Travels with Charley: Deer Isle, Maine

Steinbeck has very interesting things to say about Deer Isle.

Digression: Self always wanted to visit Maine, because there is a teacher there — in Bates College — who has taught her story “Lenox Hill, December 1991” in self’s collection Mayor of the Roses, for decades.

pp. 41 – 42:

  • Maine speech is very like that in West Country England, the double vowels pronounced as they are in Anglo-Saxon, but the resemblance is doubly strong in Deer Isle. And the coastal people below the Bristol Channel are secret people, and perhaps magic people. There’s aught behind their eyes, hidden away so deep that perhaps even they do not know they have it. To put it plainly, this Isle is like Avalon; it must disappear when you are not there.

It sounds a little like California’s northern coast. Self always begins writing fables when she’s in Mendocino. Must be the craggy cliffs, the deep forests, the crashing ocean. During her latest trip to Mendocino, early this year, this sentence occurred to her as she was driving through redwoods: They chased daylight into a gloomy forest.

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Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, April 2018

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

What’s Available in The Only Bookstore in Redwood City, CA

Self is reviewing her reading list. Really, it’s become almost an obsession. She goes into the closest bookstore to her house, the Barnes & Noble in Sequoia Station, and out of a list of 22 book titles (novels published 2017), she found just these three:

  • As Lie Is to Grin, by Simeon Marsalis
  • Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
  • Mikhail and Margarita, by Julie Lekstrom Himes

She doesn’t wish to knock her neighborhood Barnes & Noble because it really is a good store, with a better-than-average fiction section. Anyhoo, congratulations to authors Marsalis, Saunders and Himes for having their books in the store.

BTW, an island book which was recently published and which self highly recommends is Lillian Howan’s The Charm Buyers, set in Tahiti. She read it when it was first published last year and it is just the most luscious thing.

A week ago, self went back to her B & N, toting along a list of 60 titles, all recommended by her fellow Hawthornden writers in June 2012 (She found this list again just a few weeks ago; it was stuck in a drawer), and all she found in the store were these:

  • The Things They Carried and The Lake in the Woods, by Tim O’Brien
  • Travels With Charley, by John Steinbeck
  • The Crimson Petal and the White, by Michael Faber
  • Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout

Granted, the Hawthornden list is made up of books at least several years old.

When she was last in Mendocino, she took her list of Island Books to Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino, and the salesperson, a very nice young man, told her: “With all due respect, these books are pretty old.” (I’d say! For example, these titles: To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf, published 1927; The Fish Can Sing, by Halldor Laxness, published 1957; A House For Mr. Biswas, by V. S. Naipaul; published ___ decades ago?; Greenvoe, by George Mackay Brown, published 1972)

She found Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey and when she was paying for it, she kept telling the bookstore person who rang up the sale: This is a very good book! Why do you only have one copy?

And the beleaguered staff person had to say: Well, we don’t normally have people come in from the street asking for The Odyssey.

Poor guy! Self didn’t mean to be so insistent but she is absolutely relentless in her quest for the Holy Grail — er, for the books on her list!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Any Camera or Photos of Photographers

Self just loves Cee’s Fun Foto Challenges!

This week’s Foto Challenge is part of a series called Anything Goes. This week, you’re supposed to show a picture of any type of camera, or a picture of a photographer.

It turns out that self has the perfect picture for this week’s Foto Challenge: a picture she took on Saturday, 28 April 2018: Independent Bookstores Day. She had walked into Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino (one of her faaaavorite bookstores in the whole world. She’s bought so many great books from this bookstore over the years, including the book she’s currently reading: Homer’s Odyssey, the translation by Emily Wilson). The staff was posing for selfies with customers and she managed to squeeze off a quick one while they were otherwise occupied.

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Gallery Bookshop, Mendocino: 28 April 2018

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

“Has Anyone Seen Telemachus?”: Book 4 of The Odyssey

Self can hardly wait until she gets to the part of The Odyssey where someone says:

Daddy, can you paint my wagon …

She thinks it’s about halfway through the book. She read that section while she was browsing in the Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino.

