Sunday, August 31, 2008

"Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame Catcher Carlton Fisk bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back"

". . . the Love Poem Project, in which we take love poems and swap out any mention of the word love."

For example, "Love = Wearing Your Pants Backward."

The fair varieties of earth,
The heavens serene and blue above,
The rippling smile of mighty seas—
What is the charm of all, but wearing your pants backward?
Or "Love = MTV."

If I speak in the languages of humans and angels but have no MTV, I have become a reverberating gong or a clashing cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can understand all secrets and every form of knowledge, and if I have absolute faith so as to move mountains but have no MTV, I am nothing. Even if I give away everything that I have and sacrifice myself, but have no MTV, I gain nothing.

In a stupid week this blog makes me want to go on.

Monday, August 25, 2008

"the curious eat themselves"

There are only a few bony concepts, but think of the metaphors!

For him, God was always there, like an ugly wife.

I am reading Straw for the Fire, excerpts from Roethke's notebooks. Here's a paragraph where he was on crazy roll:

Get down where your obsessions are. For Christ's sake, shake it loose. Make like a dream, but not a dreamy poem. The past is asking. You can't go dibble-dabble in your tears. The fungi will come running; the mould will begin all over the noble lineaments of the soul.

(it goes on too)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

mystique of the archive

I am writing a piece about an exhibition at the Harry Ransom Center called "The Mystique of the Archive." I was thinking, am I the biggest nerd in the world that I actually do think archives have a thrilling mystique and I have just read and enjoyed 83 pages of exhibition label text in prep for a 700-word piece? But the labels reminded me that people have written whole novels and plays (Eco, Byatt, Stoppard, Barnes) about archive mystique. I am a piker.

I wish I understood better how we make objects magical. It does go back to saints' relics and far before that. It's some combination of what someone invests in the object and what we invest in that someone. The journal of someone you love or wildly admire radiates this kind of magic, whatever kind of magic it is, and the magic is deeper if they are gone.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

error is

"Error is drawing a straight line between anticipation of what should happen and what actually happens." Says John Cage (talk about old cranks). And that reminds me of this dream I had where a piece of onionskin floated up to occupy my whole field of vision, with typewritten letters that said


Sunday, August 17, 2008

kafka in a bar

Met Kafka in a bar. He is not a big drinker, more of a slow sipper. Will make a shot last all night. Stares down into the bar, never at the mirror behind it. I was trying to explain the Milky Way. “God’s seed spilled across the night sky,” he said. Which was confusing.

I said No, it’s something about galaxies. His eyes burned, which with him means he's perking up. “Means milk,” he said. “Galaxy means milk. ‘The Milky Way is something to do with milk.’ That’s a fine definition, compact and pleasing. I congratulate you.”

I said no, a galaxy wasn’t milk (“it used to be,” he whispered), or well if it used to be it wasn’t anymore. Now it was something about a lot of stars together. Stars and gravity. Stars held together by gravity. For a joke he said “I am held together by gravity, too.”

I said the Milky Way was our galaxy, we were part of the Milky Way. “Is the Milky Way a mirror then?” he asked. I said no, it was a galaxy, our galaxy. “Then why does it seem to be so far away, something we peer into, rather than out of? I peer out of my face. I peer into a mirror.”

I said I didn’t know.

Kafka ordered a glass of milk. “Top it off with stars,” he said. When it came, he tossed the milk in the mirror, and watched it drip down his face.

dream play

I'd like to make a play where the narrative moved forward the way dreams do--circling back to repeat the same events over and over, but in a more complex, information-rich, and emotionally charged way every time. This is what actors do; also ghosts maybe. This might be good for my Ghost Radio play, which definitely needs SOME kind of narrative.

energy in juxtaposition

"'Basically, the paintings would vibrate. One of the things that painters all along have known is that you build energy by the interaction between things, that one and one doesn't make two, but maybe five or eight or ten, depending on the number of interactions you can get going in a situation.'"
- Robert Irwin, quoted by Lawrence Weschler in Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of Thing One Sees.

This makes me think of the stuff we were doing in the Refraction Arts workshop earlier this month--juxtaposing two random elements, say a one-minute piece of domestic blocking with six random text messages, or sentences from an acceptance speech--and the weird energies it unleashed.

if surrounded by walls

"The more you limit yourself, the more fertile you become in invention." Kierkegaard

happy thought for oppressed-feeling day