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3 dream fragments

August 19, 2019


I’m driving on a road, and notice a big river is coming up. Traffic on the bridge is stopped. “Railroad crossing” gates descend, so no one else on the road ahead of me gets on the bridge.

The bridge begins rising — it’s a drawbridge.

I’m switching my gaze between the yellow pickup truck that is sensibly parked at the gates, and the vehicles on the bridge … how are they adhering to the pavement?! Isn’t gravity going to pull them down?

When the drawbridge reaches its maximum height (something ludicrous like an 80 degree angle), the vehicles accelerate from a standing stop (!) and jump the gap (!!).

How do they not fall into the water below? How could they start? It’s bonkers, but they cross in orderly rows of lanes of traffic.

One “vehicle” I hadn’t noticed before, but I see it making the jump, is a commuter train … even weirder, it lands into a deep pool of water, on the opposite side of the bridge, and (like an eel) swims away?!?


8.18 A

There’s a big family gathering at my maternal grandmother’s house; unexpectedly, a bunch of my paternal cousins are there too: I see Jared on the stairs, going the other way; I fall into conversation with Maggie, a year my elder.

I tell her it’s surprisingly difficult to fill up all the free time I have had since I ‘retired’ in my 40s. Here I am, 10 years on, and still struggling.

I realize as I’m talking to her that much-younger Mea (who was often depressed) filled up excesses of time by sleeping, and reading. Having demanding jobs and an enmeshed family consumed the remainder, such that I didn’t even have time (or emotional energy) available to make art.

Now I have time, and sometimes I even have energy, but what’s the point?


8.18 B

I’m conversing with someone about a particular Marvel movie. This guy is disgruntled about how some object morphed into Yggdrasil, but no review he’s seen even mentions that. He’s annoyed Yggdrasil has been disrespected, again.

Me? I’m inwardly ecstatic that someone else recognizes Yggdrasil is, in fact, a character.




I’ve been aware for the last month or two that I’m in the midst of a major Positive Disintegration. It feels disruptive and prickly enough to rival the one I experienced when we moved to Maryland in 2008.

I’m guessing that I’ve finally processed and worked through all of that aftermath, but now my conscious mind is catching up to the fact that I have to assess what this phase of my life is about.


Good Omens has been helping me embrace inner selves of various genders. Instead of imagining from the outside what that might could be like, I’m embodying different identities (in small doses). Then reevaluating my past, and family history — not just my own.

I’m working on a new name for one of the personas.

I’m aggregating the new Welsh and British poetry knowledge into my trove of Celtic literature and languages.

I think maybe I have become a scholar after all.



Air and Water.


When I feel ready, I’ll be ready.

[Since I don’t feel ready with BMR, I’ll abstain this time.]


I’m choosing whom to spend my time with more wisely than before. I don’t want advice and I definitely don’t want a critique of my feelings. I want someone who listens, and lets me figure out for myself what’s important.



[Y’s been part of my personal pantheon since circa 1978. Long before I knew the word “pantheon”.]

Trees as characters.

Seen and unseen.



More 4’s.

Change is coming.



Reading List 8 of 2019

August 15, 2019

Covers the period from 7.20.2019 through 8.15.19


I own 10 of these items. I watched 5 items in the cinema/on Youtube/via streaming. Baltimore County Public Library system supplied 10 of the books and DVDs. Libraries outside of Baltimore County, via Inter-Library Loan, supplied the other 11 items.



