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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
Saturday, February 25, 2006
two words only
“So, yeah, I figured you were insanely busy since you are writing about 10% of what you used to write.”
Last night I stayed in. I cleaned up, washed the dishes, made myself some chicken-plus-basil for dinner, took a bath, and read a light, easy book all evening, feeling guilty because I was breaking a sacred promise, but also feeling so exhausted and worn out that I knew the decision was for the best. I felt warm and calm and unflurried.
Ever take one of those chakra tests? I take them every so often, now that my friend w2 introduced them to me. And all my chakras tend to be aligned with the two exceptions: consistent hyperextension in “throat,” and consistent lack in “root.” In fact, my root chakra tends to descend into the negative zone. This makes sense to me, since I spend most of my life feeling dreadfully unrooted… to the extent that my last thesis was titled “adrift.” To battle this, I recognize that I sometimes need to take those evenings to sit and feel a part of a still space and a still mentality.
My thesis advisor wrote an email yesterday in which she said that she thought I might be fighting a new opening in my writing, albeit she doesn’t know what that opening is. Maybe one of the things I’m fighting is the realization that if I’m going to find that opening, a great deal of time is going to be needed, and I’m not sure where I can find that time.
In letterpress, we are working on a project in which we need to come up with two words. The two words have to belong together somehow, but whether it’s as oppositions or parts of each other or twists on each other… is up to us. One of these words we set in a Serif font, all capitals, in the center of a page. The other of these words we set in a Sans Serif, caps and lowercase, asymmetrically, with an ornament and two colors. The presentation (paper) needs to reflect the relationship of the words, as does the alignment of the second word. I have spent two weeks on this project – at least 10 out-of-class hours, and have not even adequately set the words up in the press.
Some of my word choices were:
And so forth. I finally decided on a different word pair that I will share when I’ve finished the project. I’m diggin’ my word choices, but am amazed by how much thought goes into setting up a mere two words on one page each. Maybe this is what is slowing me down right now, the commitment it takes to decide on two words, the overthinking that can go into a single choice.
I have been to three exhibits, three galleries, and a play within the last two weeks, and just thinking about them all makes my head spin. I have read seven chapters on five surrealist exhibitions and just imagining them overwhelms me. I have read four novel-in-progress chapters, reworked one of my own, and written six responses to various readings. I’ve thrown one party, gone to several, including an opening that involved both a punk band that told us all to “go fuck ourselves,” and an experimental jazz band with a red-head who played the saxophone with his eyes completely closed the whole time.
I’ve read the news every day, watched a conspiracy documentary that left me with confusion, and everything is tense right now, what with 50 people killed yesterday in Iraq, and thousands buried in mud, and some in riots about cartoons (I changed my stance on that one; I don’t think it was about freedom of speech, at least not all of it. I think it was about flexing muscles when the neck was already in the headlock), and sea levels rising. Not to mention Bush making every decision I hate, and people cheering Cheney to express their solidarity (having grown up around guns – yes, I was a sharpshooter – I must express my distain for the casual stupidity it takes to shoot a friend who is within eyesight. Kudos for breaking the “look first” rule). The news alone is enough to cause paralysis, watching what comes… at least a man was able to marry his neighbor’s goat, for heaven’s sake.
But I’ve also eaten a raspberry-sundae slowly.
And I think she is lovely. I don’t understand, I can’t see through, I don’t make the same connections, I move differently, I know much less in some ways, I’m scared and notscared, but most importantly, I don’t have a clue anymore how to act around someone I want to let in. The realization that I have been inside my brain/body for so long that it’s only the people who already know my brain/body who can access me, including me. Not that I’m complex or closed off, but that I’m private. And so is she. But we dance together.
In other words, I’m going to have to buck up soon and start to focus, and put all the pieces together somehow, and let them sink inside and root me to something firm and solid and risky and opening and all of that. Oh my. let's find the balleyhoo, j!
Friday, February 24, 2006
best news ever. period.
The world forum has been downright frightening lately, and apprently BBC News saw the need. This is so good I'm quoting it here:
A Sudanese man has been forced to take a goat as his "wife", after he was caught having sex with the animal.In case you think I made this up, oh I wish I had, here is the url: Goat Marriage.
