I'm creating a new category and a new project that we'll see if I actually finish. Some of the misguided fools who still read this thing have asked for more information about me. I loath autobiography, but there is a middle way that I thought I'd try.
Much of my life has been colored by places, and certain feelings and situations often inwardly evoke imagery from particular locations. I'm more attuned to images and visual significance than I'm usually willing to admit, so the option of writing about a specific place will reveal as much about me as the place itself. Not to mention it might be more readable than dry dossier of life factoids. Moreover, most of the places I've chosen are laden with the feel of specific people of personal influence. I most often experience memories of people in the imagery and impressions of a place, even though that place might be somewhere the person's never been. So in places coincide memories, perspective, and personal relationships. This is not true travel-writing - this is me running around within my mental landscape, which just happens to be composed of significant chunks of real ground.
To give myself some accountability, here's a list of the places I'll be writing about:
Lake Kwada, Zaire Lake Turkana, Kenya Pate and Mandu Islands, Kenya Eldama Ravine, Kenya Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, France La cathédrale de Saint-Etienne, Metz, France L'amphithéatre de Nîmes, during the Feria, France Doolin, beneath the Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland Nakhwaam, Busosan, Buyeo, Chungcheongnam-do, Korea
These will not all merit equal length, of course, but they should all get some blogspace. I might do them out of order. I might change the location. I might add Brugges, Belgium to the mix. Or Helsinki, Finland. But the former might be too boring and the latter too overwrought. Anyway, I'll see what I can do. We'll see if I even finish it.
Our Father who art in heaven, I am drunk. Again. Red wine. For which I offer thanks. I ought to start with praise, but praise comes hard to me. I stutter. Did I tell you about the woman, whom I taught, in bed, this prayer? It starts with praise; the simple form keeps things in order. I hear from her sometimes. Do you? And after love, when I was hungry, I said, Make me something to eat. She yelled, Poof! You're a casserole! - and laughed so hard she fell out of bed. Take care of her.
Next, confession - the dreary part. At night deer drift from the dark woods and eat my garden. They're like enormous rats on stilts except, of course, they're beautiful. But why? What makes them beautiful? I haven't shot one yet. I might. When I was twelve I'd ride my bike out to the dump and shoot the rats. It's hard to kill your rats, our Father. You have to use a hollow point and hit them solidly. A leg is not enough. The rat won't pause. Yeep! Yeep! it screams, and scrabbles, three-legged, back into the trash, and I would feel a little bad to kill something that wants to live more savagely than I do, even if it's just a rat. My garden's vanishing. Perhaps I'll plant more beans, though that might mean more beautiful and hungry deer. Who knows? I'm sorry for the times I've driven home past a black, enormous, twilight ridge. Crested with mist it looked like a giant wave about to break and sweep across the valley, and in my loneliness and fear I've thought, O let it come and wash the whole world clean. Forgive me. This is my favorite sin: despair- whose love I celebrate with wine and prayer.
Our Father, thank you for all the birds and trees, that nature stuff. I'm grateful for good health, food, air, some laughs, and all the other things I've never had to do without. I have confused myself. I'm glad there's not a rattrap large enough for deer. While at the zoo last week, I sat and wept when I saw one elephant insert his trunk into another's ass, pull out a lump, and whip it back and forth impatiently to free the goodies hidden in the lump. I could have let it mean most anything, but I was stunned again at just how little we ask for in our lives. Don't look! Don't look! Two young nuns tried to herd their giggling schoolkids away. Line up, they called, Let's go and watch the monkeys in the monkey house. I laughed and got a dirty look. Dear Lord, we lurch from metaphor to metaphor, which is -let it be so- a form of praying.
I'm usually asleep by now -the time for supplication. Requests. As if I'd stayed up late and called the radio and asked they play a sentimental song. Embarrassed. I want a lot of money and a woman. And, also, I want vanishing cream. You know- a character like Popeye rubs it on and disappears. Although you see right through him, he's there. He chuckles, stumbles into things, and smoke that's clearly visible escapes from his invisible pipe. It make me think, sometimes, of you. What makes me think of me is the poor jerk who wanders out on air and then looks down. Below his feet, he sees eternity, and suddenly his shoes no longer work on nothingness, and down he goes. As I fall past, remember me.
There's only a week left to Choi Minshik's exhibition at Ilmin Museum in Jongno-gu. He does cool things with light and steam and ropes, and grounds all of it with a human face. I guess that's why they call it "Humanity, the Only Hope." A wee melodramatic, but these photographs put soul in people. I'll have to write more about this later....
Our neighbor’s slim rag doll of a daughter (not, we’re told, of his own getting) breathed out: "You’ve got so many cookbooks!" – each eye a startled O as it skimmed our kitchen shelves – "And so much food!" Later, straight-faced, she said her mother lives now with her new boyfriend in another county. Hard up for farm jobs, her "Dad" has to drive 60 miles to the factory, getting up at 5 AM to leave them where his folks watch after them until he gets back home – sometimes 5 PM.
We go for long walks every evening. If we pass their trailer, they all tumble out shouting, "Snodgrass! Snodgrass!" The slim, straight-faced one is thought slow by her teachers. There’s much she’d do well not to know. The cool offspring of our city friends are driven to special schools, sports dates, parties, given phones, computers, cars, the insatiate stuff that will guarantee they can’t ever get enough. Our neighbors’ less keen hungers and kinder drives make sure they’ll make nothing of their lives but lives.
The site's been redesigned some. Because, of course, I have better things to do. Photos are slowly being put up on Xeniteia Photo, until I find a better way to deal with them. Maybe I'll even do a photo essay or two. The categories have been redone, an About page constructed for all you fools who wanted to know more about me.