Tuesday, June 19, 2012

2012.06.19 — A Blast of Fushigis* — Time to Clear the Sticky Note Pile (2)

Egad! And it's hats off to you, today. The *fushigis have accelerated again, and instead of clearing the back log today's blog begins by jotting down the latest head scratchers.

[2012.06.18 ~4:30pm] The seed event was my enjoying a, for me very rare, guy's afternoon. For my second time I met up after work with my friend and local butcher, W. In the last few years we've gotten to know each other over his display counter at a local shop. Without exaggeration, W's small corner of the shop is as clean as any I've seen. And the quality of the meats and cheeses he brings in are as good as I've ever got.

Anyway, after years of over the counter chit chat we decided it was time to get away from phones and work. We met up for coffee and a genial chat about anything and everything. W has a history in the city that is broad, diverse, and fascinating! And we had so much fun that Monday that we agreed to do this again. We did, and it was again great fun. He knows just about everyone!

Day B4 Inauguration with Reporters 
In one of his stories he expressed his regret that the resurgence of the popularity in men's hats didn't quite make it. He commented that it was the inauguration of JFK that began the demise of men's hats, because he was the first president sworn into office hatless. W then elaborated an amusing story about his father's beautiful sheared white beaver skin hat. (W has it, and wears it on special occasions, his head being the exact same size as his father's.)

[2012.06.19 ~5:30am] NR and I talked books, yesterday, and he made me feel a we bit guilty that I hadn't started reading yet a book he recommended a few months ago, and which I almost immediately bought. It has been sitting in my to-read pile, untouched but not forgotten, as I have been reading too much Chomsky, and now Moby Dick and other stuff.

So, this morning, I took a few minutes to at least break open Three Day Road. I laughed when I read the following, on page 4:

I stand back in the shadow of the shelter and watch as the people in front of me tense, then move closer to the track as it approaches, not further away as I would have expected. The women in the crowd look nothing like me, wear long dresses made of too much material and big hats. The hold bowed cloth shields above their heads. The men are dressed in black and brown and grey suits, and the shoes upon their feet are shiny, so shiny that I wonder what kind of animal the leather has come from. All the men wear hats, too. All these people wearing hats in summer. I do not understand much of the wemistikoshiw.
Typical fushigi, initially not quite worth blogging, but almost.

[2012.06.19 2:45pm] So why blog it? Well, because today, a Tuesday, ML had me stop in for take away. This was a first for a Tuesday. We have take away fairly often, but normally Fridays, to end the week, or sometimes Thursdays. So, as I usually do while waiting for the food to be cooked and packaged, I work on the crossword from The Province newspaper.
If they are slow, and I am fast, I have been known to finish the Word Jumble game and most of the crossword. Today's word jumble completed the fushigi because the second clue was B E Y R D, which, in English, translates as 'Derby' a kind of men's hat.

Derby Definition (on-line somewhere):

der·by (dûrb; British därb) n. pl. der·bies
1. Sports: Any of various annual horse races, especially for three-year-olds.
2. Sports: A formal race usually having an open field of contestants: a motorcycle derby.
3. A stiff felt hat with a round crown and a narrow, curved brim. [AKA a Bowler.]
[Addendum 2012.06.20]
This morning began with sunshine blasting into our office! The first time in what seems like weeks. And, as I do when that happens, I leave the blinds up and don my Tommy Hilfiger baseball cap (some weird promotional gift years ago) to enable me to see the screen. [Interestingly enough, when I went blogging to find an image of my particular cap, I was unable to find it, despite finding dozens of Hilfiger baseball caps.]

@ 7:15 MR came by to ask me about the shared car pool in our group. With the recent office shuffle, MR is new to our group although we've worked together as instructors and as floor support for the department for almost ten years. MR made a typically cheeky kind of comment about the hat — it being quite likely she's never seen me wear it before, given that sunny mornings are the only time I do at the office, that they don't happen too often since moving to the new office last year, and that MR's office is half way across the building from my desk.

@ 10:00, after I'd removed it because the sun had moved off the window, NR commented about the dent in my head left behind by the hat. Then he pointed out that MR's comment may constitute a fushigi.

