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Tag Archives: Don't Look Back

  • Words of Love

    Ah, love, that writers' muse!

    To get you in the mood for romance and love this Valentine's Day weekend, here are some excerpts from our archives to share with you concerning love. And because we know you love books (and we love book lovers), scroll down to the end of this post for a gift from us: a coupon code good for 30% off your entire purchase at our online store. (Excludes used books.)

    * * *

    The Sound of Hilo RainNot only did Asa love Nancy, but Nancy loved Asa. This was romance. Just like the movies. In fact, this was better than the movies. This was really, really something. I was glad I had joined Asa at Orinoco. I was learning something. After this, everything else would be dull stuff.

    “How do you know she loves you?” I asked.

    “The way she looks at me, dummy.”

    “The way she looks at you?”

    “Yeah, the way she looks at me.”

    “How does she look at you?”

    “For Christ’s sakes, do I have to tell you everything?”

    “Sure would be nice, Asa.”

    - From “Romance at the Swimming Hole,” The Sound of Hilo Rain by Roy Kodani

     

    * * *

    Don't Look Back“Why don’t you tell me more about what’s happening in your love life? You said it’s on the rocks?”

    “I’ve never been great with relationships,” she admits. She tucks her legs underneath her. “It’s one reason my older sister and I don’t get along. She was very angry at me for seducing her husband.” She rolls her eyes derisively.

    I try to hide my shock but she notices my discomfort immediately.

    “What?” She arches a perfectly plucked eyebrow. “It’s not as if we can control whom we love. Or desire.”

     

     

    - From “Pele in Therapy” by Darien Gee, Don’t Look Back: Hawaiian Myths Made New edited by Christine Thomas

     

    * * *

    My Name is Makia“Makia, I really like you.”

    “You nice, too.”

    “You have a girlfriend? A lady you’re close to?”

    “I have friends, nothing romantic. I was married before.”

    She thought about that.

    With all I had to cope with I didn’t think there was anything there to love. I felt bad for her. I told her. I wasn’t being cruel, but I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. I wanted her to know, “Look at me, you’re out of your head.” The place for her was not with me. She was haole and she was rich. She didn’t have the disease. I was fifty-one. She was in her forties.

    But it was tough to say no to Ann. She slowly started to cut the resistance. And we had fun together, joking each other. She thought I was something, but she was something. She said she loved me and I gave in. Despite my fears I began to see a life with this woman who was so different from me.

    - From My Name is Makia: A Memoir of Kalaupapa by Makia Malo and Pamela Young

     

    * * *

    Frank, Sammy, Marlon & MePeggy was as bubbly in person as she was on the screen. She was very warm and friendly. No star-like airs. During the lunch she casu­ally asked, “So, where is Mrs. Sherman?”

    “There is no Mrs. Sherman,” I answered.

    Her eyebrows shot upward. She paused and smiled, “Oh!”

    She was a star entertainer. World famous. Played the best hotels and nightclubs. She had appeared in dozens of films from childhood and guest-starred in all the top TV shows. Me? I was just a hack news­paper columnist, way out in the blue Pacific. A great star like Peggy Ryan certainly couldn’t take our Hawaii romance seriously. Marry me? Impossible.

     

    - From “Peggy Ryan,” Frank, Sammy, Marlon & Me by Eddie Sherman

     

     

    Feb2015Coupon

  • M.I.A. Art & Literary Series Presents Don't Look Back

    Don't Look BackJoin us at the January 2013 M.I.A. Art & Literary Series evening on Monday, January 21 at Fresh Cafe’s Loft in Space (831 Queen St.), 7:30pm - 9:00pm, to hear readings from Don't Look Back editor Christine Thomas and contributing writers, Timothy Dyke and J. Freen. The event is free and open to the public.

    To whet your appetite, here's a teaser taste of the three authors' stories. (Click through for longer excerpts.)

    Timothy Dyke's story, "No Look Back," inspired the anthology's title. His take on the legend of Māui the Fisherman:

    I’m trying to construct a tale about my friend, Logan Cabrera. It’s difficult for me to look back at all the events that happened between us and find one clear instance of narrativelaunch. I could begin on the day we met, or on the day I was born. I could focus on the way the trouble started. I could start with the morning I came out of the closet. I could begin today and move backward.

    Back in the day, there was a high school teacher and a former student. Once upon a time, I drove the kid out to Sand Island when he was strung out on OxyContin. I could begin with the moment I picked up the telephone. I could describe the afternoon in Phoenix when I watched him snort heroin through the shaft of a ballpoint pen. Or I could start, as I often do, by wandering off on a tangent connected to some recent conversation from English class.

    I teach an elective for high school seniors called “The Bible as Literature.” Early last semester, I was talking to my students about the story from Genesis about Lot and his wife. I find that story hard to analyze, and I was asking the kids in my class to explain specific plot points. Some of them have it in their heads that God destroyed Sodom to purge his land of gay people, and while I wasn’t necessarily trying to contradict their upbringings, I was attempting to steer them toward a more nuanced interpretation.