Rest in Power, Toni Morrison (1931 – 5 Agosto 2019)






Welsh poets:

  1. Chaotic Angels: Poems in English by Gwyneth Lewis
  2. Collected Poems of Lynette Roberts, edited by Patrick McGuinness
  3. The Land of Wales by Eiluned Lewis and Peter Lewis [1937]
  4. Quantum Poetics by Gwyneth Lewis
  5. Selected Poems of Idris Davies [1953]


British poets:

  1. A Father of Women and Other Poems by Alice Meynell [1917]
  2. A Few Late Chrysanthemums by John Betjeman [1954]
  3. A Nip in the Air by John Betjeman [1974]
  4. The Atlantic Book of British and American Poetry, edited by Edith Sitwell [1958]
  5. The Columbia Anthology of British Poetry, edited by Carl Woodring and James Shapiro
  6. Edith Sitwell: A Unicorn Among Lions by Victoria Glendinning
  7. The Poems of Alice Meynell: Complete Edition [1940]
  8. The Ungirt Runner: Charles Hamilton Sorley, Poet of World War I by Thomas Burnett Swann {Scottish} [1965]


Good Omens:

  1. [TV] Good Omens, serial, directed by Douglas Mackinnon, written by Neil Gaiman (watched 5th and 6th times)
  2. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
  3. The Nice and Accurate Good Omens TV Companion by Matt Whyman
  4. The Quite Nice and Fairly Accurate Good Omens Script Book by Neil Gaiman


Films ~ Michael Sheen:

  1. Frost/Nixon, directed by Ron Howard
  2. Home Again, written & directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer
  3. Laws of Attraction, directed by Peter Howitt




Poets from other places:

  1. A Map to the Next World by Joy Harjo {FN-Mvskoke | Oklahoma}
  2. The Darkness Around Us Is Deep by William Stafford {USA}
  3. The Four Questions of Melancholy: New & Selected Poems by Tomaž Šalamun {Slovenia}
  4. The True Subject: Writers on Life and Craft, edited by Kurt Brown {USA}
  5. Wade in the Water by Tracy K. Smith {USA}



  1. An Illusion of Thieves by Cate Glass
  2. Hostage by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith
  3. Rebel by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith
  4. Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith



  1. A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
  2. Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer



Films & TV:

  1. Dumplin’, directed by Anne Fletcher
  2. Time Bandits, directed by Terry Gilliam
  3. Moon Landing Live, on BBC America
  4. Derry Girls, season 2, written by Lisa McGee
  5. Sherlock, episode 3.04, directed by Douglas Mackinnon



Reading List 7 of 2019

July 19, 2019

Covers the period from 6.28.2019 through 7.18.19


I/we own 3 of these items. I watched 10 items in the cinema/on Youtube/via streaming. Baltimore County Public Library system supplied 5 of the books and DVDs. Libraries outside of Baltimore County, via Inter-Library Loan, supplied the other 3 items.



Films & TV:

  1. Can You Ever Forgive Me?, directed by Marielle Heller
  2. Chopsticks, written & directed by Sachin Yardi {Hindi – India}
  3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, directed by Chris Columbus
  4. Late Night, directed by Nisha Ganatra, written by Mindy Kaling
  5. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman
  6. Toy Story 4, directed by Josh Cooley
  7. Sherlock, season 1 & 2/3 of season 2, created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat
  8. Stranger Things, 1/3 of season 3, created by the Duffer Brothers




  1. Baroque Dance: Gavotte a 4, by La Belle Danse
  2. Gavotte dâ Honneur, by Roy Butler
  3. Good Omens*, serial, directed by Douglas Mackinnon, written by Neil Gaiman (watched 3 more times)


*Good Omens flavoured my whole month: the Aziraphale & Crowley OTP — quite unexpectedly — sparked complex feelings and memories => insights and revelations.

Michael Sheen & David Tennant are awesome.

(Also loved new-to-me Adria Arjona.)


Now that fanfiction memes are all over my IG feed… I’m also Team Black Hermione, Drarry, Luna & Neville; Johnlock; Beelzebub & Gabriel.



