Lunch: Chéz Mamie

They’re doing massive construction work on Hanway Street: a tall building’s going up. Self asked what that building was going to be and was told: an expanded Primark and luxury condos.

Oh gosh. That means Hanway Place will be awash in posh types. How’s that going to change Chez Mamie? Self probably won’t be able to get a seat there any longer! It’s such a wee restaurant! Maybe because of the noise of construction, the place was rather empty. Self loves their salads, though. Absolutely loves them.

And, just like that, self got the idea for a story and started scribbling like mad into her notebook:

Maxine had impressed her parents into gift-ing her a trip to London by getting an A on a paper about the Thirty Years War (“1618 to 1648,” Maxine told her mother Cici, who blushed with maternal pride).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

While Self Was at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre

She worked on a number of things. One was a collection of her dystopian science fiction. She placed one of those stories while she was still in Annaghmakerrig (luck of the Irish!)

She also worked on “First Causes,” her sequel to “First Life,” and got a very quick response. Though the magazine did not take her story, saying it was a little too “out there” for their magazine, the editors “nevertheless” wanted me to know: “This is indeed a very good story and we have no doubt it will be picked up by some other magazine.”

YES! YES! YES!

Ridiculous to get so excited over a rejection letter. But —

YES!

Self had worked particularly hard on the ending, and on the dialogue between the main character, Dragon, and his nemesis, Big:

There’s a bluish-greenish shadow on Big’s back, right between his shoulder blades. I see it when he disrobes for inspection.

What is the cause? Is it Tumor? Is it Plague? Is it Virus?

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The Pod, Viewed From Somewhere Near Whitechapel, London

Stay tuned, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

 

 

Earth 3: Boulders, Ice, Lake

This week, The Daily Post asks bloggers to “share your vision of our glorious Mother Earth.”

Here’s another corner of the world self can share with dear blog readers: Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada.

It was the last week of April 2015. It was cold. The water looked like it might hurt.

Self has always been enchanted by ice and oceans. Here’s an excerpt from her new WIP:

Working Title: “Oceans”

Finally, when it became too painful to breathe the air, the last remaining human colonies began to send pioneers into the deep.  These early explorers were the brave ones. They mapped the ocean floor, marking the location of dangerous fissures that led to deep cauldrons of hot magma, bubbling up from the center of the earth. They identified places least likely to be affected by the powerful ocean currents.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Reading: NECESSARY FICTION

“When the shells hit the zoo five-hundred exotic species spurted like awkward pollen and scattered all across the tan streets and plumbing-covered roofs of Baghdad. The leopards ran for the Tigris. An elephant wandered into the middle of the intersection where I sat in the turret of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, praying to the satellite gods to show me the way to a checkpoint that appeared on the intel photo but didn’t seem to exist in reality. Getting lost had been my greatest fear since leaving Kuwait.”

— “Third Order Effects,” a piece by James Stegall (Read the rest of it on the Necessary Fiction site, here)

“Ice”: Self’s Story, Forthcoming From Bellingham Review

It’s the future. Nothing survives:

Sunlight, shadows, wind. Strangely, no birds.

Out there, ice caps, cold as knives.

Steam from her mouth, his mouth, none from the boy who lay between them. She cradling the boy’s face but he knowing what.

She knowing what but not able to bear it.

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2016 AWP Bookfair, Los Angeles Convention Center

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Magellan’s Mirror/ Vanquisher: First Lines

Self’s story “Magellan’s Mirror” opens with:

  • The crew encountered the giant during the winter months they sheltered in Port San Julian.

Thanks to the editors of J Journal for publishing this story and nominating it for a 2012 Pushcart Prize.

Self is just putting the finishing touches on the sequel, “Vanquisher,” which takes place half a century later, and from the point of view of the giants:

  • We were blinded by the beauty of his armor, his carapace of gold. — Testimony of Dansulan, Islander, Last Known Giant

Stay tuned.

WIP: The Return to the Ocean, A Fable Set in The Future

All life emerged from the ocean.

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And that’s where we’re going again. When the air around us gets too filthy to breathe.

In a dystopian, far far far future, this conversation takes place:

We’re going under.

When?

Today.

Just like that.

Yes.

Well, I need a little more time to select.

Select?

Yeah. What do you think?

Everything you need is down there.

You’re talking about under.

That’s what I’m saying, yes.

That down there, humans like us can live.

Yes.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Tell, Tell, Tell a Story

FirstCausesImage

Spooky, right? Did a little fiddling with Photo Booth yesterday and — VOILA!

From self’s story “First Causes” (Work-in-progress):

On a dying Earth, one of the last human colonies struggles on in the Philippines . . . And if the language doesn’t sound even the slightest bit Filipino, it’s because this is the far far future, and no one knows what we’ll be talking like, for crying out loud.

The main character’s named Dragon, and his Friends With Benefits, Her (That really is her name: Her) had an unfortunate run-in with Big, a classmate. She was dragged out of the classroom, and now Dragon finds himself the butt of jokes in front of the teacher, Fire Lizard (who really is a lizard. Or will soon become one. Strontium 90 and etc. Anyhoo)

“Dragon’s milky-brained cause of Her,” Big tells Fire Lizard. “He craves Her. Like poison.”

“Fallacy!” I cry.

“Change is difficult,” Fire Lizard says, for the first time looking at me with sympathy. “Disruptive. Care for a memory wipe? A yellow pill?”

Self loves her little Dragon to death.

What will become of him?

Who knows?

Stay tuned.

 

Allison Joseph, Crab Orchard Review Panel, AWP 2016

One of the thrills of 2016 AWP in Los Angeles was participating in a Crab Orchard Review panel on the West Coast & Beyond Issue.

That issue was the final volume in a series that focused on different regions of America (Geography = destiny. At least, self wholeheartedly believes so).

Self read last, from her story “Crackers.” It’s about an American who goes AWOL in the “wild mountain fastness of the Philippines,” acquires three wives and fathers 27 children. As self was reading at the panel, she found herself less nervous than she expected to be. Hallelujah!

Afterwards, sighing with relief that she didn’t make too many out-and-out gaffes (such as mis-pronouncing words, which is the trouble with writing stories filled with words one normally doesn’t utter during conversation), self happened to mention to someone in the audience that she’d tried for a long time to get into Crab Orchard Review, and she was so proud to have actually made it. Allison Joseph said, without missing a beat, “Because we were waiting for that story.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

WIP “Oceans” Part 2

The world up there was dying, and had been dying a long time. The air was dark and had a gritty taste; the soil reeked of chemicals. The winds blew unhampered over land that had been bare of forests for a long time.

The sphere creaked slowly into the ocean.

***************

A family that’s one of the last hold-outs on the surface finally makes the decision to undertake the descent into the ocean. They don’t know what they’ll find, and the father is sort of inept (Not everyone in the dystopian future is smart!). He builds a sphere. The family does test runs, immersing the sphere for incrementally longer periods in the ocean. The mother gets attacks of claustrophobia and hysteria. Will the family survive?

Worse is their fear of the unknown. The Bottom Dwelling Humans have evolved and have very little in common with the Surface Dwellers. The Bottom Dwellers have evolved fish-like gills. Their rarely used vocal chords are withering.

(To be continued)

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