n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

pileage, revisionato

Part of der homehausen exists in an innumerable collection of backyard piles. Yes, each and every one of the following piles collects, not quite entropostically (sic), but rather artistically, within the confines of our little Algerian acreage.

Down below these creations of pileage stands a brand new house of colors sculpted in the muscle endeavors of my family-without-me. I went to Ecuador: old pepto-bismol house. I came back from Ecuador: new tequila-chaser house. But back behind the whole housing situation, yes, thankfully, up back, things are just as they were, organically shooting from whence they began, but recognizable: the movings of everything that already was. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, let me explain.


Most thankfully, I am responsible for approximately one-half of this masterpiece of wooding. I take full responsibility for only my portion. If you look off to the right-hand side of this carefully constructed pile of wood, which I and the brolaw reclaimed from the entarped blue version of wood-care and carted downslope to under the aluminum awning, you'll see the vague shape of my work. Due to certain criticisms (asymmetrical construction), I carefully tied a piece of string from one end to the other, directly at the 24 inches mark, which denoted the in between of two and two. Afterwards, I took the back half of the woodstackage.

I acknowledge that you can't quite make out the back half of the woodstackage from either of above pictures, but I assure you that the two rows for which I was responsible are carefully stacked. In case you're wondering, which perhaps you are not, stacking requires particular attention to linearity, gappage, weight, slant, and dryness. Pedrito and I made the important decision to stack the wood from dry to wet, so you might note the change in dampness discoloration from the front (NE) to the back (SW), wherein the damp chose to be closer to the sea from which the eternal clouds that wet our grounds spring.

By the way, I've been reading far far too much Nabokov, in the particular hue and saturation of Pale Fire, a novel of Dickensesque wordiness, Austonian formalities, and postmodern experimentalism. And I must admit, in my perpetually inebriated state, that this novel has temporarily amused my unworthy brainspace and swathed my verbage with a highly masturabatory and playful coloration that is quite in contrast to my true hillbillian status.

So, to continue, post-admission: Pedrito and I built this very woodpile you see above, and the yang side of things is dreadfully wet and hopefully will dry by next year or so, and the yin side of things is deliciously dry and will warm our humble abode for this long, and highly seeped, winter. I feel a modicum of pride in this work, being and all that my typewriterly body ached for awhiles after having done some real work. All in all, it made me vow to join a gym where I might close my eyes and imagine myself in some feudal state of existence within which the products of my labor are exceedingly tangible, marketable, and definable in terms of success.

Oh, yes, we succeeded in this woodpile.

--- Linearity ---
In an earlier and clipped off version of these entries, I asked the following hypothetical question:
Is it natural for fathers to give eldest daughters over 300 pages of size-14 fonted, single-spaced, copyrighted at least three times per rough draft, paginated by how many pages total this father has written since he decided to become a writer (2,453), so that she might be able to peruse it and give nebulous "comments" about how everything is working? And by “comments,” does this father mean compliments? \Does he mean teacherly advice? Does he mean daughterly advice? Does he mean writerly advice? Should this eldest daughter suppress urges to slash 90% of what is written? Should she suppress urges to give up writing altogether and become a woodpiler? Should she find or create a full moon under which to hooooooowwwwl forlornly?…. And by "natural," I don't mean "normal," because normal has never been within the running, but by "natural," I mean... uhm, well, "acceptable," I guess.
Ah yes, an interesting question, and the answer: a life without woodpiles, splinters of houses we used to live in, is a life without memory.

My father, a man with his own piles, tatters torn up and yes, I reckon I understand some of the reasoning behind why he stays up until 4am writing, and then gets up at 6am to write further, forgets to eat, runs himself ragged trying to pack his days with enough creation to make up for the destruction of years wasted, forgotten and given to squanderers with charm. I can understand why he tabulates his endeavors by the whole instead of by the piece, and puts them together like the whole might be able to explain something the piece cannot. And perhaps I can even empathize with rough drafts copyrighted, like he’s stamping each attempt with the appropriated trappings of officialdom in order to create a kind of shield against theft. Perhaps he knows that theft comes in many forms, and even if nobody would ever think to steal his poems, maybe he knows that people sometimes steal language. So, I guess in a way I understand.

