Friday, April 29, 2005

the studio

ah... art, sweet art. taking care not to erase myself from existence, i neglected work that needed to be done to hang out in my studio. and i am looking forward to this summer, to time spent breathing paint fumes and writing. oh, to have my life back again! it's waiting.


as i stepped out glass doors
down stairs
shouldered by concrete curbs
snowflakes fell
softly lit by streetlights red
and pale yellow orbs

softly one

a snowflake
by hard tar, night, and concrete

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

It might be snowing...

...but spring is here.

Chokecherry blossoms

f*%# it.

Belief and Technique for Modern Prose:

1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house
4. Be in love with yr life
5. Something that you feel will find its own form
6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
7. Blow as deep as you want to blow
8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
9. The unspeakable visions of the individual
10. No time for poetry but exactly what is
11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest
12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time

15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
17. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
19. Accept loss forever
20. Believe in the holy contour of life
21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
22. Dont think of words when you stop but to see picture better
23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
25. Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
28. Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
29. You're a Genius all the time
30. Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven

~Jack Kerouac

Friday, April 22, 2005

Moments of being...

Today there were several of those moments. Including a good class even though I was exhausted. Everyone was there, the room was oddly filled with sunlight even though, if I remember right, it was cloudy all morning. There was strange energy caused perhaps by the fact that we are almost there, to the end. Friendships have formed. There is an ease about them that didn't exist in the beginning of it all. And tonight I am realizing that my first year of teaching is almost done. Wondering if it will ever be this good again and hoping that it will only get better. I hope I always remember every name, every face, every personality from this first year--forever.

Yesterday, god, let's forget yesterday. Sometimes I wonder what it is about me that has such tendency to create conflict. And there's really no way of talking about it or explaining anything, at least not here... so fine, yesterday is done. And soon this year will be too and in some ways I am absolutely relieved. In others, reluctant; this is where it all started. Yet not, because my entire life brought me to this point. Confrontational or not.

After class I packed my bag and went out for breakfast. I graded papers over hashbrowns and eggs and several cups of coffee. Writing good enough to, at least for moments, draw me out of the restaurant and into their stories. Then a walk to the vet for dog medicine and cold, windy, grey air, snapping me back into this real, alternate reality and back to my car which brought me to the public library. I had an hour and a half before I needed to be anywhere. How did I end up there I don't know except that it is that time of year when I am feeling tired and frustrated and looking for moments of reprieve. So I spent my time looking at books with titles like The Secret Lives of Birds and How to Build a Time Machine. Since I came in empty handed, I had to ask the librarian for paper and a writing utensil to scribble down fleeting thoughts, that at the time, seemed relevant. Now I have a pile of these fragments on little scraps of paper, on the backs of recycled coupons.

Words... which from the library led me to the faculty reading. And it was good. Mark, who turns even painful moments into sturdy little diamonds, who notices things on molecular levels. Susan, whose life is full, brimming over with shiny acorns and love, so much so that it too is almost painful. Lauren, who I've never heard read... her persistence in drawing out the story. Carol Ann, who brings back to life memories of Italy in sounds and sensuality. Yes, it was good to hear them read, to see that the writing life never leaves you, even if you tried, it's always there tugging at your sleeve, your thoughts, your way of seeing the world.

What happened after that? Several hours of non-being until after a nap, groggy, I took a bath. Deep, warm water. Our house does not contain a shower... only a bath in a small room that is warm and contained, and good for reading. Which is where I started V.W.'s Moments of Being. And that is what has brought me to thoughts on writing... what we remember, what we forget, and how we turn our lives into something other than meaningless fragments. I was reading and writing on the side (in my mind). Bath tub revelations now fading... realizing now that what a writer needs is time. Time to ponderously eat breakfast, take walks on cold, windy mornings, time to wander aimlessly the aisles of libraries, time to listen to the poetry of others, time to nap, time to warm bones underwater, to read and to stare off into space.

These are the things that create those diamond studded moments of being. The rest, I guess, is just the stuff that gets you there.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Er... I used to belong to PETA...

...15 years ago in highschool that is. I remember getting stickers in the mail and being mortified by the thought of animals being subjected to pain or discomfort.

