This page renders best in Firefox (or Safari, or Chrome)
The love of my life
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.
John couldn't make it over to Lonesome Nickel studios this weekend; Dress Rehearsal Rags will resume in a couple of weeks.
Seemed like it would be a good idea, this sunny Sunday morning on Meeker St., to mash up a couple of old country tunes together which don't really have that much in common. Here's the Carter Family + Ernest Tubb, for your delectation:
Thanks to Ellen for the wonderful camerawork -- thanks to Pixie for sitting and listening!
Spring is without question here; and we got a ping-pong table! Here are Ellen and Sylvia volleying.
Sylvia and I put it together yesterday afternoon; but we took a break so John and I could do some jamming. A new setup means I'm not sure yet where to set up the camera; and the upshot is that I'm mostly just out of the frame, a disembodied Stroh fiddle. Shades of February! We ran out of tape at what seems to me like a pretty opportune moment.
So for about 3 years now I've had the vague notion that I would really like to take a two-week vacation from work, travel to Mexico or some other Latin American country and enroll in an intensive Spanish language program. Unfortunately the artisan who fashioned me and put me here on Earth did not see fit to give me any capability of making plans; so it has remained a vague, unrealized notion. Every quality has its antithesis, every vacuum has its corresponding completeness; and Ellen is a very good planner. So thanks to her persistence it looks like we have a plan, a palpable plan, for the three of us to travel to southern Mexico late next summer and study Spanish as a family, at the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca. I can't wait!
This post is inspired partly by a conversation I had with Ellen last night. I asked what she thought of the poem I had posted about writing poetry, and she said she thinks that kind of writing is worth while mostly for working it out of your system in order that you can write more immediate poetry... I'm finding interesting that much of Spring and All, at least the prose sections of it, is just this kind of writing about writing, about what I can write and how I can expect the reader to respond to it.
This is from the opening section of Spring and All (perhaps what Williams needs to work out of his system before he can move on to poetry) --
The reader knows himself as he was twenty years ago and he has also in mind a vision of what he would be, some day. Oh, some day ! But the thing he never knows and never dares to know is what he is at the exact moment that he is. And this moment is the only thing in which I am at all interested. Ergo, who cares for anything I do ? and what do I care ?
I love my fellow creature. Jesus, how I love him : endways, sideways, frontways and all the other ways -- but he doesn't exist ! Neither does she. I do, in a bastardly sort of way.
And if when I pompously announce that I am addressed -- To the imagination -- you believe that I thus divorce myself from life and so defeat my own end, I reply : To refine, to clarify, to intensify that eternal moment in which we alone live there is but a single force -- the imagination. This is its book. I myself invite you to read and to see.
In the imagination, we are henceforth (so long as you read) locked in a fraternal embrace, the classic caress of author and reader. We are one. Whenever I say „ I ” I also mean „ you ”. And so, together, as one, we shall begin.
Well, this seems great. I can picture myself saying this, can identify fully with Williams, as he is quite explicitly inviting me to do. Of course my project is not complete there -- I want to say something of my own, that's why I'm writing...
(A side note: the introduction to this edition (New Directions, 2011), written by C.D. Wright, is just great.)
A rainy day seems about the right time to go over the photos from our China trip last month and whittle them down to a fast-movin' slideshow of a manageable 40. You'll see Qing, our guide in Beijing, with Sylvia and Jeremy in Tiananmen Sq., the Sun and Moon Pagodas in Guilin, the Great Wall on a rainy day, the Forbidden City. All of the photos of sculptures are from the Art Zone in Beijing. The photo of the bird cages hanging in Mulberry trees is outside Yuyuan Gardens in Shanghai, and in the courtyard of Michael's House, where we stayed in Beijing, you'll also see a bird cage - these inspired our recent acquisition of Woodstock and Chirpers, green and blue parakeets residing in Sylvia's room. The photos of Sylvia, outside People's Sq. Train Station and inside, are near Sylvia's foundling site in Shanghai. The photos of the little kids and the photo of Sylvia with a camera in her hand, are taken at the Shanghai Children's Welfare Institute. The Buddha was in Suzhou. Sylvia reading a Chinese version of Harry Potter and Jeremy are taken on a boat in the canal city of Qibao. Sylvia on a bamboo raft was taken on the Li River in Guilin. The futuristic city is Pudong, taken from the Bund in Shanghai. The view taken from the little balcony to the street was from the Magnolia B&B, the place we stayed in Shanghai. The exercise equipment in a public area in Beijing was installed at the time of the Olympics - they're all over. (Reminds me a little of the enormous public swimming pool in the tiny town we stayed in Spain, put in during Franco's regime.) The red pandas, erhu playing musician, gorgeous flowering trees are taken in Seven Stars Park, Guilin. The chicken and quail eggs in the bucket are soaked in tea, and sold on the street. And check out the rock formation of Elephant Trunk Hill.
Ellen and I went out to a club last night, for the first time in a while, to see a band we had never heard of... What a great time! What a great find! I'm a fan now.
Ellen heard from Shelley on Wednesday that their old friend John was playing guitar with The Shirts on Stanton St. on Saturday, and did we want to meet her. So we did! The opening band was Suzanne Real, backed up by John on guitar and the bassist and drummer from The Shirts. A hot set but not very many people were there yet...
The club really filled up for The Shirts' set though. Ellen and I were surprised to find ourselves dancing, starting early in the set when Artie Lamonica (the guitarist on the left above) sang his new song "Mochaccino" -- an addictive beat and a fun lyric. I was dancing my trademark, spastic I-can't-dance step (which I have not had occasion to use for a long time now), Ellen a more reserved swaying to the beat, but it got us together in the rhythm. And it was all right.
The Shirts played an hour set and I could have listened to them for another couple of hours. I'm listening to their record now (the new one, the one that was on sale at the merch table, the one that John is playing on) and having a blast. Recommend it.
Oh: John was not in the spotlight much during The Shirts' set -- he played some stellar solos, but the lighting guy was not on the ball -- but I got a nicely impressionistic photo of him during the opening set: