Am Reading Today, Last Tuesday of February 2015

blogs

a friend’s novel

Roberto Bolaño’s 2666

tweets about the Oscars

Sunflower Splendor: Two Thousand Years of Chinese Poetry, Co-edited by Wu-chi Liu and Irving Yucheng Lo

Here’s a poem called “Southern Mountains,” by Han Yu:

So therefore I watched a pool
Whose clear depths concealed water dragons.

Bending I could gather fish and prawns,
But who dares plunder divine beings?

About Han Yu: He was a late T’ang Dynasty poet, and a contemporary of Li Po and Tu Fu. He was born into a literary family of landed gentry in the province of Hunan. He served in several high posts in the government: Vice President of the Ministry of War, Vice-President of the Ministry of Personnel, and Metropolitan Governor. He died in Ch’ang-an in 824, at the age of 56.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Metamorphosis Generator

From A Work-in-Progress:

The Jaguar I know is a bit much. Especially for the country. But Wolfgang must have his toys. The Jaguar, the helicopter, the espresso/ice cream machine, the Jacuzzi with 20 different spurt settings, the 80-inch flat-screen HDTV, the four-foot Bose speakers, the laser wrinkle removers, the Do-It-Yourself Botox injectors and hair implantation devices, the state-of-the-art dollar-printing mechanism, the 3D Alternate Universe Hologram, the foot-high platform shoes with the massage feature, the metamorphosis generator . . .

Once, he trapped a fly in the metamorphosis pod, and what emerged was a woman with wondrous, bulbous dark eyes and gossamer hair.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Still More Rule of Thirds

“This week, compose your subject off-center.”

(WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, Week beginning Friday, 20 February 2015)

Masonic Temple (c. 1866), Lansing Street, Mendocino

Masonic Temple (c. 1866), Lansing Street, Mendocino: January, 2015

Stairs at Night, Mendocino Art Center

Stairs at Night, Mendocino Art Center: January, 2015

Venice Beach, November 2014

Venice Beach, November 2014

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

More Rule of Thirds: Elk, California

The prompt: “Focus closely on your subject and use a wide aperture.”

The View From Elk, CA

The View From Elk, CA

More of Elk, California

More of Elk, California

And still more of Elk, California

And still more of Elk, California

Rule of Thirds: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Rule of Thirds.

“The Rule of Thirds is a photography concept that puts the subject of the photograph off-center, which usually results in blank space in the rest of the image.”

Wow! Self loves off-center photographs!

She hasn’t been taking too many pictures lately, so these pictures are from a few weeks ago.

Hopefully, they successfully illustrate the Rule of Thirds.

Port of Richmond: Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015

Port of Richmond: Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015

The laundry room at the Mendocino Art Center has proven to be a great source of inspiration for self!

Another shot of the laundry room at the Mendocino Art Center: Who knew that a room with such a utilitarian purpose would prove to be such a great source of inspiration!

There's a path that follows the bluffs of the Mendocino Headlands. One morning, self walked there with a steaming cup of hot chocolate, and it was just heaven to find this bench.

There’s a path that follows the bluffs of the Mendocino Headlands. One morning, self walked there with a steaming cup of hot chocolate, and it was just heaven to find this bench.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Symmetry 6: Elk, California

Elk, California

Elk, California

Clinic, Village of Mendocino

Clinic, Village of Mendocino

Morning has come: Mendocino, CA

Morning has come: Mendocino, CA

Symmetry 5: The Mendocino Headlands

Such a gorgeous day! Tonight is self’s talk on Flash Fiction at The Mendocino Hotel.

She walked along the bluffs, just to let her mind organize her ideas.

She’s having different people read her short shorts, and then she’s throwing in two more: the piece that appeared in Vela Magazine right after Typhoon Haiyan, and Shirley Ancheta’s piece “Kristine,” in Going Home to a Landscape (Calyx Press, 2003)

In the meantime, here are some pictures she took of the Headlands, with an eye to the WordPress Photo Challenge this week, SYMMETRY.

