The Beginnings of Odyssey

What I find particularly fetching in this meditation on loss is that the many paths become subsumed under one archetype: the journey.

What of the people who don't come back? Who leave home and they die or else they don't die but something happens and they are never seen again. What of them?

             They become the journey.
Lisa Pasold
Any Bright Horse

And so for day 1606


Like one strand in a braid of sweetgrass

soot in a state of continual / atonement
Like another strand in a braid of sweetgrass
day made animate the dust
From Christopher Patton Ox

And so for day 1605

Pebbles from the Shingle

Reading Keith Garebian Blue: The Derek Jarman Poems is like walking the beach at Dungeness collecting interesting bits for the cottage garden and installations.

Soon you will fall into a pool of questions

You always look for an aesthetic exit
will never be caught in a hotel room
like Wilde with the wrong wallpaper

madness under a varnish of history

Even the largest canvas is smaller
than the hours in a spool of film,
which reads all the values of blue

the romance of God's angel worth violating

The ladder waits, unclimbed.
And so for day 1604

Carrying On Carrying On

Culled from Lisa Pasold A Bad Year for Journalists, a line that becomes stark in its isolation:

a genocide doesn't suddenly stop like a football game.
And poised here beside the recollection of the ending of Derek by Isaac Julien that fade into the white-painted brick wall with the voice over of Tilda Swinton about her friend and collaborator, Derek Jarman.
That the example you set us is as simple as a logo to sell a sports shoe; less chat, more action, less fiscal reports, more films, less paralysis, more process. Less deference. More dignity. Less money. More work. Less rules. More examples. Less dependence. More love.
Which are lines taken from a keynote speech given by Tilda Swinton at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Saturday 17th August 2002 and published in Vertigo Volume 2, Issue 4 (Spring 2003).

Suffice it to say that that genocide (not being like football) line is not the end of Pasold's book nor the end of her books.

And so for day 1603

Musing a Little Space and Appreciating Pace

One can find various versions of Loreena McKennitt's "The Lady of Shalott" from her 1991 album The Visit which runs at 11:05. Shorter versions are found in recordings of live concerts.

Curious comparers will find that McKennitt's version is shorter than the poem upon which is is based: Alfred Tennyson's 1842 poem which is itself shorter than 1833 version.

I recently heard the song again and was quite taken by McKennitt's performance: it provides the listener with time to absorb lyrics and the music flows on like the tranquil river leading to Camelot. There is something inexorable in the intertwining of voice and strings leading to Lancelot's musing a little space and for this reader/listener to a slower re-reading and a great appreciation for the prunning.

And so for day 1602


A comment on bourgeois realism?

If language is generated out of conventions, those conventions are simply tactics. They are methods of allowing a reproduction of the world. They do not cause problems. They are not material. They are naturalistic.
Bruce Andrews "Constitution / Writing, Politics, Language, The Body"
in Paradise & Method: Poetics & Praxis

What opens up for me here is a way of thinking not in terms of "allowing" reproduction but of "inducing" reproduction. And not only of the world as it is but as it might become.

As well, tactics call for strategies.
The political dimension of writing isn't just based on the idea of challenging specific problems or mobilizing specific groups to challenge specific problems; it's based on the notion of a systemic grasp — not of language described as a fixed system but of language as a kind of agenda or system of capabilities and uses.

"Total Equals What: Poetics & Praxis"
"And reception is by bodies" - a turn of the page again to reproduction in its expansive sense.

And so for day 1601

Play in Diverse Environments

The copy writer captures the spirit of indignation while weaving in a quotation from Susan G. Solomon on the American playground:

[T]oday's playgrounds, "defined by a sizable, colorful piece of commercial equipment that links steps, deck, and slides," discourages creativity. Climb up, Careful. Now, slide! Repeat. (Get bored. Get cranky. Throw sand.)

SEE: The Potential of Place. Issue 6 Spring 2007
The article goes on to attribute the overly cautious (and boring) design to a litigious environment (which we know is linked to the lack of universal medical insurance): "Swings, monkey bars, and seesaws are passé, considered overly dangerous, liability lawsuits waiting to happen."

The point is also made in a comparative mode by Solomon in her The Science of Play: How to Build Playgrounds That Enhance Children's Development
Parents feel that the smallest injury can be blamed on someone other than their own child. The American legal system sometimes allows generous damages for an injury, and parents often pursue financial remuneration. In Europe or Japan there is minimal financial compensation; the legal system restricts tort damages. Instead, the European or Japanese child is expected to take stock of his actions and consider his own and communal safety. After an accident, the European or Japanese child would probably say, "What did I do wrong?"; The American child (or his parents) might ask, "Where is my lawyer?"
Might I suggest that a visit to the Corktown Common is in order. Catch sight of a butterfly, run through the splash pad and of course climb and slide. All without the irritating problem of prohibitive repetition.

And so for day 1600

Sage Advice on Snags

Dani Ortman provides care advice for her hand-woven fabrics. There is a metaphorical pull …

Snag Instructions

Every thread has its place within the cloth. When a snag happens, gently tug it back into place by running fingers along the threads path within the cloth.

Nice to contemplate as I wind the scarf round my neck.

And so for day 1599

Oenophilia Biographia

Lisa Pasold concludes the book Weave by raising a glass of "Saint Émilion"

I am now my own instrument
my own wheel of fortune


it's all in the palate, how you roll
the taste of your life
around in your mouth. do you
spit it out?
Strategically placing the spittoon off the page...

And so for day 1598

Call for Enthusiasm

A 1914 pamphlet, "PLAYGROUNDS: One of Canada's Great Needs" billed as a "Call to service for the children of the future" authored by J.J. Kelso, Superintendent of Neglected and Dependent Children of Ontario.

The pamphlet urges the founding of playground associations and calls for active participation of the officers (as opposed to being mere figureheads).
People should be selected for office who are really interested and willing to exert themselves to make the movement a success. Too often men are elected to office in such societies because of their prominence, and without any expectation that they will be more than figureheads. Enthusiasm can only be sustained by frequent meetings and zealous, active service.
As a fitting prelude to involvement, I like the frontispiece which encourages a snow-ball fight.

No contest she's a winner.

And so for day 1597