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.

A Break from Anjelica Huston Angst

Self is on yet another bus in Ireland. Heading back north.

In Watch Me, Anjelica Huston is bored out of her mind at a Lakers game.

As a break from Huston’s boredom, self turns to another book she’s brought with her all the way from California: Lydia’s Funeral Video, by Sam Chanse.

This book is fascinating and entertaining — sort of like a hip primer on being an American.

Which feels, actually, very deflating right now because OMG is Trump really going up against whoever and OMG what?

Never mind that.

In Lydia’s Funeral Video, which is about an unmarried 28-year-old American named Lydia, Lydia feels compelled to buy a pregnancy test:

And the pharmacist is explaining how this test works by checking for a hormone in the saliva or something, and she instructs me to listen for the three consecutive beeps before checking the color of the light– red for not pregnant, green for pregnant.

“You know, if you’re pregnant, green for go!” the pharmacist says — which I think they’re supposed to say to make pregnancy sound like happy fun time and encourage you to go ahead and have the kid . . .

Okay, sorry dear blog readers but typing this on a careening bus is making self dizzy.

(To be continued)

 

 

Admiration 2: Writers and Writers Organizations and the New Wonder Woman

“Depict something or someone you admire.”

— Krista, The Daily Post

In the last week of March and the opening days of April this year, self was in Los Angeles. First, to attend a reading of her good friend Zack Linmark at USC. His first novel, Rolling the R’s, a great, groundbreaking, kick-ass novel, turned 20, and USC celebrated that milestone by having him read with Jessica Hagedorn and Lois-Ann Yamanaka, two other groundbreakers.

Immediately following that reading was the annual AWP Conference, which is of course also accompanied by the most fabulous book fair in America. And at that book fair, self stopped briefly to chat with staffers at VIDA, a completely volunteer-run organization, which publishes statistics on how many women are published by which literary organs. And it’s eye-opening.

Finally, Wonder Woman. Just because. Watch for her movie. Emily! So proud of your daughter/director. The picture is a grainy still from the Batman vs. Superman movie, which self watched just so she could tell Emily in London: I saw Wonder Woman in costume on the big screen for the first time!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Best of AWP 2016 (Love L.A.), Part 1

Just look at all this literary goodness!

Self decided to give herself a pick-me-up after reading today’s New York Times. What better way than by reminding herself that — people, America is full of writers/artists/publishers who soldier on, no matter what the odds! And who manage to look like they’re having a great time while they’re at it! Without needing comb-overs!

New York: Highline and Chelsea

Still looking for landscapes.

Here are pictures self took during a memorable walk on New York City’s Highline, December 2015:

DSCN2343

Near the Start of the Highline, on a cold December Day

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Still Near the Start of the Highline

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Near the Start of the Highline, on a cold December Day

And here are things she loved about New York during her Fall 2015 sojourn:

  • The Asian American Writers Workshop
  • The Whitney
  • The Highline
  • Therese Raquin with Keira Knightley
  • Seeing Penny
  • Seeing Luis and Midori
  • Seeing the Picasso exhibit in the MOMA
  • Catching a concert of Trio Solisti at Carnegie Hall
  • Watching Mamie Gummer’s scorching performan in Ugly to the Bone
  • Seeing nephew Chris Blackett and watching movies with him and reading his novel-in-progress
  • Eating Cuban in Hoboken, New Jersey
  • Walking around Central Park
  • Mockingjay 2 in the Lincoln Center Cinema
  • Losing self’s wallet twice and having it returned to her twice — nothing missing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Invention of the Monsters”: From Aimee Nezhukumatatathil’s AT THE DRIVE-IN VOLCANO

An excerpt from “Invention of the Monsters”

by Aimee Nezhukumatatathil

When a Yemeni bride complains
of sharp pains on her scalp, her hairdresser
insists it is only the hairpin holding
the braided black wedding wig in place.

