Writing/Revising

Self is going through a stash of papers that she’s been toting around in her suitcase, for the longest time.

Lo and behold, it’s a print-out of her story, “Ice.” The one that Bellingham Review is going to publish.

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Page 1 of self’s dystopian fantasy, “Ice”

Self’s writing is very, very spare.

Some have even described it as “simple” though self really takes exception to that word as her process is anything but. It is the most intricate process ever.

She cuts ruthlessly during revision.

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Flash Fiction Revision: every phrase that isn’t 100% necessary gets cut.

What’s left on the page is not simple.

At least, not in self’s humble opinion.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Word Cloud: Story-In-Progress

Self loves Wordle.

This evening, she did a Word Cloud of a story she’s currently working on, called Gerry Dreams the Ocean.

It’s about a teen-age boy who lives in San Bruno, CA and whose mother has just passed away. His grandmother in Manila keeps trying to get the father to send the boy “home.”

The Wordle for this story was so beautiful! Don’t know if this link will still be good later, but here it is anyway (She used to be able to save her Word Clouds to a Gallery. Does this just happen automatically now?)

And, for good measure, the words that got “wordled”:

left * Gerry * girl * tumblr * find * English * dry * Stars * ocean * even * strong * sleep * shivered * on-line * sleep * Fangirl * hair * whipped * Filipinos * throat * bonfire * fathers * beer * someone’s * ago * speak * day * fun * hair * beach * comforting * discouraged * find * house * many * Tagalog

Fascinating, simply fascinating.

Stay tuned.

Still On: Anne Enright’s THE GREEN ROAD

The Green Road is taking self to some very unexpected places. Such as: New York City, 1991. Which turned out to be a watershed year for self as well. Just read her story “Lenox Hill, December 1991” in Charlie Chan Is Dead, Vol. 1, edited by Jessica Hagedorn.

Here’s an excerpt from Enright’s novel:

DAN – New York, 1991

. . .  if the question was whether Billy was still sleeping with Gregory Savalas, then the answer was that they had barely slept together in the first place. Billy was a blonde boy, on the sturdy side, with a thug/angel thing going, so there was a line of sad bastards queuing at his door; half of them married, most of them in suits. And Billy hated the closet. What Billy wanted was big, shouty unafraid sex with someone who did not cry, or get complicated, or hang around after the orange juice and the croissant.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Emptiness of Air: Published in Vela Magazine In a Response to Typhoon Haiyan

EMPTINESS OF AIR

Pericles lost his wife to a great emptiness of air, water, and sound. One moment, she was alive in the house. In the next moment, she had shifted somewhat. She still had the same form, the same face, but something had changed. He couldn’t explain it, but he knew what had happened had happened. He also knew there was no going back. She was stolen from him, as surely as if she had been abducted.

All the sampaguita blossoms had been knocked off the trees. He wandered the garden, lost. He smelled jasmine.

He picked up a white petal from the ground. The brown edges were uncommonly soft.

All the red flowers — santan, lantana, gumamela — where had they gone?

And the orchids his wife had loved: purple and white, tongued.

Small brown Maya birds used to perch on telephone wires strung up and down the street. Now, there were no poles. Wires dangled like snakes, a few sparkling like firecrackers.

  • NOTE: Since self wrote this super-quick (in about 30 minutes) under Vela’s deadline, she’s now going back and editing for clarity. Stay tuned.

 

OPPOSITES: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 1 July 2016

There are so many ways to infuse photos with drama, from choosing an unusual angle to focusing on a strong, vibrant palette. One idea I often explore is contrast. No, not so much in the technical sense of shadows and highlights (important as they certainly are), but more fundamentally: I love the power of a single frame to bring together conflicting elements.

— Ben Huberman, The Daily Post

**********

Self has been pondering this challenge for a few days. It turns out she likes taking   high-contrast shots, mostly silhouettes, but on re-reading the prompt, she decided to try something different.

