It’s perhaps only the changes from then to now that seem interesting

5:51 A.M. (smartphonetime).

Whatever year it is — 1999, 2018, or, presumably, 1871 — things around you will seem boring when compared to, say, things in books — fic or nonfic. I mean, I have an interest now in building a picture of Rochelle circa 1871but there probably wasn’t actually much that happened in that year, and even less that happened on any particular day (I mean, maybe things seem more hectic now because we have more media telling us more problems from more places — well, and the madness of the president — in this day and age, huh?). So, it’s perhaps only the changes from then to now that seem interesting — fast-forwarding through all the changes from 1871 to 2018 — that would seem like a lot has happened. Surely it would seem that way if you fast-forward through time like that.

[From journal of Thurs., 27 Sept. 2018, Journal 284, pages 161-2]

Once the lust boils off

I watched a clip of J. Kimmel, where he shows a bit of minor squabbling between Judic. Comm. Chair Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein, and Kimmel’s comment is, how long have those 2 been married? And that prompted the thought that people in long-term marriages might squabble — [I asked [Uncle] Glenn where he wanted to go and he said something about having learned to be a good husband and agree to whatever is suggested to him.] — as if that initial glee of first love, of new love, always curdles into minor annoyance — and maybe it does. I mean, as a general trend. And maybe that’s OK — that hopefully there’s some good companionship left once the lust boils off.

[From journal of Mon., 1 October 2018, Journal 284, pages 237-238]

This place has become more normal for me

Show went very well. I’m becoming more accustomed to speaking on the radio and not sounding dumb or nervous.

[Roommate] was an asshole today — talked on the phone at 10 this morning, while I was trying to sleep. I was mad, but I didn’t say anything — why start an argument now? And I didn’t feel like spending all the energy arguing takes.  

Read some more of Life 101 — what a great book. It’s like the authors took their ideas about life and put them in a book. 

Called mom around 2. Told her that I’ve been thinking about who I am and who I want to be.  

I feel pretty happy lately. I’ve been troubled, of course, but overall I’ve felt contented. My sense of humor seems to be back, and I’ve had an easy time talking to people lately. This place has become more normal for me.

Also, I’ve been thinking about who I am and what interests me, who I want to associate with, etc. I think I’m a fairly intellectual, mature person. Not that I want to script myself into being just intellectual (and therefore stuffy), but I do like to read, like to learn, and like to discuss issues. I also like spending time with other similarly intellectual people, rather than uninformed hillbillies like [roommate], for example.  

I also don’t drink. I thought about it the other day — the pros and cons of drinking. I came up with 8 cons, 2 weak pros. I know I don’t want to drink, so why even try it? I know it’s detrimental to my health, studies, extra currics, mind, etc., so why do it?

That’s why I don’t, and I don’t associate with people who do. There is still a little part of me that keeps telling me that alcohol isn’t that bad, go ahead and try it, but my intellect and reason always intervenes.  Not to say that I’ll never drink, but I don’t feel a real need to drink any time soon.

Both of these reasons say to me that I’m different from the crowd, I’m an individual. Not that we all aren’t, but my intellect and beliefs seem much different from other peoples’.

I never really thought about it before, but I guess I really am different.

I also told mom about how the Todd guy from tennis thought I was much older than I am. That’s funny — other people see you so differently than you see your self.

Worked on this journal. Read some SS318. Went over to house after dinner to watch Superbowl. I told Chad I didn’t think I was going to call Kasey for a while, and he thought that was a good idea. [Chad’s girlfriend] Trish thinks Kasey is just leading me on. Oh, well. I’ll just play it cool and see what happens.

[Journal of Sun., 31 January 1993]

Overwhelmed by looking at the 3 years ahead

Made oatmeal.  No instructor (again) in tennis.  Had to play w/ John Who Tries Too Hard To Win.  SS318 test moved till next Wed.  Didn’t finish logic homework.  Went downtown and got broom, knee and elbow pads, and cheap helmet [for intramural broomball].  Got all for less than I thought, about $50 total.  

I tried talking to [roommate] — went well.  I’m looking for a new room.  We may both move, or not. I don’t know.  

Called home. Did calc and caught up on this [journal].  I should do this more often, so I don’t forget important stuff.

