Discoveries: Street Photography by Stella K

The latest issue of Fraction Magazine focuses on “Street Photography.”

This is an area dear to self’s heart.  Even in her fiction, self lives for The Moment.  For Discovery of the Unexpected.

She’s known Stella K for a while but only became aware of Stella’s street photography recently.

When Stella K and Tina B showed up two weekends ago to introduce self to the joys of hiking in Edgewood Nature Preserve (Amazing that it took two Emeryville residents to show self the joys of hiking in her very own backyard of Redwood City), Stella happened to mention in passing that her street photographs had been featured in Fraction Magazine.

Stella’s demeanor is very quiet and thoughtful —  even, shall we say, Read the rest of this entry »

Further From (Former UCLA Extension Writers Program Student) Nandini Dhar

Have been pensively reading.  The two journals Nandini sent self, which arrived a few days ago, are right next to her MacMini.

Here’s an excerpt from her piece “Books,” published in Pear Noir! Number Eight.  Her writing is beautiful, lovely, overpowering:



The book called dishhaniory was thick, fat and big:  stiff cardboard covers of red, brown and yellow.  Whenever my father peeked into it, he looked smileless, unlike the times he read the newspapers.  My mother hardly ever touched it, the dishhaniory, that is.  It was my father’s book for all I knew.

The dishhaniory was a prize book.  They gave it to him along with another book called Oliver Twist.  They, as in his teachers, whom he referred to as sir, and the principal of his school whom he referred to as headsir.

They gave him the dishhaniory because he learnt the words well.  Oliver Twist because he could count even better than he could read.

And since then, he has been using the dishhaniory.  Fingering through its pages, underlining the words, making it age, forcing it to loosen up.  So much so that the last page was gone and my father kept telling himself, “I really need to bind this book up.”

But then, he never did.

(There’s more, but self really really has to see if she can hunt up the latest episode of Justified, the one she missed on March 19.  Not to mention clean up in the kitchen.  And put the finishing touches on a manuscript she’s sending out.  Truly, self’s work is never done.)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.


Someday, self will make a documentary about the lives of all her friends.

More than a few are visual artists.

There’s Alka, who directs movies (and won the L’Oreal Woman Director of the Year Award at the Tribeca Film Festival, several years ago).  She did a documentary on the tsunami, traveling all around the devastated areas in India and Southeast Asia.  She has a project on women boxers in Calcutta, her native city.  One day, Alka, you must meet the Colonel and Pratibha, they will take you all over Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, just about anywhere!  Siyempre, self has to come along for the ride!

There’s Stella K, whose work you can see on Fraction Magazine.  Awesome!

And there’s Diane, who just returned from a guest lecture in London!  And who has the most amazing, interesting art —  a combination of photography and painting.  It’s like the second coming of Vermeer.

Well, aside from being absolutely awesome women, they also indulge self’s craving for food.  Today, Diane met self at Max’s in South San Francisco, and —  this may be hard to imagine, but we spent almost three hours talking non-stop.  The food was just a secondary concern.

The Remains of a GIGANTIC Meal

The Remains of a GIGANTIC Meal

It is so good to share a laugh with a Kindred Spirit!

It is so good to share a laugh with a Kindred Spirit!

Diane and self met as young wives renting adjacent apartments on Live Oak Avenue in Menlo Park.

One day, there should be a sign:  Here lived two of the most talented women ever to grace Menlo Park with their ebullient spirit and awesome Talent!

Here is Diane’s Daily Walks Facebook page.  Another site, Immersed Memories, is just gorgeous.  See for yourselves.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

GOING HOME TO A LANDSCAPE, Ten Years On: Shirley Ancheta

Union Square, San Francisco

Union Square, San Francisco (View From the Top Floor of Macy’s)


by Shirley Ancheta

Kristine turns a corner in San Francisco and is struck by an oncoming car.  She is floating, she thinks, in the air with the seagulls.  Her teeth ache.  A man steps up to her and says, “Dear God, I’m sorry.  What can I do?”  What?  She thinks he has said, “Desire . . .  here . . .  what will you do?”  The only man she wants to reach is married or dead or related to her.  She smiles.  She can’t remember.