The goat's owner, Mr Alifi, said he surprised the man with his goat and took him to a council of elders.
They ordered the man, Mr Tombe, to pay a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars ($50) to Mr Alifi.
"We have given him the goat, and as far as we know they are still together," Mr Alifi said.
Mr Alifi, Hai Malakal in Upper Nile State, told the Juba Post newspaper that he heard a loud noise around midnight on 13 February and immediately rushed outside to find Mr Tombe with his goat.
"When I asked him: 'What are you doing there?', he fell off the back of the goat, so I captured and tied him up".
Mr Alifi then called elders to decide how to deal with the case.
"They said I should not take him to the police, but rather let him pay a dowry for my goat because he used it as his wife," Mr Alifi told the newspaper.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Y’s afraid of loss, so she engineers it.
I’m afraid of not being able to achieve stability, so I disrupt.
X’s afraid of not leaving her mark, so she never gets started.
Z’s afraid of never finding home, so she denies it.
Perhaps we create those things we are most afraid of; we search them out
because we want to struggle against them and know we are alive.
Closure is a concept that we should all find a few minutes each day to laugh at.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
no boob mistakes
"there are no mistakes with boobs." --LeeLee, my roommate
Here is the picture from this Christmas Break, sent to me by my friend cc (who is the brown-eyed babe next to me). You might not notice, but she is grabbing my boob in this picture, and is in general, an undeniable boob fan. Some friends grab or smack butts, some bite, some pinch, some tap, some kick, some punch... actually, the whole long line of cultivated methods to attach ourselves physically to those we love. Somehow, it's all necessary. I had to laugh at this picture, because some things never change...
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
I broke down and went to McDonalds today in sorrow over missing the delivery of my mattress and having some understandably snotty man tell me via telephone that I would have to wait until Saturday to *get a goddamn bed*. Thus, this brief conversation at McD's:
"Do you want that drink in a bag?" (formal, oh so formal)
"Ummmmmmmmm. No. I'll just tuck it in with the other stuff."
"Wey-ale. We got a soda bag. I'll just put it in there."
She then proceeds to take out a special plastic baggy that has extra grip on the inside to prevent tippage.
"You've got a 'soda bag'?!" (This is me, I am starting to slowly smile).
The woman, who has her arm in a cast and has to this point seemed very tired/bedraggled, looks up at me, looks back down, and slowly starts...
"Ya-ah, girl. We's comin' up in d'world."
...to grin. Oh, glory.
The following was written to me by my advisor, who I've been endearingly skirmishing with (now moved on to teasing) via email in response to the realization that I want to be a little more experimental and theoretical than we hitherto had agreed upon:
"In the end there is no writing without writing
(I think G Stein said this)
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, her name is Anne and I have so many friend Anne's in my life that I should have juuuuuust known.
Somehow a conversation evolved into a German translation with the word "hatchet" in it. When going back in review, it turns out that Babel Fish translated something in the phrase "the week has to hurry itself" into the word "hatchet."
Why does all this make me so damn happy? Giddy?
in response to out of reach
(my age. randomly chosen page from Tao Te Ching to act for the day.)
Do you think you can take over the universe and improve it?
I do not believe it can be done.
The universe is sacred.
You cannot improve it.
If you try to change it, you will ruin it.
If you try to hold it, you will lose it.
So sometimes things are ahead and sometimes they are behind;
Sometimes breathing is hard, sometimes it comes easily;
Sometimes there is strength and sometimes weakness;
Sometimes one is up and sometimes down.
Therefore the sage avoids extremes, excesses, and complacency.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
out of reach
to dance without need for redemption, one toe, pointed and pushing against all that is solid, the other toe sweeping around to take it out of place, the swivel of body, the torque of my waist, darkness and yet the outline of vision.
in 1938, an exhibition in dark, surrealist we walked on fingertips with teddy bareness for our companions, an arm to grasp as mannequin after mannequin with wires or beetles covering their mouths, or perhaps gagged and gashed with goldfish swimming through the cages surrounding their heads. looming fall from the ensquared dark into the circle. of our breath, of our light, of the ring we walk through in front of us. viewing the uterine interior like we were inside, but it had been made onto the outside and we are all men, not buildings. inverted red satchels fleshed full with leaves and soil packed by our soggy trodding feet, bags of emptied coal filled lit and ballooned at the underbelly of a skylight, so all we have are the red red walls, the coals that glow in the center, wrapped circular and symbolical in metal.
