#amreading: A Friend’s Memoir

The friend is Kathleen J. Burkhalter, and her memoir is called The Greatest of These Is Love: Selections From Kathleen’s Celebration of Daily Life, edited by David Bell

  • It takes courage to begin writing because to write is to reveal. When you live in a critical environment, it is hard to write authentically. Even to begin writing is an act of bravery. But on the other hand, writing is a form of liberation. Like singers who sing, or composers who make music, or artists who paint, the use of one’s talent is an essential element of being happy.

— p. 116, The Greatest of These Is Love, vol. III

Kathleen Joaquin Burkhalter was born in Augusta, Georgia and grew up in Baguio, Mountain Province, in the Philippines. Her mother was from plantation families in Pampanga and Marinduque, and her father was from a colonial Georgia family. Kathleen would proudly say, “I am 100% Filipino and 100% American.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading “Cinderella”: A Re-telling by Philip Pullman

“This is my bride!” the Prince said, and took Cinderella in his arms.

The stepmother and sisters turned ghastly pale, and nearly bit their own fingers off with rage and mortification.

. . . . . . .

At the wedding, the two stepsisters were keen to toady to the royal couple, hoping to share in Cinderella’s good luck. When the prince and his bride walked into the church, the older sister walked on their right and the younger sister on their left, and the doves flew down and pecked out one eye from each of them.

— from Fairty Tales from the Brothers Grimm, Re-told by Philip Pullman

#amreadingfairytales: “Little Brother and Little Sister”

from Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm, edited and re-told by Philip Pullman:

“Now you get into the bed,” the witch said to her daughter, and when the girl had clambered in, the old woman put a spell on her so that she looked exactly like the queen. The one thing she couldn’t do anything about was the missing eye.

“Lie with that side of your head on the pillow,” she said, “and if anyone speaks to you, just mumble.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Rufino” from Self’s Collection MAYOR OF THE ROSES

There were fourteen years before self’s first and second book.

The first was published by Calyx Press in Corvallis, OR.

The second was published by Miami University Press.

The third, The Lost Language, is only available in the Philippines.

The fourth is an e-book published by Vagabondage in Florida.

There’s also an anthology she co-edited for Calyx Press: Going Home to a Landscape.

Recently, she got an email from writer and teacher Susie Hara, who said she had liked the story “Rufino” in Mayor of the Roses.

It was the last story to be included in the collection. She threw it in at the last minute.

Rufino was a real person.

Here’s an excerpt from the story:

Towards the end, he couldn’t wear any clothes. They had to cover him in banana leaves.

It was in July he died — I couldn’t believe it. A voice on the phone told me.

“Rufino died na.” It was my mother speaking. Naturally, she had to be the one to break the news.

I was staying in a friend’s house in the Santa Cruz Mountains. In the mornings, fog blanketed the hills. We heard the mournful mooing of invisible cows. One or another of us would look east, toward where we heard Neil Young had his ranch, wondering whether we’d catch a glimpse of his pink cadillac that day.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

What the Writing Desk Looks Like Today, 3 April 2017

DSCN1364

Art by Bernadette Burns, from Skibbereen, West Cork : http://www.bernadetteburns.com

Bernadette Burns left Tyrone Guthrie this morning, early.

She told self to go to her studio; she’d leave something.

A few minutes ago, self ran through rain, entered the studio, which was completely empty, ready for the next occupant.

On a table, a note and two prints.

#love #sobeautiful

This is what her studio looked like, just two days ago:

DSCN1328

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Mary Beard: How To Lose an Election Campaign

In early Roman times, campaigns used public debate and canvassing to win elections. The debates were “semi-formal meetings,” at which loud “political passion” was so involved that once a crow “which had the bad luck to be flying past” (I believe that’s a Mary Beard joke) “fell to the ground, stunned.”

In the second century BCE, a candidate named Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica (You can forget the name now; he’s not important. In fact, self doesn’t know why she bothered to type out the entire name rather than identifying him as PCSN) “was out canvassing one day in a bid to be elected to the office of” blah blah “and was busy shaking the hands of voters . . . when he came across one whose hands were hardened by work in the fields. ‘My goodness,’ PCSN joked, do you walk on them?’ He was overheard and the common people concluded that he had been taunting their poverty and their labour. The upshot, needless to say, was that he lost the election.”

#lol

SPQR p. 192: only the rich could afford to run for public office (Campaigns, then as now, are expensive) but “success . . .  was a gift bestowed by the poor.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Good One, Cicero

Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra?

(Latin for: How long, Catiline, will you keep abusing our patience?)

— from Cicero’s Finest Hour (Chapter 1 of SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, by Mary Beard)

So far, great.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

SCROTUS Handshake: Exactly As Described

Story # 8 in Phil Klay’s Redeployment (“Prayer in the Furnace” — another lousy title, but let’s not digress)

#ShinzoAbe #PrimeMinisterofJapan #ShakesHandsWithTrump

p. 142

“He’s gonna do this handshake,” the major said. “It’s called the dominance shake. He does it to everybody.”

Eklund was a Catholic convert and had a tendency to tell me more than he should, inside the confessional and out.

“The dominance shake,” I said, amused.

“That’s what he calls it. He’s going to take your hand in his, grip it real hard, and then twist his wrist so his hand is on top of yours. That’s the dominance position. And then, instead of shaking up and down, he’ll pull you in and slap you on the shoulder and feel your bicep with his free hand. It’s Fehr’s little way of peeing on your personal tree.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: Yes, All Right, Still Story # 5 of REDEPLOYMENT

Here’s the sentence:

“There is a direct link,” I said, “between the oppression of women and extremism.”

This conversation is taking place in Iraq. And it is funny. Not because self doesn’t believe the truth of it. She does. But it’s being said by an American civilian in Iraq (who goes by the name Chris Roper and self isn’t sure why but she keeps thinking she knows someone with that actual name). So it seems ironic. You know?

Stay tuned.

#amwritingfantasy: “Down”

DSCN1343

Study in Oil by Bernadette Burns. She lives on Sherkin Island, off West Cork. http://www.bernadetteburns.com

We’re going under.

When?

Today.

Just like that.

Yes.

Well, I need more time to select.

Select?

Yeah. What do you think?

Everything you need is down there.

The two men arguing are about to descend to the ocean floor in a bathosphere called Pinkie Pi. They are under the impression that’s where everyone else on the surface has gone.

Stay tuned.

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