Thursday, May 29, 2008

three of the pictures the camera imprinted its own ideas onto.

now, apparently, it's all back to normal, except for the splotch on the lens, which shows up now and then (often at the most inopportune times) and has to be lived with, or hidden, either in a murky spot in the photograph, or obliterated by the light, if you hold the camera at just the right angle and the light is just right.

I suppose if I took a fabulous picture I loved, I could photoshop the blotch away. I may do that, at some point. editing. all I do with the pictures at this point is rotate them clockwise, so that they aren't sideways. I take almost everything portrait instead of the landscape the camera is built for.

though lately, I don't know why, laziness maybe, a desire not to spend any more time clicking the mouse than I must, lately I've been seeing things landscape.

and in gorgeous colours! dave's filters arrived in the mail and oh the girls and I are thrilled. my eight year old has chosen her favourite colour to view the world through (rose pink, no surprise there, she does see the world that way) and my seven year old has chosen steel blue, no. 254 or something. she's already hard at work memorizing the colour names and numbers, for no reason other than because she loves to know those sorts of things.

and my oldest daughter has colours of her own, inside. this year they start coming out. call it mother's intuition, or magic, patient observation or just optimism.

yes, I can be optimistic. I might look a long time before I leap, or leap all too impulsively. but this year I'm more sensible than selfish, or selfless. and much happier because of it. I've almost got myself sorted out. amazing how that happens, when you stop cutting off parts of yourself to squeeze into slippers that don't quite fit.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

well now. the last oddest thing that happened? it just unhappened.

I'm not really sure what that means, but I'm sure it's significant some way.

wouldn't you say so?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I've been deleting things today.

believe it or not. and a friend tells me it's because I'm learning valuable lessons about non-attachment and ephemerality and (wait. is that a word? I'm getting the red squiggly line.

hmm. none of the suggested words seems to fit, so ephemerality it is, red squiggly line be damned.

well all I have to say is that non-attachment and ephemerality both suck. this is not a profound sort of statement, I know. apparently the oracle left the building and don't look at me, I'm just here to sweep up the place. I don't know what the hell I'm talking about.

if I was younger and in better shape I'd probably be dancing circles around things, and traveling from town to town with the gypsy puppet circus or something. I think I'd be a fine cabaret act. or burlesque even, if the lighting was kind, and there was enough artfully draped fabric around.

sometimes I think it's scripts I'm writing, pieces of dialogues that haven't happened but then again may have, I just might not know it, or know of it obliquely, having overheard it sometime around the middle of next week.

ha. that'd be rich. finally putting that drama class to some good use. and I have to say, on a slightly related note, that yes okay. math did occasionally come in handy. but never once has the principal export of any country come up in conversation. and don't ask me where that came from, I'm pretty much done holding back. I'll just edit later, I'm writing too many books at one time to bother with sorting things out now. I surrender to the way I am and the way my mind works and every day I'll just get up again and remember not to give myself such a hard time for being someone who prefers quiet to loud (but can enjoy a party on occasion) and old-fashioned to whatever the latest version of original is on television. I haven't watched in months, the last time was a football game, and even then I could only bear part of it, and that was done for love. not that I couldn't love television, I used to watch Coronation Street and St. Elsewhere. Hill St. Blues. oh I loved that one.

but now I've lost myself. thinking of the joy of watching television, and what it was that I really enjoyed was the cleverness of the dialogue, the art of it. and the images, the way they said more than they were saying, the subtext living in the pauses and the shadows. or the characters, very painfully and beautifully flawed. and the losing myself, I suppose. now I just do it with paint, that's another surrender. I may not ever sell a single painting. I may, in fact, paint over and over the same canvas (well. I gave it away. but the next one.) and just the act of painting is enough to pull me up and I'm lost and I come back down and wonder what was all the fuss about and why couldn't I see what was so plainly and irrevocably in front of me and that fact is that nothing lasts forever and of course, there it is. the moment of decision. do I admit my big epiphany is just plain common sense, or do I dress it up and make it into the next way to divide people according to what they believe and what they don't.

it's all spin, I suppose. and I know that's an over-used word but I like it. though I'd probably have called it slant. but that's me. I'm kind of picky about words.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

tonight my daughters held an impromptu dance lesson in the kitchen while I sang on the back step.

I came upon them unawares, and smiled, singing, watching them through the windowed and the screened door. they didn't notice at first but didn't stop dancing when they did see me, and didn't give me much more than an acknowledging smile, intent on their work.

