Tag Archives: 2011

I could use to nap

I could use to nap. I could also use to think less, do more, be less self-monitoring. But, then, I know that this, too, is a summer phenomenon. It can come and go, it’s OK, you’re OK. (S*it, now I’m between rules on the page; this line is narrow.)

Also — books: many of my books, I regard not merely as hunks of paper, of words on paper, but I tend to think of the associations of the books with their authors, their times. Brautigan and the hippie era, mystique, is part of my interest in his writing. Yet, that’s doomed to fail, of course, trying to return to an era — well, to my limited, narrow, arbitrary view of that era. Watching Little Big Man‘s scene at the drugstore, I thought how it maybe wasn’t all that different to be alive, to be conscious, to be a person and have a life, then in 1870s (approximately) as now.

Eh, don’t bother looking for answers. You’re basically just tired today. Bed about 11, but then M came in later. I had oatmeal for dinner last night — that doesn’t matter. Fu*k, it’s been another half-hour of writing. I’m gonna nap.

I got water and thought of yesterday’s thought: our well water runs cold after a couple minutes. But with city water from water tower, will it be warm in the summer? Or not? But we’ll also have cold water at the fridge supply. What I don’t yet know about town living.

[From journal of Sun., 5 June 2011, Journal 141, page 185-6]

Is the ugliness of stuff here a function of a lack of money, or is it merely a practical aesthetic?

I’m now, again, hearing a dog pain-whine coming from S___’s — not sure what’s going on there.

And back to housing — I thought yesterday at 5, while burning papers, … that [my grandparents] never really had that much money. They’ve always just scraped by. They had a farm, yes, but they have often/mostly (always?) done things on the cheap — like Papa’s machine shed built from scraps, mismatching metal, etc. — or this upstairs on the house, built from plywood removed from a restaurant demolition. Not that these ways are wrong, but then Papa also doesn’t maintain things well — partly because he’s old, partly because he’s got no money, and partly because it’s probably just his nature. … I’ve heard [my grandma] say, at times, and not so often lately, that she wants the farm to look nice. I recall her making a point years ago about mowing up to the buildings, not having grassy edges everywhere. But, I mean, is the ugliness of stuff here a function of a lack of money, or is it merely a practical aesthetic (a non-aesthetic?) that doesn’t care what stuff looks like so long as it holds together? (the engineer mindset, though even some engineers are move into neatness)

[From journal of Sat., 28 May 2011, J141, pages 67-68]

Housing is consumable

Housing is consumable. I know it’ll take more money than just the mortgage and taxes. There will be necessary maintenance and also style upgrades (for ourselves or for selling it, making it appeal to buyers) and I don’t have that kind of money now — we have very little savings, so we get the home warranty and other insurance. In Out of Africa, I watched yesterday, Meryl Streep as Isak Dinesen says “insurance is for pessimists” after her coffee barn burned down. Yeah, I can agree with that. I do believe in the value of insurance — protect against the downside. I had a moment Thursday, walking around M’s office building, where I thought, what if we let house insurance lapse and then house got destroyed? What a huge hole that’d be. There’d be no money to rebuild. How hard that’s gotta be for people who lose their house, through foreclosure or whatever — yikes. That’s grim.

I watched Out of Africa yesterday early afternoon. It’s a nicely slow-paced movie. Reminded me of how she didn’t have any TV or radio living on that Kenyan farm, and how I could go a few days without TV or other media myself — my annual summer attempt at a media fast. Eh, not a bad idea, really — and yesterday, though, just to get myself to let down, was intentionally — eh — I was choosing to watch TV, Out of Africa and then Wayne’s World 2 (lot of jokes there are also used in later Mike Myers stuff: the eye joke, not being able to look away, like the mole joke in Austin Powers 3, and blatant movie allusions — Garth after sex [acts] like Tony Curtis in Some Like it Hot, and The Graduate ending — not really funny, just merely a reference) and so, that’s OK. You know — I kinda wanted to let go of the need to go. So I sorta told myself to indulge. Does that make sense?

Well, so, where was I? Oh, yes — consumable housing: no, we don’t have much cash now. We wouldn’t be able to upgrade much now, so I’m counting on the fact that we’ll make more money in the future — that it’ll get easier to pay the mortgage because I’ll keep getting raises (for another 8 years, at least, even if there’s no raise in the base pay, which hopefully there will be, once economy recovers).

