Preparing, OSSW Day One

Drove up to Mendocino, which as the crow flies is only 200 miles from Redwood City, but always takes self at least FIVE HOURS.

On the way, she stopped by Yorkville Market and had lunch:

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And then she mulled over the writing exercises she should start tomorrow with.

Should she have the students practice writing one very, very, very long, run-on sentence? With points to whoever can come up with the most run-on sentence?

Or, for fun, should she have them write a piece that’s all bad grammar and deliberately wrong spelling? Hamberder, anyone? Smocking guns?

Should she have them write a piece that’s all dialogue?

Should she ask them to capture every nuance of a piece of reality . . . in one sentence?

Should she have them practice writing a conversation that grows from an association of ideas (like a Harold Pinter play?)

Should she have them practice delaying the outcome for as long as possible?

She can’t decide. She’ll have to sleep on it.

BTW, this is one of the plays being presented by the Mendocino Theatre Company in 2019:

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Mendocino Theatre Company, 2019 Season

Stay tuned.

Work-in-Progress: Speculative Fiction

Self found this unfinished story in one of her old computer files.

An angel is roomies with a struggling college student. “He” is the angel.

He sat down and picked up an apple from a bowl on the kitchen table. “I’m hungry. Feed me.”

“You took an apple,” I said.

“Not enough,” he said. “A gammon joint. With apple and whiskey sauce.”

This is a very demanding angel!

lol

lol

lol

Stay tuned.

 

Which Way Photo Challenge (Week of 27 December 2018)

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Showing the ways people move from one place to another on land: roads, walkways, stairs, elevators, escalators, railway tracks, ski lifts, runways, canals, locks, parking lots, driveways, tunnels.

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The Black Sheep Pub & Restaurant, Downtown Philadelphia, 5 December 2018

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Crossing Over the River Wear, Durham, 29 November 2018

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Millenium Bridge, London, 22 November 2018

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Close-Up or Macro

Self loves posting for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. It gives her a chance to post photographs from her archives that might otherwise be overlooked. Such as the close-up of her bedside lamp at The Penn Club, where she stays whenever she is in London:

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Room # 1, The Penn Club: Bedford Place, London

Or this tea-set:

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London Review Cakeshop: Bury St., London

Or this amusing pair of socks:

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Gift Shop, Ashmolean: Oxford, England

Thank you, Cee Neuner, for the prompt!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Last Sunday in London

Self is in her room, reading a copy of The Guardian.

The trial of the “man who drove his car into a crowd of activists who  had been protesting against a white nationalist rally, leaving one woman dead and several injured,” has begun in Charlottesville, Virginia.

This morning, self returned to the Royal Academy of Art for a repeat viewing of the Oceania Exhibit.

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Royal Academy of Art: Sunday, 2 December 2018

She liked it even more, the second time around. She stayed watching the video for nearly an hour.

The little handout that accompanies the exhibit starts with:

Two-hundred and fifty years ago, in August 1768, four months before George III founded the Royal Academy of Arts, Lieutenant (later Captain) James Cook left Plymouth in command of the HMS Endeavour.

She remembers reading a book by Tony Horwitz: Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before and, well, that book must have made quite an impression because it fixed Captain Cook’s voyage forever in her memory and now, 15 years later, here she is, in London, having seen the Oceania exhibit twice!

As she left the Royal Academy (still in a daze of cultural overload), she happened to notice that there was a store across the street called FORTNUM & MASON. And the display windows were so Christmas-y! She decided to check it out:

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Fortnum & Mason: Sunday, 2 December 2018

Self entered through a revolving door and promptly found herself in the middle of a mob scene the like of which she has never experienced in London. What she means: people were grabbing blue boxes of chocolates off shelves directly in front of her, and pushing them into shopping carts. Yes, dear blog readers. English people were pushing shopping carts around a store, the contents consisting entirely of chocolate. There were boxes of dark chocolate, boxes of milk chocolate, boxes of assorted chocolate, boxes of chocolate with nuts, boxes of chocolate with creamy centers — you name it.

Self decided then and there that she would not leave the store without sampling some of this delightful chocolate. A shopgirl told her to take a number. She was # 19. She then asked the shopgirl what were the most popular chocolate purchases, and the girl replied, without any hesitation: TRUFFLES. Caramel Salt.

