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, November 30, 2010

favorite student mispellering of the quarter

We must learn to embarrass life to its fullest,and except others as they are rather than how we wish they were.

Day of thanks, check. Nice long weekend, check. Goals and visions, check. In addition, good tidings.

Plus, a delicious letter from my friend in Germany (I forgot how much a handwritten letter feels like art). And a nice visit from a boating-reading friend (he shows up, he leaves; he shows up, he darts away; he shows us, anchor lifts) who has made a 3-book reading bet with me, involving only the best treats if we reneg, and the best treats if we don't. Also, I've ordered and received the books two of my classmates at SAIC have written and published: they look beautiful, make me both jealous and incredibly proud, and I'm feeling smitten with the idea of reading them with coffee+baileys. The end of this quarter is clockwork crazy, and I am tic tic-tocking my way forward.

p.s. I love the new way Herald has of growling and howling when I give him kisses. It doesn't get more pithy than that.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

hmmm, interesting

my spider project seems to have evolved into something slightly creepy... I like it. heh.

spider project

Sunday, November 21, 2010

this weekend

has been pretty damn good so far...

I answered a bonafide "booty call." I think that's when someone tells you they've been scuba diving and the sea anemones are fanning iridescent in the dark.

I picked out long johns -- both a top and a bottom -- for one of my best friends, and she bought them. I would have bought them for her to make sure she's not wandering around all cold-like, but she bought them because I picked them out and told her she needed them and they fit too.

I was given a yellow-orange string with a knot in the middle that "had been blessed by the Dalai Lama." I don't know if it was really blessed by the Dalai Lama, or what it means even if it was, but the knots feel nice against my sternum.

I spun prayer wheels in a clockwise order.

I haven't graded or commented on or helped write a single paper since Thursday evening, after 8:16pm.

I went clothes shopping with a friend for the first time in years. I hate shopping as a rule, but this worked. I tried on pants and they revealed my side-chops, so I didn't get them. But I still found a good book and an orange shirt and clothes for N. Moreover, I didn't get bored or irritated, and found clothes for N.

When we went into a Greek take-out place, S asked the chef if she could open and drink a recently-bought (at a Mexican grocery store) Coca-Cola, and the chef jokingly said only if she shared it with him. S poured him a full glass and handed it over the counter.

My car slid at a stop sign atop the snow-that-turned-to-ice, and I was going slow enough that it just meant we went into the gutter and then back out again.

N has seemed relapse-y during our recent phone conversations, but when I drove down to Seattle for a night at the last minute to make sure she was okay, she was okay.

I had someone to drive with, and the conversation made the trip seem very quick.

The trees in Bville, just on the other side of the hills, are tipped in white and the streets and brambles, white. The sidewalks and newspaper-dispensers: white. Coming through the white valley into sunset: peaceful, breathtaking, wordless. Leaving after sliding on the ice, heading through the glare and shortening evening: dizzying and white-glared tips.

My dog danced and danced and danced when I got home.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

my biggest revelation of the past year was that you can't form your self-identity, ego, or pride around the ways other people view you.

this really hit home when N had her breakdown and told me tons of horrible things about me and my relation to her life. and I knew that I had done better. I knew I was something other than what one of my closest friends described me as, thus I could not be the person others saw me as, full-stop and period. it was clear to me like that: if my best friend saw me in her worst of moments as an enemy, and at the worst of moments I was her closest ally, then obviously who I am has nothing to do with what anybody (if not a close friend, then nobody) sees me as. and in addition to that, I think sometimes that even in the best of times, she sees me as a rescuer more than an entity. a function of her need.

accordingly, I believe there are no true mirrors in human experience, and outsiders can be no better because their perspective is even further limited, a one-eye without the second or third.

then how do you know your worth, value, self? especially when you remember that the self is suspect in its own observation because self-preservation encourages the best and most helpful view of one's self. maybe. mostly? partially? or maybe it is convenient that some people view themselves as less, as subservient to the over-riding glow of others, because that allows all narcissistic folks health and accolades. because some folks will view one's self as the bend-all, the ultimate, the fullmost... and all reasoning will be bent to such ends. between self-love and self-hatred and self-ignorance, how can we know our selves? or our selves in relation to anybody else, even?

