Sunday, July 30, 2006
Saturday, July 29, 2006
I've been surprised at how many haiku books I have, as I've been entering them into Librarything. I also found several books I haven't read, which surprised and pleased me. The interesting thing about cataloging my books is that I had thought I would be deciding which ones to move out into the greater world. But entering them is a keeping/collecting strategy, and not compatible with discarding. I've even entered a couple of books that I've already passed along. I marked them deacessioned. If museums can do this, so can I, just later.
Tile Man turns up early Monday morning. Everyone is making quite an effort to get the job finished. I really appreciate this. The plumber will be the final step for now, and if that goes smoothly, we'll have our facilities back. Except for the stove; I forgot about the stove.
Friday, July 28, 2006
The heat has broken and now it is just ordinary Northern California summer, not killer-heat-death summer. I'm still enjoying Librarything.com. Flickr makes me want to go out all the time and take pictures. Some of the people who live in Iceland take spectacular pictures! It is hard to imagine such magnificent scenery in an ordinary life.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
So, what is blogging? And why do I find it so interesting, and a little bit scary? It is so public and so unseen and ignorable at the same time. This is a new combination for me, but in some ways a little like writing and publishing poetry in small literary magazines,
Tomorrow the green granite countertop will be delivered and installed. It will be the result of a big heavy stone choice, not perhaps quite as permanent as a gravestone, but just about as irrevocable. I hope it proves to be gorgeous.
Today I saw a Flickr group that seemed to be just for photos that someone had commented on with the single word "gorgeous" -- actually this is quite a frequent comment on Flickr. I have made it myself.
Note: I've been meaning to mention that if you click on any of these blog photos, you will jump to that photo on my Flickr site and you can navigate to all the other photos from there. It's definitely all about art. Really . . .
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
I continue to have surprising amounts of fun with Flickr.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
My motorcycle sons came for a visit this weekend with wives and a friend. It was weird to entertain with no downstairs faucets working because of the remodeling that is unerway. It was fantastic to see them and I think they had a good trip. We ae still having real heat wave. Our house power was out for 10 or twelve hours after a transformer burned out. We were all iced up and had the propane lantern working, but the power came back on while we were asleep.
The temperature in Monterey was perfect, because of the ocean.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
The motorcycle trip ended in a flat tire outside of Fort Bragg. A wife with a trailer borrowed from her dad has gone to rescue them. She's pretty cool. All four dogs are asleep and the fan is making a mild sound.
Friday, July 21, 2006
I am discovering moe and more what a rich photo site Flickr is. There is almost no limit to the amount of time you could spend there looking at photographs, manipulated photographs and even some other artwork. Some people give the most interesting and creative titles to their work. Often these are taken from popular songs. The photography can be inspirational. People discuss photo composition, equipment and problems with others. If there are only three photographers in the whole world interested in something obscure, they could find each other here. Other people create little applets or widgets that link to other places or perform other functions. Various photo clubs, called groups, are based on almost any idea you could think of. Some are very rigid, controlled and structured, others are almost goofily free and limitless, not to mention chaotic. I have been exposed to a level of work by non-professionals that I have had difficulty believing existed. It challenges me to think more and try harder. Yes!
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Today Tile Man came with his hammer and tore out our old kitchen counter. It will be exciting to see what the fabulous green granite one which was sliced from an Italian mountain actually looks like. I chose four-inch tumbled stone tiles in a paler green to go with it. Tonight we went to Sears for the stove and were happy to find out that microwave ovens have been much improved. And that quieter garbage disposals can be had (for a price.) Soon I hope to get through this kitchen phase and return to philosophy, or art. Or history or literature. . . Today was extremely hot, and the heat will probably continue.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Tonight we are clearing out the kitchen counter and the top layer of drawers, so Tile Man can rip it apart tomorrw. I took a break to write this. It seems we are actually starting this kitchen redo, but I am still slightly in denial.
I have been thinking quite a bit about blogging; in some ways is it like grinding acorns in a round hole that you gradually make bigger and bigger? And your family gets to eat dinner, too. Probably not the dinner part . . .
But what I've been thinking about is the interface between what the blogger writes about life, the inner life and the outer life. And then how the people she comes in contact with are identified and what they would think about that. I've been using only first names or initials, or made-up identifiers like Tile Man, because I am not comfortable putting other people's names in a public place. The other thing I think about (and this may be because many blogs I have looked at seem to have a strong element of revenge, cherished victimhood or anger) is to wonder how clear I can be about some of the things I am thinking about when someone else might read it. That's not expressed very well, but I do think I have a strong wish to please and to smooth over the rough spots in human interactions. This is not entirely a bad thing and often has been useful to me, but it is also probably limiting in some ways. When you are writing for famliy and old friends, as well as for yourself, these are things to think about.
Good night, sleep tight. Mom used to also say, "Don't let the bedbugs bite," although, luckily, we never had any. And I never reallty wondered about them, which now seems odd to me.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Here are the last seven lines of Wallace Stevens' poem
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.
This reminds me of pioneer America and our lost wilderness. It also reminds me of where we stay in Michigan; last year I went to pick wild blackberries with my daughter. I also notice the lovely, sonorous language, a characteristic of Stevens.
Tonight I met with the Writing Group. We had some fine poems. It is great to work with people who have such a varied aesthetic. Some work is very short, some longer, some mysterious, some remarkably clear and straightforward; all of the pieces are interesting and the discussons kindly and productive. Many of the people are also inerested in art and may add text to their artworks, or make very interesting titles for their prints. One practices Ikebana.
