Walking Around in a Heat Wave

Bookstores are fine places.

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Kepler’s Books, Menlo Park: That woman is very wisely dressed.

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Staff Picks, Kepler’s Books

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More Staff Picks! Leanne Shapton’s mother is Pinay.

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The order line at Café Borrone, around 10 a.m.

 

 

The Capitalism of My Father: Story # 7 in Bulosan’s THE LAUGHTER OF MY FATHER

There is such a streak of fatalism that runs through the Filipino character. Was that a legacy of the Spanish? Or was that always present, even before?

Carlos Bulosan was from Pangasinan. So presumably this was how life was in that province, pre-World War II.

  • The farmers sold their bales and went to the market. They bought the things that were most needed in their homes and walked around in the plaza counting their money. Some of them were lured by the gamblers at the cockpit, and they went home without their money.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Shades of Pink: Nadia Merrill Photo-a-Week Challenge

Self was inspired by viveka‘s fabulous post on this challenge on her blog, my guilty pleasures.

The prompt is from Nancy Merrill.

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Hydrangeas on Self’s Front Porch

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U.S. First Class Stamp

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Razzleberri Fringe Flower, Backyard, March 2019

California: The Light

California light is harsh. There are no subtleties between light and dark.

You’re young and then you’re suddenly old. It just happens.

We’re at the very middle of summer. After tomorrow, the days will get shorter. Self is sorry that she didn’t enjoy the summer as much as she should have. The weather every day was so unsettling: some days cool, like early spring. And then, the very next day, intensely hot.

She loves watching CNN: that succession of animatronic talking heads. The best moments of the Democratic Campaign so far have been: 1) Pete Buttigieg being confronted by a crowd of angry black citizens of South Bend, asking him if he believed in Black Lives Matter (“Are you asking me if black lives matter?” Buttigieg asked. “Of course they do.” A woman yelled: SAY IT. WE WANT TO HEAR YOU SAY IT. High drama, self loved it. Buttigieg did not back down. 2) Michael Bennett’s speech highlights, shown this morning before he came on The View. Until this morning, she barely registered a thought about him. WOW, that speech they aired this morning was a scorcher.

Both Buttigieg and Bennet are long shots, but they each represent a uniquely American energy. Which is COMPLETELY LACKING in the GOP.

She watched both Democratic debates. She was not enthused by Kamala’s unleashing on Biden. Self means, someone had to go after Biden, and no one was doing it, good for Kamala for having the keenest ambition of all the candidates. But really, it felt almost too easy. She won’t find it that easy to go after POTUS the same way.

Self tries to imagine a presidential debate between Trump and Kamala. She doesn’t think he’ll go for creepily stalking her across the stage, as he did with Hillary (Or maybe he will. Who knows? He’s clearly used that tactic before. On someone. Alas, Hillary was completely unprepared for the grotesque gesture)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Book Greed”: James P. Blaylock in POETS & WRITERS July/August 2019

  • A writer’s library is more than just a collection of books. It is also a piecemeal biography of that writer’s life, and measurably so, as most have writers have spent countless hours reading the books that they now own or have borrowed, hours that add up to years, perhaps decades, given a long enough life.

— James P. Blaylock, My Life in Books

Love this essay, which echoes so many of self’s feelings about her own library. Just recently, self decided to start reading some of her collection. Books she’s picked up from author’s readings, and then stashed away on a shelf, in the fond hope she’d get to them “someday.”

Someday is here!

Two of the books she’s owned for years but never got around to reading:

  • Carlos Bulosan’s story collection, The Laughter of My Father
  • Kelly Link’s short story collection, Get In Trouble (She read a couple of stories, not the whole collection)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: 5+ Items

It’s always a good day when self can participate in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. This week, it’s 5+ Items:

Simply make sure there are at least 5 items in your photo.

Without further ado:

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Backyard, Yesterday Evening Around 8 p.m.

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Front Porch: Self has about six potted hydrangeas.

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One More from the Front Porch

Love summer. Love flowers.

Stay tuned.

 

 

Poetry Tuesday: Mary Ruefle

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You’ve wasted another evening
sitting with imaginary friends,
discussing the simplest possible
arrangement of an iris.

— excerpt from “Replica”

 

Rosario Ferré: Her Island

Self is reading the last piece in Ferré’s book, On Destiny, Language, and Translation. As self has explained elsewhere, she decided to start this re-read with the last piece and work her way front. Nothing can match the genius of the title story, The Youngest Doll, which begins the collection, and self would rather work her way up to the good stuff.

She must have forgotten (honestly, it’s been at least two decades since she’s read Rosario Ferré) or mebbe it didn’t strike her as significant at the time, but Ferré is from Puerto Rico, and her primary subject is the class divisions between landowners and share workers, on an island where the main crop is sugar.

Self knows quite a bit about sugar, because that is her family’s crop, too. Maybe that is why she found Ferré. Yes, she found her.

It’s not as if Ferré is the easiest Latin American writer to read. Before getting to Ferré, self read Clarice Lispector, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jorge Luis Borges, Rosario Castellanos, Octavio Paz, Jorge Amado. But when she found Ferré, there was instant engagement.

To read is to engage, but when self found Ferré, she didn’t just engage, she engaged fiercely.

On to Ferré’s essay. She unpacks the process of translating her own novel, Maldito Amor, from Spanish to English.

The title of the novel “is also the title of a very famous danza written by Juan Morelli Campos, Puerto Rico’s most gifted composer in the nineteenth century, which describes in its verses the paradisiacal existence of the island’s bourgeoisie of the time . . . I decided to change the title altogether in my translation of the novel, substituting the much more specific Sweet Diamond Dust. The new title refers to the sugar produced by the De Lavalle family, but it also touches on the dangers of a sugar which, like diamond dust, poisons those who sweeten their lives with it.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Still Reading Stephen Westaby

Summer continues. The days are long. Self’s favorite time of day is after dinner, when the heat is dissipating. Around 8 p.m. It’s still light.

Self’s reading has slowed with the warm weather. Today she’s on Chapter Nine of Open Heart: A Cardiac Surgeon’s Stories of Life and Death on the Operating Table: Westaby is doing a heart transplant on a 10-year-old boy named Stefan. The doctors begin surgery when they get word that “the donor heart had left Harefield” and “would arrive in Oxford in thirty minutes.”

It arrives. The assisting doctor, Marc, “started to trim the donor heart,” which was “from a live person with a normal brain.”

(In parts, this book reads like a horror story — Westaby seems to have a taste for the gruesome detail)

It was time to cut out Stefan’s own sad heart and make ready for the new one. Out it came. The empty pericardium was a curious sight. No heart. It must have been scary when Barnard did it for the first time. Like a car without an engine under the hood.

Then, the implantation:

Any donor heart is slippery and wet. Not easy to hold in position.

My treacherous imagination takes over.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Today’s Mail: Last Wednesday of June 2019

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from Texafornia Dreaming, p. 7, The Economist:

One in five Americans calls Texas or California home. By 2050 one in four will. Over the past 20 years the two states have created a third of new jobs in America. Their economic heft rivals whole countries’. Were they nations, Texas would be the tenth-largest, ahead of Canada by GDP. California would be fifth, right behind Germany.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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