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:

Hagengard.com 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

https://hugohouse.org/
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

November

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.


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Berlin 6

When no one else is around the barista whose commute is almost two hours via 3 buses both ways because she cannot afford to live anywhere close to the City;

And her mother takes care of her two daughters for most of the day because she works two jobs: one here at the cafe and the other at the hospital so that she often doesn't see her daughters awake during the work week;

And you have just walked out door with your effete coffee order, but not before hitting on her by asking if it is caliente like her, like the jalapeno popper you equate her with somewhere down in Cabo, which she doesn't care about because she's from Ecuador...

...yes, when no one else is around

And she is out of view of the security camera, does Consuela, say a prayer for intercession by her namesake?

Does Consuela frown?

Monday, October 16, 2017

Berlin 5

This City we live in is nothing of what Berlin was. My illustrator and I are simply posers, in love with the idea of Entartete Kunst and what it can show and tell.

When did it all start? 25 years ago.

The comparison is somewhat absurd. We know what came after the Weimar Republic, and fortunately the Bad Guys lost the War.

That time.

They don’t always, you know.

25 years ago we moved here, not knowing what would happen. Not knowing the City would outgrow its need of us, and others like us.

I suppose a lot of relationships end this way. Don't worry, Seattle. We're getting out of your way.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Berlin 4

You know her. She lives in this affluent city.

She’s yelled herself horse on the steps of City hall. The police killed her son and raped her with a nightstick. Maybe. She’s yelling it at the top of her lungs in January wearing only a contractor bag and a Patagonia vest she got at the group home before it closed.

Does it really matter at that point whether it ‘really happened’ or not? Who are you to ask at that point? You cannot look her in the face. What is it there that terrifies you? You look down, or away and tell yourself she chose this path.

If she just tried harder. If she stayed off the drugs I take in acceptable, purified pharmaceutical form. She must want to be like this, right?

I can’t wait until she grows to 500 feet tall and comes uptown to point her long brown finger nail at you before she turns you into stone.