More Nostalgia for Venice

More from the watershed trip self took with Margarita Donnelly (founder and managing editor of Calyx Press) in April/May 2013, less than two years before she succumbed to cancer. We rented a small two-bedroom apartment in Ca’ San Toma, Venice. Margarita’s adventurous spirit far exceeded self’s.


The Bridge of Sighs, April 2013: View From the Doge’s Palace


San Marco Square on a Rainy April Day


Self on the Rialto Bridge, April 2013: Margarita must have taken the picture. Even though self’s face isn’t visible, she really likes this picture for the mysterious red umbrella.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More Quests

All books are quests of one kind or another. To self, they represent explorations of new experiences.


New Edition of Don Quixote, at the AWP 2016 Bookfair in Los Angeles


From the Europa booth at the 2016 AWP Los Angeles Book Fair


from self’s own copy of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Wild Swans, retold by Amy Ehrlich, illustrated by Susan Jeffers

This is how the fairy tale begins:

Far, far away, in a warm and pleasant land, there once lived a king who had eleven sons and one daughter. The princes wore stars on their shirts and swords at their sides, and their sister, Elise, sat on a footstool made of glass. These children were happy from the time they woke in the morning until they went to their beds at night. They never imagined another life.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Currently Reading

Sweet like Sunday morning.

Beginning Ben Ehrenreich’s The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine. The book next to it is self’s newest sketchbook, cover illustration by Irina Troitskaya, whose work you can find in The Exquisite Book: 100 Artists Play a Collaborative Game (Chronicle Books, 2010)


Sunday, 18 September 2016: Sketchbook and Ehrenreich

Every new book is an adventure.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.



Self spent late last night combing the web for views (hopefully, conflicting) on the dramatis personae of Northanger Abbey. Principally, for those of the characters she is most interested in:

  • Catherine Morland
  • Mr. Tilney
  • John Thorpe
  • Isabella Thorpe

Her favorite (thus far) is this one, on

Not Born To Be a Heroine

  • Northanger Abbey is hilarious. It’s the story of a girl who wants to be the heroine of a Gothic novel, but who finds herself instead in a peaceful domestic novel.

It’s good to be reminded that the heroine of this book is 17. The same age as the characters in The Hunger Games.

Self just wanted to throw that in there.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.



“Something That Stands Out From the Everyday”

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is RARE: Post a photo of something you regard as “scarce and singular.”

Here are some rare things:

Dedication from a novel by Irish writer Maeve Binchy:


To “dear good Gordon . . . such a supportive and kind person”: That degree of love and support and respect is indeed rare.

Here’s a one-woman press from Boston, MA: Kattywompus Press. It takes guts to run a press, anyone can tell you:


Independent Publisher, AWP Book Fair, Los Angeles Convention Center: March 2016

Finally, a must-see for book-lovers everywhere. It’s called The Last Bookstore, and it’s on S. Spring Street, downtown Los Angeles. Part of a vanishing breed. Their logo says it all: “What are you waiting for? We won’t be around forever.”


More Than a Bookstore: A Magic Trip

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.



Wall Street Journal Books, July 23 – 24, 2016

Self found a couple of books to add to her reading list while perusing the Books section of the July 23 – July 24 Wall Street Journal:

  • Your Friend Forever, A. Lincoln, by Charles B. Strozier (Columbia)
  • The Castle of Kings, by Oliver Potzsch (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) — historical fiction, set in 1524 Germany
  • Abahn Sabana David, by Marguerite Duras (Open Letter) — “minimal, dream-like setting” and narration that has “the bluntness of stage directions.” Self adores Duras.
  • The Brotherhood of the Wheel, by R. S. Belcher (Tor) — Resourceful residents of a small town use a HEXapp — an actual HEXapp! LOL LOL — to show the most recent sightings of the local spectre!
  • Richard Cohen, literary critic and Tolstoy expert, shares his favorite British crime novels: The Cask, by Freeman Wills Crofts; Tragedy at Law, by Cyril Hare; Reputation for a Song, by Edward Grierson; The Shortest Way to Hades, by Sarah Caudwell
  • Brazillionaires, by Alex Cuadros (Spiegel & Grau) — nonfiction by a journalist

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

SPARE: Daily Post Photo Challenge, 27 May 2016

Spare landscapes are often quite beautiful in their minimalism (if you choose to look)

— Krista, The Daily Post

Below are a few pictures that struck me as evocative of this week’s theme, SPARE:

Self took a walking tour of Oxford, day before yesterday. The quadrangles in front of the main buildings are surprisingly spare: free of fountains and monuments. Pristine.


The building used to house Oxford University Press.

The India House was of course a very important building, especially during the days of the British Empire. With true British understatement, there are no signs indicating the building’s historice function: only the elephant on the weathervane:


Weathervane on top of India House, Oxford, UK

Finally, the Weston Library is a moden structure directly across the street from the Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Oxford. The facade is spare, with one banner announcing the current exhibit (in honor of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death): Shakespeare’s Dead:


A banner announces the Weston Library’s current exhibit.

Hope these are suitable examples of SPARE.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Faces 4: Women Celebrate

First: Women Celebrate in Oxford, UK. Jenny Lewis raises a toast in Jericho Tavern, 2014 Saboteur Awards

Second: Women Celebrate in Cork, Ireland. Geraldine O’Toole rocks red in front of the Café Paradiso, Lancaster Quay, Cork.

Third: Women Celebrate in Minneapolis, 2015 AWP Book Fair. Charlotte Pence is the Poetry Editor of Bluestem. The journal published self’s dystopian future story, “The Freeze.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Admiration 4: A List (Far From Complete)


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.

Where To Find (Some of) Self’s Published Pieces

Look here!

Next year’s AWP Conference and Book Fair: Washington, DC.

You do not want to miss it. For sure.

Stay tuned.

« Older entries