Wednesday, March 28, 2012

2012.03.28 — Published: A Sonnet & a Haiku

Enough of those dumb ass fushigi blogs. Now for a dumb ass blog of web-published creative writing.

The multi-media and very beautiful and engaging Houseboat blog and its multi-talented creator, writer/artist/photographer Rose Mary Boehm, has graciously published two of my poems in the last few days!

The first one is a Shakespearian sonnet that I wrote several years ago. Imagine that, not only is there at least one nut bar writing sonnets in the world, still, but there is also extant someone willing to ask my okay to publish it!
In Black, Shadow Puppets Dance - A Sonnet
       inspired by Kimberly Keith & Revised 2011.12.29

In black, shadow puppets dance with the light
That leaps in bounds to fire a new year born.
Wicked stories fill with dread an endless night
Of starry dreams dreamt once but now stillborn.

But how the gilt flames leap over these limits.
They tickle open hearts with glittering scenes
Of thick plated truths, gold carded credits,
Hard hitting livers and bilious spleens.

I stare and stare. To my dark eyes' chagrin
Sharp smoke caresses them and makes them tear.
I blink through brine and my mind starts to spin
A tale of two halves — my mask-face and fear.

     The flickering night has caught spots in my mind,
     Spots black in my mind my mind minds to find.
Now I have mixed feelings about the 'goodness' of this effort, but I think that at least a couple of the parts in it are more than acceptable.

Of course there are those in the world who viscerally loathe this format, like it was ipecac. Okay for those people they will be spared looking at the next poem that Rose published. That is in the even more despised Haiku format. This one came to be as an expression of my reaction to a subject photograph Rose published in the Houseboat to stimulate poetry.

Here's what I wrote.
I am a white dog
playing in the dirty snow
of late spring.
Hmmm. Now that I've written that — and the sonnet before that — you may be dis-inclined to visit the Houseboat blog. !f that is your feeling-reaction, please reconsider. HB has truly great poetry and visual art from real and seriously published writers, poets and visual artists like Joan Colby, Jefferson Carter, Ruth Bavetta and brilliant new poets like Sara Clancy and Danny Earl Simmons, Naomi and others.

Monday, March 19, 2012

2012.03.17 — A Half March of Little Fushigis*

Some strange little *fushigi.

I came home from work to find my wife watching Anderson Cooper's day time talk show, which had as his guests dominatrixes. This didn't particularly interest me. Later that night, at 6pm local time, Bravo Canada had the comedy movie Walk All Over Me about a dominatrix and her naïve sister.

2012.03.07-8 (#1)
On the 7th I used the word accost in a rather amusing way — at least my workmates around me laughed. I related to them, with a bit of tongue-in-cheek, how my 2nd level manager queried me regarding the state of the office's planned computer replacement programme by 'accosting' me as we were existing the washroom. The understaffing has become so extreme that all of us seize these kinds of opportunities to talk about work.

On the 8th I was again accosted immediately after urinal bladder relief by another manager who queried me regarding the state of the training I had agreed to do for his staff, but which I've been too busy doing my day-to-day must do work to even have begun it. And I again joked with my podmates about being accosted in the bathroom.

At home, later that night I was pleasantly surprised to see that the British director Trevor Nunn's excellent adaptation of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night with Helena Bonham-Carter and Ben Kingsley was on. I've seen this many times since its release in 1996, but this was the first time on our HD TV. I was amused when I came to Act 1 Scene 3:
SIR TOBY BELCH: Accost, Sir Andrew, accost.

SIR ANDREW: What's that?

SIR TOBY BELCH: My niece's chambermaid.

SIR ANDREW: Good Mistress Accost, I desire better acquaintance.

MARIA: My name is Mary, sir.

SIR ANDREW: Good Mistress Mary Accost,—
After laughing at this absurdly stupid fushigi, I stopped watching Twelfth Night and did some writing. A bit later I flipped back to the TV and for some reason turned on the new series Awake. I didn't really know anything about it, but I found it to be an interesting take on the problem of awareness of being awake or being asleep. But, to the point of this fushigi, there was spoken the line "He's the one who accosted me."

