“Emptiness of Air”

Wrote this piece after Typhoon Haiyan/ Yolanda devastated Tacloban City in the central Philippines. Read other pieces on the disaster on the Vela Magazine website.

Pericles lost his wife to a great emptiness of air, and water, and sound.  One moment, she was alive in the house with him. In the next, she had shifted somewhat. She still had the same form, the same face, but something had changed. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but he knew what had happened had happened. He also knew there was no going back. Whatever had happened to his wife had stolen her from him as surely as if she’d been abducted and lost to him forever.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Matthew Park’s Illustration for “The Freeze”

Lately, self has been writing science fiction in the apocalyptic vein.

She wrote a story called “The Freeze” which imagined a woman as the only survivor of a drastic temperature drop, who decides to abandon her home city of San Francisco and head south. Along the way, she encounters a band of teen-agers; they all somehow find each other while stumbling around in the dark. She joins their group. Keeping the Pacific Ocean to their right, the group heads for Mexico (What? You expected them to come up with a better plan? They’re all starving, freezing, and in semi-shock. Sorry, this was the best anyone could come up with)

The story’s been published on Bluestem (Spring 2015) but here’s the illustration Matthew Park did for self.

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.

TheFreezecover_concept02-3

Hossein M. Abkenar: “Classmates” (Witness, Trans/lation Issue, Spring 2015)

We were some forty or fifty students in a large class. After we graduated, we each went our own way. That same year, Javad decided not to continue with his education. Reza Karimi went to the front and was martyred. When they returned his body, a ceremony was held at the school. Afterward, a large crowd went to his memorial service at the mosque. When Ramin finished his military service, he started his own company. Supposedly, in the services industry. Rassouli became a pilot. His plane crashed during the war and he was captured.

— “Classmates” by Hossein M. Akbenar, translated from the Persian by Sara Kahlili (Witness, Spring 2015)

Looking at storySouth

storySouth is one of those on-line e-zines that published one of my stories (a long one) several years ago, and that I’ve continued to read with delight.

Here’s an excerpt from the story by James Pate, In the Desert:

The next afternoon, I started cooking. I had been laid off from the Catholic high school where I’d been teaching music for spitting in the face of one of the richboy students after he had made a snide remark about my weight in the school parking lot. Since then, I was the one who cleaned and cooked and did the shopping. I didn’t mind — cooking had been a big thing with me since I was a kid, when my mom had taught me the recipes she remembered from growing up in South Carolina — but it was starting to get irritating when Ruthie came home. She would be all awake and talkative from working at the cafe she was part owner of in the Pinch District.

And a soliloquy:

The nearest other house was a forty-minute walk and you couldn’t see it from my place — not even when it was bright outside. So at night, it would really begin to feel as if you were the last person on earth. I think if I’d been living alone out there the entire time, I’d have gone crazy.

Love the scenes in this story, the characters are so well-drawn and the dialogue is so smart.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Work-in-Progress: Short Story

Monica knew how to laugh! She knew how to enjoy her life! She would never sit at home like her mother, with her nose buried in a book.

— “Things She Can Take” a work-in-progress

Local Nomad

Local Nomad took self’s Biblical Revisionist Story “The Ark.”

YAY YAY YAY YAY!

The editor called it “lovely and disturbing.”

Here are their submission guidelines.

Stay tuned.

 

Reflections, Yesterday

Feb. 12, 2015: Saw this outside the Stanford Bookstore.

Feb. 12, 2015: Saw this outside the Stanford Bookstore.

It was warm yesterday! While walking around the Stanford University campus, self saw that someone had stuck glittery red hearts around the planter box in front of the Bookstore. The Post Office looked exactly the same. They’re tearing down Meyer. Which means self will have to re-write the stories she’s set there. Yes, she does have stories set in Meyer Library.

The students she spoke to yesterday certainly made her think. Yes, she told them, the stories in Mayor of the Roses were written while she worked at Stanford at various administrative jobs.

Did you ever go to The Bridge (24-hour free counseling service on campus), someone asked. Of course! self replied. Didn’t everybody?

Self told the students that she had a more recent story about the Bridge, but in tone the story is as different from the one in Mayor of the Roses as night and day. In self’s story, which appeared in Waccamaw, the Bridge is a counseling hot-line called 1-800-U-R-Saved. The story is “Bridging.”

She talked about her Creative Writing Program years, and how she felt at the time she wrote the stories in the collection. She really really wanted to take a picture of Professor Miner’s copy of Mayor of the Roses because it was completely marked up. Notes on the margins, arrows pointing every which way. Looked like a piece of post-modern art.

She told the students she was writing science fiction now.

The time was really too short.

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 »

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