Monday, December 31, 2012

took the fiddle out, intending to play some auld lang syne and some merrily kissed, the quaker, but its strings had completely sprung, the horsehairs coming out of the bow and all, it was dying from disuse. terrible tragedy. i tuned it up as quick as possible, but it kept coming out of tune, you know how it does, when you first tighten it. it took me a while before it got used to playing in one spot, without slipping flat every couple of minutes. fortunately my playing partners, in this particular incidnet, were quite tolerant.

in the groove of break, i've been writing a linguistics book instead of my novel as i'd originally intended. thus we shot a whole week between christmas and now, new years' eve, where i barely blogged at all, or even did facebook, i've kind of fallen out of that too. now, tomorrow, we fly to illinois for a few days, i know i'm not supposed to give this stuff away, on facebook or anywhere else, but the thieves around here, by and large they can't read, or if they can they don't, or if they do they don't generally get down to the second paragraph. i'm counting on my good luck here, and hoping to a certain degree that i can talk freely, and everything will just work out. there are cultures, i realize, where you just don't do that.

traffic has calmed down considerably here, so i've been enjoying a little less street noise, but unfortunately, a neighbor left a dog pretty much outside, days, all week, and this dog has had an unpleasant holiday, and seen fit to bark hours on end. sometimes we provoke it, by going outside or whatever, and that gets it going again, non-stop. tonight i didn't get out of it until i left the house, finally, for the party, but it was a bad day today.

our own dog, a black lab with pretty fur and big brown eyes, has taken to getting right in my face with its big look, and pretty much begging me to go out in the courtyard and throw the toy. so i do. sitting out there, in the cool sun, i check out the weather, which is really quite varied around here, sometimes cloudy, sometimes very sunny. my shoulder has been sore for about a year, so the act of throwing this little toy is actually a little healing; i feel like i'm getting my arm back. our dog is kind of a fanatic with the fetching thing; she lives for it, she'll do it over and over; the neighbor dog, on the contrary, goes bananas and barks even more and louder. this goes on for maybe ten minutes. our dog just about keels over from fanatic fetching.

we've all had time to ruminate, to reminisce, to miss illinois, and wonder what it will be like upon our return. one thing is that they're having a third snowstorm, the first having dropped over a foot of snow. we'll have to see how the second layer and the one coming in tonight will affect the driving; it may be that we do less driving than we'd like. we got a bit of rain last night in texas, and this will be the third snowstorm when it gets up into illinois, but we haven't been down here long enough to miss the stuff seriously, or to forget how to drive in it. i myself love winter, and won't be especially aggravated at our bad luck; to some degree, i enjoy the challenge.

tonight i'm coming home from the party, going about forty in a forty, and a small car flies past me, its back window replaced with plastic that is flapping because of its speed. we both have to stop at a red light a little further ahead, in other words, this person was speeding for no immediate benefit. but when i pull up alongside, it's a young woman, with a baby in the back; the baby is looking at me, from behind its pacifier. the young woman is dialing her cell phone. off to some new year's gig, no doubt. hope they make it; it was only about ten thirty. soon after we arrive home, we hear ambulances again; we actually hear ambulances a lot. the college empties out, the city slows down a little, our neighborhood quiets a lot, but the ambulances don't let up.

these days i've been thinking a lot about chomsky, because of my project, but i've also been thinking a lot about actualism, because i've gotten in touch with an old friend and my impulse is to try to document that era, keep it alive, and report what i remember before it goes away. this may happen on my poetry blog, but it will happen one way or the other, because nobody else is really waving the actualist flag. the story of actualism is as follows. iowa city as a place was a kind of magnet for poets, partly because of the writer's workshop which included a poetry workshop. but this workshop went through periods of intense snobbery, and these sometimes corresponded with periosds of restless regbellion among the street poets, or those who were either left out of the workshop, or for whatever reason just had chosen to live in the area. these poets got together and would have wild conventions, actualist conventions, and would claim that, basically, one didn't have to be a snob to be a poet, and that in fact it was better if one wasn't. one didn't have to know greek mythology to be a poet. the idea of actualism was to shine the light on the day-to-day, the mundane. this blog will show it, if that could be possible. it appears that it is up to me to keep this flame going.

we're in the elevens, the boys and i. we're staying up 'til midnight. we're in it for the long haul. pictures coming.

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