Love in the 21st Century

Everlark fan fiction, be warned.

(The words are from a story self stumbled on this afternoon. Pretty clever stuff!)

Prof. Katniss Everdeen and Prof. Peeta Mellark are rivals for the same big, fat national research grant (Like the MacArthur? Only big and fat? And not for “geniuses”?)

They send each other “challenge” messages.

TO:  Everdeen, K.

A newcomer like you to the field of Panem History has no hope of winning it. I’m only sending you this note to save you time and potential future humiliation.

TO: Mellark, P.

If I were you, I would worry less about any potential humiliation I might face and more about covering your own ass.

P.S. I’m not a Miss. I’m a professor, with a doctorate in the history of Appalachia.

TO: Everdeen, K.

They still talk about my dissertation at Harvard.

TO: Mellark, P.

If you need tutoring help I’m available Tuesdays between 3 and 5 p.m.

TO: Everdeen, K.

Friendly advice: coming out of the gate too strong is a bad idea in teaching. You’ll tire yourself out before fall break is even here.

P.S. I wrestled in college, just so you know.

TO: Mellark, P.

Your observation RE: tiring myself out is timely, given that I’m running the Chicago marathon this weekend. My bib # is 1213.

TO: Everdeen, K.

I watched part of the Chicago Marathon on television this weekend but I didn’t see you because I don’t know what you look like. You have a ridiculously small online footprint, Professor. You know this is the 21st century, right?

P.S. We totally kicked your asses in football last Saturday.

Stay tuned.

 

First Adventure: Mexico on Third-Class Bus with Roommate Sachiko

Self was a grad student at Stanford.

Her roommate was an Anthropology grad student named Sachiko Hayashida. (She has tried many times to find Sachiko. She has googled “Sachiko Hayashida” and found a few who teach in Japanese universities and fired off letters. The letters always come back with a note: I am not that Sachiko Hayashida)

Sachiko and self decided to spend two weeks traveling around Mexico.

Sachiko was responsible for drawing up the itinerary. Self’s only responsibility was to keep up.

Sachiko had undertaken many trips by herself. Not self. This was self’s first travel adventure.

We ended up fighting. A lot.

Sachiko had to be carried on the plane on a stretcher at the very end. She had Montezuma’s Revenge.

One of our most memorable trips was from Mexico City to Merida by third-class bus. Once we arrived in Merida, we searched all over the city for a vegan restaurant mentioned in Lonely Planet. The name was Sergeant Pepper’s.

We finally found someone who said, “Ah! You are looking for Sarhento Pimiento!”

Of course! Sarhento Pimiento! Why had we wandered all over Merida looking for SERGEANT PEPPER?

One of the most memorable excursions we made while in Merida was to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. We took a public bus, and it dropped us off at the side of the road at 4 a.m.

Self frankly thought Sachiko was crazy, but at 7 a.m., when Chichen Itza began to receive its swarm of tourists, self thought Sachiko was brilliant. Because no one else was in the ruins at 4 a.m. (Of course, it wasn’t safe. But we were 22. We weren’t thinking of safe) We were thrashing around, avoiding lizards — some extremely large — and what-not, when we suddenly came to a large clearing, raised our eyes and YOWZA! A temple!

Afterwards, self read to Sachiko from a book she’d picked up from the Stanford Bookstore: World of the Maya by Victor W. Von Hagen.

She has it with her now, in Mendocino.

P. 12:

The Maya have been characterized as “The Intellectuals of the New World” because of their highly developed calendrics, their glyph-writing, and the ornamental complexity of their architecture. They were unique in their culture; pacific, they fought few wars; they viewed life from their jungle fastness with Olympian detachment, working out complicated calendric inscriptions that could push their history back to 23,040,000,000 days.

You need a lot of undisturbed time (i.e. peace) to be that focused on a task that complicated, self figures.

The irony is not lost on self, that one of the first widely-read accounts of the Mayan civilization was William H. Prescott’s The Conquest of Peru, who made a hero out of Francisco Pizarro, “a man who couldn’t even read his own name . . . ”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Last Night, Margo. This Afternoon, Claudia.

