Showing posts from March, 2019

Ping - a letter to non-proximal friends

I miss my friend horribly today.

I miss the way we could joke about anything, knowing this was the safe zone, knowing we were really all okay and could be trusted in the world despite what we thought funny right now.

I miss coffee under palm trees.  I miss painting the stairs. I miss laughing over school assignments. Not holding back.

I don't miss those days, but I miss the safe zone and the shared vocabulary.  We knew all along that we'd move on eventually, not knowing to where - it's a rite of passage. We are processes, always moving but not always with translatable maps.  Knowing never makes it easy.

I'm alone among friends where I am now.  I've built myself a fort, and I am safe, but it's a different sort of safety.  I miss feeling understood.  I'm afraid of possibly never being understood again, since every minute of every day puts more mileage between then and tomorrow. Now is frangible.  I assure you the fear is valid.

New words are built every day,…

How to Teach Nuance

When I'm unsure whether I'm reading nuance correctly, I check in with someone whose perception I trust, or whose decision will factor into the success of the project.  I tend to check smaller packets of information than others do, because I can.

I've already calculated a few probable outcomes. I want to know which outcome we prefer as a team. However, everyone's busy and would like to not follow the trail of my process to grasp what I'm after. I can't formulate the easy question on the fly. If someone asks me "why", and I try to answer, we're all in trouble, because I will tell you.  All of it.

I've always been this way.  I probably was an annoying kid.

Kids bring to you things that aren't important at the moment to you. You may be sorting some high-level issue for the household, and you don't get why the kid needs to know right now.  The short answer is: "the kid wants attention."  There are nuances, though. The answer may …

*POETRY WARNING* Caterpillar Soup

I am melting
reforming what was
as it swims my vision
the hardening of wings is
sharp elbows inside this envelope
Curling tongue where once I had teeth
will my voice now spiral, not gnash?
it's solitary work, metamorphosis
just like the skin that no longer fit
I'll cast aside this shell
and fly 5000 miles
to my death
in the sun

Further Reading:

How Does a Caterpillar Turn into a Butterfly?
- from Scientific American.  You always wanted to know, right?

Photos of metamophosis without a cocoon
Michael Cook managed to capture photos of a Tussah silkmoth larva that failed to spin a cocoon.

Why Millions of Painted Lady Butterflies are Migrating Through California
- from WBUR.  I witnessed this migration myself in 2001 and represented it in a painting I no longer have. Despite complaints from people who like their cars to be pristine, it was one of the most magical things I've experienced.

Definitions for Typos: Sunglower vs. Migraine

I'm on day two of migraine, which almost never happens to me.  The sun is shining but I can't enjoy it because it's too bright; the letters on my screen are doubling as I type but less so than yesterday.  I'll take it slowly.

My signature stiff neck is loosening and actually hurts, which is better than the usual feeling which defies explanation - like my body chooses to stop existing and I'm unsure where I'm attached.  It's not pain, exactly, but something more horrifying.  When I feel it coming - when sounds and lights are becoming sharper - I can usually duck out with a lot of Ibuprofen and benadryl and sleep until it passes.  I haven't gotten to day 2 in years.

But I am dedicated to #draweveryday, so last night I did some work I thought I could manage by rote, more birds to the murmuration on my painting The Zorya.  My initial vision for this painting suggested it would be finished by now and I'd be working on a new one in the series.

To Ramble, or Not to Ramble - Fighting Migration

I've always been this way - I feel an overwhelming drive to pack up and leave town. Be somewhere else. Take my circus on the road.  It's downright painful, sometimes, this feeling - my legs hurt from trying to uproot.

There have been times in my life when I heeded it.  My [ angels, ancestors, voices in my head ] have told me very loudly: DON'T MOVE.  And I got this message before, this time, the feeling hit.  So I'm not moving; I feel like I'm melting in my stasis.  It's very weird.

My brother and I joke about The Ewing Gene, and we didn't really think we were joking, but Daniel C. Dennett has pointed out potential basis for our observation in his book Bacteria to Bach and Back:

Interestingly, when there isn't enough stability over time in the selective environment to permit natural selection to "predict" the future accurately (when "selecting" the best designs for the next generation), natural selection does better by leaving the ne…

I Want To Believe - Why We Need Science Fiction and Psychedelic Therapy

I'm working on a commissioned art project, and to set the mood I'm streaming The X-Files Season 4.  I'm up to the Bruce Campbell episode (I love him so much.) So now I'm digressing, because if you should be painting then apparently you write.

There's so much social media hype telling us to back away from social media.  It's Orwellian, right?  Connecting with people who are not proximal but share interests isn't wrong; connecting with bots and arguing moot points is.  Instant gratification builds unhealthy addiction to instant gratification.  We need to practice focusing on long-term goals. We need to remember how to process long sentences and find definitions in the context.

We need actual Science Fiction.  Also, we need actual science.

 In my angsty pre-teen years, I found solace in the worlds created by Ray Bradbury and Robert A. Heinlein.  Heinlein gave us the word grok, a very useful term for this blog's subject matter.  Bradbury's work stood…

Gloria - How Poetry Happens

As a part of my ongoing effort to Get Over Myself, I'm sharing with you  here my process and notes for writing a poem titled Gloria.

Gloria was my father's second wife, my brother Michael's mom.  She was truly one-of-a-kind.  It's whispered in the hallways that my gay Uncle Thom was so impressed by Gloria that he gave her orchids he'd grown himself - twice.

"I'm part Indian," she once told me, blue eyes twinkling. And then she lifted her pants leg. "See my Black Foot?"  I think she was serious about being part Blackfoot, though; she had a funny sense of humour.  We sometimes fought.  She borrowed my hippie clothes when she was pregnant.  And she could outdrink my dad.  Gloria went on to marry several times after divorcing my father.

"Seventh time's a charm," she quipped.  I could hear her eyes twinkle over the phone.  That was probably the last time I talked to her.  We weren't close, but she was important.

But these aren&…