Eroding Emergence

From The Islands by Louise Cotnoir translated by Oana Avasilichioaei.

Place can't escape
Weathering
Words no longer write
On cave walls
To azure lakes
They float on the screen
Take this poetic excerpt which seems to evoke digital decay and bit dust and most importantly a sort of reassembly. Set it beside this description of modelling in AI and you almost get a plateau effect à la Deleuze and Guattari.
The model for artificial intelligence was altered from one based on thinking processes to one grounded in behaviors. Rather than creating a system that would move through a 'sense-model-plan-act' (consciousness emulation) sequence, a number of rudimentary but tightly coupled sensor-actuator behaviors were run in parallel with simple asynchronous communications between them. This is a stroke of pragmatic brilliance for it allowed for the testing and debugging of a number of simple behaviors which, once perfected, could be left untouched while attention was turned to higher order structures that are concerned with the mediation or coordination between simple behaviors in order to produce a more complex activity. It was assumed that there would be conflicting information, missed communications, and the occasional failure of a mechanism or behavior module. But, the failure of a single element wouldn't bring the whole robot to a halt, although it may have to revert to a more primitive level of behavior or adjust itself to the loss of a sensor. Modularity and robustness are central to this approach.
Ted Krueger "Like a Second Skin" (c. 1996) originally accessed from http://comp.uark.edu/~tkrueger/metadermis/meta.html where it was housed when he was the E. Fay Jones Visiting Professor of Architecture at the School of Architecture, University of Arkansas- Fayetteville. Now Lost ... but one conducts a search and finds a similarly named piece by Ted Krueger appearing in Integrating Architecture Spiller, Neil (ed.) Architectural Design Profile no. 131, December 1996. This bibliographic detail is to be found in Reframing Consciousness: Art, mind and technology edited by Roy Ascott. If it were not for erosion of one resource I would not have stumbled upon what appears to be a very interesting collection. Dancing in the particles of the screen.

And so for day 351
30.11.2007

Beyond the Light Pollution

D.G. Jones gave us stars by fire

Li Bai (Li Po) gives us stars by water.

In sunshine, Censer Peak breathes purple mist.
A jutting stream, the cataract hangs in spray
Far off, then plunges down three thousand feet —
As if the sky had dropped the Milky Way.
"The Waterfall at Lu Shan" rendered into English by Vikram Seth in Three Chinese Poets.

The enjambement "hangs in spray / Far off" gives to the piece the added frisson of proximity to the precipice.

And so for day 350
29.11.2007

Sidereal Aspirations

Robin Skelton ends the last of the four sections of "Four Inscriptions" in Landmarks with an appeal beyond the vagaries of posterity.

No-one is listening.
It does not matter.

I am making something
for far stars.
This reminds me of a poem by Li Bai (Li Po) "Drinking Alone with the Moon" where the speaking voice is left by itself when moon and shadow depart and in this rendering by Vikram Seth (Three Chinese Poets) left to anticipate a meeting far off among the stars of the Milky Way.
Let's pledge — beyond human ties — to be friends,
And meet where the Silver River ends.
Tone between the two poets is different but the sentiment to look to the future despite prospects is the same.

And so for day 349
28.11.2007

Micro-Pangs

The one side of the layout is a micro-narrative. On the other side is a brief sartorial description and a note about what the spotted person is reading. At times the micro-narraitve offers a pastiche of what the spotted person has been seen reading.

Of my favourites is this "After Joe Brainard" rifting on Brainard's I Remember and whose micro-narrative ends with a contemplation of the signs of loss

He remembers his bare toes touching the cold floor, how once it would be followed by a warm hand on the back of his neck.

He remembers the empty drawers, one less toothbrush, and the extra set of keys taking up space in his loose change bowl.
And Wilson is adorable in playing with Nabokov's Lolita with a sighting of a 60 year old paired with micro-narrative entitled "Of Age" [which title offers me a hint of a Francis Bacon Essay "A man that is young in years may be old in hours, if he have lost no time."] and Wilson turns with a note of herzschmerz to this end
He thinks of him like a little brother, these first few months out of the closet so crucial. He considers himself Trevor's life coach — save for that first fumble in the back seat before he knew how young he was.
Julie Wilson. Seen Reading.