I certainly know who has been narcissistic in my life, but I wonder what it means to be narcissistic. what would it mean to wake up in twenty years and have someone tell you that's who you are? in ten years? in five?

there's been a 'subtle' battle I've had with a recent student who accused me today of bias. I wrote 6 nice pages in response to his accusation and wondered about my instinct to smash his smug, irrational, uneducated, unreasonable, complacent cute young face in. uh oh, I'm having a mean session coming on. my instinct was to tell him to go fuck a goat rather than waste my brain space with his totally unreasoned, un-evidenced ridiculous prejudice and bias. I didn't want to have to deal with his dumb-as-shit crap-all name-calling douchey dangerous etcetera. ouch, did I just say that? but I guess responding politely is my job... my six pages were all reasoned and helpful, like that will help. I mean, I guess I've been hired to facilitate conversation. like, I've really be hired to hear and reach out... rather than telling someone that they're totally full of uneducated shit.

is it unreasonable to not want to give rhetorical skills to these racist homophobic male-chauvinists? might I also question my adjectives and nouns? might I just hope he finds a business school without ethics... and does what he's already set to do, without question or exploration? arg! I know I'm supposed to do better! but I also know that an angel loses her wings every time someone trades their gray cells for propaganda.

sometimes the negotiation is really rough. sometimes I haven't a slightest clue what makes me who I am. or why I'm bothering to listen to people who have no intention of listening back. i.e. it's hard to be a teacher. it's hard to figure out who you are outside of outside weigh-in sessions... when a student calls you biased, or a friend tells you you didn't do enough, or you tell yourself that you're doing too much... and the truth lies in (e) none of the above.

it's raining like crazy, I tell you... a sound like scallop shells rattling in a stream.

Monday, November 15, 2010

useful and productive

Herald is pleased with me tonight because I've promised him a long-awaited walk tomorrow before I teach and tutor. Such hedonism, he says, it suits me.

I feel good this week, at least about the energy I've put forth into the world. My students have been thanking me, lingering around after the end of class to talk about their excitements, or ask me about the creative writing class (that I have not yet prepped!!!) I'll be teaching in the future. Thanks for recommendations that have landed placements, and thanks for pushing hard and not relenting. Thanks for going the extra mile for student veterans, which is interesting for me: so against the wars and military creeds, so... really, admiring and compassionate for the soldiers... at least the ones that show up at community college with their traumas and experience and pain and confusion and disconnect from society at large. I find myself spending extra extra time for those students, worrying about them constantly, wanting to let them know they've been heard. So, it was nice to get a smallthanks from one of them, letting me know that I'm on the right path.

On a side/related note, I'm still very worried that DADT will continue without question, that shame will continue to be institutionalized after the new round of discriminators get installed. It really weighs on me whether America decides to continue to solidify prejudice in the governmental system or not, what pathway is chosen for the future. It speaks so much about who we are, and I am scared about what we could become. Subtle prejudice is strong enough without the reinforcement of law. Even if I want to keep every queer person away from further war or trauma or disconnect, etc. Like they haven't had enough. But really, it's their choice.

I don't talk about this with my students, actually. I wonder if I should sometimes. If they thank me for listening to them, might I ask them to listen to me? Unfortunately, that doesn't feel like the job I'm meant to do...

Anyhow, I am prepping stuff to send out. Again. Despite the rejections. It is agonizing since I recognize the weaknesses of what I'm sending out at the same time as understanding that I am done. And despite recognizing the flaws in what I do, I am still done. In addition, it is agonizing since I recognize the weaknesses of what I'm sending out at the same time as understanding that I am finito. And despite recognizing the flaws in what I do, I am still not invested anymore. Oui? Until the next round, maybe?

I am also trying to find the direction through my nonfiction/image piece, the current question being: why would others be interested in this stuff? What would make anyone care? I have spent time on the images, because that seems more obvious, but why would anyone read about my thoughts on interconnection, community, love in its variety, friendship, etc.? I keep discarding and redoing. I can't figure out if I'm supposed to make everything a story, or if it's okay to talk about the philosophy and gaps in philosophy. I can't figure out if what I'm saying is naive, or inapplicable. Sometimes it's even vengeful or angry, and how can that be channeled without being self-congratulatory and judgmental? I can't quite find the direction, and I'm second-guessing my instincts here. I mean, I've read enough Hunter Thompson, Dalai Lama, and Annie Dillard to understand what people seek in creative nonfiction. But what I have to say is way less educated, philosophical or adventurous than any of that. What I am trying to say is incomplete, torn sometimes, even childish. How to make that interesting, or relevant?

