March 29, 2015 at 5:30 pm (Filipino Writers, Sundays, Women Writers, Writing)
Tags: inspiration, Mendocino, poetry, Sundays, Twitter, writing process
Self has no idea what #PoemCrawl is. But in no way, shape or form did this prevent her from tweeting a nondescript poem last night. It goes:
An island. Notes written on an island.
An island big enough for games.
Where the death of Jesus sounds like today’s headlines.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.
March 12, 2015 at 9:09 pm (Fan Fiction, Filipino Writers, Weather, Women Writers, Writing)
Tags: AWP, concerts, Events, fan fiction, music, Peeta, science fiction
Self wrote the libretto for a two-act opera.
Self doesn’t watch opera. But she is never one to let a little thing like not knowing anything stop her from writing!
Self’s composer/collaborator, Drew Hemenger, is sick, as self was before she left California. A few shots of chili-laced Szechuan soup near Harvard Square and she’s all better!
The world premiere of The Marife Suite is this Saturday, in Nashua, New Hampshire.
Boston is freezing cold. Self tried walking around Harvard Square this morning. CRAAAAP! She didn’t even make it five blocks. The wind and — ugh, ugh, ugh! Lips are chapped! Yikes! Hands look like wrinkled prunes!
She’s switching all her fan fiction (the ones that had Peeta as a Harvard undergrad) to Palo Alto.
So glad. Just so glad she chose to study in Palo Alto, where giant palm trees line the broad avenues etc. May the Heavens preserve us, she just can’t take this bitter Boston cold.
Self brought with her the libretto for The Making of the Representative for Planet 8, the opera by Philip Glass and Doris Lessing. Believe it or not, reading this libretto, six years ago, was what started self thinking that maybe, just maybe, she could pull this one off. Maybe she could actually write a full-length opera.
Lessing’s libretto combines two of self’s most enduring interests: science fiction and terse language. Here’s an excerpt from Act II Scene 4:
BELOW THE WALL
The people stand huddled together, waiting. Beside them is a great heap of insulating material.
The People (variously)
Like coats for houses.
In this new time of ours buildings must wear coats and skins.
They sink down into the snow. Sit listlessly. Some go off to sleep.
Reading the above, self wonders how much of her story The Freeze, the one that’s coming out in Bluestem Magazine (It’ll be on sale at the AWP Book Fair. Yeessss!), consists of lingering echoes from The Representative for Planet 8. In self’s story, the temperature drops overnight, everything stops working, every living thing dies — except for huddled bands of starving people, who decide to head south.
Her story follows one intrepid band (teen-agers and one very old woman) who decide to follow Highway 1 to Mexico.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.
March 7, 2015 at 5:30 pm (Filipino Writers, Links, Recommended, Women Writers, Writing)
Tags: Literary Magazines, Mendocino, Saturdays, short story, speculative fiction, websites
Local Nomad took self’s Biblical Revisionist Story “The Ark.”
YAY YAY YAY YAY!
The editor called it “lovely and disturbing.”
Here are their submission guidelines.
February 19, 2015 at 12:55 am (Books, Filipino Writers, Links, Memoirs, Personal Bookshelf, Recommended, Women Writers, Writing)
Tags: Asian American Writers, Filipino writers, inspirations, Mendocino, novel, poetry, Roberto Bolaño, teaching, translation
Self’s primary purpose in coming here to Mendocino is to teach a workshop. A travel writing workshop. A workshop on writing about place. About a physical location. Something that exists. And damn self is going to make the students write as hard as they can. Write write write write write write, dear students. The funny thing about travel writing is: you’re writing about place, but you’re also writing about memory. And damn we will mine those memories to the max, dear students! Especially those of you who arrive in Mendocino from far away. From, say, Louisville! So, in order to prepare the students for this wonderful two-day hard writing weekend, self has been immersing herself in manuscripts. She’s looked at Zack Linmark’s Leche, which is tremendously inspiring for voice work. And she’s reading Tony Robles’s about-to-be-published manuscript Cool Don’t Live Here No More, which is amazing for being about a specific place that he loves so much: San Francisco, South of Market (which may be disappearing under the onslaught of construction and high-tech companies moving in)
She’s also reading the absolutely heartbreaking memoir by Sonali Deraniyagala, Wave. Deraniyagala lost her entire family in the tsunami of Dec. 26, 2004. She lost her parents, her husband, and her two sons. And everyone told her: You’re so lucky you survived! Which just goes to show, people are stupid when it comes to pain. They either don’t feel it, or they feel it but they don’t want to feel it so they fight it and end up doing things like telling a woman whose entire life has been wiped out in one day: Thank the Lord you survived!
