Thursday, June 29, 2006

6th driving lesson realizations

(this is a re-post because some little birdy, in a strange confusional post-driving state, clicked the wrong button and deleted the whole thing )

• It now takes me less than 30 seconds to restart the car after a stop sign/red traffic light.

• For three times, despite the driving instructor's warning, I realized I can center the manhole like a man.

• Need to make peace with the steering wheel. Once or twice, during a jittery corner turn, I was asked taoistically where I thought I was going. Replied in kind that I wasn't going anywhere because I was already there.

• Rotaries. Sigh. Correct driving procedures require me to turn on the left signal light, then the right — while curving around the damn circle and looking out for other cars. Once, I fumbled too long with the signal lights and forgot to look where I was heading... until the instructor, invoking Santa Maria Cleopatra, grabbed the wheel and made me realize I was going straight for some nice red flowers behind the guard rail. Prior to this, it was a bank and the cheeky fella quipped that I might have a future in armed robbery.

• Have acquired the nasty habit of forgetting my foot on the gas pedal while taking corners/curves.

• A mental note to be nicer to the computer: like the pc when it goes into RAM-overload from sophisticated video games, I tend to get so confused with the footwork, the gears and signal lights while crossing intersections and going around rotaries that for a few seconds my brain hangs, shuts downs and then restarts Windows on its own. It's a rather bizarre sensation because, in those few seconds, I have no idea where I am, what I'm doing and where I'm headed.

Written driving exam update:

Have been rescheduled to take the test sometime in the first week of August. Have been studying every night and also dreaming of studying every night. Hopefully, between the two I'll managed to learn something and pass the test.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Still tinkering with fiction

Today it's our second collaboration attempt, Confessions of the Flying Baked Potato. I'm sort of just stuck with fiction-writing for now—happens around once every ten years so I try not to complain.

Here's a ticklish excerpt:
           On June 15, the lipstick smudges on the coffee cups changed. A man spoke through his beard. We heard him through the pipes. Everyone called him Milt behind his back because he was a regular: pea soup for breakfast, pea soup for lunch, chickpea soup for supper. In short, one of those fairy tale figures that keep princesses awake at night.
           For the first time in twenty years, Milt didn’t come alone. He suddenly asked the cook to bring on the MSG, a touch of wine, sweet meats. He wanted to impress his date by showing he can take the menu-of-the-day like a man. I realize I’m jumping to conclusions. But the fact remains that Milt was, and perhaps still is, a virgin. Everyone said you could see it by how he applied aftershave lotion on the old pick-up’s leather seats.

Recent acceptance:

Mannequin Envy accepted 4 poems:

Face out of the Blue
Dust Addressing Its Lover
The Butcher Unburdens His Heritage
The 19th Secret Love Poem

for their fall 2006 issue. Incidentally, Rachel and Michi have delish poems in the current issue. Check 'em out.

     Submission date: 13 May 2006
     Reply date: 26 June 2006

Today's child in the mist is Sarah's Miles:

I have feeling this where Michi will go: "My, my, my! What a hairy face you've got, Sarah."

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Oops... ran low on energy—

and fell off the 30:30 bicycle on my third day.

Kept tinkering around with my story collaboration with Valerie yesterday. Writing poetry, in contrast, hasn't been as much fun. Or ticklish. We've reached 3000 words by now. Yay!

Here's an excerpt:
           Once in the house, Jim wouldn't even look at Carmen: "I'm going down to the corner for a drink."
           "Well, hurry back," she quipped while shrugging into a terry robe. There was something about running water that made her feel French, as if she'd managed to run for her life and actually escape the guillotine. The tub filled up and she filled it with bubbles.
           Alone at last with Richard in her bath. It lasted about two hours. Fish and wishes are connected, she mused. That was dogma to her. Like in Arabian Nights: talking fish swimming in endless lakes that existed only in the parallel universe of near sleep conversations.
           Such fancies got her in with the writers at her job in a publishing firm. She had to organize her reading habits around committees and publicity, but occasionally got to take an author or two out to lunch. That was how she met Richard. He was always there with a fork in her spaghetti meatballs, a finger in her chocolate pecan pie.