But life changes ya... Tonight my husband and I shot a porcupine that woolfie was after. I held the stick to keep the dog away while my husband shot it... twice. We looked at each other, smiled, and said, "Good job honey." and walked back to the house out of breath, triumphant that Anu didn't get any needles in her face and that we spared ourselves a trip to the vet.

Ugh. I should be ashamed of myself.

Anu Posted by Hello

Monday, April 18, 2005

Bird sounds...

I just came inside from sitting on the porch and talking to an invisible night bird. It's sound is hard to describe in words, but if you you relax your mouth and make your lips into an "O" (like a choir boy singing Oh Holy Night-- the "Oh" or "Ho" sound is the one I'm talking about) and then make a medium pitched breathy "Oh-ho-ho-ho-ho" ... there. That's the sound. The conversation continues outside without me. The windows are open, it pours in with the chatter of frogs and another night bird that makes a "creeeek... creeeek" sound. And another that goes "whee-whee-whee-whee"

Listening to Laura, who speaks for the birds, on public radio, I once knew the names of these winged-ones. But that was last spring. I forget on a yearly basis. I also forget which frogs are which. One makes the sound like rubbing your thumb down the teeth of a comb (tree frogs?), the other makes a "rhe-we-rhe-we" sound.

Tonight and this morning at 5 am when I went out I was swallowed by jungle sounds. Yes, my northern Minnesota home is a jungle. Even without the green. The green that randlomly and reluctantly unfolds.

It was a warm, sticky day... spent not outside, but in my office fighting with another V.W. paper. But now I am done for the day. Completely done. No more expectations until the next sunrise, the next burst of sound. Does it ever go quiet in the middle of the night? While I'm sleeping? Tomorrow my only plan is to read through final drafts of student essays. I think I'll head out to the circle in the woods with a lawn chair, a thermos of coffee, the dogs, and the stack of papers. And I'm looking forward to it... amazed by the strange facts I learn from these papers. Reading, I realize how, yes, we are all in this together... this thing called learning... together in the struggles of writing and of accomplishing those things that at first felt impossible.

And now, with the day done, I am content with simple bird conversations. My back and shoulders are stiff, but my mind... my mind is calm and quiet.

I think, most definateley, it is time to go to bed. Never mind the rambling writing, concentrate on the bird sounds.

Good night.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Darkness has fallen...

... with windows still wide open to the night air and the house is filled with the chirp chattering of frogs and the occassional sound of birds calling to each other from one black bush to another.

This morning I woke up to a bird in the chimmney. It's a yearly occurance when birds, thinking that the tall steal pipe is a tree, try to make a nest in it and end up getting temporarily trapped. That is until I got up, opened the windows, the flue, then the doors of the woodstove. Out it flew, flying over the cat, the couch, and bam into a window that wasn't open, but half expecting this I went to it with a towel, scooped it up, and set it outside on the porch. Anu, the woolfie and I watched over it, waiting for it to regain consciousness. It was golden brown with specks of silver and beige, blues glinted off feathers touched by a certain angle of light. A cowbird? What was it, I'm not sure. But she had a long beak and shiny black eyes that eventually returned to focus. She hopped to the arm of a wicker chair, watching us, and we watching her, until eventually she flew off. Another bird survived. Maybe one of these days we'll actually get that screen put on the chimmney. But I must admit, except for the potential danger of injury, I do enjoy having birds flying around inside the house... especially wild ones.

Later on, for the first time this year, I worked in the garden where I pulled out dead stems, hoed, shook dirt from healthy weeds, and considered what should be planted and what should be left to come up on its own. Plump worms rose to the surface. I don't remember ever seeing them so early, but its been a warm spring. Clumps of lavender are already showing spots of pale green beneath the damage of winter. I wonder if the tomatoes that V. and I brought back from Italy will reseed themselves. Last year they froze before they ripened. I'm still curious to find out if they would taste as good grown in our Minnesotan soil. Or maybe some things just taste better far away.

Alternating between working outside and reading... all day. Now, after a long bath and lighting candles, it is late... and I don't feel like doing much of anything except listening to the night.

