Tag Archives: random

A road, too, is an abstraction: Random bits from school journal J300

The question is, can I really be satisfied not getting others’ attention? Sometimes I really want to tell a certain ideas to somebody who’d appreciate it. But I can remind myself that many people I know are not people who appreciate my ideas. At most, many people tolerate what I say. And the key to keep in mind is that it is obnoxious and annoying to them, and needy on my part, to tell things to people who don’t care (or who actively dislike) to hear these things. I don’t need to be so needy. I can be humble and “go limp” and keep things to myself and not disturb other people. It seems it’s taken me ’til age 45 to really learn to be an adult and not an attention-seeking adolescent. I can just contain my ideas rather than imposing them on others. [Page 19, Weds. 13 Feb. 2019]

It’s not that I want to be seen by others as cool, but that I want to feel cool — like a a cool artist/thinker, a thinker of good/cool thoughts. But, #1, that feeling can’t last, can’t be permanent, and #2, it’s kinda ego-y to think that because my writings sometimes contain cool ideas, that I’m a cool writer. It really could just be that my cool writings aren’t about me, in a sense. I mean, I have a process where I listen to the ideas that come, and that’s what I do — listen. Hardly seems worth being proud over! [Page 193, Weds. 3 April]

Why is it that I like that “Kool-Aid Wino” text so much? It’s not just that it strikes me a a sweet image, a moment — it’s not really all that sweet. It’s somewhat depressing: the family can’t afford to take care of the kid’s hernia so he can’t work, so he lies around reading comics and drinking Kool-Aid. It’s just kinda a sweet little slice-of-life piece, and I may have a hard time seeing my own texts as sweet slices of life. Though I have published some freewrites — me at McD, me at Fontana — but, see, I don’t know that those seem sweet to me. And I guess it’s OK if my writings don’t seem to me as they would seem to others. [Page 167, Weds. 20 March]

Keeping a business running — a small-town factory, my wife’s professional office — requires there to be a cash flow. A business is kinda fragile, not so different from a living creature who needs food and water more-or-less constantly to keep living. And banks are businesses in ephemera, loaning to businesses and individuals. I’ve talked before about the phrase and idea of “an ongoing concern” — for examples, the canneries in towns around here are no longer on-going concerns — nor is the concrete business or a printing business within recent years, nor so many other businesses over the years. There are places and activities I’d like to imagine —  for example, the casket sellers in early Rochelle, sellers and/or casket makers (they made a product to be seen for only a few hours before it was buried forever). It’s hard to imagine what these ongoing businesses looked like — except to say that once the business closed, people stopped caring. None of the hustle or care mattered anymore. [Page 204, Thurs. 4 April]

My view of Holcomb Road, on journal page made from grocery-bag paper. 3 April 2019

Not a great drawing, but it’s approximately the scene I saw of Holcomb Road as I looked east this morning after having just turned onto Holcomb from Meridian Road, and I thought, What is it that I’m looking at? A simple answer would be “Holcomb Road” — that’s the common name for this structure of rock-covered (paved) roadway with unpaved (harder to travel) land on both sides. And yet, it looks a little like the map view, or it’s easy to see this line of /stripe of gray and think of it having a destination like a road on a a map. Yet, the road, too, is an abstraction. Any spot on the road is just a spot, not the road, and the road crosses other roads, and it shifts south west of Stillman Valley Road, and ends at German Church Road. and yet, the end of the road — thinking of the west end as connected to the east end (or thinking of it as having an “end” at all) is an abstraction. It’s not like the road is no more. If I’ve been on Holcomb going west, it feels like progress toward my destination to get from Holcomb onto another road. [Page 194-5, Weds. 3 April]

This morning I saw in the faculty bathroom a three-roll tissue dispenser and auto-sensors on the toilet, sink, and paper towel box. (These things are the usual equipment, but of course, auto-sensors like these weren’t in bathrooms until recent years.) Also I saw the interviewer woman walk out of school at same time as me yesterday. She wore a panda-face hat with an attached scarf that came down on each side three feet, maybe, and she talked about working all weekend, being busy on this day and that day. Reminded me of how hectic my life was as a grad student. [Page 65, “Tuseday” 26 Feb. 2019]

[As I did with the previous post, I edited the above text together by using a random-number generator, going to the page thus indicated, finding an idea on that page that interested me even a little, and typing it above.]

