Sunday, December 30, 2007

A kind of rest cure, with major update

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas.

Am back in Spinea and taking my herbal meds like the good ol' goat that I am, plus some homeopathic thingees for my pustule-eyed tonsils (yes, they've got eyes!) Had decided to come home for a week before things get any worse — as in abscessive and/or gangreenish.

At any rate, have already infected majority of the people in the house (pooch included — unbelievable, but true!) and figured it was time to spread what I've come to call the Amsterdam virus in Italy. Hee. When I went away Niece #1 still had a fever and one of the caregivers called in sick.

The four weeks I had been in Manila were quite hectic and nerve-wracking:

Week 1 had me in bed with tonsillitis. My mom was still doing fine.

Week 2 was spent in the hospital where we had to admit my mom — she started vomiting nonstop due to one of the NSAIDs (painkillers) she was taking. It was a good thing we decided to because she started throwing up blood in the ambulance.

Week 3 had us dialing again for the ambulance at 2AM because she had fever convulsions for over an hour. By the time, the paramedics arrived her fever had broken and so my mom preferred to stay at home despite their insistence in taking her to the hospital for some tests. This week she started losing hand and leg function, too. The family doctor told us to prepare ourselves spiritually because it's the body slowly shutting itself down.

Week 4, my mom had some terrible "breakthrough pains" — a particularly bad one on Christmas day — and we were in such a panic because we couldn't contact the pain management doc. The husband always says that we idealize hell so much that we don't realize we're actually living in IT. After helplessly watching my mom scream and weep from the pain, I know this to be true.

Just to end on a positive note, my mom was pretty stable when I left home — we've upped her opiate intake and dermal patch. As long as she's not in pain, she's quite loquacious and has a good appetite — which means a world of difference when you've got stage IV breast cancer. When I say, "Ice cream?" she gives me the toothiest smile that has ever brightened any room.

Recent acceptances:

More for my records than anything. The theory is if it's on my blog, I won't lose track of it or start a fire with it.

Carousel, a flat-spined Canadian print journal accepted an old-ish poem, Counterglow for their 23rd issue, due sometime out in 2008.

They accept hard-copy (no charge) and e-mail (with payment) submissions — but they respond via e-mail. Response times are rather long, but worth it, I think. They reply to rejections sooner — with a request to keep a poem or two longer for consideration. Very professional manners.

     Submission mailed: 29 June 2007
     E-mail reply (return of work): 12 October 2007
     E-mail acceptance: 7 December 2007

Eclectica accepted my poems, Drying the Neighbor's Dog (word poem), Ladder and Afternoon Stroll for their Jan/Feb 2008 issue. It will mark my 14th appearance there. Their word poem challenge is just too addicting.

     Submission sent: 29 November 2007
     Reply date: 9 December 2007

Sidebrow accepted my poem, twenty-four : sawdust (from the hopelessly unfinished "approximative translations" manuscript) as part of their Page 24 Project.

Have to admit I did a little bunny dance when I read their e-mail. It's my second attempt with them — and the work they publish just blows me away. If I have to be honest with myself, I never thought I'd have ever made it in.

     Submission sent: 19 June 2007
     Reply date: 10 December 2007

• The poetry editor of SUB-LIT was so kind to invite me to send them some work. This is such a neat 'zine — based on what they publish, they seem to go for the edgy and surreal. Will be having three poems: So What If You Love Your Migraine Like a Second Coming, Eve and A Night in the Suburbs in Issue 3.

     Submission sent: 26 November 2007
     Reply date: 12 December 2007

• Was so thrilled to receive Susan Denning's (Caffeine Destiny) e-mail on 22 December, telling me that my poem, Possessions has been selected for the Best of the Web 2008 Dzanc Books print anthology. It was such a wonderful surprise because I didn't even know she nominated the poem!

• It's a little too soon to say if it will push through, but just the idea/acceptance lifted my spirits when Valerie wrote me saying the editor of Texture Press is interested in publishing our Bundles of Letters, Including A, V and Epsilon manuscript. I've had to pinch myself twice when I read her e-mail.

Recent publications:

• My poem, Supermarket Tabloid Sestina was included in the year-end print anthology of Feathertale. I get a high every time I sniff the glossy full-color pages.

• Have two poems, Open House (sonnenizio on a line from Jarman) and Col San Martino, Late Winter in the Winter 2007-2008 issue of Umbrella. Am delighted to see so many familiar names in this issue, namely Carol Frith, James A. Midgley, Jayne Pupek, S. Thomas Summers and Ann Walters. Love your poems!!