Mom and I talked a lot about why I’m unhappy here when I was home. Most of her suggestions had to do with having a positive mental attitude and looking for the best in people, situations, etc. I’ve been depressed last two days, but I’m going to try harder when things get back to normal.  Speaking of normal, … I’m still considering transferring. Right now, I just feel overwhelmed by looking at the 3 years ahead of me. I don’t know.  I guess I’ll just stick around for this and next year, then see.

[Journal of Monday, 4 January 1993]

A liminal space: December 2021 notes

¶ A story is a pre-chewed idea. Do your own chewing! (1 Dec. 2021)

Sunset with traffic control. (3 Dec.)

¶ 4:40 p.m., Paynes Point: Seeing sunset colors change reminds me of paint colors changing when I mix them. They got purpley, the sky and my paints. (3 Dec.)

¶ There won’t be answers (not likely) in my pocket pages [these note-taking writings]. Why would there be? Answers to my big questions in life come from me at the time, in the moment(s). So how to describe what’s there in the pocket pages: just ideas, descriptions, that came while I lived. It’s particulars. (6 Dec.)

Some foodstuffs are pluralizeable and some are not. (8 Dec. 2021)

¶ The fir branch in my car versus the story about having the branch. The story is more interesting than the stick? Any artifact is glorified by the story about it? (8 Dec.)

¶ A bias in consciousness — a consciousness seeks simplicity and forgets particulars and the broad view? And it’s easy for a consciousness, for a mind, to be confident in its choices though its info be limited. (This is a good thing to remind myself so I stay humble!) (8 Dec.)

Out of context, my handwriting on classroom’s whiteboard. (21 Dec.)

¶ My aesthetic is both minimalist and maximalist at different times? Pictures of snow, simple shapes — but also pics of weeds, dense images — in my drawings, and in my writings, too? (8 Dec.)

¶ That my flesh is animate today, that itself is special, even if it’s easy to take for granted. (well, yeah, I take my existence for granted — else I wouldn’t be thinking!) (10 Dec. 2021)

Justice Cat says “nope” sometimes when he sleeps. (21 Dec.)

¶ A liminal space between experience and conventional expressions of that experience (conventional forms and ideas). I’m interested in this liminal place. I’m interested in writing things that explore this place, that aren’t securely in the convention. (10 Dec.)

¶ A student wrote in his journal that it’s neat to see ideas in his head show up on paper. I commented that I still feel that writing process is a little bit magical, too. (10 Dec.)

A surprise alien head in a local boutique. (23 Dec.)

¶ A thought today: that novelists of the 20th Century were famous because being famous helped them sell their books. Fame was instrumental in that way — maybe fame was not the purpose nor byproduct of publishing, but a sales tool! (13 Dec.)

¶ Meta-writing isn’t about any topic — it’s about the act of writing, about being alive, being conscious (sorta — it’s not about anything because I shift topics so often). Meta-writing is what comes to my mind, not what I think would interest other minds. (17 Dec.)

Sam dog curled up on our dec. (We would have let him in whenever he wanted it!) 30 Dec.

¶ The landscape is calm, there are decorations for Xmas. But I have work to do. I remind myself that my consciousness is separate from my environment. (20 Dec.)

¶ I realized that I was imagining the driver of the truck tailgating me — when of course I don’t know at all who he is!! (21 Dec.)

¶ There’s a lottery to give away money — but not one that gives power. (Say, like a lottery to allow a random person to be a governor, or a CEO.) Rich people are still docile? (27 Dec.)

A text that can be read

Languid 

     Lemonade 

Symphony 

     Surrounding

Rocks.

(Why cut this down at all? Leave it ALL in. It’s a document.)

     Tumbling

Rock — the rocks I sit on, stand on — I’m always on rocks, you know. Ain’t much else to this planet to stand on but for rocks. 

I am the whispers, puppy.

     Whispers — if we whisper to not be heard, do we always want to be heard and overheard and heard too much otherwise?

PeachSunshine — neutral 

neural neural nyooral — new rails. Neural — sounds as gray as a brain. 

Peach shine — peach juice. Peachy keen. Kean, Michael Kean, actor, director, triple threat. 

Do any of us realize how unimportant we are? If I die, they fill my job with some other conscious person who will move the puppet strings — wait, or is the new teacher the actual puppet? No, that’s not a great metaphor, partly because all metaphors suck. Or, they are inadequate. Which is OK — ALL language is inadequate. I can make a great metaphor, I can fully describe a situation — which, it turns out, doesn’t solve the situation at all. Telling a freshman that they’re immature doesn’t get them to change. Or it doesn’t fully, anyway. That’s because language fails with an F. It hails with an F.

