Witness: The Trans/lation Issue (Spring 2015)

Where is self? She is here, right here:

Witness: The Trans/lation Issue, Launched at the AWP Book Fair in Minneapolis, April 2015

Witness: The Trans/lation Issue, Launched at the AWP Book Fair in Minneapolis, April 2015

This issue of Witness features writing from around the world. And self is more than proud to be in the same issue as:

  • Dario Belleza (translated from the Italian by Peter Covino)
  • Arthur Rimbaud (translated from the French by Donald Revell)
  • Hossein M. Abkenar (translated from the Persian by Sara Khalili)
  • Christos Chartomatsidis (translated from the Bulgarian by Velina Minkoff, Rayna Rossenova, and Borislava Velkova)
  • Moniru Ravanipour (translated from the Persian by Shirindokht Nourmanesh and Moniru Ravanipour)
  • Karl Ove Knausgaard (translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett)
YAY! Self made it! She is here!

YAY! Self made it! She is here!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Afloat 4: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis


Self went to the Walker Art Center today. It was a beautiful day — warm! When she was reaching for her wallet to pay the entrance fee, the woman stopped her and said people attending the AWP writing conference received free museum admission.


Unfortunately, she doesn’t know the name of the artist who was responsible for this particular installation. She’ll look through the Walker Art Center website when she has a little more time.


Look carefully: each bubble has a different design.

Robert Motherwell, "Untitled"

Robert Motherwell, “Untitled”

Self took a picture of this Motherwell painting because it really does seem to float out from the white wall. There is something so inscrutable about Motherwell’s paintings. It’s as if he’s constantly challenging the viewers to say: “What’s this about?” Motherwell cheekily left a corner of the painting white.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quoting from the Authors Guild Bulletin, Spring 2015

Oh the sheer joy of being surrounded by writers and an auditorium’s worth of books at the AWP Book Fair in Minneapolis.

One of the tables she visited today was the Authors Guild. Self is contemplating becoming a member.

She’s currently reading a copy of their latest Bulletin, which features an interview with Mary Rosenberger, Authors Guild’s new Executive Director.

Here’s her take on copyright and the digital world:

  • With new technologies, the means by which books are disseminated and read may change over time, and publishers may come and go, but you can’t have books without authors.
  • People like to read and, even with all the competing media, they will continue to read . . . Regardless of format . . . the need for professional writers isn’t going to disappear.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Bluestem, Spring 2015

Yay, Bluestem! They launched the spring issue at AWP 2015!

Here is the lovely Poetry Editor, Charlotte Pence, holding up a copy of the issue.

Self’s story of climate change, “The Freeze,” is in this issue. She just picked up her author’s copy today.


Charlotte Pence, Poetry Editor of Bluestem. Her poetry collection, MANY SMALL FIRES, was just published by Europa Press.

Charlotte Pence, Poetry Editor of Bluestem. Her poetry collection, MANY SMALL FIRES, was just published by Europa Press.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Thaw” by Luisa A. Igloria

Surprise, surprise, it snowed! In the late afternoon. Self was supposed to go to a reading, but with the snow and all, she chickened out.

Self is rooming with Luisa A. Igloria again. (We were roommates also last year at AWP Seattle) Luisa is very good at attending panels, which is great, because self has been holed up in her hotel room just reading, and if not for Luisa’s recaps she would be in a great blizzard of Know-Nothing.

Self totally bombed about attending the Karen Russell reading this evening. Luisa loved it.

Here’s a poem from Night Willow (Montreal: Phoenicia Publishing) one of two books Luisa had published in 2014 (The other is Ode to the Heart Smaller Than a Pencil Eraser)


Warmer days. Light that fades later and later. Finally we can fling the
windows open. The clasps grate and rasp, like throats gargling salt
water first thing in the morning. Rooms crammed with more than
winter’s fat; eaves with bits of leaf and twig, blinds lined with ledgers
of dust. The drawers groan with socks and scarves, the pantry
shelves with unopened cans of beans. I want to scrub all the corners,
scour the tiles in the bathroom with bleach — even the stripes of
grout between each one. I want a pot of yellow strawflowers, a bowl
of blood-red tulips, nothing else but the mellow gleam of wood in
the middle of the room. I read about ascetics and what they chose
to renounce. Sometimes I think I want that. Sometimes I want to
be both the mountains emerging from their heavy robes of ice and
snow, and the streams they feed below, rushing and teeming with
color and new life. Sometimes I want to be the clear unflavored
envelope of agar, other times the small mouthful of sweet azuki bean
entombed like a heart in the center.

Luisa A. Igloria is the author of twelve books of poetry and numerous awards, including the 2014 May Swenson Poetry Prize and 2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize.

Blur 4: Self’s Head Is Still in Winter

It had been decades since self had ridden on Amtrak. But when she lived in New York City, and her sister was still taking her MBA in Wharton, she used to take trains all the time.

Last month, she visited one of her sister’s closest friends, Kathleen Burkhalter, who is now Mrs. David Bell and lives in New Bedford, Massachusetts. It was officially spring, but the landscape was still snowy.

