- 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.
- I’m taking stock.
- 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.)
- I’ve concluded time is going quickly. That may be just confirmation bias since I concluded much the same at age 8.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
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.
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
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.
Times passes. It seems more digital than analogue sometimes. We’re not at the mid-90s in temperature, yet, but it’s undeniably warm weather. Finally it is starting. I’ve been going through photo albums.
We should totally reenact this, or maybe do it at the local beach in an odd time lapse.
There may only ever be this moment of now but there are so very many of them. Egad, already it is Wednesday. Wordless, speechless, it keeps on leaving and coming. More speechless than I mustered this morning.
I’ve got a reading tonight at Venus Envy. I’ll be reading at the Grand Finale Voices of Venus with comedian and story-teller Kalyani Pandya. That’s 7:30pm doors, $5 admission, 8pm Venus Envy at Lisgar and Bank. There’s gonna be cupcakes and celebration.
Every change comes with a complex set of outcomes. For example, by fishing for the big fish, it pressures the advantage of fish coming to sexual maturity while smaller since they won’t live long. Salmon or trout don’t get larger not only because they are killed too soon but because the littler ones aren’t bottlenecked to not survive.
If you give people the freedom from taboos of women being controlled in church, not having the right to speak or preach, mandates on their clothes, such as a Baptist church I grew up in, to leave also leaves the good part of the community where there are people who are not exclusively that box.
There’s no pro without a con. Some things are undeniably better, surely in the whole, a tradeoff that’s un upgrade that opens some better options. Or is it just change being better? To be violently closed, group tribal, in favour of guns and the strongest surviving, pro-bullying as making men from boys and showing girls their proper place, also make for fierce ties that protect in-group as much as they fend off out-group. One is never fully free of being outside a sensibility even when having a foot in different ones. The mind can keep its parallels that would conflict if they mixed. But they don’t mix.
It argues against one’s own experience will to say that life is not progressive. We’ve got our bathroom reno almost done. It moved to more order. Groceries get done. Laundry. This is a domestic progress. It isn’t ambiguous and can’t be called more chaotic or adding cons. Chaos outnumbers pattern. Our pattern recognition is what is salient. Maybe it is only catch less than a percent of anything, seeing the breadcrumb trail and ignoring the forest. There’s a momentum and direction.
“It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view.”
― George Eliot, Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life
“The thing is, it’s very dangerous to have a fixed idea. A person with a fixed idea will always find some way of convincing himself in the end that he is right”
― Atle Selberg
“One’s opinion should only be as strong as one’s knowledge on the matter.”
― Eric Hirzel
There’s a wasp thinking of making a nest at our nest door. They bumble about. And a bumblebee flew right into me and bounced off. I wonder if a wasp every stung a house? If, as like last year, one would sting me while sleeping, I wonder how often they run into things and retaliate blind. Are they blind? Do I need to smell more?
Have you seen the Dove ad parody? Dove with balls. So beautiful. The first ad irked me in trotting out insecure women who had a eureka once a male authority told them, contrary to their story of self, everything life has told them, sweeping away the collective of millions of iterations, that they are beautiful. Oh great moment of revelatory weeping.
Would it have been so offensive if it targeted that male customers also have been known to use soap and some also have distorted body image, and the same sets of reactions? Probably not. A breakthrough is a good story. Women underestimating themselves is a safe template. You become the hero to smash some symbolic version of the template. I understand the logic. I just don’t like it.
So balls to that. The parody is gender reversal using a wonderful accuracy of staging, lighting, similar sound bites but cranking the the docu-vertorial up a notch. As ever when roles are reversed, males doing it don’t look the same. There’s a self-awareness that females “captured”, not knowing they are in, don’t have.
