Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Rummage Sale!!: Help Support a Local Loser

Day one of the rummage sale and I made $110.00 in just a few hours. Sadly, it all went into my checking account and is thereby swallowed up. Tomorrow anymore swindled money will go into my gas tank-- passing by, I saw $3.02/gallon. Ouch! Well, maybe we'll all wake up and start driving more sensibly. I just wish there weren't a few yahoos making all the profit. Damn them!

I've been dreaming of a Honda Element once the house deal goes through. But I'm beginning to think I'd be crazy to buy anything that doesn't get over 30 miles per gallon. Oh, I'll be sacrificing all-wheel-drive and that artsy/outdoorsy style. But my god! Either way, it's a good thing I like to bike and walk cuz once I move to town, I'll be doing lots of it.

Alright, alright...this is all gibberish. 2nd day of class and falling behind is already becoming a threat. A cup of instant Folgers to the rescue! UGg.

By the way... some shameless advertising: If you're looking for furniture or any intro. art to decorate you home or dorm with... the sale will continue on Friday and Saturday (behind Netzers). Bring all your money.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

It's morning.

And here I sit in the dark, comforting confines of my office once again awaiting another round of 8am classes. The cup of coffee at my side is becoming dangerously low. Luckily the coffee pot to my other side is primed and ready to go.

But the sun has been up for an hour already. It's been light out for even longer. Soon winter will descend on us, but for now the woods have become incredibly beautiful. Fall is, by far, my favorite season. It was a foggy drive with a near catastophe... a fawn ran out into the road in front of me. I slammed on the brakes, tires squealing, purse dumping... and the poor little thing, in her scramble, fell. I heard her hooves scraping on the pavement to get up, which she quickly did and ran away--unharmed except for possibly a bumped or bruised knee.

Yesterday I was trapped in a parking lot at Thrifty White by 3 cop cars, an ambulance, and a fire truck. I watched them help an old woman who had fallen while her husband, on an oxygen tank watched helplessly. It was 45 minutes before I was able to get out.

Uh man... life is precarious.

Anyway-- Carpe Dium! Class begins in 12 minutes!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Tonight wolfie and I took a hike down one of our favorite trails that, in the past couple weeks, has been logged so extensively that I barely recognize it. Mature poplar but, still, the change is ugly and sad. Two different loggers-- one who left virtually no waste; and another who left half of it to rot. Need I point out the one I like the least? Now nearly all the places I go have been logged. And I'm beginning to miss trees. Dearly.

Out the window I see...


and a 100 shades in between.

So why is it that I feel like running far, far, far away? I desire a clean cut. But these colors, I'll bring with me.

I fear the insomnia plague...

... has swallowed me whole.

Although it's not a total loss. Some midnight cleaning accomplished, but also a light show to the north. It's enough to take my breath away. How I will miss the density of stars and frequency of northern lights here. My future feels precarious leaving this behind. I was thinking, sitting on the steps under a wild sky, that I wish I had as much wisdom and faith in the universe as I did when I was 20.

But on the more tangible (oh so physical) level--3 days of moving, cleaning, hauling... I'm beat.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Upon packing...

I've decided that every art major should be allotted a dolly and a storage unit at the time of graduation. This, of course, should be funded by the state. In the past two days I have hauled (at least) a good 1,000 lbs. of artwork. Yes, it's been a very productive 6 years. I'm only half way there.

By the way: Beware of ever getting involved in ceramics.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

satisfied in every aspect of being.

wow-- what a day. too bad i don't have any energy left to write about it.
  • an adventure on foot, miles and miles through water and woods, just wolfie and i.
  • a very large, half finished painting.
  • an offer on the house.
  • blue dragonflies, flannel shirts, and tired muscles.
goodnight stars.
It's about loss, but also about hope... and whatever it is that gets us between the two.

"Why I Am Not A Painter"

~by Frank O'Hara
I am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why? I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not. Well,

for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
"Sit down and have a drink" he
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. "You have SARDINES in it."
"Yes, it needed something there."
"Oh." I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. "Where's SARDINES?"
All that's left is just
letters, "It was too much," Mike says.