[From journal of Sat., 28 May 2011, J141, page 64-66]

That’s a rhetorical technique he’s using

M said Friday, no, I can’t recall the day — maybe Thursday — but M had said [a lawyer colleague of hers ] acts put-out, put-upon, in court. That’s a rhetorical technique he’s using, I said. She told me the next day (Thursday, I think — I said it Wednesday at her office before we went for Mexican food) — M said it was a good idea of mine — that it helped her to think of what he was doing as a rhetorical technique. Oh, we were driving up River Road when M said that. I was picturing it in my head as Route 72 near vet clinic, west-bound.

[From journal of Sat., 28 May 2011, Journal 141, page 58-9]

Sammy this morning rolled on a dead possum

Sammy this morning rolled on a dead possum in the former pasture. I was taking pics of red-wing black bird. And what else? I’m hungry. And Papa’s van’s outside, running, waiting to go to church. It got quiet — did Papa shut if off?

M said her mom, as they were sitting on street bench Friday night, made the comment, after someone drove by with a loud muffler, “what else did you get for Xmas?” I said Mrs. B would be hilarious, in that cranky old person way, if she wasn’t so much into the positive thinking.

Back at 8:58, after taking video of some bird songs and making cereal (well, washing a bowl for cereal). So — what else is there to talk about today? The world’s still here — but the fear of the idea of end of world is sticking with me, a little — a sign I am a little obsessive. M’s taking laundry downstairs to wash.

[From journal of Sun., 22 May 2011, Journal 141, page 5-6]

Movies are specific things — conversations are so much more open than that

What else was I saying? Oh, that movies are specific things — unique, one-off entities — conversations are so much more open than that.

Telling M about finding the Gracie papers yesterday, I said if she had [word unclear], we wouldn’t have gotten the “little fool” Sam (I’m conscious of being a bit mean to him — then I recalled that he can’t read). And I don’t mean to be harsh on the boy. It’s just he’s more of a goof than Gracie was. I love the goof — Gracie was more devious.

See, and I’m off ideas and talking dog personalities — and that’s fine, fun. Conversations can veer from fun to serious and whatever. And blerg — this is the beauty of the journals — they can be anything, you know!

And that’s what I’m getting at. I’m not making some story that I’m claiming has some profound (mythic) power (of redemption, some idea of growth, or something). {And smart people like reading new ideas (like Eagleman’s book, like Borges) — for smart people, ideas are fun (to a point —  as [my uncle G.] said once when he was with me, we have plenty of ideas )} And I’m not claiming my ideas have theoretical power/value (ideas vs. conversations), and I’m not making some pre-planned work of art (movie or novel or whatever — anything intended, planned).

It’s just, it’s — I sorta don’t even want to call it a public text — rather than call attention to it publicly, I’d almost rather somebody find it accidentally. Say, hide my tests in a bookstore or library shelf or at a doctor’s office — something to disrupt expectations, well, but not overtly — subtly. I mean, if I give a reading, I’m calling attention to my text. Actually, I’m defining it as a public text, I’m claiming it’s a complete work — and there are theories and expectations people have for complete works that they may not have for found documents — texts whose contexts are unclear. (And I don’t mean this in a cleverness way — I wouldn’t try to be super-sneaky like Banksy, that whole cheesily simple mystery of his real identity.)

But I’m saying that such a practice, such a way of presenting my writing — such a format would allow me to not put an ending boundary on it. No sense of “this is done.” It might be more like a conversation, and I’d have a sense of not knowing if and where and when and by whom it was ever found and read. And yet, the fact that I’ve already had this idea means it’s sorta done already for me (I mean, I could do it, but it’s not a final answer. There is no final answer in art!) — onto new ideas!

I mean, I don’t really have any particular thing to say to anybody — no arguments to try to convince others, no story to tell — will people take this in the way I’d like them to? (Maybe that’s the challenge of all art for others?)

[From journal of Weds., 1 June 2011, Journal 141, page 126-8  ]

Praise hampered me

I guess it started with [my brother] N__ saying my blog seemed smart but hard to read—like I was explaining the idea before stating it, or something like that, he said. I agreed. … N__ said—his basic point throughout discussion, as I understood it, was that I am smart (he used that word several times, even said he was complimenting me ) but I don’t live up to my potential. Basically, that I should be using my brains to make money. He said he admires Achievers. And M said at first that I’m an overachiever—and we debated what that means.

But my point was—and let’s blurt it out—hearing I’m smart doesn’t help me. One, it feels ostracizing (and when I said to N__ that he’s as smart as I am, he seemed genuinely to have not considered that before ), and I said when I see students who are smart, are great in philosophy discussions but they don’t do their work, I think of N__.

