So I’ve got a few more blogs to share this month, very geeky, I promise. But I wanted to mention one from a friend of mine that I think is pretty cool. I was gonna wait till later in the month, make it all casual-like, but, well, stuff happened, you’ll see…
Words are kind of the antithesis of what she does, and I lay em on thick here (forgive me, it’s nano, I’m counting… one two three). She draws in ink and emotion, and makes her little stick figures speak some complicated thoughts. Or something, that’s what I think, you look first, then see what you think.
The friend is Dana Zemack (that’s Dana like Lana),
her website is http://danavore.tumblr.com,
and the reason I’m springing it early in the Blogs I ❤ series is that she just had some of her comics picked up by a big name on teh interwebs, called Jezebel.com,
you may have heard of them, or maybe not (don’t click on that, mom, look at the first one instead…)
So, like she’s HUGE now, go check it out and tell her what you think 😉 Yeah, all three of you…
There have been a series of Moonrises over the last week that were simply astonishing. Our property has no vistas like I used to see in Colorado or Washington; but, when the leaves fall, and the moon is bright you can see it rise in the southeast, coming up over a series of bends in the Charles River, shining through the bare branches so that you have to bend and sway to make out it’s whole face. The Quinobequin, they say that’s what the original inhabitants of this marshy area called the Meandering River, though that name is disputed. Later called the Massachusetts River, it was later renamed for a vain inbred European monarch; abused and polluted for many years, it is now fairly clean; the Charles.
This River has always been there in my life, bearing my name on maps. I did not regard it much as a child, except as a place for play, a place with some danger. But I regard it a lot these days, especially since reading a local history book on King Phillip’s war. That’s for another post, I was talking about Moonrises…
Tonight, the moon was orange, and just starting to wane. I have decided this night that this is my favorite phase of the moon, just after full, when the upper right quadrant starts showing the curvature of our celestial neighbor. I think this is when the Moon looks most like a sphere to me, most “round” even though it is just off-round at this phase. In any case, it was a little lower in the sky tonight than it was last night, and I remembered what I learned in the Boy Scouts; the Moon rises about 50 minutes later every day, that’s approximately the width of your outstretched fist (a little less now, bigger fists), if I remember correctly. So every night, if you look at the same time, the moon will be about a fist lower along the ecliptic. There’s a useless tidbit for you.
The bright yellow moon shines brightly though the bare branches, and you can see the reflection on a bend of the river; not a vista, a private view, the feeling of a thing big rather than seeing the thing itself. I guess this is one difference about being back east, at least in the geographical fengshui sense, smaller, more private vistas….
Dad studied wolves one summer, I remember because he dropped me off in Indiana to stay with my grandparents. And it was the one summer he tried sporting a mustache, we ALL remember that. He followed collared wolves around for a week or more, with a bunch of other teacher/volunteers. They listened to the beeps, and recorded locations, and tracked one animal within yards of the enclosed truck… they never saw a live wolf. But, he told me later, at night they learned to howl. They learned the different elements of a howl, and put them together,and the wolves would respond. And he tried to explain to me once how that felt… Standing there in the driveway tonight, thinking about the Moon, and Moonrises of years passed, I wondered if I could get the local coyotes to join in a good howl…
Maybe tomorrow night.
Yesterday was veteran’s day.
