“Lightning That Never Ends” by Miguel Hernandez, trans. by Don Share

Will this lightning never end, that fills
my heart with exasperated wild beasts
and furious forges and anvils
where even the freshest metal shrivels?

— Miguel Hernandez, poems selected and translated by Don Share, published by the New York Review of Books, www.nyrb.com

In Life, There Are Always MORE CIRCLES

Self is still posting on this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, the first Photo Challenge of 2016:

CIRCLES

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Calyx Press, based in Corvallis, OR, published self’s first book, Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila. The editors are self’s second family.

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Santa Monica Wharf, after the Cirque du Soleil Show

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Ripe Figs, Backyard: Self has three fig trees.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Reading Laird Barron’s OCCULTAION on Christmas Eve!

Occultation is soooo creepy. The publisher is Night Shade Books of San Francisco. Self bought her copy years ago, from Borderlands on the Mission.

Sorry, dear blog readers, sorry. It is Christmas Eve. Why is self reading horror?

She thought it would give her ideas for writing a Vampire Peeta fan fic of her own.

It’s about annihilation and transformation.

There is a very smart introduction written by Michael Shae in which he says:

To be transformed, to be remade, is not a passive exercise. It is an excruciating eclosion, a branching, fracturing emergence into a much bigger, hungrier universe.

Shae is right. Can anyone imagine that process — even if it’s a familiar trope like turning into a vampire or becoming zombi-fied — isn’t painful?

(About becoming a zombie: to read a story about just how painful it is, read Carrie Ryan’s in the anthology, After: Ninesteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia. In that story, people have discovered a way to un-zombify the zombies. It’s told from the point of view of one of these un-zombified. And the way she describes the process of recovery is awful. So we imagine what it must have been like to turn in the first place)

Self will leave dear blog readers alone now so they can think about holiday good cheer.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Bookshelf Survey: Folklore Thursday’s Dee Dee Chainey

Read this list . . . and die!

No, self doesn’t mean die like in that Japanese horror movie The Ring.

She means, die as in perfection! Bliss!

And, just so you know, self did get those two fairy tale books she mentioned in an earlier post. So that’s what she’ll be reading after Gaitskill’s Bad Behavior.

Self knows she just did major adjustment to her reading list. For one thing, she was supposed to read The Strain. But after delving more into that book, she just couldn’t rid herself of the nightmares.

No book should be giving her nightmares: it’s almost Christmas!

So she got the Philip Pullman translation of the Brothers Grimm, and a collection of Chinese folk tales (Publisher: Princeton University Press). She got both books from the Strand.

Also, today, by happenstance, self wandered into the editorial offices of J Journal, in the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and met the two extremely nice and committed editors, Adam Berlin and Jeffrey Heiman. If you like reading and writing about social justice, then you should know about J Journal. And you should subscribe. And submit.

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10th and 59th, New York City

After the death of Isotope, which she felt most keenly (and not just because they published one of her hybrid pieces), she feels journals that go beyond one specific area of knowledge (like medicine; or law; or criminal justice) and explore what creative writers can bring to the table, journals like that should be cherished.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

“Some Women” by Bunny Ty (from the Calyx anthology GOING HOME TO A LANDSCAPE)

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Rose in the Kitchen: Tel Aviv, 2008

Some Women
by Bunny Ty

some women color their lips red.
not me, i like to color mine with good words instead.

some women curl their lashes hard.
not me, i want mine soft to catch my tears.

some women need to blush their cheeks pink.
not me, mine blush by themselves when i’m tickled pink.

some women close their eyes to show off their eyeshadow.
not me, i want mine open to see the world.

some women take pains to pretty up their faces.
not me, i would rather take pains in prettying up the world.

some women think i look plain and dull without color on my face.
not me, if you look hard enough, you’ll see i am wearing a rainbow.

(from Going Home to a Landscape: Writings by Filipinas, co-edited by Marianne Villanueva and Virginia Cerenio, Corvallis, Oregon: Calyx Books, 2003)

Thoughts, the Hybrid Memoir: TROPIC OF CANCER, by Henry Miller

Tropic of Cancer is one of the finest examples self knows of the hybrid fiction/memoir.

It was published in Paris in 1934. Labeled obscene by American standards, it was banned for the next 27 years (You can read the first half safely; it’s the second half that set the American censors off)

The version self is reading now is the one by Grove Press.

  • I have made a silent compact with myself not to change a line of what I write. I am not interested in perfecting my thoughts, nor my actions. Beside the perfection of Turgenev I put the perfection of Dostoevski. (Is there anything more perfect than The Eternal Husband?) Here, then, in one and the same medium, we have two kinds of perfection. But in Van Gogh’s letters there is perfection beyond any of these. It is the triumph of the individual over art.

Tropic of Cancer, p. 11

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ramblings: PANK Going Off-line/ J Journal List of Pushcart-Nominated Stories and Etc.

PANK, the on-line literary magazine, is going off-line in December.

WOE!