Every Qiss begins with Q. 

Every Hug begins with “hhh”

And so much brain-crap in my brain. … SOOO much brain-crap in my brain. I think it’s good to throw out (or ignore) what brainstuff I don’t need. I’ve forgotten so much of what was taught to me in college and that’s mostly OK, you know? I’m not actually sure what college is for, other than, well, to let us mature. Don’t tell us to mature — send us to college and let us mature. 

Professors are babysitters. They must be supplied an audience. I know this is cynical but also isn’t it kinda silly to be a professor? I mean, why don’t they get to just, you know, profess, without having to grade? But we can’t grade on anything except what we state that we’re going to grade on — what would a true pop quiz look like?

Pop Quiz. 

Popping a Quiz. Propping up a quiz because it’s as helpless as an 83-year-old man who lives with me and is nearly helpless. 

Helpless man needs help. Helped man still needs help. Why can’t he get enough help to keep him satisfied? 

cunning. Decorous standards. Tongue-nails. What is your tongue nailed to the floor?

The cool ones don’t need their own beauty. They give it away to …

Have your own symbology — make your own signs, sigh-ns, Signs, sighns, everywhere the sines, funkin’ up the scenery. I’d like to let my mind relax and read. Ah, the scholars write for the studnets to read. Why DON’T I use my own typographical system? Why have the writer’s name only in the beginning, or at the end — let’s put it in the middle to remind people they’re still reading something I (bolded I) wrote. It turns out that people who write books in order to sell them are, mostly, selling things people don’t actually need. Imagine the publishing industry as, oh, as necessary as a flower — that is, kinda necessary, but also, you know, not. 

Ask him, you goon!

I see purple

summer old you to hold morning’s sail.

Teacher adventure: 

dinosaur falls. Dinner’s something there.

She poles the repulsive mad garden. 

So now I’ve added things. Now let’s take away things. Let’s … you now, aim to mess readers up. Screw annotations, man. Let them figure things out. This is the age of Google, after all — all allusions are no longer clever. 

Allusions for Machines. 

(this is a chapter heading and I’m gonna leave the period there like this is an 1800s newspaper). 

(I’m gonna run a commentary — oh, multiple voices — mere cleverness! Don’t be merely clever!)

This rose to my consciousness: Notes from October & November

§ Maybe it’s hard to talk about the present moment and about existence because, well, language was mostly needed for talking about distant (in time and/or space) things, not things we (the speakers of language) could see around us or things all speakers and listeners had (for example, existence). [6 October 2021]

Backlit, green-tipped maple leaf. 13 Nov.

§ Art: How will this mind, my mind, transform the data, the image — the fall colors of foliage along train tracks, say? [6 Oct.]

§ Questioning my own life-story. [6 Oct.]

Ogle County rainbow ends on grain elevator. 8 Oct.

§ I’ve seen only 45 rainbows in my life? I think I see about one a year — how few that is. [8 Oct.]

§ I am living a writer’s life! I’m piling up the texts, scrambling to work. Kinda funny that I have an image of “a writer’s life” — it’s not necessary to have such an image. But it made me happy to think that I’m OK, on track, even. [13 Oct.]

Sammy Dog, getting chest scratches. 2 Nov.

§ “Like I’m the assh*le?” I said after someone pulled out in front of me and I got really close to this car. Well, yeah, I was being an as*hole by tailgating. [13 Oct.]

§ Blogging last night, from 6 Feb. 1997, I was reminded that there have always been times (since I’ve been an adult) that I’ve felt I’m trudging through my workdays. Would I, once retired, feel that way? [15 Oct.]

§ A literature of particulars — not general statements about beauty or loyalty, no talk about paradise (as I saw on a poem book’s spine). [19 Oct.]

§ My writings show process of having new ideas — still, it’s easy to not notice the moment a new idea comes to mind (or to text). [19 Oct.]

There’s a fine line between evidence and B.S. 9 Nov.

§ I want to show process. I want to show not story or theory, but living, in my writings (probably not the first time I’ve said this). Daily drama, daily deadlines matter — they’re part of the texture of being alive. To be alive is to try to understand, to wrestle with ideas, as I do in my journal. The struggles and weirdnesses of daily living — these are glorious! Let’s revel in them! It’s not like living is dull outside of big events (the ones that usually make the stuff of fiction & nonfiction). Real people are weirder than characters! [20 Oct.]