And, as you can tell, I did add it as a fushigi, but only in part because he suggested it. The last push to make it bloggable was when, @ 11:00 am, BC commented on my not wearing the hat. His comment initiated a discussion about the problem shorn heads have with displaying hat marks in their heads.

In the year+ that we've worked in this office, and have been wearing a hat on sunny days, this is the first day I have had any extended jokes or comments. Until now almost complete silence, as its function is plainly evident by how the sun shines in the window onto my desk.

NOTE: the last image is from a photograph by Christian Apuena Cravo. If you like it, please visit his on-line photo gallery display at Artnet.com.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

2012.06.10 — A Blast of Fushigis* — Time to Clear the Sticky Note Pile (1)

I have been away from my blog over the last couple of months. But I have been writing in the WSSCC on Goodreads a lot, and work and life in general has been keeping me busy. I will be posting some of my other writing at some time, but for now, it is time to begin to clear up my BIG pile of *fushigi scrawled sticky notes of many colours festooning my desk and challenging my wife's sense of household propriety.

I will warn you right up front that I wouldn't label any of them as being 'WOW! That was amazing' But what may not be extant in the individual can perhaps be made up with in their power as a collective with a steady flow and peculiarity. Although Jung would be castigating me if he'd heard me elevate the collective to be on par the individual!

As this Blog post will takesome time to complete, I will post it in instalments over several days. I will post my addenda as separate blogs with this date, but with the name incrementing. And just to make it a little more confusing, instead of picking up where I left off my fushigis at 2012.03.17 — A Half March of Little Fushigis, I will work backwards to them.

2012.06.06/09 So, today's strange little fushigi began a few days ago when I copied into iTunes a CD I'd borrowed from the library. It was a random pick during a get a couple of quick CDs while the take away pizza across the street is being cooked. So, amongst two others, I grabbed a weird one by someone I'd never heard of before. The CD was Mysterious Mountain and And God Created Great Whales by Alan Hovhaness. I had wanted to like this more than I did, although I did enjoy it enough to not delete it from iTunes and will continue to re-listen to it to see if it grows on me.

So, the fushigi — and I'll ignore the kind of obvious one, which is that I am well into and thoroughly enjoying Melville's masterpiece Moby Dick right now, which I didn't even think of until now, righting out this blog!

This morning, after doing my shopping, I got into the car, turned the ignition and heard not only the engine start but a woman, cellist Amanda Forsyth as I subsequently learned, describe being terrified as a girl of five by a piece of music called Voice of the Whale by I had never heard this music before and may have heard the name George Crumb with having listened to CBCR2 for almost thirty years, but I do not have any conscious awareness of him, his music or his reputation. (Okay, now wasn't that music truly … unusual? It certainly is engaging, but I find myself hard pressed to see it as what I understand to be music.)

At 11:10pm I finished and posted a character/author dialogue in a thread of the Weekly Short Stories Contest and Company in Goodreads @ Poems Topic: Car Music. It ends:
Well, what about your students? I've heard that, in a rather pathetic sounding sports parody, professors get their share of groupies, too.
Yes, I've heard that too. [Quiet.]
Well what?
Are you serious?! I am going to bed, you educated moron! [Leaves]
[Pulls out his pipe. Before initiating the tobacco ritual, he wanders over to recover the remote control and turns on the TV. He doesn't look at the screen after confirming that the volume was low enough to be heard but without being disruptive. He very leisurely cleans and stuffs the bowl, assures himself of a proper draw, and with a great sigh, fires it up.] That Guy guy. Just when you think he might have his sh*t together, he shows himself to be no master, but simply eking out adequacy. [Draws in the smoke, sits in the big leather overstuffed library chair. He turns to the bookmarked tome beside him and begins reading it with the Simpsons playing softly in front of him.]

