Poetry Contest, Rosebud Magazine

Deadline for Submission: 30 September 2020

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Judge: Lester Lennon, Rosebud Poetry Editor

For complete guidelines, go to: http://www.rsbd.net

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Revisiting Self’s Melancholy/ What Is Going On With WordPress?

Three years ago, a short story called “This Is End” appeared in the Cost of Paper, vol. 5

It was science fiction about a character self kept using again and again, in different stories. The MC, Dragon, had a girlfriend, Her, who’d gone missing.

He doesn’t know what happened to Her (There are finite ways to disappear in space) but his favorite theory was that she was still alive, on another ship:

Floating, off to the right: the remains of the former space station, the Kobayashi Maru.

It caught fire. The wreckage drifted, was lost. Then found. Then lost, and found again.

And sometimes, when the ships drift past each other (literally ships that pass in the night HA HA HA), Dragon thinks he sees Her, gesturing to him from a window.


AND NOW FOR THE REST OF THIS POST, WHICH IS A VENT ABOUT THE NEW WORDPRESS SYSTEM OF FORMATTING, WHICH IS CALLED BLOCK EDITING.

Suddenly, without warning, right while she was in the middle of typing this post, each paragraph acquired its own frame. Like it was a picture. Which, self doesn’t have to tell dear blog readers, is ridiculous.

BLOCK EDITING WITH THE NEW WORDPRESS SYSTEM OF FORMATTING IS THE WORST.

The text floats in little bubbles, and appears so unstable. One little press of the key, and the entire block disappears.

Oh no! There it is again, but then it disappears again. Sort of like Dragon’s girlfriend, lol

Why mess with a system that worked fine — at least, it did for self.

Now, instead of editing tools being all to the side, they appear in the text, right on top of these little boxes — confusing as heck! She doesn’t need to see extra little visuals on top of each paragraph, what are they doing there, it’s not as if each paragraph requires its own format.

She starts typing and whole paragraphs bloom THAT SHE DID NOT HERSELF TYPE. Oh it’s auto-fill. WordPress remembered that you typed a sentence like this before, so it makes it easy and just copies what you typed before. WHICH MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE, because where would the fun be in blogging if you just copied from something you’d written before?

With block editing, everything gets so — jiggy. Like the text needs Xanax. The toolboxes and the blocks and the menus keep floating around on the screen, as if the document were suffering from ADD, and self doesn’t know how to get the words to stop moving because they apparently move in response to every slightest twitch of a finger.

And, self discovers to her dismay, she has very twitchy fingers.

FINALLY: This message that suddenly popped up on her Dashboard: START MAKING MONEY FROM YOUR POSTS!

10 (or more) years ago, she asked a friend (who was a marketing whiz, who was being paid big bucks to be said whiz) whether she thought self could release some of her writings as “extras” for people willing to pay a very small amount — say, a dollar. And this marketing whiz (who is still her friend, believe it or not, just not the type of friend she sees a lot, really just someone she encounters occasionally on FB), gaped and said: Why would you charge for something that’s free? I mean, that’s why it’s on the internet, because it’s supposed to be AVAILABLE. You can’t charge for anything on your blog. People would stop reading. And such was self’s faith in her obviously successful friend, she let the matter drop and never explored the idea of making a little money from blogging.

Until today, 12 years later, when she saw this message.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Process: Stonehenge/Pacifica

Self decided to look through her old MacBook Air (which, judging from the dates on there, had stories dating as far back as 2006) and found an early version of her flash, Stonehenge/Pacifica, which Wigleaf published in 2012.

It is fascinating to compare the two versions. It seems that, early on, Stonehenge/Pacifica was a poem. The line breaks are short:

STONEHENGE/PACIFICA

It was a dream I had, some restless night.
Perhaps one of those weeks/ months/ years
when we were worried about money.
But when were we ever not worried?
First, there was the mortgage,
and then the two.
Then your mother got sick,
and your fathe died.
And my mother I think developed
Alzheimer’s

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

10 Years Ago in Hotel Amerika’s TransGenre Issue

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In that same issue were: Sarah White * Mary Cappello * Elaine Terranova * Kelly Cherry * Jennifer L. Knox * Brian Teare * Ben Quick * Christina Manweller * G. C. Waldrop

GHOSTS

(An excerpt)

I dreamt about my sister, dead these many years. It seemed she was in a place of ghosts. In my dream I put my face up to hers and kissed her cheek and said, “I’ll always be your sister.” But she turned her face away and closed her eyes. Her cheek was cold.

I said, “Do you want me to take you away, dear? Come, come! Let us go!” But she only looked sad and didn’t speak.

