Ephemeral 5: Mendocino Good Times

It was an absolutely knock-your-socks-off (Where did that expression originate, self wonders) gorgeous day in Mendocino.

It’s very bucolic and peaceful here. Nary a sour mood in any of the people she’s encountered.

Self still sticking to the Photo Challenge Theme: EPHEMERAL.

Flowers are ephemeral:

Iberis Sempervirens

Iberis Sempervirens

Fields are full of flowers:

DSCN9096

Nona Smith dropped by Gallery Bookshop last Sunday, when self was doing her Meet-and-Greet, and invited self over for dinner last night:

Sean Minor Pinot Noir to Go With Thai Noodles!

Sean Minor Pinot Noir to Go With Thai Noodles!

A good time was had by all.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ephemera 3: The Trips Self Takes

The WordPress Photo Challenge this week is EPHEMERAL

“So looking forward to seeing the fleeting moments you’ll capture.”

Here are a few from self’s trip to the East Coast, a few weeks ago. As dear blog readers can see from these pictures, when self is on the move, she can’t be bothered with such things as alignment.

Taking the Bolt Bus from Boston Into Manhattan, mid-March

Taking the Bolt Bus from Boston Into Manhattan, mid-March 2015

Landscapes Still Blighted With Winter

Landscapes Still Blighted With Winter, March 2015

The occasion for self’s trip east was the performance, by the Symphony New Hampshire, of Drew Hemenger’s The Marife Suite, which was based on a novella self wrote, Marife.

New Hampshire was cold and wet, the night of the performance, on March 14.

Drew's brother drove us to the concert. This is what New Hampshire looked like that night, seen through the car windows.

Drew’s brother drove us to the concert. This is what New Hampshire looked like that night, seen through the car windows.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Ephemera: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

In honor of the WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge this week — EPHEMERA — self is posting more pictures of snow. Because snow is the embodiment of the ephemeral.

Central Park, New York City: Snow Day, March 2015

Central Park, New York City: Snow Day, March 2015

New York City: 2nd Day of Spring, March 2015

New York City: 2nd Day of Spring, March 2015

Park Avenue, New York City: Late March 2015

Park Avenue, New York City: Late March 2015

Fresh 4: Fresh Buns and Fresh Snow

Last week, self was in New Hampshire, Boston, New York City, and New Bedford, MA. Here are some pictures she took during the trip, that she thinks connect to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: FRESH.

Sunrise Bakery, New Bedford, Massachussetts

Sunrise Bakery, New Bedford, Massachussetts

View From a Train: New York to Providence, RI

View From a Train: New York to Providence, RI

Central Park, New York City: 2nd Day of Spring, 2015

Central Park, New York City: 2nd Day of Spring, 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Fresh 3: Landscapes with Snow

Being in the East Coast during a heavy snowfall is just . . . magical!

Some pictures of freshly fallen snow, to go with this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, FRESH:

Spring 2015 on the Northeast Coast

Spring 2015 on the Northeast Coast

Chilly scenes of Spring 2015

Chilly scenes of Spring 2015

Fresh Snow: Spring 2015

Fresh Snow: Spring 2015

Still reading Roberto Bolaño’s 2666. Since it’s over 800 pages long, and self’s only got as far as p. 148, she wonders if she’ll ever get to finish it. But anyhoo, here’s an excerpt from the page self is on:

I stopped in front of a kind of landscape, a Surrey landscape from John’s earlier period, that looked to me at once sad and sweet, profound and not at all grandiloquent, an English landscape as only the English can paint them. All at once I decided that seeing this one painting was enough . . .

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Fresh: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

It has been snowing all day in New York City.

Nevertheless, self finds that she is still more than up to the challenge of posting about this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge:

FRESH

Share with us a photo that expresses something fresh.

Fresh Strawberries, Fresh Flowers, and Fresh Coffee:  Queenie's Road House, Elk, California

Fresh Strawberries, Fresh Flowers, and Fresh Coffee: Queenie’s Road House, Elk, California

Next: Christmas isn’t Christmas without a fresh-cut tree.

Fresh-Cut from Wegman's: December 2014

Fresh-Cut from Wegman’s: December 2014

Finally: Fresh means flowers! This picture was taken in the Huntington Botanical Gardens on Sept. 11, 2014:

Huntington Botanical Gardens: September 2014

Huntington Botanical Gardens: September 11, 2014

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Hunger Games! Fan Fiction! Self’s New Chapter!

An excerpt from self’s magical realist, Haruki Murakami-inspired, multi-chapter Hunger Games fan fiction:

There’s a sharp knock on the door.

A voice he doesn’t recognize calls his name:  “Mr. Mellark! Mr. Mellark!”

Then, the door seems to open by itself. Peeta turns. There, standing in his apartment, are two ordinary men. They are somewhere between the ages of 50 and 60, and Peeta is sure they aren’t from the Capitol because of the clothes they’re wearing.

“Who are you?” he blurts out.

“We are your friends, Mr. Mellark,” they say in unison.

“No, I don’t know you,” Peeta says. “It’s a trick.”

