Thursday, August 31, 2006

12th driving practice outcome

Hah! The instructor gave me the green light to practice driving on my own because, according to him, I'm no longer a public hazard — as long as I stay off the busy streets. I'm squeaky pleased.

Have finally gotten the hang of downshifting before taking corners. Yay!
Now I just need to improve my visual periphery when it comes to crossing pedestrians/pooches/vehicles and staying on the right side of the road. Hee.

Recent acceptances:

Nthposition accepted two poems, On tiles and All Perfectly Abandoned for their December 2006 issue. Very quick response times, too!

     Submission date: 28 August 2006
     Reply date: 31 August 2006

And wheeeee! Wicked Alice accepted five poems for their "Alice in Wonderland" issue, due out around mid to late September:

1. "I'm available to go mad now." — Valerie Fox
2. Inevitably
3. And She Ripped the Turtle Soup Recipe
4. rabbits (from An Encyclopedic Guide to Counteracting Bad Luck)
5. Decapitated lilies

Preparing this submission just tickled the in me. Heh!

     Submission date: 11 August 2006
     Reply date: 31 August 2006

Books received:

Thanks to the Adroitly Placed Award, I am now the manic fan of the following books:

Déjà Vu Diner by Leonard Gontarek. Oooooh and aaaaah. Poetry samples can be found at Unpleasant Event Schedule. To read his poetry is to believe it.

lucky wreck by Ada Limon. First came across this poet in Tarpaulin Sky with her mind-blowing poem, First Lunch With Relative Stranger Mister You, which also happens to be the opening poem in the book.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

TPM submissions streaming in

Yikes. Managed to taper off the subs from 112 to 30+ last night. This morning, seven hours later, it's back to 71. Have never handled these many submissions in the whole time I guest edited for Niederngasse. It's quite exciting though. The open slots for poetry are only 12-15. It's only the third day of TPM's reading period and I've already got all slots filled. I'll be in for some very tough choices.

30:30 update:

Pfew! Have survived for more than a week now. Not writing terribly inspired stuff, but am just thankful that I'm writing again. Can hardly expect more after a two-month hiatus.

     Poems to date —

     1. On Going to the Cinema and Breaking into the Ticket Booth
     2. Rorschach Card #1: Black Ink on White
     3. A Driving Student Goes Round the Traffic Circle
     4. And I Was, In Those Days, Sober
     5. A Driving Instructor's First Water Bottle
     6. Black Ink on White #2
     7. A Driving Student Takes a Blind Corner
     8. The Night Richard's Swivel Chair Broke

Hee. Quite a lot of driving poems... which, of course, leads to —

10th and 11th driving lessons results:

Have been doing it with the old git's son. Yay! I like how he explains things to me slowly and calmly, like a voice-over recording. Sort of understand better the mechanics of taking corners... now if only I can get my poor limbs to act out what I know I must do, I could start driving seriously. It's a sad fact, of course, that I've got the reflexes of a sloth.

He actually said I wasn't as badly off as I said I was. The sadist has scheduled me to take the practical exam end of September. Gaaaaak!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Frogmore Poetry Prize 2006

OMG. Someone pinch me awake. Just received a congratulations e-mail from The Frogmore Papers editor.


Announcement of the result of the Frogmore Poetry Prize for 2006, sponsored by the Frogmore Foundation and adjudicated by Ros Barber.

The Frogmore Poetry Prize for 2006 is awarded to Arlene Ang of Spinea, Italy for her poem THE 23rd SECRET LOVE POEM. She receives the sum of two hundred guineas and a life subscription to The Frogmore Papers.

The first runner-up is Michael Wyndham of London for his poem KNOW YOUR ENEMY. He receives the sum of seventy-five guineas and a year’s subscription to The Frogmore Papers.

The second runner-up is Angela France of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire for her poem REJECTING GRAVITY. She receives the sum of fifty guineas and a year’s subscription to The Frogmore Papers.

Other poems shortlisted were:

SANDALS — Arlene Ang
HOME COMING — Tom Collingridge
REDEMPTION — Charles Evans
DOCKER'S UMBRELLA — Copeland Smith
THE DREWSTER — Howard Wright


I even got a second poem shortlisted. It's freaky, so freaky that I've just got to do my purple banana dance right here, right now. Wooooooheeeeeeeee!!