i read: chronological story is told by those with no memory.
or something like that.
chronology is constructed by those with no memorystory. chronology comes out of constructions with no memory or story. no memory can construct chronology for a story. we construct our chronological memory as a story to be told. memory cannot chronologize story to be told constructed. a story constructed without memory has no chronology.
what i am remembering as lie, softly so quietly like maybe if i breathe wrong everything will disappear. maybe if i hold an inhalation too long, like was pure selfishness jealous that caused me to hold it;
(acts of pause, the inbetween of exhalation and inhalation, the jiffy of immobility, just for these few flickflickflicks - a rifeness for interpretation. i constantly question stillness, for example. am i being greedy by holding on to that one changing moment? is the fact that i want a sign of my degenerate soul? the soul of a fool; the moment when innocence and selfishness bend across into the other.)
will i turn around and find… nothing?
these last few times of notasking. these last few times of breath, some nervousness, the idea of disappear knowledge – that all will be there 1 and then not be there at 0 or 2, but a life without chronology, a life without memory, a life without story, a life with… (this is not cause for fear or despair, right? but is it cause for distance, turn tao?)
down below, really i’m sure it’s down below where i was reading about when i came before, splashed up against a 1938 exhibition with flashlights and nolights, with mannequins. i can’t help but ask: is this the type of play? the the. the the. the type of play that reaches cataclysmic, like that night when she threw shoes and chairs and books of the weddingfield into the fire piece by piece, and piece by piece i pulled them back and swiveled, drunk and accepting, plastiburning on my hand. back when i was the one to rescue. rescue and swivel, hand in air, hand on soil, ready to sweep another out of flame if that’s where it was going to end up. that type of game. one that speaks to words i cannot find, the lead(led)ing of time-chronology-memory. the type of game where nobody knew where we were, but all the rules were to be figured.
go ahead, walk into that exhibition with just a flashlight. move past the car with the snails released intointerior, the wetness and plants growing along the lines of our mannequins in repose: the sharkheaded driver, the plastibodied passenger. nextweek, see what you’ll find nextdoor: a cattle whip and 2,000 sadists chanting redemption, redemption, redemption. and you’ll know, i’ll know. no dance should be in need of redemption.
click. let's turn on. someone else can pick the music, and i'll just find myself inside it.
click. everyone lines up, everyone on the lines, the here, the people who are upset when i need a place to crash, the splintered timbers of the room that I want… it’s bunkiness, bunkity, and all the spiders that crawl between the wall and the mattress, the mattress and i, but that is the room I want, is that the room I want? And how everything falls away, and how the boat goes to the barn, where i am setting the type, soliciting words and language, asking it gently to come to me.
click. i was once there. i still think about her every day in unbearable knowledge that we are pieces of each other, but it’s sometimes necessary to say fuck off to a part of yourself. maybe that part of yourself that wants to go to a party and never dance, the part without a single word left, the part with too many words, none of them wisdom.
click. i feel so gentle, so close to tears without being crying, without having a tear in my eye, a tender want to, a want to, i want to.
click. if one ever shows up, an exhibition. isn't the if a key? where there will be corridors of pause, of pause and looksee. sometimes sadness rests on us like a blanket, drapes us warm, a laugh choking in on itself, something so huge, it’s funny. but then there are the smallnesses, the little whats, the whatifs, the potential for awkward to exist as an inability to escape the inner linings, their concrete echoes swathed in fabrics: conceal or reveal, reveal or conceal. because disappearance is a harder sort of word than appear.
maybe there is something to be afraid of. a face becomes easy to read, and then it finds itself more apt and skilled to conceal, because that’s what it comes down to, all the ways in which we misread, all the ways that i simply don’t know. a face so hard to read, maybe it’s the truthful face, the one that doesn’t don the easy like it were something to saddle, bridle, and ride along off into a hotspot sinking down.
interesting exhibitions of questions, words, temporary revelations, absence of redemptions (dancing), the sound of a softvoice rising above mushrooms that roam around a redsour soup, desire, desire to find what’s already there, what’s not there, what’s hidden there, what might become there, not to mention what’s also here, and what makes time both sad and perfect both sad and perfect, both.
happy Tuesday, this day.
