Quest: Daily Post Photo Challenge, 23 September 2016

We have a new Daily Post Photo Challenge, dropped today by Cheri Lucas Rowlands, QUEST:

  • What are you in search for? Capture your quest with your camera.

Here are some photos from self’s (huge) stash of photos that she thinks emblemize QUEST:

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An Ed Ruscha: Currently on Exhibit at the De Young Museum

And here’s from a handmade book self saw at the Legion of Honor:

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Illustrated Book at the Legion of Honor, Text is by San Francisco Poet Wallace Ting

Every new story is a quest. Here are two pages of her draft for “Ice” (forthcoming from Bellingham Review):

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Two Pages of Self’s Manuscript for “Ice,” One of Her Dystopian Fantasies

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Thinking About Everlark

It is Friday.

Self is pondering her fan fiction.

Unless you’ve been lost in space for four years, you know that she ships Everlark. And only Everlark.

Her readers — self has no idea who they are, because this is fan fiction. Everyone goes by an alias.

She loves when someone leaves a comment and says: Hey, are you going to update this story? It’s been years!

This morning, she’s re-reading a story by Ronja (who is Swedish, self thinks)

684 days ago, a reader left Ronja this comment:

Por favor, ni de casualidad que me puedo morir de tristeza.

Though self’s Spanish is a bit rusty, she thinks she can figure out the gist.

That’s because Ronja has Peeta engaged to someone else.

In self’s newest fan fic, Peeta is a serial killer. Or at least, a suspected serial killer. And Katniss is a detective (with a few secrets of her own), and her partner is Gale. And just so you know, self frequently gets comments like this on her own fic:

Jesus, can’t your Peeta catch a break?

Well, no, he cannot.

LOL

Bodies pop up all over San Francisco.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

“Appetites” (The Café Irreal, Issue 31)

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Bakery, Kanlaon City, Negros Occidental, The Philippines

  • When she was a toddler, cook cut everything into tiny morsels so that the girl’s mouth would not stretch and become wide and ugly. The girl ate only the sweetest pastries, only the smallest and most tender eggplants. Cook herself grew these in a corner of the garden, which every summer sprouted with little trees with purple-tinged leaves.

— “Appetites,” published in The Café Irreal, Issue 31

Mourning for Isotope, edited by Christopher Cokinos

Filipinos once had an ancient written language. If I were to show you what the marks look like on a piece of paper,they would look like a series of waves. Like the eye of the Pharaoh I saw in my old high school history books.

— from self’s hybrid essay/memoir/short story The Lost Language, published in Isotope

Isotope was a literary journal based in Utah State. When that university began to make steep budget cuts, the magazine lost the heart of its funding. In 2009, editor Chris Cokinos issued an appeal for support. Terrain.org posted it.

Alas, Isotope lost the fight. Self mourned. It was the only literary journal of its kind, combining science writing and creative writing, a place that joined physicists and playwrights, biologists and memoir writers, and created an exciting new kind of community.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Selfie! Sylvain Landry Year 2 Theme 1

Sylvain Landry’s blog is a meeting place for photographers. Self loves participating in his photo challenges. The first of his Year 2 photo challenges is: SELFIE.

Self hates posing for pictures, but not when she’s taking a selfie. When she takes a selfie, the inner imp emerges and self’s smiles are always big as big. Thank you, Sylvain Landry, for the start of another great year of sharing!

This selfie is special for another reason: She bought the jacket from an Edinburgh department store, and the dress from a Tesco, the year she did a residency at Hawthornden. She was there June 2012. And that is where she met two British writers who ended up being fast friends: the poets Jenny Lewis and Joan McGavin.

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Self wearing her Edinburgh jacket and a dress she bought from TESCO: 2012

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Dumaguete, Twenty Years Ago

Dumaguete is on the island of Negros, one of the central islands in the Philippines.

This is a descption of the city from a short story self wrote years ago. The story was published in White Whale Review 1.2:

The town itself was small and not at all like what he’d expected. He noticed there were no signal lights and everyone rode around on motorbikes or tricycles. These contraptions roamed all over the City and made a terrific belching noise. Smoke poured from their exhaust pipes, marring the fresh air that blew in from the ocean.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Technology Product For the Traveling Woman

There’s a fascinating discussion going on in Facebook. Lisa Chekerylla asked for recommended laptops/tablets for travel, and self had no hesitation whatsoever in responding:

  • MacBook Air. The One. Self bought hers in 2011. When her suitcase disappeared in Venice, she didn’t care. Because she still had her MacBook Air. The cover is dented at the corners. The keyboard is sticky (because self eats as she types). It’s scratched up. But it works like a charm. Self’s MacBook Air is her life. She never leaves home without it (She probably needs to get another one because she will absolutely have a meltdown if anything happens to this one)
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Self’s MacBook Air. She bought it in 2011, from the Apple Store in downtown Palo Alto.

