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Dream: 7.4.20

July 5, 2020

I’m at the grocery with Spouse, but I abruptly realize I forgot my mask, which makes me very anxious. (Even though no one else is wearing a mask.) People persist in crowding close to me, while I attempt — ineffectually — to preserve social distance. I also try to keep my mouth covered with my sweatered arm.

I have a meltdown; Spouse is impatient with me, which I feel guilty about. After Spouse walks away, a young boy (unprompted) brings me a cup of water to drink. I thank him, facing his family, and say, “I was having a meltdown”, thinking they may be familiar with the term, but they look at me blankly.

+

Now I’m in a multi-story mall complex, with lots of shiny escalators. Spouse has disappeared, and I get thoroughly lost.

I ‘fight off’ a second meltdown, and feel proud of myself.

But then a 3rd one comes, and I succumb to it.

I just want to find Spouse, but maybe I’m going to die here, alone (in a sea of strangers) and in despair.

+

[As is usual in dreams like this] I can’t get my phone to work, so I can’t reach Spouse to find out where he got to.

I think I see him in the crowd, approaching me even, but… it’s not him.

I find an employee of a restaurant and ask her to call me a cab, which she does. I’ll take that back to the grocery, then see if I can have Spouse paged.

Cabbie drives me for a minute or two, stops. Says the meter was off, so it’s a freebie. He tells me to “fuck off”. I protest, say I’d be happy to at least give him a few bucks. I reach for my purse to dig out some bills. As I try handing him the money, I look around outside the car to get my bearings. Realize… we are nowhere near the grocery, or anywhere recognizable. In fact, we are in the middle of nowhere.

We both get out of the cab. Cabbie advances towards me, grabbing at 1 of my 3 (valuable) necklaces, demands I give it to him. I recognize I’m being robbed, and am in dire straits.

I wake up.

 

+++

 

NOTES:

Yeah, so I have serious abandonment issues, just in general. But also, in waking life, for the past week, Spouse was a day’s drive away (3 states over), sorting through the affairs of his late parents at their house.

This dream occurred the night that he arrived home safely.

+

Our local grocery will not admit anyone without a mask, but the store in the dream was not our Wegmans. (Which I have only been to once in the past 4 months. With Spouse. I stuck close to him, and was so stressed that I was unable to think clearly enough to seek out food items.)

A mask has been added to my mental checklist of Things I Should Have With Me At All Times; it’s #9. Whenever I leave our apartment — even just to take out the garbage or recycling — I wear a mask.                             Our apartment building is mostly filled with elderly people, whose health I do not want to endanger. And yet, whenever I leave the apartment on foot and see other people, (except for Spouse) none of them are wearing masks. I don’t understand it.

+

I have never ‘fought off’ a meltdown. But I also rarely have them, anymore.  My normal life contains few external stressors these days. (Besides the fact that we’re all living in a Hellscape Dystopian Timeline, I mean.)

Perhaps surprisingly, the added stress of the pandemic has not caused a meltdown, nor can I even recall the last one I had.

+

In the cab, I was both carrying a purse, and simultaneously wearing 3 gemmed pendants with ordinary casual clothes.            I haven’t used a shoulder bag in… 14 years? I have worn more than 1 chain at a time, but casual style, nothing valuable.

+++

 

DEEPER NOTES:

My father-in-law’s death a few months ago, and now, preparing for his house (of the past 18 years) to pass out of the family, have stirred up some primal issues that were dormant since Gramma died 20-some years ago, orphaning me for the 2nd? time.

Last night, when I couldn’t sleep, I realized that I might have survived sufficient personal traumas such that I could be in therapy for the rest of my life, and not run out of terrifying shit that occurred with the people I grew up amongst.  (‘Family’, even if qualified as ‘family of origin’, no longer seems like it fits, at all.)

That’s a somber thought for a person in their 50s.

I cut off my parents almost 15 years ago. Just yesterday, thinking about my childhood, with a memory that started off perfectly innocuous (pretty wallpaper that I helped pick out), I made a series of connections I’d never put together before, and had the worst panic attack I’ve had in years.

+

I just realized that each time I feel I was orphaned, it was when one beloved person (of an older generation) died.

Maybe that’s because I only ever semi-trusted one caregiver, but never trusted the other, at all.

Reading List 6 of 2020

July 3, 2020

RIP, Brother Ah, Black American jazz musician (1934–2020), Bonnie Pointer, Black American singer and songwriter (1950–2020), Mary J. Wilson, Black Baltimorean zookeeper (1937–2020).

