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

Thursday, November 30, 2006

wandering, happy, some snow, eggs

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

nan goldin & picturessss

I went to see Nan Goldin lecture today after a long day of presenting my own work, and chatting about the good-o projects of those in my class. Anyhow, I was pretty excited to see Goldin and waited in line for a good long time. Her photography is just stellar. Here's one of her photos (not my favorite picture, but my favorite subject, a woman named Cookie who died of AIDs far too young):

Anyhow, so many of her pieces are brutally raw, vibrant, seedy. The pictures I really admire are mostly document style slices of the people who were dying from AIDs in the 80s and 90s. All of the people she took pictures of were her close friends and there's that closeness, but also some kind of distance-maybe an awareness that the camera doesn't come from the same social strata. By which I don't mean that Goldin herself wasn't in the same place/space as them, but there's a pushed-up kind of wariness in the eyes of so many of those photos. And yeah, they were dying and humanity was ignoring.

Her pictures also examine sexual politics, gender issues, or "coupling" as she called it in her lecture (spurning the tidied up words as politi-speak). She rather horrifyingly documented cases of domestic violence in her own life - pictures of skull fractures bruising through the skin after her boyfriend beat the crap out of her. But also queer relationships--both male and female, very graphic, sad when added to the slow decay/death of this community-the tracing of a person from gorgeous and alive to when they're lying in a casket, well, it kills me as I imagine it happening to my friends, but it must have destroyed some part of her to be witness to so much death and violence.

Anyhow, her lecture.

When I thought about the life she puts up there for her viewers, well, I guess she was exactly as I might have imagined her. But to be honest, I feel like her pictures say more than she does. Every now and then, she said something pithy and direct, like about how she hates set-up pictures because they help reify the postmodern idea that there's no difference between nonfiction and fiction, when she feels like so much of what's nonfiction reached out and slapped her life good. Only she said it a bit more round-about and mumblatory than that.

I partially agree with her... on the ease to which we claim that nothing is true, all is fiction. But I'm sad that we can't quite get to the point when fiction and nonfiction can both be true, or false. Our fictions can bite too... look at the goddamn war we're in. So, I don't agree with her that set-up photos are always market-driven and false, but I do see that she's chosen her place in the photographic world. But I also thought her newer work, a piece she screened tonight called Sisters, Saints and Sibyls, a mixed-media installation-type piece with mostly pictures, but some video mixed in, didn't really have the power her earlier stuff does. After thinking about it a bit, I'm not sure, but it seems like she moved away from showing a brutality, a violence, a pain... into glorifying it a bit. These long shots of her drug-use and the holes it ate away into her arm, well, it seemed kind of like she let herself get trapped into something.

She said earlier in her lecture that her pieces had no story, that she wasn't selecting a narrative like some of the other artists in the Art Institute Exhibit, but rather that she was simply showing what was, regardless of whether it fit into a story. Yes, that makes a beautiful kind of sense for the hidden worlds of the AIDs epidemic and domestic violence that she was capturing, but I think the denial that she is creating a story with these pictures has gone to the point perhaps where she has internalized a story she's been through or seen too much. Maybe I'm wrong, but I felt something else was disturbing about the stuff she showed tonight than the harshness of that world, the harshness of insane sisters and heroin needles, but rather what caught me was why she would keep at this for so long? Maybe that's just the very non/fiction she knows now... not about overcoming suffering, but about leaning into it. Anyhow, the artistic aspect felt like a bit of a stretch to me.

Oh well. I still love The Ballad and her other earlier stuff. And it was great to see her off the page.

