Showing posts from December, 2018

Abbey New Year

You remember my bestie, Abbey the Cockatiel. We're even better friends now - she  flies across the room, smacks into the blinds and falls to the leather ottoman, and then yells at me to help her down because she claims she can't get to the floor from eight inches up.

"Go for it, Abbey," I tell her. "Just jump. Or fall. You'll be alright." It can't hurt worse than smacking into the blinds.

But she holds on with her beak and inches her feet down until she's no longer comfortable with the grip. Then she creeps back up to safety and yells at me some more.

I let her get on my arm and she crabwalks up to my shoulder. If I look at her, she hisses, but if I chatter my teeth in response to her doing same with her beak, she inches over and kisses me.  And if I seem to be turning my head she bites me. This is love.

Yesterday I went into the neighborhood without her; Abby took a nap.  I chatted with some artists who were set up at Palette 22. It's a br…

Things the Moon Knows

The moon told me tonight a plainer version of a truth I've always known.

It's not full any longer - waning, we say - and there's a fine lace of cloud cover stretched above the yard. I notice that the moon is enhanced, brighter, seems to be glowing, as a thin veil crosses its face. When the moon shines between clouds, the sky is dark and the edges of the sphere delineated.

We, too, shine brighter when we are filtered through challenge. People notice our energy while we struggle toward the surface. At peace, when the skies are clear, we seem calm, linear; it's easy for the observer to move along after looking upon a placid face. 

But the moon shining through opposition takes our breath away. 

Happy Christmas to you, my menagerie. 

Work In Progress: Let the Poets (and ravens) Take Charge

My work-space is currently a poetry lab, but the poetry's not mine - Peter Kidd sent me some-odd pieces by priority mail so I can see what art may manifest to accompany them. I fixed the pages like butterflies* with long pins to my U.S. map, around and over the Presbyterian Migratory Trail where each generation of Ewing is marked with a different shade of plastic head. The ancestors will have to wait and support this project - every choice they made was for me, was for now, after all. Right?

Take the risk.

This assignment coincides with the emotional birth of Deconstructed Corvid 3, which I saw in the rocks and moss growing between the carpets of my driveway. The carpets are not allegory nor metaphor. I'm not sure why they were laid out there initially, but as I move them throughout the winter to cover iced-over puddles I think I get the idea.

When Pete said he'd be mailing the pages, my first thought was that I should send them back illuminated like Medieval documents. …

"I Taste Colors" - Art, Synaesthesia, and Mental Mapping (originally published 12/2018)

My brain's tangly. I'm working over a short story which isn't a story, and my writing compatriots have requested I interject synaesthetic impressions throughout. I'm angry that they're so nosy, and yet I can - should - do this. I have to first pin down what synaesthesia means to me and then clean up those little bits of writing so they can be seen for what they are.

I honestly didn't know synaesthesia is a thing until a friend explained to me exactly how my brain works.

For one, a certain color may trigger a taste in my mouth. Words are tangible in my mind, like I can touch them. I recently learned the word pareidolia and it makes sense to me, too: I find patterns. I can recognize the same pattern visually, aurally, texturally, and apply a music pattern to art, or cooking, or gardening. You know, conceptual skeletons. People get confused if I tell them the soup needs to be more blue, but if I just make it more blue with the right spices we'll all approve.


Big Texas Road Trip Part the Second...? Texas Farms Wind, Oil, and Cotton

Things are getting a bit jumbled in my picture sets, if not my story-line. We saw a lot of Texas highway on this trip. A lot - 1800 miles.  This trip was nostalgic to me, bittersweet, and for that reason I'm showing most of the pictures of Texas in black-and-white.

Texas itself doesn't change much. In college I watched a documentary by Bill Moyers on Marshall, Texas, and it's a good show. Bill interviewed people who explained how the Great Depression didn't really affect them, because they were already self-sufficient. I tried to find a link to the docu for y'all, but was unsuccessful.