Friday, April 15, 2005


Where am I? I got up at 5am and it's already 5pm and I just got home. It seems like just a little bit ago I was driving to school watching the sun rise over lakes and fields and pines (which made me think of Tasha and wish I had a camera--oh the color!), then to school for 3 hours of conferences, lunch with Vinny, the grocery store, and a treehouse visit with a friend.

A good day, but I am feeling a little strange after only 4 hours of sleep and not getting any V.W. reading done. I fear I've burned a hole through my nap taking time. Instead I feel like writing, watching movies, snacking, and planning classes for next fall, and writing some more. But I'm feeling tired and out of sorts so I pour myself another cup of coffee and stare out the window, at the computer screen, and back out the window.

Writing mind is returning, tugging at my sleeve. It wants me to ignore all other tasks... let my mind wander, to let days float by without minding the loss of time. It wants me to pay attention to sunrises and friends, and odd fragments otherwise neglected.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Things to do:

  • duct tape myself to desk chair and work on Cont. Writers paper
  • this evening undo writing bondage and go for a walk with the dogs down by the river (even if I must force myself to get up off of my over-caffinated, lazy ass).
  • After sunset go to office-- read student essays and print off copy of V.W.
  • Target-- kitty litter, ect. (all the fun stuff).

  • Conferences 8-11
  • Rest of day... read read read book in entirety so that I can actually accomplish a paper for Monday.
  • I promise myself to stay on task. I promise myself to stay on task. I promise myself to stay on task. I promise myself to....
YaY! Am I having fun or what?!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Blob That Ate Up My Writing Time

My biggest fear is that I've completely forgotten how to write. Rearranging my room was a good idea in theory... just theory. I would call it writer's block, but what I have is even more severe. Crapitis-- it's feeling deadly. I think I picked up somewhere along the lines of this past year. It's been festering, but now the infection is getting worse. Good god, I no longer know how to write! I give myself the benefit of the doubt with this here blog. I know this stuff sucks but I don't really care, because it is my space for mental down-time. But working on an essay both yesterday and today has made me realize that something is seriously wrong. To evade the problem I have spent the last day and a half playing in photoshop working on a new template for this site. Vinny is very kind and has reminded me several times that this is ok, that I probably need to just let my mind go for awhile with something else. He's probably right... but it doesn't help the feeling of dismay I have over my attempts at writing. What has this past year done to me?! I miss my old brain. This new one that's moved into my skull does not work right. It's slow and stupid and doesn't think the way I want it to (or for that matter, at all). I'm feeling rather ruined and wondering if I'll ever get it back again.

This summer I plan to start writing on my thesis. And the only thing I keep thinking is: what if I can't do it?! I know, I know... chill the hell out Jessie. But honestly, I am frustrated by the turn my writing has taken. My brain is completely confused. Words no longer hold meaning. My dreams are jumbled. Ee-gads... I'm ruined!

I also realize that I'm over-reacting and therefore have no idea why I bare my soul to public scrutiny with a blog. It is all beginning to seem extremely ridiculous.

Here's the prompt if you're interested in giving it a whirl:
Take 3 disparate objects, at random, from your purse, your backpack, your shelves. Set them in front of you and begin writing, allowing 15 minutes for each object. See if there is a common image or theme you can use to bind these together.

Sounds like fun doesn't it. I thought so too. Well, if I ever get this one figured out, then it's on to the 15 pager--something on creative nonfiction. I still don't know what I'll write for that one either. Confusion has set in. I want to write creatively, my brain is thinking analytically.

By the way, my 3 objects were a sheep bell, a rock, and eyeliner. I think my forth object will have to be fire. And by the way, I'm considering the idea of never complaining on this blog again once I change the template. ha! Until then....


By the way, does anyone have a copy of Between the Acts by Virginia Woolf that I can borrow SOON?? I just realized that I don't have the book and neither does any of the bookstores or libraries. Damn.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Starting over...

I just rearranged my room. That means I'm going to get something done.... writing. I look slightly to the left and see out my window. A new vantage point. From the second floor I sit looking towards the swamp, a basin filled with black spruce and tamarack. A ridge beyond of poplar and higher yet, a cluster of white pine, their arms raised to the sky like angels. Oak trees and the bare branches of chokecherry bushes are nestled in the foreground. Today is grey, the tawny browns of the field grass subdued and contrasting only with the dark budding limbs of pussy willows. Pale boulders reflect the color of clouds. Rain falls on the metal roof.

