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5.14.2004

passion from a flammable skirt (before she new it was on fire "did she belive, for even one glamorous second, that her passion had arrived?)

I was lifted off the ground, taken from this world of what we call reality to a sub-world of truth incarnate, erotic confidence and buttery smiles. I hungrily read Aimee Bender’s sixteen short stories in The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, in love with her imagination of characters that literally embody their personalities to the fullest—it is their flesh. Her extraordinarily simple yet mischievously and darkly visual language left me sailing and not wanting to land.

A lover is undergoing reverse evolution. Gorilla to sea turtle to salamander to amoeba until she sets him free in the ocean…A hunchback and a pregnant woman who find the most divine spooning position…A woman who gives birth to her mother and then shares the cake still frozen from her funeral. No character is shocked, no scenario too unbelievable – the ocean could turn red from a ruby ring, a man could live normally with a gaping window through his mid section, a mermaid and a imp undercover as ‘normal’ could fall in love in high school, make out under the bleachers. Our insides are outside – psychological and physical are one in the same.

Each of these stories were little candies, not chocolate, but in electric wrappers, sometimes revealing a pit, a hole, density, or fruity juice. I want my writing to be surprising but a tender reality of life’s truths. Give up simile, if she carries weight like a stone on her back, well why not give her a stone backpack. I don’t look for a ‘normal’ life, nor do I think I would be good at one. Adulthood fantasy should not categorized as childlike. Fight, banality, those little sparks become the fuel to a fabulous bonfire. Why see life through square-shaped frames if they can be 3-d and leopard print?

I don’t see the magical side of these stories as being like fairy tales. Yes ice girl and fire girl are neutralized by a handshake, but one is also consumed by passion and the other by sterility. They both need each other but do not want to admit it. Fire girl gets put in jail while ice girl helps patients in the hospital. Are these not two sides of a person, or a story of a relationships between people? When Steven, Mary’s husband, returned from war without lips it was all very frustrating. “That night in bed, he grazed the disc over her raised nipples like a UFO and the plastic was cool on her skin. It felt like they were in college and toying with desk items as sexual objects…I’m over that, Mary thought. I want lips now. I just want the basics.” Does not circumstance have the power to make certain things and relationships odd and forever altered? Lips or not, war changes people. Bender could have had the husband lose an eye or a leg, but what fun would that be? We’ve seen or heard those stories before.

Each of these stories have a beautifully simplistic take on the alternative truth – and I do not see them as unrealistic, rather closer to truth than most things I read. The ugly are beautiful and desired, quirkiness rules over normalcy. The weird girl in high school is actually a mermaid whose hair is alive (really, she can drink beer from it). Erotic passion is vivid but unique – the baker/robber makes love with his girlfriend in heaps of flour or sugar that he buys just for that purpose. Do we all not feel that our expressions of love are unordinary and unique to us?

I strive for these unexplored imagination incarnations – if he acts like a stone, why not be the one in back pasture that I always break a mower blade on. It could just be a story of a girl mowing the field, and be fine at that, or speak to an ocean of individual interpretations. These is what I loved about Bender’s book, the human relationships—however weird or between figures with unusual deformities—carry such a complex set of emotions and interpretations, making it rich and most consumable.


5.12.2004

woah has a week gone by that quickly? forgot to blog last friday, forgot to do a lot of things. left hand in and out of numbness - possibly computer induced? Anyhow, late is sometimes better than never.
victor hernandez cruz...mountains in the north: hispanic writing in the USA.

