Tag Archives: 2019

Awaiting wisdom to come to me as I write

Even if I keep the Ashbery book this weekend, I’m not sure I have time, inclination, or mental energy to read it. On other hand, I did feel last night that maybe there was something the book could teach me. And I so seldom feel that about most books these days. On third hand, maybe I just buy a copy of book. And yet, the book is here, now. But if I’m more prepared to clean up than read—oh, and we gotta go get me a tux, and maybe I go to Ogle Co. Historical Society.

Dog tapped for in, after he was rolling on his back on the deck in the sun not more than couple minutes ago. (I’m back after letting him in (and then peeing)).  He tapped a 2nd time. I said, as if I were him, “I know my rights, I know the procedure.” He waits a certain number of seconds, then taps again to be let in if I haven’t moved fast enough to get him. He was all roasty from being outside.

I mean, my question about this Ashbery book is whether it really does have wisdom for me. So many books don’t seem to these days. I mean, most assertions seem banal to me now. I’m 45, and not that I know all languages or other esoteric systems (like modern physics), but I’m, well, am I looking for wisdom in other authors’ texts? Or maybe I’m just awaiting wisdom (good title, that phrase) to come to me as I write.

I heard a bit of music as I walked dog at about midnight last night. And that reminds me that I’m glad I’m not working at Byronfest this year.

[From journal of Sat., 13 July 2019, Journal 305, page 184-5]

Finding and becoming, sorta simultaneously, who I was

Will Leitch praised three people he knew in their pre-success days. He quotes something as saying how your adult life is shaped by choices you made as a teenager—well, sure, but I don’t feel I was blindly holding on, in years after, to some dream I had as a teen. I feel more like I was becoming—well, finding and becoming, sorta simultaneously—who I was, and sure, I write, as I did in high school, but not the same thing, nor the same way. But somehow I wasn’t jealous of these people Will praised—even if he almost seemed like he was jealous, his praise too effusive.

Journal 310, page 3, 5 Okt. 2019

Anyway, yeah, this notebook’s paper definitely isn’t as thick (or ready for water color) as the 130-lb. paper of previous journal. But that’s OK, too. I went really light on the water today, too, and still it seeped into page below.

Will’s formulation that these three he praised kept going when others fall away from their early plans seems a little facile, I’d say.

I walked dog to park on this chill morning—we left here about 7:40, breeze from east, I had my C____ coat on and put hood up. And I got a little upset in my own mind about a dude—the owner of ___ …, letting his dog off leash (as I’ve seen him do before), and I saw his dog poop in northeast corner of park as dude walked ahead, not picking up the poop nor even seeming to see it.

And I’m venting here in journal rather than yelling at dude in real life. And I could let this whole thing go, but let me say this: I talked myself down from being upset. What worked best was to note that I felt upset and not try to say I was wrong. I was bothered by the thoughtlessness—others use this park, too, buddy—and the unfairness—I pick up my dog’s poop—everyone should do his and her part.

But I didn’t really wanna cause a scene. We all live together. I don’t want to dread seeing him in park in future. Also, my yelling at him—or even any gentle correction of him—wouldn’t likely improve his behavior. So, yeah, I debated this as I walked the last 2/3 of the trail. On the first third, I’d picked up (in a bag already containing some Sam poop) some small-dog-asshole-gauge poops. And I started thinking I was a good person for picking up after that neglectful dog walker. But I told myself to do the good deed (if you choose to do it, do it) without condemning (mentally to myself) the person who did the wrong thing.

[From journal of Sat., 5 Oktober 2019, Journal 310, pages 4-5]

I’m a new mind at each moment of consciousness

A couple times I’d prepared, within 30 or 40 seconds before the 5:00 minute mark on the countdown, to give the “You have 5 minutes remaining on this section” announcement and then forgotten when the time got closer. C___ was the “Room Monitor”—I was technically the “Proctor”—and she did the announcement once and she reminded me a couple other times.

I’d feel this was a sign of bad (or worsening) memory except that I don’t think that’s what was happening. I think this was one of those situations where I’m a new mind at each moment of consciousness—that I awake with a new mind, and that new mind doesn’t include the old mind’s thought/intent. By “waking,” what I mean is that each crystallization of a new thought (an image/metaphor I’ve used before) is a new mind, is a new moment of consciousness. Each thought is a new mind, rather than a mind having/hosting/birthing a thought.