She thought he was kissing a boy in the dark, in back of the house near the pineapple field.  His hands could hold down a pig for the killing.  They were caught by their grandmother who threw her slipper across the yard.  “No do dat wit your cah-sin!  Wassamaddah you kids?  You no feel shame o’ what?  No good fo’ cah-sins fo’ make li’ dat!”

It is cold on the pavement of Stockton and Pine.  The wind is enough to pick up Kristine’s skirt.  She rolls her head from side to side.  As someone puts a blanket on her, she hears a siren rising to meet the ringing in her ears.

After they butchered the pig, they hosed down the concrete of pig guts and urine.  He had held a pan to catch the blood after Uncle had slit the pig’s throat.  She had stirred the blood with a metal spoon until it became foamy then thick with the odor of vinegar.

Was it desire that made her straddle him later, or was it his desire that brought the tips of her breasts into his mouth?  Did they finish before Grandma saw them or after?

“Hello,” says the man who opens her eyes and lets the light in.  “Do you know where you are?”

Kristine wants to say the name on her tongue.  If she closes her eyes, a warm rain will come.  Kunia Village, Kunia Village.  This is the place she is.

What Does Self Know? A Post About Erdrich, Ephron, Facebook, Kasischke, and Tagatac

The book she returned to the library a few days ago, Louise Erdrich’s The Plague of Doves, which self couldn’t finish, stays in her memory.  While the book she is currently reading, Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck is getting just a wee bit tiresome.

In the Fall 2012 issue of Willow Springs is a poem by Laura Kasischke called “The Drinker.”

Self has always envied this writer’s last name, she doesn’t know why.  She likes to repeat it, pronouncing it wrong, of course.  Boy, what if her last name were Kasischke and people wouldn’t know she was from the Philippines blah blah blah.  The worst of it is that now she decided to get at least 30 Facebook likes for her second collection, Mayor of the Roses, and there are some who say, “Hope your sales increase!” as if that were the point.

But, self, what is your point?  Facebook is a marketing tool.  Isn’t it?  Isn’t it?  Guess that’s the way it comes off and who knows why self set herself this goal for the week, she just thought:  How awful it would be to die and only have five people who “like” Mayor of the Roses!

She knows it came out quite some time ago, but still it hurts that the woman who reviewed it for the Chronicle gave it only two stars on Goodreads (The woman is not Filipina, thank goodness, or it might hurt more)

So, back to the Kasischke poem.  Here are the first two verses (and for the rest, you’ll have to go to Willow Springs)

“The Drinker”

Who paid his taxes
Who raised his children
Who buried his dead
Who put his fist through the drywall once
And, once (just

once) sipped
from another man’s cup

But who never arrived late for the christening
Who kept, as suggested, his receipts,
Who, when the crippled girl needed
his seat, leapt
to his feet


    was smarter than we were, truly, so that
    in order to under-
    stand us he needed to drink

And, finally, a fragment from Geronimo Tagatac’s short story “What Comes After Nineteen” (Chautauqua Literary Journal, Issue 2, 2005).  Self has been reading Tagatac’s stories here and there, and is much impressed and wonders if he has a collection?  She’d love to buy it, if he does.  He deserves to be widely read:

“What Comes After Nineteen”

When she looked up, the guy was standing there, on her side of San Pablo, holding a cardboard sign that proclaimed “East.”  He had the easy look that her father had when he appeared to her, three days after his funeral on a Berkeley street.  And the hitchhiker stood, as her father had, with most of his weight on his right leg.  Around him the same indentation in the air, as though he were leaning against the background of the street and might push through it and vanish.  He was smiling like a man who’d solved a complicated problem.  Much later, Sandina would wonder why she stopped for him.

Self found, after googling, that Geronimo lives and writes in Salem, Oregon.  Which makes him practically shouting distance from the fabulous folks at Calyx Press.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Three New Movies for the Netflix Queue

Self is so excited!  She is really making progress on her HUMONGOUS Pile of Stuff!  Now she can actually see the bottom of this huge box where she stuffed everything she’s received in the mail since the start of the year!  Oh happy happy joy joy!

