Admiration 4: A List (Far From Complete)

OH NO! SELF ACCIDENTALLY DELETED HER OWN POST.

It happened while she was trying to expand on her reasons for assembling this particular mosaic of images to represent the week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge: ADMIRATION.

And she couldn’t find a previous saved version. Gaaaah! And in re-selecting images, she decided to stop at six instead of the eight she originally had. And she also substituted some images. Sorry for the confusion!

  1. Lady in Red: Ger, chef of Cork’s pre-eminent restaurant, Café Paradiso. Such a great chef, and also very direct and witty! Self loves Ger.
  2. Katniss Everdeen: Self-explanatory, really.
  3. Allison Joseph, co-editor with Jon Tribble of Crab Orchard Review. Fabulousness.
  4. The mother-daughter team who cook and manage Chez Mamie, 22 Hanway Street, London. They make London feel like home.
  5. SeaCity Museum, Southampton, England: Thank you to Joan McGavin, who took her here last year. What a great exhibit on the Titanic. While other cities lay claim to having the best exhibits on the tragedy, Southampton’s is so poignant because it focuses on the crew, most of whom were from this city. And therefore, the focus of the displays is on working-class people. Which makes this a much more layered story. In one gallery, there’s a map on the floor with red dots representing the houses of each of the victims. The dots are clustered around the poorer sections of the city.
  6. Last but not least: Nutschell Ann Windsor, Program Administrator for UCLA Extension’s on-line Writers Program. She is the best. She not only handles all requests with Zen calmness, she is a writer herself. And an editor. She’s holding an anthology she edited.

And now self will post before she accidentally deletes something again.

Stay tuned.

Admiration: Daily Post Photo Challenge, 29 April 2016

  • Show us someone or something you admire (and tell us about them, too!)

— Krista, The Daily Post

Here’s one:  David Bowie, who died of cancer early this year. Self cannot get the lyrics of his songs out of her mind. Here, the chorus of “Changes”:

Ch-ch-ch-ch changes
Turn and face the strange

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Listening to David Bowie on YouTube: “Changes”

Here’s another: Keith Tuma, Miami University Press. This man has steered the Press to indie greatness. Seriously.

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Keith Tuma of Miami University Press, at the 2016 AWP Book Fair in Los Angeles

Finally, shout-out to Nutschell Ann Windsor and Phoebe Lim of UCLA Extension’s Writers Program: Grace Under Pressure, Personified. Here they are at the UCLA Extension Writers Program booth at the 2016 AWP Book Fair in Los Angeles (Fabulous book fair, BTW).

UCLA always has the best swag. They gave out, among other goodies, a UBS stick, a leather-bound blank journal, and really good pens.

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Three Cheers for UCLA Extension’s Writers Program! Love the people. Here they are, doing Spin the Wheel at the 2016 AWP Book Fair in Los Angeles.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Hunger Games Fan Fiction Reading of the Day

The internet is crap today.

Crap. Crap. Crap.

Do you know how hard it is to teach an on-line class when each page takes about 5 minutes to refresh, and it takes at least 10 seconds for auto-fill ? At this rate, she’ll still be in front of her computer, still in her pajamas, until midnight. Tomorrow, too.

Time for a break. So wonderful that all she needs to do is switch windows and she lands on her fan fiction reading of the day.

Katniss is a lone Victor of her games. One day, while out foraging in the woods, she encounters a starving and beaten Peeta, and invites him to come home with her to be “her baker.”

There is no Prim. No Mrs. Everdeen. Only a Mellark family so cruel they could be lifted directly from the Brothers Grimm.

In the meantime, Katniss wanders to Town to get Peeta some new clothes. The ones he’s wearing are completely ripped and torn, as if he’s been set upon by wild animals. While Katniss is in town, she bumps into Madge Undersee. At which point:

“It’s good to see you,” Madge continues.

Is it? Katniss doesn’t answer, just adjusts the strap of her bag and gives her a fake smile. The kind she’s perfected for her Capitol audience, who want her to be happy but don’t care, really, if she is or not.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

NaNoWriMo 2014 Almost Upon Us, Looking Back at NaNoWriMo 2013

Self has never signed up for NaNoWriMo (Also, she has never applied to UCross. Self’s just saying. Nothing against Wyoming. You know what? Right this very second, she’s going to apply for a residency to UCross!)

The New York Times Book Review she is reading is the one from Nov. 17, 2013 (Her pile of back-reading is HUMONGOUS! Simply HUMONGOUS!)

A little over a month ago, when self was cooling her heels in southern California, she looked over Fall course offerings for UCLA Extension and saw that there was a class offered on “Achieving Your NaNoWriMo Goal.” And she quickly contacted the Program Administrator to indicate that she wished to enroll. She was informed that the class was “on-site.” And ya know, that’s 10 weeks of weekly on-site meetings, and self can’t commit to being in one place for 10 weeks. Seriously! So she regretfully had to pass up taking the class.