And so for day 348
27.11.2007

Designing for Mutability

The imperative is identified.

the need to make design as fluid as possible so that it can pour across the wires into the unpredictable receptacles, rhythms, and ultimately the lives of others.
Alan Liu is here referencing material accessed through the Web. What he here describes in The Laws of Cool can also be valid if in a more limited sense for print and television. The key is the accommodation of rhythm. And this design principle can even be extended to theatre hacking by Olivier Choinière or imagine a stroll through the Oakville Galleries in the Gariloch Gardens with the Janet Cardiff's A Large Slow River (2000). Life presents us with opportunities to resize, delay, pause, in short mashable moments, and as the description of the Cardiff piece says "Our attention is fixed on listening and imagining. Synchronistic events also play with our understanding of reality as events and scenes described on her CD coincidentally come together in the physical world." And as any meditator can tell you — sounds occur in one's head often unbidden.

And so for day 347
26.11.2007

Slack

Looseness in the system is what allows work to get done.

In his authoritative Information Payoff: the Transformation of Work in the Electronic Age (1985), Paul A. Strassmann observes that there is an enormous amount of invisible slack in routine knowledge work. On the one hand, such slack is clearly inefficient: "The real world of the office is full of delays, miscommunications, errors, and changes. ... For instance, tracking a simple four-page bulletin informing the field sales force about a minor change in pricing policy can reveal a surprisingly complex train of events." But on the other hand, Strassmann argues, trying to rationalize all office work to the point where even complex tasks are programmed into information technology is "an unreasonable objective" because many tasks are unprogrammable. Indeed, unprogrammability is crucial to "informality," which amounts to no less than a whole parallel work flow that gets things done precisely by circumventing unrealistic or inappropriate standards, procedures, protocols, and programs. In one office Strassmann studied in minute detail, for example, only 12 percent of transactions could be accounted for as part of the formal system of work; 53 percent "were part of a formal system but required a great deal of discretion, training, and experience"; and 35 percent "were not systematized at all and required a great deal of initiative and personal skill." [Alan Liu, The Laws of Cool (2004) 297-298]
Work in other words gets done thanks to social capital.

And so for day 346
25.11.2007

Avijk

It's a whale of a story.

And a story about a whale.

Here's how it ends.

The third time Avijk phones, my roommate answers. The line is dead, so she knows it's Avijk and calls for me. But the line is dead for me too. I know she's there but I can't hear her. Something is terribly wrong. I leave immediately to go and see her — taking my boat out to the spot where we usually meet. Finally, she comes. Moving so slowly. She's very sick — dying. I cry, embrace her, stroke her. She cries a little, too. We say our goodbyes, and I go home feeling very sad.

I sit alone in my living room. I can feel something coming but I don't know what it is. I close my eyes — and for a moment, just a moment — I'm five years old. My grandmother is making Danish pancakes for me in the kitchen of her tiny apartment in Copenhagen. Suddenly, a tremendous force pushes open the kitchen shutters, reaches me in the next room and slams me, pinning me against the wall.

It's Avijk.

Avijk has died and her spirit has come here, faster than the subway, faster than the wind, and entered me. And I am filled with such tremendous joy and peace that I can barely contain it in my body.
Sonja Mills with "Avijk" in desire high heels red wine shows us what happens to cetacean-human relations when you start off a story with "My best fried is Avijk the whale."

And so for day 345
24.11.2007

Piltdown Mashup

Exhibit A
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piltdown_Man

Exhibit B
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goodtimes_virus

"Good Times" virus, a hoax or mere performance of a virus in the mid 1990s that uncannily created an effect very much like a real "worm" virus: it prompted users to pass on warnings about the fake virus that in themselves, through their sheer number created wormlike effects. [Alan Liu, The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information p. 360.]
The timelines... Piltdown skull (some 40 years to expose) versus the viral speeds of the Internet propagation of an urban myth... seems like time to read Contagious Metaphor by Peta Mitchell. I've caught the bug.