We banked in Marshall, and  bought groceries at the Piggly-Wiggly; our school was in Bullard, and our post office box was in Cuney. We lived in Deep East Texas, somewhere between Noonday and Teaselville Junction. Marshall was the big city. We didn't go exactly through that neck of the Piney Woods on this road trip, but still I was tugged at the heart. I could imagine our school …

It's Still Not About The Doughnut - the Snowball Effect of Self-Help Books

My co-worker just showed me a Satanic Vegan Cookbook he found for sale online (not sure it's actually Satanic, but that's an interesting concept.) Instantly my mind went to an horrific thread from a year ago on Facebook - it all started with a doughnut carrying a sign that read, "hey, i'm vegan"

Nobody wants to sit next to the guy at the party who tells you all night how he's quit drinking and smoking.  Just enjoy the party, guy. It's a stage in your life-process; we get it. Be here for the reason you're here.

That's the message alleged vegan-haters offer: be happy with yourself and we will be happy with you. It's not the vegan-ism that's ostracized, but evangel-ism.

Co-worker helped me realize the challenge with making assumptions about evangelism: the guy with the Satanic Vegan Cookbook might be at the party because he likes parties. Because he's selling a book, he may start talking about veganism. Can this be sensible and repulsiv…

Behavioral Patterns and What You Should Do About Them

Humans are pattern extractors - it's what we do. We find replications of familiar intervals everywhere, and we attempt to rearrange the medium where it doesn't fit a comfortable pattern.

We rake the yard because we like wide, flat surface area. We build fences with uniform pickets to enforce arbitrary boundaries. We strive to make perfect pancakes (don't laugh - it's an inherited gene as well as a term of endearment in my family.) And this is the point at which I branch off into unequal tangents. Does it help you at all to have advance warning?

You hear once in a while about a person who's born with an extra set of teeth. I sometimes think I was born with two full sets of emotions, and I make use of them all. I see faces in trees, colors in song, paintings in words. - Pareidolia may be a useful term here. I do my best to translate what I see into something you can recognise. The patterns I see are not necessarily useful to you, but hopefully you find some entertai…

A Day Job is Hard When Your Head Is Full of Ravens.

I'm making phone calls, entering data, but all the inside of my head is wings. My brain is rendering raven feathers in pencil and ink, in paint, in chalk, in actual feathers. They beat against the inner wall of my skull; beaks and claws scrape across the sphenoid. The phone rings; I pick it up. I can barely hear a voice through rustling wings, but I answer the question. It's almost lunch-time; then I'll be able to empty my head onto paper, fix down the ideas with Scotch tape.

I sleep early, wake up earlier. Put on my baja shirt to go outside, crispy-frost grass under my boots.

YES - the air is icy and clear enough to see everything: Orion, the Sisters, the Twins, the Crab, the God of War; my namesake the Scorpion hides just under the horizon. I know where he is though he can't be seen, always opposite the hunter. When I was small I used to dream of being Cassiopeia in her chair.

My boots clop down the road where I visit my tree-friend, the one who tells me prophecies. He&…

Big Texas Road Trip Part the Fourth - Palo Duro

Palo Duro Canyon is the second biggest in the United States after the Grand, and yet I didn't know about it until I went to visit my friends at the Academy of Advanced Imagery in Canyon, Texas.

"Yes, there is a canyon," I kept telling everybody, because I'd Googled. And then we went there.

I'd almost not brought my camera on this trip, because I knew Maz had hers and she's a talented photographer. We have different perspectives, though, so it's a good thing I did. We often took different trails; also, she's got the better telephoto lens. There were times I bade her take the long-distance shots I knew would fail with my camera.

This cute yellow flower tried to kill me. I really wanted that shot, so I crouched low and finally lay prone to find my angle, and then I realised how close I was to the edge of the cliff. It was at least twelve feet away, but I was frozen in terror. You see, when I was a teenager my friends thought it was funny to throw me in …

Hot Dogs Are a #metoo Moment

Outside the laundromat I balanced a bun on my dashboard and applied ketchup to the cold hot dog therein. I realised I was grateful to have a car this time - remember those days of cold-hot-dog household budget? I didn't have bus money then, because I was saving quarters for the laundromat. I lived in a hotel room I rented by the week that had no kitchen. I paid extra for the refrigerator when I could afford it.