Here’s an excerpt from the article on NaNoWriMo 2013 which was in the Nov. 17, 2013 NYTBR:

We’re now past the halfway point of National Novel Writing Month — or, as it’s inelegantly shortened online, NaNoWriMo — when aspiring authors aim to produce 50,000 words during November. More than 277,000 writers signed up for the sprint this year. Erin Morgenstern, whose best-selling novel The Night Circus originated as part of the exercise, once advised: “Don’t delete anything. Just keep writing. And if you don’t want to look at it, change the font to white.”

Excellent advise! How does one register for NaNoWriMo 2014?

Stay tuned.

 

 

Weekly WordPress Photo Challenge: Escape 4

Today was a mad, mad day.  First of all, it was Date Due of Assignment 1 for her on-line UCLA Extension class, and the students were so thrillingly engaged.  Self spent hours perusing the students’ responses and also reading the first batch of writings.

It’s also been hot.  Self and The Man arrived mid-afternoon yesterday, to find the garden absolutely parched.  Since yesterday evening, self has been dragging around buckets of water and alternating hand-watering with running the sprinklers.

In addition, self has been madly perusing the hundreds of photographs submitted by fellow WordPress bloggers on the theme of “Escape.”  There’s everything from picturesque sailboats and beach shots, to forested glades, stacks of books (Good one, this!) and even a pair of abandoned white shoes that left self feeling strangely disturbed.

So far, self has posted three photographs on the “Escape” theme:  the first was a picture of mochi and miso soup, from the time she took Son and Jennie to the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, early last year.  The second was a landscape shot taken August 2007, when self was doing a residency at VCCA.  The third was a shot she took at the Claremont Graduation Ceremony, this past Saturday:  a close-up of a graduate’s mint-green shoes!  Here’s a fourth:

Venice, from the vaporetto en route to Burano

Venice, from the vaporetto en route to Burano, April 2013

Who knew that the subject “Escape” would prove to be such a potent one?

Stay tuned.

By Nandini Dhar, a Former Student at UCLA Extension’s Writers Program

A surprise package came in the mail today.

When self opened it, there were two journals nested inside: Pear Noir! No. Eight and Room, Issue 36.1

They were sent by Nandini Dhar, who was in self’s on-line Essential Beginnings class, several years ago.

Self is so touched by Nandini’s thoughtfulness! She couldn’t wait to read the pieces.

She wasn’t wrong when she told Nandini, You are a very talented writer.

Here’s one of her poems. It’s from Pear Noir!

In My Mother’s Kitchen

In my mother’s kitchen, something was always bleeding —
soot-tainted walls, stains of mustard oil on the skillets,
beetroots, carrots, fish, chicken.

If nothing else, her own flesh.

My mother taught me to be afraid of everything in her kitchen —
the knives, the fire, the capacity
of metal pots to scald the skin.

Most of all, she taught me to mistrust
the fragrance of boiling rice.

So powerful!

Thank you, Nandini, for letting self know about your poetry (Self had no idea; on second thought, she should have known from the sound of Nandini’s prose :  only a poet could write those images!)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Today, the 2nd Friday of December 2011: Snow Globe, New Camera, and Watching “The Rabbit Hole”

  • Bought a snow globe!  Only $11 from The Artisan Shop (all proceeds benefit the Lucille Packard Children’s Memorial Hospital at Stanford) in Allied Arts Guild on Arbor Road in Menlo Park!
  • In addition, self ended up buying herself a new camera from Costco! A Nikon Coolpix S8200 Digital Camera, (the bright red model)!  As luck would have it, she also found her old camera — In fact, self had the sneaking suspicion that if she bought a new camera, she would end up finding the old one soon after:  Murphy’s Law!  And self’s intuition was proved 100% correct!  Wonder if Costco will take a return if self’s already wrangled open the packaging???
  • Got a new Macy’s Gift Catalogue in the mail!
  • Wrote three more Christmas cards!
  • Finally finished watching her current Netflix movie, “The Rabbit Hole!”  And discovered that Eckhart and Kidman are very good together, and Kidman most certainly deserved the Oscar nomination she got last year for her performance!

About halfway in, self discovered that the plot was almost exactly the same as the plot of self’s story, “Dust!”  (On-line in The Writing Disorder, Winter 2010 issue)

Yes, the exact same plot.  Imagine that?  How could self and whoever wrote “The Rabbit Hole” have been thinking along the very same lines?

By the way, Tammy Blanchard, the actress who plays the younger sister of Nicole Kidman is very, very good.  Self had never heard of her before and had to google her.  Her performance is never less than deeply convincing.

SPOILER ALERT!

Self’s favorite part of the movie is the conversation between the kid who accidentally killed Kidman’s son, and Kidman: “I might have been going too fast. It was a 30-mile-an-hour zone, I might have been going 31, 32.  I wanted you to know.” The kid delivers his lines with just the right amount of awkwardness and penitence.

On another front, self made the discovery that Another Chicago Magazine, from whom she was anxiously waiting to hear (She had mailed a story, August 1 of this year), has been defunct since 2010 — And all this time, self was sure her story was percolating to the final round!

