Archive for November, 2006

Looking for an arty person for a logo design

Anyone out there want to make me a cool logo for my wiki of women writers? I would like it to be sort of punk-ish and cut-up style with images and words… maybe a bit album-coverish in its aesthetic.

artists? collage artists maybe especially?

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Companionship and geekitude

Today was bad-ass mamas coffee hour – I wrote for a while first, then went and talked books, held babies, heard a complicated story of property easements and meanie neighbors, everyone’s thanksgivings including dinner analysis and family interrelationships. Then went off to lunch with Debbie and had to leave all too soon. We talked about wikis and ideas and feminism and grants…

Moomin dances with his class in a Whale Dance on Saturday in the town parade. I can’t wait. What is the Whale Dance? We’re burning with curiosity. Demonstrations are not forthcoming. The Whale Dance happens when it happens.

Now I”m going to spend a little while cruising the Mediawiki plugins. Oh, they’re all so tempting! Which ones to use?

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A really good day

I woke up feeling like myself again, regular and chirpy and centered. I listened to super great poetry all morning – Amiri Baraka, Anne Waldman mostly, & made a playlist of stuff that went together that was fierce & beautiful – especially riffing off Baraka “cowards” which I must find the text of. It kept making me laugh uproariously.

Some work, some writing, a bunch of applying for jobs. I am feeling very open either to teaching or tech work. Eating is still really tough but I’m going on Prilosec which should help.

Took Moomin to “Happy F33t” – a trip – walked there in the crisp sun with the Pilot and Peanut – She is 2.5 now and very prattly and wiggly in a charming way. It was her first movie theater experience ever! Moomin liked it but howled with huge sobs & sympathy when the penguin got thrown out by the penguin religious patriarchs and by his own dad. He couldn’t bear it! Absolutely lost his cookies with sorrow. “Happy” my ass… that movie was intense. If it was not being outcast leper unclean it was all about the terror of falling or sliding down ice tubes with ice boulders or being underwater with red-eyed evil sea leopards chasing you or choking on accidental garbage.. and then the hallucinating in jail, I mean, the zoo, oh man. That was intense. You’re in jail! Hallucinating! Watched by aliens! Dance, dance, motherfucker!

It was like that.

Lord knows what Peanut made of any of it. The penguins! They’re singing, momma! What happened? The penguins is dancing onna ice, momma! (Dear Peanut, it is sort of about desperate tap-dancing in the face of globalization & imperialism, on top of that eco-message thing. Don’t worry, you’ll understand it later. It will still be perturbing and confusing though.)

But fortunately with a happy ending (!?) and another big dance number & we came out dazed and pleased into the evening.

Oh and good news- there are cream puffs now right next to the theater.

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It’s not plagiarism! It’s research!

Ian McEwan and Lucilla Andrews – notice the headline? Andrews is “romance novelist”… or a mere memoirist… While what ripoff artist McEwan does is apparently prizewinning literature. I don’t care if he gave an acknowledgement – he stole the words and the very life of a person – to fictionalize her autobiography without even telling her, or asking her, and to do it so very nearly in the same words.

What creative writing prof, what teacher of any sort would accept this as not plagiarism, even if the work included a thank-you?

Excerpt from Atonement, by Ian McEwan…

“In the way of medical treatments, she had already dabbed gentian violet on ringworm, aquaflavine emulsion on a cut, and painted lead lotion on a bruise. But mostly she was a maid.”

Excerpt from No Time For Romance by Lucilla Andrews…

“Our ‘nursing’ seldom involved more than dabbing gentian violet on ringworm, aquaflavine emulsion on cuts and scratches, lead lotion on bruises and sprains.”

and this priceless quote from McEwan:

It is not plausible to invent patient traumas, medical procedures, hospital routines, or details of training, especially when they are more than 60 years old.

Right – it’s not plausible at all to invent such things – unless you are a NOVELIST. Who writes FICTION.

What a fucking twit McEwan must be – not even to realize the enormity. Of course it is also fine to do this to “natives” as well as women… or the poor… get their stories, fancy them up according to elitist standards, and call it art. While the art of the original person is a mere animal howl, a pointless gibbering, a source material, a raw material to be mined without question.

I spent an hour or so this morning reading Occasional Superheroine, and I highly recommend it. Though that combined with Lucilla Andrews’ story (dying before giving her pissed off debunking speech! depressing!) might make you come near to where my mood is. So I warn you where my mood is. Nothing we ever do will “count” – get it into your heads – and then rage against it all your life as you struggle against the damage in yourself and try to survive and create something. Not to mention the flashbacks to my own torn cervix and lying on my floor bleeding for days. Why can’t you be more polite? Gee I dunno!