Rearranging my room, this one especially, the one I write in, makes me feel like I am starting over again. Today and for the next three... I am going to write creatively. No Virginia Woolf papers, no critical analysis, no, no, no, none of it. Just the words that come to me. Ah, the possibilities feel thrown wide open. My eyes move to the right, to the computer screen, to the left, back out the window-- a good balance for both viewing and recording life. Ravens fly past, diving, flirting, dancing through the air between rain showers. The yard is still a mess, but from here, I can't see it as well. Good, because I don't feel like doing anything about it just yet.

Today I just want to write. To write, and read, and take occasional naps. I want to start working on my thesis. But first things first. Contemporary Writers... I have a nonfiction writing assignment. I'm happy with that. I'm just hungry for something creative. Anything at all.

I feel better now that the dust has been removed. A whole year's worth of dust. My brain feels better with it gone. It's been a long year. I'll be glad when it's over. I'm looking forward to this summer, to being "myself" once again, to writing, to a schedule that is more my own. I'll have a good 8 months, from summer until next January before I have to do anything I don't want to. God, how amazing is that?

I'm looking forward to it... immensely and beyond words.

Monday, April 11, 2005

past midnight...

it's raining out. very softly. outside the sound of frogs fill the air. i cup my hands to my ears and the sound is almost deafening. the world becomes amplified. even the softest breeze moving through bare branches is heard. but the frogs, they make me feel as though i have been transported into some strange northern jungle.

this is also the time, three years ago, that i fell in love with my husband. these night sounds and flashes of lightening remind me of then-- when this love was strange and new. when i slept out on the porch in a sleeping bag night after night writing poems, trying to find my footing as i swam in a vast, subterranean ocean, the sky, the water, pulsating without pause. now i love him in the same way, but deeper. it's strange the way time moves. how things change, yet stay the same.

at the moment i should be sleeping but instead find myself oddly attracted to the recurrence of spring... of it's darkness and mystery. outside birds are sleeping and buds unfurling. rain has a way of making me feel content. to be quiet and just listen.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

words and color...color and words

Braiding Earth and Sky Posted by Hello

oil on canvas
Red Fort, Delhi Posted by Hello

oil on canvas

Another Saturday spent working at the BCAC. These are the paintings I have hanging in the new gallery with The Basement Studio artists. The first is of a woman I met in Southern India where I lived in a palm frond hut on the Indian Ocean for a month and a half. She was a quiet, beautiful woman who spoke no English, but spent a lot of time smiling. One day she spent the afternoon teaching me how to braid palm fronds for the huts. It's amazing what one can learn from another without ever understanding the words.

The second is of a man at the Red Fort in the old city of Delhi. It's ust beyond the train station in the old part of the city. I ended up taking a rickshaw ride everywhere except where I intended to go (to the fort). The driver brought me to every brother's, uncle's, cousin's, and friend's "shop" he knew of, trying to convince me to buy something before he would bring me to my destination. Needless to say, it ended up being an interesting excursion. I could have walked faster but then would have missed out on the opportunity of almost getting run over several times by buses not to mention getting swindled for everything from tours to trinkets (offers which I declined persistently). When I finally arrived I spent the day getting photos taken with complete strangers. In India, blonde hair and pale skin makes one instantly famous. A constant echo of: "Photo? Photo? Madam, please, photo?" But the image of this man walking into the fort was one I caught on the sly during a brief moment when I wasn't the center of attention.

But anyway, back to my present reality...
I've signed up for a show in December/January of 2005/2006 and spent the afternoon considering what direction my work might take. I also considered the notion that I am completely insane. Will I be able to put a show together AND complete my thesis between now and then? ha! Yes, it's quite possible that I've lost all touch with reality. But then again, I've decided to do summer school which will leave me with the month of August off to write by day and paint by night, or vice versa. And to be honest, crazy or not, I kinda like the idea.