 

+

 

Covers the period from 6.1.20 through 7.1.20

 

I/we own 21 of these items. I watched 2 items on Youtube/via streaming. Baltimore County Public Library system supplied 3 of the books and movies.

{Women}

 

RESEARCH –

 

Celtic:

  1. The Hidden World of Poetry: Unravelling Celtic Mythology in Contemporary Irish Poetry by Adam Wyeth
  2. The Line of Tradition: Watercolours, Drawings & Prints by Scottish Artists, 1700–1990, by Mungo Campbell [1993]
  3. The Lost Land: Poems by Eavan Boland
  4. The Right Madness on Skye: Poems by Richard Hugo

 

British:

  1. Emma by Jane Austen {200th Anniversary Annotated Edition}
  2. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  3. Literature & Locality by John Freeman [1963]
  4. Psychogeography by Merlin Coverley
  5. Thorburn’s Naturalist’s Sketchbook [1977]
  6. [SFF] Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh
  7. [Video] UK Accents & Dialects, by Gill

 

 

~ AO3 Fanfics ~

  • Harry Potter // read 100 works; 2,930,085 words

+

 

Art:

  1. The Best of Both Worlds: Finely Printed Livres d’Artistes, 1910–2010, by Jerry Kelly, Riva Castleman & Anne H. Hoy
  2. Composition & Perspective by James Horton [1994]
  3. The Encyclopedia of Watercolour Techniques by Hazel Harrison
  4. Painting Light & Shade by Paul Millichip
  5. Watercolor Expressions, selected by Betty Schlemm

 

++

 

Poetry:

 

  1. 31 Letters and 13 Dreams by Richard Hugo [1977]
  2. Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988–2000 by Lucille Clifton
  3. Territory of Dawn by Eunice Odio
  4. Translations from Bark Beetle by Jody Gladding

 

Miscellaneous:

  1. You Were Born For This by Chani Nicholas
  2. [SFF] I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi

 

 

Films & TV:

  1. Knives Out, written & directed by Rian Johnson
  2. Love, Simon, directed by Greg Berlanti
  3. The Martian, directed by Ridley Scott
  4. The Music Man, directed by Morton DaCosta [1962]

 

+++

Dream fragments: 6.10.2020

June 10, 2020

I’m in a large suite (hotel?) with a youngish white woman (late 20s/early 30s), with short dark hair, who is bursting with nervous energy. We are looking at a variety of art projects, which are laid out across the available flat surfaces.

Initially, I think some of them were hers, or of other people, but the ones I can visually recall were my work.

One in particular: landscape orientation, divided in half. Medium: colored pencils on paper. Background color ‘apple green’.  Each half contained a rainbow across part of it (of which ‘plum purple’ was the hue that caught my attention the most), overlaid with text.

+

As we talk, it becomes clear that she was my teacher, my art instructor, a long long time ago.

+

The skill level displayed in the ‘rainbow’ work is … well, it’s practically childish. Perhaps I should even be embarrassed. But I’m not.       The woman, considering it, says something about how oddly the elements are arranged, as if I didn’t preplan the composition, and thereby had to improvise to include all the required pieces.

I stop wandering aimlessly, come up to the work, my old work, and really look at it.

I feel good about it. I smile at it. I remember…

+

I fall into reflections, which I share with the woman as they arise.

I say, “I liked taking your class. I liked learning from an instructor, with other classmates. But… that type of environment isn’t a good fit for my learning style.

I learn best… solo. At my own pace. Which is often loooooong.

I can be very focused on a project… for a while. Maybe even, long enough to finish it. BUT, then I need to change gears, go off and do something else. Read poetry, write poetry. Daydream for a few weeks. Dance.

I can’t force my creative rhythms into a regimented schedule. (Semesters, even quarters.) Never mind, a schedule devised by other people, that allows no wiggle room.

And then I’m supposed to finish? In 2 years?!? Nope.”

I gesture at my work. “This… does look childish, I agree. But… months later, yeeears later, I took up some of these elements again. And then, later, again. Etc.

I learned how to do this assignment… over years of life experience.

That’s why I now realize I could never attend design school. Or get an MFA. The time period allotted is too short.

(Never mind I’d have to, simultaneously, be navigating the riptides of social interaction: with the teacher, a cohort, individual classmates. If past experience is anything to go by, I’d be making social blunders all over the place. Stressful. Anxiety-producing. I’d be trying to make friends, and it wouldn’t be working: more stress and anxiety.)

Frankly, at this late date, I’m kind of amazed I completed any assignments, to any standard.

I couldn’t do it now!”

