Yesterday, at Blackwell’s Bookshop

Here they call it a bookshop; over there we call it a bookstore.

Oh, wait. Mendocino’s Gallery also refers to itself as a bookshop.

Self being too quick on the draw, as usual.

It is time for self to update her reading list. Yesterday, she found a thriller called Girl Waits With Gun, by Amy Stewart. (What is it with all the “Girl” titles now: Gone, Girl; Girl on the Train, etc). Sounded like it would be a perfect summer read.

Her reading list looks like this now:

  • My Brilliant Friend, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein, by Elena Ferrante (currently reading)
  • The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
  • Savage Park: A Meditation on Play, Space, and Risk for Americans Who Are Nervous, Distracted, and Afraid to Die, by Amy Fusselman (who must be a therapist)
  • Girl Waits With Gun, by Amy Stewart

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Elena Ferrante and the Expert Use of Abruptness

I recall him as short and broad, but handsome, with a proud face. One night he came out of the house as usual and died . . . The funeral was very bitter . . .

My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante

A Break from Anjelica Huston Angst

Self is on yet another bus in Ireland. Heading back north.

In Watch Me, Anjelica Huston is bored out of her mind at a Lakers game.

As a break from Huston’s boredom, self turns to another book she’s brought with her all the way from California: Lydia’s Funeral Video, by Sam Chanse.

This book is fascinating and entertaining — sort of like a hip primer on being an American.

Which feels, actually, very deflating right now because OMG is Trump really going up against whoever and OMG what?

Never mind that.

In Lydia’s Funeral Video, which is about an unmarried 28-year-old American named Lydia, Lydia feels compelled to buy a pregnancy test:

And the pharmacist is explaining how this test works by checking for a hormone in the saliva or something, and she instructs me to listen for the three consecutive beeps before checking the color of the light– red for not pregnant, green for pregnant.

“You know, if you’re pregnant, green for go!” the pharmacist says — which I think they’re supposed to say to make pregnancy sound like happy fun time and encourage you to go ahead and have the kid . . .

Okay, sorry dear blog readers but typing this on a careening bus is making self dizzy.

(To be continued)

 

 

Poetry Monday: Agnes Marton’s “Being an Iguana”

Self loves poetry. Because she doesn’t have a fixed abode, it helps that poetry collections are easier to carry around than fiction collections or novels or memoirs (But who is self kidding? At this moment, she is in Wexford, Ireland, and half her suitcase is made up of books. Really heavy books. She may have dislocated a shoulder)

Agnes Marton, a poet self met at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, loves animals. Here’s a poem from her collection, Captain Fly’s Bucket List. It’s not the whole poem, because self is worried about infringing copyright violations. But hopefully this excerpt will give readers a good idea of the wry wit of Agnes’s poetry:

BEING AN IGUANA

Too bored to eat, I’m getting thin.
I feel peeled
like cheap potatoes for a stew.

My owner asks the Agony Aunt
if his new pet hates him.

Once I tried to escape
and fetch the fire from the Sun.

While captive, I’m a dragon.
I build mountains for me to climb.

I crawl clockwise.
Look at my teeth, my tattered claws,
my parched tail.

Agnes Marton is a Hungarian-born poet, editor, linguist, and visual artist.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Theroux: “I drove off the main road, Highway 71 . . . “

The day was dusk-dark but there was still no sign of a storm. I drove off the main road, Highway 71, and took a dirt road up a steep slope into the woods, past shacks and trailers. At the summit, where the road became a muddy track, I came to a ramshackle house — a spectacular ruin at the edge of a field littered with cast-off shoes, rags of clothes, old rubber tires, hubcaps embedded in the earth, children’s faded toys twisted apart, plastic bags tangled on bushes, areas strewn with bottles and jugs, and shards of broken glass — a hovel with junk heaped against it.

Deep South, by Paul Theroux

Two days in Cork, one afternoon on the train to Dublin, morning in the Irish National Portrait Gallery, and the end of Theroux’s Deep South is in sight.

In the intervening time, she’s learned about: Faulkner. Erskine Caldwell. Gun shows.  Clinton’s boyhood. Poverty. Segregation. Dying Towns. Activists. Meth labs. etc.

