Witness: The Trans/lation Issue (Spring 2015)

Where is self? She is here, right here:

Witness: The Trans/lation Issue, Launched at the AWP Book Fair in Minneapolis, April 2015

Witness: The Trans/lation Issue, Launched at the AWP Book Fair in Minneapolis, April 2015

This issue of Witness features writing from around the world. And self is more than proud to be in the same issue as:

  • Dario Belleza (translated from the Italian by Peter Covino)
  • Arthur Rimbaud (translated from the French by Donald Revell)
  • Hossein M. Abkenar (translated from the Persian by Sara Khalili)
  • Christos Chartomatsidis (translated from the Bulgarian by Velina Minkoff, Rayna Rossenova, and Borislava Velkova)
  • Moniru Ravanipour (translated from the Persian by Shirindokht Nourmanesh and Moniru Ravanipour)
  • Karl Ove Knausgaard (translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett)
YAY! Self made it! She is here!

YAY! Self made it! She is here!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

2666, and The Small Magazines That Deserve Your Attention

DSCN9077

At this point, self has to be realistic.  She has to own up to the fact that she will probably never get to p. 800 of Robert Bolaño’s masterwork. She’s been reading it for almost three months and has only gotten to p. 248. It is hardback, it is heavy. She borrowed it from the Redwood City Public Library ages and ages ago. It’s only the fourth book she’s read this year. For a while she was doing really well. January, in fact, was great.

Don’t get her wrong. Self loves Bolaño. She tore through The Savage Detectives in Bacolod, a few years ago. It made her go all elegiac over the Daku Balay (the Big House, you can see those posts if you enter the search item “Bacolod”). She did some of her best writing ever after reading that book.

Now, alas, the only discernible writing she’s produced since the start of the year is: one short story. (Nothing doing, she’s also written 40 chapters of fan fiction). Why why why?

This was supposed to be “her” year. The year she gets to:  Mendocino, Minneapolis, The Banff Writers Studio, and etc etc etc etc

Today, the writer Jill Widner gave her a shout-out after reading self’s story in the spring issue of Witness. Self did not know that Jill subscribed. Jill said that self’s story reminded her of something she had read in Ploughshares. Which was a compliment so vast it produced in self all kinds of feelz.

And further, today, self heard from Lillian Howan, a member of self’s San Francisco writers group. Lillian is editing a new magazine called Nimbus Cat. Nimbus Cat accepted a piece of hers for their inaugural issue, and it just so happened to come out today.

It is a tough and generous undertaking to start your own literary magazine. Lillian is a woman of many hats: mother, novelist, awesome friend. That she chooses to launch this venture is sheer crazy! But self means crazy in a “I-can’t-believe-how-awesome-and-generous-you-are” way.

Here are two other magazines that are small yet bountiful. Local Nomad is helmed by Jean Gier, who launched the Spring 2015 issue while negotiating a hectic move to Santa Cruz. Don’t ask self how.

And Elsewhere Lit is helmed by fabulous Nandini Dhar out of Miami, Florida. She teaches full-time, she just put out her chapbook, Lullabies are Barbed Wire Nations (exquisite), and yet she co-edits this magazine.

Let’s give these courageous women a big, big hand.

Finally, a magazine that has a big piece of her heart: Your Impossible Voice. Which just came out with Issue # 7. And has been doing more copies in print, which have been selling briskly.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

2666: Moving BACKWARDS

Today, self awoke in near-dark (pretty much par for the course, the past week).

She reached for Roberto Bolaño.

Decided to quote from the page she’s on.

Checked the last post she wrote on Roberto Bolaño.

Amazing, she’s apparently moved backwards.

lol

Without further ado:

She sat at the windowsill and looked out at the city. A sea of flickering lights stretched toward the south. If she leaned half her body out the window, the humming stopped. The air was cold and felt good.

— Roberto Bolaño, 2666, p. 108

Yesterday, self stood at the bottom of Ukiah Street, staring at the headlands. And it was cold. And there was a chill wind. And she felt it whipping her thin hair practically off her scalp.

The cold that self has felt building up for days finally arrived in earnest. And she can even point to the exact time it hit: Thursday, 8:09 a.m.

She ended up running to Corners of the Mouth Organic Market and telling Vicki: I am going to be extremely busy in the coming week. And I feel something coming on. Can you give me something that will at least keep me ambulatory.

Here’s what she ended up giving self: zinc lozenges; Elderberry Syrup; Lung & Throat Herbal Drops; Macro-Biotic Nasal Spray; two fresh lemons to squeeze into her tea.

But the best, the absolutely best cold remedy? Peeta Mellark. Thank God for fan fiction. Would that she could spend all day in bed, just reading.

You know, she only brought a few books with her to Mendocino. In two months, she’s read exactly 2 1/4 books. (In the long-ago time of her fulsome-ness, she would have whipped through about eight)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“The Lost Coast”: Sunset Magazine, September 2014

Self is re-reading an article that appeared in the September 2014 issue of Sunset Magazine, an article about “The Lost Coast” — “the remote 200-plus-mile stretch (80 miles of which is called the Lost Coast) between the Oregon border and the logging town of Fort Bragg.”

The Lost Coast is where you encounter (culling from the article):

  • rain-soaked forest
  • mysterious little towns
  • rogue marijuana farms
  • elk
  • campgrounds “hidden in the dense forest and brush”
  • estuaries
  • rocky headlands
  • long sandbars
  • Sitka spruces
  • good local Sangiovese
  • local Humboldt Fog cheese
  • Redwood National Park

Well, there is still time for self to cross off a few of the things on that list, starting with good, local Sangiovese.

