Although I have done it all these thirty years or more, although I live my life surrounded by other people who are always doing it, still I think that there are few activities so worthy of inspection as the reading of novels.
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READIN started out as a place for me
to keep track of what I am reading, and to learn (slowly, slowly)
how to design a web site.
There has been some mission drift
here and there, but in general that's still what it is. Some of
the main things I write about here are
listening to (and playing) music, and
watching the movies. Also I write about the
work I do with my hands and with my head; and of course about bringing up Sylvia.
The site is a bit of a work in progress. New features will come on-line now and then; and you will occasionally get error messages in place of the blog, for the forseeable future. Cut me some slack, I'm just doing it for fun! And if you see an error message you think I should know about, please drop me a line. READIN source code is PHP and CSS, and available on request, in case you want to see how it works.
I did it! Over the past year or so, and for the first time in my life, I have filled a notebook, a yellow pad, with ideas towards poetry and fiction (much of which I have been revising and posting here) and am moving directly into a new notebook -- what has generally happened in the past is that I would start keeping a notebook and... lose interest over a couple of months' and/or pages' span...
This new notebook (which I bought at the same market in Oaxaca where I bought my favorite shoes ever, highly recommend it) is gorgeous! Hard covers and thick soft, recycled paper allow me to write on facing pages, unlike the yellow pad. So I am starting a project writing a bilingual text, Spanish on the left and English on the right like a parallel translation, but rather than the same text in both languages, it is two separate threads of a narration: The left is poetry by The Modesto Kid, the right is my character Peter's journals during his time translating that poetry. This is the idea I'm working towards anyway, I haven't quite managed yet to get the ideas to cohere properly. I will hopefully be posting drafts of some of this here in the weeks to come (if all goes according to plan...); a beginning is in comments to this post.
Dura menos un hombre que una vela
pero la tierra prefiere su lumbre
para seguir el paso de los astros.
Dura menos que un árbol,
que una piedra,
se anochece ante el viento más leve,
con un soplo se apaga.
Dura menos un pájaro,
que un pez fuera del agua,
casi no tiene tiempo de nacer,
da unas vueltas al sol y se borra
entre las sombras de las horas
hasta que sus huesos en el polvo
se mezclan con el viento,
y sin embargo, cuando parte
siempre deja la tierra más clara. -- Eugenio Montejo
(en que me hago sin objetivo fanfarroneas. Might as well, I don't see anyone else about to give me a rave rev)
Morir al final de un día cualquiera
Imposible escapar de la violencia.
Imposible pensar en otra cosa.
-- La universidad desconocida
I find this statement of Bolaño's strangely comforting, strangely reassuring. Me demasiado preocupo sobre el valor de mi obra, de mis intentos a poesía y a trabajo. El cuento que tengo en progreso, soy convencido de que ese cuento va a hacer una lectura convincente, fascinante, se hace en verdad ya casi completo. Y lo mismo los poemas que componía usando los de Bolaño como provocaciones...
El pasaje del tiempo es lo que muere se mueren
los amigos de la infancia
envenenados por tiempo en los pueblos y las colinas de Nueva York
Today I finished mixing Mountain Station's set for Lazlo's Blow Up Radio (where NJ rock lives) -- very happy with it. We'll make a podcast of this at some point, after it has aired on Lazlo's show. Tracks:
Mountain Station *¡LIVE!* at Lazlo's Den: a Rollo and Crazy Grady production
All Around You (0:00)
NJ Transit (3:29)
Up to Valhalla (6:37)
East Tennessee Blues (trad.) (11:39)
Take Me to the River (Al Greene) (13:35)
Come Down Easy (Howard Eliott Payne) (16:36)
Red Overalls (20:01)
23 ½ minutes! And it seems to hold together pretty well, it is a nice listen.
John came over today and we played a Dylan-heavy set of new-to-us songs...
Gates of Eden (John singing)
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll (me singing, a couple of times in a couple of different keys...)
Weary Day (a Delmore Bros. tune, with me singing -- we have played this before but not for a long time...)
Traductor: tradúzcame con mala intención, deje usted las líneas falsas sonarse a si mismos. Desforme usted mi intención, yo que soy figuras en la página, que no soy capaz de pretender. Destroce mi autor, rechacelo a mi autor. Anule mi autor. Traductor: sea usted mi cómplice. Juntos sembraremos la semilla del malentendimiento, que crezca el árbol horrible de poesía desfigurada. Traductor: le pido a usted, mutíleme. Mutíleme y déjeme usted fluir en ojos y orejas extranjeros.
Playhouse lies in pieces and the bolts that once connected them
the once (and future?) construct
scattered sunlight on the lawn
scattered sunlit lifeless hollowed out
the paint like skin that's covered over
veins of douglas fir and cedar
veins of age-old wood and creeping
Drill battery is charging and I look out my back window
at the stillness of the breezes blowing
pushing round the trees
pushing blowing round the green enclosure
manifold imposing over
arching, dark reality
the creeping, pungent real story
never write it down, I'll never
write it down because it's hidden
hidden dark unnameable
illicit hanging conversation
twittering between cicadas
translate text of endless grayed-out
Finished two old projects yesterday -- The playhouse I built for Sylvia in 2005 and which Bill helped me pull down a few weeks ago is now completely disassembled (and Scott has indicated he'd be interested in using the wood to build something for Sasha and Maya); and the Windsor chair I built on my 2002 trip to The Windsor Institute is finally painted, a handsome shade of green. Lee Valley milk paint is the best.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, along the banks of the great gray-green greasy Lomami river, a new species of Old World monkey has been discovered; the Cercopithecus lomamiensis or Lesula. What a deliciously expressively cryptic face this individual has!
As Rob Helpy-Chalk phrases it over at FB, "He's offering some kind of comfort, but not the kind that depends on being delusional about the way the world is."
the automatic CAUTION door swings open and my heart beats faster panicked panting racing down the corridor I know not where
(click through for the dulcet tones of Dolph Chaney)
I'm headed what I'm fleeing whom I'll see if I look back behind me emptiness of ignorance and fear and pain and nervous sound
the automatic PANIC switch engages and I'm climbing up the walls I'm falling paralyzed and endless should have seen that coming no way back tonight my friend the waterfalls of history are soaking me I'm sweating broken searching for the path to bring me home
the automatic wicked bolt of FEAR slides home and punctures my resolve I'm quaking trembling feverish looking in the mirror what I see is sending waves of manic pity through me tell me truly help me I can't find a hand to hold a charge of hope and love and weary resignation say you'll keep me in my pit of fear and solitude and quavering frustration help me turn toward these scaly walls and understand my history my saving grace my destiny my almost unrequited FEAR