2012.03.07-8 (#2)
With just a tiny touch of curiosity I decided to watch on TV the recent movie The Sorcerer's Apprentice with Nicholas Cage. I was not excited about this movie, despite my having been at one time a huge fan of magic and sorcery films and books. I am not a huge fan of Cage and I find that many of today's so-called blockbusters have become filled to excess with special effects, when what interests me most is the characters and the writing.

And the movie lived up to my expectations. Cage was adequate, not great, effects were plentiful, although they could have been worse (see, for example, Jim Carey's A Christmas Carol). However, it became much more interesting the following day, after BV told me about one of her most vivid and memorable dreams from her youth.

In the dream, it is dark. There are puddles, like glass, within which she sees Chinese people.

Well, what makes this interesting is that 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' contained two scenes in which glass mirrors were used as a trap for the sorcerers, who would be caught behind the plane of the glass. They couldn't get out, but people could see them in the mirror. When passing into the mirror, the glass behaved like water.

On Friday March 9th @ 6:42am I sent an e.mail to my friend Marty in Nelson telling him to break a leg with their premiere performance of Khaos, the brand spanking new opera he helped produce. It subsequently went on to rave reviews and calls for a tour to the big city. (Have a listen to a pre-production taste of Persephone's NIghtmare.)

Later that Friday my podmates and I at some point began talking about CBCR2's Vinyl Cafe. As I often do whenever talking about this show, I describe the one in which the protagonist, Dave, accidentally inhaled a fly. (You can pre-hear the beginning of the story in iTunes The Fly.)

On Saturday the 10h, I managed to catch the beginning of a repeated story. It opens with Dave resolving to overcome his antipathy and past hospital horrors to visit his friend Marty. In telling the story Stuart McLean refers to Dave's past experiences, including the time he inhaled the fly. (The reference to the 'fly' story is @ the 29:03 minute of Hospital Dave.)

As has become our routine BH and I were down in the atrium for our coffee break and to talk about dreams. On that Monday the discussion began with the movie The Tree of Life. (Amusingly enough, this is the movie BY wants me to watch to see if I rate it 'WTF' like a few of our fellow USB watchers have. I've only seen a snippet of it, and it was a bit peculiar. But what I saw was broken up so I've not made an official judgment yet.) BH commented that this movie looked like a dream, or had dream elements to it.

When she said that I was upset with myself, because before going to bed Sunday I had just finished reading about Jung's pre-WWI dream, and I immediately thought of bringing the book in to read the section to BH, but talked myself out of it because my rational mind thought it was being too pushy.
In the third dream frightful cold had again descended from out of the cosmos. This dream, however, had an unexpected end. There stood a leaf-bearing tree, but without fruit (my tree of life, I thought), whose leaves had been transformed by the effects of the front into sweet grapes full of healing juices. I plucked the grapes and gave them to a large, waiting crowd (Roderick Main Jung on Synchronicity 133-4; or Memories, Dreams, Reflections 176.)
A bit later BH shared her dream that includes, among other interesting images, that of a vampire and a candle with a blue flame. There were also a large number of votive-like candle holders without candles. So we explored some of the different meanings and images the world 'blue' evokes. I asked BH if she'd ever listened to Regina Spektor's song Blue Lips. 'No.'

[Interlude 2012.03.18
While I was writing that my stomach began telling me in no uncertain terms that it wanted food. I argued with it since it was now very late (00:07hrs). As is usual I had music in my ears, but very unusually I was listening to iTunes DJ, within which I have hundreds of songs. I was pleasantly surprised when one of the many Kate and Anna McGarrigle songs started playing in my ears. Then the lyrics blew me away:
I eat dinner at the kitchen table
With my daughter who is thirteen
We eat leftovers and mashed potatoes
No more candlelight
No more romance
No more smalltalk
When the hunger's gone
And the title of the song is "I Eat Dinner", which I didn't have tonight but which I am now going to amend. (And did.)

2012.08.03: Interlude Addendum:
Tonight, while sitting with my wife on the balcony, something strange happened. So strange that I can only attribute it to there being a full moon tonight. What was strange is that my wife actually asked me about what I wrote on my blog and, for the first time, with real follow-up. She's vaguely asked about it while distracted by other things once or twice before. And she has never once asked to see it nor on how to find it or for me to bookmark it on her Macbook Pro.