Now, I'm off... my brain is fried and I'm having a hard time actually coming up with words. ug.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

el dia de gracias

I have been happy, and feeling like me.

although i have done nothing of the much, and spent Thanksgiving mostly by myself, i have been full and calm. it's hard to write about calmness, about the normalities of stress and business, of strange flutters incomplete and a writing life churning but not yet on the page.

today a new friend and i went and printed out a bunch of my summer photos on fancy big paper, and it was exciting to see each one after the 30-minute slow agonizing wait. but that someone i hardly know volunteered to help me with this... and help me with screenprinting text overtop if that's what i want, well, i guess i'm pretty lucky.

i like feeling a little bit nervous and full of too many things to do. i'm fretful about the idea of moving during this, the Encrazed Time, but i know it will get done. now i just have to finish my material for critique week. and figure out what to do about the pining.

and i was just thinking about something that happened last week when i went grocery shopping: having just run out of organic coffee, and after dragging my heals on buying a new batch, I realized quite profoundly that my life is incomplete without my morning brew... and thus went to the store and with a sigh, picked out the organic stuff that didn't happen to be on sale. and when i got up to the counter, some boss-dude was giving the sales clerk a hard time. he had out his little clipboard and was looking all solemn and making dash marks whenever the sales clerk would even move. she cracked some joke about needing a bagger even though nobody was in line, and the manager didn't even smile a tiny bit, but made another note on his clipboard. so, this sales clerk and i exchanged a look that read something like: some mighty big-pants has a billow up his slacks, no doubt. and then she picked up my organic coffee and ran it once, then twice over the scanner without it making a beep. so she looked over at the manager, who was still focused on the clipboard, and then without any acknowledgement to either me or him or the organic coffee itself, tossed the coffee in my bag. y whala... free organic morning o'happiness.

so i'm content even without, but the things that keep landing my way make me smile.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

this song

has been inside me all day.


I want to live where soul meets body
And let the sun wrap its arms around me
And bathe my skin in water cool and cleansing
And feel, feel what its like to be new

Cause in my head there’s a greyhound station
Where I send my thoughts to far off destinations
So they may have a chance of finding a place
where they’re far more suited than here

I cannot guess what we'll discover
We turn the dirt with our palms cupped like shovels
But I know our filthy hand can wash one another’s
And not one speck will remain

I do believe it’s true
That there are roads left in both of our shoes
If the silence takes you
Then I hope it takes me too
So brown eyes I hold you near
Cause you’re the only song I want to hear
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere

Where soul meets body
Where soul meets body
Where soul meets body

I do believe it’s true
That there are roads left in both of our shoes
If the silence takes you
Then I hope it takes me too
So brown eyes I hold you near
Cause you’re the only song I want to hear
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere

(Death Cab For Cutie, "Soul Meets Body")

Sunday, November 19, 2006

what the hell is going on...

...in Iraq?

here, here, here, here, to say the least.

how are we going to get out of this one? how are people going to recover over there?

cover the costs

final art sale profit (minus school cutout) = $51.
production costs = $41.
oy vey.

i was pretty antsy yesterday, realizing that at the very least, i was at the wrong venue (along with being convinced i had chosen the one career that was going to land me in debter's prison), and then exhausted and bummed by the end.

but afterwards i ran into a friend who gave me a ride home, took me grocery shopping (in her car, so i could get orange juice, and four boxes of soy milk), stayed for dinner, and then went out with me and watched Borat. there were a couple of scenes when i almost fell out of my seat, i was laughing so hard. one in particular made me shriek like a pinched baby (but happier). i hadn't really heard anything about the film, or its background, so i didn't have any expectations or preconceptions, which made it all the more perfect.

i was cheerful and happy when i got home. and today i washed clothes and dishes, mopped the floor, tidied, ate sushi and firmed up the idea that i'm actually moving. oh, and i found a piece of mail i had overlooked that had the rest of my fishing pay, which was enough to lift me to giddy. so... everything is feeling much calmer and more approachable, and i'm looking forward to stuffing myself on thanksgiving...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

revise this, sell that, business cards

okay, I really shouldn't be taking the time to post anything, but tonight was the first night of the holiday art sale and it was great and intriguing and I hardly sold anything, but when I did it was an adrenaline rush, how capitalist am I. Tonight was the big richie-rich night for all the folks with money enough to pay for $50 tickets so they could come and get first glimpse at all our wares. The sale takes place in an ancient ballroom with baroque-ish ornamenation and spotlights were poised on the mezzanine, brushing down and blinding us with bedazzle all night. Very interesting to see the types who can afford the big tickets. There were a few really nice folk who came by and asked questions, but not too many really even though I've got a good spot. I was really happy that my roommate looked so askance at my chapbook-thingies or it all might have been a big letdown because for awhile there I was contemplating what would happen if I sold all my letterpress books, which would put me in good with Xmas shopping and also make me feel like my words have heft and weight to them... but only a few people looked at my letterpress and maybe two folks looked at my chapbooks, and that was just about it.