And so for day 344
23.11.2007

less-slower-worse

At first I was taken by this tack to the lifestyle of rush. Then I read more slowly and realized that what is proposed is less about "taking time" and more about "controlling rhythm". Try to read this not as a list of activities that cannot be speeded up and more as an invitation to linger and savour.

“Of course, everything can’t speed up,” says David Levy, a professor at the Information School of the University of Washington. “You can’t speed up the time needed to be intimate with one another. Thinking is not an activity you can speed up. It needs time to muse and reflect, and some of the things we need to do in order to think, like walk, or read deeply, or even take naps, simply don’t fit into this globalizing idea of more-faster-better.”
As quoted by Erin Anderssen in "Digital overload: How we are seduced by distraction" in the Globe and Mail

And so I come to the conclusion that a variety of rhythms in one's life is vital to protect against slow degeneration induced by constant rushing. Along with the brisk tempos one benefits from a moderato pace ... and even a good nap after running about.

And so for day 343
22.11.2007

Forest Sorcery

Robin Skelton, particularly in Landmarks, offers us poetry which is laden with wonderful West Coast atmospherics and sly transmogrifications. One striking passage describes flora in a manner attuned to how simple particulars seize imagination all the while making us brave as danger is inscribed with familiarity. We find a tree:

tattered with green hanging moss,
and roped with vines,
and fanged with shaking fern
I do like that injection of animal incisors and the trembling motion. Short space. Big story.

And so for day 342
21.11.2007

Sentence Slavery

Margaret Webb.
desire, high heels, red wine.

understand the slavery of sentences [...] breaking out of control shit like this the critics say women writers have no control over our sentences give us an inch of white space and we charge off like a bunch of lesbians forgetting who invented the line that proper restraint would keep our looser halves from violating poetry with repetitive multiple orgasms repetitive multiple orgasms taste sweet as spilled wine to my lips [...]
a sentence is to an orgasm as a line of poetry is to a caress of foreplay ???

And so for day 341
20.11.2007

X-rated Season

Dionne Brand in Winter Epigrams & Epigrams to Ernesto Cardenal in Defense of Claudia provides us with a remarkable take on the endless pounding of the cold in a season that almost never ends. The epigram is place-specific but its ironic touch travels well.

snow is raping the landscape
Cote de Neige is screaming
writhing under
winter's heavy body
any poem about Montreal in the winter is pornography
I like the hint that the heavy body is not just the layers of snow upon snow but also the long johns, sweaters, coats and all the gear that weigh us down. There is a strong identificatory moment between the listening subject and the landscape subject of the poem.

And upon further reflection we are made to wonder about the blanket-effect of pornography.

And so for day 340
19.11.2007

Cubicle Chronicles

Once upon a time there was a big bad employer (short-sighted employer who wanted to gut the collective agreement provisions for job security and merit pay -- clawbacks which attacked the younger workers and would hobble the employer's attempt to recruit and retain the best and the brightest).

So what were the knowledge workers to do? They were distributed in various and sundry work places connected by computer-mediated communication. There in lay the key to their resistance.

The knowledge workers replaced "shock and awe" with "share and ask". They were a clever bunch.

They were going to flood the email system.

Some of the outspoken senior members at the top of their pay scale with nothing to loose commandeered the @allstaff distribution lists and

  • Urged work-life balance through a recipe swap (with lots of posts and debate about ingredients, methods, pictures, results of taste tests, acceptable substitutes) and collectively planned a collection of the best recipes (which led to discussion about printing versus electronic version, etc. etc.)
  • Engaged in minute analysis of geopolitical trends and what scenarios could be expected to emerge in their corner of the globe (lots of true cost accounting and reconciling divergent views of the evidence-base).
  • Competed to see who could sent the biggest spread sheet to the most people; contrived to send a spreadsheet cell by cell in timed bursts.
  • Posted worried messages about viruses that ate vowels.
Some of the more timid members turned off printers, fax machines, scanners and photocopiers — which took a little while to power up again. But no one was ever sure that their print job would still be in the queue.

