#amreading: More from BARBARIAN DAYS: A SURFING LIFE, by William Finnegan

How has self spent this Fourth of July? Her first Fourth in Sacramento?

She’s spent most of the day (it’s past 5 p.m.! How did the time pass so quickly?) looking up Game of Thrones Season 7 spoilers (lol), perusing Twitter, and eating quarts of ice cream. That’s right, self said it: she’s eating quarts of ice cream. And an It’s-It (It is soooo hawtt here in Sacramento!)

She is on p. 132 of Barbarian Days, William Finnegan’s Pulitzer-Prizewinning memoir of his surfing days. Here he describes what it felt like to work in a bookstore in Maui:

The bookstore was three small rooms on a rickety old pier at the west end of the seawall. There was a bar next door. Ocean sloshed under the floorboards. The couple who owned the store trained me and, having picked up danger signals from local authorities, fled Hawaii for the Caribbean, leaving me to run the place along with the draft dodger, one of whose names was Dan.

Hilarious!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

#amreading: Exhibition Catalogue, Jim Goldberg’s “Raised by Wolves” (SFMOMA 1995)

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“I want to get married and have at least four kids with ten dogs and live in a mansion with a jungle greenhouse with a pet jaguar.” — Runaway

“It is very difficult for a runaway kid to return after he or she has been on the street for more than a few weeks.” — Police Officer

“Adam and Troy have AIDS. Scooter is dead. Katy gave up her kid and is hanging out in bars in Polk Street selling pot.” — Runaway

“You know, they would rather live in filth and hunger with a group that will accept them than they would with a family that will meet all their physical needs, yet inflict on them emotional pain and torment.” — Preacher

“We won’t lose our jobs, this is a growth industry, good as the utility company.” — Counselor

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Happy Fourth of July.

Stay tuned.

 

Last Moments of the Trip With Irene: Evanescent 4

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Self with her usual gear: The book she’s reading is the novel THIS IS YOUR LIFE, HARRIET CHANCE!

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A Woman stares out into the gardens of the Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte. Woman stood there so long that self got tired of waiting for her to move and made her a part of the picture.

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Mementos of a Trip, Never To Be Forgotten: Paris, May 2017

 

Oh, the Places Self Will Go

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is

WANDERLUST

  • Have you traveled anywhere exciting lately? This week, let’s see where you’ve been. — David W., The Daily Post

Self is still in Ireland! Which is a long way from her home in northern California. Here’s a wee artwork that artist Bernadette Burns (who lives on Sherkin Island, West Cork — self met her at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre) left behind in her studio. Self taped to it to her MacBook Air as an emblem of what she is: a wanderer.

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On Self’s MacBook Air: A Memento From Another Artist

Here’s a shot of Annaghmakerrig Lake in early March. The wind was blowing hard that day. Self was fascinated by the ripples on the lake’s surface and by the outline of trees on the far shore. She would never have known this lake if she weren’t seized by such wanderlust:

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Annagmakerrig Lake: Cold Day in Early March

And here’s a picture of the view from Albion River Inn, California, where she spent New Year’s. And began writing a new story, called The Rorqual, which is about a sea invasion of Earth (by creatures called Longnecks). It was the first New Year’s she spent completely by herself, and she made the most of it.

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Albion, California: January 2017

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ambience: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 13 January 2017

  • Ambience has the power to lift your mood. What have you photographed with exceptional ambience? — Jeff Golenski, The Daily Post Photo Challenge

Self presents two contrasting scenes of ambience:

First, the anonymity of the train, the pre-occupation of the passengers:

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Caltrain, Southbound, 2nd Friday in January, 2017

Next, the expansiveness of a California beach town, extraordinarily peaceful in winter:

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Capitola-by-the-Sea

Self chose to spend Christmas here: she had a hunch that she wouldn’t feel as lonely, even though she was alone. She was right. It was such a beautiful experience:

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There is a little inn with units facing the beach: she last visited 20 years ago. Magical.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

2nd Post for the New Year, 1 January 2017: “There For Six Months” (A Re-Post, Because Still Relevant)

A student, Kevin ______, wrote this years ago. The class was Composition & Rhetoric. The assignment was for students to write an autobiographical essay. But self didn’t have the heart to grade the student down for thinking outside the box, especially after he told her it was the first poem he ever wrote.

He was 20. Never wrote another thing.

There For Six Months

Underneath Pink Floyd’s alluring rhapsody
the phone was ringing,
Hey you, out there on your own,
sitting naked by the phone, would you touch me
and my older brother is telling me that
come January, he’ll be in Iraq,
serving his time of duty for six months
in the war
see also: abuse of power, see also: corpses

Meanwhile, people all around are nestled away in their cozy,
unobtrusive shells: human anti-socialism,
one thousand and one bloody bodies, our own an afterthought.
Warming cups of soup, chicken-noodle flavor,
and stacks of crackers on a folded napkin, for dipping.

