Tag Archives: 2018

Heard a knock at faculty men’s room metal door

Heard a knock at faculty men’s room metal door just after I’d sat to poop. And I said, “YES?” in a way a little, but not quite, like the unctuous salesman says, “Yes? YAYSS!” on Simpsons.

I suspect the knocker was ___, who probably thinks my answer ridiculous, but I also think his knock ridiculous—it expects an answer. When I’m outside that bathroom wanting in, I just try my key without asking first. Maybe __ thinks that rude.

[From school journal of Fri., 26 Oktober 2018, first hour, Journal 289, page 133]

I could use a taboo word in a poem

Oh, I had an idea last hour that I could use a taboo word in a poem. Say, like, the “c” word. And it’s no big deal to say most swear words, and yet (and yet, it’s naughty-fun, 14-year-old-style, to say naughty body parts)—and yet, to write these words in a poem is to have a sense of their power, I guess. I mean, yeah, to write a word, to have a reverence for it—it’s usually hard to write while revering every word. But maybe some words, which brings me to the topic of the day, the first word, the very first word. How to get it to catch on, among other people (and how soon were the first accents and word changes?).

A student—L__?—asked why there are so many examples of certain words having many meanings—why not use more different words? Well, I assume part of the word-spread is metaphor. She mentioned the word “right”—how the word meaning “hand” came also to mean “correct” and “rights” (privileges).

Here I am in class. It’s an overcast day out. “Gymnopedie” by Satie—or someone’s interpretation of that song—plays, and I think how it might be nice to be outside right now—instantly, or after just a walk out of the classroom. Eh, then what would I do next? That walk-out doesn’t happen often, I ‘d suppose—oh, I got notice about pension record annual update.

What was the first word — “I”? “You”? “Water”? “Sun”? “Food”? A specific food?

[From school journal of Weds., 28 Nov. 2018, 9th hour, Journal 296, page 22-4]

Phoebe Doughty Vasey (born 1847 in Bloomington, Ill.)

I worried that we couldn’t find cat. What if that little f**ker had escaped? And we looked for him and found him behind the bottom-tier of shirts in my closet, left side. Dog has pulled most of the blankets off his bed. …

I got on computer in 4 p.m. hour and looked up Menominee, Wis., and I found a 1950 city directory, which I’d found on phone before but couldn’t read. The Vasey Insurance Agency—Paul Vasey & Winston Vasey—was at 616 Broadway, and Anchor Cafe—(my great-grandmother) Alice’s old restaurant—was at 620 Broadway, and those directions might be south Broadway now, judging by the Google maps view of Menominee today, and it looks like those buildings are torn down, replaced with a parking lot. And I found a Dunn Co., Wis., history, 1925, listing biographical info for Wes Vasey and Fannie Cockeram, my great-great grandparents, and their parents, Francis & Phoebe Doughty Vasey (she born 1847 in Bloomington, Ill.) and Osmond Cockeram and wife Ann Rick, immigrants from English in 1851. And yes, it’s the Doughtys, I guess, who got the D.A.R. connection (wanted by some in my family), but these other family connections to the old country can be quite valuable in finding those who could connect me to England, whose records I could read, unlike my Swedish & German ancestors.

And so, yeah—and yeah—planted in 7 p.m. hour, blogged about 8-9:30, did load of socks.

[From journal of Mon., 23 April 2018, Journal 275, page 103-4]

See also Phoebe Alice Doughty Vasey here.

I was gonna say something else about Western mindset

I was gonna say something else about Western mindset having expectations—not being happy with the present situation. Maybe Westerners’ love-marriages suffer from expectations (abstractions) that arranged marriages don’t have.

Watched a PBS thing about animal rebelsa boxer crab who carries anemones, who kidnaps them in his claws, and sloths have moths to poop in their fur and feed algae that grows in cracks in fur.

And yeah—it’s an overcast day. I hear bird song and some droning (churring?) like frogs. It’s distant. I hear it coming through window behind me.

