The Great Gilda Cordero-Fernando

(Read all the way to the end; this post has many digressions)

Re-reading a fantastic short story, “Hothouse,” by Gilda Cordero-Fernando, a mimeographed copy of which self just pulled from a closet overflowing with old files.

Thank you, Jennie and Marie Kondo for inspiring self to organize! She had to drop everything and leave for Manila for two weeks, supposedly Dearest Mum Read the rest of this entry »

Breaking Down Self’s 2019 Reading List

Most of Self’s favorite reads so far 2019 were novels (six out of 10).

Three of her favorite reads of 2019 were memoirs written by doctors.

One of her favorite reads of 2019 was a book about the environment.

Five of her six favorite novels were written by women.

This year she attended the Fowey Festival of the Arts (in honor of Daphne du Maurier) and during the festival, she bought a copy of Jane Austen‘s Northanger Abbey from Bookends of Fowey. She loved loved loved it.

None of the books she read in January and April ended up making much of an impression.

One of her six favorite novels has been optioned for the movies by Lawrence Kasdan.

One of her six favorite novels won a prize.

One of her six favorite novels is a finalist for a Kirkus Prize.

Her 2019 Goodreads Reading Challenge was to read 34 books.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Landscape: California

Hidden Valley Loop Trail, Joshua Tree National Park:

  • In the distance were giant boulders and, everywhere on the plain beneath them, Joshua trees. I had always loved the oaks and pines and redwoods of the Bay Area, with their long and leafy limbs, but I had missed the desert trees: stout, prickly, wild-armed, and yet utterly fragile.

The Other Americans, by Laila Lalami, p. 137

“It is better to travel in hope than to arrive.” — The Guardian’s review of THE OTHER AMERICANS, by Laila Lalami

Began reading The Other Americans two weeks ago. With all the distractions of the past month, self is only at p. 132! But she is enjoying this novel hugely. She especially likes the main narrator, an Oakland-based female jazz composer. (Oakland is definitely the place!)

The point of view in this section is EfraĆ®n, an accidental witness to the death of one of the main characters, “the old man” referred to in the passage below.

After the old man robbed me of the pleasure of watching my daughter’s performance in the school play, he invaded my dreams. Nearly every night, I returned to that little stretch of the 62, my hands covered with grease, and watched his body roll off the hood of the car and land on the pavement. I thought of him now as Guerrero. Merciless in his campaign against me. Early in the morning, when I shaved by the yellow light above the bathroom mirror, he bumped against me and made me cut myself. In the van, while Enrique read the map, Guerrero was in the back, sabotaging our equipment by poking a hole in the carpet-cleaning hose or raiding our food supplies. I couldn’t find my Inca Kola when I opened my lunchbox, even though I had put it there myself. “You can have some of mine,” Enrique said, handing me his can.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 59: ANGLES

Cleaning the closet in son’s room, came upon these Beatrix Potter pop-up books.

Then, reading viveka’s my guilty pleasures blog, found the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week is ANGLES.

Is that synchronicity? Or what?

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Daniel Immerwahr’s HOW TO HIDE AN EMPIRE: A HISTORY OF THE GREATER UNITED STATES

p. 104:

  • Captain John Pershing … held a post on the shore of Lake Lanao, a large body of water on Mindanao, around which nearly half the Muslim population of Moroland lived. Pershing made the news during the 2016 presidential campaign when Donald Trump described, with relish, how Pershing (“rough guy, rough guy”) had captured fifty “terrorists,” dipped fifty bullets in pigs’ blood, lined up his captives, and then shot forty-nine of them, letting the last go to report what happened. “And for twenty-five years there wasn’t a problem, okay?” Trump concluded.

“The Son of My Father”: Story # 20 in Carlos Bulosan’s THE LAUGHTER OF MY FATHER

Make no mistake, this father of the narrator’s, to whom Bulosan dedicates 25 (memoir-ish) short stories, would be no one’s idea of a good father. He drinks, he gambles, he sleeps with the neighbor’s wife, he gives the family home to a Mexican beauty he has a crush on. But here we are.

Bulosan treats all his father’s foibles with such affection and humor. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE, BULOSAN MUST BE A SAINT.

From The Son of My Father:

“You are a tragedy, Simeon!” they said.

It was true. Father was a tragedy. My brother Osong was not his spitting image at all. Osong was tall and fair of complexion. His bones were sharp and the hair on his legs was thick and long. He spoke several languages and dialects. He did not drink anything that had alcohol. He smoked American cigars and cigarettes.

Father was small and dark. His bones were soft and the only hair he had was on his head. And it was nothing to brag about, either. He could not read or write.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Flash Fiction Tuesday: Shirley Ancheta

Kristine appeared in Going Home to a Landscape: a Filipino Women’s Anthology, co-edited by self and Virginica Cerenio (Calyx Press). From the moment self first came across the piece in the submissions pile, she fell in love. This is an ace piece of writing, one that straddles prose and poetry, and is so achingly poignant.

Where is Shirley Ancheta now? Self doesn’t know. She hopes she is well.

Kristine turns a corner in San Francisco and is struck by an oncoming car. She is floating, she thinks, in the air with the seagulls. Her teeth ache. A man steps up to her and says, “Dear God, I’m sorry. What can I do? What?”

She thinks he has said, “Desire … here … what will you do?” The only man she wants to reach is married or dead or related to her. She smiles. She can’t remember.

She thought she was kissing a boy in the dark, in the back of the house near the pineapple field. His hands could hold down a pig for the killing. They were caught by their grandmother who threw her slippers across the yard. “No do dat wit your cah-sun! Wassamaddah you kids? You no feel shame o’ what? No good fo’ cah-sins fo’ make li’ dat!”

It is cold on the pavement of Stockton and Pine. The wind is enough to pick up Kristine’s skirt. She rolls her head from side to side. As someone puts a blanket on her, she hears a siren rising to meet the ringing in her ears.

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Poetry Monday: “Like the Molave”

Excerpt from Like the Molave

by Rafael Zulueta y da Costa (1915 – 1990)

Note: The molave is a Philippine hardwood, resistant to fire, used frequently in the construction of Philippine churches and dwellings, now extinct in the Islands.


VI

My American friend says:

show me one great Filipino speech to make your people
listen through the centuries;
show me one great Filipino song rich with the soul of your
seven thousand isles;
show me one great Filipino dream, forever sword and
shield —
speech eloquent and simple as our My Country ‘Tis of Thee;
dream age-enduring, sacred as our American democracy!

Friend, our silences are long but we also have our speeches.

Father, with my whole heart, I forgive all.
Believe me, your reverence.

 

Throwback Thursday: THE FORBIDDEN STITCH, An Asian American Women’s Anthology (Calyx Books)

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The kind of activism that made Calyx great is here:

Excerpt From Children Are Color-Blind

by Genny Lim

I never painted myself yellow
The way I colored the sun when I was five.
The way I colored whitefolks with the “flesh” crayola.
Yellow pages adults thumbed through for restaurants,
taxis, airlines, plumbers . . .
The color of summer squash, corn, eggyolk, innocence and tapioca.

My children knew before they were taught.
They envisioned rainbows emblazoned over alleyways;
Clouds floating over hilltops like a freedom shroud.

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