Self met a photographer named Margo yesterday. Say, want to have dinner tonight? Margo asks. Sure! self says. Self is always game for dinner!

Self knocked on her Unit at 6 p.m. sharp and was totally flummoxed when Margo said she wanted to eat in Fort Bragg.

Fort Bragg??? That’s, like, 10 miles away!!! The last time self drove from Fort Bragg, it was night, and there were headlights practically crawling up her bumper, and self was so traumatized that in the almost two weeks since that event, she has never again attempted to return to Fort Bragg.

Anyhoo, self thinks, what’s the harm? She’ll have Margo with her in the car. She can deal with those rude drivers who act as if she’s got the speed of a centipede.

We head for a restaurant called David’s that’s in a nondescript shopping mall. Whoa! It is closed! A sign says David’s is only open until 2 p.m. every day.

Anyhoo, it’s very exciting, self and Margo did get to eat in Fort Bragg, but we each spent $25, which was way more than the $3 for a hamburger Margo had estimated we would need. But that is why we all have credit cards. Right? Right?

This afternoon, self encounters Claudia, a textile artist who’s in the unit behind hers. Claudia recounts being an Artist-in-Residence also last year. A gear clicks in self’s brain. Textile artist. de Young Museum.

“You,” self says to Claudia, “are the woman who was in my unit last year!”

Claudia says she doubts it, but for some reason, self is convinced it was Claudia who was in her unit. When self latches onto an idea, it is very hard for her to let that idea go.

“No, you are!” self tells Claudia enthusiastically. “I’ve always meant to thank you! For leaving that Sunday New York Times magazine with Channing Tatum on the cover!”

Claudia looks at self and says, “Uh-uh. Wasn’t me. Even if I was in your unit just before you moved in, I don’t think I’d ever have left a copy of a magazine with Channing Tatum on the cover.”

Self gushes on: “It was so nice of you! To leave me that welcome gift! I felt so appreciated!”

By this time, self has the niggling suspicion that maybe Claudia is not a fan of Channing Tatum? Because the way she is looking at self . . .

Oh, anyhoo! It’s all good! Self scampers off to Mendosa’s on Lansing for her nightly feeding of clam chowder.

Such an interesting bunch of artists in the Mendocino Art Center this year! Plus some self remembers from last year, like Mary-Ellen Campbell, who showed her the most gorgeous photographs of a recent trip to Burma.

Mary-Ellen kayaks, she line dances, and she also teaches classes in book-making.

More on these fabulous and inspiring women as the residency unfolds. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Despite the Pouring Rain

When self left New York City, it was just beginning to get cold. The week before she left, she was still able to walk around Central Park in T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers!

She arrived in San Francisco to rain. Rain and rain and rain. And cold. Rain and cold. And now — storm coming! GAAAAAH!

Nevertheless —

Self dropped a new Everlark fan fic about Cheating Peeta/Stalker Delly in December. Over the past few weeks, it’s generated tremendous amount of discussion on the boards!

Gotten more comments than any fic that dropped in December!

The bare story is this: Peeta cheats on Katniss with Delly. Katniss files for divorce and decides to take time off from teaching to travel around Southeast Asia. And she cheats on Peeta. (The divorce takes a long time because, you know, California lawyers! It might be years!) The two meet in Siem Reap, Cambodia and — Kaboom! — Primal connection fireworks!

Who knew self would be getting comments like this!

  • When I get the new chapter alert in my office, I have to sneak to the comfort room so I can read. I’m very inefficient at work these days.
  • I’m addicted to Fallout 4, but yesterday when I got your story alert, I immediately dropped my controller and reached for my tablet.
  • Every chapter, I cry angry tears, it’s like you’re pounding a nail into my coffin.

Readers list possible ways to deal with the problem of Cheating Peeta:

  • Punch him in the face, Katniss!
  • Shoot him in the nuts with your bow and arrow!
  • Make Peeta grovel!
  • Find yourself some hot, sexy man!

Everlark is self’s be-all and end-all.

Stay tuned.

 

AMERICAN RUST, p. 49

“I talked to a lawyer from the shelter.”