I guess I just better do it, set a new goal, and then do that, etc. I keep trying to remember that everyone follows their own path through time, and I shouldn't gather the pressures exerted by other people's achievements. But everybody just keeps having babies, and I seem just a touch barren. I guess I have a dog, a mind, a job, and a hope... yet I'd just kill for a little bit of ruthless and viciously passionate birth. Sigh.

I am glad though, that my students sometimes tell me I help. It's definitely something.

Friday, November 12, 2010

autumn in whatcom/skagit

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

nobody has to listen to anybody

Every quarter of my 102 class I teach MLK's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," which slays me every time.

Mostly, I am obsessed by his twin audience, christian and secular, and how he addresses them both, how his argument is dependent on both.
"A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law." [religious]

"An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself." [secular]
And it's not just his definitions, but his allusions:
"We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal." It was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany." [secular]

"It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire." [religious]
Interesting that he felt the need, as a minister and as a speaker to the American public, to not only speak to the religious folk in his audience, but in every instance of his argument to address the secular as well. Not just christian morality, but popular morality, ethics unhindered by the God argument, and paired with practicality: he who is in the minority must always require that the majority follow their own laws. Law and creed, hand in hand, everyone included. I believe this is why, during his time, he was such a powerful public speaker in America, the land that loves so firmly both religion and the secular law that protects our differences of religion. Or not-religion.

Not being a christian, some of MLK's religious appeals make me nervous, as I tend to associate the "higher authority" with judgment of those who are different. I vastly prefer the emotional and logical appeals to experience, connecting to who would have otherwise seen his goal as distant from their own lives; give us a story to identify with -- the story of your daughter, perhaps -- and we'll follow your far-from-us discussion on pain: "when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people..." It's powerful, but not because God tells me so, but compassion does...

Okay, I get it. But what I meant is that for me, MLK's secular, reasoned argument speaks legions about the balance that democracy requires to last: justice, above all, equals avoidance of majority hypocrisy.

But America today still seems to drawn to circumscribing private lives with political laws, dictating the ideals and codes of one group with those of the accepted other. How powerful is it to really think about this idea: "An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself"? Powerful. Really powerful. I might argue the all-the-time powerful battle of living in a democracy. It might also act in the reverse (minority to majority) but the principle is the same: all laws apply to all. Like a tongue twister.

But what happens if we stop paying attention to the framework that developed flexibly to help this nation last as a nation and not a sandpit... well, anything is up for grabs, especially if it comes with a neat little code. Because very little lands in one's lap, really, especially when resources become scarce or dreams ridiculous, so it might be natural inclination to shape society, law, economics, justice to favor one group over another, and then to position yourself into that group. Very little to lose if you win; lots to lose (and blame on others) if you don't. Unhindered capitalism, right?

Question: What values are compelled today by a majority group upon a minority group, that they themselves do not want to follow?

1) International justice.

2) Big business - to - worker relations, when the difference between becomes extreme.

3) The law of immigration; where our forefathers began, so do we, and by the laws of our early admittance, so too might the new troops enter and fight to belong.

4) Some religious groups gots the deeds to America; others don't even have the deeds to their own land. (I'm thinking the whole Ground-Zero Muslim Community Center here, and moreover what that debate indicates).

5) Medical facilities and health insurances are allowed to pursue (business) happiness and success, even as the people that supposedly support them suffer, go into debt, or even die. It's capitalist suffering though, so I'm sure it doesn't count.

6) And in my mind recently, well, the fact that so many straight couples want to have magical, government-acknowledged weddings. They want to receive gifts. They want tax breaks and children. Of course they do.

The whole debate around queer marriage circulates around barring the minority of queer couples from having the very thing that straight couples want: romance, love, stability, the pursuit of happiness. The whole debate around "don't ask, don't tell" circulates around barring the minority of queer soldiers from having the very thing that straight soldiers want to have: the right to defend what they believe in with support from the government. Everything hinges on the dictation [from one side] of the conditions for another person's existence. To me, it seems like a clear issue of justice, and it always has.