++

Later, she shows me someone else’s work that contains text in a foreign language. I’m bewildered, as nothing I’m familiar with has so many āōxxāāxxōxx scattered throughout.

She insists it’s French. (It isn’t.)

I tell her I know “some Spanish, Italian, Portuguese; a little of the Balkan languages”. She doesn’t respond, she walks out of the room.

I wake up.

+++

NOTES:

The woman resembled a teacher I actually did have: the TA who taught me English Comp at Purdue.

I realized a few days ago, that’s the college class I learned the most from, that’s been the most useful in my life ever since. Not because it was English, nor even writing. “Jenny” was a staunch feminist, and every reading assignment was from a seminal feminist work on gender, women’s lives, etc., etc. She introduced me to the writing of Angela Y. Davis, Audre Lorde [Zami]; to hijra people in India; to so many other things that became absolutely formative to my character.                          I remember nothing about any writing assignments, however.

I tend to characterize “when I became a writer” as when I began blogging, which was almost a decade and a half after Purdue.

+

I wrote my first poem in the summer of 2011. I didn’t really start concentrating on poetry until after I returned from AROHO, 2 years later. Intermittently, I’ve been writing poetry ever since: 2015 was the last year I wrote a lot of poems (50-ish, iirc), but in other years, I’ve worked on individual poems for months. Even so, at the end of the year, how many did I finish? Not very many.

It turns out… how many poems I finish… doesn’t matter that much. What matters is what I learned.

One of the poems I didn’t finish, in 2018 — uklgpnwanishomegrslks— has ‘descendants’ all over the place. I’m still learning from it.

Another poem, whose events unfolded in 2014, but I didn’t begin composing it until 2018, keeps teaching me new things about myself. But it’s not finished. And maybe never will be.

++

I reread my account of a dream in late December 2019: the Black woman on the city bus with me (who reminded me of Lucille Clifton), who was interested in how I was learning about Baltimore.

With Her, I was initially anxious that She’d dislike what I was doing, or how I was doing it. Possibly even criticize my speed of doing any of it. (She gave zero feedback about any of those things.)

But with this dream, I felt no similar worries. I saw my own work, and was delighted to revisit it. Then I reflected on it, on making it; further, I observed to myself how much I’d learned since then.

My old instructor’s (critical) opinion was of no interest to me.

I also didn’t believe her about the text she showed me being in French. Presumably for her own project, she really should be the expert. But I trusted my own judgment over hers.

(With Postcrossing, but also with tracking down foreign-language poetry to read (usually translated into English, but sometimes with the original work in its own language side-by-side), I’m a lot more familiar with many many languages on sight than I used to be. I even recognize more scripts than I used to know: Georgian; Devanagari, Tamil; Korean; Amharic.

++

I’ve been thinking about composition lately: how paintings, in particular, are composed. How does one decide what to paint? Where it goes on the page? What else is with it? What’s the focus?

But today I extended that line of reasoning to deciding how to ‘compose’ a piece of writing. In blog posts, in essays, I don’t plan. I begin, and float along where my thoughts go.

I don’t outline. I don’t have a destination. I know from experience that I will be very surprised with at least one thing that arises. I know it probably won’t end where I thought it might (before I began). I might keep revisiting it, riffing from it… even months or years later.

Painting… doesn’t really work like that.

But fanfic might.

I’m rereading a fic of >200K words, in 53 chapters, that was consistently written from 2016–2019, then stopped. It’s not listed as finished.                    I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve written themselves into a corner(s) that there’s no plausible way(s) out of.                    My enjoyment of the work is diminished not at all by thinking they might not be able to ‘finish’ it.

The work is one of the ones I think of, when I think about fanfic. I’ve recommended it to someone else as an entry into fanfic. For me, a fan, it’s a seminal work.

++

Maybe my ‘book of poems’ doesn’t need all the entries to be ‘finished’. Maybe I don’t need to have determined which types of metadata I want to record before I copy everything in. Maybe everything I do will evolve … because that’s part of what type of work I do.

I went to AROHO on the strength of being a blogger, who was writing a book; I left AROHO as primarily a poet.       I still blog, but… I never wrote that book.

My first paintings were in oils, then acrylics. But it was almost another decade before I tried watercolors. (I miss impasto sometimes, but) I think watercolors suit me miles better. You don’t have to plan.

I’d still like to understand composition better. I think it might help me with poetry, too.

+++

Reading List 5 of 2020

May 31, 2020

RIP, Eavan Boland, Irish poet (1944–2020); Jaroslava Brychtová, Czech glass artist (1924–2020); Margaret Burbidge, American-British astronomer & astrophysicist (1919–2020); Lewis MacAdams, American poet, and activist on behalf of the Los Angeles River (1944–2020), Little Richard (1932–2020), American singer and musician.