Nothing special there, of course, although I have emphasized the germane bits. The fushigi completes when I re-commence Moby Dick @11:30pm at Chapter 27 'Knights and Squires', where I read:
What, perhaps, with other things, made Stubb such an easy-going, unfearing man, so cheerily trudging off with the burden of life in a world fail of grave peddlers, all bowed to the ground with their packs; what helped to bring about that almost impious good-humor of his; that thing must have been his pipe. For, like his nose, his short, black little pipe was one of the regular features of his face. You would almost as soon have expected him to turn out of his bunk without his nose as without his pipe. He kept a whole row of pipes there ready loaded, stuck in a rack, within easy reach of his hand; and, whenever he turned in, he smoked them all out in succession, lighting one from the other to the end of the chapter; then loading them again to be in readiness anew. For, when Stubb dressed, instead of first putting his legs into his trowsers, he put his pipe into his mouth.

I say this continual smoking must have been one cause, at least of his peculiar disposition; for every one knows that this early air, whether ashore or afloat, is terribly infected with the nameless miseries of the numberless mortals who have died exhaling it; and as in time of the cholera, some people go about with a camphorated handkerchief to their mouths; so, likewise, against all mortal tribulations, Stubb’s tobacco smoke might have operated as a sort of disinfecting agent.
This is a very boring fushigi, but peculiar in its own right. It begins with my catching a part of the televised conversation of reality TV protagonist Bethenny Frankel that my wife watches. Normally I tune out and listen to music with my headphones while writing. Anyway, what I caught was BF talking/crying with her therapist about how alone and lonely she feels. (After the fact, I noted the time as being around 7:45pm Pacific.) The fushigi completes around 9pm when I became curious about the translation of the Tao Te Ching I bought the previous weekend. Well, I quickly read through it — the translation is good — and laughed when I read Chapter 42. Stephen Mitchell's translation of it goes:
The Tao gives birth to One.
One gives birth to Two.
Two gives birth to Three.
Three gives birth to all things.

All things have their backs to the female
and stand facing the male.
When male and female combine,
all things achieve harmony.

Ordinary men hate solitude.
But the Master makes use of it,
embracing his aloneness, realizing
he is one with the whole universe.
Of course what makes this peculiar one very funny, is that this BF is a celebrity extraordinaire, who became a near billionaire 'overnight', etc., but the Tao sees her as ordinary.

[2012.06.11: Solitude Addenda.
I finished writing this pile of blog last night, with the final post around 11:00pm. This morning as I was driving into work, at around 6:25am or so, I was bemused to hear that solitude had cropped up again. This time from Neil Young's song Lotta Love. (Note that my commute was less than 15 minutes, and so I heard about 3 songs, max.) From 'Lotta Love':

So if you are out there waitin'
I hope you show up soon,
'Cause my heart needs relation'
Not solitude.

Now, I don't really think of this as strong enough to fushigi blog, although it did catch my ear. (I'm not a big fan of Neil Young, nor of that song, actually.)

This became a bit more interesting when I bumped into TK in the kitchenette area at work at around 2pm. We had a long discussion about various things, but mostly about her mother who is developing dementia. Last week was a bad week for her, TK said. She commented that her mother is feeling lonely, and needs to be with someone. Specifically, her brother walked in to find her sitting beside the phone, feeling too tired and sad to answer it.

But it truly gets fascinating when, about 20 minutes later, when I left work (late!) I turn on the car at 2:23pm or so. When I turned on the car I heard Holly Cole singing a song with solitude lyrics in it.

When I looked it up, she was covering Hank Williams song I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry. Here's the lyrics:
Hear that lonesome whippoorwill,
He sounds too blue to fly.
The midnight train is whining low,
I'm so lonesome I could cry.

I've never seen a night so long
When time goes crawling by.
The moon just went behind a cloud
To hide its face and cry.

Did you ever see a robin
weep when leaves begin to die
Like me he's lost the will to live,
I'm so lonesome I could cry.

The silence of a falling star
Lights up a purple sky.
And as I wonder where you are
I'm so lonesome I could cry.
And then, tonight, I joined a new thread in the Dims Hall group in Goodreads. One of the threaders wrote:
… I want a real person to love me. Sometimes I just want a real person to say they love me and I don't even care if they really do or not. It's horrible, but sometimes I'm just so lonely and being alone is a dreadful feeling….
And that's it for the lonely/solitude stuff! At least for now.]