Shoot, I had another thought I had wanted to write—but then, as I just wrote, my mind awoke to/crystallized around a new thought (in a new moment, or just a new moment?) and that previous moment’s mind is gone—and yeah.

I see pinkish-orange (quite pastel) stripes across the northeast sky. I pulled a journal (#205?) from March 2015 to read while I pooped this morning. It’s chatty, not super intense or direct-to-the-point (whatever the point may be). But that chattyness is what makes the journal seem intimate.

[From journal of Weds., 10 April 2019, Journal 299, page 189-90]

Hunter-gatherers used their teeth harder

I read article last night at The Atlantic that referred to an idea that hunter-gatherers used their teeth harder to chew rough foods (harder than the agriculture types later) so maybe their jaws didn’t line up with overbite like ours now so maybe they didn’t have “f” & “v” “labiodental” sounds—which theory would be a challenge to linguistics, which has had this idea that there aren’t new basic sounds—originalism?

[From journal of Fri., 15 March 2019, Journal 298, page 117]

Being creative is playing with rules

I wrote earlier today (I think I did, anyway) that I could say that artists play with ideas. But I don’t want my students to compare themselves to this definition of artist (as I feel I’ve probably compared myself to others’ definitions over the years). Instead, I could say something like: creativity is, or “being creative is playing with rules”—with expectations, with assumptions. It’s being willing to question things others take/see as fixed, or others take these ideas for granted and don’t see them at all.

Brainstorm some ideas we take for granted, or as givens, of a high school—that we are all trained to move at the bells. What if you’d stay there in your seat— you’d get in trouble, sure. That’s a rule that could be questioned—even if we can’t or shouldn’t change it, we can question it in our art, in our artistic thinking (which is why art isn’t so far from philosophy!).

[From journal of Thurs., 3 Jan. 2019, at Katie’s Cup, 7th Street, Rockford, Journal 293, page 33]

Hot damn, I’m just tired

Hot damn, I’m just tired—nearly slap-happy today. Not enough sleep all week, I guess—not sure why. And, yeesh, let’s just get through today. I didn’t look through/grade the Rhet & Comp thesis & notes-organized worksheets. I did look into the fence—I looked over the fence [at the jail-construction site at Oregon, Ill.]—chain-link with red banner over it, the contractor’s name on banner. Not sure what name was, but it was also on the door of old liquor store next door.

T__ and E__ last hour seemed to journal and not partake in our talk about McDonald’s characters. [btw, the lots west of Judicial Center are scraped dirt and gravel on them now—no basements, I guess, but maybe public buildings don’t get basements. Carroll County has a really old county building—and I wonder what happened to that jail in Kansas or Oklahoma where the sheriff resigned rather than bring prisoners back into it. I’d forgotten about that.]

So, yeah, survive today—that’s all ya gotta do. I probably didn’t need to bust out my E.I.U. critique Monday in department meeting. Ah, well.

C__ said her mom, L__, graduated here in 2001. A__ and M__ are twins. I said to A__ today how dumb of me it was to assume she and T__ were sisters just because those two wore glasses and M__ doesn’t. But A___ said that when the three of them are together, others people often make the same assumption.

Watched a Colbert clip today where he showed clip of Trump at prayer breakfast, and Colbert said it’s clear Trump had never read the Bible before.

And what else? Well, class is nearly over—

[From school journal of Fri., 3 May 2019, 3rd hour, Journal 302, page 78-80]

I’m back after Sam barked really loud and long

I’m back after Sam barked really loud and long a couple times from west side of house. I saw ___ walking past on ___. I hugged Sam and got my face close to his and then I voiced Sam’s objection, that he’d want me to move so he could see something besides my face. But I told him his nose is cold (it had touched my right ear) and a cold nose is a good nose. He humped the cat’s biscuit-bed and then M’s neck pillow this morn. He gets on a kick sometimes. And Sam wanted in, or looked in but hadn’t pawed for in, after being out since before I started journaling. And yet, I’m still tired—it’s dumb when I go to bed late, as I did Thurs. night. So, I napped most of an hour between 8 & 9 yesterday, got up and made eggs and we left for Rockford—got there about 10. I shopped, got M about 11 (the traffic and lights were favorable. I was doing nearly 60 down Perryville and in middle lane of three westbound State Street lanes between Perryville and Mulford). And we came home. I put away stuff in fridge, watched 2 Law and Orders (season 15 closer, maybe, and s16e1, I think, about a kidnapper bargaining for no jail time ‘cuz he’d hidden the girl) and I quit TV at 2 and napped approx. 2:40 to 4:40, up and M not yet home but soon after, about 5, and I ate a slice of pizza—no, a square of pizza-and yogurt with blueberry jam & cinnamon cereal. And M left to meet __ at her office at about 6 and I followed at about 6:45 after finishing s8e4 of It’s Always Sunny in Phila— with Alexandra Daddario dating Charlie—and then I went there to M’s office. The key copies I had made Thurs. morn seemed to work.

