Excerpt from “Sand” (Pembroke Magazine No. 53)

Published here.

  • And then my dreams started. I dreamt of matryoshka dolls dancing around my bed. I dreamt my boyfriend, Melvin, had turned into a matryoshka doll. He stood next to me, making matryoshka doll faces. His severely penciled eyebrows acquired the intensity of lightning bolts. “Fuck!” I said. “Melvin, stop making matryoshka doll faces at me.” Melvin disappeared, and in his place was a dancing chicken. A dancing grilled chicken. A barbecue stick skewering each wing. I couldn’t believe Melvin had turned into a chicken and there was a chance I might eat him. Then I woke up. That’s how I knew, if I didn’t steal my mother’s Chopard earrings, and soon, I’d always be the kind of person whose boyfriend turned into a matryoshka doll that made faces at her.

It doesn’t read quite as exciting on the page, but I can assure you, the effect on the Banff audience when I read that passage was electric!

It’s actually a very melancholy story.

Stay tuned.

Disclaimer: Not Associated with Any Travel Sites

I have noticed in the past few months that a particular travel website keeps linking to my posts (all they do is “like” and their blog logo shows up). I’ve tried different ways to stop this from happening, but WordPress says they cannot help.

You’ll notice I’ve begun making the past month’s posts private. It’s for this reason.

This blog is a hobby. I just happen to travel a lot, also another hobby.

I don’t like my posts being linked to travel websites, ESPECIALLY SINCE THERE IS NEVER ANY ATTRIBUTION.

Almost all of the posts I made for the Squares Challenge are Private now. And that’s a shame, because the greatest joy of blogging is sharing.

And to the travel website cherry-picking through my posts, pay your writers and let them act professionally and do their own travel/research.

(And of course, right after I posted this, that Travel website truly went crazy all over my previous posts. AARGH)

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 160: Your Inspiration

Wow! Self LOVES the quote from Agnes Martin that inspired this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge!

She had a lot of fun going through her archives to identify her sources of inspiration.

Which are MANY. Here are a few:

  • Gardens

Front Yard, May

  • Beaches

Ocean Beach, Carmel

  • History

The Jesuits in the Philippines, by Horacio de la Costa, S. J. (Harvard University Press)

Self is so glad she can share her inspirations with dear blog readers.

Colors and Letters Photo A Day Challenge: July 2

So many challenges, so little time!

July 2 is a COLOR: Azure.

OF COURSE self has Azure in her archived photos.

  • The latest issue of Pembroke Magazine is a beauty. Cover art is Creative Work Cow by Indian artist Chhavi Sharma. Self has a story in this issue: “Sand.” The editor asked if self could pose with a copy of the issue, preferably in a tropical setting (since her story’s set in the Philippines). She promised a beach picture. Watch this space!
  • Cheap Thrills is a vintage vinyl store on Higuera in downtown San Luis Obispo. Recommended by a friend who is very into vintage vinyl. This was such a great find. Look at that great storefront!

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Coming Soon in Pembroke Magazine: A New Short Story!

When the Chopard earrings were in my hand or, rather, in my purse, or — what am I talking about? I never owned a purse, only a little silk pouch my grandmother had given me when I was twelve and which was now significantly frayed and threadbare, a danger to the contents, particularly to Chopard earrings — anyway, when I had the earrings with me, I felt light. I floated through the air and down the stairs, even though I wasn’t actually taking another step. It was the way people moved in True Blood. Fast, and then still. Fast, and then still.

— from my story “Sand”

Thursday Trios

This challenge is hosted by Mama Cormier. Every Thursday, you post a picture of a trio.

Self knows, it is Monday today. Nevertheless.

  • Bath, England 2017
  • Self’s three contributor copies of The Cost of Paper, published by 1888 Center in Orange, CA
  • A trio of Mike Byrne ceramics, at an exhibit in Dublin Castle, May 2019
  • Alan Meredith’s ebonised wood triptych, at the same exhibit in Dublin Castle, May 2019

Searching for trios can be quite addictive!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Re-Reading, Re-Discovering Angela Narciso Torres

Angela Narciso Torres is the author of Blood Orange (Willow Books) and What Happens Is Neither (Four Way Books); and winner of the 2019 Yeats Poetry Prize. Her recent work appears in Poetry, Missouri Review, and PANK.

