#amwriting: “I Eat Bitterness”

Self is writing a 9/11 story called “I Eat Bitterness.”

About a businessman who commutes into Manhattan from his home in Connecticut. On the day of the attack, he’s late for work because he had a fight with his wife. His thoughts on the train are broody and dark. He arrives at the World Trade Center at half past 9 in the morning.

As self explores this story, she occasionally turns to her reading of back issues of The New Yorker and The Economist.

In the 29 October 2016 issue of The Economist, this:

Who will uphold the torch of openness in the West? . . . Hillary Clinton, the probable winner on November 8th, would be much better on immigration, but she has renounced her former support for ambitious trade deals.

Heart breaks.

Stay tuned.

Fantasy, Set in the Philippines: Self’s “Isa”

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Hinoba-an, Negros Occidental, the Philippines: December 2010

A few weeks ago, when self was attending a reading in USF, Barbara Jane Reyes, poet and teacher, told self she was teaching “Isa” in her class this fall.

YEEEESSSSS!!!!

Five families lived on Isa. At first, there was a way to walk on the ground between the houses. But gradually the water rose and that was when we began to use the rope bridges.

In self’s story the water keeps rising and rising and rising, until gradually all the other islands get submerged. And there is only one left.

The families on Isa send out an expedition to see how far the water reaches. The journey takes them far away, and they realize that they’ve long passed the edges of their known world.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading: Lydia Davis, “Five Signs of Disturbance”

She is watching everything very closely: herself, this apartment, what is outside the windows, and the weather.

There is a day of thunderstorms, with dark yellow and green light in the street, and black light in the alley. She looks into the alley and sees foam running over the concrete, washed out from the gutters by the rain. Then there is a day of high wind.

— from “Five Signs of Disturbance” in Davis’s first collection, Break It Down

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Fall 2016

Self often uses Lydia Davis in her teaching. Something about the crispness of her sentences. Her elegance.

Stay tuned.

#amwriting: Dystopia, the End

A classroom of the future. The teacher is Fire Lizard.

Fire Lizard really is turning into a lizard.

The students are Dragon, Drinker, and Knot. Dragon and Drinker are boys. Knot is a girl.

This is a sequel to self’s “First Causes.”

Fire Lizard looking greener than usual today. He pays no mind about Big’s chair, sitting empty.

“Nature,” Fire Lizard begins, “will vindicate her laws.”

We nod. Our cornea slips engage.

This is a series of stories in which the protagonists mostly just sit in a classroom. Because this is a classroom of the future, there’s fancy stuff like cornea slips.

“First Life” was published in Juked.com, July 2015.

“First Causes” is forthcoming in Quarterly West.

For more of this dystopian universe, refer also to decomP, which in August this year published “Spores,” along with audio from Morgan Cooke, reading in full Dublin accent, lol!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amwriting: The Hill of Storms

The ghost of Dolly the sheep and three dun-polled cows grazed the storm-torn bracken.

From that day the King of France was never troubled by visits from the lands of dark-skinned peoples.

__________________

This is one of those stories where every other line is italicized because there are two interlocking threads.

An experiment, for sure!

Stay tuned.

WIP: “Problems With Sleep”

A Stanford undergrad reminisces:

The next morning, the baby bird seemed weak. It lay gasping, its wings ruffling desperately. By the end of the day, it had turned over on its back. A pulse was just visible, below its beak.

Ellis’s mother was washing up in the kitchen. She walked over to the box and peered in. There was a kind of abstract look on her face.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Two Dystopian Fantasies: Forthcoming

in Bellingham Review:  ICE

  • What food, what a fool. There’s no food on the ice. Not on top, not under.

In Quarterly West:  FIRST CAUSES

  • Class begins. Fire Lizard tells us to turn on our cornea slips. “Today’s topic,” Fire Lizard says, “is First Causes.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Tin House, By Way of UTNE READER

.At one time, self had a subscription to the Utne Reader.

And even though that subscription has long expired, she hangs on to her back copies.

Today she re-reads a story that was in the Spring 2015 issue. It’s a re-print of a short story originally published in Tin House. The writer’s name is Alia Volz.

The story’s young narrator has a hippie Daddy, a Daddy who still insists on wearing “lavender bell-bottoms” and who goes by the name Firehawk:

  • Arriving at the marijuana garden, we find our plants quivering under an invasion of blue-and-orange-striped caterpillars. Their gruesome, beautiful bodies spiral around stalks, hang from leaves, and writhe over one another.

— from the short story “In Any Light, By Any Name,” by Alia Volz

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Lysley Tenorio

“It was always a bogus-looking act, but at some point I just assumed that Filipinos were somehow predisposed to believing anyone who claimed to understand their pain.”

— from the story “Felix Starro” in the Lysley Tenorio collection, Monstress

Listen to “Spores,” Read by Morgan Cook

Morgan, an actor from Galway, says this story sounds like “outer space in a North Dublin chip shop.”

He pulled together a reading of it, just to show self why.

Here’s the link to the audio, on decomP Magazine.

It’s the first of self’s dystopian science fiction/fantasy series (written in very cracked syntax). Thanks so much to decomP for giving it a home!

The story (which self wrote in Ireland) begins:

K thinks the boss is in love with her.

She looks like a mosaic puffball, her skin covered with checkered patterns

The boss was born Earthstar. He’d never look her way. His spores were meant to go else: to a Silverleaf. Or a Shag. Not K that smelled like wet rot. All scaly cap and throat gills. She belonged with other Common.

Varnish and varnish. I’ll say this for K: she is tenacious. Especially about her delusions.

“Me mom’s a thick,” she said once. “A focking thick.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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