Four Stories and One Forthcoming, 2021

Her story about Chopard earrings, dancing chickens and matryoshka dolls, out now in the most recent issue of Pembroke Magazine.

Two stories about ghosts and guilt, one set in Murcia, Spain, the other in Miami’s South Beach, just out in Vice-Versa

Her story about Osama bin Laden (yes, THAT Osama bin Laden), forthcoming in The Museum of Americana.

There is one other story which was published late 2020, so mebbe it doesn’t really belong here, but what the hoo: her story about a ferry disaster on the Philippine Sea, published in the most recent issue of Western Humanities Review.

Poetry Sunday: Conchitina Cruz

CHANCE MEETING

Blame it on our common distaste
for confrontation — the day we called it
quits, there were no more questions,
even as they hung in the air.

And so we drew the line between ourselves,
and I fished my panty hose out of your hamper,
and you took your blanket
off my bed, packing the rest
of ourselves into separate bags.

Now that it’s done, where was the line
we drew? After all, how divide such things
as books, according to who bought them,
who hasn’t read them,
who needs them for class? How break
a painting, a tub into equal parts?

How dismantle a memory?
Like burglars on the scene of a crime, we took
what we thought was ours, by right,
by excuse, by default.
Cleaned out,
the house returned

a blank stare, saying nothing.
Now this awkwardness of meeting
again this inescapable
intersection, and after a second
of courtesies, we head for separate

doors, leaving a debt we share
unsaid — I’m afraid I still
have something
of yours.

  • Conchitina Cruz, a graduate of the University of the Philippines, is a multi-awarded Filipino poet.

Share Your Desktop Photo Challenge: August 2021

It has been QUITE a summer. How fast it went. And now the Olympics are over, we’re out of Afghanistan, and fall is just around the corner.

You’re alive, we’re alive, wear a mask.

Thank you to the host of this challenge, Clare’s Cosmos!

Support Literary Magazines

Self has short stories in all of these literary magazines.

Gratuitous self-promotion, what?

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

PEMBROKE MAGAZINE, Latest Issue is Out Now

Grab your copy before it’s too late!

This most recent issue contains poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction by emerging and established authors from the US and abroad. An aimless college graduate searches the suburbs for his lost dog and finds ominous duplication; soldiers are sent to the frigid tundra to repopulate a nation. A man reconsiders his complex relationship with the watermelon. A Woman escapes to a surreal tropical island with a diamond earring. A daughter recalls her stitched-together childhood home; and much more.  Cover art by Chhavi Sharma.

Support great writing.

Order your copies now!

Poetry Monday: Luis Cabalquinto

Depths of Field

I walk some hundred paces from the old house
Where I was raised, where many are absent now,

and the rice fields sweep into view: here where
during home leaves I’m drawn to watch on evenings

such as this, when the moon is fat and much given
to the free spending of its rich cache of light

which transmutes all things: it changes me now,
like someone resorted to the newness of his life.

Note the wind’s shuffle in the crown of tall coconut
trees; the broad patches of moon-flecked water —

freshly-rowed with seedlings; the grass huts of
croppers, windows framed by the flicker of kerosene

lamps: an unearthly calm pervades all that is seen.
Beauty unreserved holds down a country’s suffering.

Disclosed in this high-pitched hour: a long-held
secret displaced by ambition and need, a country

boy’s pained enchantment with his hometown lands
that remains intact in a lifetime of wanderings.

As I look again, embraced by the depths of an old
loneliness, I’m permanently returned to this world.

to the meanings it has saved for me. If I die now,
in the grasp of childhood fields, I’ll miss nothing.

Luis Cabalquinto was born in the Philippines and came to the United States in 1968. He is the recipient of a poetry prize from the Academy of American Poets and a fellowship from The New York Foundation for the Arts, among others.

July #TreeSquare Challenge # 10: Annaghmakerrig Again

I did a post last week about Annaghmakerrig Lake. These are from the same visit (March 2017), but taken of the trees outside my cottege at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig.

For a blissful month each year, I journeyed to this beautiful corner of Ireland, with one purpose only: to write. I was supposed to go in 2020, but of course COVID. My hope is to return, perhaps in 2023?

Thank you to Becky of The Life of B. If not for her #TreeSquare Challenge, I would not have thought to post these pictures.

July #TreeSquare Challenge #7: Annaghmakerrig

Beginning in 2014, I spent part of every year in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig.

How lucky I was to have this peaceful, beautiful place in which to write and feel my spirit nourished. There is a stillness to the lake, and to the surroundings. It’s like a clear glass bowl has been inverted over the landscape, cutting (dampening?) all sound.

Was supposed to return in 2020, but COVID.

This is Annaghmakerrig Lake. Thanks so much to Becky of The Life of B for hosting this challenge.

Colors and Letters Photo A Day Challenge: July 2

So many challenges, so little time!

July 2 is a COLOR: Azure.

OF COURSE self has Azure in her archived photos.

  • The latest issue of Pembroke Magazine is a beauty. Cover art is Creative Work Cow by Indian artist Chhavi Sharma. Self has a story in this issue: “Sand.” The editor asked if self could pose with a copy of the issue, preferably in a tropical setting (since her story’s set in the Philippines). She promised a beach picture. Watch this space!
  • Cheap Thrills is a vintage vinyl store on Higuera in downtown San Luis Obispo. Recommended by a friend who is very into vintage vinyl. This was such a great find. Look at that great storefront!

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Ghosts in the Mines

Superior’s retired miners talk about “tommyknockers,” phantoms they encountered in the mine. Sometimes it was just a sensation — something you felt on your body, or a presence nearby. A Magma miner named John Sixsmith told friends he saw white boots, walking around without a body.

— Chapter Six, Oak Flat: A Fight for Sacred Land in the American West

What an unusual book this is. It’s a book about the Southwest, and a book about mines, and it also has artwork — very simple illustrations (by the author) of her interview subjects. Self finds the art (and the text) very moving. Self just found out that the author received a MacArthur “genius” grant. (Also, her copy is overdue at the Library. Please, nobody out her, she’s having to cope with so many things right now; she snatches reading time in between keeping herself awake with coffee and Coke)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Made the Longlist

Found out today that my story made the longlist of LitMag’s Virginia Woolf Award for Short Fiction.

It was speculative fiction. I took a chance!

That is all.

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