Is it the pivotal issue of our generation? Is it distraction and fluff? Are there more important issues that take precedence? Perhaps. Most definitely. I think the recent "queer debates" are stupid, clear, simple and distracting from war, economics, other forms of institutionalized prejudice, international disasters, environmental concerns, economic problems and good times. I think the queer problem is a dumb culture issue meant to distract and divide. Judicially, it's a no-brainer, so let's get onto the real fucking issues, is my point of view.

But... I maybe will vote for Obama in the next election, and maybe I will say fuck you. The fact that Obama requested a stay on the judicial ban on DADT military policy because he requires a "careful review and an act of Congress" tells me that he has rethought his promise to "[call] for us to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" as he promised in his epic, but perhaps ill-advised (politically) letter to the LGBT community. I know my brolaw will disagree with me. And I know that my straight friends will too. I know that there are a thousand reasons, both political and realistic, to sit on my anger over his choice to step outside his executive pathway and halt the decision of the judicial branch of the U.S. government in order to mitigate the political realities of the United Religious States of the Fucking U.S. of A. But to me it is a token act of cowardice, political bullshit, and did I say cowardice. Enough with the tormenting the minority to shift the focus away from the difficult decisions that need to be made. If everything lands hard on the liberals, as it always appears to do, then at least we will have been brave and just and forward.

And this is a real issue until rights, equalities, and pride are apportioned in accordance to deed rather than than adherence to sexual norms. My queer friends who are couples have to fight for tax breaks, health benefits, legal acknowledgment; we all have to fight for social acceptance or even peace. It's not a nothing issue. "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and similar policies damage people. Every day. It should be repealed and life should move forward, not life moving forward first because the problem involves only a "minority." Time, as MLK said, acts now on the people who are living their lives. And I may not believe in marriage, but I sure as shit believe in equality including marriage for queers.

And how stupid that this is even a topic we have to think about. How painful that when I wonder what MLK would think - with his divide between the moral (as dictated by his God) and the secular - that I wonder: would he be ripped in half? Or would he feel the need to sacrifice one side, perhaps the best side, of his argument in order to save the other half?
"First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.


I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth concerning time in relation to the struggle for freedom. I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: "An Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth." Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely rational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will." (MLK)
Damn, if I don't admire him. Where are our MLK's? Have we forgotten our responsibility? The real side effects that come from the unconscious passing of time? Is one event in history completely unrelatable to another?

But what happens when secular law is in contrast to people's perceived religious law? Freedom of religion? Anarchy? Agree to disagree? I fuck you because of limited resources? Or America as the Beacon on the Hill? I keep wondering what MLK would say. I imagine he'd say the same damn thing that Obama would. And I now think Queers got to get practical. All of America's got to get practical.

Not so long as forty years ago, MLK was attacked and mobbed and virtually stoned, and eventually killed for his ideas. Now we celebrate him as a National Holiday, a plagiarist (ridiculous), and a forgone idea. His image has been codified, his position accepted into the establishment. But that's not where it began. I remind my students that: when he spoke, it was to opponents, not friends. His words were meant to change the world, and nothing about his position was considered automatically righteous.

And who do I support? I, who doesn't even believe that sexuality should be political (it's fucking private, folks!!!!!), and admire many of the pragmatic political decisions that have been made by Obama/etc recently (except Middle-Eastern policy), not to mention the relief that comes from not having another dumb-as-shit puppet in office. I rather think the demographics have been played, and that a certain kind of cowardice just pisses me off, even if it makes sense for the politicians. But I also believe that solders, bullied children, the future, and confused adults have to pay the price for cowardice.

Ah, place we live. I'm glad I'm also teaching a unit on comedy in America, because sometimes that at least gives me perspective. A little laughter sometimes goes a long way too.
P.S. What triggered me tonight was a local news station doing a report on some guy who decided to be straight, got married, and is now over the moon happy with his life because he's having a baby. The segment ended with the anchor wishing him luck. That's not news, but propaganda, and it made me feel sick to my stomach to watch it aired so blithely. Thus the rant. To my friends and relatives who already believe what I do. Heh.

Monday, November 08, 2010

I love a good language geek, I do

"Also, all of language is metonymic. How’s that for a theory of metaphor! FACE."