Two days ago, she had to borrow 30 cents from a teen-ager working the concession stand at the Fort Bragg Coast Cinema. Yes, she has sunk so low.

She drove there to see “Focus” starring her Number 1 Male Chest of all time, Will Smith (Margot Robbie is in it, and also has a chest, for those of you who play on the other team). And when she got there, she found out she had just enough for the movie ticket, and $2. And she had left her credit card in her apartment.

@@##!!

And to think she had been anticipating stuffing her face with buttery popcorn, since any Will Smith movie these days is cause for celebration, but the smallest popcorn cost $4.50, and the girl said why not have a candy bar instead? Self could have a giant Kit Kat bar or Maltesers or M&Ms for $2.50.

So self emptied out the entire contents of her coin purse, right there on the counter. And she was only able to come up with 20 cents, even counting pennies. So she was still short 30 cents. And bless that young girl, for she said: “Oh, just choose a candy bar. Never mind the 30 cents.”

##@@!!!

Self, You are despicable.

“Are you sure?” Self practically squealed. “I’ll come back tomorrow and pay you back! What’s your name? What time are you working?”

The girl just laughed and waved self off.

Damn! Self is going to go back there right now, newly armed with cash.

AND she’s going to post a glowing review of Coast Cinema, Fort Bragg, on Yelp.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Watching “Kingsman” in Fort Bragg

The movie is a tad long, but otherwise great fun.

SPOILER ALERT!

The guy who plays the lead looks like a cross between Matt Damon and Ryan Philippe. He also doesn’t seem very tall (Self, that’s rich! If J-Hutch hasn’t taught you yet: “Short” does not preclude being attractive!) He has a great affect, especially after he exchanges his gangsta uniform for a dapper suit and glasses.

Self loved the whole London Punk meets Savile Row vibe.

There are some angles where Colin Firth looks impossibly hot.

Self liked the blonde who plays the Read the rest of this entry »

Am Reading Today, Last Tuesday of February 2015

blogs

a friend’s novel

Roberto Bolaño’s 2666

tweets about the Oscars

Sunflower Splendor: Two Thousand Years of Chinese Poetry, Co-edited by Wu-chi Liu and Irving Yucheng Lo

Here’s a poem called “Southern Mountains,” by Han Yu:

So therefore I watched a pool
Whose clear depths concealed water dragons.

Bending I could gather fish and prawns,
But who dares plunder divine beings?

About Han Yu: He was a late T’ang Dynasty poet, and a contemporary of Li Po and Tu Fu. He was born into a literary family of landed gentry in the province of Hunan. He served in several high posts in the government: Vice President of the Ministry of War, Vice-President of the Ministry of Personnel, and Metropolitan Governor. He died in Ch’ang-an in 824, at the age of 56.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Metamorphosis Generator

From A Work-in-Progress:

The Jaguar I know is a bit much. Especially for the country. But Wolfgang must have his toys. The Jaguar, the helicopter, the espresso/ice cream machine, the Jacuzzi with 20 different spurt settings, the 80-inch flat-screen HDTV, the four-foot Bose speakers, the laser wrinkle removers, the Do-It-Yourself Botox injectors and hair implantation devices, the state-of-the-art dollar-printing mechanism, the 3D Alternate Universe Hologram, the foot-high platform shoes with the massage feature, the metamorphosis generator . . .

Once, he trapped a fly in the metamorphosis pod, and what emerged was a woman with wondrous, bulbous dark eyes and gossamer hair.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Masters of Style: A List

Self is teaching a two-day class on travel writing this weekend.

The great thing about teaching is, it makes you ponder your own predilections.

Because unless you yourself are very clear about the kind of writing you favor, you will never, in self’s humble opinion, be able to communicate anything worthwhile to your students.

These are the writers whose books have stayed longest in self’s head and heart. Some have only written one book. Doesn’t matter. The point is, their names have become part of self’s font of inspiration.

Debra Ginsberg * Kyoko Mori * Chang-rae Lee * Annie Ernaux * Tim Parks * Ron Carlson * Alison Moore * Mo Yan * Thomas Lynch * V. S. Naipaul * Gish Jen * Deborah Digges * Paul Theroux * Kathryn Harrison * Jason Elliott * W. G. Sebald * Nina Berberova * Peter Hessler * Michael Herr * Ruth Reichl * Tony Horwitz * Elmore Leonard * Brian Hall * Nicholson Baker

(Aaargh, list is getting long! Perhaps she’ll do a Part 2 later)

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

A Terrible Thing Happened to Self Yesterday

A terrible thing happened to self yesterday: she and two friends were in Elk, standing just behind The Griffin House, looking down at the wild, crashing Pacific. And it was so horrendous and heart-stopping, the view. It was sunset. The sun was sending rays of light through cracks and fissures in the monolithic cliffs. And her camera just up and died. Died! Died! Died!

Bunny said to her: “You are the only person who would have a camera when you can just take pictures with your cell phone!” And she had no answer. Absolutely none. He said that about two hours earlier. Good thing he said that, because at this moment of extreme dismay, self remembered that she did have a cell phone, and she whipped it out and took a couple of (very bad) pictures. Which, never fear, she will not inflict on dear blog readers. At least, not right now.

Instead, she will share some pretty fantastic links — to WordPress bloggers whose takes on this week’s theme, DEPTH, were just, in self’s humble opinion, awe-inspiring:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

The Versatile Blogger Award!

This blog was nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award, thanks to Mélange of Musings.

Thanks much! Very honored.

The Rules for The Versatile Blogger Award:

Show the Read the rest of this entry »

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