Interestingly enough, the piece I made for my sister/brolaw's birthday present - the item that I had tagged as cheesy and silly and not really worth much of anything - was the piece I sold two of... funny that "how to be a pirate" on linen has selling power these days. One of the two people who bought this asked me for a business card, which I didn't have, and then asked me to write down my contact info and website and told me it was all about marketing, which made me laugh. He was really cute actually. So, for about the first hour I was feeling kind of crappy about things and about my stuff, but there was free pizza beforehand and free drinks (!) during and so I had a few rum and cokes and warmed up to the crowd.

The other stuff around the art sale was a real hodgepodge - the paintings and photos seemed to be the highest sellers and people were selling them for over $400 bucks at times... some pieces I thought were really great, and some less so. But t-shirts, jewelry, glass works, ceramics, screenprinting, stuffed animals, embroidering (my table mate is another writing student who embroiders these wonderful phrases onto canvases... my favorite is "drag it around with you. people appreciate that."), patches, boxes, and so on ad infinitum. There are a few pieces I actually like quite a bit myself and I'll have to see what's around later - the sale goes on for another two days. Hopefully I'll sell a few more when the place is open to the general public, but I've got my bearings now and know what I'm doing there.

Which is people watching - how fascinating. There's one dude a table over who has a business card that proclaims him the "founder and CEO" of his own production company, which makes me laugh mostly because I get the feel from him that he's very serious about this. He came over multiple times during the evening and tabulated how much he had made and re-told us his monetary goal several times ($400) and assessed who had sold what and how much for, and told us we should jack up our prices (even though they weren't selling at the prices we have!). He basically loaded his table with everything he's ever done in the painting department, wore his cellphone attached to his belt, and a jaunty little hat perched on the side of head. Very funny; it felt like watching someone on coke, and who knows.

There was another great fellow too, who was wearing four ties under a very snazzy suit - not corduroy, not linen, but some thick material - and he paced around with a golden fan, snapping it open and waving it from time to time. I liked his paintings, pretty abstract and he took the time to read my letterpress book and made a few nice comments about it, along with admiring the jewelry the girls had made on the table to our right.

The guy across the corridor from us was wearing the classical corduroy jacket and looked pretty innocent and nervous all night - he was working with screenprinting and also digital pictures he had printed out on Rives BFK. I went over and pumped him for information on his process and where the pictures were taken, and he looked much more relaxed after he sold a few pieces (he looked very worried for the first two hours).

The guy behind us was in the Visual Communication department and he had these really beautiful graphic novel-type comics that I really enjoyed looking at. He was also very personable and we gossiped a bit about letterpress because he is TAing for that class this semester.

One of my students was also nearby - behind me - with some very abstracted painting with gold dust and oil paints, explosive type pictures, and she sold a couple and seemed very cheerful and it was great to be near her, and we talked a little bit about drinking during the sale and how that made it all better.

Anyhow, I've got to run because I have a major revision due tomorrow on a piece that I'm having a hell of a time revising (revising would be one of my rings of hell, equivalent to being halfway buried upside-down in slowly solidifying crude oil). So, off I go......

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

a little cold +

So, about my dream last night. yes, I know how fascinating dreams are to other people but I’ve been having some doozies lately – stark, incredible landscapes.

Well, last night’s took place mainly on a large swampland that lifted up into lightly forested hills. So, I was out there walking around and I ran into this shaman I know and somehow s/he knew about my crush (god, just the word humiliates me). So I felt embarrassed about this, but I knew the shaman had met the person I liked. So I asked her if she didn’t think the person was very crush-worthy. The shaman laughed at me, very gently though, and said she was going to show me something.