Celtic Poetry:

  1. Anglo-Welsh Poetry, 1480–1990, edited by Raymond Garlick & Roland Mathias
  2. The Literature of the Kymry by Thomas Stephens [1849!]
  3. Walking the White Fields: Poems, 1967–1980 by Leslie Norris
  4. [Video] Gwyneth Lewis on the role of the subconscious in writing
  5. [Video] Learn Welsh for Beginners: Lesson 1
  6. Wain: LGBT Reimaginings of Scottish Folklore; poems by Rachel Plummer, illustrations by Helene Boppert





  1. bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward
  2. Evidence by Mary Oliver



  1. Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer
  2. I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver //nonbinary MC; nonbinary author//



Reading List 6 of 2019

June 24, 2019

Covers the period from 5.28.2019 through 6.23.19


I own 6 of these items. I watched 7 items in the cinema/on Youtube/via streaming. Baltimore County Public Library system supplied 7 of the books and movies. Libraries outside of Baltimore County, via Inter-Library Loan, supplied the other 12 items.



Artists of particular interest:

  1. Egon Schiele: Landscapes by Rudolf Leopold
  2. Important 20th Century Paintings, Watercolors & Drawings, from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, NYC, 20 Oct 1971 {Kandinsky’s watercolors!}
  3. Turning the Feather Around: My Life in Art by George Morrison {FN–Ojibway | Lake Superior}



Art History:

  1. New Worlds: German and Austrian Art, 1890–1940, edited by Renée Price
  2. Reimagining Pictorial Space: Abstraction of the 1930s–1940s, by D. Wigmore Fine Art, Inc.



Art ~ how to:

  1. Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter by James Gurney
  2. Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn’t Exist by James Gurney
  3. Making Color Sing by Jeanne Dobie
  4. Watercolor Secrets by Robin Berry {1st read in late 2013, when I understood almost nothing}
  5. Watercolour Secrets by Jill Leman, of the Royal Watercolour Society





  1. An Honest Woman by Jónína Kirton {FN–Métis & Icelandic | Canada}
  2. Blue Yodel by Ansel Elkins [YYP, 2015]
  3. It Is Daylight by Arda Collins [YYP, 2009]
  4. Rave: Poems, 1975–1999 by Olga Broumas
  5. The Tertiary / Lo Terciario by Raquel Salas Rivera
  6. The Year of Blue Water by Yanyi [YYP, 2018]



  1. A Conspiracy of Truths by Alexandra Rowland
  2. Dinotopia, written & illustrated by James Gurney
  3. The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley
  4. New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color, edited by Nisi Shawl



  1. American Originality: Essays on Poetry by Louise Glück
  2. Betty Kuhner: The American Family Portrait by Kate Kuhner & Steven Stolman
  3. Cheek by Jowl: Talks & Essays on How & Why Fantasy Matters by Ursula K. Le Guin
  4. The Two Kinds of Decay by Sarah Manguso
  5. [Fiction] Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
  6. [Video] Ancestral Detention: Settler Desire of Grave Theft & Museum Containment, by Claire Urbanski — presentation at symposium on Spatializing Sovereignty, 20 Apr 2016




Films & TV:

  1. Downton Abbey, season 6, created by Julian Fellowes
  2. The Manners of Downton Abbey, produced & directed by Louise Wardle
  3. Good Omens, serial, directed by Douglas Mackinnon
  4. Rocketman, directed by Dexter Fletcher


[Video] Lindsay Ellis*, cultural critic:

  1. The Complex Feels of Guardians of the Galaxy v. 2
  2. The Whole Plate series
    1. Transformers and Film Studies
    2. Auteur Theory vs. Michael Bay
    3. Why Is It So Hard to Remember What Happens in Transformers?
    4. Genre
    5. The Problem of Lady Robots – Feminist Theory
    6. Framing Megan Fox – Feminist Theory
    7. Queering Michael Bay


* A gossip blog commenter linked to her work, and I found it interesting, even though I have never seen a Transformers movie, nor any other Michael Bay movie.


Reading List 5 of 2019

May 27, 2019

Covers the period from 5.8.2019 through 5.27.19


I/we own 2 of these items. I watched 6 items in the cinema/on Youtube/via streaming. Baltimore County Public Library system supplied 5 of the books and movies. Libraries outside of Baltimore County, via Inter-Library Loan, supplied the other 22 items.




