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Edit This, Kafka!

I submitted several pieces to the college literary/arts magazine, Visualize Verbalize.  Of course, it was only after I hit "send" that I realized that I'd left a glaring grammatical error in one of my poems. D'oh! I know that if it's accepted the editor will seek my permission to fix it, but my face is red. Writing letters and blogs isn't high on my "must be perfect!" complusion list, but this is a little different.

Being Type A is one of my flaws when it comes to these things. Angst!

My owl cup decided to crumble on me after I was trying to give it some decorative carving. (Goodnight sweet bird of clay. May a flight of throw wheels sing thee to thy rest.) On the plus side I think I made a second successful "rooster" style pitcher after the first one survived but held a crack in the top. The original is still functional as an aesthetic piece, so I'll keep him around, a whimsical folly. The second is a bit more refined, and I've gotten a wee ego puff because the second-year pottery students are impressed with my prototype. It's giving me enough of a boost that I'll try resurrecting Owl as best I can.

Who says there is no reincarnation?

5 Things

I'm trying to free up my head from an emotional week, so that I may write to the people that I need to and so that they may understand what I'm saying. I've been rambling quite a bit.

Ergo, a 5 Things post!

1) I am a social smoker. I haven't ever smoked a "real" cigarette, but I've smoked cloves and cigars. I've never smoked outside of the context of camping, hanging out at a river, or hanging out on someone's night time porch with a beer in the other hand. I also can't start my own cigarette and always have a friend do it for me, but in my mind that's a sly sort of kiss, so, kudos.

2) I once kissed a straight friend romantically on the eyebrow when this guy wouldn't leave me alone at a street dance. Without me saying a word she leaned into me and giggled, looking at me through her eyelashes. Later she said that I confused the hell out of her for a moment. But once it dawned she started caressing me on the back and clung to me until he left. What a trooper! We had a huge laugh and solo-danced like mad for the rest of the evening.

3) I tend to obsess over and actor and an actress for serially long periods. It's not an obsession of them as a person, rather their talent, intellect, and their body of work. Right now it's British actor Jack Davenport and Italian actress Monica Bellucci. They are both amazingly articulate and intelligent people who have some interesting things to say.

4) I am an insomniac who also happens to be a night owl, and always have been, even when I was a child. I usually lay awake for a good hour or two after I lay down to bed, no matter how tired I am. I also used to have these epic dreams that would leave me exhausted in the morning. They suddenly stopped when I hit twenty-five. I am not sure if I am getting too-little sleep (a possibility,) or if I just don't need that kind of release anymore. Either way, laying still and staring out into the grey dark is an exercise in frustration.

5) I like hanging out in haunted places. They don't need a "traditional" kind of ghost either, but I always feel a pull to places where things happened and like to sit there for a long while. There is a canyon near Laurel, MT, where there was a clash between the native people and the American calvary, and I like to visit that place just to be where something historical and sad occured. Similarly, I like going to the Little Bighorn battlefield and just spending the day walking over the lonely hills. I also like hanging out at the college's theatre, where a more traditional kind of ghost has been reported. A few times I've climbed up into the loft where they store the props and backgrounds and just sat there soaking in the atmospehere in the almost-dark. 

A-okay

Me mum is doing well and has come home. She's upstairs happily blissful and sipping lime-aide whilst nibbling on pretzels. Usually after I have some medical issue I don't want to see anyone or anything for a week.

Of course, though all is well and we were assured by the doctors that this was a minor issue I am still going to worry. It's within my Virgo nature.

Literary Distraction

I've fallen out of love with my third fandom lately. I still love the Lord of the Rings universe, but after re-reading some of the books I see the flaws in the narrative and for some reason I can't get around them. They are still an amazing set of works, considering that they were a sort of fan fiction that Tolkien wrote for his own private universe. On the other hand, the fact that he created several linguistically viable languages for his world kind of turns me on. 

Gentlemen, let that be a lesson to you: the biggest sex organ human beings have is the brain. Use it wisely, my sons.

Ladies, continue doing what you're doin': When it comes to brains you're already using them or are else a vapid Hilton.

I feel responsible this week. My mother is having to have a surgery that is halfway between minor and major. (In fact I'm writing right now to keep my mind occupied instead of thrumming with anxiety.) I'm going to be taking care of the house and her, while going to school and working my part-part time assistant job at the English offices. Sometimes I step outside of myself and watch what I'm doing in my life. I'm amazed that my head hasn't fallen apart inside yet.

I did throw four cups in ceramics, which is a feat considering that anxiety and wheel-throwing are not a good mix. Two of the cups are so very small, and knowing how much the clay shrinks while firing I may have ended up creating a shot glass and a thimble. Ah well. Worse comes to worse I can buy an espresso machine because I'll already have the pretentious wee shot cups to go along with the expensive coffee. I'm also making a cup that looks a bit like an owl. I made a rooster pitcher but it's cracking along the top, so this will be my consolation.

I don't know why I'm obsessed with birds lately. Maybe it's because "owl" and "rooster" are funny words to say.