5th driving lesson:

Yikes. The only thing I can say is that I can't do a U-turn even if my life were to depend on it.

Additional self-prescribed requisites for the September driving exam:

• two hundred (200) tablets of Valium;
• seven (7) eye implants on crucial points of the head;
• one (1) lobotomy.

Today's queen of the jungle is Rachel's Angelina:

Thursday, June 22, 2006

4th driving lesson outcome—

I stank. Period. Boooohooooo!!

Made all the same mistakes I made the last time. Maybe worse. The driving instructor was particularly chatty and I had a hard time keeping my mind on the foot pedals, gears, etc. while trying to understand what he was saying, like why I shouldn't cross an intersection the way I just did or something theoretically complicated like that.

On the other hand, I was booed Assassina! only three (3) times. He did call me lazzarona when I mistook the gas pedal (again!) for the brake and accelerated while turning a corner. Not sure what it means, except that it's a word I always hear my in-laws tell the pooch when the pooch does a BIG foul-smelling no-no in the house.

5th lesson tomorrow. This time on taking traffic circles and doing nerve-wracking footwork on a slope. Help!

Back to 30:30:

Not sure if I'll get past this third round, but I rather missed writing. Going through a sestina mania now. I also need to prepare a sub for POM2. By the way, if anyone out there has intentions on subbing, the subject header has to be: "juice" -- or your submission might end up in their trash. I don't see this word on my browser, but it's written in my copy of the journal -- which I received some days ago. Neat poetry!

Round three (III) poems:

1. And she said television
2. "Manic car driving is not a door stop" —Gale Nelson

Recent acceptance:

As if to show that I shouldn't really be allowed to drive, I've just been welcomed with open arms to the Mad Hatters' Review. They'll be showcasing six poems in their 6th issue. Yay!

• This umbrella handle is J
• A Room of My Own
• Dr. Lecter on His Couch
• Undressing As Rehder
• Birth
• The Author in the Third Person

     Submission date: 2 June 2006
     Reply date: 21 June 2006

Today's featured creatures:

Michi and Angela in those wonderful pre-Nigel Bayesian days. Poor Angie, she was a slow grower. Michi, of course, pretended to wait patiently, but she already had her eyes set on someone with strawberry-blond toupee in the horizon.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Michi, the Little Lantern Girl

An excerpt from The Little Lantern Girl:

On her sixty-third birthday, Susan began believing in fairy tales. She was a phlegmatic woman with her own vegetable garden. When she ran out of Cinderella stories, she made up her own as if it could make up for the tenth driving exam she failed to pass.

Every weekend her grandchildren, ages somewhere between four to eleven, flocked to her door armed with flowers. She often described her life as a Frenchified farmhouse
once upon a time. Something about the way she said this always frightened them. Elaine, the eldest and bravest, was paid a dime by her parents to say, "Please tell us about the little lantern girl, Gramma."

Bwuaaaaahaaahaaaaa!! Let's see if I can find an editor for this silliness.  

On a more serious note: 4th driving lesson scheduled for tomorrow. Don't try to deny it, I know some of you are already calling 911. I know by the sound of you out there cutting your toenails.

Name error reflection:

After re-tracking my conversations with people, I'm rather sheepish to say that it's probably my fault people mistake my name so often. I think I've managed to convey a lot of negative subliminal messages on the importance I place in my name—

• Three weeks ago, the hairdresser called me Ange. I said yes, that's me.
• Three months ago, the yoga instructress called me Aline. I said yes, that's me.
• A year ago, an editor —who after years of working with me and never getting my name wrong— finally ceded and wrote Angela on a check. The banker who cashed it never questioned whether or not it was me.
• Five years ago, the pizza delivery fellas wrote Ellen on their computer. Every time I order, I say yes, that's me.
• More than twenty years ago, my brother's friend mistook me for my sister and called me Angie. Not wanting to embarrass him, I said yes, that's me.
• My parents, bless them, began everything by calling me An-lin (since they've got a bit of —erm— problem pronouncing "r"). What else could I say but yes, that's me?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Today's magical child...

