Sentence of the Day: Gaslighting

On Quora:

What is a single very detailed example of narcissist gaslighting that you have personally experienced first hand?

This is a very hard question to answer because gaslighting is like a symphony.

Hedgebrook to Self: There’s Always Centrum

Years ago, when Calyx Publisher Margarita Donnelly was still alive, she told self about Hedgebrook. She said, It’s the most magical place. But you can only go once. So don’t waste it.

Self had Hedgebrook, that tantalizing lure, in the back of her mind, for decades. Eventually, she started writing a novel. Then she thought: This could be finally be the project I can apply to Hedgebrook for.

She did not hear back on her application, for almost a year.

Wow, they must have tons of applications, self thought.

Finally, because her landlady was pressuring her to extend her lease, and self didn’t want to do that if she was going to Hedgebrook, she decided to call Hedgebrook.

“Umm, hello,” self said. “Have the results of next year’s residencies already been released?”

Impactful (maybe also painful) silence.

Who is this?

“Marianne Villanueva.”

Another long silence. “The results were announced six months ago. We’ll have someone call you.”

And that’s when self’s gut fell all the way to the bottom of her shoes.

Sure enough, someone did call to tell self she’d been rejected. Not wait-listed. Just flat-out rejected. “There’s Centrum, if you like the area,” said the caller.

“Oh,” self said. “Thanks so much for the recommendation.”

Stay tuned.

Poetry Saturday: Angela Narciso Torres

If You Go to Bed Hungry

(an excerpt)

If you go to bed hungry, your soul will get up and steal cold rice from the pot.
Stop playing with fire before the moon rises or you’ll pee in your sleep.

Sweeping the floor after dark sweeps wealth and good fortune out the door.
Fork dropped: a gentleman will visit. Spoon: a bashful lady.


Torres_author-photo-1024x1024

The poem in its entirety can be found on the Poetry Foundation site.

About Angela: She is the author of Blood Orange (Willow Books, 2013). Her second collection, What Happens is Neither, is forthcoming in 2021 from Four Way Books.

Perhaps that is why good things never last long with self: she is always sweeping the floor just before she goes to bed!

Stay tuned.

Why THE HOBBIT Still Matters

  • “The old maps are no use: things have changed for the worse and the road is unguarded. They have seldom even heard of the king around here, and the less inquisitive you are as you go along, the less trouble you are likely to find.” . . . Then the rain began to pour down worse than ever, and Oin and Gloin began to fight.

The Annotated Hobbit, Chapter II

Everyone should read this book in 2020! It will help you.

Happening to Neelay in Redwood City, California: The Overstory, p. 279

Really love these Redwood City scenes (where Neelay bases his electronic game company), just sayin’.

Below, a scene self has just finished reading (Neelay’s just had a telephone conversation with his mother, who’s misconstrued his reference to his female caregiver as a reference to a fiancée):

“Goodness. These things take time, Neelay.”

When they hang up, he raises his hand in the air and slams it down onto the desk’s front edge. There’s a very wrong sound, and a sharp white pain, and he knows he has broken at least one bone.

In blinding pain, he rides his private elevator down into the opulent lobby, the beautiful redwood trim paid for by millions of people’s desire to live anywhere else but here. His eyes stream with tears and rage. But quietly, politely, to the terrified receptionist, he holds up his swollen, snapped claw, and says, “I’m going to have to get to the hospital.”

He knows what’s waiting for him there, after they mend his hand. They will scold him. They’ll put him on a drip and make him swear to eat properly. As the receptionist makes her frantic calls, Neelay glances up at the wall where he has hung those words of Borges, still the guiding principle of his young life:

Every man should be capable of all ideas, and I believe in the future he shall be.

Note to dear blog readers: Never ever let your mother have this kind of an effect on you. Or you may end up like poor Neelay here!

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

What the Archbishop Says to Self’s MC (18th C, Bear In Mind)

My son, your disposition cannot be mild. Under the circumstances, we require you to be vicious. May God Give you strength! (p. 9 of 359)

“One ought to go right on, never minding.” — Maria, THE PARASITES

p. 108, The Parasites, by Daphne du Maurier

Pappy to his daughter Maria, an aspiring actress:

  • “Some people do . . . but they’re the duds. They are the ones that win prizes in school, and you never hear of them again. Go on. Be nervous. Be ill. Be sick down the lavatory pan. It’s part of your life from now on. You’ve got to go through with it. Nothing’s worth while if you don’t fight for it first, if you haven’t a pain in your belly beforehand . . . Now go right on and take your bath. And don’t forget you’re a Delaney. Give ’em hell.”

Quote of the Day: Erling Kagge

  • The secret to walking to the South Pole is to put one foot in front of the other, and to do this enough times.

— Erling Kagge, Silence in the Age of Noise

Explorer Monday: National Geographic, April 1987

Robert Falcon Scott to his wife, last instructions (found on his body eight months later):

Make the boy interested in natural history, if you can; it is better than games; they encourage it at some schools. I know you will keep him in the open air.

Above all, he must guard and you must guard him against indolence. Make him a strenuous man. I had to force myself into being strenuous, as you know — had always an inclination to be idle.

Robert Falcon Scott “and two companions made it to within 11 miles of safety — a depot of supplies known as One Tom Camp some 150 miles from their base camp. They had walked more than 1,600 miles, to the Pole and almost back.”

— Sir Peter Scott, The Antarctic Challenge, National Geographic, April 1987

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

More From Rosario Ferré’s Essay, The Writer’s Kitchen

  • Any writer or artist, women or man, has a sixth sense which indicates when the goal has been reached, when what she or he has been molding has acquired the definitive form it must have. Once that point has been reached, one extra word (a single note, a single line) will irreversibly extinguish that spark or state of grace brought about by the loving struggle between the writer and his or her work. That moment is always one of awe and reverence: Marguerite Yourcenar compares it to the mysterious moment when the baker knows it is time to stop kneading the dough; Virginia Woolf defines it as the instant in which she feeks the blood flow from end to end through the body of the text.

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