Angela and two other Four Way Books poets, Andrea Cohen and Rodney Terich, are reading tonight online at an event hosted by Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor, NY. Reading starts at 7 p.m. EST (that’s 4 p.m. PST) You can find out more from the Canio’s Books Calendar of Events.

SUNDOWNING (An excerpt)

for my mother, Carmen

The sweetest meat clings to the bone,
my mother says, knifing her steak.
Carmen. Silver spade on my tongue.

Mahjong nights, her father and mother gone,
she cried herself to sleep. Blamed in the morning
for her mother’s losing hand. Unlucky tears!

The sweetest meat — she begins
at dinner, tearing off a chicken leg.
What will she recall by morning?

Named for Our Lady of Mount Carmel,
she pinned brown scapulars under our shirts,
wet stamps that cleaved to our skin.

— from To The Bone, by Angela Narciso Torres (Sundress Publications, 2019)

Editor’s Note, ms. aligned 3

There’s still almost an hour before the game begins, so self can squeeze in a few more things. Self’s quote of the day is from Rebecca Thomas, Editor of ms. aligned 3: women writing about men. (Published by El Leon Literary Arts of Berkeley and Manoa Books)

For the past nine years, I have been teaching composition at West Virginia University. I primarily teach freshmen, and one of their first papers is a narrative. In so many of the narratives, students — of all genders — explore issues connected to masculinity, in particular the effects of toxic masculinity. I receive papers about abusive relationships in high school, peer pressure to act a certain way, loneliness in emotionally connecting with peers, and the very real risk and fallout from coming out. My students are young, so it’s natural that they write about their childhood, the childhood moments where they begin to construct their identity. In our class discussions and in their reflections, I see so many grappling with the concept of masculinity. How did it shape their life? How will it shape their life as they journey into adulthood?

In this Me Too era, it’s hard not to think about masculinity and how it can be toxic. Working on a college campus, I know that many of my students have been assaulted. I know that many of them are trying to find the space to talk about it, and I know that many of them are starting to test the waters of self-acceptance, to see if it’s safe to be who they are. Since I am the mother of two young boys, toxic masculinity is something that I have to consider constantly: how do we raise our children in this environment? What conversations do I need to have with my kids?

Contributors to ms. aligned 3, and series editor Pat Matsueda, will be on-hand at an online event hosted by Redwood City Library. Register here.

Angela Nishimoto’s “Sex Education: A Tragicomedy, Part II” in ms aligned 3, edited by Rebecca Thomas

ms aligned 3 is a collaboration between El Léon Literary Arts (Berkeley, CA) and Manoa Books, Hawai’i. More information can be found here.

Upcoming Online Event: Redwood City Library Reading, Thursday, Feb. 25, 5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. Register here.

“Daniel attempted to lead me; I tried to lead him. We struggled. I pushed him on the shoulder; he pushed me back. I kicked him in the shin. Hunching, he grabbed my right hand in both of his and bit me hard.”

— Excerpt from Angela Nishimoto’s “Sex Education: A Tragicomedy, Part II” in ms aligned 3

Online Reading for MsAligned 3, Hosted by Redwood City Library: Thursday, 25 February, 5:30 pm

Dear blog readers:

Here’s your chance to listen to some of the contributors to Ms Aligned 3: Women Writing About Men!

Online reading February 25 for the Redwood City Library, 5:30 p.m. – 6:45.

Here are just a few of the lovely authors who will be reading:

Pat Matsueda (Series Editor) * Lillian Howan * Donna Lee Miele * Angela Nishimoto * Cassandra Lane * Jill McCabe Johnson * Rachel King * Ryan Nicole Granados * Grace Loh Prasad

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