“Summer People” : Story # 1 of Kelly Link’s GET IN TROUBLE: STORIES

Daddy in story wakes up his daughter (Sick in bed with the flu, she has self-medicated by taking four NyQuil the night before) by spraying her in the face with a plant mister. The girl notices her father’s packed a suitcase. By way of explanation, he says:

“I’ll be gone some time. A week or three.”

“Where you off to?” the daughter asks.

“Prayer meeting in Miami. Found it on the Internet.”

The daughter tells her Daddy, “I know you need to stay here and look after me. You’re my Daddy.”


The Daddy leaves, the daughter gets herself breakfast (“a spoon of peanut butter and dry cereal”), goes to school, where she dozes “through three classes, including calculus” and experiences a moment of high anxiety when a teacher sends her to the infirmary. Luckily, she is saved by running into an acquaintance named Ophelia Merck, who drives a Lexus.

Ophelia is “pretty, shy, spoiled, and easy to boss around.”

Naturally, painful hilarity ensues.

Dear blog readers, can you believe self heard Kelly Link read this story in a former church? Just last week in Cork, Ireland?

And when self went up to get Ms. Link’s autograph, the ensuing conversation included what it’s like to eat kosher?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Change 3: London Bridge, Tate Modern, and Fleet Street

Different worlds in London, Summer 2015:

Self adores London bridges.

No, scratch that. She adores London, period. The old architecture blends so well with the startling modern and new:

Pedestrian Walkway, London, Summer 2015

Pedestrian Walkway, London, Summer 2015

She adores the Tate Modern, on London’s South Bank. It’s cavernous and huge. Its previous incarnation was as the Battersea Power Station. One day, she walked there with poet Joan McGavin:

The Tate Modern, South Bank, London

The Tate Modern, South Bank, London

London’s Fleet Street used to be the site of all the major English newspapers. Today, many of those papers are no more. Fleet Street has a very contemporary vibe:

Fleet Street, London

Fleet Street, London

She stumbled across this area while on a hunt for St. Bride’s, which author Cassandra Clare said was the site for the London Institute of Shadowhunters in her fan-TAS-tic Infernal Devices trilogy.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Change 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is CHANGE.

The Daily Post includes a quote from Lao Tzu:

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow.

Here’s a picture of the Triskel Art Centre in Cork, which was the venue for the Kelly Link/ Heather O’Neill reading last Thursday, during the Cork International Short Story Festival. It used to be a church, and they kept the wooden pews:

Triskel Christchurch, Cork

Triskel Christchurch, Cork

Another event self attended was the launch of a new literary journal, Banshee, edited by three intrepid young women: Laura Jane Cassidy, Claire Hennessy, and Eimear Ryan:

Below, Issue # 1:

Issue # 1, Banshee Literary Journal, Autumn 2015

Issue # 1, Banshee Literary Journal, Autumn 2015

Finally, a sign on the wall of the Galway Train Station. NIIICE! Trains represent movement, movement represents change:

Galway Train Station

Galway Train Station

Funny, in the States, self has grown used to associating the color red with STOP signs.

Here in the UK, she’s seen red phone booths, red sofas, red walls, red sneakers, red sweaters, and now this sign in a train station.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of The Day: Kelly Link’s Story “The Summer People” (Which Link Read at the Cork International Short Story Festival)

Self’s idol! Ever since self read her story “Stone Animals” in Best American Short Stories (2005?)

When self found out that Kelly Link was reading at the Cork International Short Story Festival, she became immensely excited and determined. So off she went to the Triskel Art Centre, and did she ever make the right choice or what? Never mind that it was cold, that she’d just had a humongous dinner, and she just wanted to veg out in her room. No, self! Get your shit together!

Even though self swore, swore she would not buy a single book (Her arms are so sore from lifting: she’s taken at least 4 trains in eight days), she did buy Kelly’s just-published Get In Trouble: Stories (blurbed by none other than Sarah Waters, who calls it, quote unquote, A brilliant, giddying read.). Kelly wrote this on self’s copy:

For Marianne: Here are some terrible ideas. Love, K D Link.


When, after the reading, self went up with the book of Kelly’s short stories encased within her trembling hands (The use of hyperbole would not be completely unwarranted in this situation), Kelly was speaking to a very enthusiastic Irish lad. Self waited patiently.