Overheard between A and the husband:

A: You know what I want for Christmas? A gorilla suit.

Husband: But honey, you don't need one. You're the authentic thing. Don't ruin the effect.

A: Let's hear you say that again without your teeth.

• • • • • • • •

Anyway, I hope everyone has a great time tomorrow. Don't drink too much... because, well, that's my job. Hee.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The village idiot missed her flight

It is a sad and shameful fact, but there it is. What still continues to escape A's logic is HOW she could have booked, printed her itinerary (three times), checked-in online and STILL got her flight hour wrong. Stooooooopid, stoooooooopid!!!

To make it brief, she COULD'VE SWORN (remember Zurich?) the departure was at 6:40, when it was in reality 6:20. She and the husband got to the airport just as the plane was about to depart. She was given the choice of taking the flight, but leaving her luggage behind or re-booking.

Because the contents of her luggage are of greater interest to her brother and his wife than she is, A decided not to risk appearing in Manila without (1) four boxes of Christmas "bread" with chocolate filling, (2) three packs of cookies with chocolate filling, (3) three instant mixtures to make pudding with chocolate filling and (4) two bottles of mandarincino (orange-flavored liquor) that her family nagged her to bring them. There's a kind of pattern here that doesn't seem normal, but it is not A's place to question things that are family.

It is true that A had been acting strange prior to departure. She appeared to have gotten into some kind of time warp and got stuck in Wednesday, the 28th for a whole week. She kept calling home every day since Monday, the 26th and telling whoever answered the phone that she was coming home "tomorrow". A realizes all these things now. Early this morning, during sleep, she snapped her jaws and woke up biting her goosedown pillow. She's had to pay a huge fine, after all.

At any rate, A has been rescheduled to leave on the 30th. Which is today. She thinks.

Looking at the positive side

• The ground stewardess who re-booked her flight complimented A on how well she was taking it because "others" usually take out their frustration on her. She didn't know she was talking to an alien. Anyway, some plane jokes were exchanged. Another ground stewardess joined the party and everyone had a good laugh. However, when they said, "Arriverderci!" the husband butted in, "Well, we certainly hope never to see you again!"

• At being told the news, A's family and the husband's family laughed themselves silly over the phone. They thought it was better than reality tv.

• A managed to reduce the pile of unwashed clothes to waist-height (hers). She hated leaving the husband to do all the housework she never did. His smug declaration was: Now I can clean up the house without having you dirty it immediately. Really. Talk about delusions of orderliness.

• A got to finish her bottle of Marzemino. She has no qualms about bad-mouthing her brother's wine in public because it's so bad that she actually prefers to remain sober. During the holidays, too.

• A received Only Connect, a gorgeous 128-paged anthology recently published by Cinnamon Press.

• A has wrapped up her 10th round at 30:30 and is slumping into 100% vacation mode. And, because of this, A can watch as many in-flight movies as she can stick into the twelve-hour flight from Amsterdam to Manila without once going, "What to write, what to write."

• And last, but not the least, A managed to mail her chapbook to the people who requested a signed copy. YAY!

The package arrived on the 27th — it was the COD package because the publisher made the mistake of declaring the retail price of the goods (CAN$70). Even though it was marked it as a gift, the customs people still considered it taxable.

So, a word of advice to people who are sending stuff overseas: Just declare the sentimental value of gifts you send through the post and not their retail value.

Recent acceptance:

Agenda, a UK-based 'zine accepted three poems, Under a wide flounced skirt, Sunday Bath and We are rarely prepared for various issues online.

They accept only hard-copy submissions — but they respond via e-mail.

     Submission mailed: 25 September 2007
     E-mail reply: 27 November 2007

Recent photography:

• Have got eight images in the new issue (#5) of Siren. Was so thrilled to find three poems by Valerie Fox here!

• • • • • •

Well, that's it. I'm outta here. Really. I can do it. I'm off to catch that plane today. I've an extra-large fly swatter.

Monday, November 26, 2007

In pre-departure panic

Gaaaaak. Have decided to go home at the last minute and spend Christmas there. Am leaving on Wednesday. My mom still hasn't gotten better. She's in quite a lot of bone pain... which isn't a good sign.

Have been trying to wrap things up here, laundry- and email-wise, but seriously doubt I can get everything done before I leave. At some point, I think I'd have to start packing.

Need to be at five different places tomorrow: yoga class, the jeweler's, the supermarket, the pet shop and the post office — got a strange note today that a C.O.D. package arrived for me. If it's about my chapbook copies and they're taxing me, I'll scream and start eating my winter coat (from collar downwards).

