Jane Finds Marginalia in DOGEATERS

Seven years ago, a friend gifted me a handout from her literature course. “You should read her,” she said.

I always remembered that name, Jessica Hagedorn, her remarkably high cheekbones and cool stare, the title, Dogeaters. I have an inkling of what that might mean.

Like her, I am Filipino. Like her, I have hoop earrings, poems in lowercase letters.

I saved that sheet of paper, carried it with me through five moves. I don’t know why I didn’t seek it out then, but I found a used copy at Left Bank Books and have added to the margins.

DOGEATERS

Jane Wins a Liebster Award

“Writing is its own reward.” –Henry Miller

Part 1

Last Friday This Ugly Beautiful City nominated The Adventures of Jane Writer for the Liebster Award. (I Pinocchio you not. Check out the post.)

Hold-up, what is a Liebster?

Previously nominated bloggers present the online award to new bloggers producing promising content. This honor encourages readership in the blog community in a chain-letter fashion.

The Rules

If the nominee chooses to accept the award, they must complete these simple tasks:

  • Post the award to your blog
  • Answer the 11 questions posed by the person who nominated you
  • Thank the blogger for the nomination and link to their blog
  • Ask bloggers you have discovered recently or followed faithfully (with less than 200 followers) if they are interested in participating
  • Nominate the yeses for the Liebster 
  • Create a list of 11 questions for your nominees

This Ugly Beautiful City’s 11 Questions

Q: Why did you start blogging?
A: Since undergrad my professors stressed that all writers should have a blog. It only took me seven years.

Q: How did you come up with the name for your blog?
A: I had already written my first post but blanked on a name. I wanted something simple. I wanted something with Jane in it. Because I move a lot I didn’t want it tied to a place. Because I felt transient in that moment The Adventures of Jane Writer seemed perfect.

Q: Excluding the topic of your current blog, if you started another blog what would it be about?
A: Book reviews. If it had to be eggplants and pumpkins, completely unrelated to writing, travel.

Q: What is one blog or website you recommend in your subject area that you think everyone should read?
A: “Writers’ Other Jobs” featured on The Writers Bloc. It’s fascinating in a Humans-of-New-York way.

Q: What do you do to de-stress?
A: It depends on how stressed I am. I run outside. I visit my favorite lagoon, close my eyes, submerge myself then float. I sing songs loudly, badly, boldly, until all self-consciousness falls away and I am nothing but heart and voice. I breathe deeply and recite a mantra. Just today while driving home I said, “Let it all go. Let it all go. Let it all go.” In the past week, I have done all of these things. Some of them I’ve done multiple times. 

Q: What is the one thing you make sure you do everyday?
A: Laugh.

Q: What would be your theme song?
A: “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars or “Treasure” by Bruno Mars. You get the idea: Bruno Mars, something infectiously dancy. 

Q: What has been your favorite travel destination so far?
A: Always Hawaii. I want to visit every corner, every beach, every cranny, every ma and pa shop.

Q: If someone was traveling to your city and only had 24 hours to spend there, what is the place or places you would tell them to visit?
A: Waimea Bay, The Bishop Museum, The Pig and the Lady, a beachside happy hour to listen to live music and sunset gaze, an ABC Store for Spam musubi.

Q: What is the one thing you always pack on a trip?
A: A book.

Gratitude

Mahalo to This Ugly Beautiful City, a curious and generous blogger living in a fantastic city, for the nomination. Make sure to peruse her blog and share it with any friends or family visiting or relocating to Los Angeles.

Please return for Part 2, “Jane Awards Some Liebsters.”

Jane Recommends “Imposter” via CATAPULT

An excerpt from “Imposter” by Alexander Chee:

I had sublet often in this life, but this time was different. In previous sublets, I’d been around other people’s things, but here I was with my own, and I found I liked my things in this apartment in some way I hadn’t before. I hadn’t been much for possessions, never had spent more than a few dollars on any particular piece of furniture because what was the point of having things if you couldn’t write? You would only sell them in order to write, as I’d learned early on in New York, standing in line at the Strand to sell a few used books just to get lunch. The books on my shelf after all this time have withstood at least a thousand moments when I scanned them, deciding which ones I could or could not turn into money in order to eat if this or that check failed to come through. A library of survivors.

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Jane says: I think I’d be darling at being “writer rich” and sitting in the dazzling light of a crystal chandelier:

I think writers are often terrifying to normal people, i.e. non writers in a capitalist system, for this reason: there is almost nothing they will not sell in order to have this time. Time is our mink, our Lexus, our mansion. In a room full of writers of various kinds, time is probably the only thing that can provoke widespread envy more than acclaim. Acclaim which of course means access to money, which then becomes time.

Jane Recommends “Parched” via VQR ONLINE

An excerpt from “Parched” by Anna March:

Every departure is a confession, an admission of longing, of desire, of unbridled want. It is also a testament to hope, an act of faith that there is something to be found in the coming place, that the next town will satisfy our thirst. That nourishment is the hope of every voyager who ever traversed a dark sea to make his or her way in a new world, of everyone who rode the Conestoga across hard lands for the promise of the West, of any of us who uproot our lives and arrive hat in hand in a new city saying, “Please.” Take me, accept me, let me, feed me. In short: Love me.

*

Jane says: The draw of the West, the spellbinding Pacific blue, the threat of wildfires and natural disasters and how even those dangers won’t keep us away—I feel it too.

Jane Recommends “They Pretend To Be Us While Pretending We Don’t Exist” via BUZZFEED BOOKS

An excerpt from “They Pretend To Be Us While Pretending We Don’t Exist” by Jenny Zhang:

White supremacy tries to reduce people of color to our traumas. Resisting white supremacy means insisting that we are more than our traumas. One quick perusal through the shelves of world literature in any bookstore confirms just what the literary world wants to see from writers of color and writers from developing nations: trauma.

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Jane says: I could quote this article all day. ALL. DAY. Gratitude to Jenny Zhang for representing the struggle of writers of color so honestly, deftly, fearlessly and beautifully. Like the article preaches and practices, let’s stand together and rise above:

[F]or those of us who didn’t grow up entitled, those of us who grew up underestimated, underinvited, undersolicited, underacknowledged, underloved, I say let’s expose each other’s excellence. Be greedy and indulgent when you read the work of the poets of color in this year’s BAP like Saeed Jones, Claudia Rankine, Chen Chen, Rajiv Mohabir, Monica Youn, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Jericho Brown, Natalie Diaz, Evie Shockley, and Airea D. Matthews. And beyond this book, beyond this moment, I encourage everyone to seek out the work of Asian American poets who weren’t included in the anthology but whose poetry we ought remember long after we forget this white guy in yellowname: Cathy Hong Park, Ken Chen, Tan Lin, Hoa Nguyen, Jason Koo, Jackie WangWendy Xu, Trisha Low, Patrick Rosal, Brandon Shimoda, Bhanu Kapil, Wo Chan, Sally Mao, Ginger Ko, Muriel Leung, Jennifer Nelson, and Geraldine Kim.

Read diverse books. Read women. Read everything, especially the writers not readily available to us. Search for voices and share them. And speak up. Speak up. Speak up.