My son was with me but in my dream he was a young boy. I mean, my son at seven, not the way he is now. He was impatient with my sighs and tears and wanted to get away from that place. He was bored.

I gave him a pencil and told him, “Draw!” He took the pencil obediently. He drew. But it seemed to cost him great effort.

Now and then I would peep at what he was drawing: a series of empty rectangles. I asked him, “Why don’t you put people in your drawings? See, here, and here, and here. They are all around us!”

He looked up and slowly I saw understanding dawn on his face. He filled his drawings with the outlines of people. I understood then that he, too, could see them, these guests.

I told my sister: You are under a spell. You should never have gotten married. She nodded, but she didn’t seem to want to do anything about it. Eventually I left, I left my sister there in that cold white house in the middle of a barren plain. The landscape looked like that of a northern country, all bare brown fields as if struck by winter. All white trees.

In the back seat of my car was a white box. It made an angry buzz. I wanted to throw it away but I couldn’t because I knew somehow that there was something in that box that belonged to my sister.


Process: As a matter of fact, self did have this dream. Sometimes that happens. If self can get it all down quickly, the story almost writes itself. Which happened here.

Stay safe, dear blog readers.

In Progress: Guayaquil

Splicing together two different stories to create a hybrid dystopia. Part of it is the same world as the one in self’s story Tu-An Ju, which appeared in Vice-Versa.

Recently, self’s stories have veered between the 16th century or the distant future.

Hector was Peter’s only other friend, apart from Chalida. He lived in Guayaquil, in Ecuador: it was difficult terrain. Just south were numerous uncharted islands, and rebels gravitated to these.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

PRAIRIE SCHOONER NEWSLETTER, 5 June 2020: The African Poetry Book Fund

We are in awe of the protesters and inspired by their bravery. We’ve seen many countless scenes unfold, protesters putting their bodies on the line in an effort to fight back against the systems of oppression that killed George Floyd. The systems of oppression that have taken so many innocent lives. An evil and malignant force that, if left unchecked, will continue to kill and kill and kill. The people who are fighting back must be supported, they must be celebrated, and they must be empowered. This country and this world must transform, and at this moment it is the protesters who are leading the way.

Prairie Schooner is nearly ninety-five years old, and we exist as part of a land-grant institution with its own sordid history of racism and cruelty. There is no doubt that PS has failed many, many times to offer equal opportunities to Black writers and writers of color. The African Poetry Book Fund originated in response to the lack of publishers engaging seriously with contemporary African poetry. We have worked to amplify the voices of African poets living on the continent and African poets living in diaspora, including African poets living in America. The Black experience is not monolithic or singular, and the Black experience in America is uniquely informed by the wretched particulars of America’s historic and continuing racisms. We are a literary organization, and we are committed to fighting against oppression and for liberation. We lay ourselves down for scrutiny, to be tested, to be challenged to do everything we can to not be complicit in the systemic racism and inequity that lies at the heart of these events. We will examine every area of our operations and our efforts to scrupulously erase any vestiges of racism that may exist. This is no small pledge. We are in solidarity with those mourning the death of George Floyd and committed to doing everything to resist the forces that have led to this moment and the many moments to come.

Read more on Prairie Schooner’s website.

#amreading: Rosebud 67, Spring 2020

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Am Here: ROSEBUD Issue 67 (Spring 2020)

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Felipe II is one hell of a sexy guy, just sayin’. From The Vanishing:

Spanish ambitions took root and flowered in a dream born as a whisper in the ear of a friend of a friend of a friend: Francisco Serrao, Portuguese, who wrote to the Crown from the Moluccas, his words both ardent and teasing.

Part of self’s “Voyager” series of short stories.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

A Book Launched: MsAligned 3

MsAligned Vol. 3: Women Writing About Men launched in the spring. This spring. Which means, during the corona virus epidemic. But it’s out there now, out in the world.

Thank you, Editor Rebecca Thomas. Thank you, Pat Matsueda, Founder of MsAligned. Thank you, El Leon Literary Arts and Manoa Books, for co-publishing. Thank you, Shawna Yang Ryan, for the lovely Introduction. Thank you, Lillian Howan, for soliciting self’s story. Thank you, Melissa Chimera, for the beautiful front-cover art. Thank you, Carly Elizabeth Huggins, for the beautiful back-cover art.

Here’s the complete list of contributors:

Mary Archer * Mary Carozza * Ryan Nicole Granados * Lillian Howan * Gerda Govine Ituarte * Caroline Kim * Rachel King * Pat Matsueda * Donna Lee Miele * Angela Nishimoto * Jeannine Ouellette * Connie Pan * Ann Pancake * Grace Loh Prasad * Marilyn Stablein * Rebecca Thomas * Marianne Villanueva

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

“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

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