 

+

 

Covers the period from 5.4.20 through 5.30.20

 

I/we own 12 of these items. I/we watched 7 items on Youtube/via streaming. Baltimore County Public Library system supplied 1 of the movies.

 

{Women}

 

POETRY

 

  1. Sea-Glass Reflections by Betsy Alexander, illustrated by Les Menard [1984]
  2. Seen/unseen by Benjamin Ostrowski and Steven Ostrowski
  3. Vivarium by Maarja Pärtna, translated from Estonian by Jayde Will
  4. Wild Honey, Tough Salt by Kim Stafford
  5. Feast of Fools, edited by Melissa Guillet
  6. Ljubljana Tales, edited by James G. Coon, et al.
  7. Stranger at Home, edited by Andrey Gritsman, et al.

 

Postcolonial:

  1. Demythologizing the Romance of Conquest by Jeanne Armstrong

 

SFF:

  1. Hidden Turnings, edited by Diana Wynne Jones
  2. The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

 

 

Art ~ Video:

  1. Carl Phillips: Creativity in Isolation (Beinecke Library at Yale)
  2. How to Color Everything by Unmask Art
  3. How to Use Colored Pencils by Rachel of PencilStash

 

Films & TV:

  1. The Dish, directed by Rob Sitch [2000]
  2. Emma., directed by Autumn de Wilde {watched 2x: with & without commentary}
  3. Frost/Nixon, directed by Ron Howard
  4. The Willoughbys, directed by Kris Pearn & Rob Lodermeier
  5. Lodge 49 — 1.01
  6. Making the Cut, with Tim Gunn & Heidi Klum — 1.09, 1.10
  7. review of Chicago’s Alinea at Home 5-course meal, by NumberSixwithCheese

 

+

 

~ AO3 Fanfics ~

  1. Good Omens // read 17 works; 340,921 words
  2. Harry Potter // read 54 works; 2,110,385 words
  3. The Hunger Games—Suzanne Collins // read 1 work;   2127 words

 

+++

pcp: breuddwydio ziibi peshk

May 19, 2020

10228, tail end of Taurus

 

green-and-grey

cloud blue

vermillion

+

 

ancient god known as the Strength and Patience of the Hill

Father Boulder

Willy Silver, playing dulcimer in Illinois in 1970

 

[Ann Leckie; Nina Kiriki Hoffman; Emma Bull]

+

 

87LW

+

 

WDP:

Adele, Bon Jovi, The Clash, Coldplay, ELO, Gin Blossoms, Heart, Lady Gaga, Madonna, P!nk, Prince, Selena Gomez, Steve Miller Band

+

Aniibi 6 ~

Judi Benson, American-British

U.A. Fanthorpe, English, 1929–2009

Pamela Petro, American, b. 1960

A.E. Stallings, American, b. 1968

Mark Strand, Canadian-American, 1934–2014

+

 

Boston 3

+

 

~ Celtic | Prydain ~

The Hidden World of Poetry

The Living Mountain

The Orgy

+

 

Janda:

burgundy Michaelmas daisies; delphinium; iris; alstroemeria; coral Gerber daisies; lime chrysanthemums; apple-ish fruits

 

 

/// My best Name Day in a long while ///

 

+++

Dream: 5.7.2020

May 7, 2020

[Not pandemic conditions]

It’s early evening, I’m in downtown Chicago, and I’m supposed to attend my 25th high school reunion later. My good friend HT is with me (?), as is my dad (?!), while Spouse isn’t.

I don’t know how or why we stopped at this place we’re currently at — I think it’s a hotel. But if so, it’s not the one where the reunion is, nor the one I should have booked us rooms for the night. (It’ll be too late to drive home, after.)

In any case, it’s here that some other event is getting set up for. Meanwhile, I head to the bathroom, and then we’ll leave.

Except I have all sorts of mishaps in the bathroom. I’m gone from my party for a very long time. In fact, HT comes to find me, and does. I tell her everything went wrong. My easy confidence from earlier has dissipated… now I’m dithering.

She says, “We don’t have to go [to the reunion]. We can stay here.”

I think, “But all that effort! I made plans! I’ve been anticipating this for months!!” Then I feel worse, realizing maaaaybe I goofed on the plans I should have made — I’m no longer sure I actually booked us rooms at a hotel; I don’t seem to have packed contact lens supplies [tears, night case, etc.]; maybe I even forgot a nightgown and toothbrush!!    (I recall I’d just been on another trip, and maybe the stuff I should’ve brought is still in that suitcase (at home, unpacked) rather than the one I brought with me.)