Info Tech Support was bombarded with requests for pings to servers to check connectivity...

Others hoarded the paper envelopes (now rare) for interoffice mail.

Workers asked that all transactions go manager-to-manager before they hit their desks — they argued there was no other way of ensuring their messages would not be caught up in the new etiquette of reply all and copy more. The slack in the system by which work was accomplished was significantly reduced.

Outside the organisation, allies asked for information about programs, services, policies, directives and asked about access to data. And asked again. Moreover they shared detailed plans and asked for feedback.

The data stream was relentless. And what was the result of this little exercise in signal to noise ratio manipulation? Glee. Empowerment. Sharing. And lots of profound asking about the fragile cultures of the workplace.

Inspired by Alan Liu The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information and John Brunner The Shockwave Rider.

And so for day 339
18.11.2007

Circuit

Deep geography.

One follows a horizontal river run. That is Joyce's "A way a lone a lost a last a loved a long the" which is the end of Finnegans Wake which famously links back to the riverrun opening.

The other is oriented on a vertical axis and follows a slope both in its run and situation.

A / LAKE / A / LANE / A / LINE / A / LONE

The photo by Stefan Powell conveys a little of the slight incline in the alley where this inscription from bpnichol is to be found. (There is audio at the Murmur project of Christian Bök reading the inscised words.)

Both whatever their orientations play on vowel currents and waves, float as easily as place names here brought in proximity — Dublin's River Liffey or Toronto's Lake Ontario.

And so for day 338
17.11.2007

Cinders Rising

There is in D.G. Jones A Throw of Particles a poem called "Heavens". It is a short poem but it opens up to words beyond. It begins with stars and carries on in opportunities of conversation that are ironically circumscribed.

The ferocious stars
keep their distance, become
a conversation piece
The phrase "ferocity of the stars" has been encountered in "Dance Steps" earlier in the collection. There one is treated to the cliche image of sparks flying from a fire into the night sky yet the reader is left with more than the canopy of stars to contemplate.
[...] Dance
then, the bonfire whirling
fossils to the black stars
One recalls Joni Mitchell's Woodstock and its reference to billion year old carbon

And so for day 337
16.11.2007

Addressing Rhythm

A passage in a review at intercapillary space suggests reading Lisa Robertson The Men besides Djuna Barnes The Book of Repulsive Women. Edmund Hardy writes

"A man is another person - a woman is yourself," as Nora observes in Nightwood. Barnes subtitled her first book "8 Rhythms and 5 Drawings", & Robertson's books could also perhaps be called rhythms: each one has a different rhythmic texture, or syllabic knobbling.
From early on in The Men (the last two lines to the opening "rhythm")
Young men of sheepish privilege becoming
Sweet new style
From late in The Book of Repulsive Women
Until her songless soul admits
      Time comes to kill:
You pay her price and wonder why
      You need her still.
It is Nora's observation as reported by Edmund that here plays in my little sandbox of quotation, serving as a cypher, gliding through the genders of the the game of identification and projection. And precisely because it is mapped onto the polarities of man and woman only contingently (the polarities can be reversed) the rather unmarked place of the interlocutor becomes a complex question not only of gender but also of singleness versus plurality. A you can be two or more. And how then does the configuration of the interlocutor affect the rhythm?

And so for day 336
15.11.2007

Inoculated

Jason Taniguchi
VERY SENSIBLE STORIES AND POEMS FOR GROWN PERSONS
from "The Plague" entry to "The Genre in Brief (100-word stories)"

Even those few individuals who did manage to panic were met with equanimity by their neighbours; for it had always been assumed that the end of the world must torment some people. They were simply playing an expected role in a long-awaited script.
Part of the charm here is the indirectness offered by the indefinite articles. It underlines the restricted nature of "some".

