Admiration 3: Fort Bragg, CA

Self discovered Fort Bragg, California this year.

She stayed for a few weeks, and discovered:

  1. An excellent bakery, in the Depot Building. Just look at that sweet, blue nest confection!
  2. An excellent used bookstore called, in typical Fort Bragg self-deprecating manner, The Bookstore. The second floor had a wonderful seating area. And the day self visited, there was a hardbound copy of Cyrano de Bergerac, which she has fond memories of her Dear Departed Dad reciting to her at mealtimes (He was a frustrated actor. Played Hamlet in high school at the Ateneo)
  3. Writers, writers, writers abound in Fort Bragg. Self began reading Norma Watkins, whose beautiful memoir, The Last Resort: Taking the Mississippi Cure, was just published by University of Mississippi Press.

Other Takes on The Daily Post Photo Challenge “Abstract”

The Daily Post Photo Challenge ABSTRACT brings out all sorts of imagistic ideas and HOLY COW self has been having so much fun looking at other WordPress blogs on the same theme. Here are three that she looked at today that she particularly liked:

Enjoy!

Work-in-Progress: Various Fables

  1. Here hunger seized a hideous, stare-blind creature, speeding over a meadow. There was famine in the village. The grass was scant. The milk that streamed from the udders of the villagers’ cows was thin and poor.
  2. And from that day, the King of Spain was never troubled by visits from the lands of dark-skinned peoples.
  3. She said, “On the night of the next full moon, stand by the lake, and the door to the hillside will open.”
  4. The moonlight seemed to strike a path straight to his sorrowing heart.
  5. The King intoned: “As for your threats against my people, know that they do not want for courage.”
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The Lake at Annaghmakerrig

 

 

New York: Highline and Chelsea

Still looking for landscapes.

Here are pictures self took during a memorable walk on New York City’s Highline, December 2015:

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Near the Start of the Highline, on a cold December Day

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Still Near the Start of the Highline

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Near the Start of the Highline, on a cold December Day

And here are things she loved about New York during her Fall 2015 sojourn:

  • The Asian American Writers Workshop
  • The Whitney
  • The Highline
  • Therese Raquin with Keira Knightley
  • Seeing Penny
  • Seeing Luis and Midori
  • Seeing the Picasso exhibit in the MOMA
  • Catching a concert of Trio Solisti at Carnegie Hall
  • Watching Mamie Gummer’s scorching performan in Ugly to the Bone
  • Seeing nephew Chris Blackett and watching movies with him and reading his novel-in-progress
  • Eating Cuban in Hoboken, New Jersey
  • Walking around Central Park
  • Mockingjay 2 in the Lincoln Center Cinema
  • Losing self’s wallet twice and having it returned to her twice — nothing missing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Luna Moore, Met at AWP 2016 Los Angeles, at 40th Anniversary Calyx Reading

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Luz Delgado and Her Daughter Luna Moore, at the Calyx Press 40th Anniversary Reading at AWP 2016, Los Angeles, April 2

Every time self meets a new young person, she always asks for a book recommendation.

Her curiosity always pays off in spades. Hello, Infernal Devices, Cassandra Clare’s steampunk trilogy, recommended by Calgary niece Karina!

So, at the recently concluded AWP  Conference, held in Los Angeles, self met a wonderful girl named Luna Moore.

And Luna recommended:

  • Jane Eyre
  • The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
  • the Harry Potter series

Turns out Title # 2, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, is by Aimee Bender. Which means it probably isn’t YA. Luna is quite a sophisticated reader!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

March 30, 2016: Reading List Update

  • The Forever War (by Dexter Filkins): Five Stars
  • The Death of Ivan Ilyich: Tolstoy. Self can’t even. He dies at the end. That’s IT ???
  • Heart of Darkness: Marlowe bores. Who would have thought? Skip.
  • Candide (Voltaire): Currently reading. And enjoying.
  • The Merseault Investigation: Coming Up Next.
  • Deep South: Much heavy lifting. But: Paul Theroux. Must read. Seriously.
  • Watch Me (Anjelica Huston Memoir): Self can’t wait.
  • Grey: follow-up to Fifty Shades. E. L. James. Self read the opening chapter last summer. Can’t get it out of her head. Despite the book getting the most stinging reviews ever on Amazon (Read, in particular, the three-star reviews). Self still remembers seeing the gigantic black-and-white posters of Jamie Dornan’s back on buildings in London’s South Bank, last summer. And Jamie Dornan does indeed have a very nice back. No arguments there. Just saying.

Stay tuned.

