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?


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.


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.


"Sometimes I want a corset like to harden me or garnish. I think of this stricture – rain, language, building – as a corset: an outer ideal mould, I feel the ideal moulding me the ideal is now my surface just so very perfect I know where to buy it and I take it off…" - Lisa Robertson

This animated quote from Jen's Blog: molto espressivo. Moulding, how we are moulded (a really want to say moldy after reading that a few times, sorry just have to get that out), the ideal mould, how i am moulded, how you are moulded, how we don't know we are moulded, how i want to fight being moulded but cannot distinguish it anymore, la la la. Maybe this just gets in my head right now, 1.5 months before I start being my sole moulder, notice sole, I have never been out of school in my life for more than 3 months only when i was 0-3, cause I went there when i was four and I don't remember that anyway. I do remember thinking when I was about 5 that what the hell was i thinking before i had to begin school, did i not fully seize every day from dawn til dusk. did i waste time?? I feel that corset a little now, mainly self-induced, i don't have to pursue those hot design firms in new york, i dont have to go through long periods of 3 hour sleep nights, i can live my ideal lifestyle with the utmost comfort on dorset hill road, being all sunny and dream state, sleep walking. I am torn, seductive work, name, career, what i have learned, passionate and love of life, splendid endless vacation, lover, home, nest. Ach, what gets me so seduced into wanting out of the comfort zone? Both city hot stuff and country puddle slosher got me. I have two corsets, have been moulded both, been encouraged and have succeeded, i love making and love doing. I want to know how to take one of those moulds off, and its not so simple as societal or parental, whatever, its a complex complex. is this what i believe in or it is how you taught me to believe? am i reacting against reactions? is it a silly struggle?? are both fantasies possible and i just have to let all that flows flow, chill baby until may 30.


[In Goya's greatest scenes we seem to see]

Lawrence Ferlinghetti splashes the page with visual words that "writhe upon the page"...."slippery giblets" and "heaped up groaning with babies and bayonets." I could see Goya's volume - that suffering, that blood, monstrous. For Goya these images were real and we look at them and say "oh, how disgusting." "He must have been tortured himself not painting rivers and trees." (maybe he was after reading his bio...) "How times have changed." But I opened up Newsweek waiting in a waiting room (as I guess you do in those places...) and I curdled. I photo from the Spain train blast showed a woman, mouth agape, soiled in blood and debris. Sick.
What do we seem to see? We seem to see all that is monstrous in these paintings - "it is as if they really still existed" and pause, break "and they do". Boom. Ferlinghetti enlightens us that this horror is still around, perhaps in new forms, but staring us dead in the face. Put on a smile driving with the top down "on freeways fifty lanes wide on a concrete continent." Look at the billboards "illustrating imbecile illusions of happiness." Feel soft and cozy in 200 count and goose feathers. The torture still exists, we just don't see it anymore.
Flit....Lee Bontecou, the Johnson Museum

This 65 x 65 inch big mama square is made of welded iron,canvas, wire and black velvet. Although three dimensional, this piece is hung on the wall like a painting. I remember it from my first visit to the Johnson, about 4 years ago on my first Cornell visit during high school, a senior very much enamored with the campus. I've looked for it on every visit since. Something draws me to it, a kind of search to find a familiar face in the crowd. I can't really say why...except that the form and coloring attract and energize me. I always stare into it, reconstructing my memory and analyzing its construction. Maybe I find myself in it - rings around a center - although to me not a black void necessarily, but deep and rich - these rings are stitched and sometimes disjointed but they compose me.

So onto what it actually looks like....
Although this piece is described as having industrial qualities because of material, evoking a mechanical aura, I always found it amazingly organic and natural. Composed of a series of fractured rings of stretched humble colored canvas, it is stitched and taught evoking, to me, skin like qualities. The disjointed rings circumvent an open, dark center, the base black velvet (which I never knew until I read the tag). The rings are different sizes, depths and diameters - some protrude and others recess. All are connected and bound by the square edge. The rings also seem to be growing from the center, the wider rings toward the edges...again evoking to me a personal growth.

I did my homework and found out that Lee Bontecou is American, now in her late 70s who was born in Providence but raised in Nova Scotia. Her pieces seem to challenge artistic conventions through her use of materials and presentation. Apparently Flit was a commercial bug killer in the 1950s. This work implied to critics as having a sort of menace and reminiscent of her other works, a biological quality.

Unfortunately, this piece was moved lower into the Naked Guys Cafe, replaced by two paintings of saints. When I went to visit again a few days ago, I couldn't find it and was told it was no longer in exhibition space. I guess I'll never go to the Johnson again.

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