He looked at her, half-grinning.

“She said the house is legally mine until you pay your share.”

“That’s a bunch of bullshit,” he told her.

He was right. She hadn’t talked to any lawyer. But she was surprised how angry her own lie made her feel. She believed those words. They might not have been the truth but they should have been.

p. 49, American Rust, by Philipp Meyer

Philipp Meyer grew up in Baltimore, dropped out of high school, and got his GED when he was sixteen. After spending several years volunteering at a trauma center in downtown Baltimore, he attended Cornell University, where he studied English. His writing has been published by McSweeney’s, The Iowa Review, Salon.com, and New Stories from the South.

In Honor of Self’s Fan Fic Readers, Who Have Been Campaigning for Self’s Cheating Peeta to “Grow a Pair”

In honor of self’s fan fiction readers, who tell her they get so distracted when she updates. If they’re at work (and most of them do work), they end up sneaking off to the restroom to read the latest chapter of her Cheating Peeta fic. ALL HAIL!

Self just a half hour ago introduced a passage about Katniss being so lonely while Peeta was out carousing with his blonde bimbo that she ends up taking archery classes.

Yes, the gal turns out to be quite a natural!

Peeta finds out only after Katniss has filed for divorce and shipped out for Cambodia!

The information comes to Peeta by way of his next-door neighbor, Mr. XXXXXXX, a poet who teaches at San Francisco State. (Self’s fic is decidedly modern AU, OOC)

Mr. XXXXXXX tells Peeta:

“Boy, are you even in the same marriage as she, hello? Hello? Anybody home?” Mr. XXXXXXX walked right up to Peeta and began knocking lightly on the top of his head with his knuckles. Peeta batted his hand away. “You started spending all those weekends away from home, she was lonely, all right? We’d talk. She’d ask me what I thought she should do. I told her: fresh air and exercise! Turns out she always loved hunting in the woods when she was a little girl. While you were off with blonde bimbo, she was taking archery lessons. Why she hasn’t planted an arrow in your nuts yet, I don’t know. Must have the patience of Buddha.”

And, to up Peeta’s misery, Katniss has stopped taking his calls, Peeta’s parents suggest she may have met “someone else” over there in Siem Reap, and his blonde turns out to be a “Fatal Attraction” stalker. BWAH HA HAAAA!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

In the Dark Future Days of Panem . . .

There is a society where men are slaves, to be led around by leashes at all times!

Into this maelstrom of human dysfunction appears — a very prim and proper young lady named Katniss Everdeen, who doesn’t like using leashes on her personal slave, one Peeta Mellark, who she received as a gift from her aunt Effie Trinket, who procured Peeta at a slave auction!

Sample dialogue:

Peeta (to Katniss): I pray you’re not a leash person.

Katniss: Don’t worry, I’m not. My aunt Effie, maybe. She’s always wanted a puppy to walk.

Peeta: Oh God, I can see it now. Knowing Ms. Trinket it’s probably a hot pink collar studded with little sparkly diamonds.

This is Fan Fiction (Not self’s of course! Self doesn’t write anything this deliciously twisted)

Lord knows why, but just before Christmas, self undertook to write a new fan fiction, forgetting that the fan fiction universe is relentless, and once the “beast” (reader views, favorites, bookmarks, and so forth) is unleashed, it must be fed. Constantly.

For instance, today, self spent four hours re-writing the chapters she had already posted. Which was mighty confusing to her readers.

What is not confusing is the reaction to self’s (cheating) Peeta:

  • I want to reach into the computer and punch him in the face!
  • Someone please give him a black eye!
  • Why is he such a wuss? He needs to grow a pair!
  • He’s nothing but a lying, cheating Mama’s Boy!
  • I hope he and his girlfriend are struck by lightning!
  • Is this going to be Everlark? Cause I just don’t see Everlark happening in your scenario. Katniss should punch him in the face!

OMG, what just happened?

Self had to swear up and down the fan fiction universe that the story would indeed be Everlark, but now that everyone has expressed their utter disgust at “this Peeta,” self is getting second-hand revulsion feels similar to the way she used to receive second-hand smoke from The Man.