+

HT leaves the bathroom, but I stay, looking into the mirror. Whyyyy did I pick this outfit?? A skirted suit in a heathery wool, //pale plum//, lace accents. It’s like a size 4, and so am I (as well as being short) but my 2 pairs of underwear are now clearly visible under the skirt, and I look messy. I recall a ruffled skirt I also brought, in //bright plum// lamé. Could I swap that out? Well, but it won’t be any more fun for dancing. (The real highlight of the reunion, for me.) But I didn’t bring anything more suitable. It’s probably too late to find something else to buy, and wear.

+

What am I doing here? Who am I trying to impress — with the clothes, no less, not my whole self?

If we head on to the reunion, it’s going to be a big bother. Some part of the back of my mind will spend the entire time fretting… about anything and everything.

No one will remember me. And of those I recall myself, anybody interesting will almost certainly not be there. Why is it so important to attend??!!?

(“Sunk costs” is looking like the most compelling reason. Ugh.)

+

I leave the bathroom, walking down a long corridor. I see my dad*. I motion to him to bend down (he’s very tall); I tell him I don’t want to attend the reunion after all. We can stay here, or go on to a hotel to stay for the night. Heck, we can go out.

I feel… relief.

I wake up.

*[[ My dad is wearing a //spring green// top, very long; his hair is like it was when I was a kid: dark-brown-almost-black, and curly. He’s… not wearing glasses??                          He seems… young. 40ish.]]

+++

FACTS:

I felt mid-30s-ish in the dream, even though I should’ve been mid-40s. My actual 25th reunion occurred more than a decade ago; I did not even hear about it until a year later. (It sounded really boring.)

Of the 3 reunions I know about, none have involved dancing.                 Missed opportunity, that.

I’m tall, with big shoulders, and have never worn a size 4. When I was super-skinny and had an eating disorder, I was still a size 8-10; now I’m a 12-14-16.

I have never worn the //pale plum// of the heathery wool suit. I probably did wear something a shiny //bright plum// back in the 1980s when such things were in style, but… I was a teenager and young adult then.

My dad wearing //spring green// is interesting. Not a color he’s ever worn, I don’t think.                We’re currently in Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, my favorite season — baby leaves! flowers! flowering trees!  //Spring green// is also a main component of ~amelia~ {synesthesia: joy}. Green is commonly regarded as a color of growth and new beginnings.

+++

NOTES:

Waking life-HT’s parents have both died. I can’t shake the sense that dream-HT was acting as a psychopomp of some sort.

My father-in-law died last month, and I’m grieving like I haven’t since Gramma died 20 years ago. His death dredged up all sorts of primal issues that I’d had no idea he was entangled in.

I feel orphaned for a second time. (The first, when my W grandparents died.)

Except he was nothing like a parental figure, or caregiver (to me). He was something I don’t have kinship terms for … but kinship is most definitely what it was.

+

I just realized that the shiny //bright plum// of the ruffled skirt… could be Red-Violet, which is my hue for Psychological Alchemy.

In the dream, it was connected to dancing, which, since the pandemic, I’ve incorporated into my weekly schedule. (Although I haven’t done it for a few weeks now, worried then sad.)

+

A few weeks ago, on IG I stumbled across the college-graduate daughter of one of my high school crushes. Going back through her photos, then googling her parent, I saw they’d gone through much harder times than we might’ve guessed were coming all those years ago. In newer photos, this former classmate of mine looks more like a grandparent than a parent of barely-grown kids.

I was finally able to let them go.

+

High school is supposed to be a beginning for Great Things. For me, though, developmentally delayed, and depressed, scared and dealing with PTSD, I mostly slept. I survived high school, but nothing important to me began there. College, maybe. Which took me 5 tries to figure it out; I didn’t graduate until my 30s. (My brain had finally caught up with the rest of me.)

+

I don’t have cohorts.

I think maybe I suck at human friendships.

I’m a Wombat, in a world of Zebras.

+

Everything feels blah. I’m sad and I’m sad and I’m sad. Our weird weather — rainy and cool — is not helping, as warm spring weather is usually highly motivating. Instead, I just sit inside and stare blankly at things, wondering what’s the point to any of it.

+++

5.10.20 Addenda:

In the dream, my dad appeared to be approximately the age he was when Grampa W died.

Which was also the age my other grandfather was when his youngest child, my father, was born.

A prime number. A lonely one.