Then, before signing self’s book, Kelly asked for self’s name.

Self demurred, saying, Oh you’ve never heard of me.


Finally, Kelly managed to worm it out of self. Whereupon Kelly said, with great sincerity, “I think I’ve heard of you.”

In response to which self said, “No you’ve never heard of me. I’m so small press, I’m not even.”


Anyhoo, here’s an excerpt from “The Summer People,” the first story in Kelly Link’s collection:

  • Fran had the flu, except it was more like the flu had Fran. In consequence of this, she’d laid out of school for three days in a row. The previous night, she’d taken four NyQuil caplets and gone to sleep on the couch while a man on the TV threw knives.

Unf. Self just loves the unexpectedness of the last sentence.

Plan for tonight: meeting up with playwright Barbara Guilfoyle. Going to hear Jaime Nanci Barron sing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cork International Short Story Festival, September 2015

Self is presently in the beautiful city of Cork.

The Cork International Short Story Festival began yesterday. She was pretty inert yesterday when she arrived in Cork and holed up in her room, eating. Alas, she missed some great readings (And put on at least five pounds. After that dinner last night! The people sitting next to self couldn’t resist remarking that self had ordered A LOT OF FOOD)

Today, self made it to the launch of the Banshee Literary Journal and got to meet one of the editors, Claire Hennessy:

Claire Hennessy, Editor, with the Inaugural Issue of Literary Journal BANSHEE, today at the Cork City Library

Claire Hennessy, Editor, with the Inaugural Issue of Literary Journal BANSHEE, today at the Cork City Library

Self was soooo relaxed. In spite of not knowing anybody, she chatted with a young woman who kept self company while she drank (free) wine.

Wine is so wonderful. Why don’t they serve wine at library readings in America?

Also, self has never been to an afternoon reading in an American library where there is wine. It just has never been done. At least, not to self’s provincial American knowledge.

Then she chatted up two of the three authors who read. One of the readers, Eleanor Hooker, told self that she pilots a lifeboat in her “real life.” How cool is that? Self has never, ever met an American author who can pilot a lifeboat. And write sentences like this:

She lived with us for three days after she drowned.

That is a swoon-worthy sentence if self ever heard one.

Tonight, an American author, Kelly Link, is reading at 9:15. Self is torn. It is pretty cold at night, and there’s a strong wind. The River Lee surrounds Cork on two sides. You can never escape the river wind. And she just wants to be cozy.

But then, she pinched herself. NO! SELF, you did not travel all this way to Cork to nest in your room GETTING FAT! And INERT!

So she told Ger (Chef and all-around Factotum of B & B that self refuses to name because they have very little room and she doesn’t want to have to fight for a reservation next year. Or the year after next) to book her a taxi and Ger said, That is a 10-minute walk from here you will not need a taxi.

But self said Oh indeed I will need a taxi because the wind! And I have a very low tolerance for cold! I was born in the Philippines and lived most of my life in California!

(Self did not actually say all that, but she did impress on Ger that she was serious about the taxi.)

Here’s another picture from the Banshee Literary Journal launch:

Issue # 1, Banshee Literary Journal, Autumn 2015

Issue # 1, Banshee Literary Journal, Autumn 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Grid 4: Yorkminster Cathedral, July 2015

Last summer, self visited York. She’d been there only once before, when she was a wee lass of 11.  An old high school classmate (who she hadn’t seen since high school graduation, many many years ago) invited her to visit, and self never turns down an invitation to see a new place. Besides which, York is the setting for a very crucial turn of events in Cassandra Clare’s Victorian steampunk trilogy, The Infernal Devices.

The cathedral is amazingly beautiful.

Yorkminster Cathedral, July 2015

Yorkminster Cathedral, July 2015

The ceiling is an intricate fretwork of grids:

The ceiling of Yorkminster Cathedral is pretty amazing.

The ceiling of Yorkminster Cathedral is pretty amazing.

The cathedral was once burned to the ground by a madman who stoked the fire with deliberate glee.

It was hit by lightning, which started another fire.

During World War II, all of the stained glass windows were taken down and painstakingly stored. The cathedral was spared during the bombings. Then the windows had to be put up again.