Friday, February 10, 2006
This is my first setting for letterpress. We had to take a quote from a William Gass essay, and set it. The teach said nobody had ever chosen this quote before (with great surprise), and I thought, well, shit, it's perfect for a first try.
setting this up by hand, pinching the little metal stamps between my grubbing fingers, watching the skin peel off their tips, centering with metal blocks (em-quads, en-quads, ems, ens, 3-to-the-ems, 4-to-the-ems, 5-to-the-ems, brass, copper, hairline), noticing errors, fixing errors, noticing more errors, picking the font, reading about font, copyfitting font, loving font, breaking the lines, listening to acoustic guitar and shuffling while holding letters, pushing pieces around with tweezers, using magnets to align letters, inking letters, finding more errors...
The following was for my Surrealism class. We had to illustrate someone else's dream. I sketched and then watercolored at 6:30am while still in bed in my jammies. It was the perfect way to wake up:
Novel writing: good reads, talking about... i love, love, love my classmates and teacher.
Advising: strange, and will make me look at things differently. No overbelieving in what's on the page, no sirree.
Oh, this isn't a class, but it is really: riding the el, I realized I had left my homework back in the apartment. I realized this three stops away from my Logan Square, and decided to hop off the train and head back (i had worked hard on that homework! and it was purposeless to go on without it!). So I jumped train at Damen and ran down the stairs. But running back up the other side of the stairs, I slipped and fell. Very hard. Ignoring the horrendous pain (oh, drama), I continued up, where I noticed that I was already bleeding through my jeans and couldn't move my leg properly. So, while at home getting my belated homework and trying manically to reach someone in the class, I changed my munged clothes and put on a Big Bandaid. In the end, the scratch seems superficial, but the bruise I have is one of my most monsterous of bruises and makes it hard to bend my knee.
I tried to photograph it, but the picture really didn't capture the sheer "purple mountain majesties" of the patella landscape. And if I can't get sympathy out of a photo, then I'm going to have to rely on my prose. Speaking of which, I've got at least 5 "poor things" out of the deal, which makes it well worth the pain, in my book.
Anyhow, gin in hand, I am thinking over the week. This semester, unlike the last, will not coddle me and make me believe again that everything comes around. Instead, it will make me get a groove in and relearn to work, and to fight for what I want, and to challenge my ego.
I'm up for it.
p.s. too much wine + etch-a-sketch = hippy channeling, not really brilliance.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
der vas a vat in ze house
Last night I made a vat of lasagna. A vat - full out, stir plus toads. I fried onions and zucchini and tofu and garlic. I bubbled noodles in a pot with extra virgin olive oil. I buttered the pan and lay thin slices of curled flat noodles. Indeed, my vat of lasagna was so huge and megolith that I had an extra pan to put in the freezer and enough to feed a herd of enraged Kodiak beefalo. I love having leftovers like this.
It is wicked cold outside but big-sunned and the sidewalks look white-washed, you can even see the water marks where the white-wash seems sparse.
The turtle, Sir Cedric, is pining for sb, who he loves far more than he could love me. I'm trying to adjust.
And I'm thinking about all my friends today. cc (not c2) called from Ecuador this weekend from the beach in a hammock with booze in her hand, and then later with Big Tom, who I haven't talked to in so long. I stopped being angry at cc for ditching me this winter break. I feel delicate towards all things around me right now.
And I've decided that I need to start writing fiction full-bore with a gutsy glory, so I'm going to be shifting blog direction soon, just a warning. Laters.