+

What was I doing at that age?  No births, no deaths.

I did leave Namendi, the job I thought would start “my Real Life”, an environmental career. Instead, it was a threshold, a liminal-cloud-space, after which … everything I “knew” dissolved.

Psychopomp.

+

I miss Chicago sometimes.

I don’t miss the Great Lakes in the same kind of way — they’re always with me. But I do miss Chicago.

I’ve photographed the Great Lakes, I’ve written them into poetry, I’ve painted them.

Chicago is different. What I love(d) about it was quality time I spent in it, years ago. I can’t paint ~time spent~.

Reading List 4 of 2020

April 22, 2020

Covers the period from 3.31.20 through 4.22.20

 

Today — Earth Day — is my 40th day in self-isolation.

The last time I read a book was 11 days ago. I still have 2 library books that I haven’t read, but every time I try to, it just seems utterly irrelevant to bother.

I haven’t even sat in a car, never mind driven one, anywhere. I miss spending time, alone, with Juicy Fruit. Hell, I miss alone time, period. I miss spontaneity. I miss variety. Yes, I also miss human people. I miss the local library; even more, I miss the Pratt. I miss the local florist. I miss not being worried all the time.

I miss mi suegro who’s in the hospital in another state (not with covid, but no less serious), and I likely will never see him again. Which makes the last time I saw him his wife’s funeral, late last year. Dammit.

+++

 

We (mostly me, tho) own 15 of these items. I watched 6 items on Youtube; we watched 2 items via streaming.

+

 

{Women}

 

RESEARCH

  • 6 videos of how to make face masks (preferably without using a sewing machine, since I sold mine a few months ago)

 

+

 

POETRY

 

  1. Jimmy’s Blues and Other Poems by James Baldwin
  2. Stranger by Adam Clay

 

Bicki Books {Latvian poetry for kids}

  1. Bicki Bucki by Jānis Baltviks, illustrated by Reinis Pētersons, translated by Uldis Balodis and Kate Wakeling
  2. Calm Beasts by Herberts Dorbe, illustrated by Gita Treice, translated by Žanete Vēvere Pasqualini and Kate Wakeling
  3. The Door Wizard by Pēters Brūveris, illustrated by Paulis Liepa, translated by Žanete Vēvere Pasqualini and Kate Wakeling
  4. Ice Cream by Arnolds Auziņš, illustrated by Līva Piterāne, translated by Uldis Balodis and Kate Wakeling
  5. Naughty Gnat by Valdis Grenkovs, illustrated by Zane Zlemeša, translated by Uldis Balodis and Kate Wakeling
  6. Topsy-Turvy Tasks by Maija Laukmane, illustrated by Sabīne Moore, translated by Žanete Vēvere Pasqualini and Kate Wakeling

 

SFF:

  1. The Mezentian Gate by E. R. Eddison [1969] /// Straaaaange book. Eddison was definitely a poet at heart, even if his SFF storytelling was… odd. ~~ I bought it used, read it, then repurposed into a watercolor sketchbook.///
  2. Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys

 

Films & TV:

  1. Amélie, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
  2. The Blues Brothers, directed & co-written by John Landis [1980] //Chicago feels//
  3. Emma., directed by Autumn de Wilde
  4. Pride & Prejudice, directed by Joe Wright
  5. Sense & Sensibility, directed by Ang Lee [1995]
  6. Sirens, directed & written by John Duigan [1994]
  7. Making the Cut, with Tim Gunn & Heidi Klum — 1.03 – 1.08

 

++

 

~ AO3 Fanfics ~

  1. Pride & Prejudice—Jane Austen // read 5 works;   90,322 words
  2. Crossover—P&P and Good Omens // read 1 work; 21,857 words [WIP]
  3. Good Omens // read 8 works; 211,448 words  [4 are WIP]
  4. Harry Potter // read 12 works; 562,615 words   [8 are WIP]

 

+++

Reading List 3 of 2020

March 29, 2020

Covers the period from 3.7.20 through 3.28.20

 

I/we own 3 of these items. I watched 11 items on Youtube/via streaming. Baltimore County Public Library system supplied 6 of the books and movies. Libraries outside of Baltimore County, via Inter-Library Loan, supplied the other 2 items.

{Women}

 

I haven’t been reading many books lately.

Due to covid-19, I began self-isolating 16 days ago. Two days later, our public libraries closed “for the foreseeable future”.

 

+

 

RESEARCH

  • 6 videos of maashkinoozhe [muskie], so I could see how they swim

 

Now, how do I paint that?

