Tag Archives: 2016

There’s a tendency to be profound, or to want to seem profound

There’s a tendency to be profound, or to want to seem profound, not all the time in my writings but in these ISS journal-writings, anyway. But there’s no need. I mean, no moment needs to be any more profound than any other. I’m tempted to say profundity is just a mood, an attitude, like any other mood/tone/attitude that a text writer could take — maybe acknowledging the writer

([student] R__ V___ just asked if he can get a 5-minute break “because we’ve been writing so much” [the in-school suspension punishment includes hand-copying rules from the student handbook] — [student] C___ S____’s been writing all hour, but R___ didn’t get here and start writing ’til 10-12 minutes ago.)

(Papa had his sleep test yesterday — Monday–Tuesday morning, he said. He said he didn’t go to sleep Monday night ’til —no, he woke up about 11 and stayed awake, thinking of all he’s gotta do, he said: get his driver’s license renewed, work on an old truck of Eric’s that Papa and Bruce will share, etc.)

[continued from the end of the first paragraph above] that profoundity (yes, profundity) is better when it seems something innate to the writer or the text, and not a choice.

[From school journal of “Weds., I think, 21 Sept. 2016, 2:03-04 p.m., In-School Suspension Room C105, ISS-labeled pencil,” Journal 238]

As M was looking at bank records

As M was looking at bank records, she found a debit charge for $100 on 23 June that she couldn’t interpret. I went to the Chronicle [these journals] (like the Anglo Saxon Chronicle — I read about it over the weekend — this annual listing of events — this is how we measure time, especially if your calendars are a little shaky — how they’d (scribes would, I guess) add big events — a king’s marriage, battles, etc. — to these Chronicle books).

And I read yesterday about Yiddish language — and English — and that Yiddish is a Germanic Language written with Hebrew letters — guess I wasn’t aware of that, exactly. There wasn’t a lot to read online over the weekend — Wikipedia diving’s always an option. I tried to nap again in 2 p.m. hour but after a few minutes, I felt I should get up and grade, so I did. Dog had some spells on the back deck. He came in and smelled good — both this doggy smell (a “good dog spell,” M quoted B___ as saying of Sam) and the fresh smell of the winter outdoors.

[From journal of Tues., 16 Feb. 2016, Journal 222, page 47-8]

I’m interested in finding an approach (no doubt there can be many) to publishing journals

And when I looked at my old journal this morn, I read about having spent a Sunday (I think) watching History of Broadway musicals — and that’s fine — not all that worth publishing, though, which has gotta be OK, too, because you have written many things in the journals that you wouldn’t want to publish. I’m interested in finding an approach (no doubt there can be many) to publishing journals, the way I feel I found a way by (a form in) which to publish pocket pages ideas and quotes. And so, though I didn’t feel good last night, I considered reading old journal entries to see if there’s a way. I mean, I have faith that I will find a way. I didn’t know ahead of time that I could do most of what I’ve done. …

And so, yeah — I don’t know what it’d look like, quite. Ah, well. I mean, I’m probably too tired to figure it out today. Well, no, I’m not trying to “figure it out” — but rather, I’d like to just offer some broad strokes. I do like the idea I had a week ago or so that

[Warmed up soup for dinner. Had cheese and crackers but almost didn’t need it. It’s nice not being as hungry as when well. That’s a nice thing about being sick.]

… journals are a holistic thing, where I combine various aspects of my life, whereas pocket pages entries are more distinct one to the next — whereas journals are more knitted together — sometimes. But sometimes there are juxtaposes, too. Do I cut out samples? See, I’m not sure. Those journal entries may not be able to support themselves, like each pocket page entry can (sorta).

[From journal of Tues., 19 Jan. 2016, Journal 220, page 9-10]

OK, I was off my phone for a while there

OK, I was off my phone for a while there, but now, about 3:10 p.m., I’m looking at AVClub, maybe briefly.

