Tag Archives: random journals

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]

Had they said ‘lazy,’ maybe that would’ve stung

[A student] wrote in her journal that other students around her were saying disrespectful things about me — “idiot,” and “r*t*rd” — and, of course, I have to wonder a little why, if [student] likes me, why she’d repeat these things — and yet, yeah, it’s not fun to be called names, but “idiot” and “r**ard” are so far from true that they don’t even make me flinch. Now, had they said “lazy,” maybe that would’ve stung, though, no, I’m not really lazy, either. I work hard, though maybe not as hard as some teachers …, but [student], or somebody whose journal I read yesterday, said I’m one of the nice teachers at [school where I teach].

[From journal of Thurs., 23 Oct. 2014, Journal 200, page 108]

Ideas seem more vital than feelings to me

I read a Tim Parks blog post last night (via Dish) where he says that fiction may be less necessary now than it was. Now, people can write nonfictionally about (openly admit to) abuse, adultery, etc., in a way that Dickens et all could not have. I’m not sure that’s the only or main reason to leave fiction — but it was interesting that he said fiction was a way writers would work out their own life-issues. It’s not really why I would use fiction, but then, I’m more interested in ideas than people. Were I to write fiction, it’d be a fiction of ideas. I mean, I’m realizing lately, thanks to this year’s recent Creative Writing stuff, I’ve been realizing that I really don’t care to read about others’ experiences and feelings. Maybe it’s rude of me, maybe I am a tidbit autistic, but shit, ideas seem more vital than feelings to me. Ideas are new, or can be. Feelings are endlessly recycled person to person. 

So many novels and movies have characters who make dumb choices, or impulsive ones, and I’ve never been dumb or all that impulsive. What seems far more vital to me are ideas on how, at any moment, there are so many different ways I can think. I can sit down and just have and let go of ideas. Say, sitting outside, I can look at the grass as a whole or particular blades, or I can lie back and feel like I’m gonna fall off the earth — “what’s holding me down?” — but these ideas aren’t even as interesting has having new ones, you know? 

[From journal of Sun., 26 Oct. 2014, Journal 200, page 133-5]


I went to Recorder’s office after leaving school

I went to Recorder’s office after leaving school about 3:10 and got there 3:40 or so and did get info on several of the properties I was looking for. I still have research to do on road right of ways, to find dates when curves on Routes 38 & 251 were smoothed — sometime after 1939. Both roads look less like S-curves then. 

And I walked (after leaving at 4:30. I saw Julie at Recorder’s office. She said she had left but was back for training purposes. She told someone she moved to Wisconsin for her boyfriend) and I walked over to Supervalu — got 2 loaves (“loaves” and “loves” aren’t far apart) bread, P.B., and banana-flavored breakfast-cookies, on the reduced aisle for $2. Oddly, the food on that reduced/clearance aisle — this food is already expired — but it’s not as cheap as I’d expect. I saw a bag of white & chocolate chips mixed (Hershey? or some name-brand) expired a couple or few months back, still priced at $2. 

A lovely fall day — 50° F — I walked dog to park once I got home. We walked in the 5 p.m. hour.

[From journal of Thurs., 25 Oct. 2018, Journal 287, pages 34-5.]

I have no evidence or reason to think my view is best

M just said how there are so many skinny people in the city; it made her feel fat. What they are is young people, M said. I said, in light of my recent writing about ambitious people, “they haven’t yet learned to give up their dreams.” (I said it in a tone that was a bit sing-songy, indicating I knew it was a bitter sort of sarcasm. M said something like”nice.”)

But maybe I once thought I needed to compete with those go-getters, and now I see that we’ve chosen different paths through life.

Well, it’s 10:44, and I’m back from peeing and putting on pants and I’m probably done writing for now. M is too tired to go to diner, which is fine with me, but I’ll go get eggs—maybe take dog with for a ride. I was just petting him as he lay right-side down on carpet and I brushed him slow so he wouldn’t mind, and he didn’t.

And I guess I don’t really have much more to say about these kids and their careers. They are what they are now—I don’t need to criticize them. It’d be presumptuous (and worse—false!) to tell them that my view of the world is also how they should view the world. I have no evidence or reason to think my view is best, or would fit everyone else or anyone else, or, hell, even me, really. I don’t know that my understanding of the world, the way it works, the way lives and careers play out, is even necessarily working for me—I mean, it seems to be working for me, mostly, but it’s not like every aspect of my life is perfect (whatever that even means).

[From journal of Sat. 16 Dec. 2017, Journal 266, page 173-5]

They seem to me to cohere

The whole point of creative poetry is to do things that aren’t commonplace, so maybe I leave those lines as they are—they seem to me to cohere, though I can’t explain why by reference to narrative completion or formal completion (14 lines in a sonnet). Richard Wilbur tends to be a formal-poem poet, and that’s fine for him—and his example has no purchase on me and what I do.

Ah, well. Yes, it’s a slightly unnerving feeling to realize the standards of doneness, of “poem-ness” (as in, “is this really a poem?”) are up to me—but also, how powerful a feeling, and how heady—confidence—well, I was gonna say confidence-building, but I’m not sure that’s true, and I’m not sure confidence matters in what I’m talking about today.

I don’t know what more to say, but most everything else I did yesterday seems to pale, to blanch, to fade out, in comparison.

