CLOCKWORK PRINCE: Jaw Drop Time, pp. xxx – xxx


At this point in Clockwork Prince, Tessa Gray and Will Herondale are still at the stage of making goo-goo eyes at each other, but Jem Carstairs, the skinnier male of The Infernal Devices love triangle (All right, yeah, self knows. This is a love triangle. So? Paranormal love triangles are THE BEST!), has the temerity to punch Will Herondale in the face (If you had broken Will’s nose, Jem, self would never have forgiven you. Never. Never. EVER), plays wild violin music that is sure to get Tessa Gray’s attention — after she’s already changed into her nightgown and everyone else is in bed; how convenient is that, that Tessa’s room is right across the hall from Jem’s and no one else seems to be awake — and they nearly DO THE DEED? IN HIS BEDROOM? With Will Herondale (presumably) passed out from being punched in the face?

Self kept praying, during the whole of that scene, that something would happen to interrupt. Something like mebbe Will Herondale (Self loves writing his full name, she knows not why) walking in and saying “Uh-oh!”

But Will never puts in an appearance. Oh, where is that poetry and drama-spouting boy when you need him? Instead, it’s off-with-the-nightgown time and —




What is the matter with you, Jem? You and Will are supposed to be parabatai. Able to read each other’s hearts, etc etc. You do not, self repeats NOT:

a) Punch your parabatai in the face, thereby causing him to bleed;

b) Play wild, discordant violin music that lures Tessa Gray to your bedroom in the middle of the night;

c) Sleep with your parabatai‘s love.

Never mind if Will never actually professed his love, and keeps pulling the Heathcliff act on Tessa Gray. Jem should be able to tell that Will is in love with Tessa. Isn’t that the point of being parabatai — that you can read each other’s hearts and minds?

Oh, the horror.

Stay tuned.

From Robert Falcon Scott’s Diary of His Journey to the South Pole, 1912

Self loves nonfiction.

She loves memoir, and of all the different types of memoir she loves reading, travel books are her favorite.

A short list of travel writers self has read and admired (by no means definitive):

Sybille Bedford (A Visit to Don Otavio: A Traveler’s Tale From Mexico); Mary Morris (Nothing to Declare); Wilfred Thesiger (Arabian Sands); Redmond O’Hanlon (Into the Heart of Borneo); Eric Newby (A Short Walk In the Hindu Kush); Piers Paul Read (Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors); Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness); Rebecca West (Black Lamb and Grey Falcon)

The diary of Robert Falcon Scott is extremely excruciating because it is simply a mundane list of daily chores (including, of course, a record of the freezing temperatures) but one has to remember that the man and everyone mentioned in his diary dies, in a matter of weeks.

So here we are, reading things like:

“Bowers photographing and Wilson sketching.”

“Evans looked a little better after a good sleep . . . ”

“. . . with plenty of horsemeat we have had a fine supper . . . ” (at a place with the dreadful name Shambles Camp)

“. . . lucky to have a fine day for this and our camp work . . . ”

But one can’t help reading the diary for possible clues as to how this expedition could have been saved: if they had not wasted valuable time going back for a teammate who was clearly on the point of death. If they had not been in general so slow. But they were all exhausted and so of course they were slow.

On February 4, they had food for 10 more days and 70 miles to go. It had taken all that they had to go 8 1/2 miles one day, so 70 more miles seems just on the border of possibility.


Closing out this post with another picture of Lake Louise from last Saturday.

May 16, 2015

May 16, 2015

Stay tuned.

Bentley Chamber Music Studio, Banff Centre, Last Night

Last night, during the Writing Studio readings in Bentley Hall, poet and novelist John Burnside quoted Shakespeare:

The world must be peopled.

The quote is from Much Ado About Nothing.

Self did a little internet exploration and found an article by John D. Cox in Shakespeare Quarterly (Volume 55.1, 2004) that lists Much Ado About Nothing as one of four “Comedies of Forgiveness,” the other three being Two Gentlemen of Verona, All’s Well That Ends Well, and Measure for Measure.

It was another stellar night. Bentley Hall was packed. Self wanted to link the “peopled” quote to this week’s WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge, FORCE OF NATURE. Stretching things a little bit, because self has just not been on that many hikes. Mostly, she’s been holed up in her room, writing.

Monday was switchover time: our mentors for the first two weeks of the Writing Studio went home, and new mentors came in. Burnside flew in from Berlin, late Sunday night.

Bentley Chamber Music Studio, Just Before Last Night's Writing Studio reading

Bentley Chamber Music Studio, Just Before Last Night’s Writing Studio Reading. Self reads on May 27.