Friday, August 25, 2006

A short note to those who sent me their work for TPM

Please don't send it to me personally via e-mail. First, because the hunting season... I mean, the reading period is —erm— still closed. Second, because I don't know how to upload it to The Pedestal database, and have no intention of doing it for anyone — unless you are Bukowski (first name: Charles) and you're too dead to do it yourself. Third, because my Spam Assassin kills off half the e-mail content of people not included in my address book so any submission to that address is trashed directly from the server.

So... please submit to the submissions page. And —erm— read the guidelines first here. I can access poetry only from the website, not in my mailbox. It's how the system works.

That said, I actually finished reading the few stuff left over from the last reading period of The Pedestal yesterday. I really love their submission system. I even cleaned up after myself as I was instructed to do.

9th driving lesson results:
No earth-shattering improvements.

Re-learned how to park behind another car. It wasn't as bad as I feared and even inspired me to do something osé. At the end of the lesson, the instructor told me to park anywhere I want in the three spaces he pointed out to me. I parked — well, zzzzipped was more like it, into the one beside another car just to see if I could do it. I even braked in time — just in front of a granny with a baby stroller. Hah! The fella muttered: Lazzarona. You really had to choose this one, huh? And you almost got that granny, too. Assassina!

However, when I stepped out, I just had to admire my parking. I was perfectly inside the white lines! Incredible, but true. Wheeeeee!

My 10th lesson is scheduled Monday morning. With another instructor — who happens to be the son of the scary old git. He said he wanted to see how I'm doing. Seemed nice and calm. But then so was his dad before he saw me drive.

Magnetic poetry:

Discovered this neat poetry enabler at The Poetry Library... for poets who are stuck on writer's block. Nate, old pal, if you're reading this, this one's for you.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

8th driving lesson results

I survived. The driving instructor survived. I was called scatenata (meaning "hog-wild" at because I drove at breakneck speed around rotaries. The thing is if I hadn't step on the gas, the silly fella would've kept doing it for me. And I hate that. I have my own gas pedal and I'd like to use it now, thank you.

However, it is also true that when I stepped out of the car, I thought I was going to break into diarrhea in the middle of the sidewalk. Talk about major paunch-ache. Hee. Woke up this morning still rather pukey from the experience.

Was also called assassina twice, lazzarona thrice. Both, when I was told to park near an island. For some strange reason, I decided to change into first gear in the meantime, going lah-dee-dah in my mind, and forgot to —erm— use the brake pedal. The driving instructor was rather forgiving about it since, he said, I hadn't driven in quite some time and he actually expected things to be much worse.
I went: OH.

Yesterday's practice concentrated on rotaries, the rules on entering and leaving them. I seem to be getting the hang of it. At least, I don't fumble too long with the signal lights anymore and forget I should be going round the rotary, not through it. I can now flick the signal light on and off, left and right, without blacking out into one of my confusional states. Yay!

9th driving lesson scheduled on Friday. At 8:45 AM.

What the postman brought in:

• A small packet from Michi containing: Jasper Fforde's The Well of Lost Plots and a 1.5" x 1.5" notepad with a timely note saying: "for mini-poems or horrible-instructor curses!"

• A personalized rejection slip from Conduit:
Dear Arlene,
We enjoyed these and "Inventory of Goodbye" came close. Thank you.

     Mailing date: 15 February 2006
     Reply date: 23 August 2006

30:30 update:

Survived Day 2.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Back again in 30:30

On a whim, I kicked myself back into 30:30 this morning. Let's see how long I last this round III.

Am also busy juggling four stories with Valerie — two of which are supposed to be possible entries for the Wild River Review Fake Memoir Contest. It's a riot. I spent a better part of yesterday morning laughing my pants off at the stuff I faked in the memoirs.

Some nice rejections:

Beloit Poetry Journal editor wrote:
We shall not be using your manuscript. Thank you, however, for giving us the opportunity to consider it. Many of us found your work interesting; I was personal fascinated by the formal dimension of "How a Mother Peels Fruit Before the Funeral."

     Mailing date: 8 June 2006
     E-mail reply: 19 August 2006

Smiths Knoll sent an amiable, hand-written rejection:
Dear Arlene —

Sorry: an enjoyable + interesting batch from you, as always. We hope you'll try us again.

