BARRACOON: The Door of No Return

It took self a few days to get through the Foreword by Alice Walker and the Introduction by Deborah G. Plant. Now, she’s about to begin the book proper.

Just before the Preface is a photograph:

dscn0041

That little gap of ocean was all the slaves saw as they crowded together in the Slave House, the last stop before they were loaded onto ships that took them to lands of untold misery.

Zora Neale Hurston in the Preface, dated 17 April 1931:

I was sent by a woman of tremendous understanding of primitive peoples to get this story.

It is so uncommonly sad to read the Preface. The slaves entered the barracoon as human beings; little did they know it would be the last time they would feel themselves as such. From that point onward, they were mere cattle.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Bourdain: Ugly Crying

Not real. Not real. Not real.

In celebration of food, community, and life, all the food pictures self can pull from her archives in 15 minutes:

  1. Cherries, Belmont Farmers Market, May 2018
  2. Leeks, Palo Alto Farmers Market, April 2018
  3. Giant Tomato, Mendocino Art Center, March 2018
  4. Buko Pie, Philippine Airlines, January 2018
  5. Dearest Mum’s Lunch, Manila, January 2018
  6. UP Town Center, Diliman, Quezon City, January 2018

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

All-Time Favorites Wordpress Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background 6

Oh, WHAT? The Daily Post Photo Challenge is going away?

NOOOOO!

For the final week of the Photo Challenge, we’re supposed to post our favorite Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge picture.

That is an extremely hard photo challenge — the hardest.

Anyhoo, here’s a picture from a trip she took with former Calyx Managing Editor (She was one of the founders) Margarita Donnelly in April 2013:

On the Vaporetto to St. Mark's, Venice, April 2013

On the Vaporetto, Venice, April 2013

Is this an “In the Background” kind of shot, in keeping with WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge theme of the week?

Self has no idea.  She would never have posted it, though, if she hadn’t been looking for a photo where “background,” or anyway the idea of background, was key.

So, it’s all good.

It turns out self’s fondest memories of Venice are not the paintings, not the magnificent churches, but the vaporetto rides.  Which thousands of people take every day, on their way to and from work in the city.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

A Question Leads to Further Questions About the Tragedy

Self is a writer.  As a writer, she is always searching for a plausible story.

That is how she deals with reality.  That is how she copes.

The shooter (she will never refer to him by name, as if to perpetuate his memory.  Never) killed “someone” at his home.

He was purportedly targeting his mother.

Was she a teacher?  Did he walk into her classroom and kill her?  Did he then decide to take along every one of her students?

Then self learned that the shooter’s guns belonged to his mother.

Whaaaat?  What business did the woman have for keeping that many guns in her home?

She was divorced, middle-aged.

Ergo:  guns???

Then it turned out the mother was shot at home.  So the shooter went to the school afterwards.  He was denied entry at first, but forced his way in.

OK, who denied that shooter entry at first?  And was that person the shooter’s second victim?  And how did the shooter force his way into a school?  If there is no one to stop you, how can you be described as forcing your way in?  What exactly does this mean, that reports say he “forcefully gained entrance”?  Is forcefully gaining entrance the same as forcing one’s way in?  Does that mean someone physically stands in your way?  Or is that someone just questioning you and asking to see some form of ID?  If one fails to show an ID but continues sauntering towards a classroom, can one then be described as forcing one’s way in?  Where does the “force” come in?  Self doesn’t know how or who or what tried to prevent the shooter’s entry.  But that’s what all the news reports say:  The shooter forced his way in.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Ah, Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow!

At times like these, what better way to salve one ‘s spirits than a glass of good, dark, Guinness Draft Beer!

Last Outing: Beer at the Sun Inn, Dalkeith

Self will sorely miss the scintillating conversations she had with these two, Marylee and Joan.

What self will NOT miss:  How much weight she’s gained here in Scotland.  Scottish breakfasts are positively huge, dear blog readers.  And lunch follows only three hours later.  Then, because one’s tummy has been stoked (already) by the rich food, one simply cannot hold one’s horses until the 7 p.m. dinner.  And that’s when the butterscotch tablets come out.  And the scones and tea.  Aaaargh, aaaaargh, aaaaargh.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Last Day in Edinburgh

Grayfriars Bobby, the Faithful Skye Terrier who guarded the grave of his master for 14 years!

Dear Edinburgh, how self will miss you —  all the sights and sounds of your colorful denizens, your overcast skies, your creepy underground tours, your paving-stone streets, your crooked corners, your fascinating bookshops, your little pubs, your eccentric monuments (Scott’s monument looks like an alien spaceship about to take off into the cloudy Scottish skies!)

Today, self went to the Elephant House.  She took pictures of a bulletin board festooned with drawings of elephants:

Children mail drawings of elephants to The Elephant House, billed as “The Birthplace of Harry Potter”

On another bulletin board were many pictures of a (very young) J. K. Rowling.

