Friday, June 28, 2024

Where the hell have you two been?


Freedom soundsystem.

Dear Unknown to Me,

Hey!  I love your voices- I can't believe I never knew you before now!  My DJ just played Norma Fraser's version, and it got me to thinking about who else has recorded this song, which is how I found P. P. Arnold.  Here they both are, and sounding so beautiful, on Radio Dodo, your Friday Dance Party tracks for the second Friday of summer!

The First Cut.

The Second First Cut.

Oh, it's so good; let's have some more!

The Third.

The Fourth.  (Oh!  Such a White Orchestral intro!  Amazing!  It gets so deeply maudlin, hymnal, Country & Western, doesn't it?)

The Fifth.

The Sixth.

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

keeping it together & the emotional labor blues


Guy Debord

Dear Workers,

You come to a time, and that time could be now, when you find yourself deep in a task that you thought you'd seen the last of.  You unbend from your load, straight up into an Awareness that you have been here before.  

You have been holding things together for 9 hours straight, and this is the 4th day of such straight-i-tude, and you have NOT barked at anyone, nor have you burst into tears at the total futility of it all; no, you have patiently suffered all the minor slings and arrows, all the grim facts (such as: no one even noticed that I got the food!  No one said thank you when I washed all those dishes!  I told that story to keep the ball rolling and people said I was stupid for not 'correcting' the hapless person in the story!), and you notice that you have done this easily 1,000 times.  Ah, no, not easily, but uncomplainingly, is my point.  You have held it together for your friends, your family, your work colleagues, all without a single error, and also without a single notice.  

The thing here, that I am trying to tell you, is that the thanks wouldn't even cover it at this point, and the real terrible thing, as you straighten up into that aforementioned Awareness, is that what you really want is to be able to avoid these Kind of Situations where you step into the Keep It All Together person role, where you are lifting everyone's emotional baggage up, up, up again!  

As for my own complicity in this, I know, that just like my father has often said, when asked what he might need (vis-à-vis: tools) while undertaking some harebrained repair job, "I need to have my head examined!"

PS  Your song for today is Career Opportunities!  And, this one, too.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

a June tune


Courtesy of Hyperfine.

Dear Listener,

Here is your song for today; indeed, your tune for June!  It's a lovely, fugue-y spiral of a song- may you love it as much as I!  Happy Solstice!

PS More ways to see what the sun is up to.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

I was going....


Dear You,

Hey, it's me again.  I had to write again, because I don't want to read even One More Word before I tell you something.  It's because it changes me, all the words, all the ideas; it makes me doubt my feelings, my memories, and mostly that is fine, but I really want to explain something in my own way, before it has slipped into the shadow of what The Real Writers have said.  (n.b. I believe there are actually only two modes, two verby places you can be:  Writing, or not writing.  Both are very real.  The funny bit is that there is no difference until there is this complimentary (symbiotic? parasitic?) action place that you can be:  Reading, or not reading).  

Well that is more than the usual amount of instructions, isn't it?  It's just my way of beating about the bush, hoping to feel more at home with my topic.  Let me start again:

Title:  Worldbuilding.

Dear You,

It's something about world-making. About the audience, about who it is for, this thing you make, you made.  It wasn't a castigation for me to be a mom, it was a redirecting, a new audience for the things, worlds, I made.

At night, I would build great towering block sculptures on a low/coffee table (this table, even, was 'made'; it had been a normal, chair height table; we cut the pedestal in half, and I painted the top of it pale yellow, and the apron with lines from the Wordsworth poem about daffodils), and my son (which is not how I have trained myself to say it, I avoid it, the damned 'my.' Not my son, but a son of mine, a person, who exists with or with out my mineness), my son would wake each morning and hurry down to topple these block towers.  It was a percussive, joyful destruction that was the start of day building for and with him.  A railroad, a story book, a cake, a drawing, a mess.  I made these things for an audience of one, and it was the most appreciative audience you can imagine- utterly devoted.  He loved everything I did, and I loved everything he did.  Occasionally there was some kind of sense of my value from an external point of view that tripped me up, that made me worry I was nothing, or that I should be doing something else.  The work of it, performing mother, performing family, felt great to me; it was only the occasional intrusion of the outside world, another world, that had me wondering.  Someone would say, 'can't he make his own sandwich,' and I would feel terrible, like I had stolen his independence and subjugated my own.  When you are very high, you can also fall to a very low down, I guess.