Here is a wider view of the long central nave:

Such a beautiful cathedral! Self thought it was much more beautiful than Westminster Abbey.

Such a beautiful cathedral! Self thought it was much more beautiful than Westminster Abbey.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Joseph O’Connor’s STAR OF THE SEA, Prologue

We had chopped across a filthy-tempered Irish Sea and docked at Kingstown to take on provisions; then crept down the jagged south-east coast, making for Queenstown in the county of Cork (or ‘Cobh’ as it is known in the Gaelic language). Seeing Wicklow glide past, or Wexford or Waterford, seemed to many a bitter taunt, a poultice being ripped from a putrefying wound. A consumptive blacksmith from the town of Bunclody jumped the upperdeck rail near Forlorn Point and was last seen swimming weakly towards the shore, every last shred of his will employed to bring him back to the place where his death was certain.

Star of the Sea, by Joseph O’Connor: Prologue, page xvi

Photo Credit: Andrew de Jesus

Photo Credit: Andrew de Jesus

It’s a novel of the potato famine and the Irish immigration to America. And self saw the play of it last night in Galway.

Shattering. The woman sitting next to self couldn’t speak afterwards, she was crying so much.

Stay tuned.

Monochromatic 5: Alberta, Canada, Spring 2015

Today will be her last post on this week’s post: MONOCHROMATIC.

She had no idea, when the prompt was posted a week ago, that she’d find so many pictures to post.

Earlier this year, self was in Banff for the Annual Writing Studio. What an amazing experience it was. She definitely feels confident in her novel now.

Banff, Spring 2015

Banff, Spring 2015

Before she arrived in Banff, she spent a few days with her cousin, Mike Villanueva, in Calgary. So much fun! Mike and his wife Pixie took self to the Royal Terrell Dinosaur Museum, where she saw the most fantastic exhibits. Here’s a picture she took of an underwater dinosaur.

At the Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum, Alberta, Canada

At the Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum, Alberta, Canada

Driving to the Dinosaur Museum with her cousins, self discovered the true meaning of prairie:

Prairie: Alberta, Canada

Prairie: Alberta, Canada

Looking back at the pictures she took for the theme MONOCHROMATIC, there was:

  • Alberta, Canada
  • Annaghmakerrig, Ireland
  • Cambridge, England
  • Half Moon Bay, California
  • Yorkshire, England

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“The Great Emptying of the Three Triangles” (The Writing Disorder, Winter 2010)

Self re-discovering some of her first speculative fiction.

There’s this story, published by The Writing Disorder in 2010, “The Great Emptying of the Three Triangles.”

She began with “a presentation by Brian Siy” as a joke, but the editor asked her if her piece was nonfiction. Delighted to say no.

The present condition of the area known as The Three Triangles is desert. The desertification occurred around 1511. Several decades later, the first instances of human migration to the coast began.

Our first clue to what may have occurred came the discovery of the Aurora Trench. By closely monitoring its striations, I have ascertained that the area had, for a period of over 500 years, suffered from intense precipitation, unusual wind strength, and heat.

Dear blog readers, hope you enjoy this little snippet.

Check out The Writing Disorder.

Stay tuned.

Monochromatic 3: Costume Designer’s Sketch, Book Cover, a Weathervane in Cambridge, UK

Loved the delicacy of this page, depicting an iconic character:

Katniss, page from Costume Designer's Sketch Book for The Hunger Games

Katniss, page from Costume Designer’s Sketch Book for The Hunger Games


Self purchased Lucifer Princeps at the Atlantis Bookstore in London’s Museum Way. The bookstore specializes in all manner of things related to the occult. Since self is writing a novel about an 18th century Spanish priest who is sent to the Philippines specifically to battle demons, she thought the book might come in handy.

Lucifer Princeps: Book Detail

Lucifer Princeps: Book Detail


Self took the picture below while she was on a Jack-the-Ripper tour of Whitechapel and environs!

Cricket Player Weathervane, on top of a building on Whitechapel Road, near E. Aldgate, London

Cricket Player Weathervane, on top of a building in Cambridge, UK (Revised the location — I originally posted as a building in Whitechapel, London. Good thing I double-checked)

Other Monochromatic Takes:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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