Some people want to get their hands on the Kelp Queen Press issue of Mr. Taniguchi's stories. Some people have been infected by the few they have read in The Stars as Seen from this Particular Angle of Night edited by Sandra Kasturi. Some are ready for more exposure. Some are already vectors.

And so for day 335
14.11.2007

Niggle Nibble

You take a bite out of the poem and swallow these delicious rhymes.

We build great ships
plan great, precise, arcing journeys,
yearning,
yearning to change,
fly out of our green, nibbling little lives,
to touch,
enter
be
that brightness.
You digest the delicacies that are these "nibbling little lives" and realize solar power on a different scale.

And you thank Peter Bloch-Hansen for "Why Starships Should be Named for Moths" collected in The Stars as Seen from this Particular Angle of Night edited by Sandra Kasturi.

And so for day 334
13.11.2007

Finding Loss

Trish Salah Wanting in Arabic has a piece the opens with a fateful sentence.

She awoke to an appetite for narrative.
Notice she awoke "to" not "with". Notice also "narrative" not "narration" (the story vs the telling). The appetite might just devour her. A diegesis spoken by another threatens.

What is not told here has been shown earlier in the book with a poem sequence ending:
how like a boy
to take the long view.
Note the period marking ending.

The long view may not find its ending until the very end of mortal coil. Which serpentine path may contain transformations. A life lived is not lived until it ends.

As a boy reader, I have been remembering lines from a song on The Pretenders album Get Close "Hymn to Her" and wondering how it is a boy can identify with the tripartite maid-mother-crone. And part of the answer is in the lyrics — an openness to continuity and change.
And she will always carry on
Something is lost
But something is found
They will keep on speaking her name
Some things change
Some stay the same
We are at once cut off from the "they" and imaginatively linked. Just as Salah's "she" is, via memory over pages of text, linked to the "boy" who by virtue of the poetic voice and its ironic inflection has but a long view in a longer sequence. Again we are called to notice not so much the narrative (the told) but the narration (the telling) which sets us, the readers, into intimate relation with what is an ongoing sequence that carries us away from the text into a consideration of our relations with other readers including ourselves at some future point. Lost and found.

And so for day 333
12.11.2007

Mortal Musings

Robin Romm's narrators interject into the telling miniature meditations on the nature of dying and the consequences of death for the surviving. These are not just of the memento mori variety. The story "The Tilt" which gives its name to the collection for example draws a fine distinction between fury and defeat and in so doing describes the pitch and range of emotion that is elicited from the situation and the niceties lead into the pain of interrogation.

But she's still here. She still makes jokes about the dog and gets angry with the doctors. She can't figure out how to use her cell phone or get the stains out of the grout in the kitchen. But when I touch her skin, the heat is different. There's a defeat and a fury right below the coolness of it and it's a frightening combination — defeat that won't do you in and fury that can't save you. And sometimes I try to imagine the silence that will fall everywhere after she dies. I call her now with offhanded questions about taxes or recipes and I think that soon there will be no answers. And the question mark will lose its curve, will grow and straighten inside of my ribs, getting so large and sharp and unwieldy that it finally splits my body in two.
Split we are led stylistically to believe between fury and defeat.

The mother is also the source of wisdom in "Fluency".
In your body when you're dying, my mother told me, there is a lot of talking. It gets stranger and stranger, she said, the talking, until you seem to know anther language. And when you are fluent, you have to leave.
Robert Glück in the back cover blurb to The Tilt reads this collection of stories as posing a question: "How can we contain loss and harm, so that we can live, when loss and harm are where we live most deeply?" Part of the answer lies in reading words shaped to a sharp fluency.

And so for day 332
11.11.2007

Elevator Speech

This is a a snapshot of the type of work I do in my day job in the civil service and in the domain of relationship management and partnership development.

The what:

Sustaining Social Capital
  • Connecting People for Knowledge Exchange
  • Fostering Networks of Supportive Relationships
  • Hosting Open Dialogue
The how:
  • We ask questions
  • We connect people with questions with answers
  • We connect, often by disentangling (we help clarify requests and resposnes)
In essence we are experts in informal and formal facilitation.