Convincing Student

I think I'm on the edge of losing my temper whenever I catch the glances from men as they walk down the hall, while I am sitting in my unfortunately placed desk in Intro to Business. There I am, trying to be a student, a scholar, and some dude flicks his eyebrows at me with a little arrogant smile. I stare blank-faced until he passes, or else yawn and glance lazily at the clock, depending on how aggressive I'm feeling. Either way it seems to work well getting the message across. I just wish that my teacher would close the bloody door.

There is a time for every purpose under heaven. Class is not a time for flirting.

This is turning out to be "just one of those days." My business teacher has to go out of town, so we arrived only to have our class cut short by forty minutes. My heart reeling with anxiety I head to the library to wait for tech writing to start. I sat on the balcony above the main lobby, a grand, soaring affair that is half cabin, half Japanese wood-screen house. There is a sloshing fountain below the stairs, with deep black water that throbs like a beating heart. It always has a calming effect, in the same vein as white noise, and no matter how sizzling with worry I may be spending a half hour on the balcony calms me down. I ended up reading about the newly discovered Rothkos, the atmospheric artist from the early-mid 20th century.

I arrived at my next class ready to go. Of course, true to the day's form, my teacher is out sick, and we'll meet on Wednesday instead. ...Aiee! Do not get me wrong --I am grateful for the reprieve-- but I spent an hour this morning convincing myself to go to class, and it turns out I just should have stayed in bed. 

Surrealist Om

Just for grins I started an abstract painting last night, modeled on the work of my favourite painter Paul Klee. Interestingly enough, the image I had in my head eluded me when I started to put the paint to canvas, and I've gone forward just letting the colours "tell" me where I originally had them. After an hour of complete frustration I just let go and let the brush go where it wanted. I stepped back a small while ago and lo, in the bottom third of my canvas a perfectly-placed spiral is growing out of the gloom. 

It reminds me a little of the surrealist automatic-painting movement, where a group of painters would sit down for a day and just paint, not really thinking or planning, but letting the ideas come. Unfortunately, I don't have a group with which to do this, so I am keeping company with my bettas and Angelina Jolie movies. Though there is fortune in this too: I don't have to deal with the pretention that some artists feel is necessary to make Great Art, with capitals.

An example of Great Art (and it is, if you subtract the pretention,) is in the form of surrealist automatic-writing, as what appears in the novel Les Champs Magnétique. (The Magnetic Fields.) The automatic writing is something I've used in my private journal, that I've been keeping since I was around six years old. It's a wonderful form of catharsis, writing without the internal censor or adherence to morals. It's a quick way to learn a lot about yourself, or the psyche of others. 

Just for fun (and please don't take it to your neighbourhood Freud): 

The woman stands before the path-road: her heels are red with the dew and the iron in the soil. She is frightened and empty, the shell of her ribs hollow to let the air through. But her heart beats steadily behind the wet bones, her spine more solid than she gives credit for. She enjoys the icy wind at her wrists, the way her veins burn blue under her skin with the heat from her heart. Starved-blood, but what power inside of it, what bronze to glaze over a shield. The benefit is that if she swallows her fear she has no belly in which for it to rest, and she will be rid of it, like the asps left in Cleopatra's basket. She walks, the walks, biting stones into her bare feet, but she walks. She asks. She smiles without ration.

Under Pressure

"Chipping around-- kick my brains around the floor,
these are the days it never rains but it pours."
~Queen and David Bowie, Under Pressure

I am going to have to give up one of my English classes, due to too little time and too many commitments. As it turns out, the semester project I am doing for my technical writing has been picked up by Computer Services at NWC. My small group of three --of which I am the writer-- will be making the official handbook description and proceedures manual for the entire office. Our project is to go before the Presidential Board this spring.

So, no pressure there. Really.

*faints*

On the other hand, it is something that the three of us can put on a legitimate resumé as experience. We're not getting paid, but passing the class and getting a reference to boot seems like fair trade. ...I know. Economic jokes aren't as funny as slapstick, but there you can see the state of mind that I've been in for quite some time now. Sorry.

Hija de la Luna and the Politico

The eclipse was beautiful. My mother, sister and I went out on our deck in the cold dark that was on the cusp of spring, and watched the moon enter totality. Funnily enough several other porch lights went dark too, and many people emerged from their houses. We could see the strobe of camera flashes going off for several blocks. It is reassuring to know that in the electronic age there are still many who want to see the swallowed moon. The rite is as old as humans are.

I had forgotten about the stars. When the moon went to shadow the stars came out, brilliant and with a vengance. We couldn't see Saturn, as he was behind our neighbour's bare elms, but Mars rising a few hours later made up for the absence.

***

Though voting is a supremely American act --or, philosophically, is supposed to be-- I will be glad when November is over and we have someone new installed in the White House. 

I have noticed that Clinton has finally started to lag further behind Obama. ...Though I consider myself an Independent, a conservative economically with liberal personal-lifestyle leanings I am glad that she is not the top contender for President. I know that without a doubt, our president will be a Democrat/Left-tended, as the past eight years of Republican sentiment has soured the public. I do put my vote behind Obama at this time, because his policies and political history seem more solid than Clinton's, who has been increasingly ambiguous in her terms (dangerous) and waffling in other arenas (damaging).  Obama also seems more down to earth, a politician rather than a politico for politic's sake. Clinton, in contrast, seems driven by the politic of power.