Yes, self thinks, you Peeta are nothing but a lying, cheating @@##!! (expletive deleted). The only solution would be for self to end your life (on the page)! Die, Cheating Peeta, die!

Hence, her stumbling across the Slave Peeta fic, which is actually a very interesting trope, though not quite as interesting, perhaps, as Tranny Peeta (Well helloooo, Caitlyn Jenner backwash!) or Peeta having the starring role in an all-queer production of Hamlet.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Chance Meeting, Cebu Airport

In 2010, self gave a reading at a conference in Cebu (central Philippines). From there, she flew to her Dear Departed Dad’s hometown of Bacolod.

While she waited for her Bacolod flight, she decided to get a massage. The massage place was right next to the boarding area, how convenient. The customers are shielded from view (by screens?) of people in the boarding area (but not of fellow customers, there’s a row of beds placed side-by-side), and the strange thing is, there were men and women getting full-body massages right there, mere yards away from where a whole crowd of passengers were gathered. To preserve customers’ modesty, the masseuse draped a thin towel over one’s body.

Anyhoo, the story self wants to tell is: She was freshly massaged, and her hair was standing up on end (from a scalp massage), when a man walked up to her, introduced himself as a fellow writer, and said he had attended her reading.

Self asked him where he was from, and he said Cagayan de Oro. She found out he was a fellow writer. He signed a copy of his book and gave it to her (Self really wishes that she looked more orderly when she walked out of that massage place).

His book was in Bikolano (which self doesn’t speak). It was a collection of plays!

The writer’s name was Carlos A. Aréjola.

Here’s the production notes, setting, cast of characters etc. from his play Unang Yugto:

Tagpuan (Setting): Cottage sa isang resort (A cottage in a resort)

Panahon (Time): Kasalukuyan (The Present)

CHARACTERS:

Edwin – matangkad, guapo (tall, handsome)

Toledo – mestisuhin (mestizo), 18 taong gulang (18 years old)

Dagul – 21, moreno (dark-skinned), medyo pandak (somewhat short), may body piercings.

Falcon – mestisuhin (mestizo), ayos na ayos ang buhok (Hair fussed over; sorry, that’s the best she can come up with)

Dalawang Dalaga (2 girls): college girls, magaganda (beautiful), mapuputi (white-skinned)

Mga Pasahero Sa Airport (Passengers in the Airport)

How self loves that the characters have to be differentiated by whether they are light-skinned or dark-skinned, and that the two college girls are beautiful (magaganda) and mapuputi (white-skinned). To be white-skinned is to be beautiful?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

What if Self Had a BFF Who Said Things Like

“You have a way, you know, of shoving your vulnerability right into people’s faces. Or something that you call vulnerability, anyway. You sometimes do it immediately upon meeting them. You force people to deal with it.”

“Deana.”

“No, listen to me. You don’t do it as much as you did. But you used to do it a lot, and it’s kind of strange to be confronted so aggressively with somebody else’s frailty. Some people will want to protect you, as I did, but some people will want to hurt you.”

— “Other Factors,” Story # 8 in Mary Gaitskill’s Bad Behavior

DSCN2292

Yesterday on the High Line: A Message

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Story # 8 in Gaitskill’s BAD BEHAVIOR

“Secretary” was over surprisingly quickly!

All self has to say is: the movie took a slight story (one of the slightest Gaitskill stories self has ever read) and made of it a fully realized film.

Who directed the movie? Must find out! He/She deserves kudos!

Self hardly feels anything for the character on the page, but in the movie, her heart went out immediately to Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character. Rent it on Netflix, if you haven’t already seen it!

Now to Story # 8 in Bad Behavior:

She remembered something he had said to her sometime before: “Don’t worry, Connie. In fifteen years, I’ll be doing my retrospective at the Whitney and you’ll be publishing regularly in The New Yorker.” He paused. “But by then we’ll be ugly.”

LOL!

To close, another picture self took yesterday, while walking the High Line:

DSCN2302

There is a Museum of . . . Sex? Self learns something new every day!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

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