Back to “work” to do something minor and trivial… because of course typing this doesn’t “count” either. And so I move from one un-counted uncounting thing to the next, busybusy. I am out of belief today. It might be a good day to translate some poems about the chilean dictatorship, with that anger; they will also never count. I feel so trapped.

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Trivial annoyance

I hate when I order hot chocolate at a cafe and the counter guy asks if I want whipped cream and I say no thanks and he looks me up and down and nods a little and smiles as if confirming to himself that I am probably “on a diet” and he expected as much. And there is a superciliousness of the person thinking either I am that obsessed with my food intake or that i should or should not be dieting or denying myself the richness of whipped cream. I can’t even tell if they are thinking I’m fat and therefore it’s good that I’m denying the whipped cream or if they’re thinking I’m skinny and it must be because i’m uptight or virtuous enough to deny myself the whipped cream. I can’t tell which way they’re going with it, but they obviously are going in one of those directions.

No, you dumbfucks. Check it. Sometimes I want whipped cream and sometimes I don’t and that is fucking all.

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What the fuck, Newt Gingrich?

Gingrich, speaking at a Manchester awards banquet, said a “different set of rules” may be needed to reduce terrorists’ ability to use the Internet and free speech to recruit and get out their message.

“We need to get ahead of the curve before we actually lose a city, which I think could happen in the next decade,” said Gingrich, a Republican who helped engineer the GOP’s takeover of Congress in 1994.

Then he recommended expanding war in Iraq to “pull in” Syria and Iran. (What, what, what, world war?) Yeah that’ll work! How about if we attack every country whose name starts with an “I” or an “S” just to top it off?

Then he bitched about how if Rumsfeld had got the boot earlier then Repubs would have won the elections. And we would all be safe. For war. Because … i forget the because… and then Newt could run for president in 2008 with NO PROBLEM.

Yes you heard me! He thinks he’s running for president! Yes that’s right because everyone in this country would just *love* to have free speech eliminated (except for corporations and churches I guess) and to be in an even bigger war for years and years! That’s what we want, really! Because otherwise we might “lose a city”.

Hey wait, didn’t we already lose a city? It was called New Orleans?

What the fuck!

“thanks” to bellatrys for the link.

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Filling out job apps; grades

I am filling out job apps for part time teaching jobs and suddenly a yukky bitterness about those A minuses. 3.89, so close. I hate that! Goddamn it!

Still scarred like hell from being grounded 6 weeks every time I got a B in jr. high.

A minuses… as I contemplate my transcript I think I could justify one of them for sloppiness, but the others I think were based on the personally high expectations of the profs of me and not on how I did in any absolute scheme of things. If someone else had written my papers they would have given them a plain old A. But because they expected me to be some big ass genius because I can shoot my mouth off well in class, I got A minuses… that’s how I feel about it. I worked so hard, had fucking original ideas and huge ambitions, why not give me the perfect grade, assholes? INstead of sticking me in underachiever hell for the rest of my life as I have to write down that number, 3.89, so close. If only… if only… too sloppy… better checking… more feedback loops… not good enough.

I know it’s petty and maybe doesn’t matter but it matters to me.

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A few feminist seeds scattered to the wind and you

The documentary Paris Was a Woman, about just a few of the women in Paris in the early 1900s and especially the 20s; writers, painters, poets. I especially liked the interviews with photographer Gisele Freund. The tension between Stein and Beach as Beach suddenly turned to throw her weight of attention, of critical attention and great-man-making, behind Joyce and people like Hemingway who she decided was a big fat genius before he had written a single stitch. I ranted a long time last night about the poisonous sexism of Joyce and how the poison is worse when it is in an elaborate feast. That fuckhead. I want you to just think for a minute about how good Ulysses is, and it’s damn fucking good, and then about how he produced it while knowing SO many genius interesting articulate politically and artistically aware women and what women characters does he write? Not any who have a thought in their head – a dumb teenager who confusedly tolerates a masturbating creep on the beach and an illiterate slut taking a shit. I could slap him. (And also could slap every person who’s ever pointed out Molly Bloom to me as an example of a female character I could love in great literature. (and no I said no I won’t No) I can love the book and admire the talent but hate the dreadful vindictive poison — as well as the thing in Joyce and so many other writers of dicklit that makes them gather masses of mediocre sycophants to make themselves look better – unable to tolerate other actual geniuses especially women with strong personalities. It is just that sort of person who becomes a “great” writer, unfortunately – something to keep in mind as a sour-grapes comfort as the most of us head straight to being Minor Poets. Think how irritated I am as I continue to digest Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red and the magma builds up in my fevered thoughts. Oh! The more beautiful and excellent the art, the worse the poison is and the madder as hell I get.