It’s amazing how much you can learn about someone sometimes, in just a short conversation. There’s a pullover off of Highway 27, it’s a lonely stretch of road that goes through some nature reserve near my house, and this time of year, there are always trucks and suvs parked along the side; it’s one of the few spots in surrounding towns where hunting is allowed. Medfield Wildlife Preserve or somesuch. I used to park there and take walks sometimes, took a girl there once in high school for one of those walk to the middle of the field and look at the sky dates. It’s the start of an old abandoned road, blocked by a gate that is never really locked, and lined with big old trees on both sides. That’s where I parked today. I needed to answer a txt message, and didn’t want to do it while driving. To tell you the truth, I haven’t pulled into that spot in a long time, there’s usually a cop parked there, and a bunch of hunting vehicles. Even here in suburban Massachusetts, my Darwin fish and “Yes We Did!” Obama stickers are not all that popular, especially with huntin’ locals. In any case, There was one vehicle there, making it’s way through the gate. – Stop – get out – open gate – get in – drive through – get out – close gate – walk directly towards the little red Scion parked in the lot and look menacing… wait what? That last part happened so fast I barely had a chance to roll my window down and say “howdy”. So this is the guy I met today; he told me a bit of his story, shook my hand, scared me a little and made me think… here’s how that last part went. We’ll call him Ted…
Ted is a single father of five, a veteran himself. He did not say, but he looked Vietnam aged, and he teared up ever so briefly when mentioning a friend of his, a brother in arms, that he had lost and was thinking about on this day. We both shared a look, in the depth of that moment, a sadness a connectedness, and then it was gone…
Ted was there on the public land, to cut deadwood. I think he may have been hassled for it in the past, which is why he came over to explain himself. We both assumed that the other one worked for Fisheries or something, and was going to tell them to stop whatever it is they’re doing. We were both wearing flannel… honest mistake really. He leaned in my window and looked around at my messy foreign car, and proceeded to explain himself. He works on a tug boat, see, two weeks on, and two weeks off. This is his two weeks off, obviously, and he likes to use that time to teach his kids to be self sufficient. At least I think that’s what he was hinting at, he didn’t say self sufficiency so much as hint at a scary nebulous future for which the children are the only answer. I don’t mean to inject a creepy feeling into what he said here, but I have to say I felt it a little. It’s a sentiment that I have heard often in the Tea Party rhetoric of late. This government (which is to say this Black President) is so corrupt, so evil and has such evil intentions for this nation, that there is probably going to be some kind of actual armed revolution in the near future, for which back to nature skills will somehow be important. In any scenario like that, some sort of armed rebellion in modern times, ditch digging, ammunition manufacture and first aid triage are likely to do you more good really, but that’s only IMHO. But being who I am, I do of course approve of using resources wisely, being self sufficient, all these things are good; all these things can enable us to live our lives without attachment; to be happy. Or we can choose to do these things out of fear of other.
He introduced himself partway through the conversation (Ted is a pseudonym), and offered his hand, which was wide, and calloused and not cold despite the weather. We shook, and he nodded, “Good, strong shake!” He said approvingly – I didn’t know guys still said that sort of thing, I guess they do. He wasn’t a bone crusher, thank god, can’t stand those guys; he had an honest handshake, and friendly; and I think he was simply acknowledging the same in me, really. In any case, when I replied, “Actually, that’s because I’m a massage therapist!” and handed him a card, he seemed a little taken back, but he didn’t immediately run away and he continued his story…
He collects the wood for the people in the area that get low income fuel assistance (I wonder if he knows that this is a Kennedy baby?) and he distributes it in the area. He said he does it because he’s part of the system too, he gets assistance now, because he has too. As the conversation wrapped up (he realized I was in no way going to stop him from taking the wood) he said some things about the current government being so damned bad you have to teach your kids these things; to take care of themselves, since no one else will. I have mixed feelings about this last part really. This is that nebulous fear-of-the-future talk that makes me so uncomfortable these days. I guess because it always makes me think “OK, so now you’re finally paying attention, but where were you ten years ago when we had a drunken frat boy running the place shooting his six-guns off. What exactly is it that makes you so upset about Obama…?” Anyway, that’s neither here nor there really. I mean, I agree with the guy to a great extent, a lot of the reason I have moved back here is to learn me some self reliance. My income can only get so high (I’m only capable of a certain number of massages a week); so… time to start learning how to do some things for myself so that someday I MIGHT be able to retire. If I can can enough tomatoes now; will I be able to afford the really good medical care when I’m old? Who knows, but I guess I buy into it a bit myself.
I suppose the thing that scared me slightly is that his motive was more fear and anger at those in charge, than desire to develop any sort of self reliance; doing things yourself is only something you resort to when the damn government’s no good. That doesn’t seem right somehow… He was on government land, taking government wood for a government subsidized low cost fuel program; all by his own assertion. And he was at the same time bashing the entire government for some nebulous sense of impending doom. So why do the Koch Brothers/Tea Party side of these things bother me so much? There is admittedly a bit of common ground between the Koch Machine and the Occupy Wall St folks… very little, but some. There is a sense of disgust with the way things have gotten. The biggest difference is where everyone places the blame, and really at this point who cares who’s to blame? Does it matter that it was Reagan’s policies of Clinton’s, one of the Bush’s or Obama’s policies… none of them is responsible for the way that the world is… we are, we the people… right?
