Tag Archives: 2019

The cat with ear-edges serrated by frost bite.

M said religious people like to tell how all their experiences have meanings. That sounds like exactly what I have been trying to get over in the last several years. So, yeah, I’m not sure what is the purpose of reading (well, entertainment?) or writing fiction (other than, like with poets and poetry, one wants to craft a clever or moving performance for an audience).

Were I to argue with Laura Miller — see yesterday’s journal entry/journal text where I pointed out how harsh L. Miller was to Popova book. I mean, I trust my judgment as well as hers on literary topics. She’s not special, exactly — but I doubt I’d get her to share my values.

I watched just a few minutes — a couple minutes? Not long —of Today show this morning. I read on my phone for a long while. Yeah, I went to take a pic of vet instructions with my phone’s back-camera, and the pic was fuzzy and I thought lens was dirty but it was cracked and smashed in. Weird that I don’t remember that happening. …

I just had another few sticks of cherry Twizzlers — bought Thursday, brought home from school last night.

Saw the tabby cat at Mom’s house. It left the west-side deck and trotted south. Turn & look, or “stop and look at me,” I said — and then it eventually did, a cat move I wasn’t surprised to see. And I went in house and not long after, I saw what looked like same cat munch on what looked like a female goldfinch, as if cat hunts under the bird feeder. They hadn’t seen a cat kill bird there before, Mom and Bob said. It was the same place I saw a possum a week or two ago. And Mom said “mama cat” — a gray one who had some litters — I’m not sure if it’s the same one I was thinking of, which was the one with ear-edges serrated by frost bite.

[From journal of Sat., 2 March 2019, Journal 297, page 157-9]

Live-to-paper performances!!

Had only a couple kids well, 5 or 6 — seniors here last hour as juniors in Rhet & Comp went to veterans’ day assembly (responding to that is the topic for today). I feel confident this morning after writing journals about how editing my writings for blog feels like work. And I also had thought on drive in today (a snowy, 45-mph hour drive — though I did pass a car on Route 72 eastbound, which car was doing only 35 mph) that I actually don’t want to be famous — not if I have to try to impress others — that would go against the whole aspect of my ideas that look not at myths or stories or extremes but at what’s here and now (though would it be OK if I got famous by being dull? Well, maybe, though maybe I still wouldn’t want to be too influenced by trying to amuse readers (as that fan letter I got at Daily Illini screwed up my process and my writing mind. That’s jeez, 23 years ago now and I still refer to it. I did write for AgriNews and WILL since then, though I never got fan letter. I did get recognized by clerk at a bookstore (Borders?) once and that was weird. 

But maybe that’s the last time I wanted to try to be clever for money/fame/attention I mean, Deadspin was clever but tediously so. Maybe I can be — can start to be — confident in my obscurity (and not bitter). That being obscure is, if not the point, then it’s adjacent, because my point is to be honest, to just be. Well, not to “be” anything but to write just what comes to mind to write when I sit down and write my journals each day, like this one here (though the pocket pages notes are more about the ideas themselves, maybe). Here I am now — I don’t want to be remembered later. 

A literature of being alive now: the Maynard Ferguson “Macarthur Park” and the students with heads down, mostly done with journals but see, even labeling what’s before me and with me isn’t the full point. It’s just nowness. It is now as I write this. I’ll be another now should I come back and read this. Of course I have hundreds of books filled with now-writings and of course none of them can be thrown away they’re not drafts but originals! Live-to-paper performances!!

[From school journal of Mon., 11 Nov. 2019, 4-5 hour., Journal 312, page 74-5]

I was showing pictures of piles of legs after Civil War surgeons cut them off

I was showing pictures of piles of legs after Civil War surgeons cut them off of wounded soldiers. B___ said he got bad news about his leg. He’s left class everyday at 2:40, today, too, though I realized it’s “FLEX” Thursday and the pass said 2:45 but we’ll be out at 2:15. I told B___ he can leave whenever — he has a A PASS! What can we school people do to keep him here?! Nothing — not if he’s got a pass. Then I___ joked about taking B____’s crutch.

Topic today is weird food. [My memory recalled] beaver balls [my uncle L.] made back in mid-’80s (when I saw that beadwork turtle and fixated on wanting to own it. I didn’t feel like I was immature then, but I don’t do that sort of obsessing now …).