I’d sorta been aware of that thought before but maybe last night was first time I realized the extent of it—that I don’t know why those kids, why N__, both, don’t just suck it up and do the B.S. work because that opens more doors. I understood N__ last night and me as mirror opposites—similar, but reversed—that I sought praise, adult approval, that I never questioned the bullsh!t ’til much later in my life. It’s one of these whole-life (or large-part-of-life) narratives that in high school and college and beyond, I sought approval. Yet, praise hampered me (at Daily Illini, at R.T.H.S.) because it started to make me want to get more—a praise-aholic, a praise addict, not in a full-on addiction, but in the sense that I can fall under its spell. Even this fall, once I started blog and got a few readers, I started thinking about (stressing over) doing writing to please others.

N__ saw the b.s. of school but he couldn’t—well, he didn’t force himself to do the work. Yes, high school is b.s., I said, but it always will be—I’m in loco parentis, can’t let kids potty without asking me, as I at first thought I could do. And kids are hormonal, inexperienced sorts. And kids wouldn’t even appreciate adult skill and talent. They wouldn’t appreciate having a Nobel Prize-winning teacher. Every year you gotta prove yourself over to the new youngsters—which is, in a way, refreshing—they don’t care for titles much or accomplishment.

[From journal of Thurs., 24 Nov. 2011, Journal 149, pages 23-25]

Condensation on patio/sliding doors

Condensation on patio/sliding doors seems to be thinning. It was hazy enough this morning that I could barely see the power towers to the south. Thankfully it didn’t get to 95° yesterday. Car said 93° at one point, but it may have been heated by the pavement over which it traveled. More likely it was upper 80s, with winds from the south. My button-down shirt was soaked with sweat from about 9:30 on, and when I hung it out to dry there just before we left, it had had dried a good degree (not completely ) by the time we left. We’ll give mom the A.C. I feel bad that I said we’d ask her $100 for it, after all the work she did for us this week, and the money I still owe her from college. Sh!t, I’m ashamed. Oh, well—apologize.

[From journal of Sat., 2 July 2011, Journal 142, page 200-1]

So, dog to vet—dog just shivered

So, dog to vet—dog just shivered, just vibrated, while on the exam table. He had a little blood drawn. … M said [vet] sprayed some of the injections on Sam’s fur. I asked, did it get into Sam? M thought yes—so, we hope—$230 there, onto my credit card, which is down to about 900 available credit, I figure. I put on about $1,000 in the last month—live cheaper, Matt—’course, that includes Blick bill for journals and $170 last week at Books on First. But I just remembered I spent $100-plus at B & Nobel—CDs, M’s Astaire-Rodgers DVD—and I’m not sure I recorded that. M could work some more, make some more money. I know, she doesn’t always feel good enough to work, and I’m probably just blaming M because I’m worried about the larger situation—oh, well, you’ll be OK. Money will come. Money’s tight now, yes, but you don’t need to worry about it.

[From journal of 29 Dec. 2011, Journal 151, page 45-7]

‘Now’ is still an abstraction

Yes, it’s nice to have Internet, but it’s also nice to have physical stores. There’s so much change. It’s a little troubling how much change, and how fast. AOL was a huge company in 1999—it bought Time Warner—and now AOL is small and getting smaller. Its biz model of dial-ups is obsolete (in an era of high-speed Internet).

Ah, well. You just can’t think about that too much—it’s an abstract worry, and easily released (though M said abstract worries are also easily held onto). I mean, sh!t, I don’t know. I don’t know where things are headed. I’m glad I’m not trying to make money on my own.

See, just shift focus—this is what you were talking about Friday (see these pages for Fri.). I mean, sh!t, focus back to your life—not even on your “life,” which is also an abstraction—just today—no, just, you know, “now”—not even “now”— “now”‘s still an abstraction. Just write some sh!t down. Go to work because you don’t have anything better to do …

Eh, this is getting practically nostalgic for Fri.—so, yeah—what’s new? It was cold yesterday—16–18° about 4 p.m.—and then about 4–7° when we let the dogs out (us—us—us-us—in answer to that Baha (?) Boys song-question of a few years back—my dumb joke to B.A. of a week ago). You know, these pages—once I’ve written them, today’s pages will be as done as those pages of years ago.

[From journal of Sun. 23 Jan. 2011, Journal 137, page 73]