But today I am guilty of getting very little done. Perusing books and the internet. Unintentionally looking for inspiration instead of doing what I should. And it felt good although I'm sure I won't think so tomorrow. For the moment I am content with color. Color, color, and more color. The rest, for the time being, will have to wait.

Friday, April 08, 2005

In her defense...

...because I'm feeling guilty for saying mean things. I think the best part about Virginia Woolf are those moments when you can connect with her. Tonight, here's the part I like:

"She took one of the books and laid it on the counterpane beside her. Perhaps because she had been traveling, it seemed as if the ship were still padding softly through the sea; as if the train were still swinging from side to side as it rattled across France. She felt as if things were moving past her as she lay stretched on the bed under the single sheet. But it's not the landscape any longer, she thought; it's people's lives, their changing lives" (211) ...

... "Should she travel? Should she go to India, at last? Sir William was getting into bed next door, his life was over; hers was beginning. No, I don't mean to take another house, not another house, she throught, looking at the stain on the ceiling. Again the sense came to her of a ship padding softly through the waves; of a train swinging from side to side down a railway-line. Things can't go on forever, she thought. Things pass, things change, she thought looking up at the ceiling. And where are we going? Where? Where?" (213).

There Virginia--now that we're on good terms again, can I sleep in peace? Good night. I'm going to India.

please ignore this post.

The best part about today was taking the long way home down dirt roads lined with pine trees and lakes, marshes and creeks, past old cabins and miles of nothing but bright blue sky and unadulterated nature...then getting home and tromping out into the woods with a cup of tea (spilled only half of it) and the dogs, getting to the middle of one of my favorite stands of poplars and laying down with sun shining and happy animals to do my Virginia Woolf reading. I was out there for an hour or so and reluctantly returned with my hair full of twigs and leaves. But I could have stayed forever. This time of year I find myself tempted to never return from the woods. I was imagining myself living out there, roaming the ridge, sleeping under sun or stars. Only to return to the house when I need a new book. If it rained my book would get wet and I wouldn't care.

But as for Virginia Woolf, I hate to admit it, but I am sick to death of her. Maybe it is the cause of reading 400 pages in 3 (too short) days. Or maybe it is this particular story, which although I like it very much, is once again depressing. The Years is about a whole bunch of characters whose lives braid in out of one another, each connected by family or society's circles... and everyone of them is (for the most part) miserably unhappy. The years pass until eventually they find themselves old and asking themselves if they ever really lived. Granted, I haven't finished the book yet and maybe there will be an uplifting twist to the story... but after a semester's worth of reading-- I doubt it.

Ok, I'm being unfair. The Years is really an excellent story. I think it's just me. I've moved on. Or at least... I'm ready to move on. The other thing is that I am really irritated by aspects British culture. And unfortunately they are many of the aspects that Woolf focuses on. I think it's safe to say that she was irritated too. But she was so much a part of the society that I speak of that it's hard to forgive her for it. I'm reading The Years and remembering my time spend in England (about 5 years ago). They seemed to me, a nosy, gossipy bunch. Oh, the airs they had about them. No, not all. I don't mean to generalize. There are a few British folks who I am always glad to hear from or see. But all I remember is how glad I was to leave the country. And I have no desire to go back. Everyone was nice on the outside, but it all seemed like such a facade. Needless to say, France was a relief. I remember getting on the bus in London and thinking: good riddens England! Uh. I fell in love with irritable French waiters.

What am I talking about? I don't know. I'm just not as swept away by the romanticism of British culture as some. Virginia is becoming one of those haggard characters in her novel. Has she lost the excitement of writing, of creating worlds with words? Where has the magic gone?

Alright, it's not Virginia. It's me. It's not her fault that I want to rip her books in two and watch the pages go fluttering across the room (or the woods). It's just me. I want to read something else for no other reason than because I want to read something else.

The frogs have hatched. I feel alive. But man, V.W. is bringing me down. She filled her pockets with stones and drowned herself. Meanwhile I am feeling alive and well. I have issues with depression. I get tired of it.
Anyway, high-society England is boring. Yes, I'm starting to feel like I should join the Outsiders Society. I admit, I prefer the more exotic. I prefer third-world. I prefer real problems over emotional ones.

