A FACE IN THE CROWD: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 21 February 2018

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is “a face in the crowd.”

Self has a lot of pictures of anonymous people, because she travels a lot by herself.

In December 2017, self visited London’s Barbican for the first time. She went to see the Basquiat: Boom for Real exhibit. Life-changing.


Before that, she was in Paris:


Cinema Mac Mahon, on the Avenue of the same name in Paris, December 2017

Christmas Day 2017  in the Tuileries, Paris:


Paris, December 25, 2017

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


LANDSCAPES OF THE MIND: Mendocino Art Center, 27 & 28 January 2018

“You said on the phone the other day that you’re a teacher?”


“What subject do you teach?”

“Everything, pretty much.”

Exotics, by Callan Wink (Granta 128, Summer 2014)

This coming weekend, self is teaching.

A two-day writing workshop on just one subject: Landscapes.

Students will try their hand at writing only one thing: landscapes, both real and invented.

You do not need to be a tested writer, only a writer who is willing to be tested.

Thank you, Mendocino Art Center, for allowing self this opportunity.


  • A journey is more than just a movement through physical space. It is also movement through an emotional landscape. This writing workshop will be about journeys, both real and imagined: journeys of retrieval and nostalgia, as well as journeys of discovery. We’ll map emotions, moods, as well as physical space. We’ll do it all by sitting in one physical space. I’ll share my process with you. I’ll show you how.

Albion, California: January 2017

Stay tuned.

First Story of Self’s New Collection, “Magellan’s Mirror”

Self’s story was first published in J Journal, 2012. She just decided it will be the title of the new collection she’s completing. Thanks to the editors at J Journal, who published it and nominated it for a Pushcart.

Read the excerpt below:

And if our Lord and the Virgin Mother had not aided us by giving good weather to refresh ourselves with provisions and other things we had died in this very great sea. And I believe that nevermore will any man undertake to make such a voyage.

— Antonio Pigafetta, Chronicler of the Magellan Expedition

The crew encountered the giant during the winter, after months of battling the water just south of Brasilia. He was described by the sailors as being twelve or thirteen palmos tall, which is to say, over eight feet.

Stay tuned, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

#amwritinghistoricalfiction: Blue Water, Distant Shores

The language may be a bit portentous. Nevertheless, here is from p. 7:

So the story begins. It is a story of churning oceans, ships, dragon’s breath, siren calls. A story of leviathans and faith, about islands and the building of ships. About Hell and Paradise. About blood and fever. And greed, of course. That, above all.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


First Draft, Blue Water Distant Shores

The novel’s now in Draft # xx, but self found a print-out of the first draft and started to re-read a week ago. It’s like an undiscovered country. It’s been three years since she even looked at this first draft.

The Bishop of Manila Writes to His Catholic Royal Majesty

Junio, 1755

Most Powerful Lord,

When you assign someone to come to govern this land, Your Majesty should take into account that you are not sending a person who will have to face investigation but an absolute king who does not have any superior, nor anyone to be accountable to but who should be solely motivated by fear of God, the service of Your Majesty and the zeal for the popular good . . .

(and that sentence goes on and on and on for quite a good bit longer)

Reading this first draft is almost like discovering a different self: Who was that long-ago person who said, I am going to write a story about 18th century Phiippines. I am going to make up correspondence between the Bishop of Manila and his Most Powerful Lord, His Catholic Royal Majesty, the King of Spain?

Because if she were to start a novel today, 18th century Philippines would not even be a remote possibility, she doesn’t have that fearlessness.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Recommended Reading: Women Writing (Comics, Nonfiction, Novellas)


Skinning the Rabbit, by Jane Eaton Hamilton (The Sun, July 2017)

The Cone of Uncertainty: Parenting on the Edge of Climate Change, by Sarah Grey (Salvage Quarterly, 28 November 2017)

On Yoga, Diversity Lite, and the Empire of American Wellness, by Namrata Poddar (CounterPunch, 3 November 2017)

The New Bad Girls of Contemporary Literature, by Myriam Gurba (Literary Hub, 1 December 2017)

Why are America’s farmers killing themselves in record numbers? by Debbie Weingarten (The Guardian, 6 December 2017)


DC New Talent Showcase 2017


In Search of Lost Butter Chicken, by Sukhada Tatke (National Geographic Traveler: India, June 2017)


Day of All Saints, by Patricia Grace King (Miami University Press, November 2017)

I Don’t Think of You (Until I Do), by Tatiana Ryckman (Future Tense Books, September 2017)



#amwritinghistoricalfiction: p. 101

A conversation between the Archbishop of Madrid and Matias, the MC of self’s (set in the 18th century) novel, Blue Water, Distant Shores:

“Are there testimonies of his cruelty?”

“There are,” says the Archbishop. “And yet, without the cruelty of Juan de Salcedo, none of this would have been possible.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amwriting: 18th Century What-Not

The following is an excerpt from an Archbishop ‘s conversation with self’s main character Matias, who is being assigned to one of Spain’s farthest colonies, the Philippines:

“There are a handful of civil servants married to native women who have taken to land management. I would not go so far as to call their efforts industrious. They are respectable but not artistic. It would be tedious to describe them.”

Whenever self re-reads this passage, she just has to go


Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Reading Last Night at the Main House

When Lise-Ann McLoughlin, an Irish actress and screenplay writer, reads your words aloud and you become a puddle on the floor.

From “The Rorqual,” self’s horror story-in-progress, set in the Bering Sea:

A large shelf of ice had just dislodged — calved — the day before in Hobart Bay. The sea water had risen by several feet. The immensity of the sound — a low thunder that cascaded off the sides of the snow-capped mountains — was deeply unsettling. Here and there, by the water’s edge, were tussocks of green on which grey tippled seals crowded, blunt snouts raised high in the air.

Despair gripped her.

“Can they replace him with a pagophilic?” the Captain asked.

Tamara bit her lip. “I won’t have a pagophilic. I’d sooner kill them than look at them. They murdered all my children but one. And all the people of the Black Hills.”

NOTE: Self invented this creature, the pagophilic. Somewhere in her story is the dictionary definition. But, the short answer: Pagophilics are mutants developed by the U.S. Navy in a top-secret (naturally) facility somewhere north. Something went wrong with the experiments, and the program was discontinued. A few of the pagos managed to escape and are roaming the northern wilds.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


#folklorethursday: Ringing the bell at the Bajnath Temple, Himachal Pradesh

Ring the bell and make a wish!

That, at least, is what self was told.

Himachal Pradesh, India, 2012.

Stay tuned.

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