Sentences of the Last Friday of January 2016

He looks so immeasurably worried and tragic.

(Referring to Peeta, of course)

I’ll take physical pain over emotional any day.

I don’t have time for your disingenuous bullshit.

#BadAss!Peeta, #HijackedPeeta, #Tattooed!Peeta, #Assassin!Peeta, #kindofcyberpunkifyousquint

— Fan Fiction writer heathenpesticide

Self decided to drive home for the weekend. This is what she found:

A front yard taken over by oxalys. Fungal flowers rotting in a vase of slimy water. Left-over Halloween candy on the piano.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

First Adventure: Mexico on Third-Class Bus with Roommate Sachiko

Self was a grad student at Stanford.

Her roommate was an Anthropology grad student named Sachiko Hayashida. (She has tried many times to find Sachiko. She has googled “Sachiko Hayashida” and found a few who teach in Japanese universities and fired off letters. The letters always come back with a note: I am not that Sachiko Hayashida)

Sachiko and self decided to spend two weeks traveling around Mexico.

Sachiko was responsible for drawing up the itinerary. Self’s only responsibility was to keep up.

Sachiko had undertaken many trips by herself. Not self. This was self’s first travel adventure.

We ended up fighting. A lot.

Sachiko had to be carried on the plane on a stretcher at the very end. She had Montezuma’s Revenge.

One of our most memorable trips was from Mexico City to Merida by third-class bus. Once we arrived in Merida, we searched all over the city for a vegan restaurant mentioned in Lonely Planet. The name was Sergeant Pepper’s.

We finally found someone who said, “Ah! You are looking for Sarhento Pimiento!”

Of course! Sarhento Pimiento! Why had we wandered all over Merida looking for SERGEANT PEPPER?

One of the most memorable excursions we made while in Merida was to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. We took a public bus, and it dropped us off at the side of the road at 4 a.m.

Self frankly thought Sachiko was crazy, but at 7 a.m., when Chichen Itza began to receive its swarm of tourists, self thought Sachiko was brilliant. Because no one else was in the ruins at 4 a.m. (Of course, it wasn’t safe. But we were 22. We weren’t thinking of safe) We were thrashing around, avoiding lizards — some extremely large — and what-not, when we suddenly came to a large clearing, raised our eyes and YOWZA! A temple!

Afterwards, self read to Sachiko from a book she’d picked up from the Stanford Bookstore: World of the Maya by Victor W. Von Hagen.

She has it with her now, in Mendocino.

P. 12:

The Maya have been characterized as “The Intellectuals of the New World” because of their highly developed calendrics, their glyph-writing, and the ornamental complexity of their architecture. They were unique in their culture; pacific, they fought few wars; they viewed life from their jungle fastness with Olympian detachment, working out complicated calendric inscriptions that could push their history back to 23,040,000,000 days.

You need a lot of undisturbed time (i.e. peace) to be that focused on a task that complicated, self figures.

The irony is not lost on self, that one of the first widely-read accounts of the Mayan civilization was William H. Prescott’s The Conquest of Peru, who made a hero out of Francisco Pizarro, “a man who couldn’t even read his own name . . . ”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Sylvain Landry Week 30 Photo Challenge

Self always has fun doing these.

This week’s Sylvain Landry Photo Challenge is ORANGE.

Maybe this little crit isn’t quite orange enough. Self encountered it on a walk yesterday. But it’s a cheerful sight, so here it is anyway:

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Garden Art, Mendocino Art Center, Yesterday (26 January 2016)

Thanks to Sylvain Landry for always thinking up such interesting prompts!

Stay tuned.

 

Regarding Travel Writing (And Self Sincerely Enjoyed Teaching It Last Weekend)

This past weekend, self taught her second travel writing workshop at the Mendocino Art Center, where she also taught last year.

It was an exciting weekend, with participants writing about Grenada, New Zealand, India, South Africa, Nepal, the Dominican Republic, New York City (just to name a few).