Phone [is put] away a couple minutes later. There’s gray woodgrain on short perpendicular wall to my left. There is texture to some apparent saw cuts but I don’t know, can’t say for sure, that it’s not some veneer product, some pressed sawdust thing. But, you know, the beautiful thing is that I don’t need to! I mean, how much I used to criticize fakeness in my journals from my earlier days — aged 19, 20, maybe — (well, I’m remembering sometimes where I did that, at least) — but now I don’t seem to care so much. Those things don’t seem to matter as much to me now. Maybe I, like so many others, do just want to be fed, warm, comfortable, safe — all these simple things. And yet, (a woman, maybe? in mirrored yellowish sunglasses and hair off forehead and looking at a cell phone and sitting with her back to west wall, looked 2 or 3 distinct (head-turned times) as the rainbow-suspenders girl left — was sunglasses checking her out?) Perhaps there’s an impulse, perhaps I feel an impulse, to reconcile everything — sitting here in a Starbucks on a Monday afternoon with the white pine wavering in breeze but staying in place with the cars zooming by on the road — only way to reconcile these in ideas is to go abstract.

It’s banal of me to sit here and write — maybe not “banal,” exactly, but common, unimpressive — for me, at least, even if it’d be surprising for others, certain others, to do this … Anyway, doesn’t matter. It’s common for me to do this (“how sweet it is to be loved by you” — the tambourine-heavy, non-(pre-?) James Taylor version. It is a Carole King song, right?) And yet it’s also kinda incredible that I’m a living being (and all living beings have DNA, right? Except virus with its RNA? But that’s kinda incredible, too, right? Suggesting a common start to life?). Well, it’s 3:26 p.m. I’ve got M’s only transport. I should probably shop and get back, see what Easter candy is at Woodman’s. Could use some of those bird-egg malted-balls things. I’m getting banal in talking about what’s banal and what’s not! Ha. (“I’ll be there” song now. Mostly I haven’t noticed the songs.) Ah, well. There remain the issues — like how is it that I’m a living being sitting here writing shit down, thinking, using a symbol system common to my culture? I’m doing what all humans are capable of doing, and I’m using words and ideas that aren’t all that hard to find in the culture I grew up within (and was educated within). I’m not all that special just because I write. Maybe there is something relatively unique in my — in how I think, or in what drives me to think, or how I’d like l [colleagues] to talk to me (to address an earlier-this-writing-session concern), but that I also don’t care too much about that. Friends seem harder to make these days, but mostly I’m too busy and tired to worry about that anyway.

[From journal of Mon., 21 March 2016, Journal 224, page 36-8]

It was still raining when I walked Sam at 6

It was still raining when I walked Sam at 6 — no so much later. We walked this morning through B___ H___. There’s utility work — diggings near boxes — electrical? — and two newly blacktopped driveways.

And yeah — that seems dull to write about. Damn, I was up about 5:45 this morning and am starting to get sleepy. I’ve blogged only two things since Feb. — I had a thought this morning that I hadn’t had many good journal thoughts lately. But no, I have had some good (interesting) thoughts lately — about how constructivism isn’t about problem-solving but gaining knowledge — unlike how constructivism works in real life.

I’m done, nearly done, with 15 years of teaching. It seems like 5 more years (’til pension [is earned]) is still far off. I recall hearing ___ say, before she retired, that she wasn’t going to work for only a quarter of her salary (since pension would pay her 3/4) — but she’s dead now anyway. That’s rude, I don’t mean her death refutes her point — just that, well, I may want to keep working past my first year of retirement eligibility. Who knows how I’ll feel then? Maybe we’ll have a poorly managed school and I’ll want out. Or maybe I’ll die before retirement.

I’d thought this notebook could look classy (ick, that term), but here’s the high-viz pink [ink] — well, it is hard to write in here, ya know.

[From journal of Sunday, 1 May 2016, Journal 226, page 44-5]

I’ve taken it into my own work, my own written world, world of my writings

OK, back at 9:02 after … reading NYTimes.com review (by Jennifer Senior(?)) of new Megan Kelly book. Well, I’m back. I didn’t feel great last night—overtired, a little anxious—so I went to sleep at 8. No SNL—though Dave Chapelle hosted and I read review this morn and M showed me last night as we were going to bed about 2 a clip of Kate McKinnon as Hillary playing some of Len Cohen’s “Hallelujah”—poignant.

