Dialogue: Self’s Angsty-y Everlark Fan Fiction, Chapter 43

“Sometimes,” says the taller of the men, coming up to Peeta with an air of slight menace, “Sometimes you just have to get out.”

“That’s right,” says his companion. “Get out.”

“And sometimes you’ve had your fill,” says the taller man.

“But you still have to get out,” says the other man.

“Do you want to see her again?” the taller man asks.

Without hesitation, Peeta says yes.

“Then let’s get going,” the shorter man says.

And just like that, Peeta leaves. This time, he doesn’t bother to ask if he can put on some clothes.

“Synth”: KTNS-12 Prepares for her Vivisection

Self is madly rotating her readings:

  • The Economist
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Eragon
  • Everlark fan fiction

With regards to the fan fiction, she’s consumed all the newest Everlark stories (And they do seem to be coming at a faster rate, since the last Hunger Games movie is set to screen this November), so she’s back to re-reading her favorites. One of her new favorites is a story called “Synth,” in which a cyborg named KTNS-12 is manufactured by a brilliant scientist named Beetee and his Junior Scientist Assistant named Peeta! YESSSS!

Self loves Cyborg KTNS-12!

She must not show any feelings at all. Feelings are anomalies. Feelings mean she is a defective.

But KTNS-12 has those feelings. Especially when Junior Scientist Peeta is around!

There are only two chapters posted, but Chapter 2 ends on a terrible cliff-hanger.

SPOILER TA-DA SPOILER DEE-DUM SPOILER

One day, KTNS-12 is brought to a lab where a trio of scientists waits to begin a new round of testing on her.

“This table is surrounded by a cluster of shining instruments on tray tables. Scissors. Scalpels. Gauze. Tweezers. There’s a C-clamp welded to the floor, and beside it stands an IV hook.”

The three scientists are named: Gloss, Cato, and Clove.

JEEPERS CREEPERS NOOOOO!!!

Paging Junior Scientist Peeta! Emergency! Paging Junior Scientist Peeta!

But KTNS-12 can’t show fear. She enters the room, all the while reassuring herself by thinking: I am not afraid. I am not afraid.

End of Chapter.

Please, O Esteemed Fan Fiction Author, please updaaaate. Self can’t stand it. Her head is full of horrible imaginings.

Three years ago, self had a story published by the New Orleans Review. The setting was an apocalyptic future (Of course: self is nothing if not obsessed by the apocalyptic future) where strange mutated animals were being kept in an Animal Rehabilitation Center tended by humans who were barely humans anymore. One human had flashing metal wheels in place of legs, etc etc etc. The story is called, appropriately “Thing.” Because people have no labels for that which defies characterization, so it is just called . . . Thing. And, no need for self to tell dear blog readers that a world where there is such murkiness about life that “things” proliferate is a dark, dark world. A world of the most Abject Despair.

Self is inured, in other words, to all kinds of fictional pain.

But the thing about fan fiction is, everything is in progress. A lot of times, stories never get completed. Or, if a story gets completed, it’s sometimes as long as a year between updates. And the tension just builds and builds and . . .

OK, self has got to calm down. Because it’s Sunday night and her life is so full.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

I WILL NEVER OWN ENOUGH BOOKS Spreads AmazeSauce over Self’s Saturday!

Today, I Will Never Own Enough Books nominated self for the CREATIVE BLOGGER AWARD!

Epic Blush!

The rules say that self has to share five facts about herself. So here goes:

  1. Her favorite indulgence is reading Everlark fan fiction.
  2. She was a Fellow in the Stanford University Creative Writing Program.
  3. Her 2nd favorite indulgence is watching plays. The last play she saw (July 2015) was “King John” at the Globe in London.
  4. She loves riding trains.
  5. She has written a 9/11 story called “Wavering” (Published in a literary magazine now defunct, boo).

So here are self’s five nominees:

  1. TheGypsyMind16
  2. The Alchemist’s Kitchen
  3. Kick-Ass Ireland!
  4. cassandra jp
  5. Kahakai Kitchen

Onward!

Story. Story. Story (Fiction. Fiction. Fiction)

Last week, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I was in a big hurry. I had to be someplace at 9 a.m.

I looked up. It was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. For real.

He made a motion with his hand: Picture?

Picture? I said back.

Picture with me?

Sorry, I said, I don’t have a camera.

Cell phone?

No.

And I could see this person’s eyes. Through the TMNT mask. Not blue. Not green. Not grey. Maybe brown. They were so — hopeful?