... is Sharon Hurlbut's Kate:

Currently reading and re-reading:

Reading The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. Not really enjoying it as much as I would have had it been in English. I read bits of the original text at Amazon and the translation rather sucks. But maybe it's just my Italian.

Re-reading Black Comedy, a play by Peter Shaffer for laughs. Like a side dish. It's a riot on paper and probably quite a treat to see on stage. Here's a short synopsis at the back of the book:
In this play the usual conditions of light and dark are reversed: when the lights are 'on' we see nothing but darkness; when they are 'off' we see the characters behaving as if they were in a black-out. Carol and Brindsley, an engaged couple, have invited a millionaire to see Brindsley's sculpture, and to impress him have 'borrowed' antiques from a neighbour [my aside: in the neighbor's absence]. Carol's formidable father is also expected. The lights fuse, and the arrival of several unexpected visitors effectively wrecks the evening.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Results of more online quizzes...

state that I'm not only evil, but that I also used to be a man. It's funny since I've recently been writing fiction about a sailor knot which a children's book author, not a sailor, left in my throat ever since he returned to his 2nd wife. So I guess that was only my ex-Adam's apple.

The Sloat celebrity pop quiz says:

You are the cult figure Christopher Walken who said, "I don't need to be made to look evil. I can do that all on my own."

Out of curiosity, and to disprove Dr. Sloat's claims, I checked out the Evilness Test which states—

I am 42% Evil

You are evil, but you haven't yet mastered the dark side.
Fear not though - you are on your way to world domination.

Hee. I'm beginning to scare even myself! All I can say is:

Sunday's fairy princess is Sharon's Emma:

Friday, June 16, 2006

Shaking the Rattle

Just discovered that issue #24 of Rattle is now online. They've included my poem, Of geese under the "Featured Poets" section. Yay!

Website completed, almost:

Alice Folkart's, a Blueline moderator who likes cats.

Today's 350 words (approx.) of fiction:

Woke up at 8 a.m. to write a bit of crap called Confessions of the Flying Baked Potato. Yikes, I've been so good and industrious these past two days, it's scary! Michi, who likes speaking with a drunken slur in my mind, would say: No, honey. That's not scary. That's fiction.

Recent rejection:

Received a nice e-mail from Bitter Oleander

Dear Anne,

Thank you for your submission and your patience in awaiting our rather tardy response to your Five Poems. Although they were not a fit for us, it was our pleasure to consider them and hope to see further work from you in the future.

All best wishes,

Paul B. Roth, editor & publisher
The Bitter Oleander Press

     Submission date: 24 April 2006
     Reply date: 16 June 2006
     Comments: No, I refuse to believe it. No, no, no, no. Someone please tell me this nice editor didn't just call me Anne.

Today's healthy reminder:

Please throw out those moldy lemons that are stinking up the house.

Today's child Valerie's Madeline:

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Who survived driving lesson #3?

I, the driving instructor and the townspeople -- including two (2) mothers with baby carriages.

Activities I'm getting good at behind the wheel:

· doing straight roads while shifting gears;
· doing slow curves which require little footwork;
· slowing down without killing the engine;
· going very slow 150m from a red traffic light -- so much so that it actually turns green by the time I get there and don't have to start-up [yay! car horns are prohibited by law in cities, so I don't hear anyone complain ];
· panicking at the sight of mothers with baby carriages who take up part of the road (mine) in a blind curve.

