Thursday, December 02, 2010


When I write in my notebooks/journals, I'm most often looking to convince myself that I have a plan, and life is going to be OK. When I blog, I am looking for attention and recognition--and generally I feel like I've gotten it simply because someone is reading. I'm guessing a dozen someones, actually, which as I've said, is gratifying.

Two unresolved things: one, I'm not sure how I feel about my own desire for attention--what kind of attention (and attention seeking) is healthy, and which isn't. . . so I need to figure that out. And two, neither of these sorts of writing is what I'm most interested in. I'm not sure yet of my best medium/s, but I want to articulate people's unspoken views in a way that resonates with them deeply. I want to incite people to attempt the impossible, a lot of people, and in so doing make it possible. Indeed, my ambitions are very low. Call me Rocinante.

I had a great conversation with one of my sisters (Patent Office Babe, we call her online, or sometimes Ivy) when she was visiting, which brought me to some conclusions about what I need to do to get to my work. I need to be a better listener, more open to the likelihood that I don't have everyone else's answers. I need to take myself far less seriously, and my work somewhat more seriously. I need to be less in love with my own words. I need practice; practice writing a lot, on a deadline, with an editor; practice composing images, practice capturing compelling moments on "film". And I need the companionship and collaboration of others who are productively working on similar projects. These things seem possible. It feels good to be working on them.

Monday, November 29, 2010

If I believed in God

I would thank him for plumbing.

There is something clean about it, even when you are covered with a soup of scum, mold, and whatever else was covering the particle-board floor of your kitchen-sink cabinet. Plumbing is elegant: water goes down. Seals must be tight, valves well adjusted. Every piece is for a reason. Ninety seconds, six diagrams, and I know how everything is supposed to fit. Zen, or flow, or something.

And it isn't just that; everyone needs plumbing. No one is going to use their kitchen sink to be a better racist. Like any privilege, plumbing stratifies people--and as with any privilege, those who have automatically, at some deep level, begin to assume that those who don't have are at fault for their own lack. . . but no one is making the argument that other human beings don't deserve

plumbing. Sanitation. Hygiene. Hot running water to envelop your skin and make you feel a little more whole.