Hug, I said.

So I leaned over just the slightest bit.

After: Was it the blue dress I wore that day? Or the determined look on my face?

Whacha think, dear blog readers?

Stay tuned.

Self’s Very Own Apocalyptic Dystopia

Why on earth would self be quoting from The 100 when she has written her own story of apocalyptic dystopia that was published just a few months ago?

Right? Right?

Here again is something from “The Freeze” (Bluestem, Spring 2015). When she realizes how long the story is — it’s a miracle. It’s written in very hallucinatory prose. And she was able to go on like that, without switching voice, for almost 20 pages? Self is always surprised when she can pull something like that off.

To tell the truth, every one of her speculative fiction stories is an experiment. Beginning with the extremely short story, “The Departure,” published in Philippine Genre Stories (thanks to Charles Tan, who solicited it for their very first issue).

She likes applying the dreamy voice to her science fiction.

Moving along.

There is a very terrifying scene in “The Freeze.” But she will skip right over that because she is quite distressed herself after reading it.

No sign of Annie. She had been taken by a great, invisible force. Up, towards the light? Or down to the sea. Who knew?

If there was no body, there could not be a death. That comforted me.

I walked in the gloomy dark until I heard, far away but distinct, the sound of waves pounding the cliffs.

Descend.

Almost overnight, the temperature dropped, and dropped, and dropped.

Mr. King, the old man who lived next door, said, It’s just a cold spell. It will pass.

But two weeks later, it was dark almost the whole day.

The roses blackened, my teeth chattered in my head.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Beneath Your Feet 5: Oh the Places Self Roams! In Her Imagination and Elsewhere

Early this year, while self was in Mendocino, she got sent an illustration by Matthew Park (son of an ex-classmate, Mavee Park). He based his illustration off self’s story, “The Freeze,” which was as yet unpublished.

About two weeks after she got sent Matthew’s illustration, the piece was picked up by Bluestem. How’s that for synchronicity? And then, at the AWP Book Fair in Minneapolis, in April, she picked up her author copies.

The story of “The Freeze” is: The earth is slowly dying from a precipitous Ice Age that descends without warning, right after an Obama broadcast about the Russians. Self knows this is far-fetched but, hey, that is only the backstory.

She would love to see this made into an animated film, some day.

Here’s an excerpt:

My group was walking south along the coast. Why? In the cold, we became migratory birds, heading south unquestioningly, thinking: South, it will be warm. Or, anyway, warmer than here.

Can you imagine a time when . . .

Coffee. Waving good-bye to my girls every morning. Inspecting the roses. Peeling off the leaves that were mottled with blackspot and rust.

TheFreezecover_concept02-3

Self combed her archives this afternoon and found more pictures that relate to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge:  BENEATH YOUR FEET

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2013, just before it shut down for renovation.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2013, just before it shut down for renovation. It should be open again now?

The vaporetto stop on Ca' San Toma, Venice, early morning, May 2013

The vaporetto stop on Ca’ San Toma, Venice. Margarita Donnelly and self shared an apartment: May 2013. Margarita passed away December 2014.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

First Sentence, New Story/ And Self’s Discovery of a New Fantasy Book Series

  • Let me tell you about wind.
Self was going to take a picture for this week's WordPress Photo Challenge, instead she got distracted by bars of light . . .

Self was going to take a picture for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, instead she got distracted by bars of light . . .

It is a red-letter day. Self started a new series by Christopher Paolini. The first book of the series, Eragon.

Over the years, she has had much cause to thank various nieces, nephews, sons of friends who tell her, “Read this! You won’t regret it!” She thought it would be fun to compile a list of series she started because niece/nephew/children of friends brought them to her attention. Here goes:

MASSIVE SPOILER-Y ALERT:

  • The Hunger Games: Thank you to Niece G, who saw self reading Twilight and told her: “You should read The Hunger Games.” Self put off finishing Book 1 (the last 50 pages) because she thought Peeta was going to die. Until, one fine day, she spilled her angst to Niece G and Niece G said, “Peeta makes it.” Then self had to rush back home because she needed to finish the last 50 pages she’d put off reading. For three years. Two books later, self was a goner. How deep into this stuff is self? She even entertained the notion of meeting up in Dallas for a convening of Everlark fan fiction writers)
  • Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief:  Thank you to son of Gayo A.
  • The Infernal Devices: Thank you to niece in Calgary, Karina Villanueva.
Karina in Calgary: So Adorbs!