I can't remember what the song was now, the one going into my ears and the variations coming out of my mouth, but the dance they were doing was about two birds, a purple and a green one.

they moved in synchronized and stylized patterns, my littlest daughters in their matching pink pajamas, both of them needing to move up a size, maybe two for the older of them. busy practicing performances to melt their big sister's heart the next time she comes to visit.

they've been learning to serve food, do the laundry and use their best manners. both of them are reading chapter books, though picture books haven't lost their appeal.

it was a sweet moment, an appreciated manifestation of careful, prudent work. and no painting could match it, no paycheck encompass it. I felt a job well done settle on me, pinning me back onto the fabric of the life I've chosen. if I could say one thing to my mother it would be that yes. everything you did right or wrong mattered. it was noticed. it was appreciated. you just left too soon. but it's okay. I still love you. happy mother's day, and I did mean to get you a card, you know how I put things off.

but I wrote you a poem.

the fate of stars. well. inspired by it, anyway.

the inspiration to which I'm referring is this beautiful poem of Pauline's. she was gracious enough, some time ago, to give me permission to find or make images to go with it. these two pictures are close to what I wanted, or close to part of what I wanted. of course at this point, my only model is myself. but by the time I get to the point of taking the kinds of pictures I want to take, I'll have done enough experimenting and learning not to waste someone else's time, I'll not be limited as far as having to work around the very obvious (but for the most part accepted) flaws in the material and I'll know exactly what it is that I want, and how to achieve that particular effect.

The Fate of Stars

The full moon sweeps the stars from out its arc,
The way a queen of light fans out her cloak.
Her subjects genuflect beside the dark.

They wait her passing ere they make their mark,
Those lights whose trails are mere celestial smoke.
The full moon sweeps the stars from out its arc.

Whereas the new moon sweeps with darkened broom,
A Cinderella brushing of the grate,
Her subjects genuflect beside the dark.

And wait her order ere they light the room.
Two moons, two queens to honor, is their fate.
The full moon sweeps the stars from out its arc.

The new moon would not dare to so presume.
She makes the darkened sky her own estate.
Her subjects genuflect beside the dark.

Two moons, two queens, one kingdom cold and stark,
And though the new moon’s kindness stars invoke,
The full moon sweeps the stars from out its arc,
Her subjects genuflect beside the dark.

Pauline, with her typical modesty, would no doubt not hesitate to remind you it was an early attempt at the form. I think it's a lovely, lyrical piece of writing, and if I could marry it to a piece of music, I most certainly would.

actually, that particular piece of writing has sparked many photographs in the shed, and every time I look at the moon (which is as often as I can, finding it quite soothing or energizing to look at, depending on various things) I think of the two queens. I had wanted very badly to make it into a song, but the only way I could do that was to mess with it too much, and that spoiled it, so I gave up.

in my mind, there is a whole full moon/new moon installation of poetry, music, photographs, video and so on. my mind is a very busy place. unfortunately, there are more windows than doors at this point, but at some point everything will become a door, or a window large enough for any idea to break out and act upon itself. I have only recently come to the realization that it's neither possible nor necessary for me to be the one to realize every idea that lives in my head.

so now I go blithely along (most days. some days blitheness eludes me) scattering half-formed ideas like the seeds I suppose they are.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

the first time that I opened my eyes and fell in love.

it was to the recognition of my mother's softer face. and that of her mother, my aunts, my sister, and all my daughters.

one unbroken shining chain, backwards and forwards.

Friday, May 16, 2008

there's something wrong with my camera.

of course, my husband tells me I've just exhausted it. the first thing that happened wasn't the camera at all, but the memory card going bad. (apparently I caused it undue stress.) that was why my camera was gone for a week or two or however long it was, with the bad card in it wouldn't even turn on. and I was sure I had tried taking the bad card out and turning it on, but perhaps not. I had spoken about that in a previous post. so once that was sorted out I was taking pictures again, with only a 512mb card, the 2gb card having given up the ghost.

and then my holga came, and after I oohed over its clunky plastic cheapness (as fine to me as the most expensive camera would be, just in a different way) I managed to get the film in (imagine. me with my clumsy hands that can't hold anything properly, fussing with the little spool and sprocket or whatever. it took me fifteen minutes or more to get the film loaded. if it hadn't been so irritating and painful it might have been funny. I expect to anyone watching it might have looked quite entertaining, like a circus performer under the influence. though I swear I was as sober as a judge at the time.)