Noteable Quoteable: “The one supreme virtue among the patriarchs was hospitality, and no matter how many servants a person had it must be the royal service of his own hands that he performed for a guest. In harmony with this spirit Rebekah volunteered to water the thirsty camels of the tired and way-worn travellers. [...] The whole narrative shows Rebekah’s personal freedom and dignity. She was alone at some distance from her family. She was not afraid of the strangers, but greeted them with the self-possession of a queen. The decision whether she should go or stay, was left wholly with herself, and her nurse and servants accompanied her.” ~ Clara Bewick Colby, in The Woman’s Bible by Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1895)
It’s been preserved since the Boer War by the family of John C Denmark.
It’s a statistical rarity. It’s the physical text of a captivating story.
I wonder if Mao’s Little Red Book also caught bullets? A Nokia phone may have. (See, our technology could save us.)
Symbols becoming real protectors is a potent metaphor. The Guardian did an article on literally bulletproof books. (Kindles and pulp fiction would fared less well than sturdy cotton fibre hardcovers.)
One worn in a heart-covering pocket makes a better story than one that deflects a minor flesh wound of a waist-level-pocket. A Christian habit of wearing a new testament on one’s person like a talisman helps the probability, compared to say, a Guru Granth Sabib, which treated as a physical manifestation of the guru, is given accommodation(s) not given to other books. Not thrown into a rucksack. If you can afford it, a shelf to itself on a pillow. Or a room of its own as an honoured guest you are entrusted with.
Among Hassidic tales of the Holocaust, there’s this one where the bullet whizzed past the Rabbi but lodged in scriptures and where it landed was taken as a particular message to look after the Satmar Rabbi. That book eventually migrated to Brooklyn NY.
The brain wants significant order against the chaotic data that streams in unceasingly. Even if it is superstitious. Which ones you choose may affect outcomes. Or may not as much as it should. For example, less-my-ideally-aimed organizations, for example, Anti-Catholic groups, may keep troubled people occupied, guided in global ways, socialized and less harmful overall than if left loose to their own devices.
It feels like it should mean and that’s enough. We are creatures of, if not sense, sensation. Daisy Fried spoke on how what we create has an echo of life, creative output with its distinct nerve centers, pulses.
Maybe I can divest myself of dreck I write to revert to the ancient who held no responsibility, being a conduit to the muse nor generator source. Here’s T.S. Eliot on Creativity:
To me it seems that at these moments, which are characterised by the sudden lifting of the burden of anxiety and fear which presses upon our daily life so steadily that we are unaware of it, what happens is something negative: that is to say, not ‘inspiration’ as we commonly think of it, but the breaking down of strong habitual barriers — which tend to re-form very quickly. Some obstruction is momentarily whisked away. The accompanying feeling is less like what we know as positive pleasure, than a sudden relief from an intolerable burden.
It’s a dire look at things. To pathologize the dead, there’s a medical test for depression coming to market in the U.S.
On the other hand (and I must have at least a spare baker’s dozen) that’s not to say that process of splitting open isn’t effective even for not being permanent.
The calcification is moved. And quickly is relative.
If fossilizing arthritic joints aren’t moved past their discomfort points, they don’t lose range of motion, shrink and take the body shrinking with it.
Maybe if I spent less time avoiding causing worry to people and more time admitting and moving on, I’d be further ahead.
Some days I feel like Jacob wrestling, but if I wrestle with myself then it is up to me to relent, bless and rename myself.
The quote came via, I believe, Rosemary and it unhatches for me Buddhism’s Buddha in all concept. In it Oriah talks about her book Dance
Notable Quoteable: “”It’s about getting off the treadmill of questing for continual self-improvement.” It made me ponder (once again) how difficult that can be. There’s nothing wrong with learning about ourselves & healing & living more fully & deeply…but, it can so easily slip into doggedly looking for what needs to be “fixed,” or what new method or health regime or exploration might just make us “better” (healthier, wiser, more compassionate, more connected to ourselves & others…)
And that continual quest can postpone enjoying life as it is & appreciating ourselves for who we are (with all of our strengths & weaknesses.)
We are not “projects” or works of art. We are organic, continually changing & unfolding mysteries.
Today, may I catch myself where I am looking for things to “fix,” and opt instead to move toward that within & around me that delights.” ~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer