After Parkland

WILL WE EVER LEARN?

March for Our Lives, March 2108: Courthouse Square, Redwood City, California:

This generation of kids has been through the wringer. How many of them, self wonders, had to start college on zoom?

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

More Melancholia: High as the Waters Rise, p. 256 (Not a Spoiler)

He sat like that for a long time and felt the air getting cooler, and it made him think of Cantarell, of the gigantic fields, which stopped yielding, little by little. Statfjour, even Brent dwindled, in the North Sea. That someone had taken the trouble to name them all, and that they were now withering, petals and stamens collapsing to leave huge hollow spaces. At some point all that came up was sand and water. And that there was only water over them. That they’d take away the rigs. No trace, like none of it had ever existed.

The North Sea, Petrow had said, is nothing compared to what they’re planning now.

This is an environmental novel, make no mistake. Self is so glad she read it.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Way to Read Melancholy

High as the Waters Rise is so overwhelmingly sad.

It’s the story of a worker on an oil rig in the middle of the Atlantic whose partner (partner in work, but also his lover) gets swept out to sea. There is no grieving. He is sent off the rig at once, as if he has something infectious. So he retraces the steps he and his lover made, the hotels they stayed in, between gigs.

Waaah! Can anything be so unbearably lonely?

As he’s being ferried to shore, the man looks back at the rig, growing smaller in the distance.

He goes to Tangier, and

There was no one. The air hung in the whitewashed alleys, the room lay in twilight behind closed shutters, outside he heard people on scooters, smelled the cloud of exhaust, a bluish smoke, he didn’t move.

High as the Waters Rise, p. 30

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Anthony Huber, 26, Skateboarder

Grew up in Kenosha, attended Lincoln Middle School.

“He loved skateboarding.” — Tim Kramer, ex-classmate

Became one of two men killed by Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Self is reading an article in the September 5 – 6 issue of wsj. The article, by Chris Kornelis, is about Tony Hawke, skateboarding icon (picture below, she cropped the wsj photo)

In the first reports of the Kenosha shooting, self read that Huber tried to hit Rittenhouse with his skateboard, but was otherwise unarmed. This detail is what fixed the image of Anthony Huber in her mind.

Last year (Self’s doing a lot of sighing over LAST YEAR), self watched an adaptation of Andrea Levy’s Small Island in London’s National Theatre with son, daughter-in-law, and Amy Toland of Miami University Press. After, as the four of us walked towards the Waterloo underground, we passed a skateboarding ramp. It was just before midnight. The skateboarders were out in force. After seeing a play, there is something so mysterious and gripping about the sound of people going up and down a skateboarding ramp — up, down. Up, down. Over and over. The skateboarders’ own private, wordless mantra.

Self remembers finding the sounds almost hypnotic — as expressive, in their own way, as the words she had just been listening to for three hours (It was a long play, she loved every moment)

So there were the four of us, walking. And self remembers being very, very happy in that moment. London is such a great city: who puts a skateboarding ramp next to the National Theatre? Londoners, that’s who!

So she is particularly saddened by the fact that Anthony Huber was a skateboarder. There was no reason for Anthony Huber to go toward the danger of Kyle Rittenhouse. Only something instinctive, maybe a skateboarder’s instinct.

Never forget.

Tony Hawk, 52, Skateboarding Icon (from wsj, Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 5-6, 2020)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Wakanda Forever

RIP, CHADWICK BOSEMAN

Damn. Damn. Damn.

He was just 43.

What is life.

RIP for the Lost

Just recently, self heard The Octopus Literary Salon, in Oakland, where she and friends had all variously read, had closed. SAD! It was a mainstay of the local literary community.

Self was just looking through her pile of contributor copies (for stories she’s published in literary magazines) and realized that there are quite a goodly number that do not exist anymore. Like, The Rambler? This magazine of nonfiction appeared in North Carolina, survived a number of years, and took two of self’s flash.

