#amwriting: “I Eat Bitterness”

Self is writing a 9/11 story called “I Eat Bitterness.”

About a businessman who commutes into Manhattan from his home in Connecticut. On the day of the attack, he’s late for work because he had a fight with his wife. His thoughts on the train are broody and dark. He arrives at the World Trade Center at half past 9 in the morning.

As self explores this story, she occasionally turns to her reading of back issues of The New Yorker and The Economist.

In the 29 October 2016 issue of The Economist, this:

Who will uphold the torch of openness in the West? . . . Hillary Clinton, the probable winner on November 8th, would be much better on immigration, but she has renounced her former support for ambitious trade deals.

Heart breaks.

Stay tuned.

Fantasy, Set in the Philippines: Self’s “Isa”

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Hinoba-an, Negros Occidental, the Philippines: December 2010

A few weeks ago, when self was attending a reading in USF, Barbara Jane Reyes, poet and teacher, told self she was teaching “Isa” in her class this fall.

YEEEESSSSS!!!!

Five families lived on Isa. At first, there was a way to walk on the ground between the houses. But gradually the water rose and that was when we began to use the rope bridges.

In self’s story the water keeps rising and rising and rising, until gradually all the other islands get submerged. And there is only one left.

The families on Isa send out an expedition to see how far the water reaches. The journey takes them far away, and they realize that they’ve long passed the edges of their known world.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading: Lydia Davis, “Five Signs of Disturbance”

She is watching everything very closely: herself, this apartment, what is outside the windows, and the weather.

There is a day of thunderstorms, with dark yellow and green light in the street, and black light in the alley. She looks into the alley and sees foam running over the concrete, washed out from the gutters by the rain. Then there is a day of high wind.

— from “Five Signs of Disturbance” in Davis’s first collection, Break It Down

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Fall 2016

Self often uses Lydia Davis in her teaching. Something about the crispness of her sentences. Her elegance.

Stay tuned.

#amwriting: Dystopia, the End

A classroom of the future. The teacher is Fire Lizard.

Fire Lizard really is turning into a lizard.

The students are Dragon, Drinker, and Knot. Dragon and Drinker are boys. Knot is a girl.

This is a sequel to self’s “First Causes.”

Fire Lizard looking greener than usual today. He pays no mind about Big’s chair, sitting empty.

“Nature,” Fire Lizard begins, “will vindicate her laws.”

We nod. Our cornea slips engage.

This is a series of stories in which the protagonists mostly just sit in a classroom. Because this is a classroom of the future, there’s fancy stuff like cornea slips.

“First Life” was published in Juked.com, July 2015.

“First Causes” is forthcoming in Quarterly West.

For more of this dystopian universe, refer also to decomP, which in August this year published “Spores,” along with audio from Morgan Cooke, reading in full Dublin accent, lol!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amwriting: The Hill of Storms

The ghost of Dolly the sheep and three dun-polled cows grazed the storm-torn bracken.

From that day the King of France was never troubled by visits from the lands of dark-skinned peoples.

__________________

This is one of those stories where every other line is italicized because there are two interlocking threads.

An experiment, for sure!

Stay tuned.

WIP: “Problems With Sleep”

A Stanford undergrad reminisces:

The next morning, the baby bird seemed weak. It lay gasping, its wings ruffling desperately. By the end of the day, it had turned over on its back. A pulse was just visible, below its beak.

Ellis’s mother was washing up in the kitchen. She walked over to the box and peered in. There was a kind of abstract look on her face.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Chaos 2: Victoria & Albert; AWP Book Fair, Los Angeles; Manhattan, Night

Embrace the creative potential of disorderly randomness.

— Ben Huberman, The Daily Post

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A Chihuly: Lobby of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London

Below: the controlled chaos of the Annual AWP Book Fair. This year’s was in Los Angeles. Seated: Keith Tuma of Miami University Press.

There have been AWP conferences where self is so buzzed by being surrounded by so many authors and literary panels that she has gone as long as 48 hours with absolutely no sleep.

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AWP Book Fair, Los Angeles, April 2016

Finally: self did a lot of lonely walking in Manhattan last December. The city never ceases to amaze. New York is a grrrreat city for insomniacs!

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New York City: Night, Midtown, December 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Reading of the Day: BOOK OF PSALMS, Chapter 6

I have laboured in my groanings, every night I will wash my bed: I will water my couch with my tears.

My eye is troubled through indignation: I have grown old amongst all my enemies.

Depart from them, all ye workers of iniquity: for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping.

The Lord hath heard my supplication; the Lord hath received my prayer.

Let all my enemies be ashamed.

Voice is a “thing” with self.

She’ll labor over a story, for years sometimes, until she gets the voice of the main character just right. Sometimes it helps to read poetry. Sometimes it helps to read The Book of Psalms.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

#ThisIsWicked

Self thinks her most important current relationship is with her beta.

That is, she sort of thinks she’s found a beta, though the beta has four other WIPs of her own to get through, not to mention she has a very young kid at home. Not to mention she’s writing two Halloween-related drabbles. Not to mention she’s writing a sequel to the sexiest Vampire Peeta fan fic of all time!

Self just found out her beta lives in a completely different time zone: she’s three hours ahead of self.

It’s really useful to have a beta, because a beta is the best sounding board. The best.

When you’re writing fan fic, your story becomes 10x better if you have a beta.

When her beta doesn’t answer self’s messages, she feels bereft.

Which leads self to:

Last night, some young women in the apartment across the way were screeching and laughing raucously. Self had to wonder how girls could have that much fun, just talking. Then, at around 2 a.m., she heard something heavy land against a window. Probably thrown from an adjacent building. Nothing broke, but suddenly all sound stopped, just like that. And didn’t resume. Well, that was very efficient.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Two Dystopian Fantasies: Forthcoming

in Bellingham Review:  ICE

  • What food, what a fool. There’s no food on the ice. Not on top, not under.

In Quarterly West:  FIRST CAUSES

  • Class begins. Fire Lizard tells us to turn on our cornea slips. “Today’s topic,” Fire Lizard says, “is First Causes.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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