I’m not sure I said well, earlier today, the sense of calm I’ve felt lately. So, I did add one grade to each class last hour in In-School Suspension [supervision duty]. I was alone and read about Ford and Chevy cutting their car lines last year and losing brand loyalty and then I updated grades enough to not trigger a notification … though I’ve still got big stacks of papers to grade at some point, but I don’t need to pressure self.

“Borch,” said B.D. yesterday to me after she’d called R. “b*tch” and thought I was correcting B.D. But I thought she’d said “porch.”

[From school journal of Thurs., 14 Nov. 2019, Period 10, Journal 312, pages 88-9]

But what if you can’t trust your senses?

I am wanting to continue the philosophy discussion. Let’s start today in 4-5 — we talked last week about one definition of real — that you go by what your senses show you, but what if you can’t trust your senses? What are situations where you couldn’t trust them? What you’re seeing can’t be real? Seeing something, you’re not sure what? Or me and my wife last night, each saying the cat was with each of us separately. I assume she was wrong. We do trust our senses  — sometimes we have to — and yet, what if we can’t? My example last night — “fake news” or conspiracies? Life after death? Ghosts?

[From school journal of Tues., 29 Oct. 2019, Period 4-5, Journal 312, pages 43-4]

I can’t imagine I’d end up in a relationship better than this one!

Saw and photo’d a bumblebee on the flowers of the winter-surviving Brussels sprout. That was yesterday. 6:21 — time to go make eggs. Oh, M said yesterday, after I told her about [a local married couple], that if I was considering having an affair, I should let her know so she’d have a chance to change — lose weight or whatever (though losing weight seems hard for her, she’d do it, she said). That was sorta sweet and sorta weird of her to say — a relationship as transactional as that. It’s good to know she feels that devoted to us, though — as I am, too, to her, of course. But I wouldn’t want affair — I can’t imagine I’d end up in a relationship better than this one! I don’t know what “better” would even look like. M and I are friends, we like being in each other’s company — and if [local couple] aren’t like that, then maybe I can understand their unhappiness.

[From journal of Thurs., 30 May 2019, Journal 303, pgs. 82-83]

The realness of walking a seal-coated road past oaks and boats

I was thinking while walking … and dog has seemed pretty tired since — but then he was up shivering part of the night. M said when she came to bed (after my 11:40 p.m. (approx.) bedtime) that he was shaking so much — just from rainfall, not even lightning (I don’t think), that his teeth chattered. And M said she wants to take him to vet or somebody to calm him during storms. We could try another Thundershirt, but the last didn’t seem to do much for him. So, I’m walking and the world seems sweet, good — not exactly — it’s more like the world felt real this morning — which of course is bullsh!t — the world’s not feeling anything, it’s not projecting any mood. Only a person — in this case, me — a mind (dogs, too) — can sense a mood, which is to say, I also more-or-less author my moods — not exactly. I’m not saying I consciously choose a mood. I often feel I’m not choosing — my moods just exist almost as much as a tree that I might see and touch just exists. But, maybe moods and feelings seem real because they arise from parts of my mind I’m not aware of. If I’m tired or sick or whatever, certain moods arise to consciousness. My point is, it feels like my moods are a result of external factors — that when the day is gray, I feel calm (though I might also feel depressed after too many days of gray) — and these moods might arise from my body or brain — so, external to my mind’s scope — but not from weather or the relative niceness and tidiness of the houses and yards I walk past (though I very often judge those and have feelings of jealously or superiority). 

And so how can I convey that sense of being alive in a real place? I can’t. Even now, I’m sitting here in a house (where it’s dry) writing about damp walk of an hour or so ago. Funny thing is that I keep trying to convey through words the realness of walking a seal-coated road past oaks and boats (not sure if I saw a boat today — perhaps — but I did keep the O-rhymes going). 

So, yeah, yeah — and I think the realness I felt also was just my bemusement, almost, at being outside, and realizing that it wasn’t so bad, even in the mist, and also, how here I was (am) — “here I am, outside” — when I spend lotsa time indoors thinking abstractions.


[From journal of Sun., 29 Sept. 2019, Journal 309, page 77-8]

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]