How about Isotope? A place for creative and science writing. Edited by poet Chris Cokinos. In the same issue as poetry and plays, an essay on math (with numbers!) or biology. This one published out of Utah.

Here are self’s list of The Departed (the ones she knows about):

  • 5_Trope
  • Alimentum: The Literature of Food (Self loved this magazine. It moved to on-line only, and self still loved it. Then, ALAS!)
  • decomP
  • Elsewhere Lit
  • Isotope
  • LITnIMAGE
  • Our Own Voice  (featuring writing of the Philippine diaspora)
  • The Cricket Online Review
  • The Rambler
  • Used Furniture Review
  • White Whale Review (The editor solicited her after reading her blog)
  • Word Riot

Most of these magazines fell into the experimental and/or social justice arena. They were trying to do something different, and their presence in the literary world was exciting (Face it, if self had to rely solely on the big literary magazines, her career would have been over years ago). They were labors of love (as every literary magazine, big or small, is) and their vision was unique.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

RIP Christopher Tolkien

It took self all of December to read one book, The Annotated Hobbit.

That book was the only copy in the San Mateo Public Library system, a label on the cover said: DO NOT RETURN IN THE BOOK DROP.

If only the library knew what far-flung places she had taken this copy to!

A few days ago, on 15 January, she heard that Christopher Tolkien, JRR Tolkien’s youngest, who was “a devoted curator of his father’s work,” had passed away. Amazingly, none of the nightly news remarked on it. Philistines!

Here’s a piece in The Guardian about Christopher Tolkien’s legacy.

Stay tuned.

Recommended Reading: Kate Evans in Hakai Magazine, 6 January 2020

Six men set out from Iceland in a small rowboat. Their destination: Eldey, the nesting ground for the rare great auks.

Jumping ashore, they spotted a pair of the birds guarding an egg. In the ensuing chase, the two auks were killed and their egg was accidentally crushed. The men didn’t know it, but they had just killed the last great auks ever seen alive.

Read the article here.

 

Scarecrow

Somehow, the 13-year-old narrator of Hindsight manages to make a friend, a boy named Scarecrow. They meet at the shelter.

“Let’s go get pancakes,” she tells him.

His eyes widened. “You have money?” he asked.

I nodded. “Just a little,” I lied.

As night falls, Scarecrow takes the narrator to his “squat” — “over a small fence” and then through “a large, empty apartment complex” to the parking garage and “a storage closet . . . on the wall.”

“Do you like me?” he asked.

“Maybe,” I answered. I was in uncharted territory and sinking fast.

He tried to kiss me, but I started to cry.

So instead, he held me in his arms, and asked me what had happened. He somehow knew.

This story is almost unbearably sad, but the narrator’s friendship with Scarecrow has an innocence. Scarecrow takes the narrator on a tour of Hollywood: his favorite breakfast place, Tommy’s (“They make breakfast all hours of the day. Pancake special: $1.99”) and Mann Chinese Theatre. It’s a very sweet interlude.

Unfortunately, they return to the shelter for breakfast the next day and someone reports them. Scarecrow’s 19 and the narrator’s only 13. They’re both arrested and the narrator is taken to a facility in a police car.

UGH. She’s put into an orange jumpsuit and told, “You’re a 601.” She’s put in a cell and the guards are tall, beefy women.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

“Go Home, Kid”

The narrator is directed to a youth shelter by a kindly African American woman who spots her wandering around aimlessly — hurt, exhausted, bleeding. She finally gets promised a bed for the night. Horrible things have happened to her, her first night in LA. Self won’t get into it.

Hindsight: Coming of Age on the Streets of Hollywood, p. 55

“How old are you?” she asked.

“Thirteen.”

She probably heard a touch of that Southern accent on my one word . . .

“Go home, kid,” she said, and then she stood up and walked away.

My God, self thinks. All this happened to my student. At the very least, she should have received medical treatment. She should have been tested. A rape kit. Fluids. She was starving. None of that happened.

Self stayed up till the wee hours, reading.

Stay tuned.

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