OMGGGGGGG

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Chocolate Counter, Fortnum & Mason: Sunday, 2 December 2018

She wanted to buy a box of chocolates for son and daughter-in-law, but didn’t know what kind they liked: milk chocolate or not? And this is when self bitterly regretted that her Verizon phone does not work. Has not worked for two months. In fact, Verizon just e-mailed self that she would not be able to avail of their international services. Thank you, Verizon, FOR TELLING SELF WHAT SHE ALREADY KNOWS.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Adventure: The Durham Cathedral

Today, self:

  • Nearly got hit by a red car in front of Hotel Indigo
  • Had a chocolate cookie with a marshmallow garnish in the Cathedral’s Undercroft Cafe
  • Saw the Durham Cathedral in LEGOs (It’s near the Gift Shop)
  • Saw a Pieta made of wood — amazing
  • Saw Hugh Easton’s RAF Memorial Window in the Durham Cathedral
  • Saw the Marks & Spencer Window at the Cathedral, which is in fact right next to the RAF Memorial Window, but did not cause her to say “Wowie”
  • Saw the relics of St. Cuthbert, including: his “pectoral cross” which was surprisingly small and delicate, a thing of amazing beauty (to imagine a 10th century man having a thing like that on his person, in the northern wilds, is pretty mind-blowing. It was gold and originally held a small ruby. And at the time St. Cuthbert was carrying that around, England was wild, and it was cold and dark, and there was no cathedral. Self is pretty sure he kept that cross well hidden) and the comb the monks used to brush St. Cuthbert’s hair and beard
  • Learned the name of the River which encircles Durham: the River Wear
  • Saw the grave of The Venerable Bede
  • Saw the Hellmouth (Sanctuary Ring) at Durham Cathedral: Anyone who grabbed onto that ring was guaranteed sanctuary for 37 days. Don’t ask self why 37.
  • Wondered why the Ladies’ Chapel, all the way at the back of the cathedral (almost a mile away from the pulpit, lol, wonder if they could even hear anything) was so cold. Much colder than any other part of the church (the parts with the men). Was it because proper ladies were expected to cover up in layers of material ???!!!

No pictures allowed inside the Cathedral.

Self did take a picture of her cookie.

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The Undercroft Café, Durham Cathedral: Thursday, 29 November 2018

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Dystopia In Progress

Self is going to try, while she’s at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, pulling all her science fiction together into one collection.

What to call it?

She’s toying with the idea of making this the first story:

THE FREEZE (published in Bluestem)

Redwood, Oak, Laurel, Manzanita, Pine
Redwood, Oak, Laurel, Manzanita, Pine
Redwood, Oak, Laurel, Manzanita, Pine

Thanksgiving was just a week ago. I served brined turkey with oatmeal rolls and my special fig-and-rice stuffing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Most Amazing Rant

Self has been wanting to blog about The Door all day. She’s been very busy. She considered several passages before deciding on this one.

Really, self doesn’t know if the narrator is for real, or whether Emerence the housekeeper is a total construct. Just read the following monologue/speech, which is apparently directed to the narrator, who has no objections:

  • What are you staring at? Didn’t you see Mrs. Boors granddaughter running along the other side of the street this morning, when I was sweeping — or were you paying attention only to yourself again? The child had come for me, and I went. Well, you can believe that if I’m holding someone’s hand in the hour of their death, it’s not difficult for them to die. I washed her, all very nicely, and prepared her for her journey. And I can tell you it wasn’t easy finding the time. In between, I had done that lunch for you, for which you have thanked me so graciously. Pay attention, because this is going to hurt, but it’s what you deserve. The master isn’t going to live very long, as you well know. Do you think he’s going to get stronger on plums? And what will he take to the other side as a memento?

Well, if that doesn’t just take the cake for speeches from a housekeeper!

Strangely, self hopes the relationship continues, because it is just so toxic, and it’s been a long time since self has read about a relationship like this — not even in Rebecca was Mrs. Danvers this verbally abusive. Self doesn’t think she’s read any novel where a woman is describes mistreating an animal as frequently as Emerence does the dog Viola. She beats Viola on numerous occasions, once so badly that Viola cracks a rib.

But, self has come this far. She’s not going to jump ship now!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Economist on Bourdain

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  • Food made him happiest if he experienced it in a purely emotional way. It might be the company, the moment, or some memory it evoked: of his mother’s grilled-cheese sandwiches, or his mother-in-law’s meatloaf. A plate of piss-poor peasant food could become something sublime, like feijoada in Brazil.

The Economist Obituary, 16 June 2018

Reticence

The husband of the narrator of The Door has been in hospital for about six or seven pages (which means a few weeks). Communication between the narrator and the housekeeper, Emerence, break down.

When the husband is finally allowed home, Emerence celebrates the occasion by bringing over a pot of chicken soup. The soup tureen is a fancy one. A real work of art.

“A present,” Emerence tells the narrator, from “one of her employers, Mrs. Grossman.”

“The one thing” the narrator doesn’t “need was the thought of her” housekeeper “helping herself to the contents of someone’s shattered and abandoned home.”

The narrator wants to refuse the gift but she doesn’t want to “upset” her husband: “At the time I was allowing him only carefully monitored doses of reality.” lol

“The thought of being fed from some knick-knack that had belonged to a destitute stranger bound for the gas chamber would have made him leap out of bed, half-dead as he was.”

This book is about wartime collaborators in a small village in Hungary. Who knew? Self is absolutely delighted by this surprising turn of events.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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