Here’s a picture from an illustrated version of Noah’s Ark. The etchings, by Arthur Geisert, are very fine. Self picked this particular drawing because of the way the straight lines of the support beams and the wooden floors are set off against the ark’s round bottom:

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An Illustration by Arthur Geist for THE ARK (Houghton Mifflin, 1988)

Here’s a sign showing opposite directions:

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Self-explanatory, really: near the Mendocino Headlands

Finally, two sharply contrasting book covers: Another Kind of Paradise is an anthology of short stories from the “new Asia-Pacific” edited by Trevor Carolan. After is an anthology of nineteen stories of “apocalypse and dystopia” edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Wandling. Both books are highly recommended (Self has a story in one of them).

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Two Anthologies: Wildly Different

Hope you like these interpretations of the theme “Opposites”!

Stay tuned.

Still Reading THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

Gaah, this book. Doling out the suspense in teaspoon-size increments.

Anna is the current wife of Tom, who used to be married to Rachel. These three live near each other (Can you imagine? Bring on the pain!). The women in the story get their own points of view (Is this a feminist novel?) The male characters are either: a) louts; b) stinking ex-es; c) handsome unscrupulous jerks or d) clue-less. Hey, maybe this IS a feminist novel!

One day, when Anna is stuck at home minding the baby, she feels nostalgia: “I miss being a mistress.”

Yes. One day Anna’s flirting with Tom at an office party. Next thing you know, she’s a lonely stay-at-home mom.

On the idea of mistresses: there are a lot of them.

In Manila, self was included in an anthology of short stories all dedicated to “the mistress.” The title was Querida, something like that. (Suddenly, self realizes she never got her contributor copies. Why?)

This was Dearest Mum’s reaction to a short story self had written: “That’s not realistic,” Dearest Mum said. “There’s no such thing as an ugly mistress in Manila.”

Oh, Dearest Mum, you are hysterical!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Excerpt, “All the Missing”

Sharing an excerpt from “All the Missing,” a piece self wrote when the news about Jacey Lee Dugard first broke:

They’re alive, all of them.

One day they’ll present, alive and well.

They’ll be older; a few might even have their first gray hairs.

They’ll come out of tents or basements or caves, or wherever it is they’ve been kept, all these years.

Their names are Ilene, Michaela, Polly, Sandra.

Some are blonde, some are brunette, some are redheads.

When they disappeared, some weren’t even old enough to have braces.

The pictures their parents gave to the police were — almost always — school photos.

This piece was published in Phoebe, Spring 2012.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

WIP: Memoir-ish

This is what I know of her past: She played in Carnegie Hall when she was just 14. I have the picture. It’s black and white, and in it my mother is round-faced, and her thick, curly black hair is held back by a hairband. Behind her, there is an orchestra.

To hear my dear departed aunt Terry tell it, my mother’s family took the train all the way across the country, starting in San Francisco. They wound up in Flushing. Self’s mother went to Curtis. She became classmates with the pianist Gary Graffman.

Honestly, self should do more with this story.

Stay tuned.

Adding to “Spores” (The Future Is Sooo Dystopian)

The fans burn our fingers. Burn them raw. We have to wait hours for the new skin to grow back. Fingers never feel quite the same, after.

— from “Spores,” self’s short-story-in-progress, about a pair of grunts who are very depressed, hate their job, and generally have no hope about the future of humanity.

Stay tuned.

 

WIP: Raw

This is a story self started, 2014, in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig. Kept it going when she moved from Annaghmakerrig to Inchicore. Father H still alive then.

Varnish and varnish. I’ll say this for K: she is tenacious. Especially about her delusions.

“Me mum’s a thick,” she said once. “A focking thick.”

“Hmmm,” I said.

“She a root rotter,” K said.

The “I” is a man, but everyone who’s read the story automatically thinks it’s a woman because they know self wrote it and she’s, umm, a woman?

LOL

Stay tuned.

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