Hey you, don’t help them to bury the light,
don’t give in without a fight
And my brother is telling me that if he makes it back
there’s a good chance he’ll be based in the west coast,
see also: home, see also: happiness
There’s shake and shiver undertones in his voice
when he keeps saying, Don’t worry,
they trained me how to live, but all I can wonder is
if they trained him how to die.

That last part is so perfect, with the words of Pink Floyd cutting in and out and the “shake and shiver undertones” in the brother’s voice. Self has no words.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The New York Times Magazine, 1 January 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Comfort the mind with this wonderful excerpt from Jonathan Mahler’s “Search Party,” in the 1 January 2017 New York Times Magazine.

Our most famous self-investigator is, of course, our incoming president, Donald J. Trump; perhaps no one is more committed to embracing and trumpeting unproven claims from the internet. Six years ago, as he flirted with the idea of running for president, he became especially preoccupied with a theory being advanced by a right-wing extremist named Joseph Farah. A self’described ex-Communist, Farah presided over a nonprofit organization, the Western Center for Journalism, which was dedicated to promoting “philosophical diversity” in the news media, and now runs a popular website, WorldNetDaily, which bills itself as “America’s Independent News Network.” The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that monitors U.S. hate groups, has a different point of view, calling Farah “the internet king of the antigovernment ‘Patriot’ movement.

Farah had floated plenty of specious arguments in the past, among them the claim that gay men orchestrated the Holocaust, and that Muslims have a 20-point plan for conquering the United States by 2020. But the Farah campaign that captured Trump’s imagination held that America’s first black president, Barack Obama, might have been born outside the United States.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More Resilient

“. . . let’s close the year on a strong note and celebrate our individual and collective fortitude: it may have been a rough year for many of us, but we’re a tough bunch.”

— Ben Huberman, The Daily Post

It’s been almost two decades since self was last in Capitola-by-the-Sea. She decided to spend Christmas there, and nothing had changed. Now, that’s resilience:

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A crab carries its home on its back. It is nothing if not resilient. Self is a Cancer, born on the 14th of July. She is resilient:

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To celebrate Christmas, after the year San Franciscans have just had, shows the city’s resilience. Here’s Union Square’s Christmas Tree, with a sign saying “Believe” on a billboard across the street, on Geary:

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Union Square, December 2016: Despite the trauma of the elections, the city will survive.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Mejhiren Drops a New Chapter of “When the Moon Fell In Love With the Sun”

Take out the names Katniss and Peeta and this could be anything: a fairy tale that adheres to its magical conventions but has such a complexity of description and symbol that it seems to be operating on a level that is completely meta. Maybe this is a hallucination: there is no large wooden house by a lake, there is no lone victor who dresses himself in bearskin when he comes to fetch Katniss from her childhood home and brings her to his house as a servant. It’s all a dream. It’s like Memento, all jagged pieces. It’s about fragmentation. Literally.

The author updates about once a year.

Yes.

Every year we have a chapter that tells us what happens when Katniss wakes up each morning: the mysterious companion of her night-time disappears. She doesn’t know if it’s Peeta or someone else. If it’s Peeta, why the heck doesn’t he just tell Katniss, Yes it’s me that comes and sleeps next to you every night? For the reader it’s been five years (Admittedly, in the story it’s only five nights, but anyhoo) of tension, confusion and speculation. (Who is Mejhiren? She has a tumblr called Porchwood. That’s all self knows)

If this is serialization, it’s also torture. All the author is willing to give are crumbs, carefully doled out. You must be a masochist.

Yes, yes, self will admit, she is a masochist. So are hundreds of thousands of other fan fiction enthusiasts. We’re all masochists, we all exist in a state of suspended animation. Thank you, Mejhiren, for updating right after the news broke of George Michael’s death.

Anyhoo, this chapter begins with Katniss waking up in bed alone (naturally). Nothing is different. She keeps trying to piece together clues. And this morning there is a new one: a feather.

What does this mean?

Scooting out of bed, I press a kiss to the feather and tuck it away in my drawer of precious things alongside the wintergreen sprig and the orange, which I decide to split with my companion tonight, peel and all. Perhaps my visitor is a bird himself, I think, a little madly, wooed by my newfound gentleness in the woods, and the feather is his own. Oranges are very precious, of course, but many birds love fruit, peels and rinds and all, and I resolve to ask Peeta if he’s found one that prefers oranges yet. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s tried it already.

“We’d make a fine pair,” I tell my absent companion as I collect the nest from his pillow and carry it to my dresser-top to await this evening’s treat.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Latest Isn’t Who We Thought

George Michael, Nooooooooo!!!

2016 is ending terrible.

I’m never gonna dance again.
Guilty feet have got no rhythm.
Though it’s easy to pretend
I know you’re not a fool.
I should have known better than to cheat a friend
And waste a chance that I’ve been given
So I’m never gonna dance again
The way I danced with you.

— George Michael lyrics, “Careless Whisper”

There better not be anyone else. You hear, 2016? NO ONE ELSE . . .

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