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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
Sunday, December 31, 2006
in seattle, six o'clock and already black and dark. the new year peers. my best friend sits across the table with headphones plugged in and silver hoops swinging. break has been very good indeed and i feel a necessary grounding, a landscaped slide, the sound of moss hitting pavement and running to cover. i missed this place and i'm also looking forward to going back to chicago and developing a sense of home in a new place.
i feel a little less foolish and a little less agitated... this whole semester i've been battling a sense of the Jackass, i.e. the Jackass within, and i've tried being patient with that braying horse because nearly everything vibrant comes kicking with as little style as possible, or at least that's how it's gone for me. but i've decided to name that healing donkey open ground. my totems both drag and look at me askew every time, but i'm just a tad more wise today. only a bit though.
yeah. i guess chicago wound me up tight and nervous and made me wonder if i would find something outside of the Jackass. i no longer want to write myself into existence and so who will i write? agitation, perpetration, and the question of what my Plan is? is it possible to have a Plan when all of my plans have cliffallen and the only stable ground has been instability itself?
i am amazed at how many typos i make on a daily basis.
a little piece I am starting slowly like dripping wax:
She thinks in stone, thoughts simple rearrangements of solid. Gaseous pockets bubble contained, their motion defined, the limited entropy of motion no more than a caged monkey picking the lock. Plates move. She likes putting her feet on the handlebars. She settles, thoughts settle on her, they settle in her. She functions in time-lapse, depending on the outside view. Oceans understand her, but hook-beaked predators fly wide, their claws scraping her surface to drag away squealing vermin. And dangling them for her consideration. A ponderous contemplation, we all want her lazy gaze. In the country, she rides her bicycle while chewing rose hips. I gather along the telephone wires hopping three steps after her, but refusing any further. The trees passing her are wary. Decisions lock down, choices two clamps pressing pieces of burgeoning structure. Heads hoping never to be caught, but it happens: sometimes she enfolds and crushes down, her hard minerals, her feldspar, her quartz, her mica, her obsidian, her limestone too. Fossil remnants testify to the truth of her language. We remember the impervious spaces, the unquenchable moltens, lodes no pickaxe can land. Later, she spits the rosehip seeds up over her head; some bounce off her back tire and I pick them up in my beak. My tongue snakes their surface, everything in the distance is green. Desire is a funny creature. Rattling the chains, she puts her bicycle away carefully and remembers to lock the door snug. Her eyes prefer to say no. After a few lifetimes, we realize stones glisten best on the beaches they find themselves.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
This time GW has surpassed himself in utter disgusting creepiness, unethical stupidity, corrupt rhetoric, and ego-built blindness. A state-sanctified murder as a road-marking brick in the process towards a system of governing that respects all voices? I forget: what was Saddam being tried for again?
Sick. Sick. Sick.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
embers, chickadees, jiggidy jig
this morning I got up and sat by the stove and looked out the big windows facing on the bird feeders with the alger foothills in the background and bare tore-down limbs stretching between, and I drank coffee and thought and then talked with my mum who gives me a hug whenever I wander into the same room with her.
(she did get smashed last night, call me a shithead, and say, albeit in another context, that "my penis is caught in my zipper.")
I feel so arrogant and happy.
although yesterday on the extended airpline ride of near-sleepless senility, I stretched between broody, sulky and thoughtful because ss said something at our last meeting about no relationship, casual dating only, etc, that popped my pony partially because of the button phrases the conversation carried, partially because we've only known each other a short while, and partially because I am really into her. but having thought about how this is nearly the same conversation I had with a few different folks last year, only on the other side of things, I had to admit 'tis all fair, and something to either sink into or gently turn from.
this decided, I am now going to be, and by that I mean be here. I've been pining for the landscape and now I'm going to roll in it, yo.
today I went to the dentist and had that obnoxious little bar on the lower set of my teeth taken out - it's been fucking with my gums; no matter how much I brush or floss, some form of gingivitic warfare is occuring there, and the dentist agreed with me finally and sawed the little fucker out, which might mean crooked teeth coming up, but at least my teeth won't fall out. after that I went and got my expired DL renewed. the pic looks 10x better (someone recently called the old one a "prison break" picture) except I have a massive splotch (zit) near my mouth. we'll see how the final picture turns out because I just have the temporary black-white one to go on, but I wouldn't be surprised if this is a grinning acne pose. but you know what they say about DL's: they have a duty to uphold.