 

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Poetry:

  1. Half/Life by Jeffrey Thomson
  2. Submerge by Y. Robinson

 

Fiction:

  1. [SFF] Semiosis by Sue Burke
  2. [YA] Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson
  3. Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

 

Films & TV:

  1. Clueless, directed & written by Amy Heckerling [1995]
  2. Emma., directed by Autumn de Wilde {watched 2x}
  3. From the Rough [Catana Starks], directed by Pierre Bagley
  4. Harriet [Tubman], directed by Kasi Lemmons
  5. Pitch Perfect, directed by Jason Moore
  6. Pitch Perfect 2, directed by Elizabeth Banks
  7. Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker, directed by DeMane Davis; Kasi Lemmons
  8. Making the Cut, with Tim Gunn & Heidi Klum — 1.01, 1.02
  9. The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, created by Tina Fey & Robert Carlock — 1.01, 1.02

 

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Celtic | British:

  1. Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination by Peter Ackroyd
  2. [Video] A Classic Tour of Scotland, by David and Debra Rixon

 

~ AO3 Fanfics ~

  1. Good Omens // read 22 works;  262,025 words
  2. Harry Potter // read 49 works; 2,035,002 words

 

In ~7 months, in these 2 fandoms, I’ve read 566 works, of > 10.4 million words.

 

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Process: sketching with watercolor & synesthesia

March 20, 2020

Almost exactly a year ago, I began watercolor painting as a regular art practice. I participated in #the100dayproject on Instagram, during which I painted for 59 days consecutively, sporadically afterwards. I eventually finished day 100 in January.

I’m undecided about participating again this year: daily painting puts a strain on my wrists, hands, and even shoulders … but the continuity is pleasant, and seeing my skills improve is affirming.

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I recently incorporated watercolor sketches into a poem!

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Unlike oils and acrylics, watercolor really does lend itself to sketching. I usually don’t pen anything in with ink (although I might if there’s fiddly details of flowers I want to capture). Even adolescent and young adult Mea didn’t much like the activity of drawing with pencil, but I find I do enjoy drawing with a brush. Especially the fluidity and unpredictability of the pigment — my lines may blur or blot, sometimes I err, yet the activity itself remains satisfying. And I feel very proud of what I’ve done.

In the past week, I’ve brush-drawn the Great Lakes 3x, and maashkinoozhe [muskie] swimming 5x.

This year, I’ve painted my houseplants numerous times. Also, bouquets of flowers.

Haven’t quite managed plein air, but I’m getting close. Hylochiel will be first.

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Back when I painted with oils [c. 1977-78, 1983], and even acrylics [2010], painting was just a hobby, I guess, that I did for no particular reasons past liking paint color names, mixing colors, and applying globs of color onto a surface (commonly with a palette knife rather than a brush).

For oils, I mostly painted from reference photographs — not my own; I wasn’t a photographer yet — except for, iirc, one still life arrangement. I did one ‘color field’ type of painting as well (at least before the instructor inserted a tree into it, thereby ruining it).

At the time, I thought my swirls of cerulean blue were solely about the beautiful color, but adult me realizes I was painting from my emotions: I have several positive emotions that include shades of sky blue: Happiness (general), Surprised by Happiness, Astonishment.  Even ~amelia~ can include cerulean (although ~amelia~ is often predominantly spring green and/or shades of pink). {emotion-color synesthesia}

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I pencil-drew mostly plants I saw, or fantasy flora & fauna, but I never once thought of painting anything directly from life.

I could have painted the paper birch. The Russian olive. A little farther afield, my river birches; the DuPage River, West Branch. The apple tree, Gramma’s garden. Sugar maples at the Morton Arboretum. Long John slough (with my imaginary alligators). Lake Michigan.

The Sandias.

I barely even have photographs of any of these beings, these places, and those are only as early as the 1990s, by which time the paper birch and (I believe) the apple tree were long dead. No more June cucumbers.

dimii beshwaji’ zhizhoobii’igan

 

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Lately I’ve been thinking of special moments [aka PMMs] that I wish I had a visual record of. Photographs would qualify, in theory, but … who could have clicked the shutter? Who had exactly the right vantage point, and was paying attention? Nobody.             Sometimes a person was physically present, sometimes that person was even a photographer with gear in play. But they were attending to something else entirely. Other times, no cameras were anywhere around.

Even photographs, though… When I might review and recollect such events — visual record in hand — I’d wish the colors to be congruent with what I was feeling, not (necessarily) what I saw.