Standing on the bluffs, just off Main Street, earlier today

Standing on the bluffs, just off Main Street, earlier today

A Wider Perspective

A Wider Perspective

Port of Richmond, on the last day of the Codex International Book Fair, Feb. 11, 2015

Port of Richmond, on the last day of the Codex International Book Fair, Feb. 11, 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Place, Memoir, Journey” Workshop, This Saturday & Sunday

Self’s primary purpose in coming here to Mendocino is to teach a workshop. A travel writing workshop. A workshop on writing about place. About a physical location. Something that exists. And damn self is going to make the students write as hard as they can. Write write write write write write, dear students. The funny thing about travel writing is: you’re writing about place, but you’re also writing about memory. And damn we will mine those memories to the max, dear students! Especially those of you who arrive in Mendocino from far away. From, say, Louisville! So, in order to prepare the students for this wonderful two-day hard writing weekend, self has been immersing herself in manuscripts. She’s looked at Zack Linmark’s Leche, which is tremendously inspiring for voice work. And she’s reading Tony Robles’s about-to-be-published manuscript Cool Don’t Live Here No More, which is amazing for being about a specific place that he loves so much: San Francisco, South of Market (which may be disappearing under the onslaught of construction and high-tech companies moving in)

She’s also reading the absolutely heartbreaking memoir by Sonali Deraniyagala, Wave. Deraniyagala lost her entire family in the tsunami of Dec. 26, 2004. She lost her parents, her husband, and her two sons. And everyone told her: You’re so lucky you survived! Which just goes to show, people are stupid when it comes to pain. They either don’t feel it, or they feel it but they don’t want to feel it so they fight it and end up doing things like telling a woman whose entire life has been wiped out in one day: Thank the Lord you survived!

She’s also reading Thomas Lynch, who’s a poet but also an undertaker and also a memoir writer. She’s reading Nandini Dhar’s Lullabies are Barbed Nations. She wishes she had something by Atul Gawande and Abraham Verghese but after all, she could not bring her whole personal book collection to Mendocino. She’s still reading Roberto Bolaño and on the basis of the individual sentence, he is amazing. She thinks he has one sentence that goes on for two pages (Translator Natasha Wimmer, self salutes you) She will include the first page of her story “Rufino,” because it’s so far the only one of her short stories that mentions Neil Young. And Luisa Igloria’s poem “Oir” from her collection The Saints of Streets. And that’s as far as she’s taken her reading list at the moment. Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Fairy Tale in Question This Morning

Fairy tales are brutal. That’s why self loves them.

The Baba Yaga (Russian)

Once upon a time there was an old couple. The husband lost his wife and married again. But he had a daughter by the first marriage, a young girl, and she found no favor in the eyes of her stepmother, who used to beat her, and consider how she could get her killed outright. One day the father went away somewhere or other, so the stepmother said to the girl, “Go to your aunt, my sister, and ask her for a needle and thread to make you a shift.

Now that aunt was a Baba Yaga. Well, this girl was no fool, so she went to a real aunt of hers first, and says she:

“Good morning, Auntie!”

“Good morning, my dear, what have you come for?”

“Mother has sent me to her sister, to ask for a needle and thread to make me a shift.”

Then her aunt instructed her what to do.

– from Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales, in the section “Witches.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Symmetry 4: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Met a couple of interesting artists at the Codex International Book Fair, held at the Port of Richmond last week.

Here’s the work of one of them, Gisella Mott, from Hamburg, Germany. She illustrated a tale from the Brothers Grimm:

An illustration by German artist Gisela Mott, of a tale from the Brothers Grimm

Symmetry of Creatures: An illustration by German artist Gisella Mott, of a tale from the Brothers Grimm

Here are Gisella’s arms, holding open the picture book so that self could see the illustrations better:

DSCN8661

The last picture is of a very utilitarian room: the laundry room of the Mendocino Art Center. There are two matching cups, which means: symmetry of function and form!

Shelves, Laundry Room of the Mendocino Art Center

Shelves, Laundry Room of the Mendocino Art Center

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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