tonight I think I'm going to invite myself down to the sis/brolaw newspot and see their new kitties and the joint they've domesticated themselves into. I'll take a 12-pack of beer, get tossed, and pretend that I'm not going to be the penniless plebe of an older sister for rest of my life - the vagabond writeacher who doesn't even publish, yaddah yaddah.
my mum also noted in her inebriated state last night that my sister and I "were always competing with each other," and we both laughed because it isn't really true. it was nice to know we were laughing together because we both thought our mom was cracked on gin and not because we were nervously forstalling some kind of female penis-measuring moment. all I know is, I'm proud of her and who she is and all of the differences between us. but I'm also okay with myself, and although I sometimes simply worry about the future of my finances (and life in general), it's not in a competitive way.
anyhow, I'm off, but don't worry, I'll steal cr's camera soon and take pictures to supplement the fatty textual layers here and show just how winter-soggy and adorable Bville is.
Monday, December 18, 2006
going home, always on a happy note
what I think:
1) I like honesty. clarification, the saving of, a notification of future and present, a sense of. what things mean, not to be confused of what they could mean or what comes filtered and wished.
1b) I hate honesty. Too many layers of. Too many elements. How do words translate? And how do they translate into motion? How many things can mean at once? How are we to understand truth?
2) I like hope. Feels likes somethings coming towards you.
2b) I hate hope. Until it's not.
3) I like articulation. Landed, it's like someone who was hovering has finally found a spot.
3b) I hate articulation. Very concrete, but still incomplete.
4) I like taking things slow. Too much in the world is fast, it impales you, it pushes in your face, swallows you, tries to eat you whole and take you to the very belly of for digestion. It lands like a bomb. Taking things slow is an exercise in breathing.
4b) I hate taking things slow. Existence is stasis, white noise rubs the underbelly. Plus, nothing is slow, it is just fast in different directions and sometimes so fast it appears slow, which will catch you deceptively.
5) I am a bit of a dumbass.
5b) This is okay. I am the Fool and the Fool is too wise for their own life.
now I'm off to clean floors, to make a call and get someone to take the room so I don't have to pay rent. and I am going home. and it will be beautiful because this is something I'm ready for: beauty.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Packing, Moving, Hoping a magical new roommate appears for LL so I don't have to pay rent at two places, Budgeting, Cramming myself full of VitaminC to get rid of the ubiquitous head cold, Going home in a couple of days, Sold my futon, Gave away my bed to a woman with 6 children--one of whom came with her to pick up the bed, which they only lightly tied on their car with breakable twine ("the car only goes max 25mph anyway, so I think it'll be okay"), Done with grading, Finished this semester's classes, Excited to see Washington, but also Very Very Spinny about this girl I like so very much (who's ever had that experience of liking a person for some time who you don't know well [getting those goose-bumps all over] and then having something come of it?). Here I go, busy busy busy, but you can see I'm happy.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
very worried about this
Monday, December 11, 2006
c'mon come down, c'mon
Saturday, December 09, 2006
g2 opening, reading, and swooning
Yesterday was the grand opening of the exhibit at G2, and it went really well... not the thousands of folks as was predicted by our teacher, but lots of good-hearted friends and teachers and people wandering around. I was happy with how it went off, and pretty content with my piece, which was a great experiment - the teacher, eroth, suggested that it was a piece wanting to head towards a book layout, and I think she's right and so now I need to figure out how that would look and think about how I would write the text for it.
I did come down with a serious fever last night that put a damper on things and sent me home early to roll around in bed feeling sorry for myself. I imagined more drinking and celebrating, but I also have been running myself up on empty and now I need to pack all my stuff and get busy on the next week, but I might take a bit of a breather.
The reading tonight was incredible, really - to see how people respond to each other's texts in multiple ways... the creativity with which they approach each others' thoughts and place it into their own projects. The girl who responded to my work was fabulous - her writing is amazing, and made me feel teary; I think because it was her own writing, her thoughts and beautifully written language on language and landscape, and yet also in dialogue with what I had written. Creative response rocks ass, and I think I need to get in on it (in terms of creatively responding to others' texts).
By the way, before things come down in a month, I will go through and do a more thorough review of other people's pieces, etc, and see if I can't get some pictures, and maybe a little respondering of my own.