I pointed her to a spot, and she flipped through for a while while I read Debt: The First 5000 Years by David Graeber. She found her way to this blog, and then commented about the part where I described being hungry when Kate and Anna's song started playing.

Then she said 'I'm hungry. It's time to eat.' And I was hungry too because we'd not had supper yet and it was after 7pm. We chuckled that in a way even that was kind of fushigi. But I did not consider it to be worth blogging.

Okay, so why have I blogged it? Because tonight, after coming in around 9:45 to watch some Olympics, I wound up multitasking by going onto Goodreads. I poked around a little and saw a comment from a 'Jessica.' And so I went to see if the WSS Jessica whose writing I find brilliant was still active. I haven't seen anything from her in a while, and so visited her Goodreads' profile. From there I went to her tumblr blog.

Wow! Visit her blog! The writing is diverse and amazing. But it became totally bizarre when I read the following:

I meet you and three others in a room of someone else’s home. Perhaps there is a fifth friend, but she exists in the shadows. The three others take my food and congratulate me: “We didn’t know you were so competent!” You sit at my left while they eat at my right, and I feel starved. The three talk among themselves as I watch and as you fade alongside the fifth friend. I try to engage in conversation with one of the three, but she declares that I am pissing her off. I had only asked if she was excited to go to Cornell this fall.
Okay, now we start entering the truly bizarre. Before writing this I had turned on the TV to watch some Olympics, but it was only swimming, so flipped to Adventures in Babysitting an old guilty pleasure. I didn't catch it from the beginning, but just in time to catch the kids escape to sing the blues. Shortly after that, there is a scene in which the 'starving' girlfriend cannot buy a hot dog because she has only cheques and the vendor takes only cash. (Broadcast on YTV, with this scene showing up at about 10:12pm.)

The final oddity has to due with debt and money. As mentioned, I'm reading Debt: The First 5000 Years, early in the book. Graeber discusses the moral behaviour around debt, with an emphasis on the hell that is created when debt is abused by either the debtor or creditor. One of the themes that runs through Adventures in Babysitting is debt and financial obligation. The movie looks at when it is abused, such as with the hot dog vendor, the car thieves, and the Thor-like tire repair person; and when it is dealt reasonably, by the stranger at the party and the young car thief and, eventually, by the reformed Thor-like repair man.

Meaningful? Absolutely not. And yet, didn't you kind of shake your head at the improbability displayed here?

And yes, I did find that funny, too.
End of Interlude]

That night I decided to visit the Houseboat blog, something I haven't done since early February. There I found that the blog had recently featured the poems of Robert Strickland. The last of his poems is called 'Blue'. From 'Blue':

II. Blue
Blue is a cold way
to see beauty, dying
a difficult inspiration.

I once saw a blue guitar,
godawful ugly
and cheap.

I once loved blue-grey eyes
but she loved
a theologian.
So, after reading that I decided to ignore my fear of being pushy, and I sent BH an e.mail with Strickland's poem and the words to the song Blue Lips.

As soon as I finished with that I returned to reading Jung on Synchronicity and the Paranormal. And the in the second next paragraph I read:

Here, what struck me first was the mild blue light that filled the room; yet I did not wonder at this at all (134).
Jung mentions this blue colour several more times in the balance of the description.

Around 9pm I read a poem by Joan Colby on the Houseboat blog. The poem, Two Deaths beautifully describes an owl's and a colt's unsuccessful struggles to stay alive. Around 10pm my wife announces that the highly touted series Luck, which starred Dustin Hoffman, is being ended after the death of a third horse during filming. [Interlude: I wrote the above around ~2:30pm 2012.03.18, and was shortly thereafter interrupted by the need to make supper and prepare tuna salad for lunches. Shortly after supper I watched my guilty pleasure Lost Girl. The show, about supernatural creatures from myth and legend, opened with a warning from the animal kingdom that the world going to a hell in a hand basket. Their warning was compared to how animals behave before earthquakes, but which in this supernatural case were far more extreme and bizarre, including ten horse killing themselves by running into an electrified fence. End of interlude.]

