Sunday, November 20, 2011

Words With Friends

As a forewarning, this will likely be a meandering, ponderous post. Let us begin: I'm in Antelope, staying with my mom in her new house which she shares with my aunt. My mom's old house, my childhood home, is somewhere over there. Anyway, I'm sleeping on the couch. At neither of my parents' homes do I have a room. Which makes sense. I just got an iPhone 4. Not the newest one, but to me, it's like stepping into a new century. Privately, I scoff at people who spend their train rides hunched over their phones, fingers noodling the screens, downloading apps. Such an ugly word and term. The internet age is full of silly words. Google. iPad. Zynga. Facebook. Twitter. Apps. Push notifications (I just learned this one). I'm sure people have written about this before. The language of the internet is ugly. I should have said I USED to scoff but now I know I can't because while my mom and I visited with my extended family I lay on the floor and downloaded Netflix, Words with Friends, Yelp, Fandango. Probably another, I forget. Now, I'm unable to sleep and so I'm getting completely annihilated by someone named Twihard Ninja on Words with Friends (for those who don't know this is a scrabble-like game). In between my turns I follow the #occupysf tag on twitter and watch someone streaming the SFPD breaking up an encampment at the Federal Reserve Bank. The guy streaming is clearly upset and then in between some usual ranting he claims that it's the Fed's fault we're in this crisis - or something like that. My immediate response is, "I've heard this before!" END the FED. I google it. It's the name of Republican presidential nominee Ron Paul's book. Does that mean the guy streaming is a libertarian like Paul? I know there's some sort of love affair for Ron Paul by people who are sort of like me. Young, hip, educated. He doesn't believe in war, he wants the federal government to stay out of everything. I don't know. It doesn't feel right.

In 2008 I remember going for a drive by my dad's old house in Roseville. For some reason it was okay back then (for me) to just drive aimlessly in the undeveloped parts of the vast suburb that is Roseville/Rocklin. I remember seeing Paul's "Revolution" posters. EVOL was backwards. LOVE. What did he mean? It was a love revolution? Revolution of love? Against love, for love, etc? I didn't understand it. I preferred Obama's hope and change slogans. They made sense. But, nothing makes sense now. We're off axis, it seems.

My game is about to end with Twihard Ninja. This person is very good. Or not at all and I am just bad. In my last move I had WORLD to put down but there was nowhere to put it.

The picture above is the head of Saint Catherine of Siena. After I read my mom a bit of my book, she told me she had been to Siena. I had completely forgotten her trip to Italy. She said she had seen Catherine's finger. I didn't believe her. Then she showed me the picture. When I looked up the finger I also noticed that the church has had her head. I found a picture of that. You can see her face. The whole time I've been researching this book, never have I seen anything that said her finger and head were kept at her church in Siena. While I write the story I look at paintings of her and in a weird way I start to see her and then I imagine her and then I write her. The picture above though is really her. This is the face of the character in my book. I'll probably sound like some shroomed out freshmen in college when I say this, but isn't it amazing that my life and hers are linked in this particular way?

Twihard Ninja: ~450
Me: ~290

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Thought of the Heart

So I've been insanely busy this semester, since moving back to San Francisco. Thus, I haven't even posted since school started. I took the picture on the left at the California Academy of the Sciences. A group of friends and I were there to see Jens Lekman play some music. Prior to the show we toured around the Academy. I have a special appreciation for primates of all kinds so I had to take this picture. It's a mountain gorilla. I didn't notice until now that the rectangular reflection near the gorilla's chest resembles some tablet or book shaped object. As if the gorilla is reading. All of this resonates with me right now because I'm working on something about monkeys and gorillas and humans really. B read my initial effort and posed some really great questions which provoked creative thoughts. In finding a way around her criticisms I ended up creating an entirely new work that I read in class just the other day. My teacher said it was 'performative'. I like the idea of performing the writing. It's something I haven't really thought about - at least not with that term. Mostly this semester has been about writing 'Catherine' and finishing my thesis - simultaneously discovering a vast amount of forms and content exist for me to take up. The story about the monkeys is really just the beginning of this discovery.

Last night I went to Dodie Bellamy's class at SFSU because Ariana Reines was going to speak to the class about her new book Mercury. In fact, tonight I'm going to watch Dodie and Ariana read in the Mission. It was sort of like a star struck moment for me to meet Ariana. I took a lot of notes when she spoke about poetry and her writing process. Dodie, Ariana, Ariana's book tour partner Stuart, and I went downstairs for tea and chips. Though I feel fairly confident in talking about writing now, I still had the whole star struck thing going and I'm sure Ariana thought I was a bit crazy. One thing I felt and understood about Ariana's writing, which maybe I didn't understand until I heard her read two of her poems, is that a certain type of love is propelling her writing. It seems as if she is writing as an extension of her physical body. And it feels like her extension is an extension of love. Not romantic or sexual necessarily. But love as caring and as wanting to empathize with the recipient of the writing, her community on this earth. My thoughts/feelings on this were echoed this morning when I sat down at the CCA Oakland cafe to eat my cheese danish and coffee. Dodie had given me a book by this psychologist (Jungian/Post-Jungian) James Hillman. I didn't have time to even get past the first 5 pages because I was responding (in writing) to every sentence. Hillman writes about the difference between mind and heart, the origin of philosophy, philos is not a detached reasoning of life; philosophy comes first from the heart. Hillman uses a quote from a Greek writer (I think, I haven't had a chance to check it out yet): "As you speak, so is your heart." The heart is speaking, I am speaking, Ariana is speaking.