Cee’s Black and White Challenge (CBWC): Five

She can barely post or think straight, she’s just so sad about the San Jose VTA shootings. Nine innocent people died.

Blogging is a distraction on this very, very sad day. The loss of life, so unnecessary. Each individual was a good person, a good worker.

If someone doesn’t like his job, can’t he just quit. Isn’t that an option.

This afternoon, self decides to try Cee’s Black and White Challenge. There’s an additional theme: Five.

The host is Cee Neuner, who also hosts many of self’s favorite challenges: Flower of the Day, Fun Fridays, etc

First, a picture that was one of her favorites, with deep reds and purples, that she turned sepia for this challenge. There are five blooms. (Oh no, she just saw a little one in the corner. EEEK! She fiddled with it so long that she’ll go ahead and post):

Next, this picture didn’t need any re-touching. The ceiling fan of her Airbnb during her recent trip to Sacramento. The fan has five rotor blades. YES!:

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

SPORES

This story was published by decomP Magazine. Self began writing it during a residency at Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig. Weeks later, she found the ending in Dublin.

The boss was born Earthstar. He’d never look her way. His spores were meant to go else: to a Silverleaf. Or a Shag. Not K that smelled like wet rot. All scaly cap and throat gills. She belonged with other Common.

In this story of the future, there are Earthstars. Earthstars are permitted to mate with either Silverleafs or Shags. Any other pairing is out of the question.

K is a Common.

The inspiration for this story was a book about mushrooms. Morgan Cooke, who she met at TGC, made an audio recording. Must say, self got a big kick out of hearing her story read with an Irish accent. Many, many, many thanks to Morgan.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Playing With Language

Excerpts from self’s story “First Life” that appeared in Juked, 2015. The point of view belongs to a boy named Dragon. He’s sitting in a classroom of the future (Just because it’s the future doesn’t mean people don’t daydream, ha!)

Today I’m thick or something because thoughts are dark as dark.


Sunlight and glass, Prisms and mirrors. My mind is floating out there, beyond the windows. Out there, where swish swish goes something, maybe the wind.

 

RIP for the Lost

Just recently, self heard The Octopus Literary Salon, in Oakland, where she and friends had all variously read, had closed. SAD! It was a mainstay of the local literary community.

Self was just looking through her pile of contributor copies (for stories she’s published in literary magazines) and realized that there are quite a goodly number that do not exist anymore. Like, The Rambler? This magazine of nonfiction appeared in North Carolina, survived a number of years, and took two of self’s flash.

How about Isotope? A place for creative and science writing. Edited by poet Chris Cokinos. In the same issue as poetry and plays, an essay on math (with numbers!) or biology. This one published out of Utah.

Here are self’s list of The Departed (the ones she knows about):

  • 5_Trope
  • Alimentum: The Literature of Food (Self loved this magazine. It moved to on-line only, and self still loved it. Then, ALAS!)
  • decomP
  • Elsewhere Lit
  • Isotope
  • LITnIMAGE
  • Our Own Voice  (featuring writing of the Philippine diaspora)
  • The Cricket Online Review
  • The Rambler
  • Used Furniture Review
  • White Whale Review (The editor solicited her after reading her blog)
  • Word Riot

Most of these magazines fell into the experimental and/or social justice arena. They were trying to do something different, and their presence in the literary world was exciting (Face it, if self had to rely solely on the big literary magazines, her career would have been over years ago). They were labors of love (as every literary magazine, big or small, is) and their vision was unique.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

“Spores” Part 3

More sorting! More profanity!

As self has already said, written in Dublin!

Thanks again to decomP for publishing this, 2016!


Now K making delicate noises over there on her side of the table.

“The fuck is this—?” I exclaim. My fingers are snagged on a Changeable. “How did these get in with the others?”

K stops. Looks guilty. Bends her head to have a closer look at what I have in my right hand. “Oh,” she says. And starts to hum. Even though her voice is low, I think I hear her say “lash” and “blood.” She swats the Changeables out of my hand, as if they were nothing. “Leave them,” she says. Against the white-tiled floor, they look dove-colored. “I’ll take care of them later.” She notices me gaping. “Seriously,” she says. “I’ll take care of them.”

I’m shaking. She isn’t afraid. Of him. She looks at me again. “I know, R. I know.”