The latest thing self yanked out of the box was a copy of The New Yorker, the Mar. 19, 2012 issue.  Self doesn’t know how in the heck this issue got lost for so long, but never mind.  The capsule reviews in the front of the magazine all refer to movies long gone. Movies like “Friends with Kids” (Of all things, The New Yorker criticizes it for being “smug,” for not showing a “hint that other worlds and values may be beyond the city limits” BWAH HA HAAA!) and “Safe House” (Ryan Reynolds doing Read the rest of this entry »

More About Cima de Conegliano, Venetian Painter

Self thinks dear blog readers deserve to know:  The Economist had a review of the current exhibit at the Luxembourg Museum, the one self saw today, the one on the work of Cima de Conegliano.  The review appeared in the April 21, 2012 issue, and self saved it because she knew by then that she’d be going to Paris when she’d finished up at Hawthornden.  So, the review (very crumpled by now, but still) was in her bag when she got to the Luxembourg.  Here’s an excerpt:

Born in 1459, Cima became a painter during the blossoming of the Italian Renaissance.  It was an inspiring time to be an artist, but the competition was fierce.  He worked in Venice, where Giovanni Bellini was already established.  By the time Cima died in 1517/18, Giorgione and Titian had made their marks.  The fame of these artists has overshadowed Cima’s.  It is a shame.

Ironically, the painting self remembers most clearly wasn’t even a religious painting.  There are a few that depict Theseus, one that depicts Bacchus.  The one self lingered over was the one of Theseus slaying the Minotaur.  She thought the depiction of Theseus was a little girl-y, but all the drama was in the figure of the Minotaur —  specifically, its face, which Cima depicted as human:  a man’s face, with wild flying hair and mouth open in terror.  The audio tour (which in self’s humble opinion could have been a wee bit more comprehensive), pointed out that in almost all depictions of the Minotaur, he is shown as having the body of a man and the head of a bull, but here in Cima’s painting, that situation is reversed:  the Minotaur ends up looking more like a Centaur.  Still, self could not stop pausing to look more closely at the Minotaur’s wildly flying hair, and its despairing mouth.  It’s a very small painting, but powerful.

The Jardin du Luxembourg, on a rainy afternoon.  The building depicted is NOT the museum.  Self knows because she approached a gendarme to ask if that was the museum, and he said no.  The Museum is a much smaller building, with entry point on one of the Jardin’s perimeter streets, busy with traffic.

Self will hang on to article from The Economist.  In case, one day, she should happen to visit Venice.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

“Win Win” : # 41 in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’s “The Year in Media” List

“Toy Story 3” is on TV. Flu symptoms are finally abating.

A few days ago, self discovered an old set of Christmas icicle lights in son’s closet. She’d forgotten there was actually a time when she used to decorate his room with Christmas lights. She took the lights out and tested them today: all the bulbs lit. She kept them on all day, lying against the window. Tonight, finally, feeling her strength returning, she got up and began hanging them. Boy, she did a terrible job. It would be better to have two people to string the strands in an even line, especially when one has no hooks and one is simply pasting with transparent postal tape, but the husband was busy. Anyway, she got the lights up, any which way, then ran outside to the sidewalk. Amazingly, the strands had arranged themselves in two perfect triangles, one in each window pane. A miracle!

This week’s issue of Sports Illustrated has “The Year in Sports Media.” #1 (out of a list of 50) was Chad Harbach’s book, The Art of Fielding. #5 was the final season of “Friday Night Lights.” #41 is a movie self saw way back in March, which she keeps forgetting to include in her “Year’s Best” lists: Win Win.

Here’s what SI has to say about the movie:

Shoestring-budget indies with March release dates don’t often end up awards-season fare, particularly those that quietly come and go, grossing less than $11 million along the way. And yet Win Win, writer-director Tom McCarthy’s likable chamber piece about humaneness, high school wrestling and marital fairplay (try selling that), remains the best sports film of 2011, an unlikely but legitimate Oscar sleeper.

Paul Giamatti is at his understated best as Mike Flaherty, a small-time New Jersey lawyer struggling to stay afloat in a lousy economy while volunteering as the coach of a losing suburban wrestling team. Mike keeps his financial worries from his wife (Amy Ryan), but they’re extracting a physical and emotional toll.

(The rest of the item contains spoilers. Nevertheless, SI commends Win Win for avoiding “the corn-fed self-righteousness and familiar tropes of, for example, The Blind Side.” Since self never saw The Blind Side, she can’t say whether this comparison is justified or not. But she liked Win Win, a lot.  Especially the performance of the young boy who plays the high school wrestler.)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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