The Hedgehog: THE GOLDEN COMPASS, p. 72

Self began The Golden Compass having already made the acquaintance of Lyra and Lord Asriel in La Belle Sauvage (Volume One of Pullman’s new trilogy, which takes place ten years before the events of The Golden Compass).

In LBS, Lyra’s an infant. When The Golden Compass opens, Lyra’s a feisty little girl whose best friend is a boy named Roger. Together, Lyra and Roger go ranging over the rooftops of Oxford and exploring in crypts. This part of the story is sheer delight.

It’s not until Chapter 4 of The Golden Compass that she meets two other characters from LBS: Dame Hannah Reif (who is described as “an elderly, gray-haired lady” — a far cry from the woman she was in LBS. How could a person have aged so much in just ten years?) and Mrs. Coulter (who doesn’t seem to have aged a day, despite the 10 years etc)

Now, these two women (accompanied by a third, mystery woman) appear for dinner at Jordan Hall, and Lyra learns she is being sent off with Mrs. Coulter, the very next day. It doesn’t take long for self to google “Mrs. Coulter” and discover that Nicole Kidman played her in the movie adaptation, which then causes self to dislike Mrs. Coulter because self never could abide Nicole Kidman in anything, just saying.

There is a lot of cloak-and-dagger stuff even at this early stage of The Golden Compass, and self really loves how deftly Pullman navigates between the simple certainties of childhood and the edges of terror. Before Lyra leaves Jordan Hall (forever), the old Master slips her an alethiometer which isn’t actually as fabulous as it sounds because the device reveals who is lying to you, and that information always hurts because it is never who you expect.

Self loves that Lyra’s daemon is called Pantalaimon because it sounds like a cross between Shakespeare and Don Quixote, and also it is such a mouthful compared to other daemons’ names, like Ben or Asta. So the reader will never, ever forget it. And after a while, when you succeed in getting Pantalaimon to roll trippingly off your tongue, you will feel so smart. Like you’ve just aced your finals.

The daemon Pantalaimon has a tendency to shift into the most amusing animals, such as a hedgehog:

“she snapped at him, when he became a hedgehog out of pique.”– p. 72

Has self ever shared with dear blog readers that she has a special fondness for hedgehogs? She even used “hedgehog” as the worst cuss word on the planet, in her story of the far future called “Spores” (published in decomP Magazine)!

An excerpt from self’s story:

“We be needing foxes,” I said once.

“You lousy hedgehog,” the boss said, giving me a good one. My right eye swelled up almost immediately.

Would you believe that at the time self wrote the story, she had never laid eyes on an actual hedgehog? A few years ago she was at the San Francisco Zoo and finally got to see a hedgehog. It was all by itself, huddled in a far corner of a kind of pen, and it looked positively miserable.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Just Published: THE COST OF PAPER, Vol. 5, an International Anthology of Short Fiction

Published April 3 by 1888 Center in Orange, CA. Series Editor: Julianne Berokoff.

Self was so busy with the DAMN TAXES that she didn’t have time to announce, much less celebrate.

The anthology includes her short story, “This Is End.” In the story, Dragon’s BFF Her is possibly deceased but her ghost appears and re-appears. Dragon thinks he’s seen her on the wreck of the space station the Kobayashi Maru (Yes, the choice of name is self’s little homage to Star Trek):

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

Parts 1 and 2 of this story are on Juked.com and Quarterly West, respectively. The Juked.com story, “First Life,” is available, here’s the link. Not sure where to find it on the Quarterly West site (Story Title: “First Causes”)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: HAPPY

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is HAPPY. Self started looking through her archives and decided on a set of pictures she took during the most recent AWP conference, a month ago, in Tampa.

DSCN0361

2018 AWP Bookfair, Tampa, FL

She mostly hung out at the Bookfair. One of the highlights of her trip was getting to meet the editors of the Bellingham Review! They published her (dystopian fantasy) story “Ice” in their annual on-line issue, up now. It stays up till November.