i got a negative sense - anglo culture the "flame" consuming all that is rich. "in the north of america it is a constant job just keeping ourselves from going looney-tunes , for this is a place where every stupidity is made available for the purpose of jamming the circuits." well, if i am part of that - because i am for classification sake "american" - i'm a bit bummed out. he talks about writers and awareness - of truth - and how american culture drowns everything out, pukes, machine guns. I don't think i can define american. most people i know have ancestors that are not american. i am norweigian and ukranian. i don't shoot iraquis. i don't watch tv. i don't live on preservatives. i could describe the stereotypical american - shopping malls, fast food, the land of the free, protect our way of life - but stereotypes only speak to half-truths. (btw - our way of life? doesn't that involve other cultures and - can anyone define this?) this may be the dominating image in global media, but it doesn't make me proud and it doesn't make me call myself something other than american. i did vow to leave the US if bush gets elected again, however. i hate being represented by something/someone i hate. but i don't claim this personality as everyone american. the photos of iraqi prisoners in the recent news makes me sick and angry. this feeling happens almost every time i catch the news. but i cannot say that is me, i cannot say that is america - i think it's twisted. cultural appreciation is something that americans are known to lack - but americans are everyone and each to their own culture. to fight this soup is weak, not everyone here reads a hispanic work and says once you've read one, you've read them all. i think (and hope) that's an untruth.
Elle - word to axing rational. I thought it was a good word, something i tried to be, but now it sucks all the juices out. leaves my mouth chalky and be like, fine whatever, have fun, right.

and I had the most confirming word experience - when my grandmother (90+ no less) said she hated the word 'commitment.' i said he just doesn't want to be committed and we both said in unison, i hate that word. no doubt.

5.04.2004

just can't get it out of my head after Monday...so here's a little johnny...

Imagine

Imagine there's no heaven,
It's easy if you try,
No hell below us,
Above us only sky,
Imagine all the people
living for today...

Imagine there's no countries,
It isnt hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for,
No religion too,
Imagine all the people
living life in peace...

Imagine no possesions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say Im a dreamer,
but Im not the only one,
I hope some day you'll join us,
And the world will live as one.

5.01.2004

Oh yes, big and small, will be a Plug Poetry reading this May 10th at AD White House, 4:30 pm....and yay, my first reading. I made my portfolio into a little book so hopefully by then it will be all dapper, and if anyone wants one, well they will be free.
melo,phano, and logo
poeia
Well, in order to discern which writing technique I am most comfortable with I have thought about my writing process... I often begin with certain phrases or words that just burrow in, get under my skin, think about falling asleep or in the shower, outside ripping at grass or what have you. Maybe I heard it in a song, most of the time, only the salamders know. Like for the sonnet one, I couldn't stop thinking of a proud stone. I wanted to ask this stone - what makes you so proud? This bizarre question started setting up house in my grey mush and the only way to excile it (if only so that I don't walk to class in a jibberish stupor) is to form it into a writing piece of some sort, to give it some context, make it its own home. Why was I thinking about a proud stone? I couldn't really say. But when I started contemplating it's nesting grounds - well my little boyfriend came to mind. So very unemotional and rigid and satisfied with being detached at the moment (not like it's totally possible to sustain with all that long distance/time monkey poo) but instead of me thinking about him, i was thinking about stones. Was a sort of release in a way, despite the sonnets eventual structural breakdown because there was just way to much trying to pack in there. (Josh point well taken...I could, afterall, write 2!).

Anyhow, to get back on the picking apart of all this 'opeia' shiznits, i should tackle melopoeia stronger...often when finally reading the pieces outloud, "hey that's not what it sounded like in my head!" Maybe my weakest point, sometimes I just like how words look on the page...but I do like talking a lot (more person-person) and when I get in a wordy whitty mood, boy that's fun.

I'm into the creation of images, I did have fun with my "Rockaway" poem, can't remember the assignment, a lot of quick jumping of mind images of my time there, sharing what I see in life is so so good, I like revealing in that way. oooo, that's a lot of commas and phrases. ha I can do that here. But I don't like painting a scene that doesn't amuse me in some way or I feel is somehow unique in that it can be appreciated if brought out in word form.