[From journal of Thurs. 3 May 2018, Journal 275, page 155-6]

It’s easy to get wrapped up in our ideas of now

Our ideas will fall short of describing our full experience and surroundings. But maybe my main message to readers (to the future people?) is to remind them of our ideas’ limits.

What’s it like to be alive in 2018? I could talk about my concerns over national politics or local institutions, or my personal problems with health and money— but no doubt the 1874 people could’ve listed their own problems that would be equivalently concerning/important for them. I’m presuming here that they weren’t all that different from us—for all their particular technology and circumstances, they created us and shaped the world into which we were born. It’s frankly arrogant of us to think they don’t matter (though, I mean, if one’s starving, one needs food more than one needs a story). Yet to say they created conditions that later came about (technological and scholarly innovation of then shaped what came later) is also to generalize.

I said to Mom Thursday that I try not to complain—though then I complained about those who complain! Ha!

It’s easy to get wrapped up in our ideas (M came in the room singing “This is America” song) of now—but it’s useful to know these contemporary ideas aren’t the whole realm of ideas, either—dethroning contemporary ideas.

[From journal of Sat., 9 June 2018, Journal 277, page 201-3]

It’s overcast but got darker yet

It’s overcast but got darker yet in the last few seconds. Supposedly this rain today is from remnant of clouds of (sub)tropical storm Alberto, which was in Florida Panhandle a few days ago. Rain may be picking up again. I checked my garden—the puddles seem to have gone away once rainpour slowed.

Cat and dog are both at the deck door, dog looking out, cat to his right, then out, then to his left, toward me. Damn, heavy rain, blowing against—crashing against—windows to my west.

I did get the garbage bins out to curb. I took apart that gray-seated chair whose shiny metal seat support-weld broke a few months ago and chair’s been in garage a while and I just today took it apart, put small stuff—seats, bars—into garbage but the legs and back uprights will go next week.

I just started more water for tea and looked out window at garden. The puddles along south (uphill) side/edge of garden are back.

[From journal of Weds., 30 May 2018, Journal 277, page 23-5]

Journals—written within time, recording lived time

Some times there are thoughts I don’t dare record. Nothing super creepy—actually, I mean, there are sometimes things, like, say, some criticisms of M, that I reword carefully/politely, or I don’t say them, mostly ‘cuz I’m also learning as I write. I mean, I don’t want to be an asshole, so sometimes I correct myself as I write—I challenge and question myself, which is one of the coolest things about doing these freewrites: the self-teaching, the self-correction.

So often, writing escapes time—it collapses time by summarizing, it takes an overview perspective—a perspective outside of time—like telling the story while knowing how it ends. But my journals don’t do that—they’re written within time, from that perspective where there’s lotsa details. I mean, there are so many things to write about when you’re not just summarizing the high points!

But also, I don’t know where things are headed—what things happening now, today, will later seem important and which won’t. But the beautiful thing is that I am—how to say?—recording lived time in my journals. That’s what all these nearly 300 journals are—a recording of consciousness—and consciousness experience (and consciousness experience even sorta makes, through memory, time).

[From journal of Tues. 3 July 2018, Journal 279, page 116-7]

Take red dictionary as hall pass

10th Hour

DID: 1. Started Sound Poems with 1st, 9th, and maybe I’ll start it 10th hour, too. 2. Told M.L. she could go get her jacket—but she should take red dictionary as hall pass. 3. Saw pink ink on facing page. 4. Saw that I’m already on page 46-7 not even two weeks into this. 5. I heard 9th hour talking but they did some work, too—not sure if we’ll finish tomorrow the sound poems or not.

SAW: 1. Robin’s egg blue shirt 2. Mr. ___ in hallway—I agree with the student(s) in years past who said it’s weird that teachers stare ’em down the length of the hall. 3. I don’t really have need to talk … I mean, small-talk-wise, I can just listen, ask them about themselves. 4. Saw, well, a couple stacks of papers on my desk. 4. Saw an email … about subbing 2nd tomorrow. I said I’d do it, but I also said I want to be last-resort sub. 5. Saw my binder to my right.

