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

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

i heard frogs tonight, really I did...

mushroomYeah, pretty much my life is boring. There should be much to talk about as I am busy from dawn to dusk, but I have to admit I find the business pretty boring.

Even the addition of writing a newsletter for an upstart artist-nonprofit thingy is a bit boring, although I do amuse myself by internally ranting / calming regarding the rather self-focused desires of some talented artists. I find that I care less these days about what people want than what could potentially be made in non-lalaland. I hope I'm not all over that whole daydreaming thing, but I feel so very pragmatic. My goals seem more tangible, but my reasons much less so than ever before. I'm actually hoping this translates into huge amounts of writing (come April) as I stop thinking about how much I miss my friends and support and a clear path forward and the hope of a satisfying relationship, etc, and start prioritizing golden marvelous intense focused productivity.

Technically, I must admit that I don't know what to care about now that I'm out of school. What do people care about? It seems like making family or money or sweet love to a stranger are the common potential answers.

Anyhow, the event of the picture to the above-side really made me happy: it's the mushroom that's growing in my door (the inside part of the door, to be precise). I have no idea why a mushroom decided my doorway is the place to be, but almost overnight this boggy creature seems to have decided to make its peculiar jab at survival in that very location. I now refuse to open the door.


And, A, these are your sparkly plates. I'm eating off them until you decide to become American again. So far, no scritchy sounds.

A's plates
A's plates

Saturday, February 21, 2009

early spring seems to be going well

H is a puppy Beckham. No, not really... The funny thing is that he's extremely averse to competition, so if other dogs try to hone in on his soccer ball, he turns around and walks the other way, abandoning entirely his mad defense skills. If it's just the two of us though, look at those chubby legs fly!

Soccer Chops
Plus, walks along the railroad:

Heron by Bville Railroad

Monday, February 16, 2009

favorite student essay quote of the week

"We live most of our lives thinking that we are clear-minded and without bias, but if someone were to ask you which beer you would want to drink from--a fat, hairy man or a young attractive woman--the answer would almost invariable be the young attractive woman."

(I personally love a nice tall glass of fat, hairy man)

[may the Lord not smite me down for being so damned amused and putting these things on a public blog]

Sunday, February 15, 2009

favorite mispronouncification of the month

proletarian thongs

(for proletarian throngs)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

favorite student mispellering of this week

concentration champ

Sunday, February 08, 2009

gallery opening in Seattle

Next weekend's the opening of my friend Jennifer Towner's exhibition, which takes place in Seattle at a relatively newish co-op gallery called Crawl Space. Jen and I were in SAIC's Text Off the Page class together - the class in which we did a number of public pieces and I first started thinking about photographs in tandem with writing. I still remember Jennifer's exhibition piece for that class: a one-line journal hand-typed across hundreds of used/pressed coffee filters. Labor intensive and rather eerily beautiful, for darn sure (who'd a thought of coffee filters as the perfect canvas for rumination), and the creative response done by Dan Beachy-Quick and Alex Jovanovich was a-maz-ing and very funny.

This exhibition, as far as I can tell, is also going to be funny as well as being a simultaneously wry roll-of-the-eyes and wistful daydream about reality/reality shows. Basically, it is a series of photo/video/blog documentations of Jennifers's attempts to get on, and get ready for, the TV show Survivor.

Jennifers's Exhibition Postcard
Jennifers's Exhibition Postcard
Also, I had the opportunity to write the creative response for this piece... It'll be there... Food for thought.

Anyhow, I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to make it to the opening, despite the fact that it's a Luau-style alternative to the evils of Balentines Day... but I do plan on going to at least one of the three Saturday shows. Bvillers carpooling away.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

favorite student mispellering of the week

Escape Goat

horrible, wholesome sunlight

It's got that feel to it here, which I'm trying not to put too much hope into, because it seems springy. The ground's soggy, the eaves are dripping, the sun is everywhere, chipper people with smiles, time rolling like a dime on edge, and I've started to think about planting seedlings.

Okay, I know its too early for that, but I've started to think about getting seeds, or looking in a seed book and maybe also figuring out a spot to rip up with a shovel and dump a bunch of compost over, then cover with nice soil and sit back and let it wait just a bit longer, when I might one by one bring the little doves in their sod boxes, and then sun sun sun and swimming, plus I've thought about seriously kayaking this time around, really finding a kayaking buddy for the bay, and then I can train Herald to sit in the front cockpit and not jump out even when the orcas are all around us. In addition, I've got a road trip in the brewing, and plots to hatching, and hatching dreggs, sun sun sun. And pretty soon a mystical creature is going to swoop down out of the sky and breath fire on me, and I'll realize I'm fireproof, so we'll go frolic in bonfires everywhere, not to mention BBQs, and I'll be quite warm, and...