Self does really love teaching this workshop.

How else would she learn that Vegemite tastes like “dirty socks” or that New Zealand’s national candy is something called a chocolate fish? How else would she learn about Pascal’s pineapple lumps (in New Zealand) or about “contracepting elephants” or about “wild game sausage” or that there are hop-on/hop-off buses in Uganda? Or about the delayed reaction time to sand fly bites? Or about Burmese sunblocks made from ground tree bark?

Anyhoo, she used the Best American Travel Writing anthologies for prompts. The 2013 edition was edited by Elizabeth Gilbert and here’s what she says about travel writing in her introduction:

  1. There is no story in the world so marvelous that it cannot be told boringly.
  2. There is no story in the world so boring that it cannot be told marvelously.

Isn’t that such a neat quote?

Self’s next class at the Mendocino Art Center is:

ONE STORY SIX WAYS

Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 6 -7, 2016
9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Mendocino Art Center
Tuition: $200

To enroll online, go here.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Personal Bookshelf in the Mendocino Apartment

Writers travel with a lot of books. Self is amazed at how many she ends up bringing with her.

She’s been in Mendocino most of January. Here’s her stash:

  • Of course, Miguel Hernandez, in the translation by Don Share
  • World of the Maya, by Victor W. Von Hagen, the copy she had with her at 21, when she and her roommate, Sachiko, an anthropology major, rode the third-class public bus from Mexico City to Chichen Itza
  • The Best American Travel Writing, 2013, edited by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Travel Writing, by Cynthia Dial
  • Secret London: An Unusual Guide, by Rachel Howard and Bill Nash
  • Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm, by Phil Pullman
  • Lost Between: Writings on Displacement, edited by Catherine Dunne and Federica Sgaggio
  • Travelers’ Tales Guides to Spain, edited by Lucy McCauley
  • Virtual Lotus: Modern Fiction of Southeast Asia, edited by Teri Shaffer Yamada
  • copies of her first collection, post-Stanford: Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila, as well as copies of the anthology she co-edited with Virginia Cerenio, Going Home to a Landscape
  • Conamara Blues, by John O’Donohue
  • Firelines, by Marcus Cumberlege
  • The Piano Tuner, by Daniel Mason
  • Writing the Memoir, by Judith Barrington
  • Diane Arbus: A Chronology, 1923 – 1971
  • Another Kind of Paradise: Short Stories From the New Asia-Pacific, edited by Trevor Carolan
  • Dead Season: A Story of Murder and Revenge on the Philippine Island of Negros, by Alan Berlow
  • Tonle Sap: The Heart of Cambodia’s Natural Heritage, by Colin Poole

Don’t even get self started on the journals!

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

One Story, Six Ways

This is a workshop self invented, and the Mendocino Art Center is letting her run with it.

ONE STORY, SIX WAYS

Two days of intensive experimentation at different ways to tell ONE event.

In the Mendocino Art Center.

Saturday & Sunday: Feb. 6 & 7, 2016

Instructor: Your Fabulous Blog Mistress Herself

Cost: $200

Such a steal. For $200 you get self for two whole days.

Not to mention, six versions of the same story.

Here’s where to enroll:

MendocinoArtCenter.org/Winter16/Villanueva2.html

Or call: (707) 937 – 5818 xt. 10

Or call: (800) 653 – 3328

 

Last Night, Margo. This Afternoon, Claudia.

Self met a photographer named Margo yesterday. Say, want to have dinner tonight? Margo asks. Sure! self says. Self is always game for dinner!

Self knocked on her Unit at 6 p.m. sharp and was totally flummoxed when Margo said she wanted to eat in Fort Bragg.

Fort Bragg??? That’s, like, 10 miles away!!! The last time self drove from Fort Bragg, it was night, and there were headlights practically crawling up her bumper, and self was so traumatized that in the almost two weeks since that event, she has never again attempted to return to Fort Bragg.

Anyhoo, self thinks, what’s the harm? She’ll have Margo with her in the car. She can deal with those rude drivers who act as if she’s got the speed of a centipede.