  1. Arran with Camera and Sketchbook by V. A. Firsoff [1951]
  2. The Art of Ballpoint: Experimentation, Exploration, and Techniques in Ink by Matt Rota
  3. Sketch Your World by James Hobbs
  4. Unknown Terrain: The Landscapes of Andrew Wyeth by Beth Venn and Adam D. Weinberg [1998]


Art ~ Watercolor:

  1. An Illustrated Journey by Danny Gregory
  2. Gardens of Awe and Folly: A Traveler’s Journal… by Vivian Swift
  3. Sara Midda’s South of France: A Sketchbook [1990]
  4. Watercolor Journeys: Create Your Own Travel Sketchbook by Richard Schilling
  5. [Video] Pigment Spotlight: Potter’s Pink vs. Pink Pipestone by Sadie Saves the Day



  1. LGBTQ Fiction and Poetry from Appalachia, edited by Jeff Mann and Julia Watts


Poetry ~ Yale Younger Poets:

  1. Above the Land by Julie Agoos [1987]
  2. Dark Pavilion by Lindley Williams Hubbell [1927]
  3. Dreams and a Sword by Medora Addison [1922]
  4. Eruv by Eryn Green [2014]
  5. For My People by Margaret Walker [1942]
  6. The Gardener Mind by Margaret Haley [1937]
  7. Gathering the Tribes by Carolyn Forché [1976]
  8. Green Soldiers by John Bensko [1981]
  9. The Lost Pilot by James Tate [1967]
  10. Love Letter from an Impossible Land by William Meredith [1944]
  11. Natural Histories by Leslie Ullman [1979]
  12. Threats Instead of Trees by Michael Ryan [1974]
  13. Uranium Poems by Judith Johnson Sherwin [1969]
  14. Views of Jeopardy by Jack Gilbert [1962]
  15. Wampum and Old Gold by Hervey Allen [1921]
  16. The Yale Younger Poets Anthology, edited by George Bradley [1998]



Films & TV:

  1. Bathtubs Over Broadway, directed by Dava Whisenant // 2nd half//
  2. Chesapeake Bay by Air, written & directed by John Paulson
  3. Downton Abbey, second ½ of season 4, season 5, created by Julian Fellowes
  4. Kung Fu Panda 3, directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni {2x}
  5. Kung Fu Panda, directed by Mark Osborne and John Stevenson
  6. Kung Fu Panda 2, directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson
  7. Love & Friendship, written & directed by Whit Stillman {based on Jane Austen’s Lady Susan}
  8. Men In Black 3, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
  9. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, directed by Bharat Nalluri



Reading List 4 of 2019

April 25, 2019

Covers the period from 3.29.2019 through 4.25.19


I own 6 of these items. I watched 9 items on Youtube/via streaming. Baltimore County Public Library system supplied 10 of the books and movies. Libraries outside of Baltimore County, via Inter-Library Loan, supplied the other 8 items.



RIP, Agnès Varda (1928 – 29 Marzo 2019)



Artists of particular interest:

  1. Alice Baber: Color, Light and Image, edited by Norton T. Dodge [1977, St. Mary’s College, Maryland] {abstract expressionist | oils}
  2. Joe Feddersen: Vital Signs by Rebecca J. Dobkins {lithographs; baskets; glass} [FN – Okanagan & Lakes]
  3. Emily Mason: The Light in Spring by David Ebony, et al. {abstract expressionist | oils}
  4. Georgia O’Keeffe: Watercolors, 1916–1918
  5. Paul Signac: A Collection of Watercolors and Drawings by Marina Ferretti Bocquillon {neo-impressionist}



Art ~ how to:

