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

PRETTY

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

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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.

VOICES FROM CHERNOBYL: Viktor Latun, Photographer

He died from cancer of the blood. We had a wake, and in the Slavic tradition we drank. And then the conversations began again, until midnight. First about him, the deceased. But after that? Once more about the fate of the country and the design of the universe. Will Russian troops leave Chechnya or not? Will there be a second Caucasian war, or has it already started? Could Zhirinovsky become President? Will Yeltsin be re-elected? About the British Royal Family and Princess Diana. About the Russian monarchy. About Chernobyl, the different theories. Some say that aliens knew about the catastrophe and helped us out; others that it was an experiment; and soon kids with incredible talents will start to be born. Or maybe the Belarussians will disappear, like the Scythians. We’re metaphysicians. We don’t live on this earth, but in our dreams, in our conversations. Because you need to add something to this ordinary life, in order to understand it. Even when you’re near death.

— p. 193, Voices From Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster, by Svetlana Alexievich (translated from the Russian by Keith Gessen)

VOICES FROM CHERNOBYL: Colonel Yaroshuk

p. 131, Voices From Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster

Colonel Yaroshuk is dying now. He’s a chemist-dosimetrist. He was healthy as a bull, now he’s lying paralyzed. His wife turns him over like a pillow. She feeds him from a spoon. He has stones in his kidneys, they need to be shattered, but we don’t have the money to pay for that kind of operation. We’re paupers, we survive on what people give us. And the government behaves like a money lender, it’s forgotten these people. When he dies, they’ll name a street after him, or a school, or a military unit, but that’s only after he dies, Colonel Yaroshuk. He walked through the Zone and marked the points of maximum radiation — they exploited him in the fullest sense of the term, like he was a robot. And he understood this, but he went, he walked from the reactor itself and then out through all the sectors around the radius of reactivity. On foot. With a dosimeter in his hand. He’d feel a “spot” and then walk around its borders, so he could put it on his map, accurately.

Cleaning Up, Post-Apocalypse

A cameraman reports:

They were washing roofs. But how do you wash an old lady’s roof if it leaks? As for the soil, you had to cut off the entire fertile layer of it. After that there’s yellow sand. One old lady was following orders and throwing the earth out, but then scraping off the manure to use later. It’s too bad I didn’t shoot that.

— p. 105, Voices From Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster

A friend will ask self what she is reading now. When she tells them, they go, Sheesh! (Sub-text: You really must be a glutton for punishment!)

The first night after she began reading this book, she arrived in New York City. She stayed up all night, bug-eyed. The first story is the worst, the absolute worst. You just want to shake the stupid woman and cry. There’s all this florid Oh woe is me! I love my husband! Let me kiss him on his radioactive lips so that my unborn baby will know I did it all for love!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

VOICES FROM CHERNOBYL, AN ORAL HISTORY OF A DISASTER, p. 65

“I read in a book — it was by Father Sergei Bulgakov — it’s certain that God created the world, and therefore the world can’t possibly fail,” and so it is necessary to “endure history courageously and to the very end.”

More Rounded: Still Albuquerque

More pictures from the fabulous Albuquerque trip self took, to attend son’s wedding, two weeks ago:

One of her first stops (post-wedding) was the Albuquerque Museum of Art.

Below, pieces by Jorge de Rivera (born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1904, died New York City, 1985) and Paul Sarkisian, current Artist-in-Residence

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Jorge de Rivera, Albuquerque Museum of Art

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Paul Sarkisian, Artist in Residence, Albuquerque Museum of Art

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Garden Wedding (Son and Jennie’s) in Albuquerque Hotel, October 2017

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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