Monday, February 06, 2006
i love awkward.
awkward is lovely.
stilted and bumbling. sweet, laden with emergence, another favorite word.
and just look at it... it has both an "a" and "w" in there twice, backwards and forwards, almost a palindrome, but too bumbling to get there.
i used to mispell it. but now i don't because it makes sense.
that "awk" sound you make when you are only 10% of the way into a fall, not a bad fall, just a small fall. like when you are ice skating and you know you're going to giggle and get back up. in contrast to the ever popular "shit," the sound "awk" is not something you say right before making a colassal mistake that costs you your life, but is rather the sound you make when a minor trick has hitched your step. plus: you'll survive it just fine.
it can be so delicious to be awkward. the type of "torturous" you enjoy without qualifying as a masochist. the awkwardness of dancing with a new person, watching their rhythm and trying to fit it, or into it, or around it, or with it. the awkwardness of finding your way through a conversation that is embedded in a big question mark. the awkwardness of a cloud just trying to hydrate itself enough to move and shift and sweep.
enough, enough. this is awkward, so i shall go to wine night...
Budget Too Big? Let's Get Streamlined.
Bush plans on reducing the federal deficit by increasing defense spending by 6.9% and also increasing homeland defense by 3.3%.
Hmmmm.... how does this work?
Yep, you got it: he wants to whack back everything about the government that nurtures rather than destroys. He's planning on health care coverage cuts--since it's the most generous health care plan in the world, obviously--and educational cuts--since we're over-educated as a nation--etc i don't want to know.
Reaction: ug, disgusted. Fuck off, you fucker President. You got Alito, you're giving more money to Taking Down AIDs with Jesus, and you don't believe in global warming. Please go away now.
(photo taken from www.mindfully.org)
Also Depressing: Fights over cartoons, riots, burnings, death, etc.
What do I think about recent Cartoons about Muslims? Well, I think it's a test of free speech, no? I was curious about what all of these cartoons looked like, and it took me 10 google searches to find the now explosive cartoons, some of which are offensive and others of which are self-reflexive on the process of looking at others.
Here, look for yourself.
I think overall, it's interesting to see what riles people up. I find the old WWII images of Japanese folks, for instance, quite despicable and racist, mainly because they were used as propaganda. But I wonder about these... What do you think: why is this worth a fight?
Well, here is a good blog, always a nice find: Hategun.
Also on a much more positive note, I found this article hilarious for the following reasons:
1) There's actually a telescope facility in Chile called the "Very Big Telescope" facility.
2) There's a particle out there with the acronym Wimp, and it is the "most likely candidate" to be the material that makes up dark matter.
3) Phillip Pullman, author of the Dark Materials series for children, likens dark matter to consciousness, or the love of matter for matter.
4) We used to think dark matter is cold, now we think it might be hot. This changes the way we should think of dark matter.
5) Apparently, the Milky Way is very big. Bigger than we thought. Maybe the biggest in our universe. Go ego!
Saturday, February 04, 2006
fallow falling fell
Visual Narration Assignment from my New Letterpress Book-Making Class
*Using 1 image, and only 1 image, create a visual narration over a series of pages.
*You may change the image in any way, via digital or hand-done means, to create the narration.
*In this case, "narration" means "traditional linear narration," using Freitag development.
*Use one blank page somewhere in the narration to act as a dramatic pause.
Lessons I Learned
Lesson, or Question, #1: If a single image is cut into pieces and re-arranged in a way that is devoid of the original context (the whole), is it really 1 image, or a new series of images? I think my teacher--and I, when I thought about it--felt I had fudged a bit on the assignment by using a series of pieces from a single poster. The overall effect was not of focus on the capacity of 1 image to change, but rather on the ability of a series of different images to come together.
Lesson #2: A single image can be changed by panning in and out for framing reasons, focusing on parts of an image and blurring others, snipping a fragment out and moving it around within the overall image, removing or erasing part of an image to create new focus, changing the placement of the image on the page, changing the page/paper on which the image is placed, adding or subtracting, changing lighting or hue, and so forth.
Lesson #3: The graphic artists with whom I'm taking the class know quite a bit more about visual design, but more importantly Illustrator and the printer options of our school than I, the writer, do. I will have to hunt them down and have them show me how to print in color on different paper weights and stocks.
Lesson #4: This class is going to be hard and time-consuming. It is going to make me think about the relationship of all materials to all materials. Metaphysical, etc.