2012.03.15-6 #1
On the 15th I watched the pilot of the new series Touch. Wasn't keen on watching another Kiefer show, but the concept of the world of numbers and their quality is, of course, aligned with my interest in Jung and synchronicity. So I thought I'd give it a try. It was, overall, pretty good. Better than I expected, anyway. One of the story lines follows a lost smart phone whose owner is desperate to have it back because it has the only pictures of his dead daughter. He's travelling around the world as part of his job, and in the end the images from his phone are broadcast via the web onto giant billboards in Japan, where he happens to be.

The next day, Friday, at work around 8:30am or so, I heard Tom Power, the host of CBC Radio2 Morning, tell the story of a professional photographer who lost his camera and how eventually through the tiny world symptom of the universe, was eventually directed to a blog wherein he saw his photographs. Normally I am not at my desk at 8:30am, but am instead at coffee. However, on that day my coffee date had taken the day off to get passport (travel, photograph) renewal paperwork done.

2012.03.15-6 #2
I had lunch with a coworker. We wound up talking about having come from co-dependency and dysfunctional families. At some point I discussed my father having gone back to school in his forties and 'to get a degree even more stupid than my BGS. Like father like son, and in ways that are crazy.' I didn't add, in this conversation, the many small behavioural and psychological ways I've noticed this truth, and that my awareness of the similarities seems to be expanding in a highly disconcerting way.

On the way home in the car, late as usual, I was listening again to CBC Radio2. This time Tom Allen's show Shift. I was very amused when he introduced the folk singer / songwriter Greg Brown, whom I am not aware of having knowingly heard before. In his introduction Tom talks about how men become like their fathers. The song was Billy from the Hills. (And here's the link to the CBC playlist for Friday's Shift.)

2012.05.05 ADDENDUM

Popcorn post
Al # 828.

Blue light / Betty dream fushigi /

Al: (She jerks upward suddenly, choking and gasping for air. She feels a hand on her bare back.)
Fredericks: Are you alright? Al? You had a bad dream, it’s okay now.
Al: (She looks at him. He looks distorted in the blue light coming from the window in the bedroom.) That-was…that…?
Fredericks: (He gives ….

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

2012.03.12 — Movement to King's Pawn Gambit

Today I decided to celebrate a small accomplishment: the web-publication of one of my poems.

I've had this kind of success before, but kept that publication to myself. I'm not sure why. Perhaps to keep myself from giving the appearance of bragging. Really!? I get a poem published on the web, and I'm afraid of looking like a braggart?! WTF? That might be the most prideful idiocy I've read in a long time. And it came from my own finger tips! Egad.

OKay, I'll look for some other kind of rationalization, one less brutal. Perhaps I've kept these tiny achievements as small as possible, to keep my Self as small as possible. There may be some truth to this. But again, how small can that thought be? Not any smaller. And it is actually more pathetic than the last one.

Enough flagellation.

The poem arose from the creative picture of Rose Mary Boehm's blog Houseboat.

Movement [later changed to King's Pawn Gambit]

The day is overcast.
The men stand still
in a square of squares.
What movement there is
needs to be weighed
and found sound.
There is implicit a generosity
of time, an unconscious
resting into a distracted mindful now.
What movements there are
are prompted by quiet pieces,
without ultimate meanings.
Life is alive in the stillness.
Please visit the Houseboat blog to see not only my poem, King's Pawn Gambit, in context with the photograph and to see the other great poems, beautiful photographs and art.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

2012.02.02 — Half Face and More fushigis*

Over the last few weeks I've collected some of the tiniest of fushigis.
None big enough to warrant blogging, except as a small collection.

However, today I experienced an incredible one that needs immediate blogging. So, here it is. I'll blog the petite ones after that.

It began with RT, who is a serious reader. RT only recently healed a many year library rift and almost immediately thereafter managed to return a book late! This morning she asked me if she'd told me about her interesting library experience. I said 'No' with a little hesitation, unsure what she meant, exactly, by 'experience.' RT had told me about the late book and the kindness of the library worker to waive the charge a couple of weeks ago, I think. So...

'Have you ever seen anyone with half their face missing?' RT asked.

