Favorite Place 4: Backyard

Cares do not exist in a garden.


Euphorbia, 23 March 2018


Viburnum, early March 2018


Japanese anemone, early March 2018

Home for the weekend.

Redwood City March For Our Lives will be a big one. Tomorrow, 1 p.m.

Stay tuned.

I’d Rather Be . . . In a Bookstore


Linda Nietes greeting a customer at the bookshop she owns, Philippine Expressions (Inside a 1920s building, 479 W. Sixth St., San Pedro, CA). Linda is 81 years old. She has been running bookstores all her life.

Last Saturday, 17 March, International Woman’s Day, Linda Nietes invited six Filipina authors to Philippine Expressions Bookshop in San Pedro to read from their work. The authors were: poets Angela Narciso Torres and Irene Suico Soriano, and prose writers Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Prosy Abarquez-Delacruz, Tessie Jayme, and self. The reading was held in the beautiful lobby of a 1920s-era building on 479 W. Sixth Street:


Here’s son with Linda before the reading:


Beautiful Event. Self was honored to be a part of it.

Here’s Linda, in her own words, about why she does what she does:

  • It is a ministry, an advocacy, a labor of love, and the results cannot be counted in dollars and cents. It is fulfilling only to the person who accepts the responsibility of creating a greater awareness and a higher consciousness among members of our community. I have found the field, planted an orchard. Saplings are growing and some have already grown and are blooming and even fruiting. Lucky will be the generation that will just pick the fruits of my labor, but I do not mind that because I understand what the role of a trailblazer is! You blaze the trail so that people will find their way. I was inspired by a quote: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

I’d Rather Be . . . On a Boat

San Pedro Marina, this morning. Just behind the forest of masts, the San Pedro Naval Shipyard, the largest shipyard self has ever seen.


San Pedro Marina, the Day After a Reading at Philippine Expressions Bookshop on W. Sixth Street, San Pedro

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


This event is sponsored by the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford. It is free and open to the public.

The Clayman Institute’s Winter Artist’s Salon features novelist and Stanford professor Chang-rae Lee. Lee will talk about the women characters in several of his books, giving a short reading, followed by a discussion with the audience on a range of questions.

He will focus on June, the female protagonist in The Surrendered, and Fan, the female protagonist in On Such a Full Sea.

Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018
4:15 to 5:45 p.m.
Levinthal Hall
Stanford Humanities Center

RSVP to: gender.stanford.edu


More, Cee Neuner’s Fun Foto Challenge: 2 Ts Anywhere in the Word


The Titanic

Quote of the Day: Joan Acocella on Rescuing Luther’s Bibles From a 2004 Fire

The book historian Stephan Fussel, in the explanatory paperback that accompanies the two-volume facsimile, reports that in 2004, when a fire swept through the Duchess Anna Amalia Library, in Weimar, where this copy was housed, it was “rescued, undamaged, with not a second to lose, thanks to the courageous intervention of library director Dr. Michael Knoche.” I hope that Dr. Knoche himself ran out with the two volumes in his arms. I don’t know what the price of a calf is these days, but the price of this facsimile is sixty dollars.

The New Yorker, 30 October 2017

#amwritinghistoricalfiction: The English Arrive on Isla del Fuego

p. 243 of self’s novel-in-progress:

An English officer stands on the beach, waiting at attention. Matias gapes.

“England has attacked Spain, sir,” the man announces. “We have 5,000 soldiers in Manila. Colonel Chisholm.”

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Start With ‘P’ At Least Five Letters

Another Fun Foto Challenge from Cee Neuner!

  • Think of a word starting with the letter P that has at least five letters.

Self’s word for this Foto Challenge is


She took this picture at son’s wedding, this past October. His bride is Jennie. Self loves this shot.


14 October 2017: A VERY VERY SPECIAL DAY

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Reading Last Night at the Main House

When Lise-Ann McLoughlin, an Irish actress and screenplay writer, reads your words aloud and you become a puddle on the floor.

From “The Rorqual,” self’s horror story-in-progress, set in the Bering Sea:

A large shelf of ice had just dislodged — calved — the day before in Hobart Bay. The sea water had risen by several feet. The immensity of the sound — a low thunder that cascaded off the sides of the snow-capped mountains — was deeply unsettling. Here and there, by the water’s edge, were tussocks of green on which grey tippled seals crowded, blunt snouts raised high in the air.

Despair gripped her.

“Can they replace him with a pagophilic?” the Captain asked.

Tamara bit her lip. “I won’t have a pagophilic. I’d sooner kill them than look at them. They murdered all my children but one. And all the people of the Black Hills.”

NOTE: Self invented this creature, the pagophilic. Somewhere in her story is the dictionary definition. But, the short answer: Pagophilics are mutants developed by the U.S. Navy in a top-secret (naturally) facility somewhere north. Something went wrong with the experiments, and the program was discontinued. A few of the pagos managed to escape and are roaming the northern wilds.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


AWP Bookfair, Tampa 2018: Game Plan

Self will be frank: the only reason she’s going to Tampa next year is the Bookfair.

Oh, wait! There’s another reason: George Saunders is the keynote speaker.

But okay, back to the Bookfair. It’s huge and exhausting. Here is the floor plan.

There have been past AWPs (notably, one in Chicago) where self was so buzzed she did not sleep for 48 hours.

Several years ago, she remembers walking down aisle after aisle of the Bookfair (2015? 2014?) and she had new stories in a number of journals and it felt GLORIOUS. Empowering. And, she should have known: it was an experience never to be repeated. (Aw, shucks!)

She didn’t even go to the AWP last year, even though she had many, many good friends who were booksigning. Even though she was in DC! And participated in an off-site reading (for Quarterly West).

Here’s a selective list of 2018 AWP Bookfair exhibitors:

Akashic * American Short Fiction * Bellingham Review * Blue Mesa Review * Bread Loaf Writers Conferences * Electric Literature * The Florida Review * Fourteen Hills * Grove/Atlantic * Indiana Review * The Journal * Juked * Miami University Press * Mid-American Review * Mississippi Review * New Letters * New Ohio Review * Nimrod * Old Dominion University * The Paris Review * Poets & Writers * Potomac Review * Prairie Schooner * Puerto del Sol * RHINO * Santa Fe Writers Project * Sarabande Books * Small Press Distribution * Submittable * The New York Review of Books * Tin House * University of Arizona Creative Writing * University of Missouri Creative Writing Program * Veterans Writing Project * War, Literature & the Arts * Wings Press * Witness/UNLV English Dept * Women’s Review of Books

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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