And on top of it all, well, something else inarticulate spills: 1. it is lovely, 2. it makes me nervous and dopey, 3. you know the hot plate crayon projects we get to do in preschool, melting colors over wax paper and smearing everything together and smelling the crayons and burning the tips of our fingers and we're not sure what we made, but it was smeary, and the smell was everywhere, and the crayons got shorter and stubbier and then were flat on the page? like that.
Now I am off to bed.
Friday, December 08, 2006
a little time for perspective
TONIGHT: Gallery Opening, G2, 5-8pm
TOMORROW: Responsive Reading (audience members invited to creatively respond to our pieces), same place, 7pm
SUNDAY: I crash and sleep for many hours. When I wake up, I read a book.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
crit and whatnot
So, today was again the day of the big critique... a collection of people from the writing department (all departments second semester) + one student participant + one outside writer participant. I mean, this is one of the unique aspects of SAIC that I think is wonderful but also can go poorly as all hell, or so I've heard. I haven't had a bad critique – one in which the participants think it's their duty to demolish the ego of some new artist – and instead have come away with my crits pleased to get to know new people and hear what they have to say. It's one hour of focused attention... on my work, and I know this sort of thing will rarely happen again. Yeah, and so, some people blow off the critiques because they can suck and it can be hard to know what to take away from them, but as for me, well, I think they're amazing.
So, I gave the group a piece that is still in process. I thought to give them another piece, but when I found out who was on my panel, I realized I could give them something more experimental--one I'm unsure about, and have lots of questions regarding how well it's working. So, I scrapped the piece I was working on to hand over and instead submitting a piece called "revise this," which I've posted portions of, but haven't worked seriously on for awhile...
[Have I worked seriously on writing lately? no. but will I? yes. I am so looking forward to Xmas break, 1/4 of the way for preparing the class I'm teaching, 1/4 of the way for reading reading reading, 1/4 of the way for being with friends, and 1/4 of the way for writing again and getting back into a newvoice. My writing mentality has been changing, and I think this semester could be honestly called "perspective" because I have backed away from the making process in order to take a breather and decide what I need to change and what I need to keep and how what I'm going to be investing myself in. Sometimes I think it's a fallout point, but most of the time I know things are settling in me, so slowly, so slowly, but very much changing, and I'm changing: letting go of a guarded living, being in my own head and distrusting others, sadness over a couple of lost friends I loved dearly "who done me wrong," and so forth. Lately I've been really happy, and my head feels like it is becoming my own again, and not owned by forces and memories outside of myself. And it feels like I can laugh over the past, and I can laugh at myself for how I reacted to the past, and I can enjoy being and being with others. I am changing and it is such a joy. Such a joy to release. To realize that I'm going to go home for a visit and I'm going to be fulfilled there—to see my family, to see my sister's new house, to fluff around with the animals, to love the PacNorthwest, to see Natalie and Donna and a few others. And all that other stuff is just not going to hold me again; it can't and there's this knowledge in me that it can't, maybe because I am so much laugh. And that's bound to change the writing, and my priorities in writing, because writing has been about salvation for so long, about holding myself and me and this I together, and I don't need it for that right now. I don't need to keep myself intact, because I am. And that's okay, but it means that my writing wants to become for another purpose, and I need to figure out what that purpose is.]
...although I did add some sections, rather hurriedly in order to give them the gist of what I'm thinking about in the piece, which is a braided essay/fiction/story thingy, metafictional, about revision and how I see revision in relation to life. I also realized in this piece that I simply love talking about water, which is a little silly maybe, but is about enough about how I see that I can hardly contain it sometimes. (water represents everything beautiful to me about life). So, I let myself write about it, and didn't question my instincts in that regard.
Anyhow, my crit panel was really wonderful, perfect actually: Dan Beachy-Quick (poet, sensitive, passion), Ellen Rothenberg (performance/writer, serious, blunt), Matthew Goulish (experimental writer, strange and beautiful), and Christina Pugh (outside writer, I don't know much about her?). The student writer was Matt Rieger, who is a friend in the playwriting department. I've seen his plays: he's funny and I like him. I also got the addition of a writer-observer, who startled me by coming in to take notes rather than participate - but she is the writer who is going to respond to my exhibit for the G2 Exhibition response-reading. She read some of her work in class, and it is intense, tight intellectual poetry and short-prose that I like but need to read more to fully understand, but I think I really should make friends with her because there might be that writerly simpatico—rather something to try to follow.