I'm doing it this time because I want to - talk about it and also eat the hot dog - because groceries are in the car and I don't want to bother with going someplace for prepared food. It's not a punishment to remember whence I came. I am grateful to know exactly how much I can survive. I wonder how it feels to have never been hungry and cold at the same time, for days or weeks on end.

If you never had those days, take a minute to consider people you know who probably did and don't talk about it. What's interesting about a hot dog story?
You never weigh …

Meanwhile in Newcastle...Cooking in the Kitchen with Daoiri Farrell's Irish Folk Music

I met Beardo during my days of working hotel front desk. He was a co-shenanigator once, when I found myself in possession of tickets to see ZZ Top at the 9:30 Club. Details are fuzzy, but I needed someone to take 2 of 4 tickets I was getting from a shady back-alley Craigslist transaction with a guy who looked like a federal whistle-blower.

Don't ask me what a federal whistle-blower looks like; use your imagination and do your own casting. The man had pain in his eyes and darkness under them. He used few words, and he disappeared like smoke down the alley between graffiti and garbage bins after taking my cash. I got away unharmed.

Beardo is also known as Steve Cunningham of @BoomChang Records, and he records this excellent ...what is this? A show? A podcast? High-quality entertainment, that's what it is. He sets up a band in his kitchen, interviews at the counter, and I assume he serves everyone coffee and biscuits. I plan to show up one day and there had better be biscuits (A…

Hatnanigans the Third - The Test Hat wins! Please Support Small Business and Handcrafters

Oh. Em. GEE. Waiting has been like going into labor. The post office finally got the third package to me today - the Test Hat which Michell  made using extra-heavy, potentially ugly, yarn she found especially for me.

It's still not ugly, but it's super-heavy and thick with character. It's got a White Hat good guy side, and a Black Hat bad guy side. It's so very me. I'll take Michell's advice and wear it rolled up a bit, so my Yin and Yang show like a warning flag. Or a warming flag.

I AM SO HAPPERY! I may never take it off, ever.

Thank you again, Michell of CrochetAndThingsCo.

Please support Small Businesses and Handcrafters. Your grandparents would never have survived without them.

Hatnanigans Part the Two: The Hat Show

Me: :::sauntering into the office wearing the Loud Hat:::
BRB: I can do it on Friday!
Me: We're doing it TODAY! Three of them came last night.
BRB: TODAY? Okey-dokey! 

Me: :::sauntering to my cube wearing the Loud Hat::: Emilyyyy...Look what I got....
Emily:  :::frozen stare::: We're doing it TODAY?
Emily: Okay...Can we do it outside?

Me: :::proudly laying the Loud Hat on my desk:::
Anne: COOL HAT! I am so stealing this! :::grabs hat and bounces off:::
Me: :::icy death stare:::
Anne: :::lays the Loud Hat back on my desk:::

During lunch, we got it together - BRB, Emily, and I all in the bathroom fixing our makeup for the photo shoot. We decided to pose in front of the Christmas tree in the office instead of going outside. HR kindly agreed to take pictures with my phone; they were all out of focus but two. In one of those I'm rolling my eyes up in my head.  Thank you, HR - my phone was the problem, I promise. 

We hied us to the breakroom where, said BRB, the l…

Jade Resilience: What Have You Maintained for At Least Ten Years?

When BRB and I worked at a different job together, we had conversations on how to make wise choices in partnering. One thing we agreed upon: those guys who are in the front row vying for attention are also the ones who are in everybody's front row, and they don't have much to bring to the negotiating table. We wanted a fast measure and possibly a filter:

"What have you maintained in your life for at least ten years?"

Our coworker Marcus responded:

"What if all you've maintained is a good pair of shoes?"  We laughed, but hey. That tells you where a person is at in life, doesn't it?

And then I turned the question on myself.

I finally had to stop reviving my banyan tree which I'd grown from seed. I killed it three times; no, four. In another episode of prolonged distraction, the jade tree I brought to the office rotted down the middle.

I've not had this plant for ten years; more like five. I negotiated it in with a rug purchase when I was stil…