She’s also reading Thomas Lynch, who’s a poet but also an undertaker and also a memoir writer. She’s reading Nandini Dhar’s Lullabies are Barbed Nations. She wishes she had something by Atul Gawande and Abraham Verghese but after all, she could not bring her whole personal book collection to Mendocino. She’s still reading Roberto Bolaño and on the basis of the individual sentence, he is amazing. She thinks he has one sentence that goes on for two pages (Translator Natasha Wimmer, self salutes you) She will include the first page of her story “Rufino,” because it’s so far the only one of her short stories that mentions Neil Young. And Luisa Igloria’s poem “Oir” from her collection The Saints of Streets. And that’s as far as she’s taken her reading list at the moment. Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.
February 6, 2015 at 2:09 pm (anthologies, Books, Filipino poetry, Filipino Writers, postaday, Recommended, Women Writers, Writing)
Tags: Calyx Press, Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila, Going Home to a Landscape, Mayor of the Roses, Mendocino, postaday, postaweek, science fiction, short story collections, The Lost Language, Wordpress
Books, for self, are the ultimate uncharted territory.
The depth of her love for books knows no bounds.
She was running low on her copies of Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila and Going Home to a Landscape: Writings by Filipinas, but her publisher sent a box of those to Mendocino last week and they arrived safely.
Two other books: Mayor of the Roses and The Lost Language, are in Gallery Bookshop on Main Street. Those copies she signed.
Self ordered more copies of her books. They arrived from the publisher last week.
Gallery Bookshop, Main Street, Mendocino: A shelf in the science fiction section (BATTLE ROYALE meets LORD OF THE RINGS)
Gallery Bookshop, Main Street, Mendocino
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.
January 22, 2015 at 7:11 pm (Books, Calls, Dearest Mum, Family, Filipino Writers, Links, Memoirs, Publishers, short story collections, Women Writers, Writing)
Tags: Filipino writers, Manila, Mayor of the Roses, memoir, memories
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.
* * * * *
Mayor of the Roses was published by Miami University Press in 2005. The press was known as publishers of the American Poetry Series. Self’s collection was the first book of fiction that Miami University Press ever published.
Heartfelt thanks to Brian Ascalon Roley for bringing the manuscript to the attention of the press and Keith Tuma.
The collection’s been taught at Bates College (Maine), Pampanga Agricultural College (Magalang, Philippines), Skyline College, and Stanford University.
One story, “Lenox Hill, December 1991,” was in the syllabus of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, in a course on Ethics and Medicine.
August 5, 2014 at 2:12 am (Artists and Writers, Filipino Writers, Links, Recommended, Women Writers, Writing)
Tags: Asian American Writers, interviews, Ireland, Literary Magazines, memories, Mondays, praise, restaurants, writing process
Oh the FEEELZ!
TAYO Magazine posted an interview with self.
Check it out.
The banner they used for self’s interview was a picture she took in The Red Room of Café Paradiso in Cork. That is in fact the ceiling light. Love Ger and her cooking and her warmth and all her fun group of friends who invited self to share their champagne.
Self’s author pic was taken (years ago, cancha tell) by none other than the fabulous Stella Kalaw.
(It’s very funny because self thought all she was doing was having dinner — in Karilagan restaurant, just hailing distance from Max’s in South San Francisco — with Melissa Sipin-Gabon, fiction writer and editor of TAYO, and it turns out what she was actually doing was giving an interview. BWAH HA HA HAAAA! If only self had an Effie Trinket around to prep for her propo! Any gaffes are entirely her own)
February 23, 2014 at 8:39 pm (Filipino Writers, Links, Recommended, Sundays, Surprises, Traveling, Women Writers, Writing)
Tags: AWP, deadlines, discoveries, Events, Hotel Amerika, Just published, Literary Magazines, Seattle, short pieces, Sundays, trans, travel, websites, writing conferences, yoga
Self has been reading Eunoia Review for several years now.