So, the commentary was actually really productive, because they gave me perspectives that I needed to hear, and maybe even wanted to hear – stuff about being patient with the work and giving it the time to come into fruition. But also ideas about which strands are working together and which might be cut out or re-arranged. (Basically, I started with five strands: kayaking in general, my experience kayaking, a focused meditation on different female artists who inspire me, notes on the writing process, and a fictional strand using a character—Deborah—to enact the life of the body). Their suggestions were to cut the notes section altogether, which I think I agree with—even if it's what got the piece started. And then they talked about the kayaking-general strand and the me-kayaking strand like it was one instead of two, which I think is right but means I need to consider how one evolves into the other. They liked the writer-meditation because I was being silly, but suggested that I might re-arrange and be strategic about how I use them, and also consider using pieces of the writers' language/work in the rest of the strands. DBQ really emphasized that I need to be patient and work through what I'm thinking, and Goulish suggested that I should allow the strands to be even more disjointed and not worry about connecting them too closely for my audience (instead trust my readers to make the connections they want to make) and also think about making a break in the pattern--allowing each strand to follow its arc but also to break out of its arc and do something unexpected. I liked that. Christina Pugh seemed to want me to cut down on the metafiction (which I'll take, but maybe not all the way) and was very thoughtful about how she saw the character Deborah interacting with aging bodies and seeing her own growth in relation to them. So, I've rambled on a bit about that, but I got some really wonderful ideas, and it makes me want to keep going with the piece, and it make me realize how important this story is to me (very) and how it embodies the ideas I'm trying to put into play.
I had a thought too, about how so much of my writing is modular and braided, of how the very first thing I ever wanted to really write and write well was like this. And how this started after reading a Russian short story about a boy named Alyosha that I thought was the most amazing story I had ever read, because how is it even possible to combine such different narratives and have them only make sense as a whole? That's what I want to do right now - combine difference and make it complete. But not easy, not easy, and thus a lifelong task along with so many others.
on a side note: hmmmmm. hmmmm. hm. hmmmmmmm.
The day was also interesting because I found a bat, a baby-looking fuzzy (I never have seen a fuzzy bat!) bat that was curled up next to the Michigan street building that I attend classes in, and I thought it was a piece of fluff that had fallen off of someone's coat and so I waved my foot at it, and it went: WRAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHW at me. And I jumped. But then I saw how cold it was, and curled into itself and huddled next to the concrete and I felt so sad for it, to be there and cold and maybe even dying of cold next to a building with people passing by it, and maybe stepping on it. And I just stood there, because really, what can a person do? I didn't have the humane society's number, but it couldn't stay there. And a bat downtown Chicago! It was a very startling element out-of-place and I can't help identifying with such creatures, and also being amazed that they're there, in this concrete hive.
So, I thought for awhile about wrapping it up in my hat and putting it in my backpack or my pocket until I could find a number to call and find the right place for it, but then I had crit, and could I really take a fuzzy bat into a crit panel? No, I decided not, and I also remembered the little feral kitten with the fucked-up leg that I found and thought to save and so grabbed and got incredibly scratched up over, which made me think that life like this just wants to be and doesn't always need us humans interfering and making it a person issue. But still, the bat was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and cold against the concrete.
I thought about calling my newfriend, lb, since she works at a shelter, and asking her if she knew what to do, but then thought that calling her might be silly. So, I was standing there contemplating it when she and ss showed up, and I was so relieved to see them that all I could do was wail, "there's a bat!"
And they came up with the plan that I put it in a cup and carry it somewhere better for the time being, somewhere where it wouldn't at least get mushed or bite someone, and ss asked if I had my rabies shots, which I thought was really funny until I realized it was a pretty genuine and important question that I hadn't thought about when contemplating putting the bat in my pocket. So they babysat the bat while I went and got a cup and then scraped it up inside (it hissed at me) and covered it with the lid that ss provided. I then walked it over to a park and put it under some bushes as close to the trunk as I could get it, but the ground was still cold and barren and the creature seemed like it was on its last limbs. I mean, I put the napkin next to it as a blanket, but really, what's that going to do in the Chicago cold?
