Non-Red-Letter Days

  1. Some times you’re in synch with the world, and sometimes you know you’re not.

    This would be a not day, or a knot-day. Brain’s a clattery train yard. Nerves on edge so any unexpected sound makes my skin leap. I’m officially tired of being me. I’m accepting CVs for people to play the role of me instead. I’m not sure who will handle the auditions. Ah, right, also taking CVs for a casting director.

  2. I’m taking stock.
  3. That does mean pilfering goods from the office right? (Of course, working at home, it means going from one pocket to the other. But get rebellion where you can.)
  4. I’ve concluded time is going quickly. That may be just confirmation bias since I concluded much the same at age 8.
  5. It’s the 10th year of my being at the Poetry-W listserv. How many dozens of people have been thru over the years? I was in a couple other face-to-face poetry workshops at the time which have fizzled since but that one keeps on. Now I’m more mentoring and sharing theory posts instead of being an omnidirectional fuzz looking for guidance.

    It’s funny that it works for me because it’s pretty consistent for me to write poem drafts constantly then binge edit in rapid cycles of substantive edits. With a workshop that allows only one per week, that means I have nothing or more than the group can accommodate. Still, I often can tell if I broke a poem. But close edits can be myopic and I tend to forget the reader needs to be oriented before I leap in mid-way. I like poems with gaps that don’t spell everything out.

  6. Charles Tumbrull said at Frogpond, in talking about juxtaposition,

    […] when the gap between the two parts is set exactly right by the poet so that with a moderate amount of effort the reader is able to experience an “aha!” moment and suddenly be smothered in extra meaning that was not present in either part. The proper regulation of the gap in a spark plug is often used as an analogy to the mechanics of the haiku. A functioning gap will vary for various people, of course.

    Some people have to be led by the nose. That’s fine. I don’t need to be the one with the shank lead. Other people already know what I’m saying. They can go off and speak to others rather than us both wasting time affirming each other. It’s that slim overlap where the gap is a productive one that is the sweet spot.

  7. One does what one does. As Marvin Bell put it, “Everyone needs something to do in his or her life that they would do even if no one paid them to do it.”
  8. For poetics I’m characteristically spilled water – spreading out in all directions, and wetting socks. That’s a kind of niche too. It worries when people say to be developed you must be a specialist in one thing. It nearly convinces me that one increasingly narrow path is an ideal.

  9. I know I lose out by being a generalist with gaps. But so do people who don’t read or perceive broadly. Not that there is anyone who is not a specialist or anyone who is not a generalist. The depth, widths and overlaps just vary. Talk to me about species or poetry or architecture or let the steering go any random direction and I probably can go somewhere. (Don’t talk to me of sports or movies or music or anything invoking the word hegemony. I will have no idea. I will glaze over. And you’ll just frustrate yourself.)
  10. While I was busy gadding about, it seems I missed another anniversary.

    Feb 22nd, 2003 I started blogging at Humanyms. I missed my own 10 year anniversary. Oops.

  11. In 2008 I pointed out I had 1200 posts here, and 4000 comments.

    I can’t exactly count anymore. A couple years ago I thought I was making an archive of older posts, but was backing up and overwrote the backups, and didn’t realize for some time. (Lost, lost.)

    Of those posts I can still see, those since moving to WordPress (the third platform), I have 1900 posts (murky estimate: about one every second day on average). I used to do daily and have switched to 1-3 times a week.

    There have been 6,525 comments. I’d like to thank you all, even if some, in absentia.

  12. People who started to write withdrew into less-traceable offline. Or decided to photograph or have babies or write cookbooks or change careers. Or outlet their lives at FB instead. But mostly just ghosted away and deleting blogs as they left.

    Blogging is often such a interstitial state – the old haunts are ghost towns. I suppose that makes it a mandala of life.

    As with anywhere, you can’t stay only with your cohort because they drift off or die off. You need contact with every generation, a continual stretch of neurons to novel challenges. To begin again. And again. And. New births of relationships to offset the constant loss.