Jeff Millar, Writing Studio Program Coordinator, at the Book Table at the Back of Bentley Chamber Music Studio,

Jeff Millar, Writing Studio Program Coordinator, at the Book Table at the Back of Bentley Chamber Music Studio.

One of the readers last night was Benjamin C. Dugdale, whose bio describes him as “oral storyteller, poet, and experimental filmmaker . . . He is interested in freckles, tea, silent film, and growing his hair out long.” Canadians have such dry humor. Honestly, it takes self at least five seconds before she realizes the person she is speaking to has actually made a joke. What? She’s thick, what else can she say?

She really liked Ben’s T-shirt:

Benjamin C. Dugdale After his Reading Last Night at the Bentley Chamber Music Studio

Benjamin C. Dugdale After his Reading Last Night at the Bentley Chamber Music Studio

Ben’s work is recently published or forthcoming in Free Fall, The Steel Chisel, Sulphur, and Numero Cinq.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Things Self Is Learning About In Canada 2: BEARS

There are two kinds of bears: grizzly bears and black bears.

Self has been told there are grizzlies in the area around Banff, so she decides to do some research on the animals.

There is tons of useful information in the National Wildlife Federation website.

  • Grizzly bears can stay in their dens for up to seven months.
  • Grizzly bears begin to look for mates in the spring and early summer.
  • When a female grizzly becomes pregnant, the development of the embryo temporarily stops for several months, a process called “delayed implantation.” If a female bear is unable to gain enough weight during the summer and fall, her body will tell her not to proceed with the pregnancy and the embryo will re-absorb.
  • Grizzlies are known to congregate at rivers with many fish and at improperly fenced garbage dumps.

The garbage bins in The Banff Centre all have lids and are somewhat tricky to open — that’s for the precise purpose of discouraging bears.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentences From TREE OF SMOKE

Denis Johnson’s novel is divided into sections by year. In general, the action takes place in the Philippines and Vietnam.

The section self is currently on is 1967.

She’s decided to list the best sentences per page, leading up to p. 222. (Why? For what purpose? Self has no idea. Because it seems like a good way to kill time until the dining room opens for lunch?)

The speakers are Americans. Their names are James, Fisher, Evans, Walsh, Flatt, and a cowboy.

p. 198:  His feet steamed in his boots.

p. 199:  They continued pondering the question.

p. 200:  For a while they moved so slowly a cart behind them was able to keep pace, and James stared for a long time into the stupid, deeply sympathetic face of a water buffalo.

p. 201:  “Oh no you don’t. The truck stays here.”

p. 202:  “I didn’t sign up,” Fisher said.

p. 203:  There were lava lamps.

p. 204:  Evans said, “What was the name of this town again?”

p. 205:  James felt like joining in, but he was too shy.

p. 206:  “Deal.”

p. 207:  “He’s just being friendly,” James put in.

p. 208:  “Don’t fight the little fella. Never fight the little fella.”

p. 209:  Walsh paid for the beers.

p. 210:  “Your leaders have lied to you. They have led you to believe you can win.”

p. 211:  “Well into the second quarter, Michigan State was tromping us ten to nothing.”

p. 212:  “And to give up the stretch of ground in pursuit of some theory about the future is not the way we do things here.”

p. 213:  “These guys can explain.”

p. 214:  “He was fine till you turned up just now.”

p. 215:  “If you’re easy on me, I’m easy on you, that’s the system here.”

p. 216:  Evans brushed dried mud from one and sat down and said, “Only three-hundred and sixty-four more days of this shit.”

p. 217:  “You wait out here,” Flatt said when they’d reached the Purple Bar.

p. 218:  The cowboy said, “Hey, now, listen: I am not your asshole.”

p. 219:  “I feel like I’ll hurt somebody.”

p. 220:  “Does Psy Ops work for the CIA?”

p. 221:  “Because — I mean — let’s face it.”

p. 222:  Uncle Hao had warned Minh that Mr. Skip spoke Vietnamese.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Witness: The Trans/lation Issue (Spring 2015)

Where is self? She is here, right here:

Witness: The Trans/lation Issue, Launched at the AWP Book Fair in Minneapolis, April 2015

Witness: The Trans/lation Issue, Launched at the AWP Book Fair in Minneapolis, April 2015

This issue of Witness features writing from around the world. And self is more than proud to be in the same issue as:

  • Dario Belleza (translated from the Italian by Peter Covino)
  • Arthur Rimbaud (translated from the French by Donald Revell)
  • Hossein M. Abkenar (translated from the Persian by Sara Khalili)
  • Christos Chartomatsidis (translated from the Bulgarian by Velina Minkoff, Rayna Rossenova, and Borislava Velkova)
  • Moniru Ravanipour (translated from the Persian by Shirindokht Nourmanesh and Moniru Ravanipour)
  • Karl Ove Knausgaard (translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett)
YAY! Self made it! She is here!

