story quarterly update

I got the acceptance e-mail back in February, and this morning I received an email from Story Quarterly Managing Editor Zac Roesch. They’re looking at a possible October publication, and:

We’re very excited to have your story for our forthcoming issue, and you might be pleased to know we’re submitting the journal to McSweeney’s Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010 once it’s off the press, among other Best Of’s for the year.

Very exciting news. Now, I’m just waiting for the edits to come in so I can approve them (or fight the editors, heh; no, I’m kidding I don’t usually do that) and the contract so I can sign it and send it back.

*Confetti*

* * *

Now, what am I up to? I have a story idea in mind and I’m itching to see how it will shape up, but right now I’m enjoying having other people’s words fill up my head. Huzzah!

The Mighty Reading List!

Hunger Games

The Unnamed

Now: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Next: We Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg

The Year of Fog

The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint

Notes on Extinction

Wild Mind

The Spooky Art

on the side: Twisted 8 1/2, Storm of Swords, Scott Pilgrim, PSF V (last few stories!)

the unnamed

How honest, this novel. And how brutal, how cruel, how unforgiving. Tim Farnsworth lives in a beautiful house in the suburbs with his wife and child, works in a top law firm, and earns enough money to support a lavish lifestyle. But he suffers from episodes that forces himself to walk. He gets up, he walks, and he cannot stop, no matter how much he wills it. What Tim suffers from is an undiagnosed condition with no precedent, so there is no cure. It doesn’t even have a name. He walks in the midst of a storm or a painful summer and on bloodied feet. He walks in winter with only a bathrobe and suffers from frostbite and feels his toe fall off and sees it crumble in his own hand. He calls his wife whenever the walk ends, and she picks him up. They call each other “banana” and they believe they are devoted to each other. Every now and then, however, she sees a perfectly healthy man in the grocery store or in the houses she shows as a real estate agent, and imagines a life she can create if she can only walk away. Every now and then, Tim thinks of suicide.

The writing is beautiful and the novel has its fine moments, but before long, it becomes redundant. Tim walks and returns, there are descriptions of places where he ends up, the suffering piles on top of one another. There is the intriguing question about the mind and the body – is the mind superior, is the mind and the soul one, or is the mind simply the brain, and therefore part of the body, part of the mechanism that makes us move and enslaves us? But then he just keeps on walking. His wife is dying, and he just keeps on walking, and the philosophical questions die away as his feet die away. I came to this book still with Ferris’s wit and humor in Then We Came To The End echoing in my ears, which was a mistake, because then the first page became a bit of a letdown. I knew from the first line that this was going to be a different journey.

If Ferris didn’t write with such a ferocious voice I would have stopped reading. There was a point in the book when I could have stopped reading, because it was frustrating and I was sure it was going nowhere because there was no more hope. But like Tim, I couldn’t stop, and I kept on reading, and I saw that there was no plot, really, just this intense exploration of a man’s despair. I was reminded of Synecdoche, New York, a film with no joy, a film featuring a man who grows old and watches the people he love die away. That’s why it hurt so much to watch that film, and to read this book – because it’s true, all of it is true, no matter how dark and disappointing. And what did I hope for anyway? There’s this man who can’t stop walking, and doesn’t know why he can’t stop walking, and the doctors don’t know why he can’t stop walking, and there is no cure in sight, and his wife is dying, so why was I hoping that in the end, he will find happiness?

I just wished Ferris gave the man a break.

* * *

The Mighty Reading List!

Hunger Games

The Unnamed

Next: We Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg

The Year of Fog

The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint

Notes on Extinction

Wild Mind

The Spooky Art

on the side: Twisted 8 1/2, Storm of Swords, Scott Pilgrim, PSF V (last few stories!)

the hunger games

Katniss Everdeen lives in poverty in District 12 in the country of Panem, which was once North America. During a dark era in Panem’s history, all thirteen districts rebelled against the Capitol, Panem’s seat of power. District 13 was obliterated, and the 12 other districts were subdued. To remind the districts of the Capitol’s might, the Hunger Games is conducted every year. Every year, two tributes from each district -a boy and a girl – is sent to an undisclosed area to fight to the death.

That year, Katniss’s young sister’s name is called, and she steps forward to take her place. Thrown into the arena with her is Peeta, a baker’s boy, who has once done her a kindness. Will she be able to kill him? Will she be able to kill?

We’ve seen this televised, fight-to-the-death plot before. As I was reading the book, I was reminded of The Lottery, The Long Walk, The Running Man, Battle Royale. But I enjoyed the story, nonetheless. It is a fast read, at times as quick and as no-nonsense as a Hunger Games contestant. But it has insight, and heart. Plenty of action, but does not compromise character development. There was even a point in the book when I thought, If this character dies, I will be truly, truly upset.

Good read.

* * *

The Mighty Reading List!

Hunger Games

Next: The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris

We Are All Welcome Here

The Year of Fog

The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint

Notes on Extinction

Wild Mind

The Spooky Art

on the side: Twisted 8 1/2, Storm of Swords, Scott Pilgrim, PSF V (last few stories!)

here be some homemade margarita

The weekend, as always, was awesome.

Friday

Mall date! We haven’t done this in a while, finding greater pleasure in staying indoors, watching one sitcom episode after another, and ordering takeout. But Despicable Me was already in the theaters, so we decided to go to the mall.

Requisite camwhorage before we headed out.

I went book shopping! Oh, it was heaven looking through the books even though I only ended up buying two: Jessica Zafra’s Twisted 8 1/2 and Joshua Ferris’s second book, The Unnamed. I wanted Pacific Rims, but there’s still no paperback available, and the Hunger Games books I decided to just borrow from friends to save money and space. I saw Tana French’s third book, Faithful Place, but gah STILL NO PAPERBACK, and Veronique Olmi’s Beside the Sea was nowhere to be found. Poe’s Children was out of stock, and so was The Monster of Florence. Hay.