She put on this leafy outfit and started dancing with a bunch of other people who turned up for the ritual. I watched from a tree the first time. What this group did was form a long contra line and start doing abstract animal dance-motions, but then it slowed down and the shaman said they had to do this hand motion (waving their hand from their nose to their ear, keeping it vertical) until “the energy is right." One person asked, “what if the energy never is right?” and the shaman said, “then we will make this motion for eternity. You up for it?”

I thought the person would leave right there, but instead he nodded his head and kept making the motion. Pretty soon, the shaman declared, “the energy is right” and then told everyone to envision themselves as a bee, and to move like one, and to be a bee. So, they all start buzzing and moving and dancing in the line, but I could see it, this ecstatic energy taking over and everyone got really into their own world, but then they were moving faster together and suddenly everybody took off running in different directions through the swamp.

The shaman smiled at me. Anyhow, I thought about it for awhile and then told the shaman that I wanted to do the ritual too. And so that’s what we did… the ritual exactly the same, including the man’s question. And when we did the honeybee motions, I felt this feeling swelling up through me, not any definable feeling, just a sensation of connection I guess, and suddenly it was uncontainable and so I took off running in the swamp. And it felt perfect to be running, my feet in non-running shoes but touching the ground like I were 50 pounds. And I saw a little kid I know and ran after him, tickling him and shouting some story until he laughed and climbed some stairs. And the swamp had frogs and other animals, and I felt delirious with running. At some point I found a stray horse without a saddle and I rode him for awhile (but he was a plodder), and then I got off and ran some more, until:

“Wham!” I ran back into the shaman. And s/he smiles at me again and says, “you know I ran into xxx back in the swamp, right?” and I said yes, and the shaman said, “Well, you asked about whether she was crush-worthy, and now I’m going to say: I thought her beautiful and loved her with the same love I have for each member of the universe.” And I knew exactly what s/he was saying, and then felt a little laugh at myself because the feeling of running was huge.


So, that was my dream and it’s pretty much how it was… I took out a bunch of random shit that happened in the swamp that I wouldn’t even know how to describe, but my dreams have been very story-like and mysterious and long, since I’ve been sleeping about 10 hours a night trying to fight off this bug (not a whine, g, just a statement of fact).

And I've made some big life decisions recently; namely, I’ve decided I’m going to move, and I’ve told my roommate. I was really really stressed about telling my roommate. I think I imagined tears and thrown objects and such, but she was just like, oh, okay, when you leaving? It made me reconsider the apple crisp I had baked to bribe her back into a good mood after all the tears and stuff.

Later, she got her revenge though… I showed her the little chapbook I’ve been working my ass off on for the past few days – it’s nothing super huge, obviously, but I was feeling overly-pleased with it until she said, “oh, that’s cute. Are you making them to give to your students?” And when I said, "no, they’re for the holiday art sale," she looked kind of dismissive and said, "well good luck."

I think I needed that comeuppance, because I’ve been floating high on the idea that I might make money on the sale and buy all my Xmas presents, but now that I think about it, I’ll be lucky to cover my costs and maybe I should just shoot for that and be pleased if it happens. Hopefully it will, since my costs weren’t so tremendous as to be out of reach. And really, I’m pleased just to have had the experience of whipping together a few of my pieces and thinking about how I could set them up… it was a very basic process, since when I started working in Adobe InDesign, I just about had a heart attack out of confusion, and swapped back over to Microsoft Word (haha). I only used Adobe Illustrator for the cover, so it’s a pretty low-tech deal.

Anyhow, I finished it and I’m happy with that, I should back away from the high it creates in order to be realistic before I go to the sale.

But I’m still moving. To a place with heat. And it’s by the lake and I’ll talk more about it later, once it’s cemented down, blah blah. The most exciting part of this however is that by deciding to make this move, I’ve pretty much committed to being in Chicago and finding a real job this summer, which will be the first time I’ve lived in the city during the summer since I stayed with my dad in Seattle. I’m a bit scared about being away from the ocean and the forest and my family, etc, but I’m also excited because it feels like the first commitment I’ve made towards growing up for a little while. So, that’s exciting.