Blah blah blah.... I'm just complaining. Sorry. Please ignore this post. Virginia Woolf is amazing. She's a genius. And I'm not being sarcastic. I truly think she is. But I still just want her to go away. At least for a little while.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Sitting in my dark, windowless office...

wondering how I made it through a whole winter in here. No wonder the sun outside feels so good. Outside where I just came from to find my husband whose not here, but is at home with sleeping dogs. Do we have any chase lounge chairs around here? I need one for out on the lawn of the union. But I'm willing to settle for sitting in the dirt. As for Virginia Woolf, she's coming with. But I'm beginning to wish she'd just go away.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

a few vital necessities of existence...

"As we learn to bear the intimacy of scrutiny, and to flourish within it, as we learn to use the products of that scrutiny for power within our living, those fears which rule our lives and form our silences begin to lose their control over us." ~Audre Lorde (excerpt from "Poems Are Not Luxuries")

Laying it bed, I read poems with a cat asleep on my belly, purring, stretching, lolling for attention. A stack of books nestled against my side. Importance given to things other then the next paper. The dog snuffs and sighs, shifts his weight and falls back asleep. A comfortable night... soft-pawed animal love and poetry.

It's still Tuesday, right?

Ok... I haven't yet accomplished anything I set out to do today. But it's still not too late. The windows are open. The cats are laying in the sill pretending that they're outside. For the first time since winter decended on us many months ago, I can hear wind in the popals and pines. The trees have finally thawed and are able to bend in the wind, making a sound that resembles the ocean if you stand still long enough to listen to it.

This afternoon instead of staying on task I went to town to pay bills. Abe sat in the front seat, Anu in the back. Noses poking out of windows. When I asked Abe: "Wanna go see Vinny?" He cocked his head and made a goofy grin. He could hardly sit still until we got to campus and rescued Vinny from his dark office and went for a walk. The dogs went swimming in the open water along the lake. Abe was happy to walk in town (a city dog at heart) while Anu, the wolfie, acted like the wild beast that she is. They turned heads and caused smiles as we walked across the parking lot back to the truck. And then sighed and snored the whole way home. My truck smells like a big dirty wet dog. Oh, the sweet smells of warm weather.

Now they are sleeping. Content with the excursion. And I am now going to accomplish what I set out to do this morning. Homework. With windows open, birds chirping, and cats making clicking sounds in the back of their throats as they listen too.

Thank god for Tuesdays.... or at least, this one.

Today is Tuesday.

I love Tuesdays. It's my day "off" to stay at home and "write." It doesn't always work that way, I shouldn't fool myself. But today I slept in (still foggy-headed). I have a cup of Costa Rican coffee, yum. Strong brewed, nutty flavor... I'm waiting for it to take effect (never mind the bad writing that is about to occur). Careful of too much effect (that will cause even worse writing). Beginning again so that the rest might fall into place.

Today I am going to finish all my work for Contemp. Writers. And even though it is the class I'm furthest behind in, it is the one that I most enjoy the material. Why is it that the things I want to do the most always get pushed back the furthest? The most pressing repeatedly becomes priority. I always try to get those things done first, saving what I'd rather be doing for last. But by that point, the good stuff should have been done a long time ago; it doesn't get the time and attention it deserves; and then stress sets in, my mind goes flat. But today, no stress, no flatness--just a readjustment of priorities-- just to do the "good stuff" and a little bit of class planning. That is all I am going allow myself to do.

Still there is something else I want to dig my hands into... and that is planning my thesis. EEEh! A sense of excitement found me yesterday after meeting with Susan about plans for graduating... which led to a conversation about my thesis (which is the cause of my giddiness). God, I really do love Susan. I think I've known what I REALLY want to do all along... she just made me admit it. I'm not going to write about it here (yet) cuz it is still bubbling/brewing in my mind. It seems stupid now, but the thing I was really afraid of in doing it was failure. But now that I've admitted what I want to do and was given a "talking to," (thank you Susan) I feel like myself again. Not just going through the motions, but truly involved in the ideas rumbling around in my head.