HEARD: people clicking pens, turning pages.

[From school journal of Weds. 29 Aug. 2018, Journal 285, page 46]

When a life gets turned into a story, there’s all too often a moral attached

I had the grim thought this morning: how’d I end up here—in this life, with this job, this house, this debt—the class middle-age question. But, of course, I could be in such a worse position by this age, too—homeless, jailed, etc., etc. It’s perhaps as if our lives are roles, or a series of roles, we can play—and there can be second chances, redemption, all that—and by the time we get to the end of our lives, there is our story, as complicated as each person’s story is—and of course, I don’t really believe that stories exist at all—we are just our physical bodies, unless we tell those stories. We’re skeletons showing particular signs of wear or breakage—the stuff the archaeologists look at.

And there is an old working-class poet in England’s 18th Cent., someone Duck—and a Mary Leapor, who died at age 24, and she too was a poet. I read some article about 18th Cent. writers Talcott [or Talbot?] & Gibbons complaining about lack of time to read—and she died, this M.L. person, at 24—and her book of poems was published posthumously and she got in trouble at her maid/nanny jobs for writing instead of working—the boss didn’t want to pay for poetry—although this Duck—and he had a “Duck’s Acre,” a field whose rent goes to pay for a party, donated by Lord Palmerston—and I’m bogging down in details. These names too are just ideas to contemplate. Their lives are mere stories for me now—and it’s never great when a story gets, when a life gets, turned into a story—there’s all too often a moral attached.

But it’s also kinda interesting to be reminded that there were poor poets, worker poets, even then—and this Duck fellow became a pastor. His position, his sermons, may be dated, stuck in history—merely of his time—but his passion for religion, his religious feeling—it’s easily glossed over, but that would be one way to connect to him as a person who could also be alive now—I mean, someone who’s not merely defined as an old timer from long ago. These are the things I’d like to connect to in people long ago–their human nature? That’s vague as fu*k, that term, but what would it have been like to be in his company, or to be friend or relative of his. Sure, there are summaries—”Papa was a jovial guy,” for example—but those don’t well capture the sense of that person being alive.

And being alive can be tough, you know? I don’t always think being conscious is always a good. Hell, we spend 1/3rd (or should spend that much time) of our lives unconscious as it is.

[From journal of Sun., 2 Sept. 2018, Journal 283, page 40-5]

These journals never had or purported to be complete records

I got the WYSE Team registered this week. That’s something that was on my mind for weeks as a task I needed to do. And I have graded lots this week, and I’ve worked with many students—Rhet & Comp kids on their research papers, Creative Writing kids on their portfolios. I’ve been surprised by how many kids use Google Docs but skip Google Drive—I wonder if students nowdays aren’t as likely to think of working in file systems. One student said he moved each of 16 files into a folder one at a time. He wasn’t aware of highlighting several at once, I guess. But presumably kids will change as they grow and need to do different types of computer projects.

But it doesn’t help me to look at all the work I did this week—it seems exhausting—and it doesn’t help to look at all the work I have yet to do. Do what you can, you know—I mean, do what you can at the moment.

It’s 6:38. I’ve gotta get the dog walked again—he didn’t poop on our earlier walk. There’s so much about my experience that I don’t say—but these journals never had or purported to be complete records of all my life activities, you know?—

And yeah—a dog is presence—and probably it wouldn’t hurt to think of a person as a presence, too—as something, as a being, who’s magically alive, “magical” in the sense of inexplicable—and in the sense of one’s life—one’s consciousness, one’s mind, one’s presence—never being fully capturable in any medium, nor fully understood in realtime.

[From journal of Fri. 14 Dec. 2018, Journal 290, page 217-9]