She loves the writing. They publish poetry (beautiful poetry) and a kind of prose self considers “TransGenre.” Fits right up her alley. Ever since self heard the word “TransGenre,” a few years back (Hotel Amerika featured her piece “Ghosts” in their TransGenre issue, and gave a name to the kind of short short stuff self had just begun writing), she loves the word. TransGenre: not sure if you need to capitalize the “G.”
Which reminds her: She has to look and see if Hotel Amerika is at the AWP Book Fair!
She didn’t know anything about the editor, Ian Chung, until he sent her a message yesterday, saying the two pieces he’d accepted for the review were going live this week.
That’s when she decided to google him and found out that he edits the review from Singapore!
She wants to make sure she puts this announcement in before heading to the craziness of the AWP annual conference, this year being held in Seattle.
Self’s head is about to explode. She got a message from PANK late last night, and then just remembered she hadn’t yet submitted her signed author contract to Philippine Speculative Fiction vol. 9, and it’s due Mar. 1.
Panic attack! Nice panic attack, though.
This morning, she decided that the best thing for her to calm down would be to take a yoga class, and lo and behold, she got to Peacebank in downtown Redwood City, five minutes early, but after she checked in, there was no space. Wall to wall yoga mats, and no one wanted to budge even a few inches to give her a chance to squeeze in. Stone-faced, all!
The two people manning the check-in desk looked so impatient when self said there was no space. They said, maybe you can ask someone to move? Are you kidding? Did you see the grim-faced visage of everyone in the class when they saw self stumble in, clue-less and panting?
Which meant: good-by, yoga class! Au revoir! Till we meet again! Whenever or wherever!
In the meantime, self almost forgot: the link to Eunoia Review!
Here it is, dear blog readers. Enjoy.
December 7, 2013 at 6:05 am (Filipino Writers, Food and Drink, Links, Places, Recommended, Women Writers, Writing)
Tags: Filipino food, Fridays, Literary Magazines, memories, restaurants, short story, websites
5_Trope is a very nifty literary magazine that soon, very soon, will be posting some new content: fiction/poetry/creative nonfiction/art that includes — SHAZZAM! — self’s story, “Hollow.”
“Hollow” is her anti-ode to Daly City/Colma/South San Francisco.
Self loves that cluster of cities, don’t get her wrong.
It is the most amazing place. Where else can one find, in just one city: Goldilocks, Max’s of the Philippines, Ma Mon Luk, Lucky Chances casino & restaurant, Ling Nam, Intramuros, Ongpin Noodle House, and all the charming eateries of her childhood?
Anyhoo, self appears to be getting ahead of herself, again.
Check it out now, dear blog readers.
And stay tuned.
October 25, 2013 at 5:07 pm (anthologies, Books, Filipino Writers, Recommended, Women Writers)
Tags: Filipino writers, short story, The Philippines
With any luck, self will finally get to the last story of The Best Philippine Short Stories of the Twentieth Century, edited by Isagani Cruz, which she began reading — oh, let’s see — about a decade ago.
The story self is reading at the moment is a marvel of unreliable narration. The fact that the narrator is a young priest (from an illustrious family — even better!) makes the story feel very “slippery.”
The story begins with the priest telling the story of his family’s connection to the national hero (and there is only one, so if you are Filipino then you know who that hero is).
We proceed to the sacred mountain, and to the cult that venerates Jose Rizal as a minor deity. And to the native priestesses — call them babaylan, if you wish.
I wonder if any of you have ever seen these priestesses. They are impressive individuals. All have a commanding presence, and some are strikingly beautiful. This one was very tall and very fair, with strongly chiseled features in an ageless face; large, penetrating eyes, and long hair drawn back in a bun. She had changed from her vestments into a loose white robe and was sitting in one of the wooden benches to one side of the chapel, where she always received people who wished to consult with her.
The Suprema was speaking with someone whose appearance was a striking contrast to hers — a woman in her late forties or early fifties, perhaps, of medium height, plain-looking, and a little on the stout side, her hair cut short, as though she did not wish to be bothered with it. She wore thick glasses and a simple dress of some unfashionable color — I believe it was purple. One of her shoes had fallen off, and she was swinging a bare foot to and fro as she talked. They appeared to be having a good time, for their conversation was punctuated by laughter.
Dear blog readers, self can hardly wait to see where this story is going!