Mirror: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 2 September 2016

  • This week’s challenge is all about reflections.

— Jen H., The Daily Post

Here is self’s first take:

Noelle Q. de Jesus reading from her first short story collection, Blood, at the San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin Street, 23 August 2016:

(The table is a reflective surface)


Noelle Q. de Jesus (in red and black top) and Edwin Lozada, who organized the reading: August 23, 2016, San Francisco Main Library

A man is reflected in an Ed Ruscha work at the de Young Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, about a month ago:


An Ed Ruscha at the de Young Museum, August 2016

Final photo: the sculpture garden at the de Young Museum, August 2016. That refective ball is pretty fabulous!


Sculpture Garden, outside the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, August 2016

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Still On: Anne Enright’s THE GREEN ROAD

The Green Road is taking self to some very unexpected places. Such as: New York City, 1991. Which turned out to be a watershed year for self as well. Just read her story “Lenox Hill, December 1991” in Charlie Chan Is Dead, Vol. 1, edited by Jessica Hagedorn.

Here’s an excerpt from Enright’s novel:

DAN – New York, 1991

. . .  if the question was whether Billy was still sleeping with Gregory Savalas, then the answer was that they had barely slept together in the first place. Billy was a blonde boy, on the sturdy side, with a thug/angel thing going, so there was a line of sad bastards queuing at his door; half of them married, most of them in suits. And Billy hated the closet. What Billy wanted was big, shouty unafraid sex with someone who did not cry, or get complicated, or hang around after the orange juice and the croissant.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

OPPOSITES: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 1 July 2016

There are so many ways to infuse photos with drama, from choosing an unusual angle to focusing on a strong, vibrant palette. One idea I often explore is contrast. No, not so much in the technical sense of shadows and highlights (important as they certainly are), but more fundamentally: I love the power of a single frame to bring together conflicting elements.

— Ben Huberman, The Daily Post


Self has been pondering this challenge for a few days. It turns out she likes taking   high-contrast shots, mostly silhouettes, but on re-reading the prompt, she decided to try something different.

Here’s a picture from an illustrated version of Noah’s Ark. The etchings, by Arthur Geisert, are very fine. Self picked this particular drawing because of the way the straight lines of the support beams and the wooden floors are set off against the ark’s round bottom:


An Illustration by Arthur Geist for THE ARK (Houghton Mifflin, 1988)

Here’s a sign showing opposite directions:


Self-explanatory, really: near the Mendocino Headlands

Finally, two sharply contrasting book covers: Another Kind of Paradise is an anthology of short stories from the “new Asia-Pacific” edited by Trevor Carolan. After is an anthology of nineteen stories of “apocalypse and dystopia” edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Wandling. Both books are highly recommended (Self has a story in one of them).


Two Anthologies: Wildly Different

Hope you like these interpretations of the theme “Opposites”!

Stay tuned.

Admiration 4: A List (Far From Complete)


It happened while she was trying to expand on her reasons for assembling this particular mosaic of images to represent the week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge: ADMIRATION.

And she couldn’t find a previous saved version. Gaaaah! And in re-selecting images, she decided to stop at six instead of the eight she originally had. And she also substituted some images. Sorry for the confusion!

  1. Lady in Red: Ger, chef of Cork’s pre-eminent restaurant, Café Paradiso. Such a great chef, and also very direct and witty! Self loves Ger.
  2. Katniss Everdeen: Self-explanatory, really.
  3. Allison Joseph, co-editor with Jon Tribble of Crab Orchard Review. Fabulousness.
  4. The mother-daughter team who cook and manage Chez Mamie, 22 Hanway Street, London. They make London feel like home.
  5. SeaCity Museum, Southampton, England: Thank you to Joan McGavin, who took her here last year. What a great exhibit on the Titanic. While other cities lay claim to having the best exhibits on the tragedy, Southampton’s is so poignant because it focuses on the crew, most of whom were from this city. And therefore, the focus of the displays is on working-class people. Which makes this a much more layered story. In one gallery, there’s a map on the floor with red dots representing the houses of each of the victims. The dots are clustered around the poorer sections of the city.
  6. Last but not least: Nutschell Ann Windsor, Program Administrator for UCLA Extension’s on-line Writers Program. She is the best. She not only handles all requests with Zen calmness, she is a writer herself. And an editor. She’s holding an anthology she edited.

And now self will post before she accidentally deletes something again.

Stay tuned.

Where To Find (Some of) Self’s Published Pieces

Look here!

Next year’s AWP Conference and Book Fair: Washington, DC.

You do not want to miss it. For sure.

Stay tuned.

Best of AWP 2016 (Love L.A.), Part 2

Awesomeness is a book fair.

A few people were saying the latest AWP book fair was too big, too spread out. But self doesn’t see it getting any smaller. And okay, she probably only saw 1/10 of the publishers who were there. But, still, fun times!

Okay, so Chris Hemsworth was NOT actually at the AWP Bookfair in Los Angeles, earlier this month. But, please, why would self ever shy away from including a fabulous hunk of eye candy like Chris? Are you crazes? He was on the cover of Angeleno magazine!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Best of AWP 2016 (Love L.A.), Part 1

Just look at all this literary goodness!

Self decided to give herself a pick-me-up after reading today’s New York Times. What better way than by reminding herself that — people, America is full of writers/artists/publishers who soldier on, no matter what the odds! And who manage to look like they’re having a great time while they’re at it! Without needing comb-overs!

Exhausted by AWP, Turning to Everlark

AWP Los Angeles was one heck of a ride.

It was huge. It was overwhelming. It was also a lot of fun.

Self is processing.

To help this process along, she is indulging in reading Everlark fan fiction. There was an Everlark fiction exchange recently (Indeed, Everlark shows no sign of fading, even after the end of the movie series, November 2015), and self contributed a prompt. The new fics have been slowly trickling in, oh joy.

Everlark is all love stories. All the time. Angst-y love stories.

Everlark falls apart. Again and again and again and again. And then there is a delicious, excruciatingly slow “growing back together” (the most loved Hunger Games trope)

Apropos of which, a quote from fellow Stanford Creative Writing Program alum Jeffrey Eugenides, in his introduction to the 2008 Harper anthology, My Mistress’s Sparrow Is Dead: Great Love Stories, From Chekhov to Munro:

A love story can never be about full possession . . . Love stories depend on disappointment, on unequal births and feuding families, on matrimonial boredom and at least one cold heart . . .  Love stories, nearly without exception, give love a bad name.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Spring Fling, Gallery Bookshop, Main Street, Mendocino: Sunday, 13 May 2016

Tomorrow! Sunday, 13 March 2016: Book Event at self’s FAVORITE BOOKSHOP IN THE WORLD:

Gallery Bookshop, Main Street, Mendocino

If self could live in a bookstore, she would live in Gallery Bookshop. Because all she has to do is look out the window and she sees the bluffs and the mighty Pacific Ocean.


Self’s Books, Available Now in Gallery Bookshop, Main Street, Mendocino

Self is signing at 1 p.m.

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.


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