Bwaaaaaaahaaahahaha. This is a great post, and you should read it too. A taste of everything from beer to Bad Religion to relativistic linguistics to chavs. Ah the brilliance of first-timers.

Now I have to go grade and comment on proposals. Sigh.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

This was my jack-lantern this year. The first year in over a decade that I didn't scrape the exterior into a face, but instead just sliced and diced, which seemed more expedient. And also twas nice to do something different. On the downside, I'm not sure I became fast friends with my pumpkin this year. His was a nice acquaintance to make, however.

The Studio
The photography show we had this past artwalk-Friday went well. It took a little craziness to get there though.

The first part of the craziness being that N's phone died, so she wasn't able to postpone her arrival in a manner that I would receive. Thus, though she was supposed to get here in the morning, she didn't arrive until after the show had already begun. Aside from not being here to help me hang everything, as she was supposed to, and aside from the large temporary gap on the wall where her work was to go, I was worried sick. Irritated as I was to hear she had stumbled in to the studio cheerfully tardy while I was out scouring the bus stations, pubs, and gutters to find her... I was thrilled to put away the mental images of bus crashes, hate crimes, or re-ensuing craziness. Once she was there, and I griped at her a bit, we hung her work and everything was nice.

While hanging the pictures and prepping the studio, I'd also had another conflict with S, which seem to be increasing, and are strange strange strange. I'm hoping to put a kybosh on further squabbles... they seem to come from a combo of my own cranky tiredness--my unhappiness with my body and my writing and my lack of time--and a little bit of personality conflict between the two of us at times. But I'm ready to find methods to relax, and good cheer to get me through my work.

The Studio
At the show, I sold two matted and framed photography pieces (I'll give you three guesses as to who bought them, with a hint being that I've only once sold a non-book piece to anyone else) plus was commissioned to mat a third. SP sold one piece, AD sold a number of postcards, and everyone wants JW to one day put her oil paintings on sale instead of hoarding them. Regardless of that, there was a nice turnout, everyone more or less cheerful, and the show looked good.

I am feeling pathetic though... my arms are sore and the only thing I can figure out is that they got exercise from hanging.

The Studio
Backing up a bit, I went on a hike on Friday morning with Herald, so he'd stop looking at me like he thought I hated him. We went up to these two lake/ponds up near my house, and it was stunning... foggy dripping and gray, but with leaves covering the mossy paths and blowing around falling and tumbly stacking. Better yet, when I got to the beaver pond, it was totally quiet but with these huge spider webs - both satchel-like and woven - draping the snags in the middle of the pond. A kingfisher on a limb, and woodpecker holes lining the exterior of the trees, but on each of the ten limbs on the ten trees... ten webs with mist collecting on them, and did I say quiet? Not another human soul up there, just the intense reflections of the webs mixed in with tiny green lilies.

Then yesterday, I took a hike with MH, my new colleague/friend. The more time I spend with her, the more I love her. She is so calm, and yet wild like a wood thrush or beaver. I don't fully understand it, but just being around her makes me feel peaceful; all this craze just kind of seeps out of me and I feel happy and secure and able. I think she likes me too. So, we went on a hike and talked of this and that, and Herald played with her dog, and the leaves smacked the ground, and the eastern skyline occasionally opened, and the dog salmon rushed up and down the river as we got back, with Herald at first jumping a foot out of the water at their motion, and then chasing them to see what they were.

It all worked perfectly because N and S were supposed to go on the hike too, but N was stressed about teach-prep and S had to attend a function two hours after we were to start, and so both decided to just head home instead, so that nobody felt rushed and everyone had time. When M drove me back to drop me off with N, who had the car, we spotted N walking down the street to Archers, the pub, and we simply joined her and shared a beer.

I had a bad moment when the waitress -- who knows N and me because we all used to grab beers down there during grad school -- came up and said hello, then told me that she had just seen Soham a few weeks ago when she came in to say howdy. I almost started crying. It's hard to know that she'd been here and hadn't even bothered to drop me a line, and N could see I was super-upset and tried to redirect. She had known, but didn't tell me so I wouldn't get upset. Somehow these things seem to come out though. It amazes me sometimes to think that if E hadn't slept with D three weeks after dumping me, and if we hadn't all been in a class together, and if I hadn't been so damn wrecked about the whole thing, then I might have had a fairly different social life, maybe even life. But maybe what was going to happen was always going to happen, regardless of exactly how it happened. I'm sure that makes some kind of sense.

