Lot of yard work today. Also a lot of unproductive staring at the screen. I'm on the cusp of something in Appearances that I can't yet articulate to myself, let alone anyone else.
Have started dipping into Thinking with Whitehead: A Free and Wild Creation of Concepts by Isabelle Stengers (Harvard, 2011). I'm only a few pages into the body of the text, after first reading Bruno Latour's brilliant Foreword, but already the sense that this is a book which is going to matter to me.
Bobby Keys wailing away on sax.
Lately in Appearances I've been doing a lot of re-writing of the most recent fragment. Tuning it up. And then, several times, I've moved on and written a follow-up installment and wound up deleting it. It's frustrating. I keep seeing the characters in my mind's eye. They're metaphysical cartoons which are as real to me as anything I know.
OK. Maybe I should go and attempt some guitar "boxes."
I call the high E string the first string and the low E string the 6th string because that's what I cobbled together from a self-instruction manual. I've seen some contradictory things on the internest.
Sometimes I think the internest should stick to cat videos.
Sometimes I think I should have stuck with air guitar.
I progress very slowly with the guitar and then I get stuck. Lot of fumbly stuckness lately. That's not a fret board, it's a fart barred. And pressure's building.
Of course, getting stuck is part of the process of learning. At least it has always been so for me. I learn in eccentric and asymmetrical ways.
I keep returning to this passage from the all too brief essay:
"Love in Proust, like the physical interaction of bodies in Spinoza, certainly arrives as an event, outside the march of time, unforeseeable. And yet the event only takes place in an encounter, when multiplicities come into relation with one another and form a new composition. This encounter does not deny the transformative powers of the event, but rather forces them to work in time. Conceiving of love in this way, as a physics of multiplicities and a process of composition, is useful because, in addition to destroying any notion of two individuals becoming one in love, it poses love as a transformational process--one of both rupture and composition." (8)
Waiting with trepidation for the thunder storms which are supposed to roll through soon. Nervous about trees, gutters, etc.
Been working hard at Appearances, but progress is very slow. I write, I rewrite, I delete and rewrite again.
After carefully, and very slowly, reading through the Appearances manuscript I was able to get my fears in check and realize that I like what I've done so far. After almost 17 months of working on this beast, it was good to have a reality check. I'd been prepared to jettison large chunks, the whole project, for that matter, if it didn't seem like it worked. But, strangely, I think it does. Even though I don't know where it's going from moment to moment.
The past two weeks I've felt stymied, unable to proceed with the book. Today I wrote three new sections which I think are quite good.
This is the most ambitious writing project I've ever undertaken. I'm now about 2/3 of the way through a first draft. This probably isn't very interesting to read about, but it feels like a personal milestone to me.
and his wife Molly Mason spent some time with me in Oberlin, Ohio
The three of
us started out in the Allen Art Museum.
Tom ( in addition to being a poet, critic, guitarist and budding bel
canto singer) is a painter. Molly is a
wandering from painting to painting—to sculpture—to ceremonial mask—to performance
document with these two. The
conversation was great, spiked with anecdote and passion. I love this couple.
particularly loved how Molly could look at a passage in a painting and break it
down materially—that beautiful gold in the drapery of that renaissance dress is
this and that color, but look how it has been transformed. The appreciation and honoring of detail!
discordant moment in the museum. We
spent a long time thinking out loud about an African fertility mask. Our hands were waving close to the extraordinary
object. We were speculating about how it
would be worn and about how it was made.
A security guard approached us, gently, and asked us what we were doing.
explained. Molly thanked him for not
beating us up!
Later Tom and I
separated off from Molly (with her consent) to lunch and talk about divers
lunch was at an Asian fusion place. I had a great pho and Tom had an Asian
conversation was about writing, poetry friends, and guitar techniques. Tom has been playing guitar since 1968 and he
drew some fret board diagrams for me that I’m hoping penetrate this noggin and playing
feel better after an encounter with Thomas Fink. He’s a positive force in the universe I
inhabit. Bless his heart.
Blossoms is a selection of poems spanning the years 1955-2013. A publication in celebration of Alex's 70th birthday (as one can read on the cover reproduced above). It's only 50 pages long ,only 50 pages (it's really never been about size for me), but worlds are contained in its words.
There's much good stuff in this collection, but I'm really fond of the 17 part sequence Life is Art. I want to call attention to part 11:
don't be redundant
You can buy the book direct from Night Ballet Press here.