Bluestem, Spring 2015

Yay, Bluestem! They launched the spring issue at AWP 2015!

Here is the lovely Poetry Editor, Charlotte Pence, holding up a copy of the issue.

Self’s story of climate change, “The Freeze,” is in this issue. She just picked up her author’s copy today.

Exciting!

Charlotte Pence, Poetry Editor of Bluestem. Her poetry collection, MANY SMALL FIRES, was just published by Europa Press.

Charlotte Pence, Poetry Editor of Bluestem. Her poetry collection, MANY SMALL FIRES, was just published by Europa Press.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Self Wrote the Libretto for a Two-Act Opera!

Self wrote the libretto for a two-act opera.

Self doesn’t watch opera. But she is never one to let a little thing like not knowing anything stop her from writing!

Self’s composer/collaborator, Drew Hemenger, is sick, as self was before she left California. A few shots of chili-laced Szechuan soup near Harvard Square and she’s all better!

The world premiere of The Marife Suite is this Saturday, in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Boston is freezing cold. Self tried walking around Harvard Square this morning. CRAAAAP! She didn’t even make it five blocks. The wind and — ugh, ugh, ugh! Lips are chapped! Yikes! Hands look like wrinkled prunes!

She’s switching all her fan fiction (the ones that had Peeta as a Harvard undergrad) to Palo Alto.

So glad. Just so glad she chose to study in Palo Alto, where giant palm trees line the broad avenues etc. May the Heavens preserve us, she just can’t take this bitter Boston cold.

Self brought with her the libretto for The Making of the Representative for Planet 8, the opera by Philip Glass and Doris Lessing. Believe it or not, reading this libretto, six years ago, was what started self thinking that maybe, just maybe, she could pull this one off. Maybe she could actually write a full-length opera.

Lessing’s libretto combines two of self’s most enduring interests: science fiction and terse language. Here’s an excerpt from Act II Scene 4:

BELOW THE WALL

The people stand huddled together, waiting. Beside them is a great heap of insulating material.

The People (variously)
Like coats for houses.
In this new time of ours buildings must wear coats and skins.
Like us.

They sink down into the snow. Sit listlessly. Some go off to sleep.

Reading the above, self wonders how much of her story The Freeze, the one that’s coming out in Bluestem Magazine (It’ll be on sale at the AWP Book Fair. Yeessss!), consists of lingering echoes from The Representative for Planet 8. In self’s story, the temperature drops overnight, everything stops working, every living thing dies — except for huddled bands of starving people, who decide to head south.

Her story follows one intrepid band (teen-agers and one very old woman) who decide to follow Highway 1 to Mexico.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Depth 5: About Self’s Attachment to Books

Books, for self, are the ultimate uncharted territory.

The depth of her love for books knows no bounds.

She was running low on her copies of Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila and Going Home to a Landscape: Writings by Filipinas, but her publisher sent a box of those to Mendocino last week and they arrived safely.

Two other books: Mayor of the Roses and The Lost Language, are in Gallery Bookshop on Main Street. Those copies she signed.

Self ordered more copies of her books. They arrived from the publisher last week.

Self ordered more copies of her books. They arrived from the publisher last week.

Gallery Bookshop, Main Street, Mendocino: A shelf in the science fiction section (BATTLE ROYALE meets LORD OF THE RINGS)

Gallery Bookshop, Main Street, Mendocino: A shelf in the science fiction section (BATTLE ROYALE meets LORD OF THE RINGS)

Gallery Bookshop, Main Street, Mendocino

Gallery Bookshop, Main Street, Mendocino

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Still Reading “After the Cure”

It’s just one short story. But self is dragging it out, sentence by sentence.

Apparently they’ve found a cure for zombies that restores them to their human selves. They then call these rescued the “rehabilitated.”  That doesn’t help the narrator, a “rehabilitated” zombie who makes one friend, a boy named James.

He’s the reason she’s even contemplating attending school.

He visits her in her dwelling, an abandoned house on the edge of the city, the one with the floating body in the pool.

And – guess what. This boy drags a scent of human for the zombie pack to follow him.

What I don’t tell him is that I can already hear the pack pushing against the air outside the house. They know there’s someone pure inside.

I can already feel the way their mouths water for him.

At night, when they race past the house, is the loneliest I’ve ever felt. Except for now.

Oh Heavens to Mergatroid, please don’t let the pack eat James!

SPOILER ALERT — DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU ARE DENSE AND/OR NEVER INTEND TO READ CARRIE RYAN’S STORY!