  13. go fish
    There’s more fish in the seeing.

  14. I suppose that I seem sad. I’m not good at rah-rah hop-up the excitement. I don’t trust excitement and whoop. That seems a sport for the young and excitable. I don’t know about excitable, but I’ve never been young. Or maybe that’s just my shoulder talking. (Shh, shoulder, watch your language – this is a Family-Friendly Space.)
  15. I don’t seem to post poems here much anymore so here’s a draft being wily about getting done.

    a couple going down the canals

    when my hearing clogged I stood, s_t, in dad’s
    head. birdsong shut out and conversation

    became more in_erence th_n usual,
    reliant on hands, say again?, helpers.

    fatigued anger. strained, withdrawn, pretending
    that I know what was said because I’m tired 

    of being accommodated, or not.
    how much of his irritation was ‘him’?

    or about ‘them’? how much, daft vs. deaf?
    how much m_re would golden-years marriages

    flourish with hearing aids? ads: “hear the vows
    you renew daily.” “get him back.” “turn up 

    those sweet nothings.” photo ops: jammed
    restaurant, two deep in conversation,

    walking thru the door of a party, “that
    whistle didn’t come from your hearing aid,”

    “the fun back in functional”; a coup
    with a couple, their 5000 buck ears.

pea blossom
Quiet as a pea blossom? Yes. Sometimes.

Another episode of my sporadic participation in Thirteen Thursday.

Noteable Quoteable: “Word of mouth comes from intermittent delight. Things that work all the time are harder to talk about.” Seth Godin

22 Jul 2013, 4:09pm

Around the World

A look at our world starting with a photo hubby took of graffiti in Whitstable, England.

You'll be fine... by Brian Pirie on

You'll be fine… by Brian Pirie

P7218472 (10 of 10)
This sir or madame had a ride from the canopy to the ground as we trimmed some limbs at home. It was about an 1 1/2″ long. Don’t know what kind of beetle it is. [Probably a Grapevine beetle]

In other new to our bit of sun, cane-fresh raspberries thanks to our neighbour. Our own canes have done nothing so far as fruit this year.

If you missed the transition show on Literary Landscapes, for a while there’ll be an audio here.

Did you know the Center for Book Arts has a blog?

Peru is giving free solar panel to Peru’s poorest.

Content-Aware Typography is a tumbler blog where people mess with text in interesting ways.

Jennifer Zobair talks about when someone came to her reading to argue,

“The president of a local mosque–who had come to my reading at 7 p.m. on the second night of Ramadan, an hour before his fast would break–stepped in. He spoke about imputing the specific to the whole. He invited her to get to know Muslims. She was undaunted. She argued back, until others asked if we could talk about the book. Someone asked a question, and though this woman talked over us, people kept asking questions, and listening to my answers, until she finally left.

What followed was a thoughtful discussion, and part of me wished the woman could have stayed and truly listened.”

This other bit of turning the narrative around is going viral but if you haven’t seen Chris Brecheen’s story where he intervened on a fella making insistent passes at woman in transit, it’s worth a read.

So is Stacey May Fowles article at the Walrus watching like a girl on women watching sports because they want to.

Quote: “Poetry names the secrets you didn’t know you were keeping.” – Robert Farnsworth [via]

19 Jul 2013, 4:42pm
General Glad Game

Humid Humans

Also basil and thyme. Humidity becomes them better. (The dill however is shrinking.)

