week, then another, I called and they said she had a fever. Then, dread test results: positive for covid. She was sent home from the hospital in May, no longer with covid, but she never quite recovered. She lasted till June! She passed very peacefully in her sleep, two days ago. She was 85.

In the afternoon, I was rushing out the door when I stopped and was dazed. Amazed. Speechless. Aren’t these the most GORGEOUS roses you have ever seen?

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Essential Beginnings in Nonfiction, UCLA Extension Writers Program

I have been teaching this course a long time, almost 20 years. It was, and still is, my favorite course to teach. And, because of a lot of pandemic chaotic stuff and fixing my 1939 cottage, I am only teaching it ONCE in 2021. (Promise I’ll be back early 2022)

What happens during the course? YOU happen.

Don’t ask me to explain why I am a better teacher of nonfiction than I am a teacher of fiction. I know, I’m a fiction writer. Maybe I’m too close to the process, I’m not as good as explaining how it happens for me. Nonfiction, though, is a whole other story.

Trust me. I have kept this course as streamlined as possible to allow plenty of time for discussion and interaction with each student.

My hope is to get everyone to the happy place where they see writing as a verdant field of dreams.

There is one text, a classic.

There are my “lectures,” which are much less classic but okay, they’re useful.

There are THE WRITING EXERCISES EACH WEEK which will fill you with so much tension and joy, you can’t even explain it. Because that’s how writing, the act of sitting down and writing, actually feels (If standing on your head writing works for you, hey . . . )

Registration is open NOW. Class begins May 5 and ends June 15.

Since this class is ON-LINE, you can take it from anywhere in the world. I usually have, in one class, students from at least three continents: North America, South America, Asia, and the UK and Europe.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Free Submissions, Today Only, FIVE SOUTH

All day today, Sunday, April 11, the literary mag Five South is temporarily suspending submission fees.

All other writers guidelines still apply. Such as WORD COUNTS:

  • Flash: 1000 words
  • Short Fiction: 5000 words
  • Poetry: Open

Here’s the link for full guidelines.

There is a typo: Simulataneous Submissions.

But hey, this is a good journal, and they do get back to you fast.

The Narrator, Ballistic Kiss

Which is when the fucking phone rings again. For a minute I feel a twinge of relief, hoping it’s Candy with a good excuse to cancel the party. Instead it’s Abbott. My landlord. His calls, I can’t ignore. I put the phone on speaker and say hello as I continue cleaning the weapons.

pp. 10 – 11

Ha. Ha. Ha. What is this series? It’s self’s first Sandman Slim. Loving the tone.

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