    “Hey,” I asked my class as we got to the part where Lot’s wife turns to a pillar of salt. (She would have been fine if Lot had resisted the temptation to turn around and check on her.) “Doesn’t this remind you of the Greek myth of Orpheus?” They looked at me with mild recognition. “In Greek myth, Orpheus goes down to the underworld to rescue his lover, Eurydice.” I saw a kid move a thumb toward his iPhone, but I ignored him. “Do you all know this story?” Most did, but some didn’t, so we etched out important details: Orpheus is allowed to take Eurydice from Hades, but he’s told that when he exits the underworld, he’s not to look back at her. He starts walking and, as he gets anxious, he turns around to gaze behind. Eurydice disappears, never to return again. Erica, the girl with the mushroom design on her hoodie, announced that a Māui story went the same way.

    Click here to read more of "No Look Back" by Timothy Dyke

    J. Freen's modern version of the legend of O‘ahu Nui, the Cannibal King, and the Ai Kanaka has been popular at our past reading events:

    Try GoogleEarth 1188 Bishop Street, Honolulu, Hawai‘i. Take off from above the mainland, cross the Pacific in a second or two—makes you kind of dizzy the first time. Before you know it you’re above the harbor, coming in, coming in, mouse in hand—hold it—hovering above the office tower on the corner of Beretania and Bishop, at the gateway to the city’s financial and legal district. Lots of stuff goes on here, interesting stuff, but to find out you need to climb out of your computer screen, put on some clothes, some shoes, and hit the street for real.

    It’s a toasty January morning in the city. You feel the sun on your face. You are standing on the corner, looking up at the steel and glass tower. In front of you is a short, dark-haired fellow dressed in a bland aloha shirt and neatly pressed slacks—the uniform of the local businessman. His name is Case Izumi. Follow him. He won’t notice you because, actually, you’re still back home, staring at the screen, dressed only in your underpants. I was just kidding about making you do anything realworld today.

    His finger is on the button for floor number 21 and up we go. Suite 2110 is to his right, the door with the tasteful sign that reads: Alvin Alakawa, Attorney at Law. Push the door open, and the warm and pleasing face of the receptionist greets the visitor.

    Her name is Kilikili, which means “fine misty rain” in Hawaiian. The kind of rain that often fills Nu‘uanu, the big valley behind downtown, in the morning and evening of a day like today. Kilikili’s last name is Pulena, a famous name in Hawai‘i, the family name of a long line of kings and nobles. She is proud of this but more proud, truth be told, of her two sons, Kai and Kawika, aged six and seven—kids she has raised as a single mom ever since their dad took off and left her to fend for herself, which she did, landing a job with big-time attorney and politician Al Alakawa. For six long years now she has been Al’s factotum, a fancy Latin word that means slave treated like dirt.

    Click here to read more of "If You GoogleEarth 1188 Bishop Street" by J. Freen

    Editor Christine Thomas was inspired to assemble an anthology of re-invented Hawaiian legends when she discovered that a story she had in the works bore similarities to an old Hawaiian myth:

    Pua taps on the redwood door of Kai’s room, and then shouts her brother’s name loud as she walks in. The room is dark, the afternoon sun blocked by a coarse bamboo shade; when she rolls it up, Kai’s deep voice cracks, asking her to close it again. She hears but acts like she doesn’t, leaning over the bed to peer at his face, casting a new shadow over him. She keeps her voice crisp, not wanting to betray worry or acceptance of what could still just be elaborate self-pity.

    “What you doing? I have for go school or work ev-ery frick-in day and you just lying in bed whenever you like. No fair.”

    “Go. Away.”

    “How ’bout I lie down and you go serve grumpy mainlanders at that dumbass Convention Center. ’Kay? Get up or you going be late.”

    The mattress dips as she squeezes in beside him and then shakes as she forces a laugh. But when humor provokes no movement or response, the knots return to Pua’s stomach, tentacles tightening. Tutu leans her head in, then vanishes.

    “You okay? Should I be worried?”

    “It’s nothing. Just go. Go to work.”

    “Tutu says you’re not eating. And you sit in here all day, see nobody or even talk. I mean, alone time is one thing, but…”

    Silence.

    “You need to eat, Kai. Get fresh air.”

    She stares at the ti leaves outside the window, can almost feel the heat soaking into the soft fibers. She gets up and turns on some music. Still nothing.

    She is definitely going to be late, and if it’s even one minute they dock her pay. So she asks the inevitable question, utters the name she thinks will rouse her brother and allow her into his thoughts.

    “Is it Eliza?”

    Click here to read more of "Places of Entry" by Christine Thomas

  • Geckos in the Garden

    As we slide into summer, we spend more time pau hana on the lānai, listening to the sounds of the geckos calling to each other and swatting bugs…but do we ever think about the lives of those little creatures?

    Two of our writers have, in very different ways.