Glad Game: Fan.
Terrific crashes of lightning.
Healing blisters.
Fans. I’m a fan.
Getting caught up on the course.
Plans in place to go to a lake.
The new endeavour of being a radio host.
No-particular-reason-for-writing emails from friends.
Getting the local paper.
Respite by going by air conditioned busses.
The portability of writing. Could go to a beach with it. If there weren’t a tornado watch.
Chilled apples.
Seeing friends earlier this week.
Plans underway to catch up with other lovely people in the coming weeks.
Evenings cooling off enough for cuddles to not be too sticky and sweaty.
Ability to decipher my penmanship, even when weeks old.
Also my punmanship.
Camping soon.
Capacity to see past glasses that are fogged up from just sitting.
Cool showers.
Long talks airing out the heads with hubby.
While not caught up to all my to-do list, at least I’m not totally overwhelmed and dismayed.
More downpour splashing its silver back at the flipped silver backs of leaves.
Some of those trees could manage a hoola hoop better than me.
Quiet excitement is so much better than drama.

Rose, no fall yet.

Quote: “to see things in the seed in genius” ~ Lao Zhu

17 Jul 2013, 10:55am

Books and Other Journeys

For this Wordless Wednesday some words creep in too.

duck family
The baby ducks look almost adult but their peeps give away their age

So it began well. I was in brain fog, but in no pain apart from my ever tricky-woo shoulder, so I walked. After 2 hours I felt exhilarated and light. I could go any direction with ease. My evening was mine for the taking, and taken. I missed my stop on that logic train.

cool ones heels
Cooling heels in the water on an earlier day.

I went past my station. In this time without clocks I don’t know what time I left. Stores that closed at 6 were open when I began. The 4:30 closures were closed. It was in all perhaps 4 hours or 5. I walked because I was free, until my mind and body weren’t, which was probably about 9 or 10km in and up to only a few blocks from home.

I was stranded by exhaustion. (Which is the prime fear of going cycling and walking. And a false fear, a bullying self because there has never been a home I’ve been stranded from, one that I’ve never been trapped out of. It is only losing centrality of my own will, and being delayed.) But when harassed by pain, clarity slips. Everything hurt, not just the hips and knees but a chorus of all the joints and a hubbub in between. Normally, just as you can eat more when there is more variety in the food, when there are many kinds of pains and levels, it is easier to bear, but only to a point. Gimping to a bench, brain shut down so not information goes in. Language is buzzy. Body feels like a stiff bridge popping its rebar. I got home, got sleep, am further back than before I started yesterday. But alright.

I used to think others just hid this well. But the crashes are so fast. They are like my trick knee. I’m walking normally, perhaps tired, perhaps not, and then on stride one leg caves as the knee doesn’t bear weight that time, but will the next. I fear eventually I’ll become superstitious of stairs because a stumble on flat ground is one thing.

When I was small I described to my mom my dream of falling down the stairs. Apparently I did as a toddler, unattended for a split second. They were sure I was dead but a toddler has a rubberyness and I was just stunned after a tumble into a dark cellar.

Terry Ann Carter's Skull Book
“A terrible thing happened” is the title of this skull book, made by Terry Ann Carter

It is made from a fisher skull and text. It was part of her book making workshop. When set out its jaw dropped open and its words blew in the wind.

Books when they are bridging towards sculptural, pop-up, origami folds, pockets and so on, are hard to represent visually. They need to be manipulated in the hands for the reader to be more of a participant than tapping a screen or autopiloting turning a page. Accordions reveal line by line but is more dialogue with more touch than just moving the eye.

A book in last year’s Puddles of sky tangiblog unfolded so that it needs to be experienced with unfolding extra long pages. Why should each canvas page within a book be uniform or relate in the same direction? Or the same dimension. Books in a matchbox.

Claudia's art book
Claudia Radmore’s book was like a close critical reading.

Quotes were pulled out on strips extending past the covers, and photos and maps added in. Periodically chapters were summarized with pages folded into origami of a bird, another of an arrow, another of a heart.

<untitled> (8)
For my part, a few things started, one thing completed.

<untitled> (7)
Its reverse with paper wasp paper for the “Storm Suite’s” cloud. The poem accordion folds outward.

Quote: “Victims suggest innocence. And innocence, by the inexorable logic that governs all relational terms, suggests guilt.” ~ Susan Sontag

16 Jul 2013, 4:09pm
Comments Off on Purpose


Been a while.