YAY! Self made it! She is here!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“The Lost Coast”: Sunset Magazine, September 2014

Self is re-reading an article that appeared in the September 2014 issue of Sunset Magazine, an article about “The Lost Coast” — “the remote 200-plus-mile stretch (80 miles of which is called the Lost Coast) between the Oregon border and the logging town of Fort Bragg.”

The Lost Coast is where you encounter (culling from the article):

  • rain-soaked forest
  • mysterious little towns
  • rogue marijuana farms
  • elk
  • campgrounds “hidden in the dense forest and brush”
  • estuaries
  • rocky headlands
  • long sandbars
  • Sitka spruces
  • good local Sangiovese
  • local Humboldt Fog cheese
  • Redwood National Park

Well, there is still time for self to cross off a few of the things on that list, starting with good, local Sangiovese.

Two days ago, she had to borrow 30 cents from a teen-ager working the concession stand at the Fort Bragg Coast Cinema. Yes, she has sunk so low.

She drove there to see “Focus” starring her Number 1 Male Chest of all time, Will Smith (Margot Robbie is in it, and also has a chest, for those of you who play on the other team). And when she got there, she found out she had just enough for the movie ticket, and $2. And she had left her credit card in her apartment.


And to think she had been anticipating stuffing her face with buttery popcorn, since any Will Smith movie these days is cause for celebration, but the smallest popcorn cost $4.50, and the girl said why not have a candy bar instead? Self could have a giant Kit Kat bar or Maltesers or M&Ms for $2.50.

So self emptied out the entire contents of her coin purse, right there on the counter. And she was only able to come up with 20 cents, even counting pennies. So she was still short 30 cents. And bless that young girl, for she said: “Oh, just choose a candy bar. Never mind the 30 cents.”


Self, You are despicable.

“Are you sure?” Self practically squealed. “I’ll come back tomorrow and pay you back! What’s your name? What time are you working?”

The girl just laughed and waved self off.

Damn! Self is going to go back there right now, newly armed with cash.

AND she’s going to post a glowing review of Coast Cinema, Fort Bragg, on Yelp.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Watching “Kingsman” in Fort Bragg

The movie is a tad long, but otherwise great fun.


The guy who plays the lead looks like a cross between Matt Damon and Ryan Philippe. He also doesn’t seem very tall (Self, that’s rich! If J-Hutch hasn’t taught you yet: “Short” does not preclude being attractive!) He has a great affect, especially after he exchanges his gangsta uniform for a dapper suit and glasses.

Self loved the whole London Punk meets Savile Row vibe.

There are some angles where Colin Firth looks impossibly hot.

Self liked the blonde who plays the Read the rest of this entry »

Am Reading Today, Last Tuesday of February 2015


a friend’s novel

Roberto Bolaño’s 2666

tweets about the Oscars

Sunflower Splendor: Two Thousand Years of Chinese Poetry, Co-edited by Wu-chi Liu and Irving Yucheng Lo

Here’s a poem called “Southern Mountains,” by Han Yu:

So therefore I watched a pool
Whose clear depths concealed water dragons.

Bending I could gather fish and prawns,
But who dares plunder divine beings?

About Han Yu: He was a late T’ang Dynasty poet, and a contemporary of Li Po and Tu Fu. He was born into a literary family of landed gentry in the province of Hunan. He served in several high posts in the government: Vice President of the Ministry of War, Vice-President of the Ministry of Personnel, and Metropolitan Governor. He died in Ch’ang-an in 824, at the age of 56.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Terrible Thing Happened to Self Yesterday

A terrible thing happened to self yesterday: she and two friends were in Elk, standing just behind The Griffin House, looking down at the wild, crashing Pacific. And it was so horrendous and heart-stopping, the view. It was sunset. The sun was sending rays of light through cracks and fissures in the monolithic cliffs. And her camera just up and died. Died! Died! Died!

Bunny said to her: “You are the only person who would have a camera when you can just take pictures with your cell phone!” And she had no answer. Absolutely none. He said that about two hours earlier. Good thing he said that, because at this moment of extreme dismay, self remembered that she did have a cell phone, and she whipped it out and took a couple of (very bad) pictures. Which, never fear, she will not inflict on dear blog readers. At least, not right now.

Instead, she will share some pretty fantastic links — to WordPress bloggers whose takes on this week’s theme, DEPTH, were just, in self’s humble opinion, awe-inspiring:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


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