DSCN0362

SO HAPPY to meet the Editors of the Bellingham Review at the AWP 2018 Bookfair!

Thank you for making self so HAPPY, Bellingham Review!

Stay tuned.

 

 

Poetry Tuesday: Jessica Rae Bergamino

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Helleborus, Last Week of January 2018

An excerpt from The Glass Eye Maker (published in Calyx: A Journal of Art and Literature By Women, Summer 2014)

by Jessica Rae Bergamino

First, he measures the distance inward,
learning the soft tissue of the socket.
He searches the remaining eye
for character and weight,
memorizing the color
and lift of expression.

Jessica Rae Bergamino’s work has been published in Fourteen Hills, The Berkeley Poetry Review, and Adrienne, among others.

 

Admiral George Dewey, 1 May 1898

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Admiral George Dewey defeated an outdated and woefully under-equipped Spanish fleet at the Battle of Manila Bay, 1 May 1898

“Don Alfredo and Jose Rizal” in Sou’wester, Spring 2007:

  • As Jose Rizal was lined up before the Spanish firing squad, labeled renegade and underground solidarity worker, George Dewey entered Manila Bay.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

First Story of Self’s New Collection, “Magellan’s Mirror”

Self’s story was first published in J Journal, 2012. She just decided it will be the title of the new collection she’s completing. Thanks to the editors at J Journal, who published it and nominated it for a Pushcart.

Read the excerpt below:

And if our Lord and the Virgin Mother had not aided us by giving good weather to refresh ourselves with provisions and other things we had died in this very great sea. And I believe that nevermore will any man undertake to make such a voyage.

— Antonio Pigafetta, Chronicler of the Magellan Expedition

The crew encountered the giant during the winter, after months of battling the water just south of Brasilia. He was described by the sailors as being twelve or thirteen palmos tall, which is to say, over eight feet.

Stay tuned, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

First Sentence of the Day: K.C. Mead-Brewer

“I’m alone in my apartment but I have the TV on so it sounds like a bunch of people are in here talking.”

— K. C. Mead-Brewer, The Joke (matchbook, January 2018)

Alimentum 2012: “Cake”

Alimentum began life as a print journal, then responded to the growing financial pressures on the small literary magazine by going on-line exclusively.

They punished self’s short story, “Cake,” in 2012.

A story of how a mother’s love lives on.

  • She was stepping in the front door of her own house. She recognized the red door, the brass knocker, the small square of glass through which she peered when someone rang the doorbell.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

New Orleans Review, 2012: “Thing”

The first of self’s dystopian fantasies to be published appeared in New Orleans Review in 2012:

THING

It’s been a week. The creature is still alive. I have been thinking a lot about it, watching it every day, seeing how it changes.

For instance, it no longer reacts when I poke it with the tip of my knife. Little dots of blood appear on the surface of its skin. Perhaps it has no nerve endings?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Recommended Reading: Women Writing (Comics, Nonfiction, Novellas)

Essay:

Skinning the Rabbit, by Jane Eaton Hamilton (The Sun, July 2017)

The Cone of Uncertainty: Parenting on the Edge of Climate Change, by Sarah Grey (Salvage Quarterly, 28 November 2017)

On Yoga, Diversity Lite, and the Empire of American Wellness, by Namrata Poddar (CounterPunch, 3 November 2017)

The New Bad Girls of Contemporary Literature, by Myriam Gurba (Literary Hub, 1 December 2017)

Why are America’s farmers killing themselves in record numbers? by Debbie Weingarten (The Guardian, 6 December 2017)

Comics:

DC New Talent Showcase 2017

Food-Related:

In Search of Lost Butter Chicken, by Sukhada Tatke (National Geographic Traveler: India, June 2017)

Novella:

Day of All Saints, by Patricia Grace King (Miami University Press, November 2017)

I Don’t Think of You (Until I Do), by Tatiana Ryckman (Future Tense Books, September 2017)

 

 

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