I still get frustrated, and yes, even the limited to two stories 60 pages of beginning, unrevised work is too much to ask a daughter to read, especially when the writing is peppered with Harlequin moments and wanker use of words. It makes me tired; I curl up on the couch and try to make it just through one story, but I’m having a hard time, sometimes it feels like a faith is leaving my own use of words. Comments from my dear friend suggested I ought to just tell him that this is one thing I cannot do, despite the fact that he is helping me with college (the first time I’ve depended on him). But I don’t feel this is right, I don’t know, I do want to help but I can’t do all the pages.

The problem is that my father is one of the two most self-centered people I know, with me falling ten minutes behind him and having to remind myself to Pay Attention Pay Attention Pay Attention to never be like that. And every so often, I have to remind him, squash him down and force him to Pay Attention to the people who need him to watch their lives. This weekend I had a fever and I called him to cancel a meeting and told him I was sick and he responded with “I’ve written my 9th short story, I stayed up all night, and…” and then when I called him on Sunday to tell him I felt better and could meet up with him, he said, “I’ve finished another short story and printed out two earlier ones and bound them and…” It feels like a moment to scream. Oh please oh please, let me always walk some line between being like that and losing my self.

The thing is, he can be so charming when he’s Paying at least some Attention, and that means listening to what he hears.

But let us, namely me, remember that a life without pileage is a life with no material to make forts. Yeah, forts, you know they are good things…

--- Slant ---
Are you a packrack? Does everything make the cut? Will they be stacked, in this case, on the very back of the property in order to annoy the neighbor, under roof, within tossed out bookshelves. Will hoses find boxes find saws find Volkswagen buses find buckets and coolers and tupperware boxes and electrical cords?

I like such things as these.

I’m not a packrat. I have very little and I carry very little and I get rid of what I have on a regular basis. But, I’m not a monk or anything, and I like getting presents and I must admit I’m very pleased to have five new shirts and a bunch of new my-own-books and lent-books and library-books and teaching-next-quarter-books including, in the order I’m reading them:
Memoirs of a Geisha
Pale Fire, Nabokov
Lost In the Funhouse, Barth
Freak Show (on freaks)
Coming Through Slaughter, Ondaatje
My Life, Hejinian
Exquisite pain, Calle
Book of Promethea, Cixous
An Apprenticeship or The Book of Delights, Lispecter
The Waves, Woolf
The Time Traveler’s Wife, Niffenegger
House of Leaves, Danielewski
City of Boys, Nugent
Half a Heart, Brown
Pray for Yourself, Calcagno
This is, in itself, a sign of the type of piles I create. I may not be a packrat, but everyone has their own materiality. For the past two years, I’ve had very little materiality and have read but a handful of books, mainly because I never could concentrate on them and they all made me cry or made my head hurt, and the only things that didn’t create that reaction were motion and work.

And so, I consider it a good sign that I’m wanting piles back in my life again. I will make clutters, or maybe organize the types of piles, or maybe re-sort, or something like that.

--- Dryness ---
This is the unstacked wood before we made something of it. This is where the dry stuff came from, note the blue tarp. Note the blackberry vine.

You may ask: Why have you been denying the piles for so long? Why were you so sad last year? Whatever happened to you?

The answer: Nothing much.
The answer: Honestly, not much. I broke, that’s all. I got torn down. I no longer live under the same roof, but I do live within, and I am happy. I go back and forth between feeling like a pile under tarp, and a pile blown with dynamite and squeezed by vines. But the truth is I’m a pile like every beautiful person I know out there. And these days, I feel sad and haunted; and light like some things just need to be shed and given their own space to be forgotten, tossed in the closet, walked away from like skates after winter, and approached later, when it’s really time to put them to a new order.

--- Weight ---
See here, this is something unseen in Chicago. This is something that should be everywhere. There should be piles; I get nervous never recycling and gather all the grounds and peels and eggshells and onion bits within my house, in little tupperware containers, until I remember there’s nothing I can do with them and just throw them away like they really didn’t count.

