Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ouroboros I

public domain image of ouroboros
We must learn to doubt, and so doubting becomes doubtful.

This process not only becomes manifest in language—the circularity of the above statement becomes almost comical—but also in the knowledge of our senses.  Escher remains delightful because his work takes us back to when we delighted in illusion.

What fascinates me more is how much—without questioning—we do such epistemology.

Consciousness is forever eating its own tail.

*Ouroboros image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Fairies on Ferries: Elise


wood-cut illustration style of fairy sitting on sun deck of Washington State Ferry at Sunset. Fairy is dressed in Ferry Worker uniform, and has Japanese maple leaves for wings.

Sunset is a good liminal time for meeting fairies on the ferries. I met Elise one evening on the way to Bainbridge Island. She likes to pet dogs on the sundeck, and will take a picture of you and your loved ones with Seattle or Mt. Rainier in the background so you don't have to take an awkward selfie and look foolish. If you want to really get in her good graces, simply leave a Mighty-O cinnamon doughnut out as an offering. Just don’t leave your bags unattended or she’ll throw them off the boat.

Elise said that unlike many of her kind, Inland Boatelves have no aversion to iron or steel, which makes sense if you spend a lot of time on the MV Tacoma and other ferries. When I asked about her wings she said that she was born without them. When she came of age she picked two leaves from her favorite tree—a Japanese maple in the University of Washington Arboretum—and whispered a spell over them and placed them on her back. The rest is magic of course.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Cherries and Worms

Woodcut-style cartoon of two women. One is holding up a bunch of cherries the other has a large earthworm coming out of her mouth. Worm looks like it is considering the cherries.
Stupidity is doomed to cower at every syllable of Wisdom.

Really?

How can a worm even know the color of cherries?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Tall Glass of Water

a glass of water
Sometimes a glass of water in the desert is only that.

It is not evidence of a fountain, a well, nor oasis.

It is a glass of water.

I cannot bathe in it. I can't lie down next to it at night and enjoy the coolness it brings. I cannot sail away upon it.

But how much more important it is in a desert, rather than in some saturated place.

Here, I don't notice the glass of water, which is it's own unique event. I ignore the world it reflects and refracts. The swirl of aeration within. How it tastes.

It keeps me alive for one more day, and I should be grateful for its passing.

Life on the edge

Cartoon-image of young tanned woman in a bikini crouching at the edge of a precipice.
Life on the edge, what we call yearning—at that age when we first learn to love—hurts.

I remember:

That when I leap, I die. I die when I retreat from the brink as well.

But is death in different ways the same thing?

Or merely the same word?

I could say change but as an abyss, change does not have the same depth.

If I move back—that is only in language because the back I return to isn't. Coming here, to this place— has changed everything.

Or rather, everything dies in this moment.

I was and remain afraid to jump because I would look foolish.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Remainder

Paul Constant writes a fascinating behind the scene take on remainder tables and the books that grace them at The Seattle Review of Books. The story is of Mark Mouser who is retiring from the venerable University Bookstore here in Seattle.

It's very much worth a read.

Mark and Paul's handling of this made me grateful, especially when the discussion comes around to authors finding their books on the table. Robert Michael Pyle is quoted as being not one of the upset authors who feels that the remainder table gives "second life" to a book.

I'll add a bit to that.

As a struggling, largely unknown writer I dream of being on the remainder table! After all, it means I at least got published and maybe someone else is going to read my book, and that is what it's mostly about for me. I long ago gave up any notion of making an actual living at this vocation. But when someone I don't know mentions me, or that they liked a particular line, I feel wonderful. Not because it stokes my ego although there is some of that to be sure.

No! It's that fragile, unforeseen connection I've made with another human being. I felt this long ago reading other writers, and occasionally I get to share that with them. Louise Erdrich being a prime example. I got to meet God once when She was at Seattle Arts & Lectures and She was as inspiring, intelligent, gracious and beautiful as her novels.

Have I bought some of her books on remainder? Of course. When I wanted one, and I didn't have a lot of money (see "struggling" aspect above). So if you are a writer on a tight budget, (and I know few who aren't), remainder books can help fill the gap between buying new and the library. (Both highly recommended as well.)

And there is the serendipity that Mouser mentions in the article as well. You never know what you'll find there. A chance discovery that Amazon's algorithms still can't match, as far as I'm concerned.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Hard at work

Wood-cut-style cartoon of woman asleep in bed.

In the morning, I paraphrase a fragmentary metaphor that explains how important sleeping is.
"Even when I am fast asleep, my soul is hard at work to make something of the world."
Is the world absurd because we use metaphors to explain and vindicate it? Sleep is not Work, nor is it Rest, per se. How can I say it is easy or hard when I don't remember most of it?

So I lie a bit without thinking, even though supposedly I am. Isn't Sleep lying without thinking? Part of the time, anyway.

But I want you to know Sleep is important so I choose words (which are a translation) that do something in this conversation. Are we in agreement? That Work is valued?

What is the world I am making? Another question. And yet when I compare the worlds of my life—waking or sleeping—I don't remember either of them save mostly in abstraction, which is here in these words: alien sticks and curves in the realm of a God I cannot name.

I do not really need to. I'd like to go back to work.