“We’re here in answer to your call,” the taller of the two says. “Do you recall, about a month ago, speaking to Greasy Sae at The Hob?”

Peeta gapes.

“Mr. Mellark, did you or did you not go to Greasy Sae at The Hob? About a month ago. Think, Mr. Mellark, think.”

It’s a bone-chilling day in New York City. Self spent part of the day on Columbus Avenue. But now that she’s back in the apartment, which is warmer than anywhere in California, she refuses to leave again. Cancel everything! Dinner plans, meeting plans. She’s going to finish reading the latest installment from one of the writers she follows, Fanfiction Allergy. And also write a little bit.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Wall 3: New York City

From the WordPress Daily Post site:

Walls are “where stories are read, voices are heard, ideas are shared.”

Below are a few pictures of walls from self’s peregrinations today, St. Patrick’s Day, in the great, ever-inspiring city of New York.

It was a blustery, chilly day. Self overheard this conversation, while sitting on the steps of the Metropolitan having a lunch of shish kebab and lemonade from one of the truck vendors on Fifth (And it was a pretty good shish kebab!)

Young Woman (wearing a dress, leggings, boots, and an absolutely radiant smile): “I just flashed everyone.”

Friend (seated behind self on the steps): “I know. It’s such a fucking windy day. Love the outfit, though.”

Chinese Courtyard, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Chinese Courtyard, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

St. Patrick's Day Parade Wall of Flags! Viewed from the steps of the Metropolitan Museum

St. Patrick’s Day Parade Wall of Flags! Viewed from the steps of the Metropolitan Museum

Wall of People? We're all waiting for the parade!

Wall of People? We’re all waiting for the parade!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Self Wrote the Libretto for a Two-Act Opera!

Self wrote the libretto for a two-act opera.

Self doesn’t watch opera. But she is never one to let a little thing like not knowing anything stop her from writing!

Self’s composer/collaborator, Drew Hemenger, is sick, as self was before she left California. A few shots of chili-laced Szechuan soup near Harvard Square and she’s all better!

The world premiere of The Marife Suite is this Saturday, in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Boston is freezing cold. Self tried walking around Harvard Square this morning. CRAAAAP! She didn’t even make it five blocks. The wind and — ugh, ugh, ugh! Lips are chapped! Yikes! Hands look like wrinkled prunes!

She’s switching all her fan fiction (the ones that had Peeta as a Harvard undergrad) to Palo Alto.

So glad. Just so glad she chose to study in Palo Alto, where giant palm trees line the broad avenues etc. May the Heavens preserve us, she just can’t take this bitter Boston cold.

Self brought with her the libretto for The Making of the Representative for Planet 8, the opera by Philip Glass and Doris Lessing. Believe it or not, reading this libretto, six years ago, was what started self thinking that maybe, just maybe, she could pull this one off. Maybe she could actually write a full-length opera.

Lessing’s libretto combines two of self’s most enduring interests: science fiction and terse language. Here’s an excerpt from Act II Scene 4:

BELOW THE WALL

The people stand huddled together, waiting. Beside them is a great heap of insulating material.

The People (variously)
Like coats for houses.
In this new time of ours buildings must wear coats and skins.
Like us.

They sink down into the snow. Sit listlessly. Some go off to sleep.

Reading the above, self wonders how much of her story The Freeze, the one that’s coming out in Bluestem Magazine (It’ll be on sale at the AWP Book Fair. Yeessss!), consists of lingering echoes from The Representative for Planet 8. In self’s story, the temperature drops overnight, everything stops working, every living thing dies — except for huddled bands of starving people, who decide to head south.

Her story follows one intrepid band (teen-agers and one very old woman) who decide to follow Highway 1 to Mexico.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Reflections, Yesterday

Feb. 12, 2015: Saw this outside the Stanford Bookstore.

Feb. 12, 2015: Saw this outside the Stanford Bookstore.

It was warm yesterday! While walking around the Stanford University campus, self saw that someone had stuck glittery red hearts around the planter box in front of the Bookstore. The Post Office looked exactly the same. They’re tearing down Meyer. Which means self will have to re-write the stories she’s set there. Yes, she does have stories set in Meyer Library.

The students she spoke to yesterday certainly made her think. Yes, she told them, the stories in Mayor of the Roses were written while she worked at Stanford at various administrative jobs.

Did you ever go to The Bridge (24-hour free counseling service on campus), someone asked. Of course! self replied. Didn’t everybody?

Self told the students that she had a more recent story about the Bridge, but in tone the story is as different from the one in Mayor of the Roses as night and day. In self’s story, which appeared in Waccamaw, the Bridge is a counseling hot-line called 1-800-U-R-Saved. The story is “Bridging.”

She talked about her Creative Writing Program years, and how she felt at the time she wrote the stories in the collection. She really really wanted to take a picture of Professor Miner’s copy of Mayor of the Roses because it was completely marked up. Notes on the margins, arrows pointing every which way. Looked like a piece of post-modern art.

She told the students she was writing science fiction now.

The time was really too short.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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