In the comfort room was scrawled, on one wall:

If you would like to bang (or make love to) Hermione, put a check mark here.

There were 10 check marks.

Funny, self thought there would be more.

Just to the right of the above scrawled message (Self is amazed that she actually had the wherewithal to take notes on what was written on the bathroom walls — but, anything for “ze blog”!!!) was another:

If you are sane (or cool enough) to realize that Hermione would have nothing to do with you, put a check mark here.

Beneath this message were eight check marks.

Meat pie with mashed potatoes and gravy: Self’s lunch today at The Elephant House. Self noticed that most of the patrons who ordered this accompanied their meal with a large glass of milk!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Jeff Tagami: June 23, 2012

Rest in peace, Jeff.

Self is still in shock.

She really has no words.

She found out from an e-mail from Virginia Cerenio.

Jeff represented everything that was gracious in our community.

Shirley, self’s heart goes out to you.

More of the Long Good-Bye

Entering:  Self’s first thought was heart’s ease.

The park-like surroundings. Self found out today that she cannot re-apply until after five years have passed.

When self first arrived, none of the roses had bloomed . . .

In the deepest, darkest portion of the Pictish Caves! We are so terrorized that we huddle together for comfort and protection!

Self requested Marylee to give the “V” for Victory, to commemorate our having successfully reached the other end of the Pictish, Cave-Like, Demonic, Totally Thrilling Tunnels beneath the Castle.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The Long Goodbye

Bannisters

You never saw such green, such loveliness.

Everything ends.  But, always, too soon.

Dinner conversation this evening:  crap, and other such niceties.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

That Wakako Yamauchi Dog Story

So here is self, settled back home, and able to resume reading the Wakako Yamauchi story (“Dogs I Owe To”) she began reading in Bacolod.  She still hasn’t gotten to the end, but can feel it coming.

This is such a beautiful story.  The language is restrained and yet painfully wrenching.  A Japanese American family adopts a pet, a dog named Dickie.  Many things happen to the family after they adopt Dickie: a baby dies, the family is forced to move out of the Imperial Valley, bankrupted by debt and just general bad luck.  There is a tremendous earthquake, which they all survive, but not much else does.

The narrator’s parents tells her that she must be Dickie’s “executioner.”  That is, it is up to the narrator and her brother to figure out a humane solution to getting rid of this dog, this extra mouth to feed, one that this impoverished family can ill afford.

They decide to leave Dickie in the place where they had last moved from, where nothing remains of their former hopes and dreams:

I said good-bye in my heart because it seemed hypocritical to say it out loud.  I couldn’t speak to my brother, who was dealing with his own emotions.  I watched Dickie run after us until the road turned.  I prayed he would find his way back to the Augustas and that they, with kinder hearts than ours, would feed him, give him a drink, and pat him now and then.

That wasn’t the last time I saw Dickie.  For years he came to me in my dreams, always running, running to me.  Sometimes I’m on a bus, sometimes in a stranger’s car.  Once his back appeared to be broken, but he continued to run.  I am always watching him from a window, on a moving vehicle, my heart cut out of me.

We never returned to Imperial.

Self wishes to thank Lillian Howan, from the very bottom of her heart, for putting this collection of Wakako Yamauchi’s stories together.  Self feels so lucky:  she gets to read this collection in dribs and drabs, usually when she is flying to or leaving Bacolod.  She’ll always think of the book this way:  bookends to the brief periods when she is out of herself.  When she ceases to be a mother, or a wife, or a teacher or even a writer.  In Bacolod, she is nothing, simply her father’s daughter.

It’s funny how, in the story excerpt above, the narrator mentions seeing Dickie in her dreams.  For some reason, self’s dream life expanded considerably on this last trip.  She dreamt when she was on the airplane, both going to and coming from Bacolod.  She dreamt every single night of her trip, except for the one week where Zack joined her.  The dreams were usually nightmares, involving family members she hadn’t seen or spoken to in a while.  Once (on the plane to Bacolod), she dreamt about being attacked by a bunch of ferocious gorillas who had escaped from a zoo.  Another time, she dreamt that Dearest Mum was knocking on the front door of her house in Redwood City.  Knocking and knocking and knocking.

Self dreamt about her brother-in-law, Richard, and about her husband.  She dreamt about lizards and about losing her way in the intricacies of an unfamiliar house.  Each dream was long and complicated and always ended ambiguously.

When self got back to Redwood City, the dreams vanished.  What does this mean?

Stay tuned.

Asian Cultural Experience

Preserving the history and legacy of Salinas Chinatown

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photography

Learning and teaching the art of composition.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through style and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery

transcribingmemory

Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

litadoolan

Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

the contemporary small press

A site for small presses, writers, poets & readers

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other

Random Storyteller

“Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving.”― Madeleine L'Engle

Kanlaon

Just another Wordpress.com weblog