'No, not exactly.' RT proceeded describe a man, rather tall and who from behind was elegant in appearance. When he turned she saw that half his face was missing and that his eyes were unnaturally positioned. It turned out that he is one of the library's librarians.

'He was eloquent when he spoke,' RT commented, 'which I found remarkable.' The conversation carried on for several more minutes about what kind of struggles he must have experienced — and continues to face.

RT added that she's seen two other people similarly deformed, which I think in itself is unusual.

Okay, this conversation is certainly an unusual event. I do not remember ever having been asked if I'd seen anyone with half a face before. However, after I got home from work I picked up Jung on Synchronicity and the Paranormal edited by Roderick Main, New York: Princeton University Press, 1998, ISBN 0691058377
to continue reading where I'd left off the previous night: page 61, with the section titled: From: Foreword to Moser: "Spuk: Irrglaube oder Wahrglaube?" (CW 18). [Ghosts: False Belief or True?] Where it got interesting was in the anecdote Jung supplied to the book. It was his own ghostly encounter in a farm house in England in 1920. After relating many peculiar experiences, he wrote:

The fifth weekend was so unbearable that I asked my host to give me another room. This is what had happened: it was a beautiful moonlight night, with no wind; in the room there were rustlings, creakings, and hangings; from outside, blows rained on the walls. I had the feeling there was something near me, and opened my eyes. There, beside me on the pillow, I saw the head of an old woman, and the right eye, wide open, glared at me. The left half of the face was missing below the eye. The sight of it was so sudden and unexpected that I leapt out of bed with one bound, lit the candle, and spent the rest of the night in an armchair. The next day I moved into the adjoining room, where I slept splendidly and was no longer disturbed during this or the following weekend (p66; par774 of CW18).
Now for the small ones.

2012.02.04: My friend BY sent me an e.mail while convalescing. He suggested that I watch the movie The Tree of Life with Brad Pitt. He wants my opinion because the movie group with which we are affiliated gave it a WTF? rating, and BY wanted my reaction. [I haven't watched it yet.] Later in February I find myself analyzing a couple of dreams, one by BH and the other by AF which have small 'tree of life symbols' in them.

2012.02.17: At work I bumped into my friend TK, which I rarely do: our desks are diametrically opposed on a very big floor. And so we chatted and caught up a little bit. TK's mom is losing her memory to a now significant degree, and this is causing worry and sometimes rather humorous events and inconvenient ones. Recently, for example, she lost her purse and wallet with all the headache that entails. It has not been returned — yet.

The next day I dropped off a blouse with our local tailor to be re-sown for my wife. I've done this kind of thing 8 or 10 times in the last 2 years or so, and so as a kind of regular I have a discount punch card — which is still not even close to being punched out. When putting it back in my wallet, I commented about how many cards we stuff into our wallets these days. The tailor said 'Oh yes, tell me about it. Someone stole my purse and wallet! Replacing all those cards is trouble!"

2012.02.20: I was listening to The Signal Podcast #40 that I'd downloaded onto iTunes from CBC Radio2's site. (A few months ago I downloaded all 74 of them from their web-page, but now the web page is being 'improved', so I'm not sure how well it is currently working.) I was amused when the host, Laurie Brown commented jokingly about 'numinous'. An unusual word, that, which is why she had fun with it.
Aidan Baker … really does explore that sonic world of drones and textures and some of this is composed and some of this is improvised, but it is trying to create a liminal or numinous state. Numinous: having a strong religious or spiritual quality indicating or suggesting the presence of a divinity. And liminal: relating to the point or threshold beyond which the sensation becomes too faint to be experienced. Oh yeah, I've been there, for sure!
[For the curious, here's the link to Aidan Baker's Liminoid.]

The following morning I read on page 18 of Roderick Main's introduction to Jung on Synchronicity and the Paranormal:
… [Jung] also suggests a possible psychological dynamic to explain how an activated archetype might result in synchronicities: the presence of the active archetype is accompanied by numinous effects, and this numinosity or affectivity results in a lowering of the mental level, a relaxing of the focus of consciousness (p18).

