In Honor of Earth Day 2017, #amreading

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill (Flying Eye Books)

This is a grrrreat children’s book which gives a clear picture of the difficulties faced, through spare illustrations that evoke the truly epic nature of Shackleton’s journey.

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There’s a quote from Roald Amundsen on the publication information page:

  • No man fails who sets an example of high courage, of unbroken resolution, of unshrinking endurance.

— Roald Amundsen

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Self absolutely loves it.

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Stay tuned.

Self’s “First Life” (Juked.com)

“First Life” first line:

  • Ever since they moved our colony from Tonle Sap to the Philippines, my mind hasn’t been the same.

Now For One of Self’s: “The Lost Language”

This was published many years ago, in a magazine called Isotope.

Published in Utah and edited by a poet, Chris Cokinos.

It joined together two things: science writing and creative writing.

You would find, in the same issue, a play by a physicist, a nature essay, a poem by a mathematician. That sort of thing.

Self loved it.

Chris Cokinos, what are you doing now? Know that self considered Isotope a very noble experiment.

Here’s an excerpt from the story they published, which became the title of her third collection. It’s one of those hybrid things: part essay, part memoir, part myth, part short story.

The Lost Language

Filipinos once had an ancient written language. If I were to show you what the marks look like on a piece of paper, they would look like a series of waves. Or like Egyptian hieroglyphics. Like the eye of the Pharaoh I saw in my old high school history books.

The language was written on tree bark. Epics were probably written in this language, but I don’t know what they are. My ancestors are shadowy people. Shadows.

When I was a little girl, perhaps eight years old or so, my mother gave me a book of Philippine legends. The legends were mostly about beautiful maidens and enchanted animals. But the story I liked best was about Hari sa Bukid, which means King of the Mountain.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Conversion of the Iroquois

Montcalm and Wolfe is filled with references to the Iroquois. What happened to them? They were a mighty player in the French/British battles, with a capital city named Onondaga. And now they’ve just disappeared?

Self is suddenly consumed with curiosity.

An energetic French missionary named Fr. Piquet was particularly successful in converting them.

  • “The nature of the spiritual instruction bestowed by Piquet and his fellow-priests may be partly inferred from the words of a proselyte warrior, who declared with enthusiasm that he had learned from the Sulpitian missionary that the King of France was the eldest son of the wife of Jesus Christ.”

Since the Iroquois seem to have vanished, self has to assume that their conversion was simply a prelude to their — er, complete loss of agency, and eventual disappearance from the historical record.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Magellan Without Elcano

Ferdinand Magellan set out from Seville with five ships in 1519.

Two years later, he was dead on a Philippine island.

Why does he get credit for the “first circumnavigation of the globe”?

If it weren’t for Juan Sebastian Elcano, who completed the circle, there would be no circumnavigation.

Self thinks the return leg was just as important — no, more — than the first leg.

Magellan set out with five ships and 270 men. Stocked to the gills, supported by experienced crew. Two years later, it was left to Elcano to return a demoralized crew back to Spain. He did it in one year, with one ship, the Victoria, which sailed from the Philippines to Borneo, across the Indian Ocean, around the Cape of Good Hope, north along the west coast of Africa, finally reaching Spain on 6 September 1522, with 18 of the original 270 men.

Now, that’s a journey. That’s epic.

Three years later, Elcano went on another expedition, but this time he was not so lucky. According to Wikipedia, Elcano died while on the Loaisa expedition to claim the East Indies on behalf of Charles I of Spain.  The cause of death was malnutrition.

Stay tuned.

#amwriting: Invasion, Seamount, Antarctica

How self does love writing a good horror story. She started this one a few days ago:

She and the captain were the first to spot the Longnecks. A pod of them. Bulging foreheads cleaving the ink-dark sea. The creatures moved quickly, beaching on the ice shelf and shedding their fur with great, tearing sounds. At first she thought it was merely the ice cracking, separating from the mother glacier.

(When everyone else writes about global warming, self writes about global freezing. Go figure)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

In Which Sunny and Self Discuss/De-Construct “Passengers”

Of course, because this is the future and we write fan fiction, watching “Passengers” leads to some interesting gender flipping in our de-construction of said movie.

The idea of having Jennifer Lawrence doing the choosing was entirely Sunny’s. Self thought: Go for it!

Exhibit A

Stay tuned.

“Magellan’s Mirror”: Self’s Pushcart-Nominated Story, 2012

Magellan’s Mirror

  • Note: In this story, The Philippines is the home of giants. In the history books, Ferdinand Magellan is credited with their discovery.

During the next week, no natives appeared on the shore. The beach was empty as it had been on the first day, before the crew had sighted Enrique. The men looked up at the sky, cloudless and blue. Under their breaths, they cursed their leader.

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The Beach at Capitola-by-the-Sea, late December 2016

In the middle of the third week, four of the giants were seen gesticulating on the shore. The sailors shook their heads. The natives importuned them with tragic gestures. Finally, the tribesmen boarded a massive canoe and began paddling towards the Trinidad. Magellan ordered his men to welcome them warmly. The crew offered the visitors their fill of wine. Just as the giants were sleepily dozing off, Magellan had his men shackle them.


Thanks to J Journal for nominating self’s story for the Pushcart. Self took the historical journey of Ferdinand Magellan and included magical elements. She has a Part II, called “Vanquisher.” And a third story, called “Residents of the Deep,” which she began at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, 2014, which takes place centuries later (1840s)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Link to The City of 10,000 Buddhas

Self went to school with Shari Epstein, who teaches in the City of 10,000 Buddhas. She’s been wanting to see this place, forever and ever.

Last year, when self was staying at the Mendocino Art Center, she called The City of 10,000 Buddhas in Ukiah, and got the number of Shari, and Shari and self spoke!

Happiness!

But self never did make it to Ukiah. Because once you get into Mendocino itself, you enter a different state of mind. It’s like Brigadoon. Everything just floats away, so mesmerized are you by the sight of Ocean! Ocean! Ocean!

Since Rogue One is out, and self is planning to see it, and because she can’t stop worrying about Princess Leia and refuses to give 2016 the pleasure of even one more death, she is wondering whether she should really make one last effort to see Shari Epstein.

This morning, she calls The City of 10,000 Buddhas and is told that if she wants to enroll in a course on the Buddha mind, the course is three weeks. Starts January 8.

Self has known for the longest time that she needs a good mind cleanse. A three-week course on Dharma Buddhism might not be a bad thing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Magic 5: Thanksgiving Edition

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Green Apple Books, 9th Avenue (by Golden Gate Park), San Francisco: This is an antique wall phone. I do really really want to call Ishmael!

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Charles Parsons’ Model Chinese Pole Junk (circa 500 B.C.) at the San Mateo County Historical Museum, Courthouse Square, Redwood City

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Model of a British Ship-of-the-Line, circa 1765 (in the Charles Parsons Exhibit at the San Mateo County Historical Museum

Entrance fee to the San Mateo County Historical Museum: $6.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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