It was funny to be watching it with my partner who didn’t really know any of the writers or painters even the most famous ones. Joyce and Stein, their names, but not their work at all and he had never heard of Sylvia Beach. That puts it all in perspective, doesn’t it? I plotzed when he said “H.D.??? Who?”

To get the taste of all that out of your brain try downloading some of this:

Free mp3s of Adrienne Rich reading from Diving into the Wreck and other works – from the Pennsound archives. On the very long file, the 38 minute one, it sounded a little like Di Prima introducing her but then I decided it wasn’t and the accent was just a bit similar. It’s nice to have the huge file of the entire reading in my iTunes. I love hearing her inter-poem comments, nerdy little snippets about greek drama and patriarchy.

Oh, and if anyone happens to have some recordings of Di Prima’s early readings I’d love to have more of them. I have her doing a few of the Revolutionary Letters; they’re so flamingly fiercely beautiful!

Elisa speaking up about biological determinism. Very lovely!

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The uterine madness continues

Yesterday I was feeling very strange and kept sinking into a hideous edgy despair and wondering why. Like “wtf, why am i not happy at this very moment, when i should be? i suck! everything sucks! i especially suck! why do i feel like I want to sink into the ground?” and then while typing the words “I can’t figure out why I feel so horrible” into ichat and wondering whether I blamed myself, the patriarchy, Darth Vader, or YOU… I realized I was pmsing yet again because it is the exact end of the month and then this morning I woke up bleeding and needing to levitate to the bathroom like that julie doucet cartoon. With this nasty crampy bitchy feeling I think I could kick the ass of the entire world. In fact possibly Godzilla was on the rag. If I weren’t already convinced by the strangeness of nursing that hormones influence your mood — because I’d get all antsy and anxious and weepy and hot-footed feeling if I didn’t nurse regularly enough and then Moomin would nibble away and it was like a shot of smack right into the vein – Ahhhhhh – calm!!! — then I’d be convinced now because regularly every month I start feeling like it’s a giant battle to keep my usual cheerful optimism in place. Somoene twitches their finger and I want to cry because of the possible heat death of the universe or the pathos of kittens. It’s that bad. Then I wondered whether I should be more physically active and had a little pointless fantasy that I should have kept my truck and set up a light hauling business. I pictured myself way in shape and with magically healthy back and knees, hauling bricks to the dump, wearing a battered jumpsuit as I cleaned out other people’s garages again with magic non-allergies to dust, right down to the Amazon Light Hauling business cards. I may have shed a tear at this vision as well. I tell you, the day before my period I am insane.

Dude at least that fucking IUD is out and the bleeding part is completely reasonable now with only one “heavy” day. I look forward extremely to menopause.

I will drink a ton of coffee and take some tylenol and try to not sink into the semi-comatose “blah” state. I’m past “despair” and now into “oh, whatever, stare at ceiling” but would really, really, prefer to work today, to go through my notes form the trip and email people and work on some translations, and my new fabulous wiki. In fact I’d like to get the synchronized desktop mediawiki all working so i can work offline on it and do a push up to the server every so often! Think how nice that would be!

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Paris Was a Woman

This movie is great – a documentary about women in early 1900s Paris – Stein, Beach, Monnier, Colette, Barney… omg I’m swooning. How they were all reading “Songs of Bilitis” – omg damn!

am remembering bitterly the prof, Virginia something orother, at U.Tx who gave me a shitty grade b/c i kept saying and writing that there were women poets and painters in paris at that time. and she there weren’t or that if there were a few they were unimportant and freaks. in a class called painters and poets in 1920s paris. no women studied in that class. taught by a woman.

more later. must watch, i can’t understand the french really without looking

***

Berenice Abbott, Gisele Freund, Djuna Barnes, Natalie Barney, Sylvia Beach, Adrienne Monnier, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Colette, Janet Flanner, painter Marie Laurencin

(and Matisse, Picasso, Hemingway, and James Joyce)
janet – “Genet” in the New Yorker for 40 years
eiline grey
Ada “Bricktop ” Smith -
lee mayer
josephine baker
h.d. came every single day – to the bookshop
paul valery
Natalie barney “L’Amazone” fri. afternoon salon – american heiress
renee vivian – opera , louys!!! biliitis! yeah!!!!
Romaine Brooks

book of photos or an exhibition by gisele freund with photos of like, every dude in paris, plus: marie bonaparte, elizabeth bowen, victoria ocampo, vita sackville-west, virginia woolf, bryher

yeah Bryher!! yeah ocampo!

stein on living in france – “they are living their lives. so your life can belong to you.” this made me think of what a friend of mine said about going to europe and realizing that this whole channel in his brain just stopped… the awareness of specific american racism against black men… that voice stopped talking and he was able to be, without it. (part of that cultural but part being about not knowing the language so well)

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