She read the reviews on Amazon. One woman says she wishes Theroux had focused on the “nicer” parts of the south. Instead, he stayed on back roads, and focused on talking to poor people.

That is who self wants to hear from! The poor people! The ones who make some parts of the South resemble a Third World country! Because — that is reality.

Keep going, Theroux.

DSCN9841

Reading DEEP SOUTH in the National Portrait Gallery, Dublin

Earlier, she was in Hodges Figgis and bought yet another book to weigh her down: My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poem For After Rain

Listen yet, the Blue-Tailed Bee-Eater will come —
Green head, yellow throat, reddish breast, long blue tail —
Soon after the rain, after the last patter.
If we but listen.

—  from “Blue-Tailed Bee Eater,” in If I Write You This Poem, Will You Make It Fly by Simeon Dumdum, Jr.

Admiration 4: A List (Far From Complete)

OH NO! SELF ACCIDENTALLY DELETED HER OWN POST.

It happened while she was trying to expand on her reasons for assembling this particular mosaic of images to represent the week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge: ADMIRATION.

And she couldn’t find a previous saved version. Gaaaah! And in re-selecting images, she decided to stop at six instead of the eight she originally had. And she also substituted some images. Sorry for the confusion!

  1. Lady in Red: Ger, chef of Cork’s pre-eminent restaurant, Café Paradiso. Such a great chef, and also very direct and witty! Self loves Ger.
  2. Katniss Everdeen: Self-explanatory, really.
  3. Allison Joseph, co-editor with Jon Tribble of Crab Orchard Review. Fabulousness.
  4. The mother-daughter team who cook and manage Chez Mamie, 22 Hanway Street, London. They make London feel like home.
  5. SeaCity Museum, Southampton, England: Thank you to Joan McGavin, who took her here last year. What a great exhibit on the Titanic. While other cities lay claim to having the best exhibits on the tragedy, Southampton’s is so poignant because it focuses on the crew, most of whom were from this city. And therefore, the focus of the displays is on working-class people. Which makes this a much more layered story. In one gallery, there’s a map on the floor with red dots representing the houses of each of the victims. The dots are clustered around the poorer sections of the city.
  6. Last but not least: Nutschell Ann Windsor, Program Administrator for UCLA Extension’s on-line Writers Program. She is the best. She not only handles all requests with Zen calmness, she is a writer herself. And an editor. She’s holding an anthology she edited.

And now self will post before she accidentally deletes something again.

Stay tuned.

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.

Admiration 2: Writers and Writers Organizations and the New Wonder Woman

“Depict something or someone you admire.”

— Krista, The Daily Post

In the last week of March and the opening days of April this year, self was in Los Angeles. First, to attend a reading of her good friend Zack Linmark at USC. His first novel, Rolling the R’s, a great, groundbreaking, kick-ass novel, turned 20, and USC celebrated that milestone by having him read with Jessica Hagedorn and Lois-Ann Yamanaka, two other groundbreakers.

Immediately following that reading was the annual AWP Conference, which is of course also accompanied by the most fabulous book fair in America. And at that book fair, self stopped briefly to chat with staffers at VIDA, a completely volunteer-run organization, which publishes statistics on how many women are published by which literary organs. And it’s eye-opening.

Finally, Wonder Woman. Just because. Watch for her movie. Emily! So proud of your daughter/director. The picture is a grainy still from the Batman vs. Superman movie, which self watched just so she could tell Emily in London: I saw Wonder Woman in costume on the big screen for the first time!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More London 2015

SPOILERS FOR THE INFERNAL DEVICES!

London, June 2015: Hunting for Blackfriars Bridge. Because Blackfriars is where Tessa and Jem, the other leg of The Infernal Devices love triangle (Self ships Wessa. Her fanfiction alias would be PeetasandHerondales, if that weren’t already taken. But anyhoo, Blackfriars) meet every year for eternity to see what’s up with each other (after Tessa married Will! Yes!).

June 19, author Cassandra Clare reminds the Shadowhunter universe that Will Herondale died on that day. KA-BOOM! Self is in her lodgings in London, having a melt-down. Wants to get to the Serpentine River, because that’s where Will took Tessa to look at ducks. But she has too many FEELZ.

Here’s a link to a tumblr author whose Shadowhunter graphic illustrations are just so on point.

Stay tuned.

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