So...logopoeia you're up. number 1. Words alone are words alone, but boy when the come together with another word that isn't your typical combo number 7, and at first it doesn't make sense and then aahhhahahahha only me it makes perfect sense, and oohh, how beautiful and sweet. my heart is a beehive!

4.23.2004

I wasn't even just a sparkle in papa's eye, but mama did say one day that she would like a girl with blond hair and blue eyes. But they hadn't met yet, both still married to their first spouses, mama just starting out in Pakistan probably working on her book, or maybe in Greece, or somewhere in the world, papa in between Sweden and India/Pakistan, both very hip and very beautiful. It's all kind of a big smudge in my memory: this is what they were doing before I was born, and other events? One month before and one month after my birthday, 10 years earlier happened the following: Supreme Court of the United States rules on Roe v. Wade (Jan.22);
George Foreman breaks Joe Frazier's professional career undefeated heavyweight world boxing champion status (Jan.17); President Richard Nixon announces that a peace accord has been reached in Vietnam (Jan.23); U.S. involvement in Vietnam War ends with the signing of peace pacts (Jan 27); Vietnam War; In accordance with the agreement at the Paris Peace Talks, Navy Task Force 78 begins Operation End Sweep, the mine clearance of North Vietnamese waters of mines laid in 1972 (Feb 6); First release of American prisoners of war from Vietnam takes place (Feb 11); Ohio becomes the first U.S. state to post distance in metric on signs (Feb 12); Over the Sinai Desert, Israeli fighter aircraft shoot down a Libyan Arab Airlines jet killing 100 (Feb 21); Sino-American relations: Following President Richard Nixon's visit to mainland China, the United States and the People's Republic of China agree to establish liaison offices (Feb 22); The American Indian Movement occupies Wounded Knee, South Dakota (Feb 27); First airborne mine sweep in a live minefield took place in the Haiphong, Vietnam ship channel by helicopters from Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron Twelve on board USS New Orleans (Feb 27); Women begin pilot training to U.S. Navy (March 2); Comet Kohoutek is discovered (March 7). Well at least that's what made it to the encyclopedia quickie. And what of between the lines? Bigger world, yes, but "facts" yes?