2012.02.21: At work, NR came over to my desk and asked me to listen to a song on his iPod. Thus I found myself listening to, for the first time despite all the media hoopla, a Taylor Swift song — I don't remember the name of it, and didn't find it in Youtube just now. [But while looking for it watched the start of her song Mean, which at the 26 second mark shows a high school or college football team bullying a member. I note this because on the TV behind me tonight is the feel good football movie The Longshots about a female quarterback on a high school football team.] A couple of hours later, when I got home, my wife was watching Ellen on TV. Ellen's guest was Taylor Swift. Addendum: I found the song NR had me listen to on Swift's web site: Safe and Sound.

2012.02.25: Yesterday it would appear that I contracted food poisoning from a local sushi place. That is not definitive because the symptoms were relatively slow to develop, but I had an upset stomach since early morning and it got increasingly worse. And I was very tired when I got back from shopping chores and went for a nap, which I NEVER do. When I woke I had the feeling I would be spending an extended time face-to-face with the toilet. And I was correct. Starting around 6:30 or so I visited the bathroom with serious diarrhoea. Then several sets of dry heaves. Then more diarrhoea and three giant heaves into the sink. The diarrhoea continued until very late the following day, but no more puking. On Monday, the 27th, I asked BH how the Saturday concert was — Vancouver's Plastic Acid. It began badly and BH had to keep SH from leaving in the first five minutes. But then it got better and was okay. Except that about ten minutes in BH began to smell vomit. A woman had crossed to exit a few minutes before that, and then came back. BH is convinced that she threw up in the somewhere behind her in the theatre.

2012.02.26: Oscar night. My wife is a big fan of the glitz and glitter. Me not so much, but it was on. I was mostly busy doing other stuff, writing, and watching something else. When the ads came on I flipped around the stations as I always do and I noticed that the amusing Goldie Hawn movie Overboard is on. I've seen it a half dozen times. I didn't think anything more about it until at some point during the Oscars, when I was downstairs, I happened to catch one of the personal vignettes this Oscars had. In particular Reese Witherspoon commenting on her absolute favourite movie, which is Overboard.

2012.02.27: While driving home from work I was listening to CBC Radio 2's show Shift with Tom Allan. Tom likes to bring in tweet items, and his approach and items are often interesting. This one caught my ear, because it pointed us to a recent study that argues that the human requirement for eight hours of sleep is a myth. Okay, nothing earth shaking about that, except that for the first time in more than a year I'd woken up this morning after a full and uninterrupted eight hour sleep.

2012.02.28: Now this one I find particularly funny. It began a few days earlier when I gave to my clerk the details of a billing letter I had hobbled together and needed to be sent out. RT came to me to confirm that I hadn't made a typo with the contractor's name. It was a reasonable query, because the company had put the word 'werk' in their name in place of the word 'work'. I assured RT that I'd copied the name from the e.mail I'd received from the contractor. Well, this morning I received a call from the contractor's receptionist. She was confused by the letter. It turns out that I had made a typo — with the address of the construction site — a '3' instead of a '4.' Furthermore, the name of the owner was also incorrect, and that I had copied from the e.mail I'd received from the contractor. This is the first letter in ten years of being at that job that I've got a call about a typo — not that they haven't happened of course, but not so significantly as to compromise the integrity to the point of it being unacceptable and require a phone call. Imagine: a proper business letter goes out that contained two typos, one I'd created, one someone else had, each highly compromising, and that same letter provoked a query to confirm that there wasn't a typo on the weird spelling of a word that was indeed correctly spelled.

2012.02.29: In the Goodreads WSS group a story submitted prompted a big Jungian discussion about 'slaying the dragon.' I gave a rather extended discussion about the dragon being an ambivalent symbol. It began with a question from M:
[egajd], it seems to me that in depth psychology, slaying a monster is metaphorical for what a man must accomplish in order to break the crippling psychological and emotional hold his mother has over him. Do you remember having read anything about that?
The prompt began with the presence of a dragon in the story by Lydia. As I was writing my rather long response about the ambivalence of slaying dragons, which includes a side comment about the TV show The Dragon's Den, I heard from my wife's TV, who was watching American Idol, Randy Jackson praising a singer for slaying her dragon.