Dialogue 5: Blur

Self thinks these three photographs are in dialogue with each other. Agree or disagree, dear blog readers? (Funny how she started this post thinking she was going to post a series of landscape shots! Self is so unpredictable — even to herself LOL)

Book Sale at Public Library, San Carlos, CA

Book Sale at Public Library, San Carlos, CA

Masskara Festival, Bacolod City: October 2012

Masskara Festival, Bacolod City: October 2012

DSCN0132

VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA (HAIYAN): Call for Submissions

Deadline:  Nov. 23, 2013

Eileen Tabios is putting together an anthology whose proceeds will go to victims of Typhoon Yolanda — also referred to as Typhoon Haiyan in the US (Self knows, why two different names for the same typhoon? Alas, self cannot provide an answer)  Please submit 1- 3 poems by the deadline date above to:

MeritagePress@aol.com

Poems must be in English or, if in Tagalog or another Filipino dialect, must be accompanied by an English translation.

Send poems that, in your view, relate to Yolanda —  whether it’s something you felt compelled to write as a result of the disaster and coverage thereof, or of issues related to Yolanda such as climate change, or of lessons that can be gleaned, or of hopes for improving the ways to survive or respond to such disasters in the future, or your “Beloved Philippines or Filipino” poems . . .  and so on.  Poems need not be new as long as you feel they are relevant in some way to Yolanda and her lessons and other aftermaths.

More information can be found on Eileen’s blog, The Blind Chatelaine’s Keys.

Stay tuned.

Personal Library 3

On the lower shelf of the bookcase adjacent to the front door, 45 books.

95 + 45 = 140 Total Books counted thus far.

The books on the lower shelf of Bookcase # 1 are mostly coffee table-size, hardbound books, and include titles like Hills Beyond a River:  Chinese Painting of the Yuan Dynasty, by James Cahill;  Filipinos:  Forgotten Asian Americans:  A Pictorial Essay, 1763 – 1963, by Fred Cordova;  The Forbidden Book:  The Philippine American War in Political Cartoons, by Abe Ignacio, Enrique de la Cruz, Jorge Emmanuel, and Helen Toribio;  The New Painting:  Impressionism 1874 – 1886, by the staff of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Our World’s Heritage, published by the National Geographic Society;  the Fear of the Feminine:  And Other Essays on Feminine Psychology, by Eric Neumann; Symbols of Eternity:  Landscape Painting in China, by Michael Sullivan (Self took three courses from him while she was a grad student at Stanford); Philippine Hospitality:  A Gracious Tradition of the East, by Lily Gamboa O’Boyle and Reynaldo G. Alejandro;  Choosing Revolution: Chinese Women Soldiers on the Long March, by Helen Praeger Young;  The Quartet of the Tiger Moon, by Quijano de Manila;  The Public Conscience of Jaime V. Ongpin, written by Alfred A. Yuson and Ricardo B. Ramos

etc.

etc.

etc.

In other news:  “Dirty Harry” was admitted to the Library of Congress today, along with 24 other iconic films, such as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”  And “The Matrix.”  And the Tom Hanks movie “A League of Their Own.”  All hail, Clint, Audrey, Keanu, and Tom!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The Utter Fabulousness of Liza E

Zack and self visited Liza E’s class at Skyline College today.

It was a beautiful day!

During the class (Students had drawn up a list of questions for self and Zack beforehand), self had occasion to recall that if it were not for Brian Roley, she would not have a book called Mayor of the Roses.

Self talked about the genesis of the title story. It was a nugget that remained in her consciousness for almost a decade before she sat down to write it. She originally hoped to turn it into a novel. But in the end, she hadn’t the nerve to live within the horror of its material for more than a couple of pages.

Brian just made an appearance at Pomona College. When self found out, she said: Why didn’t you tell me beforehand? Did you know son is at Claremont? He and his friends would have packed the reading!

Self delivered unto Liza (for The Bump) the incredible oinking pig. Self has to thank John Malkovich’s character in “Red” for giving her the idea.

Self feels so privileged: standing in Liza E’s office, Zack showed her the galleys for Leche. He told her a little about how the novel ends. Heads up, y’all: The book comes out in April.

Earlier, self had just stuffed her face with Lychee Shake, Lechon Kawali, Sinigang Bangus Belly and bibingka with ube ice cream at Tribu. Even though self kept protesting that she could not eat, she of course ended up eating. (She is definitely taking niece G here on Sunday, when she picks her up from the BART station! Before going to watch “Waiting for Superman” at Palo Alto Square!)

Liza E wore Giants wristbands on both wrists! Self found out that she and Jeremy are such fans they actually watch every single game! Compared to them, self is such a Johnny-come-lately! But self was happy to get into it with Liza on the time Brian Wilson had to color his orange fluorescent fabulous shoes with a black Sharpie because you are only allowed to have footwear that is half orange. Or some such ridiculous reason.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Filipino American National Historical Society Annual Conference

Just received an e-mail announcement from Joan Cordova regarding the upcoming Filipino American National Historical Society annual conference in Seattle University this July 21 – 24.  Read the rest of this entry »

More From AWP

View from Self's Window, 3rd floor of Sheraton on Court Place

Fab writers: Brian Ascalon Roley and Luisa Igloria

Margarita and Becky in front of the newest Calyx book, Cass Dalglish's collection, HUMMING THE BLUES

2nd Most Gorgeous Day of 2010

Self simply cannot describe her emotions today:  it is so overwhelming, the sight of actual sun.  Tonight is the Maxine Hong Kingston reading at Stanford.  Ah, another trip down memory lane.  Looking up the reading venue on the Stanford map, she sees that it is quite close to something called the “New Guinea Garden.” Also, it is a short walk from White Plaza.  Perhaps self will head over a little early so she can drop by the Stanford Bookstore.