Recent acceptances:

Seam, a UK-based print magazine accepted two fresh-from-30:30 poems, The Plagiarist and Outdoors for their Spring 2008 issue.

They accept only hard-copy submissions — but they will respond via e-mail. They've got an admirably fast response time, too!

     Submission mailed: 29 October 2007
     E-mail reply: 12 November 2007

The Chimaera accepted my poem, Agoraphobia for their January 2008 issue. This is one slick 'zine. And they're including mp3 recordings, too. Did mine this morning — with sound effects. Heheh. An alien can't be heard in public without fancy storms and some glass breaking, can it?

     Submission date: 28 October 2007
     Reply date: 23 November 2007

Recent publications:

• Issue #17 of Right Hand Pointing is now up with very ticklish poetry by Molly Schoemann, Ken Jones, Joe Balaz,Christopher Major, David Jordan, Doug Draime, Michael Frissore, Helen R. Peterson, Michael Ogletree, Ron Singer, Victoria Clayton Munn, Howard Good and a person who addresses her navel as Antoine.

The Commonline Project #11 has works by Wayne Mason, Gail Kelley, MK Butler, Jennifer Best, Zoe Alexandra, Bryan Chabrow, Zachary C. Bush, Luis Cauuhtemoc Berriozabal, Nicole Cartwright Denison, Alex Gallo-Brown, Bryon D. Howell, Joseph Veronneau, Kayleigh Hindricks, Doug Draime and Uncle Pete's neck (deceased).

Am so thrilled to see Non-other-than-X in this issue. It makes it easier for an alien to abduct her when she's surrounded by other people. Where I come from, Nachos are served with jalapeno sauce.

Over and out

John Vick was such a darling to send me this picture of him while he was reading my 30:30 poem, I'm not supposed to wear this gorilla costume. The gorilla's face is shaped like a mutant potato, and something about that just makes my day every time I see it. If you want to get a huge laugh and see John in action, click here.
Well, this other gorilla is outta here!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Somebody we know raided...

... the PlayFirst site two weeks ago and has been at it ever since. It is all very shameful and shameless, like that lascivious not-so-handsome prince in Fairy Godmother Tycoon. A's official reason is she's just scouting for good computer games to present her niece as soon as she comes of age (not for another 10 years).

So, what else has A been up to — apart from metamorphosing more and more into Lex, that bookworm with orange glasses, helium-packed voice, green pallor and too many tongues in one cheek?

• On October 29th, A gave in to her baser instincts and fell off the 30:30 wagon. In three days she played Chocolatier, Plant Tycoon, Wedding Dash, Build-a-Lot, Cake Mania and Burger Rush. All rather silly games, but she managed to scratch that itch until it bled and stopped itching.

• A picked her scabs off the floor and returned to arranging them on paper (called poetry). Today is day 11 of Round X. Again.

• After a brief vacation, A is back in the novel-writing sandbox with her favorite playmate, Valerie. We have, more or less, reached the milestone of 20,000 words. There's been a lot of conjecture about God and wine. At some point, A made the hero write: I'm not sure I don't believe in God. After all, I believe in wine.

• Because she fancies herself a fiction writer now, A is trying to inject dialogue into her everyday life. The trick is to pretend it's just God wanting more wine or the wine wanting more of God.

• A had to operate on her laptop because its internal fan was making all sorts of indecent helicopter noises. Inside, she found tons of fluff.

Fantastic, A muttered, a computer who gets hairballs.

What did you expect? Your laptop fan is the closest thing we've got to a vacuum working around here, the husband quipped.

It was a good thing that after the operation, the laptop has had the good sense to keep silent. The husband has been silenced as well. Like God or wine, dialog may have deleterious side effects where a spouse is involved.

• A spent a couple of days photoshopping more pictures for the upcoming issue of Siren. In the process, she realized she's an awful photographer. If there's any straight line in the picture, she's bound to get it crooked. Her eyes were so disgusted after the first day that they gave her a migraine. Pure spite.

• Even though A hasn't driven in over a year, her reputation remains alive in everyone's hearts. Because of the tighter alcohol control on Saturday night drivers, her sister-in-law's husband proposed to make A drive them home sober — this to prove to the authorities that it is actually dangerous to be sober while driving.

• Not a peep out of A's Secret Love Poems chapbook copies yet. She suspects it's become a post office love secret.

• The husband emerged victorious from a smit fraud virus battle (his third). It's a really scary beast because it gets through despite all the anti-virus programs we've got on and once it's in, it deactivates them. A was cheering him on through it all — because she knows it's just a matter of time before her laptop catches it, too.

