Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Amber Foyer

Rain, Steam and Speed: The Great Western Railway by William Turner

We have many words for things that we aren't sure of: God. Love. Meaning. Each of us borrows them, like the color Yellow. What we paint, on whom we smear: these creations are our responsibilities as we mix them on the palettes of our memories, thoughts, and desires.

For me, yellow is always the light of the amber glass bricks around the front door in the townhouse in Sacramento, specifically in the August afternoons of 1977—when all I had to do was open the door and I could pass into the City where I would meet him as his guide. He was a short man with bulging eyes. A hunted man and I alone knew how to help him. My dress was as beautiful, like a painting of a train hurtling over a bridge and into an explosion of gold cloud and a river of sunlight.

And I knew that the Temple of the Cats—where they lounge in statuary and streaked jasmine—was where could find the answer. We waited on the roof, listening to the drums as the sunset swallows the towers and the tiles, touching them like copper and persimmons until the night comes. He shyly said the Moon was prettier reflected in my eyes than in the sky.

This was Khandormand, and it would be there in the morning. “I’ve lost my ticket” he said. It did not matter. Outside were the markets and bazaars that hid treasure, phoenixes, orphans and burning censors of myrrh and frankincense.

Or were they simply olive trees and stucco walls? The smoke from burning rice paddies? A watercolor copy of an oil painting? Or  did I find them all in the Year of the Cat?

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Deukollectrum: Laundry

It is not a question of how much of our lives we spend pushing the rock up the hill. We are always doing that. What amazes us is how much we do not notice. But we are so used to our task that our conscious mind seldom notices.
The slope is long and steep, but if you stop and look at it at all, you’ll feel that piece of feldspar start to move and you will be reminded, perhaps only glancingly, that the rock will fall down the hill and you will have to start all over again. Which of course you will have to do anyway, but living in the moment allows precludes that sort of thinking.
But is this blissful ignorance really pushing the rock? Is it an unintended gift left on the slope by an otherwise unfeeling, indifferent universe? 
When I am sitting here watching my laundry go around and around (it is not merely metaphorical, but analogous) I seldom think that I will be wearing it. I don’t think about that plum colored thong I like to wear when I’m feeling dangerous. I try not to think or even see the blouses I wear at the office, nor do I imagine the poses I’ll manage in the yoga pants. When I put the Breton shirt on I feel like some ludicrous extra in the Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and I like that feeling.

This is an excerpt in draft form from The Deukollectrum: which is a collection of many blog postings from this Webtraption along with some longer essays that I have been working on as of late. What is it about?

It's about Albert Camus, The Odyssey, Heraclitus, Louise Brooks, Du Fu, my Mother, Captain Ahab and just about anything else. It is large, it contains multitudes and it contradicts itself. David is illustrating it. It is, much like laundry. Always in some part of the cycle.

As a result, I won't be posting material here all that much. Perhaps a few things like the text above, but please check back once in a while for announcements.

Deukollectrum is my own coinage. I'll explain it later.

Thursday, December 28, 2017


Ready for New Year's, Hogmanay or Whatever Else 2018 brings
At this time of year I often write some pithy essay about time and mutability and the arbitrariness of human calendars.

In a way, I just did it again, but this year I will refrain from cluttering the Web (even in my very small way) with iterative musings.

The River of Heraclitus rolls on.

I will say that in addition to this wonderful new dress I have for New Year's Eve, some new changes will be coming to the Hagengard website soon.

It's time to revise it into something of a portmanteau philosophy. There may even be a "system" underneath it all.

(But I will never make claims to being an Academic Philosopher, even when they consider the term to be redundant)

Most likely this will mean less blogging on my part which will probably come as a relief to many of you. I have work to do and David wishes to sell some of his artwork here, and we now have a catalog of publications that is sadly underrepresented in this current form.

No, I have no idea how long reconstruction of the website will take since the Studio itself is physically moving to Bremerton. I am happy about the move since I will often be on the MV Chimacum on a long and contemplative ferry run. And if you're wondering why we're moving, well, go and read some of my Berlin series and connect the metaphoric dots.

In the coming year I will be working on a new novel and David will be working on his artwork; he recently got a piece accepted into the CVG Show for 2018 in Bremerton so he is quite happy about it.

Jointly, we'll be working on refashioning the blog work and "taking it down" so if you read this thing, sift through the links to the right because it will all go away at some point in 2018 to be revised, re-illustrated (where need be) and ensconced in a book collection along with new material.

More detail as they come, or we might just spring it on you.