Graduate school has so far been an incredible experience (stress aside). I have learned more in the past several months than I ever anticipated. But to some extent, all this learning has been taking place outside of myself. I've been learning about other peoples' writing and other peoples' theories. It has been good. I feel like I have ideas under my belt that I never would have come across otherwise. But still, it still feels like external knowledge (at this point). Coming to a decision on my thesis has put me back in the center of myself. As though it comes from a place that only I have something to offer. Not just regurgatation of someone else's ideas and creations... but my own. And what amazes me the most is how much I've been holding myself back (creatively). I've been afraid of everything and playing it safe just to get through it all. I can see now how unhappy this has been making me--this living life like half a person.

Playing it safe always works. But god, safe is boring. I've had this long list of ideas to fall back on and in the process have been drifting further and further away from myself. All I can say right now, is thank you to Susan for catching my fall. A solid, warm body, wise mind, to step in the way of a path that was not mine. It feels good to be walking around in my own skin again, to once again be in possession of myself.

Yes, thank you Susan.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Censored once again...

Geez, I can't believe they removed my pig drawing. It was a drawing of myself-- what's rude about that? So much for creativity.

I am beginning to tire of Internet censorship. There is so much worse I could do.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The exchange rate:

20 schillings = 1 pound
1 guinea = 21 schillings

1 guinea in 1937 = 41 pounds in 2002

41 pounds in 2005 = $78.00 US in 2005

3 guineas = about $234.00 to you and me = the cost of all our Virginia Woolf books for 2 students. But then again, have book prices inflated? Or does it just seem like it?

Maybe I was being too harsh...

30 pages left of the last section of Three Guineas... and I think she is finally clarifying her point... or at least I am coming to a fuller understanding of her connections. I've read 30-some pages without falling asleep. Hurray! Why? Because she is finally starting to make more sense. What were the first two chapters about? They felt like a progressive rant. But now it seems that she is beginning to settle down which makes it much easier to read.

I especially liked the part about "brain prostitution."

But at the moment I am feeling irritable from too much reading. Back to it though... I want to be done. In the process I am starting to feel more stupid (stupider?) every day.

Virginia Woolf is driving me crazy! blah blah blah...

Ok, first let me state that I have absolutely enjoyed the previous umpteen books by one of my, now, favorite authors, Virginia Woolf. That said, I am 84 pages into Three Guineas and about to loose my mind!!! Good god, it is BORING! A woman (Woolf) gets a letter requesting a donation for a women's college building fund... and then, after much thought and deliberations sits down to write a letter. And while I like the parts that are reminiscent of A Room of One's Own, what is this argument about war about? Please Virginia, about war, support with evidence! But not with a separate argument! And on and on she goes repeating herself the whole way. Three letters responding to the same request in the same way. Reading not 3, but 1 of the chapters would have been enough. And while I've read the same argument twice already, I'm still only half way through the book!

I'm lucky if I can make it through a whole paragraph, let alone a whole page, let alone ten before I fall asleep. I nod off and her words keep reading through my head as though I am still awake. Am I writing the book in my sleep, or repeating the same words of hers over and over again? I don't know. It's becoming a horrible blur, a dream that keeps repeating itself and I can't seem to wake from. But I do, and keep reading, and am once again bored to tears until my eyelids after a minute or two grow heavy and I am returned to the repetitious dream.

It is the kind of book that needs to be read standing, or walking, in order to stay alert. God, a whole week down the drain over this 150 page THING.
Yes, I am a woman. Yes, I am a feminist. Yes, I am anti-war. But what is it about this book that bores me to tears?

...And please, when we get to class on Monday night, please lets not have a long, drawn out discussion about her depression. It is so obvious. Let's not talk about it anymore. I am bored bored bored with the topic of depression, of bi-polar, of suicide. I can only hope that Nancy, or SOMEONE, has something enlightening to say about this book. Or better yet, share it with me now, so that I might get through the rest of it.

Maybe I am just spoiled, as a woman of my time, to have had opportunities that Virginia Woolf's time did not have. But even so, I am sickened by the way women were once treated. I am sickened by the thoughts and actions seen and heard even today. I am not oblivious to the fight. I have had to fight it many times myself. Therefore I have come to the conclusion that I am not as spoiled as some-- only because I have challenged the "system" more times than I can count. I am not a "little woman." As a matter of fact, I am better with power tools than most men my age. Yes, I give V.W. credit for her broad, futuristic vision. So what is it then that drives me crazy when I read this?! I am bored. And she is depressing.

