Coming Up 2015!

  • Being in Mendocino as Writer-in-Residence, starting January. Giving a whole bunch of readings and teaching a workshop on travel writing (offered through the Mendocino Art Center). Reading at the invitation of the California Writers Club, Feb. 18!
  • Visiting Valerie Miner’s Stanford class, early February!
  • Having Drew Hemenger’s “Marife Suite” (based on self’s novella Marife) performed by Hampshire Symphony on March 14, 2015. Seeing friends in New York afterwards!
  • Having a piece come out in Witness’s Translation issue (March 2015)!
  • Attending AWP in Minneapolis and seeing ex-Assumption classmates!
  • Reading with fellow Stanford Creative Writing Program Alum at Redwood City Public Library (Downtown Branch) in May!
  • Self also intends to start her New Year’s reading with a bang: reading George Eliot’s Silas Marner and Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn. Right now, she’s about halfway through William Maxwell’s short novel (or novella) So Long, See You Tomorrow; she is loving it so much.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Achievement: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Stories of Achievement:

1st, Nutschell Ann Windsor, Filipina American, writer, brown-belter in the Philippine martial art of arnis

Nutschell Ann Windsor is a graduate of the University of the Philippines, a UCLA Extension Program Administrator, and co-editor of an anthology called SPROUTS.

Nutschell Ann Windsor is a graduate of the University of the Philippines, a UCLA Extension Program Administrator, and co-editor of an anthology called SPROUTS.

2nd, Angela Narciso Torres, whose poetry collection Blood Orange won the Willow Book Prize in 2013:

Angela Narciso Torres, poet, reading from her poetry collection, BLOOD ORANGE, at Beyond Baroque Literary Center in Venice Beach, CA, Nov. 2

Angela Narciso Torres reading from her poetry collection, BLOOD ORANGE, at Beyond Baroque Literary Center in Venice Beach, CA, Nov. 2

3rd, Matthew Torres, son of Angela, a visual artist and a junior at USC. He painted this in honor of his mother’s poetry collection, Blood Orange.  Took the shot in the lobby of Beyond Baroque Literary Center, just before Angela’s reading.

Matthew, son of Angela Narciso Torres, is a junior in USC. He painted this for his mother, to illustrate her collection BLOOD ORANGE.

Matthew, son of Angela Narciso Torres, is a junior in USC. He painted this for his mother, to illustrate her collection BLOOD ORANGE.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Still Processing, Self Discovers a New Poet

Self had a grand time in southern California, the past week and a half.

She is home now, but still trying to process everything.

The day after she got to Venice Beach, she attended Angela Narciso Torres’s reading at Beyond Baroque Literary Center and got to meet her son Matthew (whose room in Chicago self was just in, the week prior). Angela and self do have such great adventures together!

That evening, Angela was reading with a poet self had never listened to before, Shadab Zeest Hashmi. Shadab’s voice was simply entrancing.

Here’s a poem from her collection, Kohl & Chalk. Self had to look up what a ghazal is. According to the Poetry Foundation website, “The ghazal is an Arabic verse form dealing with loss and romantic love.” It consists of a series of couplets, each couplet ending “on the same word or phrase.”

*     *     *     *

Ghazal for the Ninth Month

Your August birth, my taking oath as an American, were only weeks apart.
The most I can remember is your rocking to a dull ache before we were apart.

Our hill was plush, the whole place soaked up the scent of raisin pulao. On
the last day of July the umbilical cord was cut, yet still we were barely apart.

I had sworn to bear arms for this country. A cat prowled between the young
apple tree and dry lobelia; camouflaged, I couldn’t tell her parts apart.

I acted mother first when I frantically covered you, half-dreaming you were
the tender bird of prey and a feline form was the country of which I was a part.

Bear arms? Kill like a predator? In other dreams I bore you through the odd months,
through snow in Julian, rain in Sedona. Not for a single minute were we apart.

*     *     *     *

Beautiful. Just. Beatiful.

Stay tuned.

Oh Chicago

Self is just back from Chicago. Weather was positively balmy, and self saw four plays:  “Apat” at Circa Pintig, “Animal Farm” at Steppenwolf, “Strandline” at A Red Orchid Theatre, and “Smokefall” at the Goodman.  BLISS.