That’s a tall order for a photograph. But a painting…

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To improve skills overall, it’s not enough to just practice the activity. You’ve also got to practice sub-skills, individually. But anything too similar to playing daily scales on piano will bore me, and I (know I) won’t do it (motivated as I am by novelty and exploration).

I’ve been realizing that I’m using my watercolor sketches to fulfill 6 different aims … and they’re not all compatible:

  • Capture shapes reasonably
  • Feel the colors
  • Depict elements relevant to a fiber/spatial artist – folding, pleating, furling
  • Depict elements relevant to a dancer/choreographer – movement, flow, =performance=
  • (If in a realistic style) Be recognizable, broadly, as type of being; also, reasonably-true-to-life colorways
  • *Occasionally* Enjoy the paint, water; explore how I can surprise myself with shapes and shades juxtaposed

 

For instance, I’ve never fished. I’ve never spent much time with live fish. My previous pencil drawings of fish were laughably childish-looking.           So when I knew I wanted to paint a fish found in the Great Lakes, I sought out visual aids. I found an illustration of a maashkinoozhe, but it was a side view; I realized I needed my sketch to show the muscularity of a swimming fish. I watched videos, decided a view looking at the top of the fish worked best. The fins were relatively easily done, but the tail – in movement – was tricky. (Hence 3 practice attempts before the 2 originals.)

If I wanted to get really good at painting maashkinoozhe, I’d have to paint a lot more of them than 5. Would I even want to paint some other type of fish? Well, a salmon, maybe. Now, could I – currently – paint an Atlantic salmon that was definitely not a rainbow trout? Nope. Wouldn’t even know where to start. But maybe I should attempt that. Because it would definitely help me improve my skills at depicting movement, and salmon – especially mythic salmon – are all about movement.

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Reading List 2 of 2020

February 27, 2020

Covers the period from 1.27.20 through 2.27.20

 

I/we own 2 of these items. I watched 2 items in the cinema/via streaming. Baltimore County Public Library system supplied 6 of the books and movies. Libraries outside of Baltimore County, via Inter-Library Loan, supplied the other 15 items.

{Women}

 

 

RESEARCH 1 ~

J. K. Rowling:

  1. Quidditch Through the Ages
  2. The Tales of Beedle the Bard

 

Jody Revenson:

  1. The Dark Arts: A Movie Scrapbook
  2. Exploring Hogwarts: An Illustrated Guide, illustrated by Studio Muti
  3. Harry Potter: The Character Vault
  4. Harry Potter: Magical Places from the Films

 

Miscellaneous HP related:

  1. Calling All Witches! by Laurie Calkhoven; illustrated by Violet Tobacco
  2. Harry Potter: The Wand Collection by Monique Peterson
  3. Hogwarts: A Cinematic Yearbook
  4. The Sorcerer’s Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of HP by Allan Zola Kronzek and Elizabeth Kronzek

 

  1. Black British: Immigrants to England by R. B. Davison [1966]
  2. Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: The Construction of Gender in Children’s Literature, ed. Susan Lehr [2001]
  • Ch 2, The Unquenchable Source: Finding a Heroic Girl Inside a Man by T. A. Barron
  • Ch 3, Deconstructing Harry: Casting a Critical Eye on the Witches and Wizards of Hogwarts by Deborah L. Thompson

 

 

Films:

  1. Harry Potter 6, directed by David Yates

 

~ AO3 Fanfics ~

  1. Good Omens // read 23 works;   216,362 words
  2. Harry Potter // read 92 works;  2,131,717 words

 

British Poetry:

  1. The ‘Inward’ Language: Sonnets of Wyatt, Sidney, Shakespeare, Donne by Anne Ferry [1983]
  2. Lend Me Your Wings by John Agard, illustrated by Adrienne Kennaway [1987]

 

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RESEARCH 2 ~

 

Knots:

  1. Knots: The Complete Visual Guide by Des Pawson
  2. Mod Knots [Macramé] by Cathi Milligan

 

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Art ~ Painting:

  1. Local Color: Seeing Place through Watercolor by Mimi Robinson

 

Miscellaneous:

  1. Avian Architecture: How Birds Design, Engineer & Build by Peter Goodfellow
  2. Call to Order: A Miscellany of Useful Hierarchies, Systems, and Classifications by Jackie Strachan and Jane Moseley
  3. The Story of Your Life: Becoming the Author of Your Experience by Mandy Aftel [1996]
  4. Surrealist Love Poems, edited by Mary Ann Caws

 

Films:

  1. Carol Kaye [studio musician ~ guitarist, bassist]
  2. Megan Leavey, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite
  3. Troop Zero, directed by Katie Elwood and Amber Templemore-Finlayson

 

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