Oh, and I want to start a log of bad pick-up lines for me to think about, so if you have any exceptional ones, you should post them (exceptional bad pick up lines).

And TOtP was weird yesterday. But good. I feel like maybe the universe heard me whine last week and so adjusted. But it makes me nervous, kind of like I said something that should make me run out and knock on wood. One girl in class, who was using pill boxes as monsters to chew on her friend’s hand when she thought nobody was looking, said what I thought was the nicest art thing I’ve heard in a very very long time: “Just imagine what you want, get a good image of it, envision it, and then make it work. You can make anything work that you want, without it costing a million dollars or anything.” And what a great way of looking at creating, and I’ve felt that it was true before, but it made me so happy and really happy to hear lb say it, and offer to help make it a reality. Kind of like the artistic equivalent of having someone say, “it’s all going to be okay.”

Which it is. Kindred is nice.

i did throw the jack o'lantern away, but a little rot first

Saturday, November 11, 2006

days upsidedown and backagain

I guess my just in case pseudo-interview turned into a job offer. how weird is that. i still think he's a shmuck. but i get to teach a new class.

my friend had her baby. it makes me feel beamy.

i have a crush. it makes me feel tonguetied.

i also feel like a weasal for all the whining i did in the last post. i take it all back. sometimes it feels good to say it though.

okay, i'm off to 1) eat sliced, pan-fried potatoes with spinach, onions, sausage, parmesian and ground pepper, and 2) get so much work done today that i don't feel stressed anymore. it'll feel much more satisfying to feel post-productive. (and i'll whine less).

Thursday, November 09, 2006

whine line, beep beepidy yo'

I don't write on this thing so much any more now that I don't feel like I can gossip. See, a few folks around this place check on the ol' blog from time to time and it doesn't feel right, oddly, to talk openlike about things going down. It was kind of comforting to write about people I knew would never get ahold of the address. I mean, I don't think I was incredibly bitchy, but I did feel like I could write what I wanted.

[so: sex, drugs, medical alerts, rock n' roll... to summarize gossip about other folks]

and on top of that i'm not writing very much lately. okay, not at all. well, a little bit. but not very much. from time to time, i think i'm in a slump, but the seconds in between i think i'm just in the middle of another adolescent prehormone growth-lag. I feel frustrated with writing because i'm not really sure what I'm interested in enough to write about. I go back and forth on the whole "liking people" thing - but then again I'm not sure that writing about fetid mud puddles does it for me either.

everything sweeps away into something that swept away before.

I'm a little pissed off right now. a little bit annoyed. on several levels. Oh, I know I should be happy and I am that we now have house/senate + added unexpected perk of that fuckhead Rumsfield biting the dust. But then there's all the missed events and horizons that just speedy on by me on a daily basis.

I had an interview today for a TA position for next semester, and the dude I interviewed with who I find repugnant on so very many levels started the interview by saying "Oh, I'm so sorry, I mean we normally discourage your application." "Um, what?" I asked, completely and absolutely befuddled. And then he says, "well, TA-A's aren't supposed to teach more than one semester and you should have been told that." "No," I said, "I hadn't been told that." "Oh well," he says dashingly, "We'll just go on through this interview in case something doesn't work out elsewhere."

Now, not only was this a really crappy way to start an interview, and not only had I not been told... in fact, I had been told I could apply, and in fact I know other TAs who have had more than one semester. I also had it that "once you're in, you're in." So either this is some kind of new policy that hasn't been publicized, and they just decided to try it out during my interview for shits and giggles, or That Dude knows I find him loathsome and just wanted to fuck me up. Or something else entirely, I'm sure. Now... I guess it's an okay policy to rotate the limited TAs, but surely this is something they should let us know in advance, because I'm sure I was never fucking aware of this, nor any other TA I know. What a bunch of cocksuck. And now I'm jobless next semester. And I can't apply for the local community colleges because the deadline's passed.