You can say what you want about the artistic impulse and vocation, but when I make something, a painting say, or these words here, these writings, I want someone to see them, I want an audience, a witness to my construction, and when you do something for someone, when you make them a sandwich, a scarf, an afternoon of conversation, you are getting your audience.  The thing that you make and the audience are totally interchangeable.  You make a party, you make a statement, you write a letter, you write a poem.  You give it to friends, family, a publisher (so they can reject it).  

This has been on my mind for years, this contrary feeling I have about being a mother, about having been a mother.  It was the same for me, to make a stuffed velvet ball with a jingle bell in it, or a wooden rattle, as to make a sculpture; the difference only was in that the child really, really appreciated it, thought it was magic to have made it.  I have not received such acknowledgement of my art from anyone else.

A trouble arises in me still; a concern that this makes me soft, un-ambitious, a flabby feminist.  But I hope that maybe you will read this and find it acceptable, this delineation of the truth of my experience... instead of continued hiding and hoping that no one notices how good I had it, how much fun it was to be appreciated as a builder of worlds, a maker The World.  

Friday, June 14, 2024

skate day: 2200

Dear Old Companions: Effort, Progress, Betterment, Frustration, and Okay-ness,

I am trying to re-arrange my mind's stupid hierarchies.  You know the ones I mean, the best, better, goal-oriented, value-praising, A for effort-izing that we do to ourselves, when, there must be, must be a way of less absurdity, of less striving and hunting, seeking and straining.  I want the effortlessness of the behavior of gravity on water, of rain, or dust motes that float in light.  No, I don't mean in my skating (although, yes, of course!), I mean in my thinking about the past and future of my skating.  Yeah, I want the now, and I bet you do too, but there it comes again: why is this only as far as you have come?  I don't mean the raw number of days; those are immutable facts and they are fine, very fine:  2200 days of skating.  The Trouble lies in other metrics; the Progress.  How I wish I'd never met Progress!  Blah; I hate him!   

Still, from these broken bits of feelings and memories, let me try to make something we can use:  my message today, from the land of daily skating, is that we cannot let our goal be to 'get better,' because sometimes we don't improve, we don't progress, we might, even, Never Actually Get There.  "There" in this case being a three-turn that finishes in skating on the skating foot, with the other remaining suspended above the floor.  Even for a second!!!   This is sounding like Frustration, and there has been some, certainly, but I am aiming for a place where even that is okay.  I think pretending might lead to embodiment, so let us spend the final paragraph pretending towards a non-goal, an okay-ness.

Next time we talk about roller skating, another 100 days may have passed, and I may have tried the Forward Outside Three Turn another 1,000 times, and I may not have tried it even once, but, we will meet here and I will suggest that skating is it's own reward, although, that reward is not conventional, not transferable, and not Valuable.  The reward is the non-reward, the entirely voluntary nature of rolling with wheels on your feet for no reason, heading no-where.  It's a feeling you maybe forgot, but you probably had it when you were a kid:  a feeling that you are building your own thing, here, this experience of life, and it was all yours.  I won't use that abused and manipulating four letter word that starts with f, but you know what I mean.

PS  Here is a fine tune for today, and what a glorious cavalcade of roller skaters!

Monday, June 10, 2024

a even paler white room


The Tree, 1964, Agnes Martin.  If it feels like you aren't getting it, try this interpretation.

