Vanity Fair: Special Issue on the George Floyd Protests, September 2020

Oral history style, short statements from different players in the drama that unfolded across the United States. Self is most struck by Muriel Bowser’s statement.

This issue was guest-edited by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Muriel Bowser, Mayor, District of Columbia

The president tweeted out that he would release “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons” on the District. That’s when we really recognized that something was going to happen with Donald Trump. I was struck by the intentionality of the racial undertones. I thought those words were very purposefully chosen. They were words that were meant to hearken back to a time when African Americans were terrorized in this country. And to use that language in the nation’s capital, a place that has the largest Black population by percent than any other big city — that was what told me they had a plan.

14 more days.

Leadership in Troubled Times, pp. 228 – 229

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Washington, D.C.:  This crowd on Tenth Street had formed in front of the Peterson House, where President Abraham Lincoln was taken after being shot, and where he eventually died, on April 15, 1865.

Chapter Nine, which breaks down the reasons Abraham Lincoln’s leadership style was so successful, is so far self’s favorite chapter of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Leadership in Troubled Times. What Goodwin does really well is show us the humanity behind the icon, and Lincoln was an extremely humane President, who suffered from periodic bouts of depression.

In fact, depression was what led him to break off his engagement to Mary Todd (what a scandal, for those times). A few years later, when he was more in command (emotionally as well as politically), he approached her again and she forgave him. They were married.

It is very hard indeed to read the following paragraph:

When Lincoln was under appalling duress, nothing provided greater respite and renewal than a visit to the theater. During his four years as president, he went to the theater more than a hundred times. When the gas lights dimmed, and the actors took the stage, Lincoln was able to surrender his mind “into other channels of thought.” At a performance of Henry IV, Part I, a seatmate noted, “He has forgotten the war. He has forgotten Congress. He is out of politics. He is living in Prince Hal’s time.” He understood that people might think his frequent theatergoing “strange, but I must have some relief from this terrible anxiety, or it will kill me.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

SATISFACTION: Best of Self’s 2017

  • Share a photo of something that brings you satisfaction. It can be monumental, minor, or something in between.

Jen H., The Daily Post

For this post, self decided to kill two birds with one stone. She’ll look back at her fondest memories of 2017 (thus far) — the moments that gave her the most satisfaction.

 

Going to the Globe and seeing Tristan and Yseult; sorting through old photographs of Dearest Mum; seeing the Eiffel Tower up close; reading her story First Causes at Sixth Engine in Washington, DC; watching Mayerling at the Royal Albert Hall; visiting Cork; Tyrone Guthrie Centre

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“First Causes” Quarterly West, Issue # 89

Read it at Sixth Engine in Washington DC, at a group reading organized by Quarterly West in conjunction with AWP February 2017. The editors took a chance with this one, it’s all fractured syntax and stars a professor named Fire Lizard. Self is writing a sequel right now.

What a blast:

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Quarterly West reading at Sixth Engine, Washington DC, February 2017

Discussion of the First Corollary: What is average is perfect. Thoughts dark as dark. Big arguing with her. But but but. Her winking at me behind his back. Me thinking: sunlight and glass.

8 February 2017: Self Read at Sixth Engine, Washington DC

Self’s dystopian “First Causes” appears in the latest issue of Quarterly West.

Self very much enjoyed the reading for the launch of the issue because: 1) it was in Washington DC, and she got to see some old friends again; 2) she re-connected with a few people she hasn’t seen in years. Such as Letitia. Who was a student at Old Dominion University in Virginia when self read there for a literary festival (2007?) Now, Letitia is an Editor/Linguist/Poet (see business card below).

Self is tempted to ask Letitia if she’d like to help edit a collection of her speculative fiction she is getting ready to send out:

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The reading was co-hosted by two other literary magazines: 32 Poems and Smartish Pace.

And oh boy it was packed. To the point where the audience was all standing like a can of sardines.

A man threw copies of his poetry collection at the audience. “That is so cool!” a young man remarked. Since self was reading next, she was hard-pressed to think of something attention-getting.

She moved front, started babbling about how fan fiction got her there. And — received enthusiastic applause from somewhere on the right!

Forever grateful to the listeners, and of course to Quarterly West. Here’s a shot she took that night of the (very crowded) venue:

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The bar-restaurant Sixth Engine, downtown Washington DC, night of 8 February 2017

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Road Taken: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 1 March 2017

Show us something that delighted or surprised you on “the road taken.”

— Krista, The Daily Post

  • Tree-house, Backyard of Doris Duterte Stutely in Driffield, East Riding

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Tree-houses are fabulous. Self would like to live in one.

  • Before the Daly City Council Meeting, Monday 13 February 2017: Nikki S. Victoria, Filipina activist, greets fellow members of the community who volunteered to speak on behalf of making Daly City a Sanctuary City:

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If ever there was a time to speak up, it is now: City Hall, Daly City, February 2017

  • It is always exciting to discover a new museum. The below was one block away from self’s hotel in Washington DC, where she had flown to read for Quarterly West at downtown bar-restaurant Sixth Engine:

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Lobby of the National Building Museum in Washington, DC: Tour Guide, lower left

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Good Match: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 22 February 2017

  • . . .  share a photo of things that complement each other.

— Ben Huberman, The Daily Post

Self has wanted to blog this picture for the longest time: at Dulles International, the day she left Washington DC, there was a one-man concert in the departures terminal. OMG, what a send-off this man’s music was! The sign next to the musician announced that the free concert was in honor of Black History Month. WOW. Self has no words. Thrilling.

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Merlon Devine, playing at Dulles International, in honor of Black History Month: February 2017

And here’s a sign self saw at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore:

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Definitely, Food is Love.

Finally, a poster advertising the annual Noir Film Festival at the Castro Theatre. San Francisco and Noir go together like white on rice:

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The 15th Annual Film Noir Festival (Noir City), held at the Castro Theatre

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Through a Gauze, Darkly: Washington DC, February 2017

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H Street NW, Washington DC: Night After the Reading at Sixth Engine

Reading at AWP (Off-Site) for QUARTERLY WEST, 8 February 2017

Participating in a group reading for Quarterly West at Sixth Engine, a converted firehouse in Washington, DC. during the AWP Conference.

Date: 8 February 2017 (Details to follow), downtown Washington DC

Quarterly West Issue # 89 has self’s newest Dragon/Fire Lizard story, “First Causes.”

It’s a sequel to her “First Life,” published July 2015 in Juked.com

Stay tuned.

 

“First Causes” in Quarterly West

  • Big starts walking towards me. His voice drops. “Now, now, now, now. Is this payback? For what I did to Her? Her was a stray. Made me look like a clump. You another. Know what I do to strays? You stupid, fucking Fog Brain! I’ll rip you in half!”

“First Causes” in Quarterly West, Issue 89

This has got to be the strangest science fiction ever.

Morgan was right: self’s language sounds like it would be right at home in a North Dublin chip shop. But this is the future. In the last human colony on Earth.

A group of Quarterly West contributors, self included, will be reading in DC, Feb. 8, at Sixth Engine (Firehouse & Bar), 438 Massachusetts Ave., NW.

The companion piece to “First Causes” is “First Life.” Read it on Juked.com.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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