Past Squares 3: Sepia-Toned

If you’ve never heard of The Squares Challenge, you are missing something! The Challenge is hosted by Becky at Life of B, and the theme for this month is Past Squares.

Past Squares can be either your selection from a past round of squares, or something old, historical, etc

For the month, self decided she would focus on the “historical.” In the immortal words of William Faulkner, “The past is never dead. In fact, it’s not even past.”

For today’s Past Squares post, self is going back. WAAAAAY back. Back to the time when she and Dear Departed Sister were four and five-and-a-half years old, respectively (She and her sister were only 18 months apart).

Dearest Mum dressed us alike, all the time. We had the same haircuts, the same dresses, the same shoes. Everything the same. Except for our personalities. When self frowned, her sister smiled. When her sister frowned, self smiled. This was some weird form of sibling rivalry. Nevertheless.

In one picture, self and her sister are sitting in front of a memorial to her grandfather. (Yes, there are colonnades, yes there was a bust of her grandfather. We were in the family resort, in an island in the central Philippines)

The second picture, self and her sister are with her parents. In the exact center of the picture is her grandmother, her mother’s mother. She was a force! A piano teacher from Jaro, Iloilo, her grandmother propelled Dearest Mum all the way to Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher. Self has no recordings of those days, since Dearest Mum stubbornly refused to have ANY recordings made of her music. Self doesn’t even have the countless magazine covers that her mother appeared in.

Share Your Desktop: June 2021

Not sure how old she was here: perhaps in her 40s?

Self’s desktop this month is Dearest Mum, wearing traditional Filipino formal attire (the scoop back, the butterfly sleeves) at her beloved piano.

Her name was NENA DEL ROSARIO. A graduate of Curtis Music Institute in Philadelphia (which she entered at 11), she won the New York Times International Piano Competition at 14, played twice at Carnegie Hall, passed away 4 June 2021. Long, hard fight: she got covid in Manila in March.

Much love to her nurses: Sol, Amy and Rodelyn.

In Memoriam, Dearest Mum: PEONIES

A friend brought these from her garden when she heard about Dearest Mum.

I’m also posting for Cee Neuner’s Flower of the Day (FOTD) Challenge.

Three years after her first appearance in Carnegie Hall, Dearest Mum played there again, for the New York Philharmonic’s Young People’s Concert, Main Hall, 5 January 1952. She was just 16.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Poetry Thursday: Luisa A. Igloria

from Luisa A. Igloria’s collection Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (Crab Orchard Review & Southern Illinois University Press, 2020)

Mother: Three Pictures (An Excerpt)

She is beautiful in that photograph where they are dancing in a
roomful of other couples. She has a beauty mole penciled on her
cheek, slightly to the right of her lip. Her eyebrows are two perfect
arches, her hair a dark beehive. I think there are dots on her dress.
Where is this photograph? I would very much like to have it.

The above, Dearest Mum, when she was a young Filipina pianist in New York City, 1950s.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

She is beautiful in that photograph where they are dancing in a

While at Philz, Looking Through Old Photos: Self with Masako Sato, Dearest Mum

Two Pieces Out, One Upcoming

Self is in the issue of Jellyfish Review curated by Grace Loh Prasad: SIGN. The pieces are so delicious and fun. All are really different, showing what self has always known: FLASH RULES. Grace’s opening essay is kick-ass.

(BTW: Seventeen Syllables will be reading at San Francisco LITCRAWL, 19 October, 6:30 – 7:30, at FELLOW, 820 Valencia Street, on the theme: Strangers and Ghosts! These readings are always SRO. Be sure and COME EARLY!!!)

Another story, Tu-an Ju (dystopian science fiction), just came out in Vice-Versa, the University of Hawai’i at Manoa’s e-zine. The theme for the issue was Otherworld/Underworld, a theme self felt could have been tailor-made just for her. Thank you to Pat Matsueda, Lillian Howan and Angela Nishimoto for putting this issue together.

And vol. 3 of msaligned is coming soon! Thanks again to Lillian Howan for soliciting a piece specifically for this volume, and Pat Matsueda for editing the series.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Featured in Jellyfish Review: Flash by Seventeen Syllables

Grace Loh Prasad curated, Roy Kamada’s Grey Matter has just posted.

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

More goodness — from Caroline Kim Brown and Grace herself — to follow.

Grace’s introductory essay, here.

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Captain Wentworth I

He swans into town, proud and unyielding, and makes mincemeat of Anne Elliott’s heart. While he is surrounded by eligible young ladies, Anne is called upon to play the music for the dancing, “though her eyes would sometimes fill with tears as she sat at the instrument . . .” Poor Anne!

Persuasion, pp. 69 – 70:

It was a merry, joyous party, and no one seemed in higher spirits than Captain Wentworth. She felt that he had every thing to elevate him, which general attention and deference, and especially the attention of all the young women could do.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Samson and the Piano: MY ANTONIA, Book II, Ch. VII

Self’s mother attended Curtis as an 11-year-old who had never, ever left the Philippines before.

So when she reads the below passage in My Antonia, she is practically in tears:

They found he had absolute pitch, and a remarkable memory. As a very young child he could repeat, after a fashion, any composition that was played for him. No matter how many wrong notes he struck, he never lost the intention of a passage, he brought the substance of it across by irregular and astonishing means. He wore his teachers out. He could never learn like other people, never acquired any finish.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

SCALE: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 11 October 2017

Very interesting challenge from The Daily Post this week!

SCALE

Photography ” . . .  is all about perspective, where and how you place other objects in the frame . . . ” — Erica V., The Daily Post

Here are some examples of SCALE: (1) at the Louvre, in front of the Mona Lisa (2) in Bath’s Royal Crescent, the entrance to Royal Crescent # 1 and (3) in New York’s Russian Tea Room, next to Carnegie Hall. Self’s first trip to New York City was with Dearest Mum, who once played at Carnegie Hall. This September, she took Dearest Mum, who’s now past 80, for lunch at the Russian Tea Room. We had the best time.

DSCN0593

The Louvre, May 2017

DSCN0870

Royal Crescent No. 1 (Royal Crescent Museum), Bath

DSCN0446

The Russian Tea Room, 57th St., New York City (Next to Carnegie Hall): Dearest Mum took self here, her first time in New York City, decades ago. The place hasn’t changed a bit.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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