Note to #4: Yesturday at 12:57, I accidentally printed Time on the palm of my hand in Universe 12pt. This happened when I spaced out and leaned onto my own letters. By 3:15, I had sweated it all off. Last night I dreamt about language that shattered and scattered across the page. Words revealed their meanings through visual narration of themselves. This class is going to be worth it.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
favorite lately readings
from "A Recipe: How to Produce Erotic Dreams"
Ingredients: One kilo black radishes, three white hens; one head of garlic; four kilos honey; one mirror; two calf's livers; one brick; two clothespins; one whalebone corset; two false moustaches; two hats of your choice.
Pluck the hens, carefully setting aside the feathers...
-Remedios Varo, 1970-
"Where the Wolf Sings"
There is no wolf, of course--
merely the echo of a once-howl
scattered among the undergrowth.
Yet even now the trees seems dangerous, forbiddingly fanged,
flinging themselves about in menace.
But the lake! Only a muddy rose of blood
where the unquiet spirits of fish
flit among drying reeds.
Where have the bright, pulsating waters gone?
And the two linked figures that used to lie
upon the conniving bank?
No one is here any more.
Only some large, idle stones
cumber the glade with white oblivion,
Then suddenly it came, from that obliterated time:
the long, the sad,
the asking, aching, unforgotten cry!
Beyond the diminished forest's utmost edge,
far off and faint, the wolf sang once again.
I heard him.
-Mary Low, 1994-
"Please be advised that I will vaccinate the world with a desire for violent and perpetual astonishment. Disguised in my own presence, I will conduct a horde through the five aqueducts of knowledge, after which their guardians will ask the authorities for replacements. I will provoke prodigies. When I have built the torpid town, certain words will fall into disuse: eminent prominent peerless noble honorable lordly stately august princely majestic sacred and sublime. I will make rhapsodies from grains of sleep. I'll wrap up a manmaking hat and drop it in the mailbox. I'll hold a revolver up to nature. When professional critics lose themselves in the swamp I'll arrange a delegation of chimeras with their own language and their own secrets. As for the night, I will discover all its phases. And I will fall in love."
The three graces had been looking rather sleepy, but at the last words they opened their mouths in horror, then picked up their knitting and fled.
-Dorothea Fanning, 1949-
from "What Is a Woman?"
Pretension is, in fact, a blind alley that leads nowhere because it is a lie. I think we must try to look in through the smog in ourselves and ask who or what is this, and what within this we could evolve, live, grow.
-Lenora Carrington, 1970-
from "I Didn't know Gertrude Stein"
I didn't have time to think about her from an historical angle (she died a few days later), but I had time to speak to her dog.
-Lise Deharme, 1977-
from "Down Below"
I am afraid I am going to drift into fiction, truthful but incomplete, for lack of some details which I cannot conjure up today and which might have enlightened us. This morning, the egg idea came again into my mind and I thought that I could use it as a crystal to look at Madrid, for why should it not enclose my own experiences as well as the past and future history of the Universe? The egg is the macrocosm and the microcosm, the dividing line between the Big and the Small which makes it impossible to see the whole. To possess a telescope without its essential half--the microscope--seems to me a symbol of the darkest incomprehension. The task of the right eye is to peer into the telescope, while the left eye peers into the microscope.
-Lenora Carrington, 1944-
from "The Domain of the Marvellous"
No longer is it a matter of the narrow roads where traditional beauty is offered in its clarity and obviousness to the admiration of the crowds. The crowds were taught the victory of intelligence over the world and the submission of the forces of nature to man.
Now it is a question of seizing and admiring a new art which leaves humankind in its true condition, fragile and dependent, and which nevertheless, in the very spectacle of things ignored or silenced, opens unsuspected possibilities...
-Suzanne Cesaire, 1941-
Surrealist Inquiry: What Do You Hate Most?
1) What do you hate most?
2) What do you love most?
3) What do you want most?
4) What do you fear most?
-Savoir vivre, 1946-
1) Stasis, broken memory, and international, national and emotional violences
2) Gathering: the details, languages, the pieces, knowledge, understanding, together
3) At first I would say "to belong," but to belong to what? Not the wrong place of belonging, I guess. To belong in a group of those who don't belong.
4) The US, silence, ignorance, shatterings, pink, stasis