At least I had the interview just in case.

Now, add this to two failed get-togethers with a potential buddy who has seriously just blown me off. And she promised to make it up when she flaked on me the first time, but... What am I, pond scum? I mean, it's pretty easy to blow off pond scum. You just inhale deeply, lean down to the water, and then exhale with pursed cheeks and a mouth squinched to a cherry form. But I think I have a little more heft to me. True, the heft is a layer of blubber that means I float around nicely, but with tight enough density to make me a heavy bobber to shuttle with a solitary exhale. I mean, I've got family, I've got a few friends, and I've got my pride to think of. yeah, pride. And I am not at the moment pond scum. So, here I am, in the midst of my busytime... I've got so much schlock I can't believe it. I found out in my pseudo-interview that I've got one more teaching day than I thought (yeaaaaaaaah!), holiday art sale next week, now apparently starting mid-week, a chapbook to write, an exhibit to make for the gallery which I've got three weeks to do... so, the gist is busy... and I want to hang out with one of my new friends... and I take a little time to do so... and blahblahblahblah.

Making friends is for bunnies.

I'm not a bunny.

Then Tuesday was hard too because my advisor who I still adore and think is my only mentor is this world and is tough on me but also encouraging... well, she kind of shredded a piece I was actually fond of. Okay, I wasn't just fond of it. I was downright pleased with it. It made me smile, and I thought it was sassy. Now, I think on the phrase "shredding it," and I try to be reasonable with myself and decide if it was really "shredded" or if I am just being over-sensitive to a few meaningful criticisms. And if I am just extra-sensitive because I haven't been writing with any sunbeams coming from my fingertips lately. And if I am very very extra-sensitive because what she said hit a nerve in terms of a) being right, and b) oddly feeling reflective of myself even though the narrator was a dead, mythic male warrior with a boner for another dead, mythic male warrior. She called the narrator untrustworthy, which would have been great and fabulous if that was my aim. I don't think it was my aim. I mean, I didn't want him to be thought of as this stand-up kind of fellow, but I didn't really think of him in terms of trustworthiness. So there's that. It's good, it's good, what she said was interesting and if I sit down and actually apply myself for once this friggin semester, I'm sure I could get the comment to help me out. And it will help me out. As soon as I stop thinking of it as lettuce.

And my feelings were smited.

Then, on that same day, a proposal I had for a group publication—a proposal I actually thought was quite smashing—got all the reception of a protozoa pushing its way across an un-inked petri dish. Oh, darling, what a love little flagellate you are! Well, there were other good ideas, but mine was shot down with nary a pleased and intrigued gaze. Maybe because I turn into a smug-faced gipper whenever I'm nervous? Anyhow...

Pride was smited.

So, that's my extended and self-pitying gripe for the week. Sorry, the gripe won't happen again for awhile, and soon I will post something brilliant like a beacon fortified off a shiny bald head.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

oh please pleasity please

may the powers vested in those with the right to vote (us) be pooled to change this crazy fucked up state of affairs (i.e. republican hegemony). How perfect is it that my students are finishing Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas this week... Dr. Thompson, I'm counting on your mojo to be spreading its wings tonight.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

pilsen is a happy place

i think this weekend is the celebration of "dia de los muertos," as i am in pilsen, the mexican neighborhood, and have just visited the very busy hispanic cultural center where i put out postcards notifying of the upcoming SAIC Holiday Art Sale, which I'm going to be in, hawking my feeble wares and ogling other people's stuffs. but right now, i'm drinking Mexican hot chocolate and it makes me happy, and the brightly painted tables make me happy, and this place has so much energy and motion to it, a nice area, a little crumbly but just right. kids in the street all dressed up with candy junked up around their mouths. fathers toting, a little girl fell, her mother picked her up. i wonder what it would be like to live here.