Lunch at Five Cows, which I thought was just an ice cream bar. They serve real food (I had their chicken and fish combo), but I only took pictures of our desserts.

Jaykie’s order, Ferrero Crunch.

My After Eight (choco mint chip ice cream cake):

It took us several minutes to choose our desserts because there were just so many excellent choices.

Then, Despicable Me. As promised, it was full of fluffy goodness. Cute film. I want: 1) a copy of Sleepy Kittens, 2) Minions, and 3) Minions that glow in the dark. “SO FLUFFEH!”

Saturday

Having seen the lovely Nigella make margarita ice cream on TV, Jake bought tequila and decided to do his own mix right at home. (Thanks Wiki!) So after seeing the sweet and dorky Eagle vs. Shark:

Those were mint candies from Candy Corner, btw. The margarita’s excellent! Wasak!

* * *

For your Moment of Zen (or, Why You Shouldn’t Trust the Audience, or, Look At These Assholes Who Answered “Corn Cob”) –

Haha! Till next week! :D

state of reading address

I read a few more pages of Don DeLillo’s Falling Man (I began reading it before I dove into Clash of Kings) before completely giving up. Come on, man, I gave you a chance. The emotion is there. The book is about the aftermath of 9/11, after the towers fell, so it is impossible to write a book with no horror, no misery. But no matter how raw the sadness, DeLillo’s writing style just couldn’t hold my attention. I didn’t find the pages engaging at all. It would have been my first DeLillo book. Le sigh.

Thank goodness I bought this copy for less than 90 pesos. Anyone wants it?

Right now I’m reading William Nicholson’s The Society of Others. I don’t know if it’s any good. I hope it is. On the side I’ll be reading Volume 2 of The Swamp Thing and the Philippine Speculative Fiction V anthology. I aim to finish PSF V soon so I can review it along with PSF IV.

I am seeing the end of my TBR pile. And I thought this day would never come. Next steps would be:

1) borrow the next two books in Martin’s epic saga and anything beyond Genshiken Volume 5 (which I just finished);

2) read LOTR. I have Jaykie’s volume sitting on my bed, but! D: It is HUGE AND SCARY; and

3) book shop! :D Or borrow more, haha. To save money and space, yes.

rain, obama, victory

It rained on our way to UP on Friday. I was both scared and delighted: scared because it was actually starting to flood; delighted because I’d rather have rain than the scorching summer heat. Before heading to AS to hang out with the HGC boys, we passed by CASAA and had lunch. My meal cost 39 pesos, plus 12 pesos for turon with langka. Then Jaykie took me to “Antasbucks”, this coffee stall inside Antas. (Jaykie wants to call it “Frappe House”. We call dibs on that name.)

Consider:

A frappe named Obama.

What in the world.

So of course Jaykie had to try it. (I ordered Black Forest.)

He said it was okay.

I spent several hours reading a book, perched on a step on the second floor of AS. Oh, my college life. At one point I took off my flip-flops. The floor was really cold, and a breeze was blowing through the corridor. Best thing ever.

I also noticed a poster announcing that DUP will re-stage Floy Quintos’s Shock Value (though this link says it’s a sequel?) and Isang Panaginip na Fili. I enjoyed those plays immensely. Will definitely watch again. (I also made Jaykie promise he’d come with, hehe.)

Then off to Makati to Whistlestop for the Polyhedral finale. Cute restaurant, found it without getting lost.

Food is good (just on the pricey side, but then they serve big dishes) and I dig the decor.

I see a typewriter, a coat/hat rack, and a lamppost in this picture:

Jaykie had to point out the centerpiece to me. Royal Tru-Orange! Clever!

Anyway, Guiz, Erwin, Patrick, and Jaykie are fighting each other for minis. My Girlfriend is a DM‘s Matthew Arcilla DMs.

And Jaykie emerged victorious! (LOL, Matthew I did not see that ending coming.)

* * *

Jaykie taught me a workout routine using weights that I could carry out on my own. He also lent me two two-pound weights. I would have taken the four-pound weights he offered, but I was afraid my bag straps would fail. Anyway, I tried the routine with him, and my abs hurt like hell. I enjoyed it. It was exactly the pain I needed.

aftermath, and new poem

I’m hearing news that Meralco has so far energized more than 90 percent of the Metro, but as of last night the stat was as low as 20 percent and Makati looked like the site of apocalypse. Cables hanging dangerously low, dark streets, dead traffic lights, candles sitting on windowsills. Our condo building has a generator, but at 9 p.m. last night our unit’s still gloomy and humid. Apparently the utility men couldn’t connect the unit to the generator. What infuriated me was that there was a goddamn party near the pool area. With ear-blasting music. And huge speakers. I should have pushed the lot of them into the pool so we could use the leftover power to heat our water.

Anyway. I was thankful to Jake and his family for inviting me to stay over. They were at the Marriott while waiting for power to come back to their home. There were only two beds in the room, so Jake pushed two sofas together. Initially he wanted to sleep there, or sleep on the floor, but I fit on the sofas anyway. Nice and cozy. Had a good night’s sleep. :) I texted my mother, and she said we have electricity back home, so I’m traveling to Bulacan with two short story collections (borrowed from Andrea) that I’m planning to finish over the weekend.

* * *

I just received the good news that my poem, “Variations on the Expulsion from Eden”, will appear in the August issue of elimae. A year ago elimae published “Storytellers“. Click the link to read, and watch this space. ;)