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Small changes 1w

January 5, 2017

Sitting with the discomfort of having no plans. Refusing to make any. Waiting to perceive something needful in the moment.


Studio: 5 hours

  1. Sorted through bag of pennies Spouse gave me. Ordinary pennies went into my penny jar. Nonpenny coins … put into small orange bowl on writing desk. Coins from 1964 or earlier … put into Turkish flowers cup.
  2. On small bookcase by door, all shelves below first changed, rearranged. Now rainbow basket of ribbons on bottom shelf; greens glass shell on second; lilac glass jar froths iridescent purple ribbon on third; fourth contains opaque white glass jar with silver lid, clear blue paperweight with etched Chinese ideogram, dark silver heavy metal ring. On top of bookcase, grooved elliptical unglazed clay jar with blue-green/violet rim (by that Lithuanian-American ceramics artist ~ Jeselskis?), along with 2 dried pink cactus flowers.
  3. Pot with 6 cacti (with pink flowers) moved from my work table to right side of windowsill. Swapped places with bluegreen glass bottle and mellow-moss green mug with paintbrushes. (Didn’t want cacti to absorb sunlight that needs to reach potted plants on bookshelf further into room. Did want to preserve reflections from the glass bottle onto the wood, near the translucent rock. Good for “light” photos.)
  4. Dragon taper-holder now on tall white bookshelf, near globe.
  5. Small glass jar containing Grampa’s crayons, pencil stubs, chalk, emptied. Put with other glass bottles on floor. Crayons, chalk put into indigo square box with daisy on lid; pencil stubs put into mug holding pencils, pens.
  6. Pile on work table of books, papers, shifted to left side, clearing a space to work.
  7. Taped bank notices to closet door — I’ll still see them, but they’re unobtrusive. And they’re no longer taking up space on work table.
  8. Coloring pages partially filled in, from 2013… cut out the shapes. Dated them on back. Taped them to closet door, under birthday cards.
  9. Decided Van Gogh mug doesn’t go with the colors of the room. Put it in kitchen cabinet (after washing). Moved around which pencils, pens, go into which containers.
  10. Textured blue glass jar now on nightstand in bedroom, holding white-out, eyeglasses cleaner and cloth. Maybe now they’ll stop getting knocked to the floor!
  11. Emptied paper berry basket of its oil pastel sticks. Photos. Inserted pink chalk in middle. That displaced brain coral, half-orb of rock, which are now on work table surface where Van Gogh mug had been.
  12. While dusting oil pastel sticks, created impromptu sketch [warm colors]. Dated the back, propped it up on fourth shelf of bookshelf near door.
  13. Emptied yarn basket, looking for brown fibers. Didn’t find any, but did rediscover 2 interesting skeins: hazel-green-brown, like my long ago forest dream; and the very first skein I ever bought! Circa 1997, had no thought then of being a fiber artist, it was just so pretty to both eyes and fingers… (muted but silky shades of light green, brown, red). Put all skeins back in: blue-green and yellow-green on bottom, multicolored, yellow, yellow-orange, orange, red-orange and pink. On top, the 2 greenish skeins. Put 2 long branches back in, along with long metal piece with holes that I took out of mug on windowsill.
  14. Tree branches moved around.
  15. Brought bag of colored pencils into studio to see if they’d all fit in one mug. They won’t. Rediscovered a second set of colored pencils. Decided I need to sort through, determine which ones “go together” and which don’t. Put that off for another day.

Time spent thinking about various things, much of them tangible, but some were philosophical/metaphysical.

I definitely need to do something with Chesapeake Bay this year.



  1. Affixed 2 bamboo sticks to serve as “curtain rod”, under mosaic table (newly in bedroom). Hung pale green fabric over rod to obscure my backpack, and TBR magazine pile, under table.
  2. Moved orange art piece, small bowl with stones, milky glass jar, to top of mosaic table, from second nightstand. (Which is now cleared, except for smooth black rock, formerly of my bedside nightstand.)
  3. Eventually found yardage in forest green. Cut in half, then quarters. Laundered. Then wrapped each section around one (forest green metal) bedpost (of unattached headboard, leaning against wall opposite bed), so we no longer need those unsightly paper towels doing the same thing.
  4. Found yardage in light brown, with mottled pattern, that I draped over box between 2 wooden chests. Put stuff back on it. Much more restful to look at.
  5. (I’d dreamed about a little tree in the bedroom.) Thought about putting the tree, once I find it, on the newly-cleared extra nightstand. What if I got a bonsai? Spouse had expressed interest in bonsais a few years ago. Maybe he should have a say in the little tree. Last night, talked to him about it. He’s amenable to at least looking at bonsais. (Neither of us have any idea if they’re easy to care for.)


Writing about these kinds of things every week seems a lot like… maintenance. I avoid maintenance.

But in a way, keeping track of (at least) some of it, functions as notes to future versions of me. And I know from past experience, whenever I read a blog post that functions as such a note, I wish it were longer, I wish there were more of it.

Maybe that’s because… when other people recall me as being different than now, they wish I’d stayed that older way. (Or they’re now pretending I did stay that way.)