Each half day is full-full. When I go to play catch-up with a month and a half…daunting. If I choose what to say here and prioritize by what is timely, much is cut out. Of if judged by what I didn’t mention to you, zip, much of it is back.

If I measure by urgency, write and read about conserving electricity and oil and re-building a national myth of peace keepers not warmongers at the level of moment by choosing compassion and refusing rules of engagement that pit any us and them. But that’s a lifestyle not a blog post.

If I were to go by what is pretty, strap yourself into a chair and I’ll run a slideshow of feeding myself on beauty. But no, that’s already a Flickr. And it’s good to consume beauty but more important to make it. And if you know the people and places, you were there. If you don’t know them, then what good is patterns of light and shadow and colour of someone else’s life?

I could pull many quotes but I will eventually at pesbo in the next currently reading list. Many moments. I could whittle some anecdotes I suppose.

Like the aunt who wanted copies of photos emailed to her. I asked her email address and she said I didn’t need it. I just need to write out her first name and the computer will bring it up. Each understanding starts again with each individual.

I could field questions. Could point to amusing thing like this or whatever I’m already doing with twitter. (I almost wrote “with twister”. Begs the question, what does one say with a tangled mass of competitive bodies except eventually, ug. Not that I played twister. At least not for 30 years or so. Or did I just watch? I can’t quite remember but the carpet was brown and there was a macramé planter with a spider plant to the right.)

If I measure by what is essentially important, then silence of reflection is an act more relevant than speaking. Being and living is more relevant than words. Words are good for particulars but for general…

If I do a report on neutrino talk, I’m not sure I can add more than an acknowledgement. Some like neutrinos themselves passed right through me. It was remarkable how at Writer’s Fest a neutrino talk was met by resistance of anti-science grandstander speech makers but at the Cube Gallery talk people came and asked particular questions, like how the property of chromium, or if they were right that observatories were 2km underground to cut out inference from background cosmic radiation. It seems so remarkable that this is the same town and same topic. It’s not a sampling of who is how but a skew of who happens to speak.

But particulars are so very particular. Brian and I went into a haircutters at the same time. We were both attended to by females although there were males on staff. In my case the female haircutter was crowded by the guy and kept asking for her space to move and his response was to call her honey and move her over by squeezing her waist. Hubby’s haircutter was crowded and she crowded him back and purred that she loves him close. If we had not compared notes, how much of a different data would we have. What an incomplete picture from either.

And what was the influence of being there? Although neither of us said anything, we weren’t observers, exactly. By my bearing and clothes, did I unconsciously seem like an ally who would interfere or back her up and I didn’t? By Bri’s easy going nature, did he project that easy-goingness that was socially echoed? By being female was it more unconsciously acceptable for my haircutter to fall in female role of stiffening against male/female touch, while her coworker went into automatic-please-males when outnumbered, and chose, in that split second, amusement and play instead of irritation? Or is it not gender but personality. Or not harassment but bullying, little brother teasing, or something particular to having good or bad days and each of the 4 haircutters on a different day would have played out roles and listening differently?

What would be useful to me for someone to be a witness to? What would be useful for someone else, like you, to witness? How one random element flies at its particular time to the random place in the universe where it goes is uncontrollable. Once something leaks from body language or speech there is no directing it. It has its own life in its way, bounced like an atom. Can’t put a band on its ankle and track its course. It’s out there. constructing a narrative doesn’t mean there are no patterns or prevailing winds in the patterns. It doesn’t mean there’s no counter examples. But there’s this. And much of many thisses. And.

Quote: “If we cannot be both ‘indigenous’ and ‘modern’ then we are doomed to extinction” ~ Richard Bell quoted at the national art gallery on the false dichotomy of join the mainstream and forsake heritage or be exiled only into the past. Natives are also contemporary.

  • RSS Humanyms

  • Archives