Today has been, and will continue to be, a day full of reading. I started the day reading from my new pocket edition of The Hobbit and then proceeded to read the news while eating breakfast. After that, I began reading through some works that I began last term that I had decided to put down for a bit and come back to, see if I can find a new way into them and make them something I will want to submit. Then I started reading a dear friend’s script that he wrote for a pilot he will be filming in a couple months. I am about a third of the way through the script and am loving it. I think that Don is on to something good here and I am honored that he thought I should give it a look and maybe even share some of my thoughts about it. All in all, it has been a fantastic day. I hope you all are having a similar experience.
I had a really interesting time making my own sound poem in the style of 4’33” by John Cage. I had a hard time thinking of a place and time in which I am supposed to be surrounded by silence. The two places I can think of are either at the Marylhurt Library, where I go to work on finals and midterms, or during the time in which my son takes his nap during the day. He is three and a half and nap time is starting to evolve into something entirely different. My 4’33” is a recording of the “silence” that I now experience during Aage’s nap time. You can find this poem by going to the World of 4’33” inside of the app and then look for the only poem in the Clackamas/Gladstone/Milwaukie area.
What I really fell in love with when I was listening to other random poems on this app from around the world were all the little sounds that fill up the silence of a “quiet” space. From the ticking of clocks, to the breathing of the person making the recording. There is always something going on, and a range of sounds to explore. I started finding myself trying to interpret the space that was being recorded in the different locations. I was listening to one from Europe and I think I was hearing the sound of the compressor on the refrigerator coming on and off and the drip of a sink faucet. Through this, I started building the image of a run down kitchen in a small apartment in the city. I even slipped into a day dream imagining the color of the faded wall paper and the smell of cheap eastern european cigarettes that had managed to permanently imprint into the walls and floors even though the new, younger tenant had never smoked a single day of his/her life. It is here, in the ability to day dream and bring my own idea of the space into the work that I started thinking that the recording had an advantage over a live performance. The live performance that we watched last week gave me too much detail and I felt trapped within the confines of the images defined in the video. Here, I only have the sound, and because this creates a wide open area for my mind to explore, I found the experience much more enthralling.
People that make corsets are obsessed with making articles of clothing that do not only help present an image based on outward appearance, they try and manipulate what is beneath, the flesh. They are a bossy container of flesh that is meant to create a false ideal and help the person inside shove themselves into a shape that they otherwise would not be able to obtain.
Today I watched motes of dust play through the air in the cabin in my head. The dust passes through a shaft of light coming through the broken door and gives the air a cluttered, dancing quality. The dust settles over anything that sits too long, making things look diffuse, unknowable. I brought a mirror into the cabin to watch the dust settle over me. I was blinded little by little as the dust put down roots in my eyes. I wiped my eyes clean to reveal that the rest of me remained spotless.
Yesterday, I sat in front of my typewriter, looked at the window, and contemplated what lay beyond. My window spider had encased the glass in a solid wall of silk. I asked her forgiveness for intruding as I gingerly pulled her web aside. As I worked, I thought of the windows in my wood shop, how my Grandfather’s shop had no windows, and how the windows in my shop are more oppressive than the lack of windows in his. I thought of how I am self-conscious as I spin my lathe, clumsily carve wood bowls, and hope that no one is watching and judging me foolish. I remember Grandpa’s thumbs were nearly as thick as my wrist the first time he showed me how to set the tool into the bowl, let the ribbons fall free. I realize that my thumbs are becoming thick like his now, though they do not bear the marks of a man that works with his hands, like his; mine are soft, nails bitten, the hands of an anxious artist.
When the web is removed, I see the view outside the cabin has changed over the years. The river has been replaced by my creek, Still Creek, where I go to sit below Mount Hood and escape the city. This creek has swallowed the bodies of two loved ones, carried them off until they reached the Pacific. Grandpa Carlsen and Aunt Dorothy, brother and sister, entered the river at the same spot on the same day. To the right of the cabin is my old blue pickup truck. My family rode in that truck to Still Creek to send the siblings on their way. I thoroughly enjoyed bringing my city slicker family with me to the wild. They gasped as I flung the grainy ashes into the water. My grandfather floated down stream, dancing, and bobbing like the moats of dust in front of the cabin’s broken door. My Aunt Dorothy sank to the bottom, clung to the rocks and refused to be washed away. It took her until the end of Summer to move on.
Outside the cabin, the sun is twinkling down on the stream. The water glints and surges along. My toes begin to feel thirsty. I gently pry the broken door open and walk to the shore. When I step out, the sound of the creek rushes into me. I am filled with giddiness at the idea of soaking my feet in the water. I kick off my shoes and run to the shore. I am smiling. I have not smiled like this in my cabin in a great while. It feels fantastic.
From the water, I see Mount Hood. Wy’east is his real name. He was a great Indian warrior that fell in love with Loowit, who we call Mount Saint Helens. His brother, Klickitat, is a mountain too; he is called Mount Adams these days. The brothers, Wy’east and Klickitat, loved Loowit and she loved both of them. Their love was spread among too many and was jealous. They all died because of their love. I have never let love try and kill me. I do not have the constitution for such things. One time a dear friend kissed a girlfriend of mine. I was angry at first, but he pointed out that her love was easy to get and gotten by many. I made the mistake of believing his excuse, excusing him. I left the girl. For good measure, I kissed his next girlfriend. Fare is fare. Soon, I realized my error, women are not tradable currency, not weapons in jealous wars, not what I came to think of them at all, I left him. I wish I could leave the memory of my actions as well; leave that wretched, momentary me outside of my cabin. Let him gather dust somewhere else.