     Mailing date: 4 August 2006
     Date received: 18 August 2006

On a lighter note:

Following a link from Matthew Schmeer's blog (under his thoughts on rejecting poems), I found this hilarious place: Professor Roy and the Amazingly Bad Poetry Journal.

I'm rather sorry I missed their contest deadline — with its "no-b.s. actual prize." That would've been quite an award to add to one's curriculum vitae.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Valerie and I are now officially published...

writing buddies. Wheeeee! Our second finished story, Nature Hates a Vacuum is now online at Edifice Wrecked. Wow, but they're quick!! Hope someone gets a kick out of it — we tickled ourselves silly writing the whole stuff... and will be using the Richard character there in another story (with donkey tails).

Thanks to Sharon who introduced me to the 'zine. Discovered it when I followed the link to her terrific flash, Love is the Firmest Foundation (under Ann Walters) in the same issue.

Surfacing from Fish Tycoon:

After two whole days. Some skipped meals. A squeaky stomach. An irritated bladder. Blurry eyesight. Unchecked e-mails. And migraine. To say. Let's not do that again, shall we?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Edifice Wrecked and flashquake

Well. I'm quite beyond myself with delight. Edifice Wrecked recently accepted Nature Hates a Vacuum, a short story I co-wrote with Valerie Fox. Such a thrill. It's our second story and second slated publication — which means we must be doing something right.

     Submission date: 12 August 2006
     Reply date: 14 August 2006

On top of this, flashquake accepted two poems, The Weight of Seasons and On Seeing the Body Hit Ice for their autumn 2006 issue. The latter also got the Editor's Pick booty. Whooopeeee!

     Submission date: 26 July 2006
     Reply date: 15 August 2006

Computer update:

The husband brought home a new computer last Friday. Every time someone nosey asks if we have any kids, I get the urge to reply, "We've been genetically modified not to have children, only computers. We have four darlings now. And another one due out this January, maybe Feb."

So, right now we've —uh— got like five of them in the house: the new baby, the retired pc, the old Mac G3, my G4 (i.e. my birthday gift to him and which I happen to be using 99% of the time) and his portable computer. The crazy thing is we actually use at least three of them contemporaneously.

Now that we're talking crazy:

I've literally gone ga-ga over Fish Tycoon. It's soooo cool. I've got a thing for taking care of animals and this virtual aquarium just makes my cup of seaweed.

I can watch the fish for hours and hours... breeding them, selling them and funding the research programs.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Slowly warming up...

to get back into writing. Have begun another round of fiction tennis with my playmate, Valerie. Also trying to prepare a submission for the "Alice in Wonderland" issue of Wicked Alice — deadline is on the 15th and I'm running shamefully late. Still very constipated (Nate's expression), but at least I'm reading a lot.

Driving update:

Yikes. Tried driving the husband's diesel BMW this morning. Freaky!! It's like that horror car film, Christine. Usually when I shift to second gear, normal cars would just purr nicely. His refuses to limit itself into purring, it literally leaps forward with delight — as if to say, "Wheeeee!! I'm a flying manatee!" Scared me silly since I knew it could drive me to ruins (hey, I saw the movie). I just did an hour of turning around islands in the parking lot on first gear, no gas. Still not getting the hang of corners/curves. Blah. I can start any car like a pro though. Teehee. It's the rest that I'm having problems with.

Future anthology publication:

Just discovered that Benjamin Buchholz has put up a page featuring The Dust Girl. I was invited to send him around 10 poems for this anthology some months ago. Lots of exciting and familiar authors. No word yet if it did come through or not though. Here's to hoping it did or will.

A word about kefir:

Have gone on a kefir craze ever since I returned from Manila. My sis-in-law made me drink it (disgustingly weird stuff, like carbonated yoghurt) with the promise that it will clear up my skin. Since I've seen the results in my mom and one of the housemaids, I did. And yay, it really works.

Since kefir boosts one's immune system, it's also beneficial for people suffering from AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome and cancer. I read somewhere that it also has a tranquilizing effect on the nervous system and helps alleviate sleep disorders, depression, and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

So. I brought some fresh kefir all the way with me to Venice. Ironically, it arrived safely... but had a little accident in the car. Since kefir transport regulations (hee) require breathing space, I had to keep the bottle open. My darling husband swerved too fast into a street and it spilled! To put it mildly, we wanted to kill each other after 10 minutes of happy reunion.