OK, no words are coming today, so I am going to transcribe some favorite poems that I have been reading lately..
The Old Wild Place, David Whyte
After the good earth
where the body knows itself to be real
and the mad flight
where it gives itself to the world,
we give ourselves to the rhythm of love
leaving the breath
to know its way home.
And after the first pure fall,
the last letting go, and the calm
breath where we go to rest,
we’ll return again to find it
and feel again the body welcomed
the body held,
the strong arms of the world,
the water, the waking at dawn
and the thankful, almost forgotten,
curling to sleep with the dark.
The old wild place beyond all shame.
I saw David speak once in Seattle with a good friend of mine, who introduced me to his writing. He was a fantastic speaker, and read his poems slowly, and at least three times in a row, just like I was taught to do in college (yes, I know very Dead Poets but not that kind of school). You read the poem once through, and then begin again directly after you finish. After the second reading you pause and read the whole poem in it’s entirety. With short poems, I often do this to this day. Can’t remember the name of that teacher though.
The Long Arm Of Memory
The long arm of memory
winds round the frozen shoulder
I lean against a wall
calling me back
as if I could
from this place.
Often I have unwound that arm
and flown above the town
where I and all my friends have slept
night upon night
uncurled it like the wing a moth
could show to a new world
born to its hundred changing eyes
to the veins of its body
to the fur that stretches down it’s chest
to its leap in a world gone mad with flight.
Haven’t read much poetry really, or written any at all since schoolboy days. I suppose since an adult I have consumed poetry more in the form of music than anything else…. here’s some lyrics from my favorite songwriter of late, Dan Bern…
Sometimes it feels
like theres so much that you need.
Sometimes the world is upside down.
Sometimes it seems
like the only thing you need
is holding someone’s hand as you walk through town…
She goes why baby,
why baby, why baby, why…
Why have you turned
your back on love?
You’ve had so many chances,
why have you let em all go by?
This will be the first edition of a semi-regular effort to share with you my gleanings from teh interwebs, my favorite blogs and websites, you know, in case I’m not just shouting into a void….
I have been without my Macbook Pro (late 2008) for a week, but she’s back now and everything is alright. Well almost alright. Time Machine is handy, when it works right, and buggy as all getout if you just want to re-update iTunes from a backup copy that’s newer than the stupid version they put on in the store, because it will take TEN HOURS to re-download it from home… anyway, that’s neither here nor there concerning Nano (but the words still count!). My laptop is running and has new shiny parts on the inside and is taunting me to write something important.
I am back to using Scrivener for my writing, thank god, for the rest of Wrimo. I have enjoyed using the keyboard and iPhone setup, and will continue to do so when I’m out and about or at work. But the usefulness of Simplenote syncing doesn’t makeup for the organization of Scrivener (or the minor bugs on the iPhone with a bluetooth keyboard; I’m looking at you Facebook App). I need organization when I write because I am so disorganized myself. In any case, I have mentioned Scrivener before and will do so again. It’s a brilliant program that does everything you’ve ever seen another word processor or text editor do but like ten times better easier, and with automatic saving every three seconds. If you are a computer user that writes words, you need this program.
Originally just for the Mac, they have released a beta Windows version recently, that has been getting great reviews too. Check out what people are saying over at their blog, Called Literature and Latte, many published writers are fans and users, and it has become very popular in the last few years with Nano participants, they even offer a month long trial (for Nano) and a discount if you get to fifty thousand words.
Day two of Nanowrimo 2011 and I have compiled everything written so far to get 5835 words. Which is more impressive than it sounds, the said words being mainly a collection of personal reflections written during the last few days (yeah, it’s cheatin so what of it). But I am definitely churning ideas for actual story as well, and hope to keep up the pace as much as I can this month… and I am working on a couple of longer blog pieces for Homeonlagrange so that it is not as dull as this post all month…