AWP 2018 Tampa: Featured Speakers

Keynote Speaker:

GEORGE SAUNDERS

Among the Featured Presenters are some very familiar names:

  • Rick Barot
  • Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Marie Myung-Ok Lee
  • Claire Messud
  • Aimee Nezhukumatahil
  • Sigrid Nuñez
  • Mary Ruefle
  • Karen Tei Yamashita

She has loved George Saunders ever since Civilwarland in Bad Decline. She remembers ugly crying after reading one story, the one about the wavemaker. She has not yet read Lincoln in the Bardo but it is definitely on her list. (Which, at the rate she’s been reading these days, means she probably won’t get to it until next year. At the soonest.)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

MANILA NOIR: “Desire”

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Manila Noir was edited by Jessica Hagedorn and published by Akashic Books in 2013.

Hagedorn wanted a brand-new story, so self wrote her one, which she titled “Desire.”

“Desire” can be found in Part III (“They Live by Night”) of the anthology. The story’s setting is Ermita.

What parts of a bird are edible?

Epifanio did not know. He would guess: eyes, tail, breast.

Afterward, when they were all gathered in the small lobby, they were offered warm Coke in thick glasses, no ice.

Why would anyone ask them a question about birds? They were there to study to be seamen: most of them were from Negros, like Epifanio. The rest were from Marinduque, Zambales, Cagayan de Oro, Davao.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Variations on a Theme: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 24 January 2018

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is VARIATIONS ON A THEME.

For example:

“ducks in a pond, each swimming in a slightly different angle, or a wall of stained glass in a church, each panel echoing the other.” — Ben Huberman, The Daily Post

Below, the only copies of self’s third short fiction collection she was able to find (It’s only available in Manila), everywhere else was SOLD OUT!

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Found these copies of self’s third short story collection in the National Bookstore in Gateway Mall, Cubao, Metro-Manila! (January 2018)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

First Story of Self’s New Collection, “Magellan’s Mirror”

Self’s story was first published in J Journal, 2012. She just decided it will be the title of the new collection she’s completing. Thanks to the editors at J Journal, who published it and nominated it for a Pushcart.

Read the excerpt below:

And if our Lord and the Virgin Mother had not aided us by giving good weather to refresh ourselves with provisions and other things we had died in this very great sea. And I believe that nevermore will any man undertake to make such a voyage.

— Antonio Pigafetta, Chronicler of the Magellan Expedition

The crew encountered the giant during the winter, after months of battling the water just south of Brasilia. He was described by the sailors as being twelve or thirteen palmos tall, which is to say, over eight feet.

Stay tuned, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

Place in Mystery Fiction: It Is Everything

Self is closing out 2017 with Tana French, and she is also reading Kelly Creighton’s Bank Hurricane Holiday, a super short story collection set in Northern Ireland.

Place is everything in the writing of these two women. She isn’t finished yet with Creighton’s book (just out from Doire Press) but she finished her first Tana French, earlier today: Broken Harbor. And she’s just started reading The Trespasser.

She’s very late in coming to Tana French, but why. She’s been coming to Ireland for years, if she’d had enough sense, she would have read Ms. French years ago.

Self loves mysteries. She especially loves the mysteries of: Henning Mankell, Morag Joss (only one book), Ruth Rendell, and Karin Fossum.

She thinks her love of mysteries in foreign landscapes began with Peter Hoeg’s mesmerizing Smilla’s Sense of Snow. (And now she writes dystopian fantasy set in snowy landscapes, what a coincidence)

p. 4, The Trespasser:

  • Murder works out of the grounds of Dublin Castle, smack in the heart of town, but our building is tucked away a few corners from the fancy stuff the tourists come to see, and our walls are thick; even the early morning traffic out on Dame Street only makes it through to us as a soft, undemanding hum.

Who doesn’t know Dublin Castle. Tourist mecca. Now, in her mind, Dublin Castle is the home of the Dublin Murder Squad. Love.

On to p. 5.

Stay tuned.

 

 

#amreading: Kelly Creighton

My mother wants a girl, I said, but I know it’s a boy, all the trouble he’s given me.

— “Bank Holiday Hurricane,” the title story of Kelly Creighton’s short story collection

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Looking Back: George Saunders

Self blogged this on 25 December 2013 (Christmas Day, self only just realized after writing the date). Title of post: 2013 Top Ten Books of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Saunders won this year’s Man Booker. He’s the Keynote Speaker at the next AWP, in Tampa, FL:

  • Tenth of December:  Stories, by George Saunders (Random House):  Ever read CivilWarLand in Bad Decline?  Self thought that book was a game-changer.  In one stroke, changed the landscape of the contemporary American short story, which until then had been Raymond Carver/Lydia Davis.  She will read anything by George Saunders.  Anything.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Murakami Sentence of the Day

Even when self isn’t particularly taken by a Murakami story, there is always a take-away.

This story was written in the Jurassic period. Records in jackets? And none of Murakami’s characters use e-mail or text-messaging. Nevertheless:

  • The dwarf would take half-played records off the turntable, throw them onto the pile without returning them to their jackets, lose track of which went with which, and afterward put records in jackets at random.

— from “The Dancing Dwarf,” Story # 14 in The Elephant Vanishes

“A Window” by Haruki Murakami

Self decided to start reading this story (Story # 11 in Murakami’s The Elephant Vanishes) because a reader on Goodreads called it “boring.” She’s not reading in order. Which is the neat thing about short story collections: you can totally cherry-pick.

It is the most ordinary of Murakami’s seemingly ordinary stories, it’s about the perfect hamburger, what do you know, and it begins with one word:

GREETINGS

Any story that opens like that holds promise.

A few pages in, there is this:

  • I realize now that the reality of things is not something you convey to people but something you make. It is this that gives birth to meaning.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Typical Conversation If Married to a Dentist: Story # 5 in THE ELEPHANT VANISHES

Self has no memory of reading any of the stories (except for the one about cooking spaghetti), how odd. If ever a book demanded close reading, it is this one. Each sentence has a precise and very unpredictable effect. For instance, one sentence can say, “I’m going to kill myself tomorrow” and the next sentence will be something like “So I settled on the couch to watch a game show.”

She is totally in awe of Murakami’s unwavering commitment to the absurd.

  • I didn’t want to think about plaque on people’s teeth, and I especially didn’t want to hear or think about it while I was eating.

The next sentence is about how the narrator wishes she could just resume reading — of all things — Anna Karenina instead of listening to her husband.

Oh of course! Anna Karenina throws herself in front of a train; is Murakami implying that the wife would throw herself in front of a train if she has to spend another minute listening to her husband talk about plaque removal?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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