§ So I talked for 10-plus minutes in Creative Writing 1 last hour in an attempt to describe why I think journal-writings are interesting. I’m not sure I did much more than stun the students with a lot of words — ah, well. Maybe it’s too far from their experience, or maybe it’ll make sense to them later. I start to feel ashamed that I struggled to communicate — but that’s OK, too. I shared my thinking. [20 Oct.]

A leaf and its rubbings. 31 Oct.

§ On my commute to school, I heard a weird sound. Got out, got a stick out from under the car. But this rose to my consciousness. I slowed for STOP sign on Church Road at Rte. 64. I don’t know when the sound started, only when I noticed it, when it rose to my consciousness. That’s comforting, to realize I’m not really in charge. It’s reassuring to think: duh, of course I don’t know all that’s going on, but I only know what comes to my awareness! I can’t be in control of everything, especially if I’m not aware, if I’m only becoming aware of what my brain selects for my consciousness to notice! [25 Oct.]

§ I’ve thought of reading or being told a story (being an audience member) as a kind of leisure, entertainment. But maybe storytellers, performers, also need to focus, too, and that focus is a respite from reality the same way get getting absorbed in a story is also a respite from reality (mental respite, escapist). [25, 31 Oct.]

§ 4th hour: It was nice to work 3rd hour (prep) while I heard rattly wind outside through open window. It was calming enough, sweet enough, to even make doing work OK. [29 Oct.]

A different kind of leaf-rubbing, in a city street. 13 Nov.

§ I wish more teachers would talk about beauty, joy, in ideas. Yes, I know beauty’s in eye of beholder. But beauty — or trying to make beautiful things — motivates us , gives reason and and urge to learn the skills teachers tend to dwell on. [1 Nov. 2021]

§ I could adopt a bemused attitude about most of the things that I see (and used to feel bitter about). I think the point of being bemused at what others do, rather than being annoyed by it, is that when I’m bemused, I’m not as critical of others, not expecting them to act in a certain narrow way to meet my expectations. It’s better to let people do as they will (whether I think it’s folly or not) than take narrow, critical view of them. [2 Nov.]

§ One of my students said he feels walking into my class is like walking into a college lecture. He said this to a peer in my classroom. And, yeah, he doesn’t know what college classes are like, but he does know high school classes. Anyway, he’s a bright-enough kid to appreciate what I do, and it’s a great compliment, I think. I said something to him about how I want to challenge my students to think. (The funny thing about his comment is that I wasn’t trying to teach English 2 like a college class — I thought I was being simple!) [11 Nov.]

§ In the world, there are some people capable of caring for themselves, and some not-capable. And as long as I’m in the world and capable, I may need to help the incapable people. [12 Nov.]

§ Bobbing along on a sea of thoughts — living through my days that way. [12 Nov.]

My school’s Commons area, facing east toward main office, about 3:45 p.m., Friday, 5 Nov.

§ Thinking about how much I value my writings, I started to look at news sites, as I often do, and then I wondered why should I look at others’ articles (often about newsy things I don’t really care about) when I could look at my own cool posts! What media could be cooler than my media, especially because of the forms: daily journals and blogged random moments from those journals? It’s worth reading my blog, whereas if I made distinct articles or essays, these wouldn’t be as cool for me to read. But it makes sense — I like me! I like my own jokes! I interest and amuse me! Screw “social media”! Me-media! I can’t really be jealous — whose experience would I want rather than my own?! I’m not going to only ever look at me-made media. But it’s a good option to keep in mind when other media disappoint.  [17 Nov.]

§ Confronting the creative moment — a pretty good adventure, even in a school. [17 Nov.]

§ A satisfying unity of my writing, publishing, and my philosophy: Belief in moments as primary. [18 Nov.]

§ Value idea about how comics and so many other writers veer away from depth toward shallow relatability. (This reminds me of a note from 31 Oct.: I read a thing that said not all art needs to be frictionless, easy for audiences to understand.). [19 Nov.]

Gophers, I believe, were undermining my carrot crop. 11 Nov.