We argued heatedly for days about who was the real kefir murderer. In my opinion, it's him and he needs remedial lessons in taking corners. In his opinion, I should be charged for double murder — my kefir, his car — and kept under observation in a mental institute because no one in their right mind would leave an open bottle of kefir unattended in a car. In the end, we agreed to disagree about it for the rest of our days and go on with our —erm— lives.

Anyway, I did manage to resuscitate a teaspoon of the kefir grains — so all was not lost.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Bad driving lesson day(s)

The old git didn't show up on the 4th and re-scheduled my driving lesson for the day after. He insisted on wanting to observe how I drive — because recently he received complaints about the other instructor being mean to the students and, being the proprietor, wanted to put things —erm— right.

Good grief. The irony of it. He turned out to be really horrid. He was also beginning to get physical which really bothered me. Like the nasty piano teacher I had as a child who would crush my fingers on the keyboard to remind me that I was making tons of mistake. He didn't hurt me or anything like that, but being the focus of such aggression was disconcerting, to put it mildly. He was also giving out contradicting orders — first by telling me to go very slow because I'm still a learner then to step on the gas and go over 50 kmh in streets with a 30 kmh speed limit. Duh!

Afterwards he asked me to be honest about what I thought of the other instructor... and —erm— if I wanted him to be my instructor from then on. I told him that actually I never really had any problems with my previous instructor and that I've been with worse ones in my life.

No way I'm getting near this guy again! If he insists I'll complain to his wife — who seems a nice person and acts as his secretary. Am going back to the previous instructor who, despite being too cheeky for his own good, tolerated my mistakes with a snicker and never once raised his voice above a mutter.

Recent publication:

Special thanks to Sam who reminded me some weeks ago that my poems:

• Fish
• Allhallows Noon
• Love and Benny Hill
are already up in the August issue of poetic diversity.

For fun:

Here's a picture of my niece in the private garden pool I brought straight from Italy. It is, naturally, made in China. Hee.

Sweet kid. When her video Barney starts singing I love you/ You love me/ We're a happy family// With a great big hug/ And a kiss from me to you/ Won't you say you love me, too? she'd tug at her mom or dad for a hug and kiss as well. It's the cutest thing I've ever seen — and she's only a year-and-a-half old. Tickles me pink to watch her.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Whooopeedoo!! I passed!

I'm halfway to holding my driver's license — as long as I don't screw up the practical exam four times in a row. Yay!

Thanks for the well wishes everyone! Must have worked, too since I passed with flying colors. When we girls flocked around the examiner — who incidentally made Agent Smith look harmless — to ask how many errors we made, he went, You, three! You, two! to the girls beside me. When he reached me, the fella snarled: You! Not even one. He looked rather disgusted.

Have a driving practice scheduled tomorrow with the head instructor. He wants to check how much I have learned before scheduling me for the practical exam.

Websites update:

Have taken a long time doing it, but got to finish everything late last night.

Valerie Fox (books)
Straw Gate Books (new site)
Leonard Gontarek (photos & poetry pages)
mine (publications list)

Recent winnings:

I'm particularly honored and ecstatic to have received the Adroitly Placed Word Award at Never expected this considering the stiff competition. I got a $50 gift check, too.
Whoooopeee, I'm feelthy rich!

Recent acceptance:

I just received an acceptance e-mail from Rattle. They'll be publishing my poem, A Driving Student Adjusts the Seat in their December 2006 issue. This is the second time in a row — after 9 years of continuous rejections. Totally thrilled — and my multiple selves (Ellen, Angela & Anne) are literally dancing!

    Submission date: 26 June 2006
    Reply date: 2 August 2006

Really great news this since, in the meantime, I've received tons of rejections, too. Won't bother stating dates (hee, if you want all the sordid details, feel free to e-mail me); I'll just state the names: Jubilat, Perihelion, Cafe Irreal, Elixir Press, Spinning Jenny and two others from book publishers (whose names I can't remember since Valerie sent the submission) regarding the Bundles manuscript. Where to send next? Where? Where?

What came through the post:

While I was away, Mr. Stegs (a gift from Sharon) and Valerie's book discovered the comforts of inanimate-objects bonding on my faux leopardskin rug.

Have begun reading The Rorschach Factory and it's fast becoming a favorite. Amazing poetry. Excerpts can be read here.