But me? One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven't mentioned
orange yet. It's twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike's painting, called SARDINES.

Seeking artistic vision (and not finding it)...

Today I decided to get serious about December's art show and spent the day in the studio. Finished gessoing the big canvas and added my first splash of color (literally)-- dripping rust and patina colors. But still no overriding "theme" has emerged. It shifts... along with my ever-shifting obsessions and perceptions. I seem to be lacking artistic vision.

For a moment I even considered doing portraits of literary figures important to my life this past year: Virginia Woolf, Edgar Allen Poe... you know, all the crazies that I could have fun figuring out how to express the many colors of their eccentricities. Uh, but then I realized that I was being truly morbid.

Back to the drawing board. Color. That's all I know... it's about color.

And rocks. Maybe rocks too. Fish? Horses? Trains? Emotion? Pure, meaningless abstract? Squares? Circles? Lines?

Monday, August 22, 2005

The last of summer reading (an abbreviated book review)...

Well, today I realized that it is NOW-OR-NEVER. One week before school starts again and I figure that if I want to do any reading for fun I better do it now. Scanning my bookshelves was a little overwhelming. The pressure is on after all. I may not be able to really relax into another book until next May (sniffle, sniffle--say it aint so!). What makes it even harder is having just finished an EXCELLENT excellent book by Margaret Atwood. Bluebeard's Egg.

Book Cover
(SYNOPSIS: By turns humorous and warm, stark and frightening, Bluebeard's Egg infuses a Canada of the 1940s, '50s and '80s with glowing childhood memories, the harsh realities of parents growing old, and the casual cruelty that men and women inflict on each other. Here is the familiar outer world of family summers at remote lakes, winters of political activism, and seasons of exotic friends, mudane lives and unexpected loves. But here too is the inner world of hidden places and all that emerges from them -- the intimately personal, the fantastic and the shockingly real...whether it's what lies in a mysterious locked room or in the secret feelings we all conceal.)

While in Canada I decided to pay homage to a Canadian author and having never read Atwood's work before I took her with me from the book store to the campsite and had a hard time putting her down. Ouch-- the insightfulness with which she writes! The book is a collection of short stories, character sketches really--so emotionally honest (without being sentimental) that it almost hurts. I have a new-found respect for both Canadian authors and artists. But now what? Dang, it's so hard to choose another book after finishing a good one.

So today I started Sherman Alexie's Ten Little Indians which has been sitting on the bookshelf collecting dust since last year. I read one of the stories and was disappointed because it wasn't as good as Tonto and Zoro Fistfight in Heaven... that is, until I got to the end-- surprise! Ok, so he definitely writes like a man (I think I'm on a female author kick)... but I'll continue with the book, if nothing else, for the sake of curiosity.

Book Cover

But waiting for people to come look at the house made me antsy and unable to sit still for more than five minutes at a time. Open House, edited by Mark Doty caught my eye (not surprising--considering my obsessive personality. ha!) and since it's only on loan from a professor I picked it up and started reading. I find myself reading a lot of books of anthologies and collections lately. Maybe I'm just afraid of commitment. Oh, but right now I'm in the middle of a story that has inspired me to write! I would say more, but it's incubating. For now I'll just say: it's a good book. Trust me.

Book Cover

And last, but not least, I'm still working on The Jade Cabinet by Rikki Duccornet. I started this one after listening to Rikki read at the Writer's Conference. It's about a girl named Memory who tells the story of her mute sister and her eccentric family including her father who has a theory that language is only a pale copy to what it once was in the Garden of Eden. He spends his life studying the patterns of zebras, cats, and beetles in order to reconstruct this original language which was "so powerful as to conjure the world of things." Language, a species of magic. Rikki's in love with language. How can I resist her?