And so for day 331
10.11.2007

Stellifications

Dr. Selia Karsten marries the world of art and pedagogy. She has a keen design interest in stars. See http://www.astralsite.com/.

With her in mind I collect mentions of stars in the poems I read. For example Amy Lowell's epithet "comrades of the stars" to describe primroses. Here are two others that sit nicely side-by-side. The first is from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is fitted with stars, invisible by day
And something more recent is the conclusion to "Quails" by Meg Kearney
the sailor who sees farthest
bows before the bevy of quails

rising reluctant but steady
toward their memories of stars.
And with that phrase "memories of stars" I am reminded of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" and its lines about being stardust.

And so for day 330
09.11.2007

Sex & Language

The context is an examination of the resources of lyric poetry. We are proposed to consider the genesis of the erotic zones and not simply the acquisition of language but the situatedness of the linguistically-inflected subject and the development of phenomenological intention. It is worth pondering the pedagogical dynamic that works both ways between teacher and learner:

The teaching and learning of desire in the erotogenization of the body is not simply analogous to but is inseparable from the concurrent teaching and learning of intention in the acquisition of language.
Mutlu Konuk Blasing. Lyric Poetry: The Pain and the Pleasure of Words.

I like how the reader is brought along from analogy to inseparability through to concurrence.

And so for day 329
08.11.2007

Unseverable

Juliana Schiesari put me onto Kathleen Woodward and her insights as to how the mourning process may vary with age.

The notion of attachment to life is commonly cast metaphorically in terms of bonds, ties, and threads. When we speak of detachment in old age, of loosening of bonds to life, I think we may mistake the process at work. It may be not that we are detaching ourselves from others but that we have refused to untie the bonds which have attached us to those we have lost. We may begin to live with the dead.
"Between Mourning and Melancholia: Roland Barthes's Camera Lucinda" in Aging and Its Discontents. Note how this passage is cast in the idiom of a "we" that invites identification and acceptance that this the way things are for "us". We become tied to the point of view.

And so for day 328
07.11.2007

Elevations versus Liberations

After a chapter that anatomizes the gender politics of Ficino's meditations on melancholia and which provides an incisive alternative by way of Hildegard von Bingen, we come across this conclusion.

Hildegard also traces a crucial difference when she speaks of those who resist melancholia as potential "martyrs." Yet nothing seems to emblematize the ruses of male melancholia as a discursive practice better than the figure of the martyr, whose woeful suffering is merely the price to be paid for entrance into the immortal pantheon of heroes, philosophers or artists. But in Hildegard's revisionist sense, the martyr's suffering is not the call of something higher but the call to struggle for something better. Suffering is not something to withstand or passively "enjoy" but something to alleviate and overcome.
Our emphasis. Juliana Schiesari. The Gendering of Melancoholia: Feminism, Psychoanalysis, and the Symbolics of Loss in Renaissance Literature.

And so for day 327
06.11.2007

Snow in the City

In and Out A Confessional Poem by Daryl Hine opens its second section with a description of the less than pristine melting of accumulated snow and debris.

Instantaneous Spring had attacked
Montreal overnight like a laxative,
loosening snow from the slopes
of the mountain, from rooftops and side walks
and streets, where it piled up in barricades
during our annual siege,
till the city began to resemble
a dissolute snowball dissolving,
while under the mud and the mess
deliquescent and delicate music,
a faint, subterranean gurgle
of muttering rivulets sang
a disturbing, subversive refrain.
I like how the "mud and mess" — appealing to a visual mode of disgust cedes to an aural enticements — "deliquescent and delicious music."

