“Witness”: Published 2010 in NECESSARY FICTION

Thanks a bunch, Necessary Fiction, for all you do for the literary community. You’re a great web-zine! Self was first referred to you by Beth Coryell Alvarado, a fellow creative writing fellow in the Stanford University Creative Writing Program, and you published self’s short story, Witness, in February 2010.

An excerpt:

Witness (published in Necessary Fiction, 2/10/2010)

You were tired, that day. You were riding in a car with your daughter, Caroline, and Jay, her new husband, and they were arguing. They acted as though you weren’t there. Caroline swerved once, narrowly avoiding a collision. You bit your lip, you sighed, you rested your head back against the seat. The noises from the front continued, unabated.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Typical Conversation If Married to a Dentist: Story # 5 in THE ELEPHANT VANISHES

Self has no memory of reading any of the stories (except for the one about cooking spaghetti), how odd. If ever a book demanded close reading, it is this one. Each sentence has a precise and very unpredictable effect. For instance, one sentence can say, “I’m going to kill myself tomorrow” and the next sentence will be something like “So I settled on the couch to watch a game show.”

She is totally in awe of Murakami’s unwavering commitment to the absurd.

  • I didn’t want to think about plaque on people’s teeth, and I especially didn’t want to hear or think about it while I was eating.

The next sentence is about how the narrator wishes she could just resume reading — of all things — Anna Karenina instead of listening to her husband.

Oh of course! Anna Karenina throws herself in front of a train; is Murakami implying that the wife would throw herself in front of a train if she has to spend another minute listening to her husband talk about plaque removal?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Murakami Throws Shade on Ugly Dentist

Story # 5 of The Elephant Vanishes: Sleep

(Murakami writes from a woman’s point of view in this one. Self found the effect a bit startling at first)

“I know why you’ve got so many patients,” I always say to him. “It’s because you’re such a good-looking guy.”

This is our little joke. He’s not good-looking at all. Actually, he’s kind of strange-looking. Even now I wonder why I married such a strange-looking man.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Welcome to Self’s Apocalypse

Got a rejection from Oxford American today. Nevertheless.

Self has decided to submit a short story collection to a contest.

Story # 1: The Departure

The Situation:  A mom says good-bye to her son, who’s on his way to a college on the coast. Not five minutes after she waves good-bye and re-enters her house, the world ends. The woman wakes up to find that the roof of her house has cracked wide open, and nothing’s working. She decides to check in with a neighbor across the street, who invites her to share some cake (Did self say yet that she writes dark fiction?)

They each took a chair and faced each other across the kitchen table, the cake between them. The cat was still on Julietta’s lap but seemed to show no interest in food. She simply lay there, as if comatose. Through Mrs. Bautista’s kitchen window, Julietta thought she saw wisps of clouds moving backwards. Far off, somewhere, she imagined a whole bevy of airplanes were getting ready to scramble.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Murakami, Greatness

  • This is my seventeenth straight day without sleep.

Sleep, Story # 5 in The Elephant Vanishes, by Haruki Murakami, translation by Jay Rubin

How many years ago did self first read this collection?

It left hardly any impression.

She loves it madly now.

Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Laszlo Krasznahorkai, SEIOBO THERE BELOW

It’s the quote that begins the last story, Screaming Beneath the Earth, p. 447:

We ask nothing of the dragons, and the dragons ask nothing of us.

— Zi Chan

Self finds these quotes pretty droll. For instance, the one that begins The Preservation of the Buddha is “For the greater glory of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.” The entire story is about the Buddha and there is nothing, literally nothing about Jesus Christ.

Krasznahorkai, you savage troll. Not only do you put misleading quotes at the beginning of each story, you force us to read 50-page sentences. How dare you.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

This: Sou’wester, Spring 2007

The story of the Americans, the Filipinos, the Spanish, a martyr, and a very famous oil lamp:

Manila, 1898:

As Jose Rizal was lined up before the Spanish firing squad, labeled a renegade and underground solidarity worker, American Commodore George Dewey sailed into Manila Bay.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

#amwritingshortstory: Manchester Square

Setting, The Wallace Collection, London:

DSCN0773

Fragonard’s “The Swing” Originally, the lady was to have been pushed by a bishop. But this was evidently too much. So, instead, we have an elderly gent sitting on a stone balustrade, in the shadows behind.

  • She walked past the Flemish Masters in the East Drawing Room, strode past Titian’s Madonna and David Teniers the Younger’s the Deliverance of Saint Peter.

Later, self took her notes and added this sentence (while having lunch at Chez Nous, 22 Hanway Street):

  • She was more of a café person than her friend Maxine, who’d set the bar pretty high, whose idea of dinner was to go to the Ottolenghi in Islington, who had impressed her parents into gifting her a trip to London (she couldn’t be bothered to learn French, so London it was) by getting an A on a paper about the Thirty Years War (“1618 to 1648,” she told her mother, Cici, who blushed with maternal pride).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amwriting: Notes for a Story Collection

Working Title: Magellan’s Mirror

Opening Sentence, Story # 1:

Her cousin believed that the sinking of the Titanic was part of a Russian plot to eliminate John Jacob Astor and other American imperialists.

DSCN0250

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amwriting: 3rd Story About Fire Lizard

Tags: dystopia, fantasy, the future, the Philippines

Engage cornea slips. Again.

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

Laws.

New word. What does it mean?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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