Let it be over!

Ok... but one inspiring moment while reading was the thought: what if I won a million dollars? How then would my life be different?

I considered my options. And decided that I would finish school, but then become a full-time artist (at least for awhile). I would write and paint until my heart's content. Yes, I would be a PROFESSIONAL artist--not just one who does art on the side. I imagined my studio with 15 foot ceilings, white walls, large canvases, a space to write in the corner. A spacious place in which to express myself completely. So I continued reading as my thoughts wandered on this topic and for a moment I was enjoying myself. But then back to reality. Back to Three Guineas. Back to my life as it really stands.

And this is where my thoughts stop. Because I am too bored to think clearly. And too busy to forget what needs to be done.

I think what bothers me most about this book is that V.W.'s argument is incomplete. And maybe by Monday night I'll be able to get my head around this thought in order to explain myself better. At the moment, my brain has been stripped dry.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Sometimes other people say it better...

"I woke this morning wrapped in loss. I was caught between sleep and waking, living again is a house that I had once lived in loved, and lost--lost once and for all to a persistent and dangerous prowler whom we could not rout. Lying in my New York bed, in my New York bedroom, in the midst of my busy and productive New York life, I was back in New Mexico in my house full of saltillo tiles with the scratching sound of my pack of dogs as they waited eagerly for me to be up and with them for the day.
I once had five acres, seven horses, and seven dogs. I do not have them now. If I let myself, I miss every ince--apple trees, wooden fences constantly in need of repair, acequias gently sloughing with water and stray twigs on our irrigation days. I miss every twitch, every hair of each of the dogs, given away, one at a time, to loving friends. I miss the silken muzzle of each horse, nuzzling me for an apple or carrot, saying, "That's it? Hay?" when I fed them each morning.
If I let myself, I connot be in the now because I am overcome by the power of the then, the beauty and grace of all that I have left behind. But the prowler could not be cuaght by any known arm of the law, and it was too hard to stay on, sleeping at night with all my dogs banked against danger, with every scratch of a twig at every window sending us all into high alert.
So I cannot let myself linger in the past."

That's how I feel tonight.
I opened up a book and read this page. Earlier Vinny and I went to the gallery opening and then ate dinner together. We got home, I did dishes, went through bills, and picked up the house. I played outside in the spring nightness with the dogs, came back in, lit candles, and made some tea. I sat down with a notebook and for the first time in too long was acutely aware of the silence. It is the kind of silence that is heavy with stars and the smell of spring. In my notebook I made a list of the things I need to pack before putting the house up for sale. Clutter. But the silence made me sad. It was a beautiful silence that makes me question my occassional desire to move back into town. Out here there are no sirens, no loud cars, no street lights, no neighbors. The silence here is peaceful in a way I have never experienced anywhere else.
Granted, my only prowler is money. The only danger is in giving up my dreams and the things I value most.

Sometimes it knocks me harder than other times... the notion of selling and moving. There are times that I just want to move on, to have bills paid, to not have so many worries. But there are other times, like tonight, that I come home and am all too aware of what I will be giving up. I've left other places that were hard to leave, but the difference is that then I knew my stay was temporary to begin with. Did I think I would always have this place? Yes, I think I did. But life hasn't worked out the right way. And I'm afraid I'm going to feel like that woman... in the future always missing this bit of my past. Will I ever find this again?

And perhaps when I get to the next place, I will find beauty and it will create a space big enough to hold both the present and the past. But carrying the past around seems like a heavy load. In the end, it feels like nothing more than loss.

The price we pay for what we most believe in... I can only hope that is worth it. Then again, there's only one way to find out. I've admitted time and time again to myself that I am not happy here. Money has destroyed my ability to find the peace I once had. Now it is only in brief moments. Moments that remind me of what I won't have. Peace, like the silence tonight, is bittersweet.

Damn it. And all I can hope is that where ever I end up in all my tomorrows that it will be worth it. I'm looking for the positive, but... it's hard. Period.