I'll charge you heavy for the house call, you know, the husband snickered.

You can't, A replied sweetly. We live in the same house together. Plus, you're the husband. I get to use your services for free. It's in the constitution.

• What else? A has decided to do the laundry today... before the pile of dirty clothes topples over, buries her alive and takes over the house and her recently opened Restaurant Empire.

Recent publication:

• The first issue of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal is now up with poetry by Bryan Thao Worra, Russell C. Leong, Reid Mitchell, Heng Siok Tian, Cyril Wong, Bob Bradshaw, Kavita Jindal, Leung Ping Kwan, Christopher Kelen, Mani Rao, Nicholas Wong, Elbert S.P. Lee and someone with a morbid fear of geckoes (especially copulating ones).

An interesting blog and three new 'zines:

• Came across Poet Hound while fooling around with my submissions. It's a blog dedicated to connecting people to poetry whether it be for the first time or attracting seasoned veterans. Some really fab market reviews. If, like me, you wake up some days and don't know where to send your stuff, let the pooch lead you to it!

Mascara Poetry is a neat 'zine which publishes a wide range of styles and voices. They're particularly interested in the work of contemporary Australasian poets, but consider work from around the globe. The keyword with them seems to be innovation.

• For people who haiku and senryu their hours away — Roadrunner Journal may just make the Wile E. Coyote in you howl.

Taiga is a print journal scheduled to go to press in the Summer of 2008 and are accepting submissions for the their first issue until February 29, 2008. Based on what I've gleaned, they seem to like poems that are crisp, clean and eerie — humor is seen as a plus.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

In pre-Halloween mode

Sticking my tongue out today. Have banned myself from touching the laptop because I always end up playing Chocolatier — when I should be replying to e-mails, sending out submissions, calling home, hauling my ass on the treadmill and writing.

In the meantime —

• There was a stomach flu epidemic in our little house in Manila. I declined my sis-in-law's kind invitation to come over and help spread it across Europe.

• My winter wardrobe came out of the closet to inform me that it's already winter.

• The pile of dirty clothes in the bathroom has reached the level of my chin.

• My mom-in-law has, after more than a week, finally recovered from a bad case of hives. Cause, as yet, unknown.

• My two-going-to-three-year-old niece received the Best Creative Design Award for her Halloween costume. She was the only one who showed up as a witch in her class. I have a feeling she's going to top the weirdness test someday.

And talking of Halloween and Blogthings

I Am
(rumored to be)
an Alien

You're so strange, people occasionally wonder if you're from another world.
You don't try to be different, but you see most things from a very unique, very offbeat perspective.
Brilliant to the point of genius, you definitely have some advanced intelligence going on.
No matter what circles you travel in, you always feel like a stranger. And it's a feeling you've learned to like.

Your greatest power: Your superhuman brain

Your greatest weakness: Your lack of empathy - you just don't get humans

You play well with: Zombies
[insert picture of Husband here]

Recent fiction acceptance:

Valerie and I were simply overjoyed when Admit Two — an online journal that features only works of collaboration — accepted our ticklish rabbit story, I Have Names For the Ways They Twitch Their Ears for their March 2008 issue.

This story was in the submission box of A Public Space since last December. A little critter got tired of waiting. Such a shame because they've got a really cool submission system — where you can see the status of your work and withdraw it as you please.

     Submission date: 28 September 2007
     Reply date: 17 October 2007

Recent publications:

• Issue of 3 of Mimesis is now out with poems by Annie Bien, Jeff Calhoun, Anthony DiMatteo, Brent Fisk, Fred Johnston, Matt Merritt, Derek Motion, Steve Mueske, Alistair Noon, Chris Powici, Dave Rowley, Carolyn Srygley-Moore, Jon Stone, Mark Terrill and Emily Tesh. One of my poems, Cordon Bleu is among the samples in the preview page. Am so thrilled to find fellow 30:30ers, Annie and Dave in this issue, too!

Am still waiting for my copy though. Postal service seems sluggish lately — the new postwoman only comes twice week. Am still waiting for my Secret Love Poems (Rubicon Press) copies, which were mailed to me last week.

• The October 2007 issue of Blood Orange Review is now online with poetry by Kate Cumiskey, Ayn Frances dela Cruz, Brent Fisk, Todd Heldt, David W. Landrum, Don Mager, Wendy C. Ortiz, Sasha Pimentel Chac√≥n, Nicholas Ripatrazone, M.E. Silverman and an economy-class passenger who's never made it into any frequent flyer program because she hasn't been flying frequently enough.