I really wish I could put my vote behind Clinton. I really do. Despite our first Clinton's personal life, he did do some amazing things with a Republican senate and a Democratic executive office, which the second Bush has not been able to do in the vice versa. Bush is, in every sense, the quintessential lame duck. I wish I could say that my faith in Clinton is strong, but I am wary of her rise and wary of her strength, which seems to come from within her but is so reliant on the yes-obeying of others. She seems to me to be one holding the strings and pulling the mouths of those in her campaign, unlike Bush, who seems to have the strings attached to his being while his underlings pull them. I don't want a string-puller or a string-pulled. I want someone who is the head in a line of solid leaders.

So, sorry Clinton. I wish I could claim sisterhood, a united front, but I just don't trust you. I don't think I shall even in another four years.

Double Negative Education

This is embarassing: less than 1 in 4 college-age students cannot point out Iraq on a world map. The majority of those same people 25 and under think that it's not important to know this information. (Source: National Geographic.) 

After listening to some people in my classes drone on about their ideas to go to Hollywood and become singers (I would actually recommend Boston, SF, or New York,) or actually plan to go into the desert to "get wasted" for the weekend, I'd believe it.  Most of the time during class presentations I am sitting in my chair with my eyebrows raised, thinking "yes, and..." while some girl is up front giving an observation along the lines of: "Um, and that's why the business is important and stuff..."

Aieeee!

I feel I watsed my entire weekend. I didn't do anything of merit or importance, other than read a book and clean my room. I know, I know, I know that it's important to give oneself a mental rest, but I always feel so lazy and condemnable if I do so. With a study like the one I mentioned above I really want to do nothing more than write The Great American Novel, paint this century's Piece of Great Art, and write the Most Profound Poem to win the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature, all in a day. But then, if I try this bit of hyperbole I also know that I'll burn myself out and go into an angst-filled fetal position and get nothing done.

Ah, balance and temperance... these are two things that used to be taught in school and that have now gone the way of the dodo. Same for elocution, which is a bigger loss, I think. People no longer know how to speak well.

Case in point: watch Larry Olivier, or Charels Heston, Anne Baxter, Gene Kelly, and Kate Hepburn in their glory days. Hell, watch Leonard Nimoy on Star Trek, for that matter. Granted, that each of these people received theatre training before they were film actors, but they also knew how to speak well and pronounce clearly, something that is lacking on today's entertainment media. I can't watch a lick of CSI: Miami without wincing at Emily Procter, the blonde actress with the raspy child's voice or laughing at the ridiculous exaggerated drama-drawl of David Caruso. It's awful.

Bah. I'll get off of my soapbox now.

...On the other hand, it is funny to watch David C, who has this exact acting formula for each of his scenes: "Head tilt, pause, sunglasses off, some dry observation, another dry cliché, head straighten, observe the scene, head tilt down, sunglasses on --slooooowly--- another cliché, exit camera left."

Awwwww, Geek Out!!!

Even though the new Trek movie has been pushed back to 2009 because of the writer's strike I'm not going to complain. It's giving me time to get back into my first fandom again, and I'm remembering things that I didn't realize I'd forgotten. 

I've been a Trekkie all my life, (or a Trekker, depending on how self-depreciatory I'm feeling...) ever since I can remember. The first Trek episode I remember watching was The Day of the Dove, when I was all of three years old and Star Trek was just Star Trek and not defined by the term The Original Series. (When I'm really in an ironic mood I define myself as a TOSser.) There was no Picard, no smarmy Data, no bad-ass motherfucker Sisco, and no uninteresting-as-hell Janeway. There was also no Enterprise series, but I've erased the memory of that. Instead there is only an image of an old-fashioned cartoon cow dancing to a tinny 1930s version of Turkey in the Straw

I was infatuated with the logical, tortured Mr. Spock, even then, and I'm not ashamed to admit it now. My appreciation for Kirk came later, when I realized I could divorce the good captain from the bad actor, even if the cheese did show through some time.

(My favourite fandom joke was a send-up of Kirk losing his sanity because of a group of mind-control parasites were making him think he was a bad captain. In the original version he gripped at Spock within kissing-distance in the turbolift, whispering: "Spock! I'm losing my ability to command!" 

In the joke it's replaced with: "Spock! I'm losing my ability to act!" to which Spock replies quietly: "Jim, you never had any.")

So, now I'm reviewing all of the old books, episodes, and movies. I'm finding that some of the episodes have not aged well in my mind, and I end up giggling at them more often than just sitting there watching, but I do mean it with the most earnest kind of love. The production was shoddy, and the acting was at best patchwork, but there is a great deal of fondness and eagerness in the show. I take that as it is and hope that the undying optimism in the series can carry over to this reboot of the fandom. I hope also that, just maybe, it can carry over to the rest of the world.