Writing/Revising

Self is going through a stash of papers that she’s been toting around in her suitcase, for the longest time.

Lo and behold, it’s a print-out of her story, “Ice.” The one that Bellingham Review is going to publish.

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Page 1 of self’s dystopian fantasy, “Ice”

Self’s writing is very, very spare.

Some have even described it as “simple” though self really takes exception to that word as her process is anything but. It is the most intricate process ever.

She cuts ruthlessly during revision.

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Flash Fiction Revision: every phrase that isn’t 100% necessary gets cut.

What’s left on the page is not simple.

At least, not in self’s humble opinion.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Most Laconic Comment Ever

There’s this one reader of Everlark fan fiction who’s been leaving one sentence responses to any and all for over a year.

After a chapter on a fan fic based on “The Tudors” where everyone is shown to be snogging or bonking or whatever: The court is a busy place.

In response to a fan fic that’s super-angsty and dark: WOW.

After a Tarzan Peeta fan fic (It is great; self likes it so much better than any Tarzan movie version) dropped a new chapter today, a chapter in which Tarzan Peeta (who knows no English) shows a wary Katniss a scene of two monkeys fornicating in the jungle, then stares intensely into her eyes (Chapter ends right after Katniss stares dumfounded at Tarzan Peeta — which is to say, damn cliffhanger of all cliffhangers!)

Peeta has absolutely no experience with any women, but he wants to _____ with Katniss so the only way he can show her what he wants is to take her to a scene of animals doing it which is so — sweet and gentlemanly, like he’s asking: Are you down with this sort of feral activity, Katniss? I wish not to offend!

Comment:

  • Peeta wants to get busy.

LOL LOL LOL

Self finally told the Laconic Commenter how much she enjoyed those cryptic zingers, and found out today that the commenter is a busy Mom who dashes through airports while madly reading fan fic on her cell phone. Which explains everything.

There was another comment on the Tarzan Peeta fan fic that cracked self up today:

  • I did see the Tarzan movie and it is good. Alexander S’s body is fabulous. Sorry to digress.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Details 2: Spring and Summer 2016

Discover the intimate details of something unexpected.

— Jen H., The Daily Post

Self’s go-to summer sandal: low heel, super-comfy, and bright orange. Summer’s all about comfort and freedom: her feet are happy.

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This is New York City, May 2016, during an unexpected lull in a frantic week:

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Park Avenue Nocturne: Self only just noticed the little squares of lighted windows from the buildings across the street. The view is from her brother-in-law’s apartment in Manhattan.

Finally, self was able to visit Bletchley Park, just outside London, in early June. It was an overcast day, self got to the park early, before the crowds arrived. In fact, self was the only person walking from the train station that morning.

She hasn’t seen The Imitation Game, the movie about the codebreakers of Bletchley Park, but there’s an exhibit of costumes used during the filming, and Benedict Cumberbatch is on the audio guide.

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Whatever self expected when she visited Bletchley Park in June, she never expected the grounds to be so lovely. There was a lake full of ducks and very approachable swans.

Highly recommend a visit to Bletchley Park. The exhibits include an actual Enigma machine. The history is just palpable.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Miguel Hernandez: Been So Long

A creature must grow
From the seedbed of nothing
and more than one turns up
under the design of an angry star,
under a troubled and bad moon.

an excerpt from “Bloody Fate” (in the collection Miguel Hernandez, NYRB/Poets) translated by Don Share

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:

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

Here’s a sign showing opposite directions:

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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).

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Two Anthologies: Wildly Different

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

Stay tuned.

Partners 2: Summer 2016

Share an image of partners. A pair, a trio, a sextet; people, buildings, plants — whatever you choose to shoot, give us subjects that are in tune with one another.

— Michelle W., The Daily Post

Life is full of little pleasures. And for self’s second post on The Daily Post theme this week, PARTNERS, self decided to focus on three of her favorites: summer; prosciutto; and Chez Mamie in London!

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Summer and Vintage Cars go together like white on rice!

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Prosciutto and Melon: Another Great Summer Pairing

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Mother & Daughter at Self’s Little Piece of Home in London, Chez Mamie! They make their own jam, which are those little bottles in the foreground. Self goes ga-ga over their salads.

P.S. Self saw Independence Day: Resurgence today, and it was pretty good! She was pleasantly surprised at Liam Hemsworth, too. He seemed much looser than he ever was in The Hunger Games movies. So, a good popcorn movie, most definitely.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Random Thoughts on Summer 2016 Movies

SUMMER!  SUMMER IS HERE!  WOOT HOOT AND HIGH FIVES!