Yesterday though, I went to my yoga class. Yep, I broke down and am taking a yoga class... I fretted for quite some time about whether this technically makes me a hippie or newage PacNWer, because my sister always gives me grief about that stuff and although I hold nothing against the hippies other than abandoning their good intentions, well, I'm not sure I wanted the label even though I know many many people in yoga who are definitely not hippies. But as part of my "cure the back, play softball this summer" regime, I signed up for a Backcare Yoga class, turned up the first day even though it was full and quickly realized that I'll be the only person in the class under fifty-five. Most are older than sixty.

Initially, you might think it an excellent esteem-boosting opportunity to be in a yoga class with a bunch of women twice your age, but I haven't found that to be the case. It's actually quite embarrassing to be less flexible and less strong than people who take ten minutes to roll from a prone position to their sides and then up to a stance. I'm faster than them on that. Take that, competitive hussies! But...

Truthfully, the whole thing feels like a Seinfield episode, and I'm probably George. This feeling is exacerbated by the teacher who I go in and out of disliking, and the vibe that I'm trapped in a world far beyond my comprehension. My main beefs with the teacher are:
That he never ever, not for even ten seconds, stops talking and in the morning I am so sound-sensitive that I'm just dying for a few minutes to actually focus on my breathing and not the sound of his murmuring. I mean, he's going on and on about how we should all be paying attention to our bodies from the inside, and I'm into that, but find it very distracting when I just want to stuff a sock in his mouth. I actually think I could settle down and hear the sound of my whinging and moaning vertebrae, but it's just not happening with his voice in the background.

Part of this is because at least half of what he says makes me want to giggle. He starts always by talking about a small wind with cherry blossoms on it, and opening our hearts to the whispering waves of ocean, of love, etc. And he actually talks about language, rhetoric and writing more than one would think. Yesterday he read a poem to us (it wasn't bad) and talked about how writing this poem cured him of depression because it allowed him to open up to the intricate details of life and pay attention mindfully. But a few seconds earlier he had snubbed his mother as being prone to the ilk of depression, or something to that effect, and so it was just weird... and I half wanted to giggle, half wanted to say Hey.

Regardless of my giggle-inclination or irritation at his glibness, I have to say I do go into the class fairly open to what is being said, even as I recognize that the way it is being said by this one particular fellow is not going to appeal to my internal hippie. I do need a bit of peace, and the idea of "whatever else, do no harm" - in this case, mostly to the body and self as we try new exercises - is one I like to think about.

But the second part of this class that is proving difficult for me is how the teacher watches us, goes around and makes corrections, and I don't actually like being touched... well, not by him and I don't think it's just because he's an older man, but maybe there's just something about being arranged that I find hard to accept from strangers. Maybe if he'd been my teacher for awhile, but I hardly know him and the way he sits back and watches me work on these new exercises makes me self-conscious and when I'm self-conscious, I can't concentrate.

I don't like being observed as I learn; how can I pay attention to my own body when there's a body hovering next to me watching me pay attention to my own body... it's like trying to be in two places at once?
Yep, so there's a bit of a struggle, even though I do think it will end up helping me stabilize my back enough to start building the muscles I'll need to not shoot a disc out of my spine and across the playing field if I join a sport slightly more rigorous.

But as I was saying, I went to yoga yesterday, and it was the most incredible, calm morning. I usually take Herald with me to yoga and he waits in the car until I'm done and then we go for a walk down at the waterfront dog park. For straight-up dog parks, this one is my favorite as it's quite large, starts with a running-around field and then has some trails that lead to the bay, where H and I illicitly walk down the railroad tracks to a couple of beaches.

H goes hogwild at the beach, stuffs his nose under the saltwater and snuffles and blows bubbles. He looks hilariously like a bear searching for salmon, but it seems that what he's after is actually seaweed because when he finds it, he's goes into fits of ecstasy and frolic. He tosses it up and wades around, and then comes ashore and runs circles around me. Yesterday was the best for this; the whole bay was flat calm and mostly blue-skyed. Sailboats and motorboats were just starting to putter out of the harbor (not enough wind for actual sailing) and I could see a couple of fisherman setting up shop nearby. The water was clear with the reefs stretching out under their poppyweed covering, and a couple of starfish hiking across the lower rocks.

