Patricia Westerford: The Overstory

  • It’s amazing how far a little war chest will go, once you’ve learned how to forage (p. 129)

This character completely breaks self’s heart. She better have a happy ending.

Stay tuned.

Novel-in-Progress: Blue Water, Distant Shores

Self added a scene to her novel-in-progress today and is quite happy with it (p. 68 of 341 pp.)

Murcia, 1762

Father Soriano: “Is there no end to your obstinate impudence? What can you hope for?”

Matias: “Why, to fight against devils.”

Father Soriano: “I should strike you for such impiety. What makes you think you can fight against devils?”

Matias: “I shall strike them in the belly and when they least expect it. The Lord shall assist me.”

Father Soriano: “What impudence! The Lord assist — you? Ask away, then. I doubt He will listen.”

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.

 

 

Niall in THE PARASITES, p. 164

The song hit the ceiling, and echoed from the walls; it was fun to do, it was play. But he did not want to write it down. He did not want to have the sweat and toil of writing it down. Why not pay someone else to do that part? And, anyway, once he had thought of a song, and played it, and sung it to himself and Freada about fifty times, it was out of his system, he was bored with it, sickened of it, he did not even want to hear it any more. As far as he was concerned, the song was finished. It was like taking a pill, and the pill having worked, he wanted to pull the plug on it. Finish. Now what next? Anything? No. Just lean over the balcony under the sun. And think about the foie de veau there was going to be for lunch.

Niall, 18, a precociously gifted songwriter, has just run off to Paris with Freada a much older woman, a friend of his parents. He is secretly in love with his stepsister, but that’s apparently more of a taboo than running off to Paris with a friend of his parents, so that other love goes unrequited.

Self loves how taboo-breaking this book is. Not to mention, the writing is drop-dead gorgeous.

When Niall and Freada take the evening air along the Parisian boulevards, no one gives this May-December pairing a second glance, it seems the most natural thing in the world:

The sky turned an amber colour, like Freada’s scent, and an amber glow came upon the city, spreading from the west, touching the roofs and the bridges and the spires.

Gorgeous scene-setting. Self hasn’t read a novel like this in a long, long time. Maybe not since Once Upon a River.

Stay tuned, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

 

How To Stoke the Fire: More from Rosario Ferré

This summer self made a stab at re-reading the late Rosario Ferré’s story collection The Youngest Doll. She remembers being stunned by the title story, the first time she read it. The intervening years have not changed her response to the story, not one bit. She urges everyone interested in feminist literature/island literature/Puerto Rican literature or just plain literature to read it.

In addition, self has been slowly re-reading Ferré’s essay on her writing process, The Writer’s Kitchen. The essay was published decades ago, in the Journal of Feminist Studies, but every time self re-reads it, the words are as fresh as the first time.

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HOW TO STOKE A FIRE

I would now like to speak a bit about that mysterious combustible element that feeds all literature — imagination. This topic interests me because I often discover, among the general public, a curious skepticism toward the existence of the imagination and because I find that both laypeople and professionals in the literary community tend to overemphasize the biographical details of authors’ lives. One of the questions most often asked of me, by strangers as well as friends, is how I was able to write about Isabel la Negra, a famous whore of Ponce, my hometown, without ever having met her. The question always surprises me because it bespeaks a fairly generalized difficulty in establishing boundaries between imagined reality and lived reality, or perhaps the difficulty lies only in understanding the intrinsic nature of literature. It would never have occurred to me to ask Mary Shelley, for example,  if on her walks along the bucolic paths surrounding Lake Geneva, she had ever run into a living-dead monster about ten feet tall.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Featured in Jellyfish Review: Flash by Seventeen Syllables

Grace Loh Prasad curated, Roy Kamada’s Grey Matter has just posted.

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

More goodness — from Caroline Kim Brown and Grace herself — to follow.

Grace’s introductory essay, here.

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry Tuesday: C. L. Odell

Self loves C. L. Odell’s poem in the 24 June 2019 New Yorker.

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Geraniums, Front Porch, August 2019

PEONY

An excerpt

So let me have this now
before the blossoms
take my absence
from the yard

and I am again only one-sided,
a living thing responsible
to live, finding myself in tall grass,
whispering back.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Tuesday Photo Challenge — LOCK

Look at the beautiful set of lock photographs in viveka’s my guilty pleasures, one of the blogs self loves! There’s a little history behind each lock.

She was posting for the tuesday photo challenge.

And here are self’s pictures of the locks in her wee cottage/house, 1250 square feet, good enough for a couple, built in the best, the absolute best neighborhood in Redwood City, CA, in 1939.

The original owner was Jack de Benedetti, who died at 90-something, in this house.

A developer bought it for a song, worked on it, then sold it to us in 1991.

He added a half-bath, but kept all the original bones of the house, and that included lots and lots of windows.

The locks on the windows are much in need of refurbishing, but heck the windows won’t even open. The wood has warped. In a way, that’s good, because the house is very safe (no burglars will be creeping in through the windows)

Without further ado: window locks on an old old house

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Challenge # 57: TAKING A BREAK

Self’s current book, Mihaly Czsikszentmihalyi’s FLOW: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF OPTIMAL EXPERIENCE is a very, very interesting book.

Her son and daughter-in-law were Psychology majors at Claremont, the school where the author taught. In fact, she read about him in the Claremont Graduate University alumni magazine, The Flame.

She is trying to practice Flow thinking (see graph below). She is trying to achieve “complexity” in her consciousness. This will be her project for the rest of the summer.

She thinks this goal is very much tied in with the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: TAKING A BREAK.

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Today, she walked downtown, which she hadn’t done in two weeks. Courthouse Square was empty. Nevertheless, the trip was not in vain, for she saw a movie: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Is this a ‘Flow’ experience? Self thinks it is. Watching movies is one of self’s most enjoyable activities.

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Mid-Afternoon, Courthouse Square, Redwood City, CA

And, she spends A LOT of time in her garden, where her efforts are repaid with gorgeous blooms like this one, on her Sheila’s Perfume rose:

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Sheila’s Perfume, last week of July 2019

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

More From Rosario Ferré’s Essay, The Writer’s Kitchen

  • Any writer or artist, women or man, has a sixth sense which indicates when the goal has been reached, when what she or he has been molding has acquired the definitive form it must have. Once that point has been reached, one extra word (a single note, a single line) will irreversibly extinguish that spark or state of grace brought about by the loving struggle between the writer and his or her work. That moment is always one of awe and reverence: Marguerite Yourcenar compares it to the mysterious moment when the baker knows it is time to stop kneading the dough; Virginia Woolf defines it as the instant in which she feeks the blood flow from end to end through the body of the text.

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