Self swore, way back in January, that she would find joy again in watching movies. And she has! She has! Even when she was in venerable Oxford, UK, she managed to watch “X-Men: Apocalypse” and “Captain America: Civil War”! (Which is probably why she ran out of time before she could drop by the Ashmolean. But she is not a complete Philistine: she did spend time in the Bodleian, and took a one-day poetry workshop at Saint Hilde’s)

So, let’s see, here are the list of summer movies she’s seen so far:

  • Me Before You (Emilia Clarke meets Bridget Jones: Clarke is too adorable!)
  • The Shallows (Blake Lively and her cute butt and her long legs and her killer smile meet a totally focused great white in the wilds of — Latin America? Mexico? Where the pretty Texan encounters very chivalrous men. The only un-chivalrous man who comes within Blake’s orbit gets . . . umm, well, let’s just say: Payback’s a bitch)
  • Love & Friendship (Xavier Samuels: What is her life? AAAARGH. When you put a handsome man in period duds, it’s lights out. At least, as far as self is concerned)
  • X-Men: Apocalypse (Let us give credit where credit is due: the only reason self watches anymore is Evan Peters)
  • Captain America: Civil War (American snark rules! Especially in this series! YES!)

She will probably end up seeing Independence Day: Resurgence even though it has Liam. And mediocre reviews (Liam, you need a new agent! Pronto! Someone who can find you movies that convince people you can actually move!)

Of the above, the best ‘summer movie’ movie is, in self’s humble opinion, The Shallows. Any movie that can evoke hoots, laughter, and finally a triumphant YEEEES from a California audience has definitely earned its spot in the Best Summer Movie pantheon.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Sally Potter

. . .  at fourteen I was lent an 8 mm camera and put the viewfinder to my eye. Framing the world — in black and white — made my heart beat faster and clarified my sense of purpose without my consciously knowing for a moment what that was.

— Introduction, Naked Cinema: Working With Actors

Have any dear blog readers seen Potter’s film, YES? Because self saw it for the first time at London Review Bookshop in May, and it is brilliant.

Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Yes, You Know It

From Matt Zoller Seitz’s review of “Love & Friendship,” Whit Stillman’s new movie, on rogerebert.com, which is self’s current go-to site for reviews of new movies:

(NOTE: Parenthetical comments are self’s adds)

(Lady) Susan is distinguished by her audacity, not just in her wants and desires but in the way she talks to other people (not least of whom is her own daughter, a most woeful waif named Frederica), turning subtext into text in a way most people would not do unless the person they were talking about was in another room, or another state. But they’re standing right there! And they can’t get their minds around how staggeringly rude and entitled Susan is — most of all Reginald, who’s played with great precision by Samuel as a decent man who is so stunned by Susan’s nerve that he can barely bring himself to reprimand her: he’s too busy marveling at her existence.

Yes, in Stillman’s movie, social cruelty is played completely straight by Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny and also by Xavier Samuel. Beckinsale’s Lady Susan utters lines like “Facts are horrid” with such sweetness you don’t even know if that’s what she really said so you go “Facts are WHAT?”

Great job with directing this sly and absolutely wicked Jane Austen work, Whit Stillman!

Stay tuned.

Babysitting: “The Girl on the Train”

This trope has been done before: babysitter develops crush on employer’s husband and it’s all yada yada yada.

Self began reading The Girl on the Train. She likes it, so far, even though the woman she sat next to on the plane said, “Didn’t like that one so much. Disappointed, after all the hype.”

Self was on page 6. The woman raised her book: a paperback by Danielle Silva.

She decided she’d stick with The Girl on the Train. It couldn’t be as bad as the other book she bought in London: Grey. At least, there’s psychological depth to Paula Hawkins’ narrator. She’s no Ruth Rendell but there is no Ruth Rendell except Ruth Rendell. Self would settle for a few nights of cheap thrills.

Here is the babysitter coming to work, on p. 38:

Today she doesn’t open the door, it’s him, the husband, Tom, suited and booted, off to work. He looks handsome in his suit — not Scott handsome, he’s smaller and paler , and his eyes are a little too close together when you see him up close — but he’s not bad. He flashes me his wide, Tom Cruise smile, and then he’s gone, and it’s just me and her and the baby.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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