In the meantime, here’s Noemon (son of Phronius), addressing his fellow rivals (suitors) for the hand of Penelope, Telemachus’s mother (One interesting thing about this Emily Wilson translation is that she makes it clear that the suitors are no older than Telemachus himself. How weird is that? It would be as if son or one of his classmates decided to woo a woman 20 years older. And such is these suitors’ scorn for convention that they’ve been bullying Telemachus, for years. Telemachus brings out all of self’s Mommy instincts. As she makes her way through this section, self wants to yell: Leave my boy Telemachus alone, you dirty rats!)

Noemon

Do we know . . .  whether Telemachus is coming back
. . .  He left with my ship.
I need it, to cross over to the fields
of Elis, where I have twelve mares with mules
suckling their teats and not yet broken in.

They were all
astonished, since they had not thought the boy
was gone to Pylos, but was somewhere near,
out with the sheep or pigs.

This is so, so . . .

Points, Telemachus!

Antinous

Damn! That stuck-up boy
succeeded in his stupid trip. We thought
he would not manage it.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Moving Up and Down, Outdoors

Always love it when I can join Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. This week’s is

MOVING UP AND DOWN, OUTDOORS.

Cee’s blog lists a few examples: outdoor stairs, elevators, ladders, hot air balloons, pogo sticks.

Here are some:

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Private beach access for this homeowner along the Mendocino coast

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Water Tower, Mendocino Village

And finally:

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Front Porch, Redwood City, CA

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Adding to the Reading List: A Process

Self is back home in Redwood City, California. About a mile from her house is a Barnes & Noble (in the Sequoia Station shopping center). She spent about an hour in there today, updating her reading list (The list is her ne plus ultra, her be-all and end-all, her secret game plan, and her whole raison d’etre as a writer).

She’s newly arrived from Mendocino, California (which has a pretty fabulous bookstore: Gallery Bookshop on Main Street), and her first stop is, of course, a bookstore.

Gallery Bookshop had on hand: The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway); Lord of the Flies (William Golding); Wide Sargasso Sea (Jean Rhys); The Emily Wilson translation of The Odyssey (Homer); Utopia (Thomas More); As Lie Is to Grin (Simeon Marsalis); Lincoln in the Bardo (George Saunders); Mikhail and Margarita (Julie Lekstrom Himes); and The Summer Book, by Finnish writer Tove Jansson.

This afternoon, in her Redwood City Barnes & Noble, self went in with a long list of about 20 authors who published novels in 2017. She found two of the 20. She moved on to her next list, the list of books recommended by her fellow writers in Hawthornden, Scotland, June 2012. She struck out on all the names on p. 1 (The list is three pages long, single-spaced), except for Tim O’Brien, all of whose books are available in-store. She was kinda hoping it wouldn’t be O’Brien because his books, though very well written, are depressing. Self asked if they had any of Tamar Yoseloff’s poetry collections, but they did not.

So that’s what her reading list looks like for the remainder of 2018. She doesn’t think anything can top Philip Pullman, though. She was such a mess yesterday that a fellow fan fiction writer had to reach out and say, about The Amber Spyglass: It is safe to read “mid-way on p. 419 to 420. Then put the book away forever.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Lines 2: Mendocino, Sea and Sky

Self visited the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens (North Highway One, Fort Bragg) about a week ago.

She followed the sign marked “Ocean.”

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And ended up here:

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LINES of others:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

LINES: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 25 April 2018

Self almost forgot it was Wednesday! She was so busy tweeting and reading The Amber Spyglass and being confused by life, such as why her library copy of the book was missing 37 pages. She’d never have noticed if it weren’t for the kind child who inserted an index card warning the reader that 38 pages were missing. Since the book itself doesn’t seem to have been mangled, this seems to be entirely the fault of the publisher: RANDOM HOUSE. Anyhoo, she might have realized eventually, since p. 206 is a page with Mrs. Coulter, and on p. 239 Mrs. Coulter is not in evidence. But, hard to say.

Now to LINES.

  • As you look through your lens this week, pay attention to LINES.

— Cheri Lucas Rowlands, The Daily Post

Oh how fabulous! Self loves making her photographs into some kind of abstract representation of something totally different. That’s easy to do if you look at everything in terms of lines. Such, as her unit in the Mendocino Art Center, which is pretty empty so you can clearly see the rectangular repetitions of shelves, desk, doorway, etc.