Happy New Year

Love, Ada

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Happy Holidays

All of us here at Hagengard Studios wish you a happy and restful end to the year and the beginning of a new one.

No, I won't go into my usual digressions and side-roads of time and mutability and whether or not the Hope left in Pandora's Box was really a remaining evil. Before I get lost in the aspects of perspective, I just prefer to watch Rashomon again.

But it's also time for some new. We're going to be taking something of a long holiday break and so I have an Announcement: will likely be changing quite a bit. I have decided to collect more of my previous work into centralized texts, and new work will go into zines. The Berlin series is a good example of something I should have just put in a zine to begin with.

David wants a better portfolio for artwork, and we need a better marketing platform. When will these changes occur? I'm not entirely sure about that, but in the meantime, go buy a copy of The Deerwhere Awakening by my colleague J.W. Capek.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Place for Words
Language may be one of our most reassuring proofs against solipsism: the conviction that everything beyond ourselves is suspect and perhaps not even real. But then again, I just summarized that for you and if you can read English as it is currently transcribed in the early 21st Century, then you must have learned it from someone else.

You could disagree with me (and with Ludwig Wittgenstein) but you would still need to understand what I’ve written; you would have learned how to understand what I wrote in order to disagree with the statement.

Maybe it’s because we take language for granted. We can all think and speak. Most of us can write something, even it’s a text.

But there are many of us who have this unfortunate affliction where we simply must write. We write narratives, we write poetry, we write our guts, our butts and our brains out all over blank pages, Google docs, Moleskines and copier paper pinched from work because we can’t afford Moleskines.

Note the Writer. She’s agitated, most by the world but also by her own mind which is constantly reforming it into different words. Note the poet. The language of his Oakland childhood and a logic proof are synthesizing their sounds, quite naturally, into a personal explication that discloses the systemic racism surrounding him since birth.

The memoirist is coming to understand her husband’s silent post-traumatic stress from the bodies he silenced in the Second World War and his own silence in life and the grave. The entomologist erases Robert Browning to recover the social life of bees.

You. What are you writing?
All of this blatant scorn against solipsism, in words beautiful and coarse, allows writers to reforge themselves as they deliver these intimacies to us: gifts to strangers that we may grow and change. As Richard Hugo said, Writing is a Lonely Business. Writers need some place to gather, to learn, and to teach. They need some place to know “I belong there. There are other writers.”

As a writer myself, it’s not an exaggeration to say that I owe my existence to Richard Hugo House. So at the end of the year, and during this crucial time of structural revision I would ask you to remember Hugo House in donations and in communication with your legislative representatives. We all want to matter. An easy way to do so is let your state reps and senators know that Hugo House matters.

I’m not being metaphorical: Hugo House itself is being physically transformed into a place writers can call their home for many years to come and that miracle of language can continue to bring our hearts and minds together in dialogue, love, and exploration. It needs our help, our love and the attention that gives life to the words we write and read.

Support Hugo House

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


In the months before you died, I began to question, when had you stopped walking in front of me? Perhaps you had stopped to smell something, some new scent. And neither of us noticed that I walked on, oblivious of the watershed. I think it was when our ages shifted places in the relative terms of our years. I was middle aged at 43 and you were old at 13.

I remember the rhythm of our steps through the leaves when you followed me. I abandoned the rush of youth in that strolling, gregarious dark of Fall.

In the tempo, and chromatic scale of yellow to orange, red and brown the Autumn owns, you taught me that each leaf was a note, and unique in scent and tone: because of where it was and when it was.

You taught me that even in the most iterative of days, each smelled different, was different, just as the nights deepened and stretched the call for comfort within the sarabande of November.

And then you were gone. Perhaps just over there where I could not see you. You always liked to slip away. But the old pathways aren't the same, because you are with me on them all

-Part of the Ramble Calendar this was originally published as Autumnal Sarabande in D-Minor.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Berlin 7

After his graveyard shift, the first thing he does is drink a salty dog. The next thing he does is drink another. He honors the simple whims that compel him and eats breakfast for dinner, living in absurdity as a well-tuned machine.

He found himself a nearly useless job in the public sector where he monitors water flows and does not think about Heraclitus. He still reads newspaper comics and understands the medium is dying.

"But isn't everything?" He thinks while they tear down another old building. He wonders about the bar, but he figures he'll go first. Death is the most personable and variable of abstractions, you know.

He reads The Stranger because he read it when he moved here all those years ago. He thinks about the City's sense of equity and social justice; its commitment to astronomical property values; its homeless population; its pandering to corporate welfare. He drinks six or seven salty dogs, goes home and passes out.