§ Realized that I don’t spend much time describing driving for as much as I do it. [22 Nov., a.m. commute to work]

§ Did a freewrite today (starting from a first line) and I just (simply) wrote stuff that amused me. I really didn’t fret trying to write a story — I just heard a dialogue between two speakers and it was jokey and that’s OK! Why struggle to met some external standard of storyness or poemosity?! Just write what interests or amuses you, do that only, and only that! (at that time of freewriting creation). (I liked writing this phrase — “do that only, and only that” — but it’s silly in this context. It’s better to have an open mind than stick to any idea!) [22 Nov.]

Road view, White Rock Road, just east of Stillman Valley, in Ogle County, Illinois. 11 Nov.

§ There’s value in just writing down and photographing everyday things (and not just for album covers!). [29 Nov. 2021]

Rereading some wisdom tonight

Rereading some wisdom tonight — Sermon on the Mount, and Conclusion to Walden.

“Judge not lest ye be judged” (or “… that you be not judged”). That’s almost all you need right there.

But it also reminds me, in thinking about humility.

Matt 7:7: “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, …” — reminds me that I do need to seek, that’s up to me, and to have the faith that by seeking (by going through the process), I will find.

And the humility — God providing for me — 6:25 through 34 — “do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself” — and Chapter 19 about not laying up treasures on Earth. See, at once that says to me don’t fret the job, just leave it.

Yet part of me says I don’t know — I am humble enough to not presume to know — what and how God is providing for me. Maybe this teaching job is where God wants me to be for now. Who am I to presume I know what’s best for myself, and that I should take such rash moves as quitting my job? Yet, Jesus does say to seek, and Thoreau talks about dreams undreamt in common hours.

M: Jesus is saying, don’t fret about the material world, and the spiritual world is always perfect.

Stories on the news — murders, crime, no longer seem to me to be stories at all. Maybe the public, the average hearer of news, does identify with the extreme tragedies — do they empathize with victims or recoil (to boo and hiss, perhaps?) at the attacker?

p. 347 Thoreau: “If you are restricted in your range by poverty, if you cannot buy books and newspapers, for instance, you are but confined to the most significant and vital experiences.”

and p. 344: “I fear chiefly lest my expression may not be extra-vagrant enough, may not wander far enough beyond the narrow limits of my daily experiences, so as to be adequate to the truth of which I have been convinced.”

[from journal of Tues., 10 May 2005, Journal 50, page 35–37]

Adults have hobbies

Adults have hobbies — fixing old cars, blogging, knitting, reading — things we do for fun, pleasure rather than profit, but is this the same as play? Or is imaginative play the realm of children — them trying on scenarios for when they’re adults, like puppies and kittens play-fighting with each other? Dog doesn’t play so much — though he does roll in grass, and he does play, gets frustrated if I don’t play with him, playing chase (though that was a quick session this morn. He went out and has stayed out.).

I read a Calvin & Hobbes recently where Cal’s dad said adults don’t play, they exercise, measure it, get serious, make it a chore. I don’t want a FitBit to count my steps for that very reason. I don’t need another number in my life to live up to.

And since nobody’s telling me how many assignments to give and to grade, well, then, I’m the only one who needs to be satisfied by how much I do. In other words, adjust your feelings — your shoulds and your guilt at not living up to your shoulds. You’re the measurer of your own teaching performance! (sure there are evaluations, but those are snapshots.)

[From journal of Sun., 23 April 2017, Journal 250, page 42-3]

I saw this morning the Harman-Ising cartoon “To Spring”

I saw this morning the Harman-Ising cartoon “To Spring” (1936, Wikipedia says). I saw it once before in recent months. The old dude underground singing “Time for spring, time for spring,  it’s time for spring, I say” and waking up … the people (humanoids? humunculi?) who mine and refine color underground to make color in spring.

I also saw an art style I like — flowers just written with a color outline [in a different cartoon] …

I’m looking at Wikipedia article for “To Spring,” released 4 June 1936, with Elmore Vincent credited as “Troll.”* Wiki also said this was “the first cartoon to be directed by the future cartoon giant William Hanna” — and Wiki does call the workers “gnomes” — but I feel bad for them having to do this hard labor.

*Or maybe this credit was from a non-Wiki source on my Google search. This is credited to E. Vincent by Imdb.com. Dude has a credit as Doc Appleby on Dukes of Hazzard (1982), and as Floyd in Little House sur la Prairie and as neighbor in Beloved Infidel (1959).

[From journal of Sat., 6 Nov. 2021, Journal 350, page 84-85]