4.15.2004

Ahhh Dorset, Vermont land of maple syrup, marble sidewalks, white houses with green shutters, country stores, cheddar, and plaid (that's golfers not flannel). I grew up in the mountain that separates Dorset from East Dorset. A 3.6 mile road named Morse Hill Road connects these two parts of the town - yes there is South Dorset (a general store), North Dorset (not sure what's there), and West Dorset (I think there's a school house) - but Dorset and East Dorset hold the fancy houses and golf and the town office/hall, respectively. I like to say I'm from East Dorset, because, well, that's on my address.
Dorset is favorably situated, its 46 square miles anchored by mountains - on the southwest by Mother Myrick, on the northwest by the Scallop, and on the eastern border by the Green Mountain front. It gives rise to three rivers, Otter Creek and the Mettowee running north, the Batten Kill flowing south - still prime sources of trout in the Northeast.
I'm having trouble finding out who were the occupants of the area were before 1761, and personally have never heard of any Native American settlements being there. So I begin with Benning Wentworth, Governor of New Hampshire, who granted charters for the nine towns from Sunderland north to Danby in 1761. Of the original grantees only one, William Lemmon, is known to have actually settled in Dorset. The others sold their rights to men from CT, MA, and NY. As Dorset's very first settler (1768), Felix Powel received fifty free acres of land. Joining him were a handful of other people, whose last names I recognize from streets and hills - like Sykes Hollow and Kent Hill Road.
Lying buried in the areas range of peaks was the geological phenomenon that became Dorset's claim to fame throughout the country - marble. The country's first commercial marble quarry was opened in South Dorset in 1785. Dorset's marble industry lasted about 130 years and during this time over two dozen quarries located on the slopes of Dorset Mountain and Mt. Aeolus (that's my mountain! God of the wind) opened. Dorset marble has been used on some rather notable buildings, such as the New York Public Library, the library of Brown University, and Memorial Continental Hall of the Daughters of the American Revolution in D.C., as well as several mansions on 5th Avenue in NYC. The "Gettysburg" quarry fashioned 5000 or more gravestones for the cemetery on the Civil War battleground. We even have a marble church!! Not sure what it's like on the inside though....
So about a half an hour walk up from my house rests the formidable Freedley tunnel quarry, located 1000 feet above the East Dorset valley. We would go up there when people came to visit us, parents, kids and picnics, to check out the beautifully multi-chambered quarry that we refer to as the marble cave. In high school I realized the party aspect of the place, as hordes of people on Friday and Saturday nights would climb the old trail (and sometimes drive, sorry suckers) up to the cave. I never participated, and never really understood the graffiti (not even good!) and bottle tossing that occurred. I never went to the parties, but over time brought boys up there, which kept us busy because everyone knows what happens when you sit around the house too long. Not to say there weren't those romances up there, but at least we had to talk for the walk up and back and I got to share a bit of myself too (the caves). I would also take my pygmy goats, that would dutifully pull my snotube up the mountain, whose sad and gruesome demise due to coyotes has forced me to pull my own damn sled. Why bring snotubes up there you ask. There's a little secret that we mountain folk call Devil's Slide, an inclined railway was built to transport the large marble blocks (typically 4x4x8 feet in size) to the mill located in the valley below, replacing the slow and laborious trip down the mountain in ox-drawn wagons and sleds. No longer does the railway exist, but a sweet shot of hell raising sledding does. I've never managed to make it to the bottom without a popped sled or a belly full of snow (and giggles). Now I go up there to rock climb, there's a wall with some routes set in it and the stone is smooth and beautiful, bit different than the Lindseth Climbing Wall.
So let me finish up a bit of the history stuff - Dorset didn't only have marble. It had sheep farms, dairies, cheese factories, saw and grist mills, apple orchards, iron foundries, maple sugaring and the Fenton Pottery kilns which produced stoneware from 1800 to 1833.
In 1775 and 1776 the town hosted the Dorset Conventions which set the stage for the creation of the Republic and later the state of Vermont. In 1852 a hotel was built in East Dorset to accommodate the growing number of travelers where in 1895 a boy named Bill Wilson was born in a room behind the bar. He grew up to become the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. (I didn't know that until finding it online!!)
After the marble craze began dying out, people started coming to the area because of its scenery, and something else which I'm not a huge fan of, golf. Apparently golf was played in Dorset as early as 1881 and the Dorset club is cited as the nation's oldest golf club still playing the sport on the same site.
The ski craze hit in the early 1950s, rendering the area a 4-season attraction (oh yeah the foliage is super). Jake Burton, the founder of Burton Snowboards, lives 10 min. away from Dorset. Due to the boom of tourism (lots of 2nd homes in the area too) the town planners and Selectman are wary of modern growth, resist it with incredibly strict zoning laws which make current photographs of Dorset streets, country roads and homes appear almost exactly as they were a hundred years ago. And the population hasn't changed much from around 2000 either.
I will always call VT my home, always will love going into town and running into everyone's mother and sister, and as an aspiring landscape architect who often gets sent to the town office to check the history of this place out, be always fascinated by Dorset's beauty and comfort.

4.12.2004

Ok, I was just thinking about Norma Jean today (well walking from classes...and when I wasn't thinking about thesis...which is due, yuck, next week). Character = real person for the purposes of my ensuing rant (although brief). I just really don't like her. She is selfish, which I understand if you just don't love someone anymore, and especially if he's a bit of a loser (Leroy), but her weight lifting? She's no better. I don't like when people think they are something they are not, and live for being someone they never were or could/should be (bourgeois, ew). I think her character is flat, that's probably intended, and very unfeminine. humph.

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