One of the things that modern society has damaged has been thinking. Unfortunately, one of the damaged ideas is that of Nature itself. How do we transition from seeing what we call “Nature” as an object “over there”? And how do we avoid “new and improved” versions that end up doing much the same thing (embeddedness, flow and so on), just in a “cooler,” more sophisticated way?
When you realize that everything is interconnected, you can’t hold on to a concept of a single, solid, present-at-hand thing “over there” called Nature.
— Timothy Morton, Ecology Without Nature
A few days ago, I bought an oversized book titled Making Handmade Books: 110+Bindings, Structures & Forms, by Alisa Golden. I’ve never taken a bookmaking course, so, aside from a couple handmade books I made — one in high school, and one in college — this is my first real introduction to the art. The book making ideas in this volume look like origami patterns, and there’s a lot of them. Some are folded simply, some are sewn, some bound with tape, leather, or wood. I’m thinking it would be fun to make a bunch of one-off tiny chapbooks and distribute them or sell them for a small amount whenever I do a reading.
It’s been a busy few weeks. Worked on a grant for the Salinas Chinatown group I volunteer for. And there’s my job, working as a full-time writing coach. Then went to Portland OR for a few days. I don’t care if people make fun of that city — I love it there. While at Powell’s books I was thumbing through the chapbooks, and started to feel like — Why am I waiting around for someone to publish my work? (I’m waiting on a publisher to “get back” to me). I want to self-publish a poetry book as an artistic venture. It just looks like fun. Anyway, so many trees, buses running on biofuel, wind turbines generating electricity on top of a high rise, and big bike lanes everywhere. So much art, great food, bookstores, etc. in Portland. But maybe best of all was getting out of town w/my sweetheart. And a few days ago did a poetry reading in SF w California poets Gary Young, Stephen Meadows, and Michael Hannon for Tom Killion’s book of art and poetry with Gary Snyder. It’s been a good, busy time.
Have spent about the last month and a half preparing for, and finally moving to, Monterey, CA with my dear partner. I said goodbye to the horses, goats, hawks, and beautiful old oak trees, and and we are now back to living in a town, or rather a small city, near the beach, and also nearer to Big Sur and Point Lobos. I scaled down my belongings and gave away a lot of stuff, including my piano. I hope I never have to move again, but I imagine that I will. At the same time, somehow, I managed to put out another issue of Local Nomad, featuring a number of poets, art, and some prose. In this issue: Dida Kutz, Nguyen Louie, Bo Luengsuraswat, Joshua Aiken, Cornelia Barber, Tom Beckett, Valentina Cano, Jack Crimmins, William Doreski, Dion Farquhar, Howie Good, Seth Jani, Ron Lavalette, Joan McNerney, Kenneth Pobo, Jai Arun Ravine, J. Zimmerman, David G. Tilley, Marianne Villanueva, M. Leland Oroquieta, and Leny Mendoza Strobel. The theme for this issue is Killing Ground. The cover photo is from The Public Domain Review, a wonderful publication featuring essays with collected images from the public domain. See their current essay, “Forgotten Failures of African Exploration,” which is a good match for the “Killing Ground” theme of the Spring issue of Local Nomad.
While visiting Mark Young’s blog, Gamma Ways, I noticed a link to my old poetry blog, The Nightjar, produced from 2003 to 2006. I haven’t looked at this for years. Reading it now is kind of like sifting through an archaeological dig. Some poems I remember, others I don’t recognize as something I had written — I could be reading the work of a completely different person. I’m jealous of a few of the poems; they seem to have been written under some kind of scorching pressure — out of necessity. Just as strange is going through the links in the sidebar, most (though not all) seem defunct; the bloggers have moved on to something else, and if the link isn’t just gone, then it leads to a blog that’s in suspended animation — deserted at some point, but still containing all its furniture, the last domestic utterances hanging in the still air. Looking at them, though, I get all nostalgic. Glad to see Shanna Compton still around, and quirky Topher’s Tunes Times. Somehow I knew that Cassandra Pages would still be steadily posting. Actually a number of people in the sidebar are still blogging, but on newer sites.
In any case, I’m thankful the Nightjar still exists (thanks, Mark, for letting it sit in your sidebar). I’m going to download the poems to a file before internet rot dissolves them.
40 Security Envelopes
The other day I found a copy of These Peripheries by James Maughn, published by Otoliths, in the oddest place. Of course I bought the copy.
Well I want to write something, but not much to say. Didn’t get much sleep last night, and now I’m perversely staying up late even though tired.
The whole day has been like this. Just sort of doggedly going through the motions. Then watching the film, John Wick, which was — well it was what it was. Sort of a Russian Scarface of the 21st century, and even the director didn’t take that seriously. Gotta say, Michael Nyqvist (Girl w/the Dragon Tattoo) makes a fantastic, complex, and funny villain. Keanu Reeves’ bland acting but well-choreographed violent revenge killing throughout; though there was one moment when he broke through his mask and made me really believe he was pissed.
But, enough, enough. And so to bed…