AWAKENING in Caspar, CA: An Artist’s Home

The artist is Mary-Ellen Campbell. She is a tireless traveler who paints and makes little books of found objects.

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One of Mary-Ellen Campbell’s Books: She also writes poetry.

Mary-Ellen has been to Bhutan, Nepal, and Tibet. She set up this little shrine in her home:

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This is her living room. All the art on the walls is hers:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry Saturday: Hilary Tham

One of self’s purchases from the most recent AWP Bookfair, in Tampa, Florida, was a poetry collection called Bad Names for Women, by Hilary Tham. The author’s bio says that she was born in Kenang, Malaysia, lived in Arlington, Virginia, and had three daughters.

An excerpt from Mrs. Wei Goes Home to Shensi, from the collection Bad Names for Women (Washington DC: The Word Works, 1989)

Aiiyah . . . they told me, they told me true,
See Shanghai, Peking, SiAn first, but I
would not listen, Ancestral Village, then

the tours, I never dreamt a family
so extended, so devoted.
They trudge for miles, hitch rides

on two horse-power tractors, pony carts,
arrive begrimed with coal-dust
just to see my face. My traveler’s checks

vanish like dew on late-morning grass,
exchanged for yuan, sacks of rice,
“You must stay to dinner

(and breakfast) before your trip home,”
My uncle’s wife’s brother-in-law
says he rises at five to work the commune farm,

at dark returns to hoe his ginger patch.
It brings in fen for bread and cloth

The Guardian’s 100 Best Nonfiction Books of All Time

There is very little overlap been self’s reading list and the 100 Best Nonfiction Books of All Time by The Guardian.

Below, books on The Guardian’s list that self has read:

2. The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion

5. Dreams From My Father, by Barack Obama

9. Dispatches, by Michael Herr

15. The Double Helix, by James D. Watson

20. Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson

23. The Elements of Style, by William Strunk and EB White

33. The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child-care, by Dr. Benjamin Spock

42. Testament of Youth, by Vera Brittain (for a course on the Literature of World War I, taught by Prof. Albert Guerard at Stanford)

44. Goodbye to All That, by Robert Graves (for a course on the Literature of World War I, taught by Prof. Albert Guerard at Stanford)

65. Roget’s Thesaurus

83. A History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Edward Gibbon

92. The Diary of Samuel Pepys by Samuel Pepys, via Claire Tomalin’s excellent biography of Pepys’ life

Currently Reading: LA BELLE SAUVAGE, p. 325

Hugely enjoying Volume One (La Belle Sauvage) of Philip Pullman’s new trilogy, The Book of Dust. Love the characters, all of them. Even the villains. Kudos, Mr. Pullman.

Towards the end of the novel, a flood of Biblical proportions overwhelms Oxford, England:

“The creatures in the water . . .  I don’t mean fish neither, nor water voles; I mean the old gods. Old Father Thames. And other beings as well. There was a man with us, he saw a mermaid near Henley. The sea was so full she come right up the river, even that far from the coast, and this chap, he swore to me that if he saw the mermaid again, he’d go off with her. Well, two days later he disappeared, and chances are he did just that. I believe it, anyway.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading Carlos Bulosan: America Is In the Heart

I went to bed resolved to change the whole course of my life forever. Where was I to begin? Where did rootless men begin their lives? Who were the men that contributed something positive to society? Show me the books about them! I would read them all! I would educate myself to be like them!

In the morning, rising to the clouds with my dream, I walked out of the hotel a new man.

  • — Chapter XXIV, America Is In the Heart, by Carlos Bulosan

More Irises! 31 March 2018

More irises began blooming in the side yard today:

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Blooming Today: Saturday, 31 March 2018

Which photo do you prefer, the blurry or the sharp?

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For more gorgeous flowers, here’s a link to Cee Neuner’s Flower of the Day!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Work-in-Progress: The Rorqual

(Self hopes this story, which she started writing last year at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, can go into her newest collection)

This has always been, from the very first draft, the opening paragraph:

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Sunrise, Albion, California: January 2017

The report came from somewhere on the Bering Sea. The pair had left Yellowknife the previous morning. The woman, it appeared, was headed for Baranof, the man for Kuiu. Both were on foot.

The story was born New Year’s Day 2017, in Albion, California.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Favorite Place 5: Courthouse Square, Redwood City, California

Saturday, 24 March 2018

During the March For Our Lives

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The Blue Wave is coming.

Vote this November.

Stay tuned.

AWP 2018 Tampa: Featured Speakers

Keynote Speaker:

GEORGE SAUNDERS

Among the Featured Presenters are some very familiar names:

  • Rick Barot
  • Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Marie Myung-Ok Lee
  • Claire Messud
  • Aimee Nezhukumatahil
  • Sigrid Nuñez
  • Mary Ruefle
  • Karen Tei Yamashita

She has loved George Saunders ever since Civilwarland in Bad Decline. She remembers ugly crying after reading one story, the one about the wavemaker. She has not yet read Lincoln in the Bardo but it is definitely on her list. (Which, at the rate she’s been reading these days, means she probably won’t get to it until next year. At the soonest.)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Out of This World 2: The Garden

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is OUT OF THIS WORLD.

Stepping into her garden is like stepping into another world.

There are six steps from the back door to the ground. Self took the first picture standing on the top step.

The garden is rectangular in shape. To the left is a small courtyard that she bricked over, about 20 years ago. She used to have an apple tree there. It died. She used to have geraniums and camellias. All gone. There is one wee clematis that she remembers planting three years ago. A few weeks ago, it started to put out green shoots. Every day since then, it has put out more and more leaves.

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Backyard, 2 March 2018

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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