So anyhow, I was seriously struggling not to cry when I realized how nice the two walks I had been on were, and the show I had just had, and how good it feels these days to have quality friends. Maybe not tons of friends, and maybe not friends close enough geographically for my taste, but good friends. Both admirable and interesting. People who go out of their way for others, and who are kind even when it doesn't benefit them directly. And suddenly, I felt okay with it all. The people who are in my life are those who like me and want to be in my life. And I want to be in theirs. And that's that, we drank our beers in good company.

On my walks, I stupidly forgot my camera and so I have plans to go back, because this is the only cellphone picture that came out a little bit, and it doesn't capture more than the tiniest bit of the perfection or quiet.

spiderweb at beaver pond

Thursday, November 04, 2010

red leaves, yellow fronds

I saw the most beautiful tree today. I have plans to go back and look at it again before it changes too much. I want to say it was a maple, but it had yellow strands attached to its downward-facing leaves. I was on my way to work, and I nearly stopped to look, despite being late. I'm not sure I'll forgive myself if I don't go back to look closer soon.

Tomorrow, the photography show. The collected images aren't brilliance, but I feel they may be the start to all of us creating new projects... we decided while hanging today that we need an "images from far away" show in the middle of winter. It made me think of my traveling pictures - of Ecuador (lo-fi digital), yes, but more of Russia and Europe, during those days pre-digital with my mother's fancy camera. Images taken by SS of poppies, and others by the both of us during those moments I've half-forgotten. I'll have to dig through boxes. But it makes me excited about photographs again, either way.

Next week, writing resumes. I'm going to put together a December reading and I want to come up with something new. Life chugs along... still quickly.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

I think my head might be about to explode

Rainbow Over StudioLife is Insanely Busy. My Poor Dog is just about At His Wit's End because he never gets Walks anymore. He's started Being Bad and Growly-Lunging at Other Dogs when we do go on Walks, and I don't know, maybe it's because I've been Neglecting him. Teaching has been taking up so much damn Time, and I'm tutoring again, which also takes up so much damn Time. I get horribly stressed out, which makes me Cranky, and then I get into Squabbles and Arguments. I haven't been Dancing in months and months, and this last Halloween might well have been the worst Halloween I've had in a long time... I barely got time to carve my Pumpkin, I didn't have time to create a costume, N came up at the last minute because she wasn't doing well after yet another crappy conversation with her Ex- (I just want to shake them both... Why keep traumatizing each other?!!), but since it was last-minute, it was inevitable that she picked my set-aside Work-Time.

So, my tutoring session went an hour longer than I had planned, and then there was N. She had promised that she would Work Quietly, as I told her I couldn't really provide her with much more than Work Solidarity and Company without having a big freakout. But I couldn't say No, though I wanted to... because I've never Forgiven the people who wouldn't let me spend the night with them when I was on the edge, and my sister has never Forgiven me for not letting her stay over when she was on the edge, and I won't risk another Cataclysmic Breakdown from my friend. So I said Yes, But. It doesn't matter though, because she Needed to Talk, and so I didn't get a Single Thing Done while she was here. We worked, but she Worked Out Loud, asking me questions and telling me about her lesson plans. We also tried to go over to a Friend's Potlatch for a short while because N was starving, but we got the Wrong Address, Wandered Around until Finding It, then there wasn't Much/Any Food, and then Herald caught his foot on a power cord, started pulling a computer or something off the table, and in the act of everyone lunging to rescue it, another friend knocked water all over a third friend's art photography slides. Fucking Catastrophe!

And then S snapped at Herald and me when I went to see if I could help, like it was Our Fault rather than an Accident. I'd Understand if Herald jumped up on the table or something, but he was on his leash, walking across the room to greet someone when It Happened. And he stayed on his leash, by my side afterward. I was so irritated with Everything and Everybody that I took N and Left (I Apologized later to the friend about her photography and offered to help pay to Restore Them if it was needed... I do feel crappy about that!). N and I grabbed a beer and burgers elsewhere, used up more Time (but she got to tell me about her Stupid Ex), and then tried to Work for a bit before watching the Thriller Dance hosted on the village greens. We got there late, so didn't get to See Very Well, and then N had to leave so we Left Early and I went to Work until 1 in the morning. I found it even more Irritating to get invites to come Dance later in the night... when I had such Daunting Piles before me. Anyhow.

