Excerpt: First Causes (Quarterly West # 89)

Yesterday, someone on Twitter posted a question to the Asian American writing community: share your 2018 achievements. Self’s response began with: “I am an experimental science fiction writer.” Which she’s sure had people scratching their heads.

To explain what she meant by “experimental science fiction writer”, here’s an excerpt from a story that Quarterly West published in Issue #89. The story takes place in a classroom of the future. The narrator is a boy named Dragon who is NOT a dragon. The professor, who really IS turning into a lizard, is named Fire Lizard. The other characters are Drinker, Knot, and Big. Big’s just gone missing.

Drinker says, low, “Big passed.”

I answer: “Fucker. Big’s not Big. He’s Big XXX. Mark it.” I slash three quick XXX’s across my screen. Knot looks to the side quickly, then glances down.

“The All-Powerful, the Everlasting,” I start to sing, lowly.

Drinker shudders, pulls slightly out of his seat.

“You!” Fire Lizard screams, pointing at Drinker. “What’s your issue?”

“Obscure,” Drinker mutters.

Fire Lizard’s eyes seem to bug out of his head. “Who remembers rain?” he shouts. “Last rain? Who remembers?”

I hold up my hand. “Ghost of,” I say. “243 days since.”

Self would like to take this opportunity to express her gratitude to Quarterly West for taking a chance and accepting this story. It’s wild, it’s crazy, it’s not easy to understand. But did she ever have fun writing it.

Stay tuned.

Just Out: PRAIRIE SCHOONER, Fall 2018

Cover piece is by artist Amanda Smith.

The opening piece is Demographic Futures, a short story by Phong Nguyen. Nguyen is the author of two short story collections and, most recently, the novel The Adventures of Joe Harper.

There is also fiction by Nigerian writer Jekwu Anyaegbuna and award-winning writer Cyril Dabydeen.

There is poetry by Cave Canem fellow Mary Moore Easter, Cody Smith, and Osel Jessica Plante, and essays by Sian Griffiths (about San Jose’s Winchester Mystery House!), Caroline Crew, and Evanthia Bromiley.

And so many other fine writers self doesn’t have time or space to list, but go over to Prairie Schooner and explore for yourselves.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Really Enjoying JADE CITY

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This is the 2nd of four science fiction books self has with her at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig.

And she ended up working on her historical fiction here (and one horror story).

#lifeyouknow #crazylikethat

She skimmed through The Stone Sky and was operating at serious disadvantage since she was reading the end of a trilogy and didn’t know what a Syl Anagist was or anything. But she was able to piece it together.

Plus, it was a mother-daughter angst story, which self will admit is not her favorite.

When she began Jade City she was quite disheartened to be reading about so many different characters. But the crusty old grandfather intrigued her. And now she’s met Shae, the prodigal daughter.

INTERESTING.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Saturday Reads: GOING HOME TO A LANDSCAPE

NO SLEEP

by Catalina Cariaga

Moonlight fills our bedroom
through slats of open blinds.
The brightness of ninety-nine horizontal candles
reveals your expectant smile.
Don’t touch my breasts
while I’m reading,
You knew I was a writer
when you married me.

GOINGHOMETOALANDSCAPE

Copies on sale, today only, at the Redwood City Public Library, 1044 Middlefield, Redwood City.

Stay tuned.

“Lamentation” by Veronica Montes: An Excerpt

TNRS6HNH

Cover of Benedicta Takes Wing by Monterey Artist Jean Vengua

The collection is called Benedicta Takes Wing, and you are crazes if you are anywhere near the Redwood City Main Library (1044 Middlefield at Jefferson) and you do not drive straight over on Saturday, 8 Sept, 2:30 p.m., the Fireplace Room, to hear Veronica Montes and fellow writer Lillian Howan read, from their respective books! Crazes!

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Veronica Montes, author of Benedicta Takes Wing: Stories (Philippine America Literary House, 2017)

Self will excerpt from Lillian’s book, The Charm Buyers, next.

“Lamentation” opens thus:

Her name was like a song: Maria Josefa Gabriela Cariño Silang. I wish I had given it to her.

*     *     *     *

In the province of Ilocos Sur, there is a barrio called Canlogan. It sits in the shadow of a mountain range that rises up like an enormous hand telling you to stop, telling you there is no way to pass. But the mountains are not as impenetrable as they seem; they are sliced through with rivers, each one running swift and strong. This is where my daughter, who I did not name, was born.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Lillian Howan and Veronica Montes: Saturday, Sept. 8, at the Redwood City Main Library

Two wonderful Asian American women writers are coming to Redwood City for reading and book-signings!