Book Cover

Excerpt: "There are those who say that the memory is like a collector's cabinet where souvenirs are tucked away as moths or tiny shells intact. But I think not. As I write this it occurs to me that for each performance of the mind our souvenirs reconstruct themselves. The memory is like an act of magic"

If only there was more time. I think I could read forever. But as you can see, I'm a rather disjointed person--reading too many things in too many different directions with never, never enough time! Sometimes I wonder what direction my own writing would take if I were to allow myself the opportunity to read whatever my heart desired for as long as I wanted. I guess it is a lot like wondering what it would be like to live deep in the Alaskan wilderness with no one to get in the way of myself. There are dangers either way. Still, the idea of it sounds wonderful.

Until then, I exist in perpetual confusion of what to read next.

House Beautiful:

Keeping the house in pristine condition 24/7 is getting rather old. However, I am getting good at it. I mowed the whole yard including weedwacking, filling in gopher/doggie holes, and removing all doggie doodles, straightened up the pole shed, and cleaned the entire house from top to bottom in less than 2 hours. By the time the first showing of the day came (early) at 12:41 I was red-faced, but ready. I got a good feeling from this girl. She's single (as I was when I came to be here), but best of all seems aware of just how much magic this place possesses. In the end I imagine the person that buys it will appreciate it the same way I do. There's something strangely incredible about this land and I've been noticing the way it either takes people's breath away or else they seem a little bit oblivious to it (they're the one's I don't much care for either--imagine that). There doesn't seem to be much in-between. Funny thing is that I can feel it within moments-- it's in their eyes and vibrations. But then comes the money part. Yes, what I really need is someone that loves it, but also has the money. 2 more parties are coming out tonight. V., wolfie, and I will hide out down by the river or in a coffee shop while they look. It makes me nervous being here--better that I'm gone. Today might be a long day.

Oh, but cool weather. Thank god for cool weather. In the 30's last night! Fall is coming. I love it.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Frederick A Varley's Dharana
Fredrick A. Varley's "Dharana"

"Dharana" can be translated as "holding steady." Last summer I built a platform in the field overlooking the marsh and beyond towards the ridge. I went there tonight and sat with wolfie-- where, in the cool deep breath of night, tears sometimes sound like laughter.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Weather like this...

The cat sits in the open window sniffing the breeze that blows through the screen. It's a nice evening, the kind that makes me want to walk until i wear holes in the bottoms of my shoes. It's the kind of night that i should be camping in, making me feel alive, a little bit restless, and craving a certain kind of freedom.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Water Stones

While I'm waiting for photos from Canada... here's some artwork instead. These stones cover the bottom of a blue-green glacial lake that I would have liked to never leave. Surrounded by this kind of inspiration I easily managed a painting a day. Writing however only included a handful of journal entries and several postcards to my long lost husband.

oil pastel on paper

at this rate

i'm beginning to understand why parents tell their kids to go to college directly after highschool. at this rate i won't be finished until i'm 35 (best case scenario). V. will be 40.

my sister's advise is that once i finish a doctoral program i can do whatever i want afterwards. i gravely doubt this. then again, i'm getting good at doubting. logic never works for me. never has. but for once-- i wish i could just be logical.

at the moment i'm working on a story about a lizard in the shower. i think i need to go for another walk.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

traveling "local"

Darjeeling tea with cream and sugar from a middle eastern grocery store in the city. Incense burning soft southwest shaman swirls of cedar, pinion, and alder. Lila Downs sexy, forceful voice twirling Spanish rrrr's as she sings about blue sand and snake clouds. Candles burn, I float the Egyptian Nile.

Settling back into myself after being deposited back home in the middle of the night. I decided at some point during my absence that I want to start over. Theoretically this is good. Realistically: not really all that easy. Life comes crashing back in.

Upon my return, I feel a little bit like I did after spinning my niece and nephew around till we couldn't stand up straight. You know the feeling: when you put your arms out wide and spin until everything begins to blur dangerously. So you stop but everything else keeps moving. Brain molecules flying out of control. The world falls out of place with everything shifting like that. (please-- try it now if you've forgotten this sensation.)