The magnolia tree she planted in her backyard a few weeks ago is leaning very far to the side, but hubby claims that it “looks OK,” self suspects because he is reluctant to do his manly duty and prop it up with a stick or something.  Come to think of it, he’s been making himself extremely scarce in the garden of late, there must be all manner of exciting things going on in the sports world:  NFL playoffs, and so forth and so on.  Self still can’t believe Roddick flamed out of the Australian Open.  He should have won that game, that game against Cilic.

Anyhoo, at least self is probably having a better day than Roddick.  She was driving home from her morning stint at the Writing Center when she saw that —  Hallelujah! —  the building they are erecting on the site of the old Kentucky Fried Chicken place on El Camino near Whipple is:  another KFC!  Considering that KFC is self’s faaavorite fastfood, this discovery made self go all happy happy joy joy, happy happy joy joy.

Let’s see, in honor of this gorgeous day, self treated herself to a solitary lunch at Higuma.  And  —  goodness gracious! —  what has happened to that place since she was last there, over a year ago?  It was so crowded, she was lucky to find a seat!  Most of the tables were occupied by groups of office people, predominantly men.  The table directly in front of self were all men, and they talked about their wives in fondly semi-derogatory terms.  Self glanced studiously at her New York Times Book Review.

Then, in the mail today, a copy of Michelle Cruz Skinner’s new collection, from Bamboo Ridge Press.  Self contributed a blurb:  she sees now that Zack did, too, as well as one of her favorite short story writers, Ron Carlson.  Here’s what Ron Carlson had to say about Michelle’s collection, In the Company of Strangers (very nice title, that!):

Michelle Cruz Skinner shows us again that exile sometimes captures the body and sometimes the heart; she writes closely about love and life in a family, and we see that distance, longing, and desire all can contribute to the things misplaced in translation.

Very nice.  And now self becomes extremely graceful to the people who blurbed her books:  Zack, David Henry Hwang (though he probably doesn’t remember, it was so long ago), fellow Stanford classmate Ehud Havazelet (Ehud remembers!) and Jessica, the wondrous Jessica.

And now self begins to wonder what might have happened to the short story she submitted to Bamboo Ridge, almost a year ago?  Has it been lost?  Rejected without her knowledge?  Who knows?  It is embarrassing to have to follow up.  Never mind!  The day is simply too gorgeous to dwell on possible rejections.

(Did anyone see “Caprica” last night?  Woo-hoo, the birth of AI!  Not to mention Eric Stoltz.  How very, very fab.)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

A Survey

Since self is now pretty sure of going home in December, and since there’s only so much a body can accomplish in three weeks (!!!), other than get horribly jet-lagged and fat,  self thought she’d better begin soliciting suggestions for:

  • The three best books by contemporary Filipino writers that she must buy to bring back with her to the States  (No coffee table books, please!  Self likes poetry, she likes prose, she likes graphic novels, she loooves  —  at the present moment, anyway  —   history and memoir and non-fiction)
  • The three best bookstores that she must be sure to visit in the three weeks that she is in Manila
  • The three movies she absolutely must see before going back home

Never mind restaurants or food! She’s sure she doesn’t need to eat one more thing, not one!

*    *     *

Call to Dearest Mum:  Why didn’t you send copies of The Lost Language with cousin who was just in Manila?  Self has a reading on Nov. 7, and it would have been so great to have the copies ready.  Dearest Mum replied, she is ashamed.  She doesn’t want anyone to read the book.  The stories are so violent.  Even her brothers couldn’t read it, they had to stop after the first 5 pages, never mind that self dedicated the book to Ying.  So,

HA HA HA HA HA HA !!!!

(Now, self thinks:  how in the heck is she going to get through three weeks of December in Manila?  Hubby, though, maintains it will be very “good” for self to go.  Self wants to ask him:  And what do you know about it?  Did you ever have a family such as mine???)

Now self is wondering: which is worse, to have the maternal seal of approval, or not to have the maternal seal of approval?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Jimmy Abad’s “Parable of Stones”

The August 2009 issue of Filipinas Magazine contains an article by Yvette Tan on the Read the rest of this entry »

“Ginseng” Redux: The President’s Special Research Project

The building was old. How old exactly, no one was certain. The records of the construction were lost in the great fire that struck Manila in 1915. Judging from the style of its architecture and its ancient, weather-beaten look, however, it had been built at the turn of the century.

This was the building that housed the National Archives. The shelves were full of dusty, yellowing documents from Spanish times, newspapers with courageous names like La Independencia and La Solidaridad, and books on history and geography compiled by the Spanish friars. No one had looked at the books for a very long time. They were piled together in haphazard fashion on the shelves. The pages were coming loose from the bindings. The newspapers were slowly crumbling to pieces. Perhaps the past was not very important, or perhaps no one wanted to remember that before the New Society of the dictator Roberto Suarez Gomez, there had been such a thing as an intellectual life in the country. At any rate, the building’s long, narrow corridors were empty. Nothing disturbed the shafts of sunlight slanting quietly through the high windows.

    — From self’s first book, Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila (Calyx Books, Corvallis, Oregon). Also published in the Philippines by the Ateneo University Office of Research & Publications

NOTE: Self’s great-grandfather, his brother, and Antonio Luna were among the earliest editorial staff of the real La Solidaridad. The first name of the paper was “La Patria,” but the new American occupiers found it too incendiary a title. So they changed the name to La Independencia and published it in Malabon, which at the time (1898) was beyond the Americans’ jurisdiction. The maiden issue ran on Sept. 3, 1898.

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