Just so you know: this is why I came back to WA. That sense of everything musty and aquatic happening right there just within reach. I started to daydream about owning a boat, or sharing a boat, and going out on a morning like that and sitting with my fishing rod, pulling in the guppies, and arranging my thoughts and stories more clearly. And Herald likes peering at the boats; he actually tucks his tail daintily under his bum and looks out over the water for a bit before returning to his precious seaweed.

And all this feeling perfect, in the perfect place, came along with a simultaneous confusion about what the next step is for me. I'm still torn about whether to stay put and keep trying, but trying a little more systematically... like right now, my life is missing enough friends, an art/writing scene to participate in, and a longterm job that supports me. But other than being open to making friends and looking at people I like with "come hither and be my best buddy" eyes, I haven't really been assertive enough about finding what I want. There's something about Bville that doesn't fully invite my participation - I've lived here many years and it's still the same old story. It's not really haunted anymore by the idea of my horrible MA experience...
Which I've been thinking about lately, and coming to terms with... As in, it was clearly the most important learning experience of my life, but not intellectually, artistically, or even academically. I was still quite immature when I went there, which meant I was to experience so many Firsts - many negative firsts, that is. I'd had some amazing friends before, but I hadn't had to really contend with my friends being damaged, depressed, or just barely holding on. And I'd had lovers before, but not lovers who were unavailable or still mentally in another place. And I'd been in arguments with others before, but not in fights that involved long emails saying truly horrible things, or the blurring of all lines personal, artistic, and professional. I'd never had to figure the distance between what we say and what we mean to do. And so I, as well as others, made a horrible muck-up of it all.

And I finally had to face certain social truths that I'd avoided by being an outsider throughout junior high and high school.

But I've been feeling more peaceful about that time because when I look back at my experience at the Art Institute, I realize that I made full use of my time there, and didn't mess anything up, and didn't really get drawn into any battles or cat fights, and didn't get distracted from my learning by falling in love, and so forth... and most of this is because I knew far more about community and myself. I behaved well at SAIC, you know... comported myself with dignity and all that.
But I still look at Bville and think of it as a classroom of, or for, important and painful lessons. Perhaps the lesson I need now is how to make what I want.

I've thought about getting a studio (it's really necessary I believe), about how to get started on a journal or publication, and also about asking to take over the VB open mic night - it's rather a disaster, and I don't think the person running it really wants to be running it. What I don't want to do is butt in and change all the rules, even if all the rules kinda need changing. Right now the open mic involves a bunch of people who really want to talk but not listen. It's not mixed-aged, and it's not an event that is consistently attracting (or exacting) talent, I think in part because it's so infrequent, doesn't yet sport a coherent entity, and what motivation do you have to bust out a fabulous story if there's nobody listening or caring? (Hmmmm...)

The bizarreness might also have to do with how it's set up, perhaps just a tad too formally with the chairs all in a row and very close in - which works far better for set readings than for open mics, where people do better if asked for less social commitment initially. Anyhow, I've also thought of starting readings elsewhere in town - perhaps modeled in part after mLady and L's Quickies readings in Chicago, which presents preselected writers who have an exceptionally limited amount of time. Not to mention the pub aspect.

But here's one of the problems. I don't know anyone. I don't know anyone. I don't know anyone. How can you run a writing group when you're not friends with anyone in the writing community? I mean, I can see how participation becomes a way to get to know people, but how do you start from nothing?

So, that's something I've been thinking about. And to get down to the gist of the grist before I run out of my hour's worth of writing on the topic (and start grading the five piles of student papers that have accumulated like lint in the navel of my life): I have a choice to make right now, this week. I've been offered a 2-credit class for Spring Quarter, but this doesn't pay the bills, keeps me in Bville, and entirely foils my plan to take a roadtrip to visit my friends and look into other places to move to. It's not a comp class, but a special topics class, which would rock, but...

I just can't decide whether I need to give myself more time here, especially as my imagination has just erupted with spring and summer cheer and daydreams of boats and seedlings, or whether it might be more to the point to give up the ghost and invest in another place where I know there are communities I will do well in. Uf.