Products recommended by other writers:

  • iPad with Logitech keyboard
  • iPhone
  • MacBook Pro 13″ with retina
  • ASUS ZenBook
  • Lenovo laptop with new battery
  • Toshiba Portege Ultrabook (link is to a 2014 review in PC Mag)
  • Surface (Self was not familiar with this laptop, so she looked it up on-line: it sells at $1,349.99 from Best Buy)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“The Forest” in Potomac Review 59

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Such a beautiful cover! POTOMAC REVIEW 59

There are seven fiction writers whose work appears in Potomac Review 59:

Ron Darian * Shane Jones * Meghan Kenny * Beth Konkoski * Cassandra Powers * Yours truly * Nouri Zarrugh

Self is reading Cassandra Powers’s story, Into the Bright Sun:

I look at my husband, watch him lift his shirt over his head. A kind man, gentle-handed. Five years ago I convinced him to marry me. I still don’t know how I’m so lucky.

Self’s story is The Forest. Here’s a sliver:

“I’m relocating,” George said. “To western Washington.”

“Why?” Thumper said.

“Because the forests are being threatened by Dick Cheney,” George said.

“Who’s Dick Cheney?” Spike said.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Gil Sorrentino/ Stanford Creative Writing

Dear blog readers, creative writing workshop made self very tense because she honestly had never met any American writers until she got into the Creative Writing Program, and they intimidated the heck out of her. One of her (male) classmates got up and danced on the table before the start of the workshop. Self can only say: she had never seen anything like it and was so amazed. Because if any of her college classmates in Manila had done that, they would have been arrested. Banned from campus. Reprimanded. But here, she got to enjoy the man’s dancing. LOL

In addition, her classmates wrote about things like going hunting. Or going on road trips. She made herself read Jack Kerouac just so she could understand Americans better. The other writers came from different states: Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, Louisiana. Self was from the Philippines, and she for the life of her could not even open her mouth. Once there was sharp disagreement about one of her stories and self couldn’t even get up the gumption to explain what she was trying to do. Much to her everlasting shame, a fellow writer had to stick up for her and defend her, and then was so overwhelmed by the task that she left the workshop and had to hide in the Women’s Room for a while. And self followed her there but had nothing to say. Self was such a blithering idiot. This woman was kind enough to pick up the cudgels for her and all she could do afterwards was stare helplessly at her? She absolutely had no courage.

Seriously, every time she opened her mouth, she ended up putting her foot in it.

Gil Sorrentino was one of three professors who took turns leading workshop. He was this amazing, experimental writer and before self met him, she didn’t even know what “experimental fiction” was. His most famous book was Mulligan Stew. He led workshop on the day self’s story, Ginseng, was up.

Told from a “we” point of view, and self was so nervous.

After all the discussion, Gil looked at her and said, “What the narrator doesn’t understand is, after everything is said and done, the man still has his pride.”

Self realized that Gil had more sympathy for the old man than for the detached and critical narrator.

She didn’t realize it at the time, but the fact that Gil felt he had to defend the old man was an amazing thing.

Ginseng is narrated by a man whose father is gradually sinking into dementia. The narrator keeps describing all his symptoms while getting more and more amazed: why does the old man insist on putting on a Panama hat before he takes a walk?  Why does he carry around that fancy walking stick? The narrator felt only exasperation.

Self always imagined the narrator as a man because to write about an old person from a woman’s point of view and to be that detached was something self felt she couldn’t pull off.

The story begins:

  • My father is 83. Once he was very handsome, but now he has plump hips and breasts, with dark, pointed nipples on top of two triangles of brown, leathery skin. It is impossible for me to think of him as still a man in the usual sense, in the sense he has wanted me to think of him for so many years.

At VCCA, a long time ago, one of the other writers found this story, she doesn’t know how. He found a copy of the journal that had published it on one of the shelves of the VCCA library and showed it to her. AMAZING!

By now, self has read many, many American writers. She loves Jim Harrison. Part of the reason might be that she loves Yellow Dog and another reason may be that Harrison writes novellas. His stories are set in Michigan’s UP and they are so specific to that place but also so universal. She never got into Kerouac. She adored Cynthia Ozick and Grace Paley.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

WIP: Island of Dreams

18th century Madrid:

“You have a noble countenance, my son,” the Bishop said, finally.

“My father is a lawyer, Your Reverence,” Matias said.

“You have a noble countenance! You were born in Murcia? Who was your father?” the Bishop said, gesturing to his nose.

“My father is a merchant. He was born in Murcia but his parents are Basque. From Pamplona. My mother’s family, on the other hand — they have been rooted in the province for hundreds of years.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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