‘Each thought is a new mind’: Here and there in Journal 299

I liked the rain sound there was when the window behind me was open but it was getting windy. There was moisture on the sill, in the channel, and so I closed it and now there’s sound but it’s duller, muted.  [Page 174-5, chosen at random using a random-number generator. Part of Sunday, 7 April 2019 journal]

Facts (as in public records) and journals transcend the styles or fashions of an era, and so are timeless, and are informative that way in telling of shared experience, understanding. Artworks produced for others are made to fit the style of the times, whereas Thoreau’s and others’ journals are not public and so are timeless, closer to lived experience — what’s likely to be common consciousness across the years. [Page 143, Fri. 5 April]

People who see the world as narrow, closed off, versus those who see world as opened, undefined — this may be partly why I wasn’t an engineer. Not all, but many I met that first year of college seemed to care only about getting a high-paying job, and I, well, didn’t. I’m not sure I can say what I cared about, but it wasn’t a high-paying, high-status job. I guess I don’t care enough about joining the establishment (the bureaucracy, etc.) to be too bothered about this whole admissions/”elite” university scandal.  [Page 11, Tues. 19 March]

It’s hard (or impossible?) to write a nonfiction description unselfconsciously, without being aware of the oddness, the artificiality, of writing words to describe a real event. To write words, you have to have a different perspective from one who’s just experiencing and writing later from memory, as when the cat sat on my lap yesterday and I wrote about it at same (or seconds after) time. [Page 196, Thurs. 11 April 2019]

There’s a lot of becoming, not as much being, in these journals. Context of ideas matters — in fact, perhaps it’s context that, indirectly, gives rise to ideas or mental states — the context of my mind being open as I walk dog or drive or even when I walk hallway at school, even when I’m on a journey to do something, on a mission, I still look at hall-walls and if I expected to have my thoughts disrupted, my mind opened, every time I looked at that Exquisite Corpse quote-covered billboard, it probably wouldn’t happen. With respect to the “becoming” and “not being” statement above, I was (I think) referring to my journal writings reflecting not a state of literary perfection but these journals as revealing the thought-process of, well, perhaps of creating (brainstorming, mind-dumping) and the process of, well, the process of being conscious? The process of processing? [Page 159-160, Sat. 6 April]

Part of the Exquisite Corpse display in the hallway outside my high school classroom. 28 May 2019

Back after a pee. On my way to pee, I leaned over sofa back and petted kitty and called him a “squirrel-faced rat” and then I mentioned the “rats and super-rats,” and I said Justice Cat was a “super-rat” for messing with Holly Golightly’s feelings. That story presents a world that can be fun to inhabit, for a while. [Page 110, Sun. 31 March]

I saw, through the swinging kitchen door at our diner, big pots hanging from the ceiling. These reminded me that this is a business that is in operation — that if the business closed, all these particular tools would be gone — we’d have to imagine them. So much of what the diner work is is stocking and restocking things — the jellies, syrups, ketchup, silverware rolled inside napkins, etc. If I weren’t so stupid-tired, I could probably clarify this, make some clear point about how I was looking at those pots and thinking how much work there would be in imagining all those old shops and businesses and restaurants in long-gone eras of these small towns. [Page 61, Tues. 26 March]

I had some thoughts during testing yesterday and wrote them on pocket pages. I’d long thought of testing days — my proctoring, when I’m mostly prevented from doing any work — as mindful, but I also have to pay some attention to the students and also to the clock, so it’s not really as mindful a situation as I’d thought. A couple times I’d prepared within 30 or 40 seconds before the five-minute mark on the countdown (we used an online stopwatch and projected the countdown onto the board) to give the “You have five minutes remaining on this section” announcement and then forgotten to do it when the timer got closer. My colleague in the room was the “room monitor” and 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 minds’ thought/intent. And by “awake,” what I mean is that each crystallization of a new thought 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.  [Page 189-190, Weds. 10 April]

[Editing process for the text above: Generating a random number, turning to that page in the journal notebook, reading that page for an interesting idea, and typing it in above. The theory prompting this method is that each sentence, each  idea, is a moment of consciousness, and maybe each moment, each idea, is equally important, so randomly directed selection would give a grouping of texts not bound by topic or by my favoritism. I want to create texts that are samplers rather than thematic statements.]

 

Link: Brainpickings

I haven’t spent much time with this site yet, but the NYTimes profiles the creator, and her site seems worth attending.