Quotes of the Day: THE FOREVER WAR

“I am talking directly to the kidnappers.” (Ahmad, Shiite, Baghdad freelancer. “For eating, Sir!” was his answer when Filkins asked him why he kept a flock of twenty-five sheep on the roof of his home)

“The best sources are often people of marginal repute.” (Filkins) Ahmad’s fee: $250/day

“Sir, it is very complicated.” (Ahmad)

“Not good man.” (Waleed, Filkins’s driver, referring to Ahmad)

“Jill is at the racetrack.” (Ahmad, referring to American reporter Jill Carroll, kidnapped in the middle of the day, in the middle of the street; her translator, who was with her, had been killed)

“a brunette with a streak of pink dye in her hair” (Filkins, describing Jill Carroll)

“She wasn’t there.” (CIA section chief, two nights after Filkins gave him a tip that Carroll was being held at the racetrack.)

“I was afraid now, afraid of everything I didn’t know.” (Dexter Filkins)

“My dealings with Ahmad . . . had sunk to the level of farce.” (Filkins, after he and a fellow reporter end up pooling $6,000 of their own money to pay Ahmad for information on the whereabouts of kidnapped reporter Jill Carroll)

“Your buddy is just playing you.” (CIA section chief, to Filkins)

Self promises she will finish this book sometime today, then start on Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich.

Stay tuned.

Today, Pondering Joan Didion

Mulling over a list of attitudes that can be considered “magical thinking.”

Remember the book that Joan Didion wrote, several years back, called The Year of Magical Thinking? Ying was reading it in the apartment in Tel Aviv when self visited her, just a few months before she succumbed, at 37, to leukemia. Ying told self it was a very good book.

Honestly, self does not know how Ying managed to read a book like that when she herself was struggling for her life. But that’s how Ying was. She was compassionate and loving, but also remarkably clear-eyed and unsentimental. She was brave. The last thing Ying told self, shortly before she left Tel Aviv was, “I don’t think I’m going to make it.”

Today, self flipped open one of her journals and the first thing her eyes landed on was this list:

EXAMPLES OF MAGICAL THINKING:

  • My “stuff” will save me.
  • My writing will save me.
  • Being good will save me.
  • My degrees will save me.
  • My 260-thread-count bed linens will save me.
  • Other people will save me.

Denial is the most dangerous form of coping mechanism.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

Movement on the Reading List

Finally.

Self finished Road Dogs (Great! Loved the last half. So funny. And smart)

Skipped Sarah Waters (Apologies! She just can’t take a ghost story right now!)

Moved to Dexter Filkins’ The Forever War, which opens with a ritual killing. In a soccer stadium. Ugh.

A PA over a loudspeaker passes sentence on a hooded prisoner:

  • “The Koran says the killer must be killed in order to create peace in society.”

Self honestly does not know how much of this she can take.

But her next book doesn’t promise to be any less depressing: It’s Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich.

Might as well get on with The Forever War. One thing’s for sure: Filkins is a very good writer. He puts the reader right there with him in the soccer stadium. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen. Depends on whether self manages to get any sleep tonight.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Everlark Comedy! Be Forewarned

Self just made her first batch of oatmeal/chocolate chip/raisin cookies ever and they are really BAD.

Good thing she got an alert for a new installment of the Detective Mellark series (Dear readers, indeed yes: There is a detective series written with Peeta Mellark as the head of a Detective Agency and Katniss Everdeen as one of his gumshoes)

In this installment of the Detective Mellark series, Katniss and Peeta decide to compete in a TV game show called “The Marriage Game” (Why? Who knows? Because detective agencies run short of funds and the quickest way to raise them is by competing in a television game show?)

Anyhoo, Katniss and Peeta are one of four couples left standing for the final round. The other three couples are:

  • Primrose Everdeen/ Rory Hawthorne
  • Gale Hawthorne/ Madge Undersee
  • Annie Cresta/ Finnick Odair

One of the questions is: “What is your partner’s favorite thing to nibble on at the movies?”

The interviewer is, of course, none other than Caesar Flickerman.

Over to you, Gale and Madge!

Gale: Um. That’s a hard one. I’ll go with Twizzlers.

(Madge frowns and turns over her card. It says: HIS FINGERNAILS)

Gale: My fingernails! Why would you say that?

Madge: Oh my God, Gale! Look at these things! (Grabs Gale’s hands and holds them up. Camera zooms in for a close-up) LOOK! LOOK! I should dip your fingertips in gasoline to keep you from biting them.

Caesar: Oh, Madge. They are stubby. You should have Octavia work on them.

Madge: That’s a good idea. (To Gale) First thing tomorrow, you’re getting a mani-pedi.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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