FAVORITE PLACE: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 21 March 2018

  • This week, share an image of your happy place . . .  (Cheri Lucas Rowlands, The Daily Post, 21 March 2018)

Self’s favorite place is her imagination.

It’s a place where anything can happen: where porcupines turn into lizards, where a teenager carries a woman on his back from San Francisco to Los Angeles because the Apocalypse has happened and people need to stick together, where a taciturn sea captain is the only person who can save humanity from an invasion of creatures called Longnecks who suddenly appear in the Bering Sea.


Children’s Book: Found it in son’s room, a week ago.

Self’s stories may not sound happy, but she is most happy when she is writing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Poetry Friday: San Francisco Native Son, Tony Robles

From Fingerprints of a Hunger Strike, by Tony Robles (San Francisco: Ithuriel’s Spear, 2017):

An Excerpt from Proud

City of St. Francis
I’m proud
Of being
Loved by you

And don’t worry,
I don’t hold that
Eviction against you

But it did come
As a surprise,
All wrapped in a
Gauze colored envelope

Just the way
It goes, I guess

I’d lived there
45 years, grew up
There, Mom’s died
There, at home,
Where she belonged

I got 60 days
To vacate

I’m proud
Of being loved
By you

And Mr. Fare Inspector,
I don’t got no ill feeling
Towards you for looking me
Up and down as though I
Were defective while you
Scrawled my life story on
That ticket you wrote me,
Legible only to a doctor or

I’m proud
Of being
Loved by you


Tony Robles’s Love/Hate Book About San Francisco Is Beautiful and Tragic

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

AWP 2018 Tampa: Featured Speakers

Keynote Speaker:


Among the Featured Presenters are some very familiar names:

  • Rick Barot
  • Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Marie Myung-Ok Lee
  • Claire Messud
  • Aimee Nezhukumatahil
  • Sigrid Nuñez
  • Mary Ruefle
  • Karen Tei Yamashita

She has loved George Saunders ever since Civilwarland in Bad Decline. She remembers ugly crying after reading one story, the one about the wavemaker. She has not yet read Lincoln in the Bardo but it is definitely on her list. (Which, at the rate she’s been reading these days, means she probably won’t get to it until next year. At the soonest.)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: BIRDS

Self loves participating in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenges. This week’s challenge is BIRDS.

Since self is a writer, she has a lot of books. When she travels, there are more books in her suitcase than clothes.

Two years ago, in London, self was trying to heft a suitcase onto a double decker. The bus driver actually left the wheel to help her (This would never happen in San Francisco. Or Redwood City, that’s for sure!). Self tried to warn him. He took one tug at self’s bag, gave her a sharp look, and said: “I tell you, it must make you feel really good leaving home, knowing you’ve brought all your books along with you.”

When she’s in London, she always stays in Bloomsbury. Which means, of course, frequent trips to the London Review Bookshop. She was so good, this last trip. She only bought four books. One of them was a book of Amazing Rare Things: The Art of Natural History in the Age of Discovery, by David Attenborough and Susan Owens.

Here’s one of the illustrations: Frigate Pelican, by John James Audubon, from his groundbreaking collection The Birds of America (published 1822):


Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


#amreading: Manuel D. Duldulao

  • The greatest link . . .  to the Spanish past is Intramuros. For almost 400 years until its destruction, Intramuros was Manila.

The Filipinos, Portrait of a People, by Manuel D. Duldulao

#amreading GRRM’s A CLASH OF KINGS

In preparation for Game of Thrones‘ final season, airing sometime 2019, self has set herself the task of reading the books. She’s read one so far; it was in her cottage in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig two years ago, and it was still there when she returned last year.

Writing dialogue is hard. Writing Game of Thrones fan fiction dialogue is even harder, especially when one hasn’t read the books. George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones dialogue is so on point!


Maester Luwin to Bran Stark, p. 442, A Clash of Kings:

“We look at mountains and call them eternal, and so they seem . . . but in the course of time, mountains rise and fall, rivers change their courses, stars fall from the sky, and great cities sink beneath the sea. Even gods die, we think. Everything changes.

“Perhaps magic was once a mighty force in the world, but no longer. What little remains is no more than the wisp of smoke that lingers in the air after a great fire has burned out, and even that is fading. Valyria was the last ember, and Valyria is gone. The dragons are no more, the giants are dead, the children of the forest forgotten with all their lore.

“No, my prince. Jojen Reed may have had a dream or two that he believes came true, but he does not have the greensight. No living man has that power.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.





Manila Noir was edited by Jessica Hagedorn and published by Akashic Books in 2013.

Hagedorn wanted a brand-new story, so self wrote her one, which she titled “Desire.”

“Desire” can be found in Part III (“They Live by Night”) of the anthology. The story’s setting is Ermita.

What parts of a bird are edible?

Epifanio did not know. He would guess: eyes, tail, breast.

Afterward, when they were all gathered in the small lobby, they were offered warm Coke in thick glasses, no ice.

Why would anyone ask them a question about birds? They were there to study to be seamen: most of them were from Negros, like Epifanio. The rest were from Marinduque, Zambales, Cagayan de Oro, Davao.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


  • As for women, and everything to do with them, never a word, never; it was as if there were no women in the world. This absolute silence, even between close friends, about everything to do with women was one of the most profound and lasting lessons of my early years in the priesthood. — from p. 185 of Robert Harris’s thriller (about the election of a new Pope), Conclave

The MP (or main protagonist) is reading. Since he is a Cardinal, he reads religious stuff. Like Pope John XXIII’s writings.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Vicente Benitez, (Filipino) Archbishop of Baghdad

Self is now at a point in Conclave where a vote is taken for a new Pope. And it reads just like Survivor. She means: everyone rising, one by one, to cast their secret ballots.

Vicente Benitez, the newest Cardinal, previously assigned to a country in Africa (self too lazy to look up exactly which country right now), casts his ballot on p. 157. Props to author Robert Harris for getting self to read this far on a topic she never thought she’d be interested in.

The MP’s inner monologue:

The Filipino had an attractive quality, he thought, not easy to define, an inner grace. Now that he was becoming better known, he might go far.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry Wednesday: Louise Gluck

Excerpt from the poem The Evening Star

by Louise Gluck

Tonight, for the first time in many years,
there appeared to me again
a vision of the earth’s splendor:

in the evening sky
the first star seemed
to increase in brilliance
as the earth darkened

The Evening Star is in Louise Gluck’s gorgeous 2006 collection, Averno.

Stay tuned.

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