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 »

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.

 

From Self’s Story “Dust” (published in The Writing Disorder)

It was a sunny, glorious day. April was sometimes cold, but Jocelyn thought she could sense summer coming, just around the corner.

— “Dust”, published in The Writing Disorder

Excerpt of the Day: E. B. Lyndon’s “Goodbye, Bear” (In One Story, Issue 172)

She was grilling me about the guy I was seeing — was he the real deal, or just another fine-for-now? I told her my feelings weren’t reliable at the moment.

“You,” she said. “Always a finger on your emotional pulse.”

“But that’s what I’m trying to tell you,” I said. “No pulse. I think I’m dead.”

And, just like that, I decide to renew my subscription to One Story.

And Now Let’s Hear From Christopher Orr of THE ATLANTIC

Self swears, so many times she has almost taken out a subscription to The Atlantic. Never mind that they showed appalling lack of judgment by publishing her fellow fellows from Stanford Creative Writing but never her. Never mind that they have so drastically reduced the number of pages devoted to fiction (They used to have a short story every issue. That was a long time ago. Now they’re down to one all-fiction issue a year).

The Atlantic was where she read her first T. C. Boyle. The story was about a man who turns the hose on his front yard and leaves it on. As he watches his yard get inundated by water, he sits on a lawn chair and ruminates.

This was possibly self’s first experience with fiction that makes no sense and yet makes all kinds of sense.

Today, still trying to process all sorts of FEELZ from the gut-wrenching experience of watching J-Hutch as Hijacked Peeta yesterday at her local Century 20. Self was browsing through Rotten Tomatoes (Mockingjay, Part 1 Rating: 66% fresh) when she encountered this review from Christopher Orr, The Atlantic’s movie critic. Here’s an excerpt:

The Hunger Games novels, by Suzanne Collins, went steadily downhill from the first to the third. As a writer, she simply didn’t have the chops to carry her story along as it became larger and more politically fraught. But the movies, at least so far, have followed a more impressive trajectory. The second installment was already weightier than the first, and in this outing the moral gravity has been ratcheted up once more. The movie’s themes of rebellion and civil war are inherently cinematic ones, and the filmmakers involved — returning director Francis Lawrence and new screenwriters Danny Strong and Peter Craig — lend the story a grim urgency largely lacking from the novel. Most crucial of all, of course, is Jennifer Lawrence, who plays heroine Katniss Everdeen.

You can read the entire review here.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

Winner of Calvino Prize Announced by University of Louisville

(And you know, self joined this year. Why else do you think she’d be so interested in the outcome? Don’t look too hard at the list of runners-up, her name isn’t there LOL. The judge was Robert Coover.)

2014 Calvino Prize Winner:  Micah Dean Hicks, “Flight of the Crow Boys”

Runner-Up: Alisa Alering, “The Night Farmers’ Museum”

Finalists:

David James Poissant, “Minotaur”

Jill Birdsall, “Dandelions”

Hubert Vigilla, “Here Be Dragons”

Emily Temple, “My Past and Future Selves Eat Pasta”

Bree Barton, “Sexing the Starling”

Aline Zybum, “The Vending Machine”

Judith Edelman, “The Parchment Is Burning, but the Letters Soar Freely”

Andrea Witzke Slot, “Where Our Hands Rest in the Night”

Caroline Belle Stewart, “Widow”

White Whale Review 1.2

Sometime in this literary magazine’s infancy, the editor contacted self (through this blog) and solicited a short story.

The issue was 1.2

Now, the magazine is in its sixth year.

The story self submitted to them was “Dumaguete.”  Here’s an excerpt:

His mother had taken him to the green campus of Silliman University, and there, among the tall, old acacia trees, they’d stumbled across a small museum that held shells and various voodoo paraphernalia from the small island just offshore, Siquijor. From the city’s seaside promenade, one could just discern the faint outline of the island. All day, outriggers plied the distance between the large and small island, ferrying shell vendours and curious tourists to and fro.  Carlos had heard numerous stories of this fabled place, but his mother showed no inclination to go there.

Intrigued? Want to read the rest of it? Go here.

“Dumaguete” is in self’s third story collection, The Lost Language (which is only available in the Philippines).

Self has been to that island, just off Dumaguete.  At least three times.

DSCN4154

Stay tuned.

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