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Thursday, July 7, 2011

On Reading Myself

I spent a lot of time reading when I was younger. I spend a lot of time reading now. It is probably not surprising that someone who writes also reads, also feels solace in it. I treat it right. I read attentively. I take notes. I study.

I don't think it's fair to say that I was raised just so. I think my parents actually kept the reins pretty lose and followed us where we went. I think that the part of me that is just so, is just that, part of me. Not an external thing. Not some causal relationship. Not some scar of time and love.

We all have ropes in us. They're held together by torque and when we try to toe them, they move. The rope I toe these days has to do with spectacle and self: ways in which I can stand to have people look at me and ways I can't.

Tonight I am reading some poems.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sometimes you just need to kill it by force feeding it white meals.

So, I'm scared of writing fiction. As the lovely and honest Abigail Ohlheiser pointed out to me a couple years ago, I am exposition-avoidant. I don't use it in conversation. I don't use it in writing. I also don't talk like most other people I know, which makes it challenging to construct convincing dialogue.

But when Brian Cook and I decided to make a vintage design and cooking project, it occurred to me that a period-appropriate story might fit well. So I tried.

And where better to start, I figured, than a story about murder by scurvy? Here it is.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Blood and pomegranate juice are not the same color.

I have been slow to write here these days. When I started this blog, it was as a way to do poetry planning, loosely. Over the years, the way I've planned out these things has shifted. Oddly, I think, having digital platforms for composing has led to an analogue practice that I find really stimulating. Now, for almost every poem I write, I make a poem planning sheet. These are somewhere between notes and diagrams, between ideas and compositions.

They don't always give rise to poems, though, as in this most recent case, which became an essay on You can, and should, read it here.

Monday, December 28, 2009

"Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind"

Some memories play over like good records. Today is grey; yesterday was grey. We're in the grey of winter and I've been playing over the time we lost Patrick in my head. I've been waking up with it in the middle of the night; I've been holding it with my morning coffee.

It was this time of year - a little before Christmas. Mom was pregnant with Nora. Earlier in the day we had gone up the Empire State Building with Uncle Bill. In the elevator we thought of names for Nora. Patrick and I, with uncomfortable ears, distracted ourselves with dinodahn names. We figured out, I think it was for the first time, that many names when paired with "Dahn" become dinosaur names. Irena Dahn. Carlotta Dahn. Umberto Dahn. Madonna Dahn.

My grandparents had an apartment in White Plains that grandpa used when he was in the city on business. It had what my child's mind perceived to be an extensive roof garden, multi-leveled and well-populated with nooks and topiaries. We left mom and dad, looking at stars, embracing at the edge of the terrace. We played hide and seek.

It was dark and large and I couldn't find him. I looked and looked and eventually interrupted my parents to enlist their help. We looked everywhere. We couldn't find him. I started looking over the edges of the wall; every time I looked over a new edge I was clutching my core in preparation for something I didn't want to see.

These past days when I've woken up in the middle of the night with this memory, it's been to the image of Patrick's little body at the foot of that building. And it's always with that same clutch in your core, isn't it, when you have to prepare for something you don't want?

He was fine. He had gotten lost and wandered inside.

He left yesterday to move to Paris. No one ever said dreams were subtle.

He's left the stewardship of his record collection to me. I'm hoping they get stuck in my head.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"What are borders and pieces of paper and different tongues in different mouths compared to desire, to heart?"

(Image by Ben Gancsos)

I've been thinking a lot these days about integrated art forms and lenses, perspectives and approaches, and how these confluences shape the articulations we make.

This weekend, I attended a preview of The Parkville Project, a production of the new Bated Breath Theatre Company. The company interviewed community members, business people, and senior citizens. They reviewed historical documents. And they used this information to create a piece that combines creative movement, text, music, and photographic projections. The actors moved through the space and, in so doing, implicated the audience in the action of the play.

I was thoroughly excited by it. I wrote a little thing thing, here.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Braiding Media

I've been thinking for some time about how paradigmatic shifts in media affect cultural production. Today I have a post up on Listen, Dammit about the Chicago band Califone's new film/album project All My Friends are Funeral Singers.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Making fun of neurotic writing habits

Some people write postcards to their loved ones; I write postcards to my GP.

You can read about it at