Jealous Sister finally admits sneaking
a scorpion under the whorl of egg-stiffened
braids, loops of red ribbon, gold seadbeads,
How beautiful, this body — exquisite

“Essence of Spain,” 699 Words, Eunoia Review

This piece appeared in Eunoia Review (one of her favorite on-line lit mags) She is re-visiting her stories from several years ago, for some reason (because fun?).

This one’s about a Manhattan office worker who tries to spice up her dreary cubicle life by imagining herself traveling around Spain.

I decided I would use only “usted” when addressing others, even if the other was someone obviously younger than myself.

I learned that in Spain they cared greatly about appearance. I read this in the Travel section of The New York Times, which I bought at least once a week, to keep myself informed not only about Spanish customs, but about life in Europe in general.

I imagined myself threading through calle after calle after calle.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More From Self’s Story of The New Ice Age, “The Freeze” (Bluestem, Spring 2015)

Self has no idea what the 2016 AWP in Los Angeles will be like, but the one in Minneapolis in April was a tidal wave moment.

She hadn’t even planned to go, but Luisa Igloria asked if she were interested in sharing a room. On the last day of the AWP Book Fair, self determined to walk around and see whether she saw anyone she knew.

On that last day of the AWP Book Fair, she met the following:

  • Crab Orchard Review Editor Allison Joseph
  • Bluestem Editor Charlotte Pence (who looked soooo fabulous in a pink tweed get-up!

It was a great moment of validation for self, as she realized she’d been published by a lot of the literary magazines on site. Like Juked. Like Witness. Like the New Orleans Review.

All she could think was:  I AM HOOOOME!

She snagged her two author copies of the Bluestem Spring issue. She is so gratified that when Bluestem published “The Freeze,” they kept the formatting — lots of white space, making the story look more like a poem on the printed page.

The band of intrepid San Francisco survivors head south on Highway 1 and begin (of course) to argue:

Someone said we had passed Big Sur. No, it’s impossible, someone said. Big Sur is still up ahead.

I thought, Why argue? What’s the use? We will come to it when we come to it. If we have strength left to come to it.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Crackers” (Crab Orchard Review, Vol. 19 No. 2: Summer/Fall 2014) — We’re on a Panel at AWP 2016!

This was a story self started writing two years ago, which Crab Orchard Review picked up fairly quickly (Definitely NOT the norm!): “Crackers.”

It’s a somewhat comic take on Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. An American man goes “native” in the Philippines:

They made me register at the Palo Alto VA for a psychiatric evaluation. The attendant asked my age, and though I had not thought about it for many years, I replied that I might be 41 or 42.

My mother, God rest her soul, was a saint. She passed away when I was still in grade school. My father was the kind of man whose idea of spoiling us was to give us Happy Meals, every single day. While I was “away,” my father died, my sister inherited all his money, and there was nothing left for me.

My first night back in America, I couldn’t sleep. The quiet made me jumpy. People don’t realize how noisy the jungle is. When you know what to listen for, you can tell who is next to you, who is a few feet away, who is just on the other side of that bamboo thicket. Night is for hunting. It’s an active time. Here, though, the night is so quiet, it’s like being dead.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Part 2 of Vanessa Hua’s “Accepted” (Crab Orchard Review, Vol. 19, No. 2: Summer/Fall 2014)

Self is hugely enjoying this story.

(Self has written her own Stanford stories, but OMG does Ms. Hua ever kill it)

Rodin Sculpture Garden, Stanford University

Rodin Sculpture Garden, Stanford University

Flipping open my binder, I found a flyer urging Stanford cadets to apply for the ROTC honor roll with the attached form and an unofficial transcript. A reminder I didn’t have grades, and wasn’t enrolled, a reminder I should give up and go home. Surviving day-to-day brought me no closer to becoming an official student. I imagined my father’s disappointment, my father’s words: ignominious, mendacious.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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