Monday, January 28, 2013

finally got it together to make a post about actualism which has been on my mind as it seems that not too many people have been noticing it. what happens is this. ok, it's about 40 years since these guys were wandering around iowa city. some of them are dying or at least suffering health problems; one of the founders died in '86 of alcoholism or so it's said. this guy, writer of the actualist manifesto, darrell gray, doesn't even have a wikipedia entry though he's a great poet, or so i think, i haven't read it all. others are whiling away in obscurity because they lived in iowa city, not san francisco or new york. my impulse is to put them all in a novel, the whole bunch.

course i couldn't do that, because i knew about half of them, and that would mess with my pure impulse to be free with the facts. it's a rough world, i've gone back to work (see below), i'm on that nasty streetcorner every day, with the crushed glass in the brick, remnants of the last victim. i'm trying to swim three times a week which means i cross that place even more, but, i'm keeping my head up, it'll all work out. have a tesol presentation coming up too, in some ways, doing actualism is avoiding that. and finally, i haven't totally let go of my linguistics book, though i certainly have failed to read a great book i got from the library which should help me with it.

so how's texas? a big wind came up today and seemed to blow dust and other stuff all around though it was very sunny, and still there was a huge sky, with a sunset, and it seemed like one could enjoy the sun and the cool weather if one could stay out of the wind and the blowy stuff which made some people complain of allergies. i see these tumbleweeds occasionally and to me they've come to symbolize the complete rootlessness of life on the plains, the wind is tough, the wind wins, all the rest of us just blow around according to its whims. one of them had cotton in it, like a jackrabbit, that might have been out by the airport where it gets flat and wide and there are a lot of cotton fields. it's actually a prosperous area, what with all this cotton, and the planting they've done has probably kept some of the dirt still instead of blowing it all the way north to wherever. why should we give our land to oklahoma? they hate us anyway.

so i do a little research on these actualists, there are fourteen in my book, actualist anthology, and i'm kind of fascinated by this piece of work although i haven't read it entirely cover to cover. and one thing that fascinates me is this: most of these actualists are drifting into obscurity, even friends of mine, chuck miller, jim mulac, john sjoberg. four or five other names in there, i don't remember at all. morty, he's ok, because he's a publisher, and this darrell gray, he's semi-famous, just because he's really good, and he was in san francisco a while. but even he doesn't have a wikipedia page, and he's been dead 27 years. actualism itself doesn't have a wikipedia page, and it's been around forty years or so. dave morice has a great wikipedia page, but then he's been doing non-stop theater for forty years.

what then is the lesson? one has to decide what one will or won't do for fame. ron silliman, he's an interesting study, he had a particular kind of poetry that he loved and kept writing for what, thirty or forty years. but he started a blog and eventually just made it the poetry blog of all poetry blogs, not least because it linked to every single other poetry blog there is, which was quite a collection. but in reality what he sold was this: he wrote extensively about poetry; he knew what was good; he wasn't afraid to criticize, etc. he was like me in that his blog was never very fancy or worked up or special-skin. and then, recently, he got tired of writing. he retired. he didn't need it; he'd made it as a poet. people ask him to read, and he does; they like him because of his unquestioned fame. the blog was his path to fame.

don't know what i think of that. i've been fiddling a little, one side of me never minded going toward fame. found a bunch of bluegrass pickers and old rustlers hanging around playing the classics with a few southern ones thrown in, dixie, washington & lee, and such. i'll have to practice these. i'm a be famous yet, one way or the other. probably later, not sooner. chou


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