Activities I'm struggling with behind the wheel:

· re-starting the car at intersections, then turning left/right;
· re-starting the car, period;
· finding my way out of traffic circles.

I rather like to think I'm improving. The instructor was less cheeky, more encouraging today. He did mention breaking into cold sweat every time I do curves. But he just hooted Assassina! four (4) times... once because I rather panicked at the sight of too many cars on the intersection and went into a trance with my foot on the clutch -- which prevented him from starting the car and moving it/us out of the traffic zone.

Incredible writing update:

Wheeeeee! I finally quit stalling and wrote approx. 600 words of fiction this morning. Haven't written a short story since 2000... am doing it for fun with my favorite sandbox playmate, Valerie. I think we were rather sad about finishing the Bundles manuscript and this seemed a nice way to go on writing crazy stuff together. The incredible part about all this is I actually woke up at 5 a.m. to write.

Baked potato in the sky with diamonds:

Since everyone enjoyed my niece's picture yesterday, here's another one. It's a flying baked potato -- flying carpets, my dears, are out-dated by now.

In case anyone wants me to do their kids, just hoot. Doing these things just tickles me pink.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Took some time off from writing...

and just moaned about with migraine. I actually slept more than 12 hours between Monday night (while all neighbors were shouting their World Cup joy -- Italy 2 : Ghana 0) and Tuesday morning.

Driving update:

I actually did better on my second driving lesson -- the instructor commented on it and muttered Assassina! only 5 times (I counted) towards the end when I mistook the clutch for the brake pedal. I think I might be getting the hang of it -- at least I no longer have that funny sensation of being driven by a mindless car instead of driving it.

I'm scheduled for another lesson tomorrow.

The good/bad news is I've postponed the written exam to September. Have decided to leave for Manila in July since I --erm-- just discovered that my passport is about to expire and I'd rather renew it there than go to Rome. Plus, the plane tickets in August cost €300 more... I figured I can get a truckload of books with that money, or maybe a new digital camera. Anyway, can't wait to see me knees.... and me poopies

Fun wid me knees:

Since I had to do a bit of work with images yesterday, I also had a bit of fun with my niece's picture taken last November. Isn't that rain the coolest thing?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Finished my second round in 30:30

Yuppity-doo!! I'm done! It's fiesta time!

These last few poems were positively frankensteinish and excruciating to write --

  30. Cold Paradisiac Flies in the Skyline: Underbelly
  29. Cold Paradisiac Flies in the Skyline: Birdbath
  28. Cold Paradisiac Flies in the Skyline: Radio
  27. Cold Paradisiac Flies in the Skyline: Hurricane

I'm also relieved to be done with this war series which I agreed to do for an anthology. Let's hope the editor likes them. In the meantime, bottoms up!

Recent acceptances:

Eclectica accepted two word poems, Not So Much the Dark and The Twenty-First Secret Love Poem plus a normal one, Allure. The latter is actually based on my sis-in-law's experience walking the dog: this car drove up to her and a guy asked how much. Tickled me silly. I mean I can understand seeing a lone female silhouette in the night and thinking dirty... but a fifty-year-old woman with a Pomeranian is another thing altogether, methinks.

     Submission date: 11 May 2006
     Reply date: 8 June 2006

And, whooooopeeedooo, here's one more reason to uncork the prosecco!

Unpleasant Event Schedule has scheduled my cheeky poem, Ten-and-a-half reasons not to buy D for an October viewing. I'm really thrilled with this acceptance since the editor sent a nay the first time and I wasn't sure if I'd ever get in. I just love the poems in that 'zine.

     Submission date: 5 April 2006
     Reply date: 8 June 2006

Finished reading:

American Gods by Neil Gaiman... it's quite a page-turner! The plot is rather convoluted, but I rather like 'em that way. Enjoyed the idea/discourse about gods being quite dependent on what and how people think -- something to toy with mentally for a while. Made me want to leave some food out for the poor piskies.