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, August 29, 2010

artwalk, garden, etc etc etc blues

I think I'm just biting my nails and walking in circles...

I'm working on this:

Kenyon collagework...even though I don't know if I like it.

It seems a little silly, but I just want to be done with it, so I can see what it looks like and move on. I'd rather be working on my digital images, and spend more time thinking about them... but with the recent computer crash, I lost my image software and am now waiting on the possibility of getting it back this week. So, I can't really work on that stuff, which I think would be satisfying somehow. And in the meantime, I am getting back to the glue and paint and gloss basics. There is a part of it that I enjoy, but I'm not there yet... when I get past the background, which is just tedious crap, then I can make it more image-based and there are often surprises that happen there.

I am also trying to write, and finished a couple of pieces, sent them out (and now can start collecting the rejection slips in earnest!) And of course there are many others, although I can't quite decide on which ones I want to re-enter. There are some that are closer to being done, but I really don't like them and think the language is trite. And there are those that are very far away from being done--they need whole structures developed, really. And then there are those that I flip back and forth between liking and hating.

In the meantime, I am brooding. Here's what I do when I'm not brooding (i.e. healthy activity):

Garden 2010
Garden 2010
Mostly I've harvested potatoes (about half of the ones I grew), chard, beans, peas, garlic, and a couple of spaghetti squash.

Below is the arch I made to go over my door as well. I had this plan to grow my sweet peas over it, and it seems to be working okay. But I was very pleased by how clever I was in building it cheaply and quickly: I drilled dowel-holes in the fence posts, and got big enough dowels to hold in some bendy-pipe, then afterwards twined it up to look slightly more O'Natural. And it worked. And the sweet peas are going to last another month hopefully! Just long enough to go over it and make it perfect.

Garden 2010
Garden 2010
Overall, I have to say the outer-perimeter is particularly impressive (to me) with all the flowers I put in to attract the pollinators. Here are more shots of the wildflowers, sweet peas, and sunflowers that line the edges...

Garden 2010
Garden 2010
Garden 2010
Garden 2010

The rest of the time, I brood on the state of affairs or try to read. I've shifted away from focusing on Love in a Dead Language to focusing on an alternation between the short stories in Jesus' Son and The One Marvelous Thing. It seems like a good combination. Essence of masculine and essence of feminine, to be essentialist and reductive.

As I read them, I've been thinking about the difference between short stories and novels, and particularly about the recent discussion with my sister wherein she stated that she hates short stories and refuses to read them... and why it is that so many readers are similar, and why so many writers love (reading and writing) the short story form. My sister says that she wants the time the novels give her, the real chance to sink into a character or place or situation and be with them. Which I would agree with... that's what I like about novels too. But I also like the perfection of the short story, the crafted nature--how in a good short story, every word is considered, every piece is essential, there are no loose threads that are not loose for a reason. Everything is careful, gentle, wild and conscious, and the wisdoms (the sentences and images that ring in your head like a tuning fork you might reset your brain's pitch by) that I've found have usually been in short stories, songs, or poems... whereas that kind of incredible-ness is rare in a novel. Glorious when it happens, but rarer.

So... even though I'm trying... fighting the good fight to stop brooding via reading and gardening and collaging, my attention span is down. I still spend lots of time fretting about friendship, love, the past, and accomplishment, in no particular order or sequence. Bville has been quiet without SP... much like it was two years ago, and five years ago, and ten years ago. Quiet, sleepy, friendless-ish. Starting to re-suspect that most of my friends here are actually SP's friends. The cc friends of mine have been gone for the summer or withdrawn. JT has been pretty invested in his new relationship, which I can't begrudge as it seems to make him very happy. My friends who live in Seattle have been in Seattle. I find myself missing... ug, it's embarrassing... E. Imagining what it would have been like (had this / had that) if there were someone educated in the same field, consumed by similar passions... to talk to about writing or friendship or blah blah blah while walking around Lake P or wherever. I have to remind myself that this is not what happened for a reason.

