Heartfelt Thanks to These Intrepid Tweeters For a Year’s Worth of Sanity

@ProPublica

@mcspocky

@RealRBHJr

@marion_mcgarry

@TriskelCork

@LillianHowan

@NSIDC

@dailywalks

@TheMarySue

@RWAKissofDeath

@JanetFitch323

@_kingslayer2017

@WatchersOTWall

@kate_mccrea

@GraceLP

@Pigsyinspace

@jeanleesworld

@ErinLMcCoy

@FreeFolkMemes

@ASOIAFQuotesGOT

@thedailybeast

@karltaro

 

2018 SAG Awards Nominees: Personal Favorites

Some are very predictable to regular readers of this blog. Also, 2017 was really wonky since she didn’t get to see that many movies.

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture: Baby Driver

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Holly Hunter, The Big Sick

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Jeff Daniels, Godless

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series: Game of Thrones

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Plan B for the Nuclear Apocalypse

Thank you, Chris Breault of The A.V. Club for a very informative article (dropped 21 April 2017). Since Kim “Little Rocket Man” Jong-Un and DT seem to be engaged in the most gigantic game of “chicken” ever, Breault asked:

What’s your plan for the day nuclear war breaks out?

Do you sprint to a fall-out shelter . . .

Do you walk out on the fire escape naked . . .

Do you escape the city on a motorcycle . . .

Many of us have no such plan, because we’ve already heard Sun Ra explain that if the button is pushed, our asses will simply be gone.

There is, wouldn’t you know, a U.S. Agency calling itself the Federal Preparedness Agency which would chopper “presidential successors” to “an installation on Mount Weather, Virginia.”

Here’s the link.

Among other fascinations, there is discussion of presidential code words, which be like — FOUR FINGER?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Best Female Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Self is reading her first Tana French, Broken Harbour.

She’s pretty stoked, as she’s been hearing so many good things about Tana French, for years now.

The last mystery self read was almost a year and a half ago, Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train (which she liked very much; Emily Blunt and Luke Evans were in the movie adaptation, sorry she missed seeing it)

Other favorite women mystery writers:

  • Morag Joss (for Half-Broken Things)
  • Karin Fossum
  • Ruth Rendell
  • Sarah Waters

Over on goodreads, there’s a list of “Best Female/Crime/Mystery/Thriller Writers.”

On this list, Broken Harbour is # 21.

The Girl on the Train is # 42.

Holy Cow, Fingersmith is #50 (No way. There’s just no way)

The list doesn’t even include Fossum or Rendell (As Septa Mordor on Game of Thrones would say: Shame! Shame! Shame!)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Transformation: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 22 November 2017

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is TRANSFORMATION.

There are many ways self could choose to interpret that challenge. She could show nature and the changing seasons. She could show people in the process of transforming (costumes, aging, and so forth).

For now, she chooses to focus on the transformation of physical space. The first picture is London’s Chinatown in late October. The second is the Blue Room in Paradiso in Cork.

In the first picture, the Chinese lanterns add a whole different aspect to the street.

In the second, it’s the shadows cast by a floor lamp that transform a simple room into a place of mystery.

DSCN0006

Chinatown, London: Last Week of October 2017

DSCN0023

Paradiso, Cork: Early November, 2017

Other interpretations:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

2017 Highlights #1: To the Graduates of Bethune-Cookman

In a year of lowlights (“Rocket Man” and Fake News, the US pull-out from the Paris Climate Agreement, THAT DARN WALL, Charlottesville and “many sides,” the Las Vegas shooting, the Texas shooting, the dissembling of Sarah Huckabee Sanders), self would like to thank the graduates of Bethune-Cookman, for giving her one of the most stirring memories of 2017.

Betsy DeVos, the “woefully under-qualified Secretary of Education,” was invited to speak at the Bethune-Cookman commencement. This is the Secretary of Education who had not (yet) at that point announced that she would put an end to the loan assistance provided to those college students who intended to become teachers. But she had already said her piece about guns in schools: It would be appropriate #because grizzlies. Worst of all (This quote is taken from the open letter to the graduates of Bethune-Cookman, published in Cassius) was “her egregious framing of historically Black colleges and universities as pioneers in school choice.”

!!##@@ Put laughing-so-hard-its-painful emoji here.

The students stood and turned their backs. Literally.

The students defied the presence and rhetoric of DeVos.

Thank you.

AWP Bookfair, Tampa 2018: Game Plan

Self will be frank: the only reason she’s going to Tampa next year is the Bookfair.

Oh, wait! There’s another reason: George Saunders is the keynote speaker.

But okay, back to the Bookfair. It’s huge and exhausting. Here is the floor plan.