Here she is with poet Angela Narciso Torres (Angela’s first book, Blood Orange, won the Willow Book Prize.  Angela is an editor of Rhino Magazine). We’re on the train headed downtown from Angela’s place in the suburbs.

BFFs with, by sheeir coincidence, almost the same shade of red lipstick!

BFFs with, by sheeir coincidence, almost the same shade of red lipstick!

Seeing Angela again in a few.  She’s giving a reading at Beyond Baroque in Venice Beach, this Sunday, Nov. 2. Can hardly wait.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

The Mission: Lit Crawl 2014

Tonight was Lit Crawl in San Francisco’s Mission. Self attended a reading of Saint Mary’s College alumna, one of whom was the fabulous Rashaan Alexis Meneses.

Rashaan read the story that was recently in New Letters, a story that happened to be set in Bonnyrigg, near Hawthornden!  (Rashaan should send a copy to Hamish).

But, before the reading, we met up at local fave Puerto Allegre (546 Valencia St) for some yummy sopes and guacamole, where self met poet Raina J. Leon and got her to sign a copy of her book, Boogeyman Dawn:

Raina J. Leon signing a copy of her book, Boogeyman Dawn, at Puerto Alegre on Valencia St.

Raina J. Leon signing a copy of her book, Boogeyman Dawn, at Puerto Alegre on Valencia St.

This picture of Rashaan reading was unfortunately a little blurred, but you can still get a sense of her energy:

The Fabulous Rashaan, reading at Bay Blend Coffee & Tea, 1905 Mission Street, San Francisco

The Fabulous Rashaan, reading at Bay Blend Coffee & Tea, 1905 Mission Street, San Francisco

She happened to take a seat facing the sidewalk, so that as the reading progressed, she found herself watching a building directly across the street. There was a FOR LEASE sign on the front. The ground floor had this rather fabulous home furnishings store (with real-looking white sheep), very “chi-chi” for the Mission.

As it grew dark, the rooms of each floor of the building lighted up. And self has always, always been fascinated by windows.

She remembers staring out the kitchen window of her brother-in-law’s apartment in New York City, just staring at parallel rows of windows, and seeing people doing different things: talking on the phone, reading the newspaper. Each little square a story.

Mission Street, Across from Bay Coffee & Tea

Mission Street, Across from Bay Blend Coffee & Tea

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

“The Seeker of Buried Treasure” : A Piece About General Yamashita

This piece appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of Our Own Voice,  a magazine of the Filipino diaspora.

There’s a legend about General Yamashita, who the U.S. held accountable for war crimes in the World War II occupation of the Philippines.  Yamashita was executed shortly after the war, after a brief trial.

They say he stashed away bars of gold bullion, and treasure hunters have been trying to find the riches ever since.

Self suddenly recalled this piece after listening to Joanne Diaz, a poet, whose reading in Moe’s Books self attended last night, along with Jay D and Lillian H, who belong to her fabulous writing group.

Joanne Diaz is an AWESOME reader. Self bought the two collections that were on sale last night:  My Favorite Tyrants (which won the 2014 Brittingham Prize in Poetry), and The Lessons.

“The Seeker of Buried Treasure”

He was a shaman. Oh, something very old.

Like the turtle you forgot about that grew to 10 times its size in your mother’s garden.

My uncle looked for the gold bars, you know.

Under the old fort.

Why would they be there?  Why would General Yamashita leave them behind? Underneath an old fort in Manila?

Tell me where I can find it, the treasure that the Tiger of Malaya stole, the gold Buddha, the bullion.

You remember.

The necklaces of diamonds and jade . . .

The rest of self’s piece can be found here.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

 

Busy Bee

Self is extremely, extremely happy this morning. She was able to wheedle a reading date from her local library for Manila Noir, an anthology that Akashic published last year, and for which she has never given a reading.

She’s only one of — ehem — 15 Filipino writers in the book, it was edited by Superstar Jessica Hagedorn, she loves the pieces in it to bits. Why has she never read for it in her own neck of the woods?  OMG, why?

