Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Sleepy-But-I-Can't-Sleep-Post

I had the world's best break in my scintillating routine of soccer practice, soccer games, softball practice, softball games, homework, dance class, homework, dinner, lunches, breakfast, homework EVER, and it came in the shape of a reading at Eastwind Books in Berkeley. My full report is posted at the Re: Angelica's Daughters blog, so do click over if you haven't read it yet.

I'm often guilty of ADD reading, and it seems especially true right now. I've been dipping in and out of a lot of things, but the anthology My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales, (edited by Kate Bernheimer) has claimed my reading-in-bed-time for now, and I have to say that the sinister element in these stories has kept me up more than a few nights. The title is a dead giveaway, is it not, that these are not Disneyesque versions? So far, it feels like an homage to Angela Carter, which is very cool indeed. Two thumbs up.

Also I'm reading from Barbara's Diwata and Maiana Minahal's Legend Sondayo. They make a nice complement to the fairy tales, actually. At Eastwind Books, I also picked up a copy of The Solemn Lantern Maker by Merlinda Bobis, and I'm looking forward to starting it. As for Illustrado, I see it every night as I climb into bed, but we continue to pretend we don't know each other. Why? WHY?!

And I do like my non-fiction, now and again. From the book Nudge I learned it is a proven fact (as opposed to an amusing, but not necessarily true, observation) that two people who have lived together for a long time start to resemble each other. Why? Because of shared diets and eating habits, yes, but also because they imitate each other's facial expressions. I buy this to a certain extent, but let's face it Nudge: my 6'3" smooth-domed, white spousal unit is never going to look like your Nesting Ground Mistress.

The moon is waxing gibbous this evening. I don't know why I mention this; I just like the way it sounds.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Wonders of Self-Googling

I don't generally receive objective, third party feedback on the stories I write. Every once in awhile, though, a voice rings out from cyberspace, and then I feel kinda naked and vulnerable, actually. The other day on Facebook, Cecilia Brainard posted a review of Growing Up Filipino II from Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. The reviewer has a strange aversion to the cover of the anthology, as well as to its marketing position (wha?), but then has some positive things to say about the many good stories in the collection. And then all of a sudden—boom!—your Nesting Ground Mistress merited a mention:
For readers unfamiliar with Filipino fiction, though, the most welcome discoveries in Cecilia Manguerra Brainard's selection here will probably be the stories by Veronica Montes and Dean Francis Alfar. In "My Father's Tattoo," Montes tracks the story of a couple's tense relationship through the eyes of their daughter. Her prose is rich in wry, telling details, from "the young artist" who "surrounded it [the problematic tattoo of the title] with elegant curlicues at no extra charge" to the little verbal game the girl plays with her father to the conversation that the girl's father and uncle have when they go to wake her up from a nap. It closes with a moment of uncertainty that tips over into resolution with just the right light touch.

Hey, thanks! This, of course, piqued my curiosity: has anyone else commented on one of my stories? This review of Philippine Speculative Fiction 5 offered up little 2- or 3-sentence observations on each of the stories in the collection. Here's what the reviewer had to say about mine:
Part-coming-of-age story and part old wives’ folk tale, Veronica Montes’ "The Left-Behind Girl" is a wonderful exposition into a town’s beguiling mysteries that echoes southern gothic sensibilities and thickly veiled dream states. The story, however, is short and it leaves you wanting for more.

It made me laugh because my stories are forever too short. And also: southern gothic? Who knew?! Further googling unearthed a mention of my story, "Bernie Aragon, Jr. Looks for Love," in an academic article from Dance Research Journal. Written by Lucy Mae San Pablo Burns, it's titled, "'Splendid Dancing': Filipino 'Exceptionalism' in Taxi Dancehalls." I wish I could read it, but it's one of those sites that requires a subscription.

And then I said to myself, "That's enough self-googling for you, young lady."

In other literary news, I am reading with Barbara Jane Reyes and Maiana Minahal at Eastwind Books in Berkeley in October 16th. Stop by! Complete information here.