I don't know. Maybe I still should have called the humane society--a bat dying in the country seems normal and okay with lifecycles and such, but a bat in the city throws me for a loop.
I went later to G2 and hung all my pictures for the Exhibition, which means that half my work is done, maybe half, but now I have to put the text over it and make sure it works and is the right size and play around with all that business. This may seem like whining, but actually I'm so in love with this mode of working that it hurts. Arranging my writing by visual space. Love it.
And I ran into lb and ss again and grabbed a "torta" with them, and then didn't want to go home, where I knew it would be cold and lonely and boring and all of that. [See, more indication that writing has ceased to be everything to me]. So, it took very very little wrist-bending on their part to get me to join them with their installation, and I was rock-on happy they asked me to join them. I want to work together with more people, yes I do. I helped them build a ladder out of wire, which is fun and reminds me of all the wire "sculptures" I did as a kid (of dinosaurs primarily, but mostly of anything I could bend wire into). I was a little out of practice and did a non-twirled-wire job, but had fun and enjoyed being there and the music and you know. That.
So, that's my very full day and now I'm out and probably off to bed, with the kitty to curl up with.
Monday, December 04, 2006
what i will
be bold and brassy. stop being embaressed about everything i say and do or don't say and do. shotgun the motion, run with the winter, be pleased to feel what i feel without analyzing whether i should or shouldn't feel what i feel, whether it's silly or i'm silly or maybe i have a smudge on my face and maybe i was a fool and maybe i should have said something or said something different. enjoy. relish whatever and take whatever and make more than whatever and be satisfied and patient and bold and sensitive but not oversensitive. stop letting my head get ahead of me, since afterall the head is perched atop of me, and shouldn't be allowed to totter away like a baby grand on a california hillcrest. revel. look daily at everything i've achieved or been lucky to receive without achievement. be content but not complacent and stop coming home and smacking myself on the forehead with the palm of my hand and ranting around the room saying what what what and why. trust. mellow out on calling my gurus and sounding like a puppy that sees only the moon. take a little pride. but only a little. relax. not overdo, be dramatic, be melodramatic, take myself too seriously, take everyone else too seriously, pretend, oversee, worry. relax.
now i will go finish grading essays.
exhibition, smexibition, exhibitionism
today I went to G2 with the Text Off the Page crew, and we scouted out the gallery space for our... exhibition. yeah, everyone who knows me knows about The Exhibition, since I've been so excited and stressed out that I never stop blabbering on about it. And now, the reality is getting closer, which means I need to trim my images, figure out my text, put up my pictures, put up my text, etc and etc., which doesn't sound like too much but it is kinda tiring and I need to go buy poster tape and pin-thingys, so that's a whoooooole new layer.
But today, we looked over the floor and wall space and decided who wanted what area, and what works well with what. I think it's going to be very very cool. We have projected videos, sound pieces, tables with battlefields, installations, pictures, paintings, typed-up coffee filters by the bajillions, strings and rolodexes, video monitors, fans and rattle, and a "reading nook" that got positioned and repositioned. I think the space found it's mojo depending on whether people go with our flow or their own flow (lb and I have a beer-bet going on whether people will read my photos from LtoR like reader-readers, or RtoL like visual-wanderers [I'm betting on the latter]).
Anyhow, it was pretty fun. I was ramped up on English Muffin and Blueberry Jam, and happy to get a ride. And then I got lots of help and suggestions on how to organize the 12 pictures I'm going with, narrative/nonnarrative, visual resonances and harmonizations, height issues, blue tape redo's, and so forth. A few little bits of my basic plan were kept and quite a few new arrangements came forth. I like working with other people; writing gets to be lonely fare sometimes. Now I just need to help someone back or I'm going to feel like a smoozy shmuck.
But actually, it's interesting to see how differently people in the writing department work from people in the other departments. There's something there, but I'm not sure what it is... writers might be more bricolage or something, like do-t-do. All I know is that the non-department-writers end up using text with such precision, and the department-writers kind of muck around with it more, and are less sure of how to move what they do (whatever that might be) off the page. So some very different works come out, but maybe it's just the particular participants or that I'm projecting.
But, rock on! I'm so excited, and if you're a Chicago-ite reading this, you better come to the Friday opening party or the Saturday reading. Or I'll cry. And nobody likes seeing a toughie (or toughie poser) cry.