And now self will devote the rest of her evening to reading stories from her UCLA Extension students (This was another excellent class, full of brave, risk-taking students.  She thoroughly enjoyed the last couple of weeks)

Coming up Sunday:  meeting with Niece G in the City.  Yay!  Self always enjoys adventuring with Niece G!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Congratulations to Nandini Dhar, A Former UCLA Extension Writing Student

Self knows that Nandini Dhar does not need to be introduced as one of self’s “former writing students.”

But self is so pleased — and touched —  when former students bother to get in touch.

The good news has been coming at a faster rate, lately.  This year alone, self has heard from four former creative writing students who’ve managed to get published (against overwhelming odds —  Writing is a competition, much like sports!  Just because writers compete in the realm of words doesn’t make it any less blood-less)

Nandini’s poetry has just been published in Stone Telling, a new literary poetry quarterly.  Read (and listen to her voice reading), here.  Listening to Nandini’s voice reading her own words is a real thrill.

Self asked Nandini to Read the rest of this entry »

Alas, Poor Naomi!

Naomi Watts doesn’t seem to have any luck at all.

First, no one seemed to recognize how good she was in Peter Jackson’s King Kong, and she was not nominated for an Oscar.  Hey, being a “damsel in distress” involves a lot more than just screaming!  (Comparing two performances of the same role —  Jessica Lange’s and Naomi Watts’ —  self never got into Jessica’s because it seemed so mannered; Naomi’s rendition was much, much more natural.)

Last year, self watched her give two great performances:  As an independent woman in Rodrigo Garcia’s Mother and Child (playing the daughter of Annette Bening, who, unlike Naomi, was recognized); and playing the frustrated daughter of a flaky Mom in Woody’s You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger. While her BFF, Nicole Kidman, has only to hiccup and she gets recognized with an Oscar nomination (Kidman was nominated last year for her role in Rabbit Hole which, granted, was a very good movie, but so was Mother and Child.  So was You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger), Naomi Watts has only been nominated once (for 21 Grams, and that was a loooong time ago).

Now that Woody’s new movie, Midnight in Paris, is such a hit, critics invariably preface their reviews with the statement:

Compared to last year’s (disastrous/wan) You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger which was one of the worst movies of 2010 …

Hold on, people!  You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger was definitely NOT the worst movie of 2010.  Self guarantees:  critics who slam YWMATDS have not seen Skyline.  Or that rom-com with Jen that was a) not romantic; and b) not even funny.  Something called The Switch, which not even Jason Bateman could save.

And, too, it is NOT the worst Woody Allen movie, for that goes to —  oh, never mind.

Anyhoo, self would just like to say that she enjoyed You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger.  And she loves Naomi.  This actress has never once given a performance in which she can be accused of “phoning it in.” Her performance in Mother and Child was just shattering.  And as for You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger, self could have clobbered Woody for paying much more attention to the Freida Pinto part than to Naomi’s.

And now that self has gotten THAT off her chest, she would just like to say that “Super 8” is a really good movie (Very Spielberg-ian.  Also, self is just dying to reference a previous movie with Samuel L. Jackson, that has definite echoes in “Super 8,” but that would mean issuing a Spoiler Alert.  And self doesn’t want to do that.  At least not yet.  At least not right now).

Hubby chose to watch “Super 8” over self’s choice, “13 Assassins,” and self is glad she gave in and went along.  For one thing, it’s the first J. J. Abrams movie she’s seen since Star Trek.  And, secondly, Elle Fanning is in it.  And, thirdly, that cute guy who plays the coach in “Friday Night Lights” is in it.  And lastly the star of the movie, a young boy, is first-rate.  Self thinks that boy has a great career ahead of him.

So, “Super 8” brings to three the number of good movies self has watched in a row.  Let’s hope this streak lasts, for as long as possible.

Now, back to the real reason self began this post:

Big Congratulations to Old Dominion University’s Princess Perry, who was a finalist in the Bellingham Review 2010 Literary Contest.  Self did not place, alas, but at least she knows someone who did!

This would also be a good time to announce that a former UCLA Extension writing student, Chris Bloom, received an Honorable Mention in the most recently concluded Glimmer Train contest —  and wow, that is quite an achievement!  Congratulations, Chris!  Her story went up against a multitude of others, and so what if it didn’t win, just getting “Honorable Mention” is in itself an achievement.

And congratulations must also go to Laura Hoopes, yet another of self’s UCLA Extension writing students, who has her own blog, called West Coast Writers, and a story in the recently published anthology Mixed Blessings and Other Stories (Absolutely love that title!).  This was a story that Laura had put up for workshop, a story that self liked exceedingly.  Self is going to do a cut and paste of the comment Laura left on this blog, a few weeks ago.

And, finally, self cannot close without mentioning that a few years ago, Dave Johnson, yet another UCLA Extension writing student, e-mailed to let self know that a story she had liked so much when she first read it, all those years ago, had won a contest, judged by Yann Martel (author of one of self’s favorite novels, Life of Pi).  Dave sent out that story for fully three years before winning the contest.  He was almost on the point of giving up and had even thought:  “That teacher is just full of it!”  Or something to that effect.

You see, self really has a nose for these things.  When she says something is good, 9 times out of 10, she is right.  And the student succeeds in getting it placed.

Perhaps self should become a literary agent?  Bet she’d be good at it.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.