Dear Radio Dodo Head,

We got a car, a new car, about 2 years ago, and it came with a lot of Modern Stuff, including a satellite radio subscription (which ran out, and then we had to buy it, because addiction is like that), and, wonder of wonders, it has a channel on it playing elevator music 24/7!  I think I am actually not supposed to tell you this, this is the 'guilty pleasure' you read about and think:  What the hell?  You are making a confession of chocolate ding dongs?  Seriously?  Anyway, the ding dong doesn't taste like I remember it, but the muzak still sounds like muzak, and I love listening to it. 

It was born for me to love, and for you to love too; like the pointless cat cafe 'game' you have on your cell phone; muzak is built to couple with your dopamine receptors.  When you occasionally surface from the euphoria induced by the engineered perfection of this sonic morphine drip, you notice that the song, the music's re-arrangement reveals details & structures you did not see before.  It is like an aerial view of your very familiar neighborhood.  You know this song, you know it like crazy, comme ta poche, and here it is, made new, made alien, made deeper.  You suddenly hear the echoes of the music of the ages in say, Desperado; you hear the 1950's in a song, the 1600's, even the liturgical chant of the middle ages.  You achieve a oneness with the song that would not occur with just another listening to the usual version.  It's like seeing with x-ray eyes, or being shown the insides of the pocket watch;  ah, so that's what makes it tick!

Hearing this song instrumentalized (a song I love for its surreal and mysterious narrative:* Who is this miller?  What is his tale?) it was unveiled as a stately processional suitable for a graduation, wedding, or funeral!  How could I have missed that?   Check it out, it is your song for the day!

* And for its bustle-in-the-hedgerow-y Britishness!  Take another, White Room for example, it makes a fine pairing.  More is more, comme d'habitude.

Friday, June 7, 2024

something sweet


Dear Y'all,

Can you believe the beauty of these?  Do you know that they are not beach glass, but hard candy!  If the trompe-l'œil of it doesn't send you into paroxysms of joy, then, know this: they are different flavors, and what flavors!  I don't recognize them with surety, which is another delightful aspect of this wonderful gift from a colleague.  There is one kind of herbal one, varied citrus flavors, cinnamon, and one that is root beer-esque, which I believe to be horehound, which is a great word just to say!  I love this small jar of kindness very much, and especially as it was so unexpected and thoughtful!

Thursday, June 6, 2024

oddly satisfying


Dear Reader,

The phrase, the two word combination is oddly satisfying, but what do people mean in saying it?  Is it a satisfaction that feels odd, or is it odd that it feels satisfying?  Because, finding yourself satisfied is an odd feeling, for sure;  I don't think we give much attention to how we feel and whether it is odd, or satisfying.  

The thing I find sometimes, and it is odd, I guess, or at least rare, is a feeling of elation.  Or a dawning giddiness.  A sudden awareness of lightness.  Oh, and it is also like when you get to yell "bingo" because you have filled in your board; Bingo is such a metaphor for my emotional landscape!  Maybe yours, too?  You are working away, listening, putting markers on the co-ordinates, focused on the task at hand, and then, pow!  Bingo!  Up you jump (figuratively) from the flow of attention to a big burst of extroverted yelling.  It's a marvel of experience, playing Bingo.

You may need convincing- it isn't strategic; but you have to pay attention.  I used to play in our community center as a 13 year old; a lot of people older than I were there, and you played for a dime, so when you won, when you bingoed, you'd get a paper cup with maybe $2.70 in it.  I really loved the way this game brought people of different ages into the same, focused space.  It's odd, yes, and satisfying, too.

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

bonus bag!


Dear Had Enough,

I know, I know, but this one is so great!  All the bags and baskets here are great!

Monday, June 3, 2024

unneeded, last


Dear Patients,

This is it, our last unneeded bag!  I need to go now, and clean out my purse!

Sunday, June 2, 2024

unneeded, no. 7


Dear Purse Strings,

Wouldn't you love, just love, to open up this bag and take out an apple?  More beautiful wood things at Salakauppa.

Saturday, June 1, 2024

unneeded, or?


Dear Shoulder Strapped,

This acorn bag is my favorite of this week o'bags!  See it, maybe even buy it, here.