She wrote a brand new story, just for the anthology. Yup, one winter holiday, almost three years ago, La Hagedorn requested a story from self, and after wringing her hands for nearly a month, and subjecting herself to all sorts of angsty emo feelings, self ended the pity party, grit her teeth, addressed the problem (which had been hovering over her head, a veritable Sword of Damocles, making her incapable of performing even the simplest holiday tasks, such as setting up the Christmas tree) and that very same day, she came up with a story. Turned it in. Got quick thumbs up from Hagedorn. Became pride-ful and slothful. Told the world of her inclusion in said anthology. Crowed about her triumph in her little corner of the world, and then waited for — NOTHING. Everyone in the Philippines and Asia and even the continental U.S. of A. read the anthology, but her story was sandwiched between such greats that no one seemed to have time to comment on it. Nevertheless, nevertheless . . .

She did manage to get Lysley Tenorio (a fellow alum from Stanford’s Creative Writing Program, he teaches at Saint Mary’s in Moraga) to agree to read with her. Quite a feat, as the guy’s got a big agent, a big publisher, and he agreed to make the trek to REDWOOD CITY. And besides, self isn’t sure whether she still can read, it’s been a while. So it is good if Lysley reads with her, for he is an excellent reader. And not only that, he is affable and very used to signing author copies.

Now, since self is so energized, she is thinking of contacting other places, such as Books, Inc. in Town & Country. Hello, they already carry it; she’s seen it there, in their Mystery section. So, what’s the problem, self? What’s taking you so long? Get off your couch and who says you can’t? Get yourself over to Book Passage, while you’re at it.

Johanna Ingalls, Managing Editor of Akashic Books.  She's holding up MANILA NOIR: Self is one of the contributors.

Johanna Ingalls, Managing Editor of Akashic Books, at the 2013 Miami International Book Festival, holding up MANILA NOIR: Self is one of the contributors.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

Available Now: Your Impossible Voice, Issue 5

Today self heard from the editors of Your Impossible Voice that Issue No. 5 is out!

YAY!

The story they took is “The Elephant.” Self actually sent if from Cork, Ireland. It was the morning she was transferring from Ballyvolane House to Café Paradiso. You know, self just fell in love with Cork and wishes she had stayed there an extra week.

But, back to Your Impossible Voice and “The Elephant.” It is actually quite a disturbing story, but it is what it is. Here’s an excerpt:

For over a week, the elephant’s wild thrashings sent reverberations throughout the ship. It threw itself against the walls of its container, again and again. Sea monsters, the crew awoke thinking. We’re all going to die!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Contrasts 10: Still in Squaw Valley

Still mostly working on photographing the contrast between sunlight and shadow.

Squaw Valley is amazingly beautiful, even without snow.

The Village, Early Morning:  Sunlight and Shadow

The Village, Early Morning: Sunlight and Shadow

From My Balcony

View From the Balcony of Self’s Unit

And now for something completely different:  Self was fascinated by this woman’s hair (and also her striped knit cardigan).  The woman sat directly in front of self during the Tom Barbash/Christine Meldrum/Mark Childress/Amy Tan reading, a few nights ago:

A member of the audience during the Barbash, Meldrum, Childress, Tan Reading the Other Night

A member of the audience during the Barbash, Meldrum, Childress, Tan Reading the Other Night

Loving it here.  Every moment.

Stay tuned.

 

Three-Picture Story: AWP Book Fair, Washington State Convention Center, Seattle

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge was THREES: Telling a Three-Picture Story.

It’s a good thing self is at the AWP 2014 conference in Seattle. She has lots and lots of material. Today, she wandered the Book Fair with her roommate, poet and Director of Creative Writing at Old Dominion University, Luisa A. Igloria.

Stopped at the table for the Hugo House.  Found out that they’re hosting readings every night.  Tonight’s features Roxane Gay (editor of PANK magazine, which just accepted one of self’s stories for publication, Happy Happy Joy Joy!), John Haskell, Leslie Jamison, Brett Fletcher Lauer, and Amy Leach.

At the Hugo House Table, a "Reaping" of Sorts!

At the Hugo House Table, a “Reaping” of Sorts!

The Richard Hugo House in Seattle had a table at the AWP Book Fair.

Luisa reaches into the bowl to find her fortune.

Luisa and self each picked one.

Luisa and self each picked one.  This was self’s (!!!).  She likes!

DSCN4233

Self realizes this is a four-picture story.  But she’s never been good at following directions.  Never.

Stay tuned.

« Older entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,239 other followers