Self is so slow on picking up clues. Even after she took that Hunger Games “How Long Would You Last as a Tribute” quiz that told her she’d last a day, self keeps forgetting how dense she is. So it comes as a total shock when the narrator decides that it’s too late to evade the rampaging zombie pack, she has to turn James into a zombie. In other words, she has to kill him herself.

Nooooooo !!!!!!!!!

Suddenly James is showing the narrator that he really really likes her (Self, is Twilight simply a distant memory? Apparently so) and — please believe self when she says that this scene is very very poignant, and not the least bit confusing, though she wishes the couple would address the immediate problem! Which is that a zombie mob is in the process of tearing down the door!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Carrie Ryan in AFTER: NINETEEN STORIES OF APOCALYPSE AND DYSTOPIA

Self has already blogged about this story, Carrie Ryan’s “After the Cure.” It is so bleak and beautiful.

What’s the use of being a “rehabilitated” zombie when everyone still hates you?

Self gets that Read the rest of this entry »

Matthew Park Imagines “The Freeze”

Matthew Park is a young artist who just did the most fabulously beautiful illustration for a Read the rest of this entry »

Stories About Magic and Science Fiction

Why is self so attracted to stories about magic?

Don’t really know.

Self’s first experience with angst came from fairy tales. She fell in love with Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling and The Little Mermaid. She always cried at the end of The Little Mermaid.

Then, she read Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris while she was a grad student at Stanford. She found the idea of a sentient planet mind-blowing! Positively transcendent! The movie with George Clooney was terrible!

On to her reading of the afternoon:  the Preface by Maria Tatar to her The Annotated Brothers Grimm (Self has been reading it and stopping every other sentence. This is a problem. Possibly, she won’t finish it in this lifetime. Oh! She also downloaded the episode of Face/Off with Josh Hutcherson as a guest judge. The guy is just too adorable. Too. Too. Too!)

Back to Maria Tatar! Here’s a passage she just finished reading:

Danger lurks in every corner of the world, and the encounter with it has a fierce inevitability that becomes a rule of the genre. Villainy: this was the . . . function that fuels the plots of fairy tales.

It just occurs to self that she has a long list of horror stories she’s written. She’ll see if she can append them to this post — when she has a little more time. But, right off the top of her head, here are a few: Seeing in PANK 9.5, The Departure in Philippine Genre Stories. Ghosts really get to her. Ghosts and the Apocalypse.

The writers she met at Hawthornden (June 2012), Joan McGavin and Jenny Lewis, told the most excellent ghost stories. They fueled her imagination and sent it roaring out of the gate. We’d talk about everything from Dolly the Sheep (whose likeness is in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh) to ghost children (Self recalls Jenny saying, “The worst ghosts are ghost children.” Wheeee! Couldn’t sleep after that because she kept thinking there was a ghost child lurking somewhere in her room).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Watched “Snowpiercer”

Boy oh boy what a disappointment.

She had been so looking forward to seeing it, most of last year.

She ordered it from Netflix streaming yesterday.

And sure, Chris Evans was in it, but it didn’t have to be Chris Evans, it could just have been any guy with a beard, because he was totally camouflaged under crummy grey outfits, for the entire movie.

And the lighting was very dark, which often made it hard for self to distinguish who was who.

Self did get a big kick out of Tilda Swinton as Mason, though. Talk about a unique career trajectory: She broke self’s heart in We Need to Talk About Kevin, she was a great and fearsome angel in Constantine (directed by FLAW — Francis “Hunger Games/Catching Fire” Lawrence). She has just been a consistently interesting actress. Who would have thought? She’s very odd-looking.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Still Reading Carrie Ryan’s “After the Cure”

It was a beautiful day in Mendocino. The sun was shining. It was warm.

Self had lunch out, at a small deli just a block away.

She was reading about Read the rest of this entry »

WARM BODIES Redux: Carrie Ryan’s “After the Cure” (In AFTER: NINETEEN STORIES OF APOCALYPSE AND DYSTOPIA)

from Carrie Ryan’s story, “After the Cure,” in After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling:

An ex-vampire reflects:

In that moment I wasn’t sure where the monster ended and where I began. I know the government just wanted me to go back to the life I’d lived before, but the monster always stretched under my skin as a memory. My nails always a little thicker than before, my hair a little thinner. The taste of animal meat never enough as it used to be.

I wondered why they even bothered curing us.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

« Older entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,395 other followers