Anyhow... NM is coming to visit this Friday for Artwalk, and I'm a little petrified. I don't know how to relate to someone who has had a completely different (contradictory) experience from me. I wonder about everything she says now... everything seems like a symptom... I get irritated... I wonder if she's saying something to control me... I wonder what other version happened when she tells me a story. She's not dating anymore - I guess it didn't work out, surprise surprise - and she's otherwise settling down, has a job and soon a place of her own. She still talks tons about what she's doing medically -- naturopathic and holistic -- and I wonder how long those will hold her down. Who knows. Maybe they're the right choices, but how can one be sure when N seems too afraid to name what happened, to identify the nature of her experience? Is it possible for her to really heal if she won't entertain the likelihood that she has a permanent, difficult psychiatric illness? I don't know. It seems unlikely to me, but at this point, that problem is for her to figure out... my problem is to try to figure out how to be friends with someone while having such different experiences of truth, how to keep my mouth shut while still being me (who is someone not good at keeping her mouth shut... I am incessantly, unremittingly honest about my thoughts and feelings... with friends. It seems that if I am not, then I am not really that person's friend, only an acquaintance who does not share). How to relate to someone who hurt me and hasn't acknowledged it?

I also have to search my intentions. Is it possible that I want a "thanks for going through hell for me"? Or maybe I want to be right, to be told that I was and am right, just as NM wants to be right? Or maybe I want golden light to drift down out of the clouds and settle upon me and my work, and suddenly make me popular and productive and beloved simply because I was good and did my best? I imagine there is a little bit of that.

Yeah, so. I'm nervous; I guess that's about it.

I can't believe school is starting back up in two weeks. Ug. Maybe I'll be more productive when I actually have to juggle my time more fruitfully?

In the meantime... I got a nice haircut. It's much shorter, and it feels good. Less messy and weighty. I've been trying to get regular about working out again too... for awhile there, I was doing 45mins a day on the elliptical in addition to whatever dogwalk or swim Herald roped me into. I've slacked off for a three days, but do need to figure out something regular (and cut down on food, if truth be told)... because I've got a decided Buddha belly. After things got really bad with NM, all I could do was eat eat eat, and I put back on all the 15 pounds I lost before that, plus some. So, now that things are calmer, I'm trying to get back on track. I don't mind being a big girl, but I do mind having a fat belly, boobs that would rival Dolly's, and a double-chin. So, time to work them off.

Oh, and SP is coming back soon, and we're planning on taking a trip together. This also makes me nervous... not sure if I'm ready for that kind of thing... but JS told me I needed to learn how to let people be nice to me, and to not expect downfall or backstabbing or abandonment or cruelty or strings as a result. She and Frank basically told me that I'm too suspicious of kindness or generosity (I'm probably equally as suspicious of those who accept kindness or generosity from me, which poses even more of a problem). Heh. So, anyhow, I'm going to give it a shot.

And that's that.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Only a couple more weeks until school starts back up again. I've not yet hit panic mode, but am instead intently focusing on inspiration. Trying to recollect what inspiration consists of... reading old readings (I pulled out an old stowaway rainyday file that smelled of Chicago, having held stashedaway handouts, photocopies, student works, gathered newspapers, and many given items... items that others told me were inspirational for them and they hoped maybe for me too. Most of them were from JS née JW, and many from fric-frac and Beth Nugent. I liked the ragged edges of most of the handouts, the ripaways, the darkening paper and the little glints of dust motes that had collected in some photocopier somewhere, years ago, and been registered and recorded as an invasive particle in the dissemination of inspiration.) I figure my adviser (BN) would remind me what a silly notion inspiration is. Or would she? Maybe she would have me find a system, and test it, and play with it, and I think she'd be okay with me reading alot, frantically grabbing and tossing new books, used books, advised books, found books, picture books, crummy books: Love in a Dead Language (so far, I think Pale Fire and Lolita covered it more succinctly), 6 Memos for the New Millennium, The One Marvelous Thing, The Hungry Tide, 84--Charing Cross Road (the closest to inspiration maybe, in its utter sweetness and humanity), Geek Love, The Verificationist, Robert Smithson, (panting panting), Female Trouble, The Complete Nonsense of Edward Lear (did you know that he wrote "The Owl and the Pussycat"?!!), an interview with Amy Hempel, stories by Peter Marcus, Borges, Spicer, (panting panting), and because that is not enough (I still haven't found It): new music, old music, re-arranging music. And literary journals, personal journals, my friends' writings, people I don't know's writings, the news (panting panting), written scraps from the collage piece I'm working on (in French, which I don't know!). Ok, I might be in panic mode... but more than that, I feel hungry for something I can't find, I feel like a match poised between fingers, I feel like someone who might not understand what words are when I start typing, like I'm hunting for what the local soil might be composed of. What would BN say? Pick words from a dictionary - write from one to the other? That has often worked (a good strategy, nonsensical and farcical both) but I want to work on several pieces that I've already started and I don't know how to breathe into them again, breathe for them, awaken them to the ideas I have set aside for them, my arm around their shoulder, steering them this direction, pointing out the ocean, finding the path onto the beach that has its arm around that ocean, following the chain, convincing them to be inspired to listen to me, their wishful parent, their wistful friend... their lonely friend. Alas, woe is me, mea culpa, e tu Brutus, and You made a woman meow, and if you think life is a vending machine and you put in virtue, and get out happiness... All that business.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

