Atop It All

If you’re physically on top of a thing or place — a mountain, a skyscraper — what type of scene do you want to share in your frame?

— Cheri Lucas Rowlands, The Daily Post

For this week’s photo challenge, ATOP, self pulled from her Archive:

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Fall 2016: Main Lobby of the de Young Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park: View from the 2nd Floor

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Summer 2016: The Tate Modern is housed in what used to be the Battersea Power Station. In keeping with its industrial spirit, everything in the Tate Modern has that utilitarian feel. Even the restaurant, on the 6th floor. It’s called The Kitchen. The Harry Potter Bridge (Formal Name: the Millenium Bridge) is to the right.

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Spring 2015: The Portrait Café, British National Portrait Gallery

Note to dear blog readers: The Portrait Cafe hosts an afternoon tea, which is booked weeks in advance. The day self showed up, early March, she could not get a seat. So if you would like to see this fabulous view while having tea, book in advance.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

What the Writing Desk Looks Like Today, 20 March 2017

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Niall Leevy Brochure from a 2009 Exhibit Called “Inner Light”; copy of self’s book Mayor of the Roses: Stories, Miami University Press

Niall was here last year. Saw his work at Open Studio at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre.

At the opposite end of the table, self’s book from Miami University Press (There’s another story collection that came after this one: The Lost Language. Self’s Dearest Mum gave copies to all her friends as a Christmas present, but painstakingly tore out all the stories she didn’t like, lol)

You will notice that today the writing table is square. That’s because there are two of them in her unit, and she switches back and forth between them, depending on her need for the scissors, lol

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

ATOP: Daily Post Photo Challenge, 15 March 2017

For this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge, ATOP, self goes back to the pictures she took of a London church she visited in 2015. She’s not sure if she’s interpreting the theme correctly (“a view from the top”) but she’ll post this anyway.

Two years ago, self was on a Shadowhunters reading binge. She took The Infernal Devices trilogy with her to the UK, and decided to plan her days around places cited in the books.

In her website, author Cassandra Clare says she used St. Bride’s near Fleet Street as the titular setting for the Shadowhunters Academy. And self did get to see this church. And it was one of the most beautiful churches she had ever seen.

You can see an exhibit on the history of St. Bride’s in the crypt. The spire was designed by Christopher Wren. Building began in 1671 and was completed in 1703:

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Rendering of the Steeple of St. Bride’s (aka “The Church of Journalists”) Just Off Fleet Street

The steeple was destroyed during the Blitz (see newspaper headline below).

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World War II London Newspaper

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A Modern Rendering of the Christopher Wren Steeple

The steeple has been rebuilt; you can see it from the top floor of the National Portrait Gallery. It’s a long, slim needle that feels surprisingly at home with the modernistic buildings surrounding it.

Self returned to St. Bride’s last year, with poet Joan McGavin. The main space was closed for refurbishing, but the crypt was still open to the public. While Joan went down to look at the exhibit, self chatted with a clergyman, who asked what brought her to St. Bride’s. And she said, Shadowhunters. He was highly amused.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

8 February 2017: Self Read at Sixth Engine, Washington DC

Self’s dystopian “First Causes” appears in the latest issue of Quarterly West.

Self very much enjoyed the reading for the launch of the issue because: 1) it was in Washington DC, and she got to see some old friends again; 2) she re-connected with a few people she hasn’t seen in years. Such as Letitia. Who was a student at Old Dominion University in Virginia when self read there for a literary festival (2007?) Now, Letitia is an Editor/Linguist/Poet (see business card below).

Self is tempted to ask Letitia if she’d like to help edit a collection of her speculative fiction she is getting ready to send out:

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The reading was co-hosted by two other literary magazines: 32 Poems and Smartish Pace.

And oh boy it was packed. To the point where the audience was all standing like a can of sardines.

A man threw copies of his poetry collection at the audience. “That is so cool!” a young man remarked. Since self was reading next, she was hard-pressed to think of something attention-getting.

She moved front, started babbling about how fan fiction got her there. And — received enthusiastic applause from somewhere on the right!

Forever grateful to the listeners, and of course to Quarterly West. Here’s a shot she took that night of the (very crowded) venue:

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The bar-restaurant Sixth Engine, downtown Washington DC, night of 8 February 2017

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

March 2008

Nine years ago, this month, self was in Tel Aviv.

It is painful to read her blog posts from that time because her sister-in-law, Ying, eventually died there. September 11, 2008.

She got back from Tel Aviv, and self believes it was that same month when she got called in to the Dean’s office at Foothill and he asked her why she flunked two particular men — whose grade she had to change to a C. Even though they did not turn in a single assignment. They actually told the Dean that self threw something at them. And he believed them. Cause self is so YUUUUGE! She’s so fiery!!!

