Tuesday, October 31, 2023

The Squonk


Dear All Hallows,

Here at the Dodo, we read this swell book, a bestiary, and this, this beautiful creature was under 'S,' the Squonk.  I have painted you a picture of it, all dissolvens in state.  I plan to search for Squonks now, everywhere I go.  I have certainly heard them many a time, and seen the puddle of tears they became.

If you aren't of a mind to hunt the Squonk, you might be in the mood to paint one, or, perhaps even, discover (invent) a new beast, or even, write a personal bestiary of your own.

And if none of that sounds remotely appealing, odds are, you'll be able to find a piece of chocolate someplace today, and good hunting!


We got our Book of Imaginary Beings at the wonderful Henry Miller Library.  I hope you will get a chance to visit it one day; it is one of my favorite places.

Friday, October 27, 2023

becomes crimson


Untitled, Mary Vaux Walcott, 1872, in the collection of the Smithsonian.

Dear Turning,

Oh!  This is a treat!  Deep fried leaves!  Can you deny the fabulousness of a planet with inhabitants who would invent such a thing!?  I remain, impressed, and on-world, as ever!  May your Autumn be packed with treats!

Friday, October 20, 2023

the end of a week


Dear Darlings,

This week, I have been at work.  What work is, well, that is a question of serious thought here at the Dodo.  Work, at least for now, shall be defined as anything, any time, that is given to another to satisfy their expectations.  Let's unpack this notion further!

A definition for work.  Let's say you made a date to meet a person for a meeting to discuss childcare or your living trust.  That, is work.  The other fellow is getting paid for that meeting, and you may not be, but either way, pay or not, that is work.  You leave the meeting, and you don't have any other engagements for the day.  A friend says, shall we get a coffee, walk in the park, go bowling?  These three could be play.  But, they might be work, too.  The getting a coffee would be work if you wanted to go home and read a book, but you said, okay to the coffee, because you felt your relationship with coffee asking person needed it.  Like a plant, maybe you felt this relationship begin to wilt, so you agree to water it, even when you are thinking you are sad to miss your favorite on air dj while you get this coffee and water this relationship.  That, is work.

If you get up in the morning and the day is all yours, you have a shot at play.  In this definition, play is that which no one else expects of you.  You read a book, you wash the sink, you file your taxes, knit a hat, and you make a drawing.  All play, but ONLY if no one needs you to wash the sink or get the taxes done that day.  The term 'no one' here has to include yourself.  See how hard it is to play, and how easy it is to work?  It's going to take some discipline (travail, peut-être?) to play under these definitions.  

Moreover, or more than that, or more than this, notice how time is a big part of the distinguishing factor between play and work.  If it is needed at a certain time, it will probably end up being work (eg: the filing of taxes).  But this can be usurped by doing a task (work; yes or no?) when it is not needed.  When no one is waiting for it, or expecting it.

Sharp readers are now thinking, 'huh, sounds like I barely play at all!'  Well, that is surely true for me, so it is probably true for you, too.  We get now to a phrase I like, 'serving at will.'  This also can modify time from work to play.  Here is an example:  I make a pie to give to someone.  They are not expecting a pie, I made no pie(crust) promises.  Pie making, in this instance is play.

Play is a pretty shy animal, it spooks at the slightest whiff of need or duty.  Consider this: Fun or work?  Recording it might have made it work.

Ah, but what was I telling you, anyway?  Yes, I am at work this week, and so, I am writing to you from the past, from a time when writing to you was neither needed nor expected, and so, I am at play now, but when you read this, I will be at work.  It is nearly the end of my work week, and I feel like a little dance party, to celebrate.  See you next week, when I will be doing my best to be back at play for the remainder of the year!

Bring On the Dancing Horses



All the Pretty Horses

Monday, October 16, 2023

sense comma common


Dear Friends to Whom I May Owe a Lifelong Apology,

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the library the other day; I noticed, thinking about an article I'd read on a study they'd done that proved no one had an innate 'sense' of direction, for the first time, that I was a veritable fount of trivial information.  Beyond just trivial, out-moded, even disproved knowledge.  Possibly even false-at-this-point-in-time information.

I had thought, in the years gathering this knowledge, that it was what we were supposed to do, as humans: we were to collect, learn, gather as much info about ourselves and our environs as possible (role model:  Mr. Spock?).  I also thought it might come in handy 'someday.'  This, of course, is sublimely silly, and not just because we carry pocket computers all day everyday.  The silliness is well illuminated in something I read in Stanislaw Lem's Mortal Engines:  The Pygmelliants, Hoarders of the Absolute, "...collect knowledge, but never use it"...which is how they remain unparalleledly wise.

The deployment of all this (trivial) information may not be wise, even if it could be described as learnèd.  Which simply means all the things that I know, the things I am forgetting, are just as well forgotten.  (Ah, sharp readers, yes, another circle!)  Having the sense to know when to tell it and when not to is something I should have been honing as I collected all this stuff (which, sadly, can't just be sold on Ebay).  

What I propose to do now, is to apologize for giving this information out, here and there, now and then, all along:  Opps, my bad!  No one likes a know-it-all anyway, and that's not trivial knowledge, that is a kind of truism, that we all know somehow.  Until the next gaffe, be well!


Affirmative, you should read it; it makes your mind better and your writing sweeter, and it never needs winding.

Friday, October 13, 2023



Dear Ones,

Here is your song of the day!  Temporally, it has nothing to do with today at all, consider it random.  Except, well, randomness is hard to take and hard to make.  

Here is what is on my mind today:  just what all is our self-loathing responsible for, anyway?  It could be a lot.  I know I am pretty motivated by seeming 'nice,' and lately I don't even know what that might mean.  I know I respond often from my low-level shame.  I never thought this stuff was shame; all the little I-screwed-this-and-that-up feelings, but I think, years after someone tried to explain it to me, that it is an ashamedness.

Another great bit of guidance that I struggle to assimilate:  you are not responsible for your parents' feelings.  It's been with me, as a kind of place to get to, a map destination, since a bus stop on the Isle of Wight in 1989.

Here is a more recent one, about 6 or 7 years old now:  Everyone makes mistakes.  Now, I know what you are thinking, everyone has heard that, but when a woman said it to me that time, I understood it differently.  I did not just hear the catch all phrase we use to dismiss little irritations and problems, or the cloying 'don't worry be happy' of its comforting, its reassurance.  I heard 'we cannot live, not even for five minutes, each and every one of us, without making what constitutes a mistake.'

Please let me rephrase again what I heard:  Not 'oh well, no biggie, pas de problème, no worries, it's all good,' etc., but 'all we do, endlessly, ever and anon, is make mistakes, this is called living, and the antithesis of it, the place we are supposed to want to go to, the place of 'perfect' or 'correct' of 'right again' is an unholy place, a prison that builds walls between us, a pit of despair where everyone is against you, and you are alone in your perfection and nothing else can breathe there- no insects, no plants, no flowers, no time.'

Random thoughts?  I think not.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

S. I. L. No. 2.


Goofy Gophers, in I Gopher You.

Dear Nighttime,

Other programs here on the Dodo include: Song of the Day, Ground Plane Pictures, Your Girl Friday, Dance Party Friday, and this is the latest offering, Sounds I Love, or S. I. L. for short.

The second edition of Sounds I  Love:

The out the bedroom window, deep into nighttime sound of the gopher chewing roots underground!