  1. 40 Watercolorists and How They Work by Susan E. Meyer [1976]
  2. The Art of Plein Air Painting by M. Stephen Doherty
  3. Artful Watercolor: Learning to Use the Secrets of Light by Lou Bonamarte and Carolyn Janik
  4. How to Mix Colors by Gabriel Martín Rig
  5. Just Add Watercolor by Helen Birch
  6. One Watercolor a Day by Veronica Lawlor
  7. Pure Watercolour Painting by Peter Cronin
  8. Sketching school by Judy Martin [1992]
  9. Watercolor: An Artist’s Guide to Painting on the Go! by Barbara Roth
  10. Watercolor: Painting Outside the Lines [negative space] by Linda Kemp
  11. Watercolor: Paintings by Contemporary Artists by Leslie Dutcher
  12. The Watercolour Enigma by Stephen Coates



Art ~ how to | Video:

  1. 8 minute tiny landscape by Kateri Ewing
  2. How to paint people [with watercolor] by Arty Julie
  3. How to use complementary colors in watercolor painting by Steve Mitchell
  4. Portraits in Watercolor, Part 1, by James Kirk [1988]
  5. Tube blacks vs. prismatic blacks (and why I love them both) by Kateri Ewing
  6. Watercolor Mindfulness by Jean Haines //watched first ½ only//
  7. Watercolor mixing chart tutorial by Mr. Otter Studio
  8. Watercolour realism: A different approach by Elizabeth Tyler
  9. Watercolor sets on a budget by Kateri Ewing





  1. Traces in Blood, Bone, & Stone: Contemporary Ojibwe Poetry, edited by Kimberly Blaeser {Anishinaabe | Wisconsin}



  1. A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota, edited by Sun Yung Shin
  2. Race-ing Justice, En-gendering Power: Essays on Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and the Construction of Social Reality, edited by Toni Morrison [1992]


British royalty:

  1. After Diana by Christopher Andersen
  2. Born to Be King: Prince Charles on Planet Windsor by Catherine Mayer



Films & TV:

  1. Downton Abbey, seasons 1–3, 1/2 of season 4, created by Julian Fellowes
  2. Frozen Fever, directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck




A(p)rian applied arts

April 22, 2019

Learning to observe more effectively.



In early April, Spouse saw a story on the NYT website about crowd-sourcing the identification of forest animals in Dutchess & Putnam counties, New York. He quickly got hooked on participating; I began soon after.

It’s fun, also addictive — I’m always hoping to see an unusual animal!

Out of the 30 possibilities (+ 1 category “nothing here”), I’ve seen various birds [including ruffed grouse, and turkeys, but mostly songbirds], black bears, a bobcat, chipmunks, a coyote, lots of deer, dogs, red foxes, gray foxes, herps [a snake, and maybe a frog], insects & invertebrates, mice, opossums, raccoons, gray & red squirrels, a woodchuck.   17 categories of critters.

Spouse has seen all of those, plus bats, and a family of black bears!


Critters I haven’t yet seen: bat; beaver; cat (domestic); cow; fisher; human being; mink; muskrat; river otter; flying squirrel; striped skunk; weasel.

(Who knew New York’s “striped skunk” looks nothing like Midwestern skunks?)


I have to pace myself, allowing days of rest in between sessions, but I’ve done stints on 8 days this month, for a total of 898 classifications.

As of early 22 April, the project was 7% complete.




The same website, Zooniverse, administers all sorts of crowd-sourced projects. I receive emails about which need more help, which got me started on Plant Letters.

The herbarium at the University of Coimbra in Portugal has a repository of letters to botanists that need transcribing. Letters written in Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and English.

I bungled the one letter in Spanish I tried transcribing — I found the date, 1877, irresistible, but the handwriting was almost impossible for me to decipher.

I’ve had better luck in letters and postcards written in English. A botanist in Surrey, England, writing in 1902, 1905, 1909, about various plant specimens he was studying.


I’ve completed 4 items. (Lots of typing keeps my numbers low.)

The project is 33% complete.




Applying my observations, creatively.



I surprised myself by how enjoyable participating in Fiberuary on Instagram was, so when I saw mentions of a “100 day project”, to begin 2 April, I impulsively decided to try it.

