FAVORITE PLACE: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 21 March 2018

  • This week, share an image of your happy place . . .  (Cheri Lucas Rowlands, The Daily Post, 21 March 2018)

Self’s favorite place is her imagination.

It’s a place where anything can happen: where porcupines turn into lizards, where a teenager carries a woman on his back from San Francisco to Los Angeles because the Apocalypse has happened and people need to stick together, where a taciturn sea captain is the only person who can save humanity from an invasion of creatures called Longnecks who suddenly appear in the Bering Sea.


Children’s Book: Found it in son’s room, a week ago.

Self’s stories may not sound happy, but she is most happy when she is writing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


THE MANDIBLES: A FAMILY, 2029 – 2047, p. 262

Gosh, self loves this book now. She’s going to have to up her Goodreads rating for it. She initially gave it two stars, then upped it to three. But, on the basis of what she’s read thus far, she’ll up it another star: to four.

The novel follows each member of the Mandibles family as they deal with being broke and unattractive (Being broke is a far different condition than being poor: being poor is a situation you can’t always help; being broke is absolutely the result of mis-calculation or hubris or something, and there’s a lot of blame involved) in a not-so-distant future (2029, it says so right in the title)


For the better part of the last year, Avery had taken refuge in toil: scrubbing, dishwashing, mending, chopping and laundry . . .  Swallowing her umbrage, she coached Goog on his Spanish. She only panicked when she ran out of tasks. Drudgery was therapeutic. Were she ever to start another practice, she’d have all her patients mop the floor.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

I’d Rather Be . . . On a Boat

San Pedro Marina, this morning. Just behind the forest of masts, the San Pedro Naval Shipyard, the largest shipyard self has ever seen.


San Pedro Marina, the Day After a Reading at Philippine Expressions Bookshop on W. Sixth Street, San Pedro

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Also Reading: THE MANDIBLES, A FAMILY, 2029 – 2047

On March 11, five days ago, self (suffering from post-AWP Tampa exhaustion) decided not to finish reading The Mandibles: A Family. It follows the various members of a (mostly) affluent East Coast family named the Mandibles (What kind of name is that? How can she relate to any character whose last name is Mandible?)

Nevertheless, having already devoted three nights in Tampa to getting through this book, she decided to plough on. After all, it’s about how to deal when all your money is gone. There may be life lessons here, self thought.

She was correct!

Now, five days later, she’s halfway.  One member of the family is beginning to stand out, and he’s just a kid. His name is Willing, and he’s very smart. The more she reads about Willing, the more she sees parallels with the Parkland kids, David Hogg et. al., who have become thorns in the side of Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Mitch McConnell, the NRA, and Fox news pundits like Sean Hannity.

In a section on p. 203, a hapless Mandible named Lowell reflects on what he finds so irritating about his nephew, Willing:

But this Willing kid had slathered on an extra level of crapola, and unless his performance the previous evening was a one-off display to impress visiting relatives, Lowell could be throttling the little bastard within the week. The boy glowed with divine inspiration, as if he had a personal psychic hotline to the late editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal.

lol  lol  lol

Stay tuned.


AWP 2018 Tampa: Featured Speakers

Keynote Speaker:


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.

First Sentence, Work-in-Progress

Get up!

Admiral George Dewey, 1 May 1898


Admiral George Dewey defeated an outdated and woefully under-equipped Spanish fleet at the Battle of Manila Bay, 1 May 1898

“Don Alfredo and Jose Rizal” in Sou’wester, Spring 2007:

  • As Jose Rizal was lined up before the Spanish firing squad, labeled renegade and underground solidarity worker, George Dewey entered Manila Bay.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Novel-In-Progress ‘Blue Water, Distant Shores’ Started As a Short Story

An excerpt from the short story (which self is thinking of sending out, after so many years): Apologies, she may have posted this excerpt several weeks or even several months ago. She’s adding a further paragraph.

What’s interesting is, the name of the main character never changed. It was always, and still is, Matias (and she personally knows not a single person with that name). It always amazes her when she finds this story again: because the cadence! She pulled it from the bottom of a pile of stuff, just a few minutes ago.

Matias had no recollection of going back to bed but when he next opened his eyes it was daylight. A last fragment of dream slipped from his consciousness. He sat up, feeling bereft.

He stayed with the Bishop for almost a week, receiving his instructions. It was May; the heat was at its greatest. At night, a servant shuffled into his room and, from a pole running the length of the low ceiling, lowered folds of gauzy white netting around the bed. He had difficulty sleeping. He spent long nights listening to the faint whine of invisible mosquitoes, just beyond the white gauze. In the morning, the Bishop remarked on the dark circles beneath the young priest’s eyes.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.



In Progress: Fantasy

“I was on my way to the Citadel,” she said.

I performed an elaborate yawn.

Poetry Tuesday: Wislawa Szymborska

DREAM (An excerpt)

A meadow spreads between us.
Skies come flying with clouds and birds,
mountains rise silently on the horizon
and a river flows downward, searching for the sea.

— Wislawa Szymborska, translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh

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