[From journal of Sat., 15 June 2019 , Journal 304, page 58]

If I had to work at it, then we weren’t great friends

If I had to work at it, then we weren’t great friends, and actually, we probably weren’t. I never hung out with __ on weekends like I hung with D.G., to whom it was easier to talk. … So, yeah, it’s funny to sit here and complain that this person or that person isn’t my friend. I have to remind myself that __ & __ (and others, but those two are people I sometimes think of going to talk to) don’t really want to see me. I mean, they might regard me as unwelcome a person, as burdensome on their consciousnesses, as some particular people have at times—not all the time—seemed to me.

(I’m almost afraid to put names there—don’t want to hurt people’s feelings if these got published one day. Well, if I’m still alive, I’ll edit it out …)

[From journal of Sat., 7 Dec. 2019, Journal 314, page 94]

How much change she had to adjust to, live with

5:56 a.m. smart-phone time. Dateline: [my address], kitchen (well, dining room) table. One (Readers) can assume all of my journals written since July 2011 were written at this address, at this table, unless otherwise stated. I should pro[cat in lap]bably include this more often. What to draw today—let’s put it in lower left corner so it can run onto blank facing page. Back at 6:03 after visual-arting. It’s done with my chalks—it seems a bit ominous—but then, I never know what things will look like when I just start with a rough idea (the squares close together) and go from there. So, yeah, napped noon, well, about 1 (M & I were cuddling in bed and I was thinking about getting up at 1 but I pushed alarm back) ’til 2 and then went to [county historical museum] (after getting gas first) and there was a couple researching family there and the woman part of couple said some matriarch had lost her husband and also a son in months’ time—and how horrible—well, OK, but I was thinking of that scenario less as horrible (or whatever word she had used) and more just lonely—how much change she had to adjust to, live with. I told my cemetery (“Burying Grounds of Hickory Grove”) story to [historical society member], who said it’d be good for a Halloween newsletter or something.

From journal of Mon. 30 Sept. 2019.

[From journal of Mon. 30 Sept. 2019, Journal 309, page 87]

‘Water. Water. Yep, that’s it. Bye, love you.’

She must be a S_____ coach—she is wearing a gray shirt with red collar and stripe from collar down shoulder. She says it’s about “40 from S_____”—40 minutes—

And where was I? Oh, the camping dude said he takes his kids camping because he camped as a kid—and this Gray Shirt says she’d like to be back for 4th hour today … and keep that class on same schedule as others—”15 teachers out at the high school”—and 5-6 each building—”GOOD IDEA,” she sarcasted. “Our building has sickness, like, crazy.” “30% of our kids gone.” She’s snippy, but she seems to think she’s interesting and her complaining is interesting.

Wow, look at me being snarky—and judgy. But this lady is the one who had to listen to the Python girl last break. “What kind of superintendent thinks a district our size could cover 28 subs in one day?” for some training for the teachers. “It’s insane to have” so many teachers gone.

And back to me. Why did this camping guy brag about how he takes his kids camping and how “that’s not us”?

This lady also said she didn’t get the “awards were postponed” [message]. Gray Lady still complains about the many people gone for training: “That’s what that’s for—that’s what those are for,” and she doubts that “some guy from Stevenson” is gonna be able to speak to S___ [school’s] particular situation.

“So? You don’t wash those. Water. Water. Yep, that’s it,” says Gray Lady to her phone. “Bye, love you.”

“‘Can you wash suede heels?’ Yeah, she’s a freshman” at college, says Gray Lady.

[From journal of Thurs. 14 March 2019, Journal 300, page 139-42]