And I noticed in my Nov. 2010 journal yesterday, in which I spent just a short time reading, some comments about some National Geographic show about people who claim to be Jesus. And I’ve long thought that my references to, descriptions of pop culture, especially TV shows, were kinda merely for the record. But last night I had a thought that maybe my writing about these things transmutes them—it’s no long just a piece of culture out there in the world. I’ve taken it into my own work, my own written world, world of my writings.

[From journal of Sun., 13 Nov. 2016, Journal 239, page 189]

Write in the summer about calm things

My overall thought was: continue the advance on many fronts (try many things), and also just sit down and start typing in a variety of materials: old pocket pages, random journals—significant journals, notes from In-School, etc. Once it’s typed in, it could be blogged, but more importantly, it could be included in a book or books. I mean, maybe don’t plan too much out. But do get engaged with the text.

And maybe don’t fret too much right now (or at any time when you’re not engaged in editing) what to do to get to a book or books. Maybe I truly don’t have many ideas when I’m not teaching. Maybe my summer-mind doesn’t confront as many problems (with teaching, with texts I teach, with writing, with students, and with colleagues), so there’s not as much to write. Of course, even now, as soon as I write that, I’m thinking.

(I hear the insecty “chucking” sound—repeated—insecty like a cicada—of a sprinkler over at S___haus.)

Text mom to find exact dates of Minnesota trip. I’ll go text her now. I did and am back at 8:10.

I’m thinking, after writing the above, that conflict/problems don’t always need to be what writing is about (though maybe I was saying above that conflict gives rise to new ideas). I ought to be able to write in the summer about calm things. Descriptions, observations—the summer journals could be more expansive than school-year ones.

[From journal of Sabado, 24 Junio 2017, Journal 253, page 162-4]

Seeing this little thread here reminds me that I made this book by hand back in Illinois

Seeing this little thread here [in the fold between pages 176-177] reminds me that I made this book by hand back in Illinois and now here it is, in a place where I could toss it into waters of the Gulf of Mexico—and that’s not deep, unless maybe it is, in that it’s surprising sometimes how quickly I (and my handmade books) can move—at 70 miles, 75, 80 miles per hour down the interstate. (About 8:15, M texted me. I texted back that she could meet me, or I her.) And yet, of course, it’s never all that surprising, because I am where I find myself, where I find myself when I wake—awake—to the present moment, when I become self-conscious, or just conscious of surroundings, which surroundings I kinda become less conscious of as I get engaged in writing.

Maybe the taller woman isn’t a mom but is another daughter?

A woman shows up carrying a bike helmet (“shows up”—sh!t, verbs remain inadequate, you know?).

Damn, it is nice to look north and see the bay (?)—near the Quietwater Beach—and the Marina, to the west and northwest, all the elevated bridge on which, over which we drove to get here. There was a $1 toll once we got to this island (M said bring her back vanilla latte—I asked for another 20 minutes.) Woman with bike helmet is back and is sitting outside with a book and maybe a journal.

[From journal of Tues., 21 June 2016, at Drowsy Poet cafe, Pensacola Beach, Fla., Journal 230, page 176-7]

M called me a documentarian in recent days

M called me a documentarian in recent days. That’s an identity I don’t think I would’ve wanted to accept/embrace in past years, but now, with an expansive idea of “documentarian,” I think that might be a useful way for me to think of who I am as a writer and what my writings are. I don’t spend a lot of time imagining things and writing them down. Instead, I’m writing down things that really happened (or so it seemed to me), things that I really think—so honesty matters (more than style, perhaps).

I don’t yet have some grand theory of Harper Lee. I wondered what she did with her life past To Kill. M said I’d have to read a biography of her before theorizing usefully. I don’t need to make claims about things I don’t know. I’m speculating about that. But I can post what I see, what my new photos are. (I’d considered posting some pics of their displays, but maybe don’t do that. Or maybe you can show those pics of the Lee house. We’ll see—but my point is (my point is always on the move, like a compass needle in a confused person’s hand. (Eh, that analogy is trying a little too hard.))

From journal of Weds., 29 June 2016, Journal 230, pages 428-30]

Shape itself is no thing


Patterns repeat–what about nonpatterns?

My metaphors are all elephants. From Exquisite Corpse selections. 15 March 2015.

Shape itself is no thing. 12 March 2016.

[From Journal 188]