Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The outer edges of my brain

David reminded me, "It's a reflection, not an essay," but this blog is really a random assemblage of links that give something of a map of the outer edges of my brain yesterday. The inner parts of my brain were actually assembling and creating story stuff, which was then alternately ignored and inspected by my editor:

"Your work bores me."                           "What is this supposed to mean?"  


March 20 is a big day in our house. It is Calvin's Day, when we celebrate the presence in absence of our son. I did not know that the UN had also declared it an International Day of Happiness until I was standing in line at the store with a cart full of food and flowers for our March 20 feast and trip to the cemetery and spied it on the cover of a magazine.

Apparently United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, “Social, economic and environmental well-being are indivisible. Together they define gross global happiness.” So it feels painfully ironic that also this week, a new report from a large mainstream scientific society is out trying to get people to pay attention to climate change and the closing of the window of opportunity to do anything to slow it.

To bridge this, I offer you a page of rueful haiku from the largest English-language Japanese news site. This is a bi-monthly feature on the site, which I kind of love. The page I'm sharing is actually from two years ago, and it features this poem that is my new touchstone for the script I am working on (odd perhaps, because it is a children's play, but it is what speaks to me):

Each old doll
carries the story
of her birth
--Hidehito Yasui (Osaka) in the Asahi Haikuist Network, March 1, 2012

Reading: A grad school compatriot with a forthcoming book wrote this post on the myth of the writer as eccentric fuck up.

Writing: Despite all the interwebz trawling, yes!

Dinner: Red lentil dal over basmati rice, from this recipe from Nicholas Day's Dinner vs. Child column, in which he resolves to feed his children too much dal in 2014. I think I am joining in him this resolution.

Another food thing I found was this photo essay about Japanese school lunches. I also resolve to feed my children too much Japanese food this year.

Soundtrack: My house was very silent, but I noticed out of date listings (in the recent New Yorker that David and I are battling to control) for two writers & music events I wish I'd been able to go to. Julian Barnes did a thing with pianist Angela Hewitt at (Le) Poisson Rouge. This blog gives part of the set list. And in Brooklyn at the Greenlight Bookstore the next day, my writing/music crush Wesley Stace did a thing with my grownup music/kids music crush Dan Zanes to sell Stace's new book Wonderkid. 


wish balls
from "Wish Balls"
Random thing: I accidentally came across the website of this artist, Seiko Atsuta Purdue, who has a whole series of works (an "art inquiry") in cloth and paper about "wish tying" - collecting wishes, giving them form, releasing them into the world. I find it very compelling and beautiful. She says this about the beginning of this project:
The most impressive experience I had while collecting wishes was when I set up a sign, paper and pens during the winter along a fence on the Chicago lakefront and left them for a couple days. It was a snowy time in Chicago and I could not walk around to collect wishes. When I went back to the site I saw many paper ties all over the fence. All the paper I prepared was used up and some chocolate wrappers and Dunkin Donuts napkins were tied on to the fence. These had wishes on them too. I have never forgotten how I was shocked to see that response from people whom I didn’t know. I was very encouraged and simultaneously I felt a strange power that kept me from taking down all of them. I left half of them until they were gone. I have thought a lot about what I can do with these wishes after collecting them. I am not a God and I can’t make all those wishes come true. But, as an artist I can create art by honoring their wishes.

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