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By Lillian Howan, Published by University of Hawai’i Press, 2017

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A collection of short stories by the great Wakako Yamauchi who recently passed away. Edited by Lillian Howan, published by Hawai’i University Press.

Saturday, 8 September 2018
2:30 pm
FIRESIDE ROOM, REDWOOD CITY MAIN LIBRARY
1400 Middlefield (corner Jefferson Avenue)
Redwood City
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: TEAL

Love this prompt from Cee Neuner!

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A collection of short stories by the great Wakako Yamauchi who passed away recently. Her own art is on the cover. Edited by Lillian Howan, published by Hawai’i University Press.

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Bought from a Tibetan vendor in Dharamsala: “This will make you strong like _____!” said the vendor to me. Forget which Hindu god has the lightning bolt.

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College-age self and Dear Departed Dad

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Redwood City Public Library Author Series, Fall 2018

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Fireplace Room, Downtown Library, Redwood City

The first reading of the series was Holocaust Survivor, Public Speaker and Memoirist Sylvia Ruth Gutmann, reading from her book A Life Rebuilt: The Remarkable Transformation of a War Orphan. It was held two nights ago, in the Fireplace Room of the Main Library, and self is most happy to report the reading was a resounding success: a sizeable audience packed the room. High Fives to Sylvia Ruth Gutman for kicking off the series on such an auspicious note!

The second reading is a Women Authors Panel featuring self, Lillian Howan and Veronica Montes. Saturday, Sept. 8, 2:30 p.m., at the Fireplace Room of the Downtown Library. Self is a long-time Redwood City resident, and she’s so pleased to be reading with two of her favorite writers!

Veronica Montes’s first book, Benedicta Takes Wing and Other Stories (Philippine American Literary House, 2018), is a sparkling collection of stories about Filipino Americans in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Lillian Howan’s first novel, The Charm Buyers (University of Hawai’i Press, 2017) is an extraordinary and powerful love story, set in Tahiti during the last years of French nuclear testing in the Pacific, in the 1990s.

About self: She’s published three collections of short stories (Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila, Mayor of the Roses, and The Lost Language) and a novella, Jenalyn (Vagabondage Press), that was a finalist for the 2014 Saboteur Award. She has stories published or forthcoming in Quarterly West, Bellingham Review, Crab Orchard Review, Juked, and Prairie Schooner.

Summer-Author-SeriesRWCSept2018

Books will be available for purchase and signing.

The last event in the series is a reading by Vanessa Garcia, reading from See You at the 7: Stories from the Bay Area’s Last Original Mile House. The 7 Mile House in Brisbane is the only Bay Area mile house operating at its original location. Garcia will read on Sept. 26, 7 p.m., in the Downtown Library Community Room.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Poetry Sunday: Luisa A. Igloria

Cascade

What I want is immediacy, the nub
of the moment processed without doubt
into my side, the tremor that comes
sometimes before sight, before taste
or touch. Whatever might be lost, don’t
take that away from me: stars pouring
out of the firmament, not ever holding
back the flood over my small ladle.

— included in the collection The Buddha Wonders If She Is Having a Mid-Life Crisis (Montreal: Phoenicia Publishing, 2018)

Luisa A. Igloria is a poet, a creative writing professor (Old Dominion University), a 2014 winner of the May Swenson Prize and, most recently, the 2018 winner of the Center for Book Arts’ Letterpress Chapbook Competition.

Poetry Saturday: Irene Suico Soriano

Met her at the reading put together by Linda Nietes of Philippine Expressions (San Pedro, CA) in March.

Been reading her collection, Primates From an Archipelago: Poems (Rabbit Fool Press), off and on ever since. The back has blurbs from Melissa Roxas and Jennifer Tseng (both of whom self has never read; adding to the “To Read” pile!)

The book is divided into four sections: Scattered Islands, Reclamation, Scattered Cities, and Smog.

From the poem Months, for Napoleon Lustre:

I.

Essex said it perfect:
It is easier to be furious than yearning.
You belong to tribes of warriors and outlaws.
Many who are now dying or just waiting like you.
As I sit here by your bed looking at your sleeping body,
I wonder how long your fury can sustain you.

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Published 2017 by Rabbit Fool Press: http://www.rabbitfoolpress.com

Enthralling, powerful collection.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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