On a related note, when I went out with S on Saturday, we went to the house of some new friends, ate and played a fun game that I'm going to use in my creative writing class next quarter. But S made this comment when somebody teased me about something that I was going to get hurt feelings and go blog about it. It somehow doesn't seem fair that she knows about this blog, gets to read it (when it's so damn personal), and frequently react to it, and so I don't usually post much about the two of us. And now she's commenting about it in public to other people who don't know about my blog because I don't tell people who live near me about my blog anymore. Interesting how blogs are, but I recommend never telling anyone you know about your blog unless you're willing to lose their friendship by saying something while in a cranky mood, or even more frequently, just randomly. I also recommend never telling anyone you know about your blog if you don't want the things you write on it to be thrown in your face.

This next weekend hopefully will Cheer Me Up. JW and I are hosting a Photography Show... one that collects work from all our local friends who were interested in participating. N will be coming back up, and this time I won't be working. Lemonade and red vines will be everywhere. Money will fall from the sky. And all my student papers will be busy commenting on themselves in my backpack at home. Not to mention, my novel/books will be writing themselves using the simple brilliance of my brain but not my Time. Heh.

P.S. Yes, I voted. And I'm still more liberal than the liberals! So, take that, Tea Party.

I like the way the tendons stand out, the veins expose themselves, the knuckles curl. There is the grip, secure and sure.

The nails, blunt. Not chewed or damaged or hyper-gendered or fragmenting. Just blunt. The tears drop away quickly, the edges smooth within days. Frequently, I find crap beneath them, but it is earned crap. It is earth and compost. It is ripped from my scalp as I think. It is the foam from a bar of soap, scraping away at the lived experience of the body.

Sometimes my fingers smell in a way I don't want anyone else to smell. I lift them to my nostrils. I wash them before I leave my home.

Such is home.

I especially like the way they grip things. Not dicks, like they could, or swords even... but computer keys, my language, new instruments -- their sharp blades hidden until some button or pressure point is found and asserted... perhaps the mouse I carry with my computer because my hands are too warm and sweaty for the built-in mousepad. Or a steering wheel, the sides of a playground slide, an animal behind its bars.

Gentle, like the way I tap tap tap my puppy's head, or firm, the way I wrap his leash around my forefinger and thumb.

I grip the mail, my backpack and my camera; carried are my iPod, freshly picked tomatoes and the morning coffee; clutched are my second cup of coffee, my mother's evening brandy and my alarm clock as it tries to wake me in the morning; my opinion is palmed, along with the keys to a new mailbox, given me by my father, and the CD I've been listening to but don't want to share; I hold my dog's furry head in my armpit in the late-mornings, as well as my friends' weirdo books or art-projects or truths; I cling to the past, the forty student papers I've been trying to convince myself to grade, and Lambert--the 130-pound escape artist--as he strains against his leash on a walk; I take what is offered, but it doesn't come often, and usually it is attached with strings or expectations.

Sometimes, I touch what I didn't expect.
Or my hands enfold something nearly dying, still full of desire, maybe beautiful.

At times, that skin and bone and tenuous connection looks like an event happening, if you watch it for more than a snapshot in time. They have lines, scars in the infolds from where I clutched at rope while swinging out over a cliff, or leaned too close to a stove.

They have intention, in the reach you can clearly see. This motion resists metaphor; instead is movement, dance, and age, the finger a fuck-you you can interpret as you will. They curl and form fists and write. They currently own up to the glass splinter that has recently left their tips. Their life moves letters at an exceptional rate, once having directed failure, rebellion, boats during storm, escape, twitch, and no. yes. no. no. yes. During maybe.

They are sexual. Dyke hands. Listening hands; they hear bodies from every angle. They get angry at their own silence, how their expression occurs only in direct interaction with another object in motion. They hate their silence so much they live by story-telling. By motions made quietly in the dark.

Future rawhide, they move and move and make you stop just like tha

They apologize by still being visible, attached to the weaponry of their expression, the tools of their existence. Tightly, like chords on an operatic foray.