And so for day 326
05.11.2007

Bridges

In Mobility of Light: The Poetry of Nicole Brossard we find the French:

la poussière. On la disait de Pékin de Palmyre
ou de Pompéi
nous la paratagions à plien poumon
on parlait de physiquement posséder
la poésie
Which Robert Majzels and Erine Moure give as
particles of dust. Say it's from Peking or Palmyra
or Pompey
we partook in its plenitude
proposed to physically possess
poetry
I wonder why "Pompey" and not "Pompeii". I admire the partaking in plenitude.
motes and motes of dust. They say it's from Peking from Palmyra
from Pompeii
lung full by lung full we shared it
speaking of physically possessing
poetry
There is a wee distance between "speaking of" and "proposing to" and that little preposition "de" deserves to be repeated in the rendering with "from". And there just is no equivalent for the definite "la poésie" the unarticled "poetry" will have to suffice. As we hope the dropped "or" will do.

And so for day 325
04.11.2007

Famished

Honor Moore included this short poignant piece in the American Poets Project selected poems by Amy Lowell.

A Decade

When you came, you were like red wine and honey,
And the taste of you burnt my mouth with its sweetness.
Now you are like morning bread,
Smooth and pleasant.
I hardly taste you at all for I know your savour,
But I am completely nourished.
Acquaintance with bread and wine. Hints of transubstantiation.

And so for day 324
03.11.2007

Tulip Temptations

Anna Pavord in The Tulip relates the strange and wonderous story of William Pegg.

Derby's star flower painter was William Pegg (1775-1851) whose father had been a gardener at Etwall Hall, near Derby, a hotbed of societies devoted to the English florists' tulip. By the age of ten, Pegg was already working in the potteries and after three years, became apprentice to a china painter, working fifteen hours a day in the factory. In 1796 he was offered a five-year contract at the Derby China Works, which was booming after taking over the illustrious Chelsea Pottery. But Pegg, who had heard John Wesley preach in Straffordshire in 1786, began to worry about the morality of decorating expensive porcelain with sinfully beautiful flowers for the tables of rich clients. In 1800 he became a Quaker and abandoned his paint box to start a new and spectacularly unsuccessful life as a stocking maker. Stockings may have satisfied the inner man but did little to sustain the outer one. Starving, Pegg was forced to return in 1813 to his former work at the Derby China Works, filling pages of a sketchbook with elegant florists' tulips which later found their way onto Derby's porcelain. After seven years, plagued once more by religious scruples, he left the Derby factory for good and died destitute in 1851.
A sad story but one not likely to be repeated in the era of mass reproduction and knock-offs. At least, it is difficult to image another such case of renunciation.

And so for day 323
02.11.2007

Word Associations

On the talker Madhouse there is a game of word association that reminds one of the practices of renga. Days will go by before a response comes forward. Sometimes within one day there will be a run.

(Jul 5 18:20) From Yred: team
(Jul 12 20:39) From Light: mate
(Jul 13 08:53) From Durmitt: ship
(Jul 14 10:36) From Yred: shape
(Jul 14 15:06) From Light: shift
(Jul 14 23:58) From Mav: gears
(Jul 17 17:10) From Yred: landing
(Jul 17 17:19) From Durmitt: crash
(Jul 18 10:48) From Light: burn
(Jul 19 14:24) From Durmitt: sun
(Jul 19 16:52) From Yred: shine
(Jul 22 01:34) From Mav: gloom
(Jul 22 19:31) From Durmitt: doom



(Sep 21 17:51) From Light: float
(Sep 27 18:01) From Yred: boat
(Sep 29 05:30) From Razor: titanic
(Sep 30 00:57) From Mav: sink
(Sep 30 19:56) From Yred: kitchen
(Oct 6 22:54) From Mav: cook
(Oct 8 17:40) From Yred: book
(Oct 9 15:55) From Light: worm



(Jan 25 17:55) From Light: delivery
(Jan 26 17:03) From Yred: midwife
(Jan 31 22:16) From Mav: nanny
(Feb 2 19:35) From Yred: goat
(Feb 5 16:56) From Light: cheese
(Feb 6 18:09) From Yred: sticks
(Feb 8 17:00) From Light: stones
It is sometimes fun to read the sequence in reverse from bottom up.

And so for day 322
01.11.2007