But when I read these notes from me to me, they’re chronicles of change. That’s the whole point.

If I weren’t constantly changing, I don’t know what I’d write about.


Last night I dreamed I was in one of Ann Leckie’s worlds. Valskaay, maybe, although I just finished rereading Ancillary Justice, the first one, where you haven’t been to Valskaay yet. It’s just come up because of its songs.

Three days ago, when I first reread [the Orsian song] “My heart is a fish”, I welled up with tears. That song has, has always had, such power for me.

Even though I use metaphors a lot, even though human beings generally think in/with metaphors, sometimes I have trouble with metaphors. I often don’t know what they mean, I just sort of … feel… them. That might be part of why I’m a poet: I feel things, but explaining them (if that were even possible; it often isn’t)… misses the point.


One of the things I grok the most deeply about Breq… she never knows why people around her behave the way they do. She’s constantly surprised by Seivarden’s actions; when Seivarden explains, Breq is even more confused.

Every time I consider how I could possibly write fiction, I confront the same conundrum: why do (neurotypical) human people… do anything? I don’t know. I’ve never known.

Maybe it’s just being autistic, but, I don’t think Cause and Effect works the way neurotypical people assume it does. For one thing, variables having an effect on a cause? Well, the shorthand I use is “42,000 variables”. Way too many for human beings to even be aware of, never mind be tracking. Neurotypical people aren’t intaking nearly as much data points as we are, so obviously those data points aren’t contributing to their ideas of Why Things Occur (the Way They Do).

I don’t know… anything. I have ideas, always changing. I experiment, constantly. I’m always (re) evaluating what seemed plausible before.

When/if new data comes in that seems to falsify everything I thought I understood, I consider it. Experiment with updating my models and metaphors. Leave my mind open to re-assessing what seems to be happening. No matter how much I loved a label, I can let it go. I have.

(It’s almost like I’m a (life) scientist. Except that life scientists (ironically) routinely kill, maim, traumatize, nonhumans in the process of answering their own questions. I don’t. If committing harm appears to be the only way to answer my question, I ask a different question. Gradually my whole philosophy–praxis shifts.)


Last night I read Joy Harjo’s poem collection, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings. There are so many things about the First Nations’ philosophies–praxes that I admire, but the deeply communitarian bent, alas, is not one of them. Up until a few weeks ago, I had assumed that, since I/my position was clearly wrong, I would need to undergo a seismic shift to “fix” it. Currently, I’m perceiving things… differently. I’m not wrong, so much as… I’m operating from a distinct worldview: not the generic USAmerican “individualistic” one neither. I have my own worldview, and it’s not communitarian nor individualistic. I don’t know what to call it. (A label seems the least interesting thing about it, frankly.)


My worldview shares some qualities with how I perceive Breq’s worldview. Although Breq… attracts people to her in a way I do not. So her actions have broader (human-social) consequences than I feel I can assume my own do.

And yet.


Last night, I was inscribing new poems into My Favorite Poems, Volume 2 {1 by A. R. Ammons; 3 by Joy Harjo; 1 by Sinéad Morrissey}, when I had a sudden, odd fancy: what if the niece (whose poem opens Volume 2) were to inherit these volumes from me? What could she learn about me, from what I’ve written about the poets, and/or their translators? What is visible of my values by which poems I’ve loved?

It’s a much more intimate picture than even reading my blogs would be.

I record the date I first read the poem, if known, so it’s also a diary of sorts. Sometimes I’ve penciled in notes about rhyme schemes. I’ve separated some with swirling tendrils of color (usually reflecting my mood or wyxzi).

Occasionally I include notes from related things: if the anthology included illustrations, perhaps the illustrator’s name and biographical data. Sometimes bilingual lists of words of interest.

{Last night, I reread Juan Ramón Jiménez’s “La Verdecilla”. As I felt its English translation in the anthology didn’t do justice to the beauty and power of the original, I made this poem the only one in either volume that appears solely in its originating language, Spanish in this case.}

{I skimmed the title of Douglas Kearney’s “Tallahatchie Lullaby, Baby”. Such power in his repeating sounds, rhymes, expressing the mounting horror of the subject, the death of Emmet Till.}

{I skipped over Etheridge Knight’s “The Idea of Ancestry” because it always breaks my heart.}

{I laughed, as I always do, rereading Kaylin Haught’s “God Says Yes to Me”.}

{Then I reread Lucille Clifton’s “anna speaks of the childhood of mary her daughter”. And sobbed.}


Poets I’ve met, mostly on Twitter, have poems in MFP. Some are friends, or might become friends; some are ex-friends. 2 are married to each other.

One poem is unpublished; no one but the poet, and me, even knows it exists.

There’s poems by political prisoners from many places, many times.

Lots of poems in translation.

Poems with animal protagonists; plants, much less often. An occasional fungus or bacterium. Surrealism. Mythological elements. Magical realism.


What’s important to discern about me? Maybe my philosophies–praxes matter solely to me, but perhaps what may persist is those thoughts of others I clustered together.

Maybe someday, some poet I’ll never meet will include one of my poems in their own volume of favorites.


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