So many boats in my dreams, this last while. Boats and boats and then again boats. I like boats, always have (particularly those powered by muscle not motor), maybe as the result of having for a father a man who in his youth was a sailor or maybe as the result of my Piscean nature.
when twilight grass looks the way velvet feels or the way warm smooth metal can seem in a dream
when you sit outside in a day that’s almost night and the fireflies arrive
all the other places you never know in daylight open out to you
there in the glow
Once I woke up with the words “your fried arm” stuck in my brain so I looked up how to say “I love you” in as many languages as possible, to make myself feel better. It worked, too.
sometimes you have to lie on a bed
so your brain can be all in a floaty place
When the big tree came down, I lost the sound of water.
I would be brief on the day I didn’t have a lot to say or, really, had a lot to say but wanted to make the thoughts in my head all compact the way a wintertime child can take a puff of snow and squeeze it into a ball of ice, to make it all hard and small.
So yes, I’m making a beautiful bookthing. It’s that wondermental thing known as: a labour of love.
What I’m doing right now is I’m writing a thing, a beautiful thing, a bookstory thing. It’s hard going — oh god, it is — and for all the wild-ride moments of outpour, there are many many — many! — ice ages of brainfreeze. When you write a thing as a pen-for-hire, you push through the brainfreeze, because money and somebody else’s deadline are great motivators. But when you make something with joy in your heart and when it’s a collaborative effort to boot — I’m making this thing with James Cook, whose delicious photographs will join up with the words I write — you let the going be slow because you’re waiting for a strange kind of knowledge — epiphany, I guess you’d call it — waiting to see in a way you’ve never seen before, waiting to understand, waiting to make connections.
I don’t know how it works, how to do the math, but it’s like every emotion I’ve ever felt somehow gets wrapped up in trees. Trees become some kind of conduit for thought and feeling, for understanding, for epiphany, for optimism, for love.
think of awaking one morning, some morning
with the tail of a fox
or platypus feet
with a hard crunchy shell
or suction-cup legs
with a body of quills
or a soft feathered belly
with a set of long antlers there on your head
If I had to categorise this unruly thing, I’d say it’s poemical, not polemical. It’s not really a blog about art, not in any sort of analytical way. I don’t take a stance; I’m neither critic nor academic. What I am, actually, is an unruly hoyden with a permanent case of chaoshead, a throbbing love-on for the made things of the world, and a hot ‘n’ saucy need to write things down, to write things out (as you’ll know if you’re one of the people I e-mail 972 times a week. [Hi, forbearing friends! Love ya! Smooches!])
I like the notion of the skin being breached so that change can be rendered to the organism. I like the idea very much, altho’ I fully recognize the malarial reality of the wrong kind of puncture, the bleedout reality of the wrong kind of slice. But here in my metaphorical LaLaLand, sharp things are pretty things that are also agents of change.
You know what I love? I love “yes”. I love “yes” so much, and so hard, and also its more boisterous adjutants “hell yes” and “fuck yes”.
Butcher’s charts take it all apart.
Sewing patterns put it all together.
The sundering and the reconciling … they interest me, both. I maybe love taxidermy because it requires both; I should maybe love the jigsaw puzzle more than I do, for the same reason.
Sometimes I feel like Reepicheep finally arrived at the edge of the world and sometimes I feel like I’m standing way up high on a tall place where I have to make a choice about whether I’ll step off and float away, or not.
The world spins on its axis, on and on and on, no matter who comes here or leaves here, no matter how happy or sad you are, no matter, no matter.
I make playlists on my iPod and they’re often very theme-y because I am nothing if not a theme-y woman — I like to group and organise. I like to find patterns, or, in their absence, make them. Maybe that’s the curatorial urge. Or the librarian’s urge. Anyway, I have a playlist on my iPod called “river” and I listen to the songs on that playlist a lot, especially when I am despairing because those songs are very cathartic to hear and especially when I am all joyed-up because those songs are very cathartic to hear.
I read a blog (very intermittently kept) written by a Korean artist who writes in English, which is not her first language. Her tiny strange observations are often very beautiful and made more so by the flaws in her English, a lot more so, I think, because those flaws can be very illuminatory — that skewing of language can make you look at a thing from a whole different perspective. The accidental nature of some of the beauty she writes makes her observations fresh and astonishing.
Here’s a thing I just realised. Chet Baker had it right: let’s get lost. That’s what running is, for me: a getting lost, the way you can get lost in very few things, maybe only love and sex and music and physical exertion and the way the air smells in the woods in the fall or the way a cold lake feels on your body when you jump in naked and let all that cold swirl across all your bare skin to leave you gasping and shuddering in a strange beautiful release that’s almost like the moment of orgasm, in the pleasure/pain aspect of it and also in the being completely present in your body aspect of it.
The carapace is a wonderful thing in its own right and I can celebrate its utility and its beauty — I can, I honestly can. But I never really forget that for all its protective value, it’s also a small, confined place, like a pedestal … or a prison.
I run. I like to run, a lot.
I love to run. Love it, with big crazy heartsing heartpound loveness.
And here we are in a brand-new decade. I like that, a lot, because I’m much attracted to notions of new beginnings, even tho’ a new decade is no more a new beginning than a new day is and I’m still actually living the same life I’ve been living all along. I mean, the digits 2-0-1-0 don’t in any way change the unfoldment of a life. But the symbolism is juicy and yummy and also the questions posed to me about the last decade and the next decade by the very clever Sheila Killian are juicy and yummy and made me engage in some reflectional brain activity, which is generally a bit hard and scary and also deeply worthwhile.
If you read here fairly regularly, you may have noticed I’ve been on a bit of a consciousness kick lately, posting about dream and nightmare, acid and ‘shroom. It’s a subject that’s still very much on my mind and, in my mullings, I have thought mightily about trepanation, not for the first time in my life. Good old trepanation is, as Wiktionary has it, “The practice of drilling a hole in the skull as a physical, mental, or spiritual treatment” and it’s an activity that first crossed my radar close to 30 years ago, when I read the book Eccentric Lives and Peculiar Notions by John Michell. In that book there is a whole chapter, “The People With Holes in Their Heads”, devoted to the subject. Now I’m not suggesting I’ll be taking the old drill to my own head (or anyone else’s, for that matter) any time soon, or even any time not-soon, but for all it’s absolute crazy, awful grossness, I’m deeply, weirdly compelled by it. I love Cynthia Girard’s poem “There is an insect” because I swear to god it’s about trepanation.
If you take away my periodic PMS madness and my 92%-of-the-time short fuse, I’m a pretty fun gal.
Sometimes I think it might be enough for the wild things of your brain to assert themselves sufficiently that instead of pretending they don’t exist, you have to turn your gaze to them, even if you can’t classify them. Taxonomy is good and useful — delicious, even — but maybe not always necessary. Maybe you don’t always have to be able to assign a clear name or narrative or meaning to a nightmare. Maybe the beast that rises from the deeps when you dream a dream like that doesn’t have to be a beast you recognise. Maybe not being able to speak the creature’s name is not only okay but an important component of baddreaming.