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Unit # 12, Mendocino Art Center, April 2018

And then, the lines the blinds make across the page she is reading:

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Reading THE SUBTLE KNIFE, Book II of Philip Pullman’s HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy

And, finally, the lines of this aloe vera plant she saw (it was gigantic) in the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens:

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Aloe Plant, Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, 21 April 2018

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

In Honor of Independent Bookstore Day, Saturday, 28 April 2018: LUISA IGLORIA PICKS SOME GOOD ONES

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Luisa Igloria, Poet

Since self is currently Writer-in-Residence at the Mendocino Art Center, this week she’s been writing up a storm (also sending out her work) and adding to her reading list with regular drop-ins to one of the best bookstores in the world: Gallery  Bookshop in Mendocino. Yelp gives them five stars!

She also asked two fabulous writers if they could share their list of Recommended Books with her, and she was so happy when they agreed. (Even if your local indie doesn’t carry the titles, they can always order them. In most cases, they’ll take an average of three or four days to get to the bookstore)

First up, Luisa Igloria

Luisa A. Igloria is the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world’s first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. Her latest works include the collection The Buddha Wonders If She Is Having a Mid-Life Crisis (Phoenicia Publishing, Montreal, 2018), the chapbooks Haori (Tea & Tattered Pages Press, 2017), Check & Balance (Moria Press/Locofo Chaps, 2017), and Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press eChapbook selection for Spring 2015). Her collection Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser was selected by Mark Doty for the 2014 May Swenson Prize and published by Utah State University Press. Her other collections are: Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, Montreal, 2014), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press). She teaches on the faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University, which she directed from 2009-2015. Her website is www.luisaigloria.com

Luisa’s Poetry Recommendations:

  • Afterland, Mai Der Vang
  • Calling a Wolf a Wolf, Kaveh Akbar
  • Carpathia, Cecilia Woloch
  • Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, Ross Gay
  • Chord, Rick Barot
  • Eye Level, Jenny Xie
  • Glasshouses, Lighthouses, Tung-hui Hu
  • Khaty Xiong, Poor Anima, Khaty Xiong
  • Living Quarters, Adrienne Su
  • Night Sky With Exit Wounds, Ocean Vuong
  • Some Say the Lark, Jennifer Chang
  • Stereo. Island. Mosaic., Vincent Toro
  • Registers of Illuminated Villages, Tarfia Faizullah
  • The Second O of Sorrow, Sean Thomas Dougherty
  • When I Grow Up I Want to be a List of Further Possibilities, Chen Chen
  • Whereas, Layli Long Soldier

Luisa’s Fiction Recommendations:

  • A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki
  • America is Not the Heart, Elaine Castillo
  • Bel Canto, Ann Patchett
  • But For the Lovers, Wilfrido Nolledo
  • Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
  • Mayor of the Roses, Marianne Villanueva
  • Pachinko, Min Jin Lee
  • Smaller and Smaller Circles, F.H. Batacan
  • The Last Mistress of Jose Rizal, Brian Roley
  • The Sympathizer, Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • The Vagrants, Yiyun Li
  • Too Much Happiness, Alice Munro
  • To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
  • Valiant Gentlemen, Sabina Murray

Luisa’s Nonfiction/Hybrid Recommendations:

  • 100 Demons, Lynda Barry
  • America is in the Heart, Carlos Bulosan
  • Blind Spot, Teju Cole
  • Echolalia in Script, Sam Roxas-Chua 姚
  • Kilometer Zero, Wilfredo Pascual, Jr.
  • On Imagination, Mary Ruefle
  • Silver Road, Kazim Ali
  • The Dark Interval, Rainer Maria Rilke
  • The Kepel Fruit, Tung-hui Hu
  • Too Much and Not the Mood, Durga Chew-Bose
  • Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston

Self doesn’t know about you, but she’s itchy to get at more than a few of these books!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Books, Goats, Wildflowers: Still More Prolific

A few more pictures inspired by the Daily Post Photo Challenge this week: PROLIFIC

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Gallery Bookshop, Mendocino, 17 April 2018

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Spotted on Lansing St., Mendocino, 19 April 2018

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The View Across the Street From the Gallery Bookshop, Main Street, Mendocino, 21 April 2018

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