my life has been crazy and weird and one of my best friends is going to have a baby soon (like this weekend maybe) and another best friend is getting married (like this weekend), wow, and trouble's brewing, the gallery exhibit is coming up, i'm feeling manic with hair pulling, i'm supposed to make a mockup of an alternative form of "publication," but i'm not quite sure where to find what i want to find - i'm thinking of proposing a reliquary, maybe just because i like that word. but where do we look for a reliquary? anyhow,

here are some snippets i found in my pocketnotebook and like:


As it was the last clef he thought of, he wrote her a note in the key of H. H, because of the he wondered if she knew he wanted her to know he knew she understood he knew she loved the way he knew she understood he knew. H being the only key in tune with such distance, far from the slightly sour note of A, which was where they began, but scores away from where they each stood, singing solos under the crook of time and/or new spheres, as is the sound of it all.


they built their acre's fence out of adjectives—impermeable, defiant. to the west—glorious, to the east-kitch. on the north side they raised a barrier of tall and impregnable, but to the south they selected azure welcoming.


away from all world politics, we selected our gods to threaten each other with acts we couldn't possibly commit on our own, or pleasures we don't know how to express. "look," he says, "there is Allah." and we look up to see the fragile dart of light sliding around the island through the fog.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

first chicago reading, yes

i was bullied into it, really. 'cause i'm nervous being in front of people and mainly that, a kind of "why am i up here in front of these people when i see my writing in words on the page usually, up front and visual and composed of pieces separated from myself." of myself certainly, but not really attached to me, except in my head or somehow written within the sinews and lines of my body, a part of me known to me, but unknown to others except as something projected away like a bubble blown or a balloon released or a spitwad flung to the board. and so, getting up in front of people is not something i really enjoy except as a teacher, when i feel that what i'm teaching is detached from me and stuck to others, a performance, a mask, something that rides me temporarily and then leaves me as i gather my items and leave the classroom.

i had a little wine to "facilitate."

anyhow, i got bullied into this by a good friend, who was organizing a reading of poLITical writings, readings, and as it turned out, mostly plays. she pinned it on me before the summer began and told me she'd hunt me down with a spear and a missile fuselage if i ignored her plea. so, i did this thing, submitted the work, hated the work, and rewrote the work from beginning to end.

beforehand, i whined, dragged my feet, dreaded everything, procrastinated, wailed about my miserable fare, whined some more, disclaimed, deleted, hated, and then tried on three pairs of pants. i wore the fuzzy boots to make it okay.

i really had a great time.

there's more than one thing that happens up there, at a reading, depending on factors and audience and influences and wine content. one thing consistent is that i turn beet red. totally and utterly red. from earlobe to earlobe to neck on down. i am "red," the primary color, the vision, the platonic idea of. and although i may have "ideas" before i go up there, something else kicks in and mostly it is the nervousness, but a kind of focus i find in nothing else in my life. my vision narrows to the words i am speaking, my mind is blank. completely, like a closed off entity, i achieve a nirvana nothingness, narrowed down and beyond down and into. i am a mouth that speaks what is before me, which is something i know, not think, but know and understand like an entity and i say it and it is said and nothing happens in between the two. true, i hear things, like the appearance of a person, a cellphone going off, a ringing, a laugh here and there (this is something i need to change, i am utterly incapable of recognizing when i need to pause a few seconds to let the laugh play out before i continue), best yet, a sigh, an "oh," a "yeah," a whoosh of air from someone who understands what was said, not by me but through me.

the heat, the red, the page, the spoken, nothing else.

this is one half of reading i dread, but then feel truly like a swoosh of water in a storm. the second half is the others who read. i can't really pay attention right after i read because i am busy backing out of some kind of zen other i've been for a few minutes, but once i am there, and before i am there, there's the secondary rush of these people are with me. they are their own minds, creating, playing, loving, hearing, laughing, motion. they are next to me and beside me and with me and i am in the middle and to the sides and we are all together and, yes, we share some kind of vision of where we stand. we are together, in it. belonging and loving that we belong. and afterwards, i can't get over the hugs, the swoons in each others arms, the flush of knowing we were there, with, true, a few watchers who were also there, but there. joking around and moving furniture. drinking another glass of wine together, so temporary, transitory, immediate, but present. i may dread, but i need more of this.