And, only months after, self’s stint as the only Asian American teacher (adjunct) in the English Dept. at Foothill was over. Because she got charged with discriminating against those two men.

Can you imagine the irony? The minority woman being accused of discriminating? Against two men?

Way to go, Dean! Enter slow clap emoji here.

If you can believe that self would do that (throw something) at two men who are obviously bullies, you would have to be nuts!

Nobody, absolutely nobody, believed self when she denied throwing anything. So then began endless years of wondering whether she had forgotten this incident?

And then came to the conclusion that, since she’s never thrown anything at anyone in her entire life, she couldn’t actually have thrown anything.

Case went up the complaint lines, until — after months of terror and stress — self changed the students’ grade.

Sucks to be an adjunct. Self’s just saying.

She wishes she could remember those two students’ names. Because they will forever know that if they bully a female teacher, all they have to do is accuse her of blah-blah-blah. Raise that ugly word. And voila! Done! Teacher’s toast!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More of the Road Taken: London, March 2017

Today’s edition of The Road Taken is London.

Oh what a glorious morning. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping. Self enjoys looking out at the garden:

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Bedford Place, London

Last night, self attended Evensong at St. Martin-in-the-Fields. The celebrant asked the congregation to pray for the United States, so that its leaders may have “consideration.” Afterwards, self headed toward Trafalgar Square:

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Sunday Evening, Trafalgar Square

A few days ago, self met up with old friends Dodo and Helene (who grew up in the Philippines with her). They took her to see the minster at Beverley. We got to the town just before twilight, and the old stone of Beverley Minster seemed to glow:

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Beverley Minster at Twilight

Travel lately has become extremely arduous, but it still gives self the purest joy.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Good Match 2: Vibrant Orange, 2 Philippine Seascapes

This week share a photo of a satisfying pairing from your own life.
— Ben Huberman, The Daily Post

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Orange Lydia Davis book cover + woven portfolio from the Philippines + crinkle potato chips = A Good Match (One copy is self’s; the other is her niece’s)

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Sea + Sky = Philippine Seascape, An Excellent Match

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Sea + Sky: Dumaguete, Island of Negros in the Central Philippines, a Breathtakingly Good Match

Existential Crisis of the Day: To See or Not to See Fifty Shades

Fifty Shades Darker or John Wick 2?

Self is a big fan of Dakota Johnson.

Yup, that’s right. DAKOTA JOHNSON.

Plus, the Jamie. Come on. Ever seen this guy’s back blown up on the side of a building?

Well, self has. London, 2015. Somewhere in the South Bank. That back was pretty fine.

She is also a big fan of Keanu Reeves. Yesterday, an NPR reviewer called John Wick 2 the apogee of something: “designer violence” or “designer mayhem” or, anyway, something designer. Niiice!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ambience: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 13 January 2017

  • Ambience has the power to lift your mood. What have you photographed with exceptional ambience? — Jeff Golenski, The Daily Post Photo Challenge

Self presents two contrasting scenes of ambience:

First, the anonymity of the train, the pre-occupation of the passengers:

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Caltrain, Southbound, 2nd Friday in January, 2017

Next, the expansiveness of a California beach town, extraordinarily peaceful in winter:

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Capitola-by-the-Sea

Self chose to spend Christmas here: she had a hunch that she wouldn’t feel as lonely, even though she was alone. She was right. It was such a beautiful experience:

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There is a little inn with units facing the beach: she last visited 20 years ago. Magical.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

#amreading: Sally Potter’s Screenplay for YES

Last year, self saw Sally Potter’s Yes at the London Review Bookshop and the filmmaker herself was present to do Q & A afterwards. Self asked Potter if the screenplay had been published, and when Potter said yes, it was available in the U.S., self almost broke out into a Happy Happy Joy Joy dance.

Can she just tell dear blog readers how she adores this screenplay, the fact that it is written in iambic pentameter from first to last is glorious.


Scene: An Irish woman (played by a luminous Joan Allen) who’s moved to New York returns to Belfast to visit her dying aunt in a hospital. The following passage is the aunt’s interior monologue:

AUNT

No one explained to me when I was young
Why time only goes forward. Hold your tongue
Was what they said when I asked them about
The universe and such and why we can’t
Do all that much about it when we make
A mess of things. If only a mistake
Could be corrected. Wind life back and start
Again. The second time we’d know the art
Of living. But we only get one go;
No dress rehearsals, this one is the show,
And we don’t know it. I don’t see the rhyme
Or reason in this so-called grand design . . .

(A priest enters the ward quietly and rapidly gives the last rites, making the sign of the cross and softly muttering a prayer)

But then I don’t believe. There is no sign
Of him up there as far as I’m concerned.
See . . . if there’s one thing that I’ve truly learned
It’s this: it’s down to me.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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