Friday, June 17, 2016

any time i get frustrated, too much kid-noise to concentrate, i pack up my creative projects and just blog. times are good - it's the one month i get off entirely from esl, and i can really work on my writing - but with the kids being around all the time, and sometimes very around, sometimes i get less than i'd like. today, i look out over the white sands, which are still a little hazy - earlier today, i noticed that probably the large fire in central new mexico had brought some smoke and haze our way, because we could no longer see the sharp whites of the gypsum fields reflecting in the morning sun. now it's late afternoon; the sun should be setting; but, we should also get a clearer color difference between the light blues of the mountains and the bright white of the sands.

once again we didn't make it down the hill for groceries. the walmart is two or three thousand feet down, twenty or thirty degrees hotter, and much sunnier; you really have to be prepared for that. i asked a local how they do it, and she told me, early in the morning, which made sense. and, as little as possible, obviously. our goal now is to be up here and stay here. 105 in roswell, 103 in lubbock, but 70/70/70 here, and we're loving it. when in doubt, make a cup of navajo tea and go sit on the porch.

suddenly, for some reason, i wrote a whole lot more haiku. they're easier these days; i need three a day, but wrote over ten today, at least three for the carbondale collection and the other seven for e pluribus. this will help tide me over on those dry times when i don't force myself to write anything at all - if it's not coming, just move on, i like to say. and i have absolutely no problem with making that tea, and just sitting and watching across the tularosa valley. my one weakness with the haiku, that i'm feeling now, is that, in 1974 or wherever, i was not very in tune with the actual physical things: the flowers, the vines, the trees. haiku wants me to know what blooms, where, and when, yet i kind of feel that i'm making claims about what blooms, on the roadsides of, say, nebraska, when in fact i went through nebraska several times, and still couldn't tell you.

i remember lots of other things about the countryside - the vast expansiveness of places like nebraska - the feeling i got of being a visitor in a wide and expansive country, confident in itself, comfortable, gracious, generous. i can express this kind of feeling and will. but to actually work in the physical details - i have some trouble with that. i simply can't remember them. even when i saw them, i didn't know the names of anything - didn't care - so that, now, i am left asserting that some kind of wildflower was out there, on the road - and it probably was, somewhere - but i have to figure out how i can make these empty assertions more grounded. for example, if i put a flower in a city, i have better chances of having there actually be one of them, there, somewhere - whereas, if i put it at a certain intersection, i could be so wrong!

two other things i've done here is collation, to the point of almost finishing, my autobiography (actually, to be more precise, i am probably still not close) - and typing some of the crinkly personal stories of my ancestors - so that my crinkly copies are not the only ones around. my goal here would be to have some authentic historical documents to mix in with my own writing, in a volume that would track the leverett side all the way back to the governor. i would mix in my own commentary on who they were, what they were like, the times they lived in. the one i just typed, the guy moved out to quincy illinois in about 1830or 40, set out to farming and pioneer-like activities, and then noticed that the mormons were just being evicted from quincy right as they lived there. but he barely commented on it; he was either so absorbed in ploughing, getting by, and raising various children, or else he was so political, that he knew that once starting to even mention it, there would be no other way but to go on about it, until it was fully explained. there was the story of how some guy stopped him and implored him to vote for van buren, but he'd made up his mind toward harrison, and chose not to discuss it.

then, sure enough, i got a biography of lincoln - actually my son checked it out of the library, hoping to get the true story of john wilkes booth's demise - but it didn't have it, and i started actually reading it, this being vacation and all, and there was van buren and harrison right in it. lincoln was around in those days, and also in southwestern illinois, and so there was a certain interesting parallel there. a sudden, intense look at the 1830s.


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