We tried that wriing exercise in which you write down the first word of each line of a randomly selected poem. Do not read the poem, just harvest the words. Then write a poem that has these words in the same positions. Everyone did something quite interesting. It's a variation on the writing exercise we did a long time ago by picking bits of presliced text out of a paper bag and using them in a poem, but requires a lot less preparation, or slicing, and can also give you the shape or form of the poem if you want it to. Patricia brought a group of short, mysterious poems which she began with this technique. We talked a lot about ways to generate the material we need to complete a particular poem. I like to think about all the small book clubs, art classes, writing groups, cooking clubs and all the ways people get together to make things or understand something. The gulls in this photo don't have the club thing mastered.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
I guess tomorrow we'll try to see if Fabricating Man can fit us in; if not, we will wait until fall. Hopefully we can drive to MIchigan in another month. Crossed fingers.
The monotype auction was very hot and very noisy (echoes!) in the solid cement room of the Institute for Contemporary Art. The auctions for known artists went above my $$$ threshold, but I did get Susanne's lovely monotype of a forest scene called Near The Limekiln. Which was what I wanted.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
At the Lotus Garden, I sketched several leaves, but felt unable to try the seemingly more difficult flowers. This is my favorite leaf sketch, and was the first one I did. They didn't get better. Sketching is something which I would like to do, but am also a little impatient with. I guess I am used to the speed of taking a photograph.
It's another hot day today, above 90 degrees. The dogs all lie about chewing on rawhide. Some of them have hidden in one of the dog crates to protect their chew from prying eyes.
An old interview with Katharine Graham (1997) is on Book TV. It reminds me how much Robert liked her book the year he died. I think he was carrying it when he came for a short visit. Sometimes these memories are quite vague; I am not sure about this. It is interesting to listen to someone who has been rich all her life and still worked very hard, but doesn't really know how to do things without what most of us would consider a lot of physical and mental assistance. When she talks about the research for her autobiographical book, she said "we" interviewd about 250 people.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Thursday, July 13, 2006
I seem to remember hearing that this photo was taken back east when he and Mary LIllian traveled with a relative (an aunt?) back to Arkansas (or Tennessee?) to visit the relatives his parents had left behind when they went to New Mexico (where my father was born) and Arizona (where he did most of his growing up). I think this was the same train trip when my father was locked into the restroom while the train was in the station (a precaution they took against stowaways) and had a strong experience of terror when his screams brought no attention. He was freed when they unlocked the room after the train started up again. He told me about this when he was in his late seventies. He maintained close attachment to his family all his life. He wrote his mother a letter, in his neat, easily readable handwriting, every Sunday for many years. He visited his brother and sisters whenever he went West on business. But he didn't talk about them as much as my mother talked about her family, so I felt I knew the Butler clan better. His other sister, Marjory, died at age forty from breast cancer. He had her picture, with her braids wound atop her head in a coronet, on his dresser in a handsome leather frame. She looked like the most beautiful woman in the world to me then. He never talked about her death. She died in 1950, when I was almost fifteen. And so lives spin out, full of these small remembered and mis-remembered details. Good Night.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Tonight, Scott and I had sandwiches with that delicious olive slop on them from the Safeway. We went back to the tile store today, but still don't understand which of the incredibly beautiful tiles come with the parts and/or in the sizes we need. And finding a nice tile to go with the darker granites we like is more difficult than with the pale brown, lighter (and slightly more boring) ones.
Discovered the LibraryThing.com website through a mention in Poets & Writers Magazine, which came today. I have already joined (your first 200 books can be listed free) and listed 7 books, easy, fast and fun. I've always wanted to know what books I had, both here and in MIchigan, and now I can. It's a project, but can be accomplished incrermentally and in sort of not-productive-anyway time. After I finish, I can answer the question, "How many books do you have, anyway???" The site has a lot of community features like Flickr, but because it is so new, the listings seem skewed toward science fiction and other geeky-collector areas. I did't see as many art books, for instance, in my first investigations. And a children's book of Elisha Cooper's (one of my new enthusiams for his simple sketch style) was the only one of the title that has been listed. But these bits of information can be fascinating. When you've loaded a lot of titles, they will even give you a list of what other people with many of your titles have. I can't wait to see this!
Monday, July 10, 2006
this way, then that
donkeys browse along the fence--
river of stars! jhh
Sunday, July 09, 2006
After a light meal, we sat outside and wrote haiku while we waited for the stars to appear. Later, there was a bright moon, which somewhat diminished the candlepower of the River of Stars. But who would complain about moonlight on a warm summer evening? When the sun was gone, crickets began to trill. Later we heard the cry of a hunting owl. Two donkeys browsed along the fenceline below us. One of them snuffled softly, again and again. The quiet was so profound that you could hear this muted sound clearly.
Before we left, we wrote some of our new haiku on the paper kimonos that our founder, Kiyoko, taught us how to make. We read them aloud, then tied them on a large bamboo frond.
he waits to greet her
she crosses the Milky Way
her feet on feathers
This is a Tanabata haiku that Kiyoko praised when I wrote it several yeara ago. Her memory was very presnt with us at our gathering. She used to cut ladderlike scissored-paper filigrees to hang on the bamboo, too. She learned this as a child; she grew up near Saga Bay on the Japanese island of Kyushu. She said the delicate rice-paper objects were made to carry prayers to heaven. Now she is gone. No one of us ever learned to make them. It was a beautiful evening; many fine haiku were written. These parties are quiet and communal in a very special way. This one was a fine example.