Karina in Calgary: So Adorbs!

  • Eragon: Thank you to Isaac S. At first self thought she would never get over The Infernal Devices — the angst! The Victorian Steampunk! London and York! — but Isaac thought she just might like this new series, so anyhoo, she gave it a shot. Hoooooly Smoke !!!! The Prologue was — mind-blowing.

Also just began reading Kass Morgan’s The 100 (which she heard is very different from the CW TV series). The plot goes something like this: 100 juvenile delinquents get sent to Earth to re-populate it. YAY!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ramblings: PANK Going Off-line/ J Journal List of Pushcart-Nominated Stories and Etc.

PANK, the on-line literary magazine, is going off-line in December.

WOE!

PANK published a story of self’s in issue 9.5 — “Seeing.”

She isn’t sure what’s going to happen now to the archived stories. Do they just disappear?

Here’s a link; it’s at least viable until PANK goes off the grid:

http://pankmagazine.com/piece/seeing/

*     *     *     *     *

And, while self is at it, here’s another link, this to the Pushcart-nominated stories that appeared in J Journal, one of which was self’s “Magellan’s Mirror” (Volume 5, No. 2, Fall 2012)

http://johnjay.jjay.cuny.edu/jjournal/V5N2/Villanueva_MagellansMirror.pdf

J Journal published an excerpt from “Magellan’s Mirror,” here:

http://johnjay.jjay.cuny.edu/jjournal/V5N2/Villanueva_MagellansMirror.pdf

*     *     *     *     *

And, while on the topic of Pushcart nominations, last year, her story “The Elephant,” was nominated by Your Impossible Voice.

She has had several of these already, stretching back decades. Let’s see, how many already? Five or six.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Colm Toibin, The New York Review of Books, 9 July 2015

Self used to have a subscription to The New York Review of Books. Oh how she mourns, mourns, mourns that absence, it was her go-to publication for really good writing, such as the one in the 9 July 2015 issue, Colm Toibin’s essay “The Hard-Won Truth of the North.”

In describing poet Elizabeth Bishop’s move from Nova Scotia to Worcester, Massachusetts, Toibin writes: “. . . the sudden disruption, the end of the familiar, came as a rare and ambiguous gift to the writers. Despite the pain involved, or precisely because of it, they found not only their subject, but their style.”

In discussing the Swedish writer Stig Dagerman (d. 1954, at the age of 31), Toibin writes: “Dagerman was in possession of several tones.”

Isn’t that such a beautiful sentence? It says it all.

Dagerman had “a gift for writing sharp and cool declarative sentences that is close to Hemingway.”

His short stories use “a tone close to that in the early stories of James Joyce’s Dubliners, which Joyce described to his publishers as a tone of ‘scrupulous meanness.’ ”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

These Characters Self Writes

Self adores FictionFeed.net for doing that piece on her. She’s started following them on Twitter.

The writer of the piece (on her story “First Life” in Juked) is listed simply as Curator. Here’s an excerpt:

No, the story isn’t particularly out of the ordinary, but its narrator (a boy by the name of Dragon) makes up for that in spades, with a wildly unusual voice and bendy-spoon perspective that basically defamiliarize the story’s world in its entirety.

Some time ago, self began writing stories about male characters on the edge, she’s not sure why.

Recently, she’s been thinking of another of her Male-Characters-on-the-Edge, from a story called “Crackers” that appeared in Crab Ochard Review’s The West Coast & Beyond Issue (Vol. 19, No. 2, which is also going to be the focus of a panel in next year’s AWP: Midwest Magazine Searches for West Coast Writers, YAY!).

Crab Orchard Literary Review's The West Coast & Beyond Issue (Vol. 19, No. 2, Summer/Fall 2014)

Crab Orchard Literary Review’s The West Coast & Beyond Issue (Vol. 19, No. 2, Summer/Fall 2014)

Hello, “Crackers” is speculative fiction, so of course crazy. Do not expect real-world Philippines, and you will be okay:

In December 2012, I finally emerged from the wild mountain fastness of the Philippines. My left shoulder had a tattoo of a python, my right a tattoo of a kris, the blade of choice of the mountain tribes. I wore a necklace of red parrot beaks. I spoke only in monosyllables. They said I was crackers.

They made me register at the Palo Alto VA for a psychiatric evaluation.

Thank you, Juked, thank you, Crab Orchard Literary Review, for taking a chance on self’s crazy writing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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