Today I listened to Naqoyqatsi by Philip Glass for the first time with care. It has been in my stack of CDs for a long time, and I have listened to it before, but I had a creative/intuitive urge that this music would work with the poem Cotton for Comfort that I'd recently written and read into Garageband at the request of a poet with the nom-de-plume of Koeeoaddi. (Ko is a great poet! You can listen to my reading her poem 'Migraine' at Guy's Soundcloud Space.)

Oops back to the fushigi. Naqoyqatsi's soloist is the famous American cellist Yo-Yo Mah. Oddly enough, I have never been a big fan, although I have tried various of his CDs. Oddly enough, I am not a huge cello fan to begin with — except for Zoë Keating's Avant Cello. Anyway, shortly after listening to Noyaqatsi on my iPad, I turn to my attention to networking poetry on Goodreads. I visit the private group with which I am a member, and visit a poem put up by Joan Colby's looking for critiques.

Joan gets some, including a very technical one from RTO on the musicality of the cello. RTO is familiar with the instrument and is balking at Joan's depiction of 'chords being plucked' as being extremely rare and not really appropriate for the cello. So, from Joan' lovely poem 'In the Pines, In the Pines':

Peeling a tangerine, the golden juice
A blessing or how a cello sounds
Its deepest chords plucking at the strings

Of dailyness. …
From this line evolved the cello discussion, which culminated in my reading reference to Yo-Yo Mah literally within fifteen minutes of listening to him, and actually enjoying the performance and the production!.

This pile-up of sticky-noted fushigis is to be continued as addenda blogs.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

2012.06.03 — Cotton for Comfort — a Nearly Successful Poem

It has been too long since I have posted here. I have been busy writing. Elsewhere. Primarily for the Weekly Short Story Contest and Company — WSSCC in Goodreads. But it is long past time to post something. I have been amassing a long string of tiny fushigis (March to June), but today's blog won't be them. Instead this blog will be entirely self-promoting.

I have been having the smallest of creative writing successes over in Goodreads and the WSSCC. Today's post began with the story/poetry prompt Cadaver. I wrote 'Cotton for Comfort' and subsequently had it critiqued and with the help of some excellent writers revised it into a form good enough to make it as a finalist on the Poetry Group's monthly competition (out of 300+ entries). And even though it finished 5th out of the 6 finalists, this constitutes a form of publication, and so here is:

Cotton for Comfort
The cadaver wanted to signal the world
That the remains of the she
she once was was not all that she was!
But her tongue remained still, thoughts stillborn
under the weight of entomological entropy.

The cadaver remembered
all her apprehensions, understandings
and now even their misses. All of them.
Misses. Missus. Masses. Mass. Mas. Maws. Mauls. Mulls.
Mulligans! Now that is a great word!
Missed. Mist. Miss. Misses.
Where's the mulligan?

The cadaver wondered
at the state of her body.
It would seem, by the sights
she couldn't see, and the sounds
she couldn't hear, that she had been abandoned
somewhere wild, wild where the wild things are.
Where the wild things were returning
her once complex interleaving of molecules and cells,
with a macabre dance,
to the more natural chord of thrumming humming humus.
Humus! Hum Us. Humour Us. Humorous!

She wondered that she could hear
that chthonic humming
now that she couldn't hear words
that chimed charmingly
with an importance she could no longer fashion.
She began to soundlessly laugh
at being alive in vain.

Vain. Vanity. Inanity. Insanity.
She'd left that morning wearing her badly worn,
tired and holey underwear,
underwear her mother told her
not to be seen dead in,
but in which she felt natural.
Nature all. All Nature. All Natural.
Cotton for comfort. Comport. Come apart.
Be apart. Be a part of. Be a part of wordlessness.
One of the people who commented on this poem asked to hear it. With Koeeaddi's prompt, I proceeded to record it with music. If you are curious about how it sounds as read brilliantly by Rose Mary Boehm click Cotton For Comfort. To hear me read it not as well as Rose Mary, click on Cotton for Comfort.

And I encourage you to visit the WSSCC if you like creative writing of all short stories, not just short stories. Recently a script writing thread/competition has been started.