There have been past AWPs (notably, one in Chicago) where self was so buzzed she did not sleep for 48 hours.

Several years ago, she remembers walking down aisle after aisle of the Bookfair (2015? 2014?) and she had new stories in a number of journals and it felt GLORIOUS. Empowering. And, she should have known: it was an experience never to be repeated. (Aw, shucks!)

She didn’t even go to the AWP last year, even though she had many, many good friends who were booksigning. Even though she was in DC! And participated in an off-site reading (for Quarterly West).

Here’s a selective list of 2018 AWP Bookfair exhibitors:

Akashic * American Short Fiction * Bellingham Review * Blue Mesa Review * Bread Loaf Writers Conferences * Electric Literature * The Florida Review * Fourteen Hills * Grove/Atlantic * Indiana Review * The Journal * Juked * Miami University Press * Mid-American Review * Mississippi Review * New Letters * New Ohio Review * Nimrod * Old Dominion University * The Paris Review * Poets & Writers * Potomac Review * Prairie Schooner * Puerto del Sol * RHINO * Santa Fe Writers Project * Sarabande Books * Small Press Distribution * Submittable * The New York Review of Books * Tin House * University of Arizona Creative Writing * University of Missouri Creative Writing Program * Veterans Writing Project * War, Literature & the Arts * Wings Press * Witness/UNLV English Dept * Women’s Review of Books

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading: DO NO HARM, by Henry Marsh

Self is behind her Goodreads reading challenge: she set herself a challenge of reading 30 books in 2017. So far, she’s read 22.

Of the books she’s read so far in 2017, her favorites are:

  • Waterloo, the History of Four Days, Three Armies, and Three Battles, by Bernard Cornwall (read in August)
  • Barbarian Days, by New Yorker writer and avid ex-surfer William Finnegan (started mid-June, finished mid-July)
  • This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison (read this in the first half of June)
  • The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey, by Rinker Buck (read this in May, in — of all places — Paris)
  • Montcalm and Wolfe: The Decline and Fall of the French Empire in North America, by Francis Parkman (started mid-February, finished a month later)

The book she is currently reading, Do No Harm, by English neurosurgeon Henry Marsh, is pretty fascinating and may well move into her list of favorites by the time she’s finished. It’s her first medical memoir in a long time. She used to read nothing but: Atul Gawande, Jeremy Toobin, Oliver Sacks, Irwin Yalom, Abraham Verghese, Jerome Groopman. Her interest in this field started in 1991, when her only sister passed away suddenly in a New York hospital on the Upper East Side, Lenox Hill.

Marsh is very, very good at describing not just the technical aspects of brain surgery, but the emotional aspects as well:

“Anxiety might be contagious, but confidence is also contagious, and as I walked to the hospital car park I felt buoyed up by my patients’ trust.” — pp. 22 – 23

 

Old Selves

(Someone else in this place is awake, and it’s the wee hours. Strangely enough, she enjoys the sound of someone ascending and descending the narrow stairs outside her room — not barreling down but going up and down with light footsteps, and not once does she even think: banshees)

Self was looking for an old story, “Flight,” which appeared in Prism International years ago. She did a google search and landed on an old bio from Poets & Writers, dated 2012.

She is amazed because the list of publishing credits is a long one, and she didn’t realize, she never realizes until it’s too late or it’s over.

Cafe Irreal, Hotel Amerika, Hyphen, Isotope, New Orleans Review, Phoebe, Prism International, Sou’wester, The Chattahoochee Review, Wigleaf . . .

It surprises her, that list. How’d she do all that? And with her, of all people, not knowing.

Oh, she didn’t know because it was another person: someone who in everyday life wasn’t “a writer.” Just, you know, someone who lives in a house and gardens and is a poor driver and is something of a klutz. That’s her. The one who got all those stories out sounds like a person with a lot of nerve, a lot of determination and focus. And those two people couldn’t possibly be in this same body. Right? Right?

What has she done in the five years since? Crab Orchard Review. Witness. Quarterly West. Bellingham Review. decomP. Monkeybicycle.

Is she slowing down?

Don’t panic, self! You came close with Paris Review. Came close with another, and another, and another literary magazine. Got your first personal rejection from Missouri Review. Got to be in Wigleaf’s 50 Top Flash of 2016. Got to be a semi-finalist this year in American Short Fiction’s Short(er) Fiction Contest.

You started writing fantasy, remember? The stories in Prism International and New Orleans Review were the first. Only the first.

She’s thinking about the story in Hotel Amerika, Ghosts, which begins:

She dreamt about her sister, dead these many years. It seemed she was in a place of ghosts.

Stay tuned.

 

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