PANK published a story of self’s in issue 9.5 — “Seeing.”

She isn’t sure what’s going to happen now to the archived stories. Do they just disappear?

Here’s a link; it’s at least viable until PANK goes off the grid:

http://pankmagazine.com/piece/seeing/

*     *     *     *     *

And, while self is at it, here’s another link, this to the Pushcart-nominated stories that appeared in J Journal, one of which was self’s “Magellan’s Mirror” (Volume 5, No. 2, Fall 2012)

http://johnjay.jjay.cuny.edu/jjournal/V5N2/Villanueva_MagellansMirror.pdf

J Journal published an excerpt from “Magellan’s Mirror,” here:

http://johnjay.jjay.cuny.edu/jjournal/V5N2/Villanueva_MagellansMirror.pdf

*     *     *     *     *

And, while on the topic of Pushcart nominations, last year, her story “The Elephant,” was nominated by Your Impossible Voice.

She has had several of these already, stretching back decades. Let’s see, how many already? Five or six.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“The Decedent Is Initially Viewed Unclothed”

Self’s story, “The Decedent Is Initially Viewed Unclothed,” is included in Calyx Press’s 40th anniversary collection of prose and poetry, to be published 2016 in partnership with Ooligan Press.

She was particularly happy to learn that “the book will feature an excerpt from the memoir of Margarita Donnelly, who was a founding editor of Calyx.” Margarita passed away December 2014.

And that is all self has to say right now, sorry for this extremely short post.

Stay tuned.

Crab Orchard Review’s “West Coast & Beyond” Issue: Sometimes a Great Notion

It’s Saturday evening in Ireland and somewhere in Dublin a priest who’s known self since she was a little girl is dying.

The priest’s house is big and cold and the church right beside is empty.

But this story isn’t over yet. It’s still waiting for an ending. Strange to think it was only a few short weeks ago when she and the priest were drinking beer over Chinese food because he was so happy to see self; he told her last year he’d be dead before she got back to Ireland. Well, she proved him wrong.

One day, she’ll have to write a story about the time he and a fellow priest drove her all the way to Annaghmakerrig and how she learned what the Gaelic words lir and kill and dun mean. The priests spent the drive teasing her about possibly running into a banshee, the crying ghost woman.

Here’s one story that is finished and that self doesn’t mind sharing with you: Mirri Glasson-Darling’s “True North,” which is one of the nine stories in Crab Orchard Review’s “West Coast & Beyond” issue. The story is about the cold and about polar ice caps. Self doesn’t know why she, child of the tropics, born and raised in the Philippines, is so fascinated with cold climes. Sometimes she thinks the real reason she applied to Banff Writing Studio was that she began writing, last year, a story about polar bears.

In April, she went to Minneapolis for the AWP. At the Book Fair, she met Crab Orchard Review editor Allison Joseph. Here she is, Fierce and Fabulous:

Allison Joseph, Co-Editor of the Crab Orchard Review (which included self's story in the West Coast & Beyond Issue), Photographed at the 2015 AWP Book Fair in Minneapolis.

Allison Joseph, Co-Editor of the Crab Orchard Review, Photographed at the 2015 AWP Book Fair in Minneapolis

And here’s an excerpt from Mirri Glasson-Darling’s story, “True North”:

I am a twenty-seven-year-old Midwestern, Caucasian male, floating on an iceberg in the middle of the Arctic Ocean.

It must be understood that this is not just a suicide.

The eventual results will be the same, but I find my death more of an unfortunate side-effect; you don’t come to the end of the world in order to better understand yourself — you come to step off the edge. All across history you have explorers heading out blindly in one direction or another, driven by riches, isolation, or general madness. A search for direction and something which cannot be satisfied, even if you circled the world twice over.

Throwing in a picture of Lake Louise in snowy Alberta:

Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada: May 2015

Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada: May 2015

Glasson-Darling’s story is as fierce and unflinching as the landscape. Self has no words.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Announcing: The First Annual Margarita Donnelly Prize for Prose Writing (Deadline for Entries: Sept. 30, 2015)

Margarita Donnelly's Last AWP, Seattle 2014. Pictured: Margarita and Brenna Crotty, Calyx Senior Editor

Margarita Donnelly’s Last AWP, Seattle 2014. Pictured: Margarita and Brenna Crotty, Calyx Senior Editor

She was indomitable, that is all.

Met her first at: Bookstore in the Mission

Self read her story “Ginseng.”

Margarita went up to self afterwards and asked, “You got more like those?”

(Yes, sitting in a file cabinet; Four years past the Stanford University Creative Writing Program, and self was such a coward that she never sent the manuscript out:  WHEEE!)

What better way to honor her legacy than a prose contest? Calyx, the press Margarita co-founded, launched the Prize on July 1. Here’s the link to their website. The contest is open to both fiction and nonfiction.

  • Deadline for Entries: Sept. 30, 2015
  • Reading Fee:  $20 (check payable to Calyx)
  • Maximum Length of piece:  10,000 words

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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