We head for a restaurant called David’s that’s in a nondescript shopping mall. Whoa! It is closed! A sign says David’s is only open until 2 p.m. every day.

Anyhoo, it’s very exciting, self and Margo did get to eat in Fort Bragg, but we each spent $25, which was way more than the $3 for a hamburger Margo had estimated we would need. But that is why we all have credit cards. Right? Right?

This afternoon, self encounters Claudia, a textile artist who’s in the unit behind hers. Claudia recounts being an Artist-in-Residence also last year. A gear clicks in self’s brain. Textile artist. de Young Museum.

“You,” self says to Claudia, “are the woman who was in my unit last year!”

Claudia says she doubts it, but for some reason, self is convinced it was Claudia who was in her unit. When self latches onto an idea, it is very hard for her to let that idea go.

“No, you are!” self tells Claudia enthusiastically. “I’ve always meant to thank you! For leaving that Sunday New York Times magazine with Channing Tatum on the cover!”

Claudia looks at self and says, “Uh-uh. Wasn’t me. Even if I was in your unit just before you moved in, I don’t think I’d ever have left a copy of a magazine with Channing Tatum on the cover.”

Self gushes on: “It was so nice of you! To leave me that welcome gift! I felt so appreciated!”

By this time, self has the niggling suspicion that maybe Claudia is not a fan of Channing Tatum? Because the way she is looking at self . . .

Oh, anyhoo! It’s all good! Self scampers off to Mendosa’s on Lansing for her nightly feeding of clam chowder.

Such an interesting bunch of artists in the Mendocino Art Center this year! Plus some self remembers from last year, like Mary-Ellen Campbell, who showed her the most gorgeous photographs of a recent trip to Burma.

Mary-Ellen kayaks, she line dances, and she also teaches classes in book-making.

More on these fabulous and inspiring women as the residency unfolds. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

“Lightning That Never Ends” by Miguel Hernandez, trans. by Don Share

Will this lightning never end, that fills
my heart with exasperated wild beasts
and furious forges and anvils
where even the freshest metal shrivels?

— Miguel Hernandez, poems selected and translated by Don Share, published by the New York Review of Books, www.nyrb.com

Optimistic 3: 2016 Daily Post Photo Challenge # 4

Cold, gloomy.

There is someone tromping on the roof.

Reminds self she hasn’t logged on to Twitter in a week or more.

When self has no time to play hashtag games, things are really getting serious.

In spite of all, she faces 2016 with optimism.

Here’s a necklace made by the sister of Mavee Park (BFF in kindergarten in Manila!)

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Necklace handmade in the Philippines; Red Sweater from Dublin

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Mavee throws a huge Thanksgiving party every year. Self was a guest at last year’s. Mavee scattered these paper stars (from the Philippines) all over her rec room.

DSCN1929

Thumbs Up! The Blog Mistress Herself, on a Fast Train to Venice, November 2015

It’s a crime not to feel optimistic in Italy. Seriously.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Snippet for Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman, RIP.

So shocked, self can’t even.

Who can forget Alan (She has seen very few articles about him that refer to him as “Rickman.” A lot of them do just call him Alan) in Die Hard, or as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies?

She wonders what London was like, after his passing was announced?

Last week, she found this from something she posted in February, 2012: a quote from John Lahr, The New Yorker theatre critic:

Alan Rickman is the go-to actor for supercilious.

Self knows that is not much of a quote. Nevertheless, it is true.

Oh, how self wishes she were in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at this very moment; her unit had a hardbound copy of the Oxford English Dictionary. From the first day of her residency to the last, self kept the dictionary on her writing desk, open to the page with the word “circumnavigation.”

If she were in her unit in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, she would be able to look up supercilious in a couple of seconds.

Instead, she has to settle for Merriam-Webster:

  • Supercilious: having or showing the proud and unpleasant attitude of people who think that they are better or more important than other people.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

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