‘Is anything really surreal anymore?’: April and May notes

Dandelion closed, robin’s egg open. 4 May.

φ  Nature — outdoors — as a sink for emotion, like an electrical ground is, the way the whole Earth is for extra electricity. [5 Apr. 2022]

φ  I like snippets of text (such as opening a book at what I first see, or overheard words, or words partially visible after a fold — as in Trout Fishing in America, page 41). I’d thought of the pocket pages idea — notes as a basic self-sufficient textual unit. But a “snippet” is more fundamental, less formal, less needing to justify itself. I was also thinking of a local-farmer’s diary from early 1890s, how it’s informal. How it’s just words about, well, nonfiction whatever. This loose-unit of text interests me as an incompletist. I wrote this morning in home journal that I like incomplete texts, informal texts, cut-off texts, understandable-mistake texts (semi-intentional weirdnesses, eccentricies). I don’t appreiciate only smooth, conventional texts. [5 Apr.]

φ  I don’t need to define myself as a writer of snippets, unfinished, unpolished texts, but sometimes thinking this frees me from feeling I should be more conventional. [5 April] (and 1st hour 4/6, I saw on my Exquisite Corpse display in the hallway outside my classroom: “Meanings are just a dictionary.”)

Jerry Seinfeld’s bounced check, from “The Little Jerry” episode, s8 ep11.

φ  “Exactly the same” is a common phrase — but what would “exactly different” mean? [12 Apr.]

φ  My ideas, impressions, words — these are inside (my mind) and not outside (in physical and social world/realm) until I write or say them. [13 April]

Closeup on two tulips, 8 May.

φ “Is anything really surreal anymore?” M, my wife, said, citing COVID, her mom’s aneurysm and death, the Russian war in Ukraine. M said this after ABC News anchor Cecilia Vega said there was a “surreal” scene in China of people being dragged out of their homes to create a COVID quarantine area, I guess. [15 April 2022]

φ  “What are you, high?” That line is sometimes used in comedies to mock a confused person, but it’s not funny when it’s true or could be true — then it’s just sobering. Being in the situation, one has to respect the others there and not condemn them from a distance, an outsider perspective. [20 Apr.]

φ  If hearing a certain song “takes you back,” then not hearing anything but the sounds around you “keeps you now”? [20 April]

Birch tree catkins, 7 May.

φ  What to publish to paper? What are the texts (of mine own) that I’d like to see again, refer to, as I look back at certain Richard Brautigan texts at times? Via radio I play while driving, I hear a small number of pop songs repetitively — and I get sick of that. I’d like to like to get a far wider set of songs — and once I’ve heard a song, put it away for months or more! [21,23 April]

φ  M said, “You’re constantly saying things that are like: ‘O.K.,'” as in, that would be her response to my comments during tonight’s “Wheel of Fortune.” I was trying to think up silent examples for each letter the contestants called out: “D” as in “Djibouti,” “T” as in “tsar,” etc. [23 April]

φ  My making a narrative yesterday in email to school deans after I sent student out of class. As I was still leading the class, living life, I had to stop to write brief narrative of what had happened. [26-27 April]

Daffodil/jonquil/narcissus (I’m not sure which), 24 April.

φ  It’s nice for there to be beauty in the world — a private experience of beauty. [5 May 2022]

φ  I’ve gotten better at just not sticking to a topic, but following whims. Say, maybe I describe something and a strange (unexpected, atypical) image comes to mind and I simply follow it rather than dismissing it — and I don’t fret it. I’m pretty sure this is how other really-creative people write their weird, striking images — or one authentic way (w/o trying too hard to be self-consciously weird). [6 May 2022]

Goldfinches camouflaged by dandelions. 8 May.

φ  It’s weirdly fascinating when I complete artworks and the world doesn’t react. I mean, I have an experience of having made something cool — others wouldn’t care much (even if I published) — I’m bemused by the disconnect. [5,6 May 2022]

φ  My lawn keeps trying to make vetch happen. [6 May]

Collage of grass and dandelion parts. 4 May.

φ  There’s a metaphor there: cardinals fighting with their own images in my neighbor’s windows. [11 May]

φ  The culture I might try to describe is only in my head! My body’s in this car, on this road. [11 May]

φ  Any individual’s experience (as a text) should matter more than any general-history text (and there can be wrong info in each). [16 May]

Snow on hyacinths, 18 April 2022.

φ  My journals as my mental realm — as if my readers are not seeing the world through my eyes but a world I’ve (consciously and/or unconsciously) shaped. (The social realm is a negotiable realm?) My texts’ readers get only my text — not my eyesight (a world to compare my words to). (I shape my world unconsciously because of my moods, background beliefs, etc.) I don’t need to dramatize my experiences, make them seem more significant or more surreal — but if a weird (uncommon) association comes to mind, why not write it? (I wrote some of this section above on the way to school today. If I had a clear idea, I’d probably already have used fewer words.) [17 May]

Ominous morning clouds, 13 May 2022.

φ  My windshield wipers are off. I had them on minutes ago and don’t recall turning them off. There can’t be history (I can’t record it) when even I don’t recall my own actions. [18 May]

φ  “He ‘Green Acre’-d me,” M said of my taking her from city to live in rural area. [18 May]

φ  Every generalization statement I make about something in the world beyond my mind says more about me and my mind than it does about the world (including this morning’s journals about society and politics). Also: I got annoyed at a driver in front of me using a turn signal only at the last second. I judged that driver by my expectations (yes, which included the law, but still). Then I thought that having these expectations of what people should do is risking self-righteousness, an old-people’s affliction I want to avoid. So don’t judge, just learn — don’t fret who’s following rules. Learn how others drive and protect yourself, be a better driver. [18 May]

Folded violet, with open blooms behind. 8 May.

φ  Even books sell an image — book covers — as much as advertisements and TV shows and movies also sell an image. But if I’m not selling my books, then I need no cover, no image. I could put any of my texts in a plain cover! [22 May]

φ  If people are basically not rational, but emotional, how should I treat them? One idea: Politely, of course. [23 May]

φ  What would a Zen-like approach to history look like? I’m thinking of Zen as freedom from story (nonattachment to views) and history as story. [23 May]

φ  Ancient lawn values? For whatever reasons, my neighbors value tidy lawns. Their aesthetic reasons go back in tradition, probably, even to royal gardens, maybe. [24,26 May 2022]

Some prairie plant at my stepdad’s prairie plot. 23 May.

3 responses to “‘Is anything really surreal anymore?’: April and May notes

  1. I have to admit, driving through a broad stretch of this country, I found the lawns around you — even beyond your immediate neighborhood — to be striking in their tidiness. And not just lawns — the keeping of the exterior of the home overall (garages, drives, et al).

  2. It says “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” As if I’ve overindulged in commenting! Do I have to be moderate in my comments? Here, another round of comments! Periods down… …

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.