Wednesday, December 31, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 66

The List:

I’m going grocery shopping in an hour or so. Let’s bring in the record players then.

She writes:

“am (I’m) on vacation and thinking of you. I hope that everything is picking up?




I advise this:

Let me know when you want me to sober up your street fighter fantasies

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 65

The List:

Net worth philosophy = poo
b/c of immunities

so i can only loose
money through half
of red = Erin

Erin can loose money
through half of my green
and blue

So we can determine
which would cause each
to loose most over time

It's not about net worth
it's about who would
eventually loose if we
kept playing

Erin has more money
I have more damaging property

Call it a draw?

Hi I came back
for my scarf

You cut it on "a bias"


That's from the
modern library
collection from
about the thirties
but I have another
of his books from
eighteen hundreds

- I get them from
asesome bookstore
in S.F.

That's when they

Second rate
Dickens but
still great

Not fav. but
I love Dickens


I'm not sure
lots of outstanding variables

"Tip slips"?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 64

No list.

Nothing special to report.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

50,000 songs

A little over two years ago I signed up with an English website that is pretty much a one shop stop for anything music related on the interweb. Whether I’m looking up info on a musician, lyrics to a song, tour dates/venues, recommendations, editorials etc.

It also has a nifty plug-in for iTunes that tracks the music I play from my library and graphs and tallies my listening preferences and connects me with users of similar tastes, recommends bands, alerts me when one of my frequently played bands is playing in my area etc.

Most of the time I listen to music through my computer so my stats are a fair representation of my music tastes. A little while ago I reached fifty thousand track plays, and thought I would record the moment, and maybe revisit the notion when I reach one hundred thousand in another couple years.

I thought it a serendipitous moment, both in the unlikely chance I should notice my total track tally exactly then, and that my fifty thousandth song was coincidentally my favorite of all time ( Sundays – Cant Be Sure ). Doesn’t sound like much, but I thought there was a pleasing symmetry to it at the time, which induced me to highlight and save the moment.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Two New Writings.
Anatomy of Sleeping in the Sun.
Writing history.

Beneath the Brook

A swallows call
led us into the reeds
where old letters and sad songs
stain the waters
the night we buried our names
beneath the brook

we bled ourselves in promise
sharpened each other’s teeth
stole into barns
and tore through lambs
frenzied by their meat
we stumbled down rabbit holes
and laid in repose
slowly stroking moral dilemmas
with the tips of our fingers
taking sips from each other
until the salt and lime cut our lips
and the rumble of far away storms
shook the windows

and hungry to be swallowed
you slipped pale and raw
into my dark innocence
our bodies poured down sweaty walls
while cracked windows rattled in dry frames
so we were
(dry to the bone but wet to the touch)

now in the silent decay of night
the thin hiss of my charred body
calls you with a small voice
but you left
with a twist of laughter
and a handful of sharp angles

i try to sleep
through the confused flashes of panic
between my sensible mind
and aching body
that never destroyed me for the better.

Sleeping in the Sun

Your first word
was my secret name
smeared in margins
of old books

on hot june days
i pour down shelves
drip through floor boards
and stain your thighs

in frayed edges
torn from sleep
through silver waters
you return
scorched and sparkling
pouring your fingers
through my hair
into my stomach
filling me
until you
burn my lungs
coughed up by morning
licked raw by your light

i thought i saw you
while i slept
but it was just the city
glowing through the trees

when i woke
i thought i had a red haired wife
but i was sleeping in the sun.

In addition to posting these two pieces. I’ve decided to archive the process I went through to write Sleeping in the Sun. My workflow has changed recently, and I thought it would be worth splaying out it’s anatomy to better understand where I am with my writing, and to serve as a landmark in my evolving process.

I must warn you; my artist workflow in whatever medium, are always obsessive, and gruelingly elaborate and tiresome. You are about to step into a world of neurotic obsession that at times approaches dementia, and is really better left behind thick soundproof walls. But if you aren’t prone to epileptic fits, and don’t have a history of heart disease, and aren’t nursing, then you may proceed:

A thought while I was at it, I would briefly chronicle the history of my personal writing to this point:

I started to focus on writing when I was about nineteen. The inspiration for me to begin writing was the Super Nintendo Game ‘Tetris Attack’. As bizarre as that may sound. I had played the game off and on since I was about thirteen. Despite the name it has nothing to do with Tetris really. It stars characters from Yoshi’s Island, (another Super Nintendo game) and is a competitive puzzle game of sorts, tied together by an obligatory narrative. It was a game I invested a lot of time mastering, and remains one of my favorites. None of this is terribly relevant with respects to my writing as of yet; but as I was booting up the game one day, I noticed a little poem displayed against blue before the main start screen. I had skipped past it at least a thousand times as I rushed through the menus to get to the game, but for whatever reason this time I stopped and really read it:

let's play together...

Together under the
clearest of blue skies...

Now this could be a translation of a famous classical Japanese poem, or more likely just something an overworked programmer threw together during his lunch break to make the game more cute. It honestly wouldn’t have made a difference to me either way.

I found myself suddenly struck by the sweet, earnest simplicity of the piece. I didn’t think much of it at the time. But later that night while at work (I worked at a parking lot kiosk at the time). I was counting up money in the register and filling out the register receipt and took notice of three narrow lines under "comments", which of course everyone including myself always ignored and left blank. But that night, inspired by the above poem, I wrote my own along the same lines:

Red Smoke

You’re a sweet smelling red smoke
curling and laughing playfully

a sneaky little thing
flashing your silly smile

but your play is wise
filling your life with meaning.

