Tag Archives: 2019

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]

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]