FAMILY: by Anna Moi for Air France Magazine

Early 1960s. The “war” was the Vietnam War, which pitted the North, where Moi’s parents were from, against the South, to where they fled:

How long does it take for a mother to read Alone in the World and The Story of Perrine to her child? My mother read to me almost every evening, because my parents went out only three or four times a year, and never had guests. It was wartime, but that doesn’t explain it — war had only just begun and nobody imagined at the time that it would last some 15 years and that we’d face shortages of everything, especially freedom, the basic freedom to move around as we chose.

This sense of frugality was something my parents were born with, just as others live with a heart murmur or an irregular heartbeat. It was the region of their birth, the North, that had triggered this simmering anxiety.

At bedtime, my mother would decide on a number of pages, but I would beg her to carry on, and she was always happy to continue the story of Rémi the abandoned child or of Perrine Paindavoine, an orphan searching for her family . . .  From one episode to the next, in those days before TV series, I traveled from one family to another, and from town to town, in the comfort of knowing I would fall asleep sated with emotions.

Heritage 2: Film Maven, Paris While Cannes

Self was last here in 2012.  She’s declined every opportunity to return, until now.

Look what she encountered around the corner: a film festival running in conjunction with Cannes. The movies are in English, with French subtitles. Perfect.

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Her Dear Departed Dad worshipped Orson Welles, and movies in general. He passed on this HERITAGE to self.

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Self didn’t know until today that it is the 70th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival:

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Self is a film nut. She takes advantage of every opportunity to attend film festivals, wherever in the world she happens to be: Edinburgh; Ojai, California; Cork, Ireland; Palo Alto; San Francisco.

One day, perhaps, she’ll write a script based on one of her stories.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#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.

“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, 20 March 2017

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Niall Leavy Brochure from a 2009 Exhibit Called “Inner Light”; copy of self’s book Mayor of the Roses: Stories, Miami University Press

Niall was here last year. Saw his work at Open Studio at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre.

At the opposite end of the table, self’s book from Miami University Press (There’s another story collection that came after this one: The Lost Language. Self’s Dearest Mum gave copies to all her friends as a Christmas present, but painstakingly tore out all the stories she didn’t like, lol)

You will notice that today the writing table is square. That’s because there are two of them in her unit, and she switches back and forth between them, depending on her need for the scissors, lol

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

March 2008

Nine years ago, this month, self was in Tel Aviv.

It is painful to read her blog posts from that time because her sister-in-law, Ying, eventually died there. September 11, 2008.

She got back from Tel Aviv, and self believes it was that same month when she got called in to the Dean’s office at Foothill and he asked her why she flunked two particular men — whose grade she had to change to a C. Even though they did not turn in a single assignment. They actually told the Dean that self threw something at them. And he believed them. Cause self is so YUUUUGE! She’s so fiery!!!

And, only months after, self’s stint as the only Asian American teacher (adjunct) in the English Dept. at Foothill was over. Because she got charged with discriminating against those two men.

Can you imagine the irony? The minority woman being accused of discriminating? Against two men?

Way to go, Dean! Enter slow clap emoji here.

If you can believe that self would do that (throw something) at two men who are obviously bullies, you would have to be nuts!

Nobody, absolutely nobody, believed self when she denied throwing anything. So then began endless years of wondering whether she had forgotten this incident?

And then came to the conclusion that, since she’s never thrown anything at anyone in her entire life, she couldn’t actually have thrown anything.

Case went up the complaint lines, until — after months of terror and stress — self changed the students’ grade.

Sucks to be an adjunct. Self’s just saying.

She wishes she could remember those two students’ names. Because they will forever know that if they bully a female teacher, all they have to do is accuse her of blah-blah-blah. Raise that ugly word. And voila! Done! Teacher’s toast!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Good Match 2: Vibrant Orange, 2 Philippine Seascapes

This week share a photo of a satisfying pairing from your own life.
— Ben Huberman, The Daily Post

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Orange Lydia Davis book cover + woven portfolio from the Philippines + crinkle potato chips = A Good Match (One copy is self’s; the other is her niece’s)

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Sea + Sky = Philippine Seascape, An Excellent Match

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Sea + Sky: Dumaguete, Island of Negros in the Central Philippines, a Breathtakingly Good Match

Against the Odds 2: Books and City Councils

An unexpected victory? A snapshot of an unlikely moment? This week, show us something that defies the odds. 

— Michelle W., The Daily Post

How about books to help you achieve your dreams?

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Books to Straighten Your Thinking in 2017

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Daly City Vice Mayor Juslyn Manalo: Filipinos make up a sizable portion of the Daly City population. They struggle against many odds.

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At the Most Recent Daly City Council Meeting, Feb. 13, these signs were held by members of the audience.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Mother’s Grief

A daughter should never die ahead of her mother.

It’s so not right.

This was probably what Debbie Reynolds was thinking as she started making arrangements for her daughter Carrie Fisher’s funeral.

Self is still not okay. Self will probably never be okay.

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.

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