Unlike many of the people doing the project on IG, my version is not a well-defined topic [“100 days of human faces”].

I want a process for sketching things, in as few strokes as possible. But I also want to explore mixing colors, and how I feel about those colors.


As a kid, painting in oils was occasionally enjoyable, but more usually boring, and frustrating. I didn’t much care about the subject matter; I just wanted to explore juxtaposing and mixing pleasing color combinations.

I didn’t know, then, that I had emotion–color synesthesia.

I did know that I didn’t want to learn how to either draw, or paint, most subjects everyone else valued. But what was left?

A few years later, but still a kid, when I sketched with pencil, I portrayed only the item in front of me (usually a flower, or a tree). That is, no surrounding environment — no neighbors, no shadows, no perspective. Just the one thing.

Now I wonder … were my drawings disconnected from context because I was disconnected from context?


Even when I returned to painting (acrylics), in 2010, I was inspired by the colors themselves more than anything. Often mixing colors evoked moods and memories, which were incorporated into my paintings, but something(s) was missing.

It took years to realize that maybe I wanted to explore representational art.

Obstacles, however, included carpal tunnel, general muscle weakness, poor fine motor control, and being 30+ years out-of-practice with drawing. What method could possibly be available to me?


Sketching with watercolor.

Can I paint what I see, directly, without penciling anything in first? Yes. {Baby tapir figurine; Slyvori (snake plant); smiling pig figurine.}

Can I represent a mood, with a colorway? Yes.

Do I have a visual vocabulary of marks? Surprisingly, yes.

Can I freehand paint something I photographed, so it’s recognizable? Yes. {skunk cabbage}

If I do pencil something in, can I draw it well enough that it’s recognizable? Can I mix the colors correctly? Yes, and yes.


Spouse has taken up watercolors just now as well. As usual, our approaches are quite distinct.

He bought tubes of paint, and several brushes of various sizes, water brushes, a palette, a carrying case.

I’ve been exploring handmade watercolors, in pans and half-pans (and bottlecaps, and dots; also pebbles and paintstones), that I’ve found via Instagram. I’ve been using a 20 year old brush I’ve had for craft projects. I’m willing to try a variety of papers in odd weights, because I already own them.

Basically, I’m improvising with what’s at hand. Whatever’s easy.


Because I have to do a thing every single day — consistency to that extent is definitely not my strong suit — I’m letting myself find something that excites me to tackle, every day. What if I painted an item on my desk? Something I can see from my desk? Let’s try this new color that just arrived! Color mixing! What if I use the back end of the brush to swirl the paint in tendrils? What if I paint with this twig?


My emotions are infusing everything. And there’s a lot of ~amelia~. Much more than I would have expected, considering that (1) I’m not happy all the time; and (2) the colorways are definitely not the ones I think of when I think of ~amelia~. And yet, I feel ~amelia~, both when creating the paintings, and then when looking at them later.

Being surrounded by paintings infused with ~amelia~ is helping me feel happier/satisfied more consistently.


I’m looking at my surroundings differently: how could I paint this? Do I have the right colors? What might I need to add to my palette? Where’s the light coming from? What colors would I use for shadows? Which neighbors belong in my rendering? Can I add tree-friends from somewhere else? (Or would that work better as some type of collage?) My atlas! Maybe this is what was missing!!

Also, self-portraits.

I recently snagged a book of Georgia O’Keeffe’s watercolors from her early years in Texas, and they include her own self-portraits (some of which Spouse and I had seen at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in New Mexico in 2016, and were much taken by).

What if I sketched the plants and critters from trips in our future?

As far back as my 2013 trip to New Mexico, I was wishing I could record the colors I saw, the plants, the light. Photographs were not nearly personal enough, although I couldn’t articulate that at the time.

(For that matter, the light in Aotearoa, in 2005. I have a poem about it, but a painting, in watercolor, presents possibilities I very much want to explore now…)


Whom can watercolor help me become?