    In Gecko and Mosquito, a children’s book written and illustrated by the late Melissa DeSica, Gecko—the house bully—has embarked on a one-lizard mission to eat every bug in the hale. He’s only a few inches tall, but that’s still big enough to be a bully when there are smaller creatures around the house—like Mosquito and her friends.

    “I’m the head honcho,
    I’m bigger than you!
    Who’s smarter? Who’s stronger?
    Mo‘o, that’s who!”

    Gecko may be bigger, but he’s definitely not smarter. And Mosquito is tired of being chased and harassed by the greedy fellow.

    “I must find a good way to stop him somehow,
    And help save my bug friends from being kau kau”

    So all afternoon she racked her bug brain
    For just the right plan to make Gecko refrain
    From serving her friends as his Catch of the Day.
    Why, he’d never imagine the trick SHE would play!

    What is Mosquito’s clever plan to free the household bugs from Gecko’s tyranny? You’ll just have to pick up a copy of Gecko & Mosquito to find out!

    For a different take on the secret lives of geckos, turn to University of Hawai‘i professor Gary Pak’s short story, “Language of the Geckos” in the anthology Don’t Look Back: Hawaiian Myths Made New, edited by Christine Thomas.

    Gary’s story was inspired by ‘aumākua tales of the mo‘o:

    In the evenings, when I was small, I would look out the screened windows of our house at the geckos, their translucent undersides sometimes showing an egg or two. Geckos covered the outside of our house, scurrying this way and that, calling or challenging each other with staccato voices, and once in a while one would find its way inside. I never was able to see it inside; it was just too elusive, too fast, too deceptive. But once in a while, its call would give it away, or in the morning I’d notice droppings on the kitchen counter or along the inside of a window. Geckos were all around us all the time.

    Back then, I never knew about their significance to the ‘āina, what they represented, their connection to Hawaiian mythology, or how some believe the mo‘o to be their ancestor or ‘aumakua (guardian spirit). It was something I never thought about. Like the spirits and ghosts that freely meandered all over the land of my birth, I just lived with them. They were just a part of me, and perhaps I could say that I was a part of them. Only later, as an adult, did I learn that geckos, or perhaps only some of them, were considered mo‘o and an important part of Hawaiian mythology and the Hawaiian ancestral belief system.

    Click here to read an excerpt from “Language of the Geckos.”

  • Watermark Publishing Sweeps Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association Cookbook Awards Category

    The annual Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association’s Ka Palapala Po‘okela Awards were announced Friday, May 11, 2012. Watermark Publishing’s nominees in the Cookbook category, A Sweet Dash of Aloha: Guilt-Free Hawai‘i Desserts & Snacks by Kapi‘olani Community College and The Hawai‘i Book of Rice: Tales, Trivia & 101 Great Recipes by Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi, swept the category, taking the top Award of Excellence and the Honorable Mention award, respectively.

    The judges praised A Sweet Dash of Alohafor its departure from the norm in Island cookbooks, saying,

    So many locally published cookbooks are mishmash collections of ‘local food’ recipes. A Sweet Dash of Aloha is a refreshing well-focused, well-written cookbook that offers a new angle on local flavors and ingredients, combining simplicity and clarity with a sophisticated understanding of food, nutrition and health.

    The Hawai‘i Book of Rice received compliments for its comprehensive coverage of the Aloha State’s favorite grain:

    Tsutsumi has compiled a collection of dishes that reflect local tastes while exploring new and creative uses of rice. With its recipes for salads, appetizers, entrées and desserts, The Hawaii Book of Rice is certainly versatile. The book’s chapter on the history of rice in Hawai‘i is a well-researched, delightful introduction to the recipes and offers a solid backdrop for the social and economic importance of this local staple.

    This marks the fourth consecutive year that a Watermark Publishing title has received the Award of Excellence in Cookbooks. Last year’s Award of Excellence went to The Blue Tomato: The Inspirations Behind the Cuisine of Alan Wong by Chef Alan Wong and Arnold Hiura. Previous years’ recipients were Kau Kau: Cuisine & Culture in the Hawaiian Islands by Arnold Hiura (2010) and The Island Bistro Cookbook by Chef Chai Chaowasaree (2009).

    Don’t Look Back: Hawaiian Myths Made New edited by Christine Thomas; Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii by Frances Kakugawa; and The Cocktail Handbook: Cool Drinks from Hawai‘i’s Hottest Bartenders by Jesse Greenleaf and Amie Fujiwara were also nominated in other Ka Palapala Po‘okela categories, but did not take home awards.

    Our nominees & winners. Back row, left to right: Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi (The Hawaii Book of Rice); Christine Thomas (Don't Look Back); Amie Fujiwara and Jesse Greenleaf (The Cocktail Handbook); Watermark Publishing publisher George Engebretson. Front row: Wanda Adams and Adriana Torres Chong (A Sweet Dash of Aloha)

    Each year, the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association presents the Ka Palapala Po‘okela Awards to recognize and honor the best of Hawai‘i book publishing from the previous year. “Ka Palapala Po‘okela” literally translated from Hawaiian means “excellent manuscript. ”

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