Maybe I'm just acclimating to these low, swampy altitudes. Or maybe it's because the house was shown 3 times today. Maybe it's because I feel like I exist nowhere in particular. Vertigo. These past days people have been asking me for directions-- in Minneapolis, Waterton, Banff, Fielding. I like the feeling of people thinking I'm a local in those strange lands when in reality I live nowhere. Not even here.

Tonight, with Wolfie, we swam in the river and then hiked for miles and miles into the woods. Going further than we ever have before, we came to a steep incline. Hiking up it I pretended I was still in the mountains. I thought about what V. said not too long ago, that we don't need to own nature to enjoy it. I crested the hill and ridge upon ridge folded in on itself. For that moment it was all mine-- without owning any of it. And I decided on my hike back that if I could walk forever... happiness could be maintained.

Monday, August 15, 2005


I'm stuck in Minneapolis with no coffee, no ride, no money and stinky waves radiating off me like you wouldn't believe.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Lord she's gone done left me done packed / up and split

I'm usually a light packer. But this time, for some reason, I have enough things crammed in my bags to never come back.

The "art bag" alone consists of acylics, oil pastels, watercolors, pencils, two types of paper, and sm. wood panels among other misl.

The clothes bag has everything from shorts and tank tops to long underwear and winter jacket.

Why should I come back?

Note to V.: If you don't see me by the time my passport runs out, meet me in Canada. Bring the dog. And any others (dogs) you find along the way.


After two days of serious work I finally made progress on something. Class is planned. The finer details still need to be filled in, but the skeleton is there--and is, despite my creative impulses, rhetorically sound. I'm curious (and a little scared) to meet my class. It appears that I have a large handful of math and science majors. Ooh-- the test is on. We'll be writing a lot and whatever their major, I hope they like to write... or at least are willing to give it a chance. I say "we" because this time around I really want to do the writing assignments along with the class. I know, I said that last year too. But this time I might actually have time (I hope). One mistake I made last year was not giving myself enough (or any) time to write creatively. It about ruined me. This year I'm on a mission to live a more balanced life. I look forward to teaching again. But I think what I like most about it is that it allows me to remain a perpetual student; to get other people writing, but to keep myself excited about it too.

And although it's crazy to think I'll have time this coming week, I'm bringing a notebook with me to Canada. Maybe I'll make a little progress on that Indendent Study while abroad. I'm imagining a few stolen moments hiding out under a pine tree or next to a glacial blue lake or sitting on a log next to a river and writing. I've come to realize this summer that writing the first draft long hand takes all the pressure off. I can write in 10 minutes what would take 2 hours on the computer. I use a medium point, blue pen. And I like the way the paper feels like braille when I'm done.

I'm sick of writing being a struggle. Damnit-- I want to enjoy it again.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Another hot one.

Just think, in a few days I'll be high enough in the mountains to eat snow.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

93 F (no wonder).

Well, that's that. We're back from a relatively miserable trip, but the show is hung, looks good, and now I can only hope that they all sell... or even a couple. Art should NEVER be about money. Still, I would not complain if it started making me some.

Two more days until I leave again. I've given up hope of getting my independent study writing done before I leave. Fine. I've decided to switch things up. What I really feel like doing is planning class. Ok-- so I'll do what I feel like doing. Yes, what a great idea-- to do something without struggle.

These days I find myself craving simple beginnings like my friend R. has found. I stopped by her new place, The Granary, on Saturday. White walls, cream carpet, wood floors, ceiling fans, more wood, windows with wonderful views. Yes, she lives in a peaceful little corner of the world and although I know her life is not perfect or even easy... there is something about all of it that I wish I could find.

In the meantime, I'm going to try and enjoy what peace I can manifest for myself. It's a hot hot sticky hot afternoon. Wolfie and I just returned from the river. What else is there to do? Drink iced tea. Plan class. A pool of sunlight across my desk... books await.