Flash Fiction Tuesday: Shirley Ancheta

Kristine appeared in Going Home to a Landscape: a Filipino Women’s Anthology, co-edited by self and Virginica Cerenio (Calyx Press). From the moment self first came across the piece in the submissions pile, she fell in love. This is an ace piece of writing, one that straddles prose and poetry, and is so achingly poignant.

Where is Shirley Ancheta now? Self doesn’t know. She hopes she is well.

Kristine turns a corner in San Francisco and is struck by an oncoming car. She is floating, she thinks, in the air with the seagulls. Her teeth ache. A man steps up to her and says, “Dear God, I’m sorry. What can I do? What?”

She thinks he has said, “Desire … here … what will you do?” The only man she wants to reach is married or dead or related to her. She smiles. She can’t remember.

She thought she was kissing a boy in the dark, in the back of the house near the pineapple field. His hands could hold down a pig for the killing. They were caught by their grandmother who threw her slippers across the yard. “No do dat wit your cah-sun! Wassamaddah you kids? You no feel shame o’ what? No good fo’ cah-sins fo’ make li’ dat!”

It is cold on the pavement of Stockton and Pine. The wind is enough to pick up Kristine’s skirt. She rolls her head from side to side. As someone puts a blanket on her, she hears a siren rising to meet the ringing in her ears.

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Quote of the Day: Luisa Igloria, “This”

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THIS

This is all you have, this life, this patch of ground marked by wood
and water, a little strand of caterpillar silk caught on low shrubs at
the wood’s edge. Everything happens here, or doesn’t happen, or
is about to change. Shadows lift at dawn, noon strikes the top of
the stone cherub’s head in the middle of the square. Pigeons blend
in among the cobblestones. It’s not much, you think: a sleepy
town, the cats in the alley, the same old men playing chess in the
park; the row of tailor shops, the bakers pitching bread into the
fire. The loaves get a little smaller every year, though they remain
as sweet. The lovers with only one place to walk. The seawall. The
pier. The post office at one end of the main street, the market at
the other. Rain drips down every house post and gutter. Flowers
and whitewash on grave markers. You can leave if you want, rent a
room in some city crisscrossed by wires and steel. On every rooftop,
gargoyles opening their mouths to the rain, drinking it all in but
never filling, never filled. Crossing the street, you turn, distracted:
flowering wisteria, japonica, scent spilling urgent messages over
a stone boundary. Nothing leaves, merely decants to color, to
sediment, to underlying pulse.

— from Night Willow, a poetry collection by Luisa Igloria

Stonehenge/ Pacifica

Self’s short piece, about Stonehenge, published in Wigleaf:

(Excerpt)

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 father died.
And my mother I think developed
Alzheimer’s
but we couldn’t ever mention it.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

These Characters Self Writes

Self adores FictionFeed.net for doing that piece on her. She’s started following them on Twitter.

The writer of the piece (on her story “First Life” in Juked) is listed simply as Curator. Here’s an excerpt:

No, the story isn’t particularly out of the ordinary, but its narrator (a boy by the name of Dragon) makes up for that in spades, with a wildly unusual voice and bendy-spoon perspective that basically defamiliarize the story’s world in its entirety.

Some time ago, self began writing stories about male characters on the edge, she’s not sure why.

Recently, she’s been thinking of another of her Male-Characters-on-the-Edge, from a story called “Crackers” that appeared in Crab Ochard Review’s The West Coast & Beyond Issue (Vol. 19, No. 2, which is also going to be the focus of a panel in next year’s AWP: Midwest Magazine Searches for West Coast Writers, YAY!).

Crab Orchard Literary Review's The West Coast & Beyond Issue (Vol. 19, No. 2, Summer/Fall 2014)

Crab Orchard Literary Review’s The West Coast & Beyond Issue (Vol. 19, No. 2, Summer/Fall 2014)

Hello, “Crackers” is speculative fiction, so of course crazy. Do not expect real-world Philippines, and you will be okay:

In December 2012, I finally emerged from the wild mountain fastness of the Philippines. My left shoulder had a tattoo of a python, my right a tattoo of a kris, the blade of choice of the mountain tribes. I wore a necklace of red parrot beaks. I spoke only in monosyllables. They said I was crackers.

They made me register at the Palo Alto VA for a psychiatric evaluation.

Thank you, Juked, thank you, Crab Orchard Literary Review, for taking a chance on self’s crazy writing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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