It was the first piece I wrote in earnest and set me down the writing path I’ve been on since. I still feel this piece is one of my most honest and precisely expressed sentiments.

During the first few years, my writing was mired in extremely cheesy, overbearingly whimsical and nostalgic pieces that relied on mostly trite and thread bare similes and flowery descriptions. I was reading nothing but Dostoyevsky at the time, and dare say thought myself as qualified as he, with my long winded descriptions. Arguably all the same criticisms can still be levied against my writing, and may always. But I do feel that my cheesy flowery descriptions have at the very least become more personally and engagingly worded since (Though I could just be kidding myself).

I do most of my writing disheveled and bleary eyed at three in morning when my neurotic introspective delirium has had enough time to marinate in the secluded stillness of night. I always start in a sensory landscape, that incites a palpable mood and feeling. Then I try to render the sights, sounds, textures, and smells and movement of that landscape. (I use the term landscape literally, as I see/feel a very specific place)

Then I convert that scene into words trying to capture the loose swishy dreamlike quality of the scene in what usually translates into semi abstract descriptions, that hopefully when read can be re-translated back to the core mood I started with. Sort of like an ink-blot-test with subliminal advertising.

I would often write a handful of pieces one at a time trying out different perspectives on the landscape until I hit upon one I felt captured it. I found all too often however, that this approach seemed to result in a final product that was a bit like a quick sketch, often just a frame of movement, shot from the hip. It was informed by a distillation in aesthetic from the other abandoned pieces but none the less didn’t really use the work done in those other pieces to the final works advantage.

Recently however, I increasingly found myself in these landscapes with an added sense of purpose and with more of an emotional and thematic direction. I find I’m no longer passively strolling through ambivalent landscapes, but actively taking part and sharing their purpose. As far as to experience them as an illustration to a story, all be it an abstract one.

The following is an example of one of my older floral freeze-frames:

Our Landscape

leaves shatter crisp beneath
our steps press
twig snaps dirt scrapes

the trees above
drizzle autumn blaze
swish dry hush shake

blushing warm sunset
through our landscape.

And here is a more recent, thematically imbued piece:

On Almond Street

our nervous hand holds – shaking voices
the warm smashing of our soft bodies
birthed from thin shells
left to drag our tender bellies across the sand

back when you scared me beautiful
like high cliffs or wild oceans

before the cold came
the frosted streets
your wet breath – twisting the air
thin legs, big jacket
biting your lip
left behind

did you fall behind the stove
and rot like an old grape?
or stick to the window
like a wet leaf?

you’re the black pain in my fingers
when i wade through old photos
or icy waters
to capture you in a pickle jar
and wonder why your light went out

i walk the moon and wonder
(the beasts eye me carefully)
would your dark eyes spill from our children?
would you keep your mysteries closer to god?

it’s morning now
red birds scatter like hot beads
and sizzle in the wet sky

i’m waiting for you on almond street.

This new layer has made my more recent pieces longer, and much more arduous to write. In the past I would write a few different perspectives on the same landscape, one at a time, until one hit the spot, then I would dump the others. Now with this shift in design, I find myself writing a handful of different pieces at the same time, all connected by a nebulous core of mood and atmosphere. I would write each piece to stand on its own, being very strict about my ‘word real estate’ (in other words how many syllables it takes to communicate what I want ie. Concept, imagery, description etc.) I have a intuitive understanding of how many syllables any given concept, line, imagery etc. can be expressed in. When I feel I’m exceeding that, that I’m making poor use of my word real estate, and force myself to find ways to concentrate the meaning into fewer syllables.

When I feel I’ve maxed out the potential of each piece on its own, I discover, (with a familiar sense of surprise each time) that elements of some pieces fit perfectly in wanting areas of others and vice versa. This happens so consistently that I don’t consider it a coincidence anymore; rather that subconsciously I’ve been drawing connections between the different pieces the whole time.

I then focus on combining the often clashing meter, textures , tense’s, etc. Then go through the cyclical process of churning through drafts, which often seems like an endless and obsessive spiral to nowhere. But that in the end leads me to where I’m trying to get with respects to cohesion, clarity, and precision.

The main challenge with this new approach is having the stomach to cut what are often my favorite sections of the individual pieces for the good of the combined final piece, and on not making the final piece seem overly fragmented and scattered. The plus side however, is the extra length and depth allows me to tackle more complex and narrative themes. Rather than a quick sketch of a fleeting moment, I can build and develop a complex conceit, with greater detail and immersion.

Lately I’ve been feeling the narrative elements of my pieces to have louder more commanding voices, and have allowed them free reign in a few short stories. I anticipate that will be the direction I will begin to move in the near future, and hopefully to have a strong enough reign over my expression and the lung capacity for the depth necessary for a novel in the coming years.

No Talking Tuesday # 63

The List:

This is modern


He puts things in the piano and messes with the strings while playing.

You need to send me a list of all the music you want from me,
its quickly growing too big for me to keep straight in my head.

Antony and the Johnsons

I think you also wanted some Vivaldi or something?
like chorus stuff
or Bach or something

Also you wanted talking heads yes?

And did we ever figure out what music it was you liked when we played chess?

I think it was cheesy old Brian Eno
but I don’t think we ever confirmed

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

No Talking Tuesday # 62

No list.

Nothing special to report.

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