on the boat in Puget Sound

Oil Refinery

refinery in Puget Sound
refinery steam in Puget Sound

Birds at a rookery... who'd a thought poo could be so pretty?

bird rookery
bird rookery
bird rookery
bird rookery
bird rookery
bird rookery

Seals and baby

seals in Puget Sound
seals in Puget Sound
seals in Puget Sound

Monday, August 16, 2010

here n there

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

post-friend depression

I know it doesn't make much sense to feel depressed because you just finished having a great visit with friends. But that's how I feel.

I reckon it's not unlike the feeling that comes on Christmas after you've opened all your presents and now have to get on with the rest of the day. It doesn't seem to matter if you got everything you possibly could have wanted or not. And it doesn't seem to matter if you've got a whole day of awesomeness planned (hot-tubbing, eating good food, chatting with visitors, playing games, etc). In your heart of hearts, you know that Christmas morning is gone and the part of the day where everything is a surprise is over.

I think that under normal circumstances, I've just gotten used to not having very many friends around these parts -- accepting that the pleasure of living in Bville is in its beauty, my dog's cuteness, and a degree of stability. But having gone to JW's wedding, and hung out on the porch with her and FS, and talked well into the wee hours, and gotten lots of hugs, and spoken about writing and accomplishments, etc, with people who really, honestly seem to like me and see me... well, it's made me feel lonely again now that I'm back home.

In addition to this, I'm feeling some pretty horrible, shitty emotions surrounding NM and her return to the PacNW. For starters, I'm angry - because she is dating already, and hasn't taken the time to settle and examine what happened to figure out the best method of preventing it from happening again. It seems like, as before, she just bounces back up, starts running again, and counts on her beauty and brilliance to buy her another chance with her friends should she need it.

Which gets at number two horrible emotion: I'm feeling very very jealous. When everything was down n' out for me, it was my family and my far-away friends who helped me. All these people I went to school with here acted like, and still act like, I'm an inconvenient worthless nothing. None of them helped me out. None of them made me dinner although I lost 40 pounds in a month and a half. In fact, nobody came to my house to even sit next to me and be with me. In the classroom-of-hell, people acted like I was in their way. Me and my big fat emotions. My fault. My problem, don't make it theirs. And it's all of these same people who are climbing out of the woodwork to help or greet NM, who doesn't even like most of them. Hasn't done anything for them. There are no precise features I can come up with that clearly account for these people adoring NM and ignoring me... going out of their way to request her friendship on Facebook while not requesting mine (shit, E requested her friendship a butt-ton number of times from what NM told me, and NM never even liked her, much less loved her)... nothing other than NM's beauty and brilliance. Everybody wants to bask in that, everybody wants to help the lamb out. The pop-u-lar-ity contest incarnate.

See... I know they're ugly feelings. Really ugly. I wish I wasn't feeling them. And I especially wish I wasn't feeling them at the same time as being worn out with NM and angry at her. And I also wish I wasn't feeling them after having such a nice time with my peeps. I think it's just a love hangover.

I am, I should note, looking forward to getting my health insurance back in the autumn so I can do what I should've done before and get some counseling on all this stuff. I am just a bit ill-equipped to deal with the fallout of having a best friend go around the bend, being bankrupted emotionally by it, and trying to figure out how to get back on track afterwards. Especially as it brought back a lot of bad memories and resentments and bitterness for me.

Sigh. Next post will be cheerier. I promise. And now I will go eat a tamale and hope it brings said cheer.