View From the Train Heading from New York (Penn Station) to Providence, RI

View From the Train Heading from New York (Penn Station) to Providence, RI

When self lived in New York, she started out sharing the basement of a house in Flushing, then moved to a sublet on 8th and First. She loved New York with a passion.

Returning last month, she saw her first heavy snowfall in decades. The snow coated the sidewalks, the streets, the trees in Central Park.

Trees, Central Park, March 2015

Trees, Central Park, March 2015

Finally, Bjork’s Swan Dress.

Self managed to catch the Bjork retrospective at the NY Museum of Modern Art.


Self took many pictures of the dress. But since this week’s Photo Challenge theme is BLUR, she picked one of the blurry ones:

The Infamous Swan Dress, the Bjork Retrospective at the New York Museum of Modern Art, March 2015

The Infamous Swan Dress, the Bjork Retrospective at the New York Museum of Modern Art, March 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Looking at storySouth

storySouth is one of those on-line e-zines that published one of my stories (a long one) several years ago, and that I’ve continued to read with delight.

Here’s an excerpt from the story by James Pate, In the Desert:

The next afternoon, I started cooking. I had been laid off from the Catholic high school where I’d been teaching music for spitting in the face of one of the richboy students after he had made a snide remark about my weight in the school parking lot. Since then, I was the one who cleaned and cooked and did the shopping. I didn’t mind — cooking had been a big thing with me since I was a kid, when my mom had taught me the recipes she remembered from growing up in South Carolina — but it was starting to get irritating when Ruthie came home. She would be all awake and talkative from working at the cafe she was part owner of in the Pinch District.

And a soliloquy:

The nearest other house was a forty-minute walk and you couldn’t see it from my place — not even when it was bright outside. So at night, it would really begin to feel as if you were the last person on earth. I think if I’d been living alone out there the entire time, I’d have gone crazy.

Love the scenes in this story, the characters are so well-drawn and the dialogue is so smart.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

2666, and The Small Magazines That Deserve Your Attention


At this point, self has to be realistic.  She has to own up to the fact that she will probably never get to p. 800 of Robert Bolaño’s masterwork. She’s been reading it for almost three months and has only gotten to p. 248. It is hardback, it is heavy. She borrowed it from the Redwood City Public Library ages and ages ago. It’s only the fourth book she’s read this year. For a while she was doing really well. January, in fact, was great.

Don’t get her wrong. Self loves Bolaño. She tore through The Savage Detectives in Bacolod, a few years ago. It made her go all elegiac over the Daku Balay (the Big House, you can see those posts if you enter the search item “Bacolod”). She did some of her best writing ever after reading that book.

Now, alas, the only discernible writing she’s produced since the start of the year is: one short story. (Nothing doing, she’s also written 40 chapters of fan fiction). Why why why?

This was supposed to be “her” year. The year she gets to:  Mendocino, Minneapolis, The Banff Writers Studio, and etc etc etc etc

Today, the writer Jill Widner gave her a shout-out after reading self’s story in the spring issue of Witness. Self did not know that Jill subscribed. Jill said that self’s story reminded her of something she had read in Ploughshares. Which was a compliment so vast it produced in self all kinds of feelz.

And further, today, self heard from Lillian Howan, a member of self’s San Francisco writers group. Lillian is editing a new magazine called Nimbus Cat. Nimbus Cat accepted a piece of hers for their inaugural issue, and it just so happened to come out today.

It is a tough and generous undertaking to start your own literary magazine. Lillian is a woman of many hats: mother, novelist, awesome friend. That she chooses to launch this venture is sheer crazy! But self means crazy in a “I-can’t-believe-how-awesome-and-generous-you-are” way.

Here are two other magazines that are small yet bountiful. Local Nomad is helmed by Jean Gier, who launched the Spring 2015 issue while negotiating a hectic move to Santa Cruz. Don’t ask self how.

And Elsewhere Lit is helmed by fabulous Nandini Dhar out of Miami, Florida. She teaches full-time, she just put out her chapbook, Lullabies are Barbed Wire Nations (exquisite), and yet she co-edits this magazine.

Let’s give these courageous women a big, big hand.

Finally, a magazine that has a big piece of her heart: Your Impossible Voice. Which just came out with Issue # 7. And has been doing more copies in print, which have been selling briskly.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

2015 Mendocino Coast Writers Conference, Open for Registration

The Mendocino Coast Writers Conference takes place August 6 – 8, 2015 in the beautiful coastal village of Mendocino.

You’ll work closely with top authors, agents and editors to bring your work closer to fruition. Find expertise, encouragement, and inspiration to bring your story, poem, book, or memoir to the next level.

A few of the teaching faculty this year:

Lisa Locascio * Indigo Moor * Sheila Bender * David Corbett * Catherine Ryan Hyde * Albert Flynn DeSilver

Back by popular demand, James Maxwell will coach writers to “Make Your Mark on Stage” followed by open mic night.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lydia Davis, “The Other”

From the Lydia Davis collection Almost No Memory (1997):

The Other

She changes this thing in the house to annoy the other, and the other is annoyed and changes it back, and she changes this other thing in the house to annoy the other, and the other is annoyed and changes it back, and then she tells all this the way it happens to some others and they think it is funny, but the other hears it and does not think it is funny, but can’t change it back.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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