“What the fuck is wrong with you—” I say.

“Come on,” she says. “I’m mad. Mum says I could drive anyone to…well, you know.”


K has very quick hands, I must say. I hate those slimy Changeables. They’re rascally, which means they’re quick to mutate, and almost impossible to spot. If only three or four of them had gotten through—oh, they come after ya.

My jaw starts to ache, as if the boss had just landed another good one. But now he never has to, and he knows it. Trembling at just the memory.

K nonchalantly scoops the Changeables up from the floor, with her bare hands. I’ve never seen anyone do that before. She really must be crazes.

Her fingers are an angry, violent red. They must hurt terribly. Either that, or something has killed off her nerve endings. Or she just wants to die.

She nudges the door to the ovens with her left boot. The door slides back with a rusty groan. The fire is hungry and seems to lap out at her.

“Watch out—” I say.

But by the time I get the words out, she’s dumped the Changeables into the oven and slammed the door shut again. This whole time, I’ve stood rooted to the same spot.

“Hello?” K says, snapping her fingers. Then points to the table. “Shouldn’t you be arranging those Poriales? Into brackets?” She adds, for good measure, “You lousy Common!”

I finally smile, though feels like my face is breaking.


Next post will be longer: I’ll post the whole second half of the story.

In the future, mankind is dying so reproduction is controlled by the State, and it’s very hierarchical: Earthstars mate with Silverleaf, Common with Common, etc.

Trigger Warnings: Under-Age, Non-Con

Self’s Dystopia

From First Life (Juked, July 2015)

Ku Ling’s Rule: First Life began in the Dome.

Nervous? Her asked.

I nodded. Ever since they moved our colony from Tonle Sap to the Philippines, my mind hasn’t been the same.

20191228_155802

 

First Causes: Quarterly West # 89

Self’s stories have this predictive quality.

Excerpt from First Causes:

There’s a bluish-green shadow on Big’s back, right between his shoulder blades. I see it when he disrobes for inspection.

What is the cause, I think? Is it Tumor? Is it Plague? Is it Virus?

 

Writing of the Day: The MC’s Sister Writes a Letter

What self is doing, she does not know. She just keeps tossing off letter after letter. Like, not only does she accept the throwdown of writing about 18th century Philippines, she has to make the whole thing epistolary!

Anyhoo, this section’s fresh as fresh, as she made the whole thing up about an hour ago. Thoughts?

You wrote that it is useless to appeal to the Bishop in Manila, for he cares more for “musk, civet, and pearls” than for his priests, which necessitates your appealing to Spain. And the Governor General is no better, you say, for he “struts about in the richest of silks and brocades”. If this individual were to somehow present to me at this very moment, I would demand that he be strung up from the highest gibbet. For are these things you have requested not proper and necessary for any human being, never mind those who are representatives of the Church and our country?

I am inclined to write a letter to the King himself, to inform him of what is truly going on in the islands, for He may well not know. Oh, to what lengths are we driven to serve both Our God and Our Lord!

Your loving sister,

Dorotea

In so many previous drafts (maybe the 1st to the 10th draft), Dorotea was the MC’s (secret) love interest, but self was unable to keep up the tension after the MC left for his mission in the Philippines, so she decided to turn Dorotea into his sister. There was more to the letter (e.g. curses to the English etc for occupying the islands, which they did for two years, in the early 1760s. They ultimately decided that the country didn’t have enough gold or silver to justify them staying.)

Stay tuned, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

Self Answered The Call

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And the results are out now.

Read. Read. Read.

Thank you forever, Lillian Howan, for soliciting a piece.

 

 

Work-in-Progress, First Draft

“Your Holiness,” Matias said, trying to mask his excitement by imbuing his voice with a tone of the most abject humility. “You have not yet informed me where I am to be assigned.”

The Bishop acted as if he was surprised, but he was not; he had left this piece of information for the last, deliberately.

“Do you know the island called Isla del Fuego?” the Bishop asked.

Matias’s throat contracted. “I do know it,” he answered, carefully. “I believe the natives call it by another name.”

DSCN0048

Self’s novel-in-progress, Blue Water, Distant Shores, is 340 pages of conversations between the Bishop and Matias. And between Matias and his native guide, Diego. Oh, and a few letters. That is all.

Stay tuned.

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