Out here, our wastebaskets--divided into multiples, look like this. The rinds on the one side, the branches sliced down on the other. And each will pass down, the first into a tight-packed goo that will leak and slime around and get buried with the newflowers and newtrees planted in spring. Rich rich rich. The second will drift and settle, piles of leaves added, bits of rocky dirt and mulched twig. We will then use this to rim and blanket the ground under new trees, to protect from weeds and drying soil.

I miss the sense that even the thickest layer of bullshit really just needs to be spread flat on the ground to make the land more fertile. It’s the stuff thrown away that becomes just another bag for the landfill.

--- Gappage ---
Look at that mulch. Just look at it, hoorah!

I cried quite a bit this weekend because an old friend of mine who I haven’t seen in months and months, and who hasn’t returned my email with anything but broken promises to call me, and who hasn’t given me her number so I can call her… was in town for two weeks and she didn’t call me until four hours before she was going back to another country. And she told me she had the wrong number, which was true, but she had means of finding me. And she didn’t. When we caught up through some other circumstances, I was so angry and feverish (I was developing a flu bug) that I could hardly look at her much less tell her where I’ve been.

And that’s just it; it takes a long time to see what people have done with themselves. There’s so much that happens from day to day, and sometimes you can’t talk to people, but you know that when they’re in town, you’ll see them in person because they are an “In Person” person, whereas others are telephone, or email, or blog, or whatever people. I think I told myself that this person was a friend who couldn’t write, but at least would spend time with me when she was in town again (I won’t have a chance to see her for a year now).

I don’t expect people to be what they aren’t any more, but I do expect them to be what they are. And it’s just too disappointing when they aren’t. I needed more time to see who she is, to hear her stories, and to think about sharing who I am now.

I’ve just had too many friends disappear, and I’ve had to stop talking to others for some pretty pointed reasons. And this always leaves that question of what it is I must be worth if it’s so easy to leave, or betray, or backstab, or write mean things to me, or make me feel crappy, or whatever it is that one feels they need to do.

But recently I realized: it’s just this one group of friends I believed in. Only one.

But it’s speckled by people I love. I just have to figure it out somehow. Part of me says walk away. Part of me says re-sort the pile. Part of me says it’s my fault. Part of me says the glass is half full. Part of me says: keep yourself safe, don’t go through that again. Part of me reminds myself of all those people, gobs and gobs who call me and spend time with me on my trip to Portland and Seattle and who watch my turtle, Sir Cedric, and who write me even when I don’t have time to respond. Who spend New Years with me and watch Blue Scholars rap and dance. And who call me to have movie nights, and who come over with salads and bread and wine, and pile into the hottub with me and make me laugh. And hug and cuddle with me.

Life is just unexpected… what you find, what you saw coming, what you never even saw. And sometimes I’m a fool about what I see when I look out there. All that material. And of course, shake things up enough and you never know what will grow.
entropostically is not a word.

wow, it's so great that i have spellcheckers to help me out.

um, igus, no offense, but... duh.

look up the word entropy, and then think about what it means, then apply it to letters, pull out the stick, have a little fun, and helloooow bloggerinospace, where we, as in "you and i," can spell whatever we want however we want without worries about someone sucking through our language with a propriety dictionarious.

by the way, oh yes, be afraid, but i'm an English teacher....ahhhhhhh! hide your children, my dear friend.
-the rind picture is the most beautiful. how?

-have you read nabokov's autobiography? increadible.

-working to read through all my unread books, i just finished reading the time traveler's wife. currently reading house of leaves. in that order.

-there was something else.
-you like the rind one, huh? orange is always good. i like the top two... mostly the burn barrel one, I guess - the char right on next to the green, it startles me to see it.

-i haven't read it. i haven't read any nabokov before, as shocking as that is... but i'm thinking about slowly ammending that, since "Pale Fire" is fascinating in a writerly sort of way. i'll have to check out the autobio.

-hmm. interesting order. my friend, c2, recommended the tt's wife, and my friend nm gave me the house of leaves, which i've wanted to read forever and a day, but will have to put off until i get some work-reading done first.

-i wonder what else.

-maybe you should create a personae of chosen initials, so i have a reference point. all these anonymous comments suddenly. where are they from?
very well, exempli gratia. makes me feel better. -bz
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