It’s not overthrowing an army or something—but just to realize that I’m free of social/artistic strictures, that’s powerful. You have freedom but you don’t have the safety/protection/public identity of formal poems (or any recognizable art form, anything socially accepted as art. Rap wasn’t, at first, but now its place is pretty secure. Miley Cyrus rapped on a YouTube video about why she will cancel her Twitter account. But that’s still a pretty safe place.)

And If I read my poem to others, I don’t know that they’d see what I see. I’ve spent more time, and now, the parts that I feel cohere don’t obviously cohere. If the listeners’ brains are looking for logical or narrative connections, looking for my poem to fit a pattern, it won’t—not an obvious pattern, even the parts feel to me to cohere in an emotional/tone sense? They share a mood, maybe? Or they share a sound commonality, harshness, or whatever.

[From journal of Tues. 20 Oktober (Augdopour—on whiteboard this morning) 2009, Journal 119, page 191-2]

‘Now’ is still an abstraction

Yes, it’s nice to have Internet, but it’s also nice to have physical stores. There’s so much change. It’s a little troubling how much change, and how fast. AOL was a huge company in 1999—it bought Time Warner—and now AOL is small and getting smaller. Its biz model of dial-ups is obsolete (in an era of high-speed Internet).

Ah, well. You just can’t think about that too much—it’s an abstract worry, and easily released (though M said abstract worries are also easily held onto). I mean, sh!t, I don’t know. I don’t know where things are headed. I’m glad I’m not trying to make money on my own.

See, just shift focus—this is what you were talking about Friday (see these pages for Fri.). I mean, sh!t, focus back to your life—not even on your “life,” which is also an abstraction—just today—no, just, you know, “now”—not even “now”— “now”‘s still an abstraction. Just write some sh!t down. Go to work because you don’t have anything better to do …

Eh, this is getting practically nostalgic for Fri.—so, yeah—what’s new? It was cold yesterday—16–18° about 4 p.m.—and then about 4–7° when we let the dogs out (us—us—us-us—in answer to that Baha (?) Boys song-question of a few years back—my dumb joke to B.A. of a week ago). You know, these pages—once I’ve written them, today’s pages will be as done as those pages of years ago.

[From journal of Sun. 23 Jan. 2011, Journal 137, page 73]

Maybe be skeptical of those impulses

Back now, at 7:26 stove time, from pooping while looking at little books I kept in book bag from 2007 ’til 2013 (since then, I’ve filled a book a year). I couldn’t find the [boss’s] jellyfish story there in that notebook, or in the 2001-2007 Moleskine. And I had some other thoughts I wanted to write down here, but they seem gone for now.

Here’s a note from my bedstand notebook dated 5 Mar: “President Baker” (a name I read or heard somewhere) as if Baker weren’t a name but a description of someone who turns presidents into potpies.

And so, I guess today will be a grading day, maybe also a posting day. Yeah, you don’t need to look at stuff and think whether or how you could post it, and to blog or Facebook—maybe be skeptical of those impulses, as I have been lately, those impulses (I saw two robins fighting moments ago, and I noticed that the grass—a strip of grass just south of neighbor’s house seems far greener than most of the other grass around) those impulses to publish right away (Ms. ___ roared past a couple minutes ago. M’s shoes are leaving little indentations in the hardwood—M says she walks on tiptoes) are from ego, are small, closed ideas. I would rather share open ideas, like not telling people what to think. Don’t compare Byron’s beaches to Cancun’s—but just look for a moment at what’s here.

(Dog pulled the leash away from me yesterday, when I’d stopped along rec. path to photo a small, solitary piece of snow—and dog usually stops when he’s not attached to me but he kept going into the prairie. He seemed pretty excited to smell, to hunt.) (Also, my phone did some odd things when I put it in pocket yesterday while I was logged in—it took me a while to figure out how to get the date and weather “widget” back.)

Maybe I can show my pics just as they are, without much comment, and maybe my poems, like the ones I made last week with magpo.com, are, or can be, similarly open-ended. That I don’t gotta tell people what to think about my pics or my poems—

And I don’t gotta tell them what to think about education or anything else in the present tense—in those essay-type things I write where I explain something I’m thinking now—that that’s OK, too, if I do that.

There can be many ways of reading my blog–by chrono, or reverse chrono, by category, to topic—search, etc. etc. The whole document is hypertext—there’s almost no one way to read it—though I guess older to newer is the structure of the blog—the blog’s structure’s suggestion/implication.

[From journal of Thurs. 26 March 2015, Journal 206, page 83-4]

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]

As if somehow people were shirking their duty in buying the crap houses

I talked to mom on phone yesterday morning for 83 minutes (so said the phone’s display when I hung up) and Mom said she thought it silly that people were saying consumers just need to go buy more stuff to help economy. And I heard somebody on CNBC yesterday morning saying that refinances were up but the market needed to see more home buyers—as if “The Economy” needs individuals to burden themselves with these ridiculous things called mortgages. I mean, what he says sounds absurd if you think about it from an individual’s viewpoint. It seems like a normal thing to say from the view of the whole economy or from the view of the stock market (traders), but if you take what he’s saying as advice to individuals, it’s absurd. He makes it sound as if there are buyers just sitting there with cash, waiting—or as if somehow people were shirking their duty in buying the crap houses the developers build. …

Again this winter I’m noticing how much those bright, fluorescent pinks, limes, and oranges stand out against snow—as if they glow. …

[From journal of Thurs. 25 Dec. 2008, Journal 107, page 123-4]