anyway, I shot that roll of film, my first since 2000? maybe 2001. I took pictures of the strangest things, and the most mundane, until no more could be taken. I don't expect a single one to be worth the cost of having them developed, but I'll have them developed anyway. of course that might take some time. I've decided to start my own slow-living movement. I miss so much and get so addled when I hurry.

and then my digital camera (jealous?) began to do the oddest things. a moire pattern appeared. and suddenly everything was incredibly overexposed, as if the camera had seen the light and decided to keep it all inside, and obliterate all the things I was pointing it at.

so it's been an interesting couple of days, experimenting. the holga set aside for now until I'm ready to begin again the task of loading film. imagine a lobster trying to load film, in the dark, cursing, and that will give you some idea. the digital camera (which still takes fine video) has had some settings adjusted, and I took some pictures this morning that are interesting, to say the least.

in the process, I found menu options I didn't know were there! this thrilled me, more things to painstakingly teach myself when I could just as easily go buy a new one - my husband's ready to - or ask someone what to do. but no, that's not near as satisfactory as puzzling over it myself.

and so this morning before a friend came by to pick me up so she could run and I could amble around the lake in the morning sunshine, I was rummaging through boxes, looking for things to take pictures through, in an attempt to control the light coming in.

an old slide, wax paper, a piece of black lace from a discarded unmentionable, all created more interesting effects.

but I think what I need are pieces of coloured cellophane.

(ah! a dollar/thrift store visit in the near future. life is good.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

self-portrait. one of many.

no, I can't quite explain the odd compulsions. at this point, I don't even try anymore. I chalk it up to being an artist, it's a lovely excuse for all sorts of odd behaviours.

at one time I thought the fascination with reflective surfaces and self-portraits was an unhealthy fascination with self, and I'm not saying I'm not intensely interested in how I work, if I don't attempt to figure that out what good is being here for, really? if I don't in some small way maybe learn to understand what it means to be me. and maybe that helps you/frees or challenges you, or comforts you in your own attempts.

but I'm no great beauty and don't really care if I catch myself at unflattering angles anymore, or if I'm even identifiable, I don't think it's a record of self I'm trying to leave in some of this, I don't know what it is.

and if I had someone else willing to pose so I could catch their reflection in olive oil in a cast iron frying pan I'd be just as happy. it's not even that it has to be a person, or anything at all reflected, I suppose. but the fascination with the way the picture changed when the oil warmed, what accounts for that?

oh I don't know. it's been a noisy day and I can't think, my head's absolutely full of noise and other people's messes. it's a day I have to remind myself how lucky I am that family keeps me from packing a bag and seeing what's a little further on down the road.

not that I'm unhappy today, and not that it matters. it's just been a noisy day, and I'm looking forward to nothing more raucous than frogsong.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

a cup of tea in the shed.

with flowers, birds singing and some rain but nothing serious. and later this week it's supposed to be very hot, in the 90s.

now, though, time to sleep. too much time sorting through old pictures, and some deleted now, but oh the mountains of them. if they were prints I'd pack them in boxes and take more. if they were prints, mind you, I'd have been bankrupted long ago by the cost of them.

a new hard drive, maybe. and more restraint in the future.

don't laugh. it might happen.

(I agree with you, though. it's hardly likely.)

good morning, good morning, it's time to rise and shine.

good morning, good morning, I hope you're feeling fine
come on, get up, get out of bed
it's time to raise your sleepy head
the morning's dawning just for you
and all your dreams are coming true
toodle-dee-doo, toodle-dee-doo...

good morning, good morning, it's time to rise and shine

good morning!

thank you natalie, for leaving that sung message years ago, for no reason, on my voicemail. I used to sing it to the girls in the morning to wake them up. my husband sings it sometimes too, and both girls do. you'll possibly never know this because I haven't talked to you in years and years, you know the way people meet and connect and drift apart and who knows where you are today? but this is how you are part of my family, wherever you are, whatever you're doing.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

my daughters just made me an inedible magic dough cookie with an x and an o on it, and it was tasty, in the way inedible magic things are.

thomas ravenscroft's melismata wasn't the reason I chose the title of this blog or identified with the word so immediately when I found it (along with qualia, another beloved resonance) in some book I've forgotten. but when I saw it, I realized it suited me for many reasons I won't bore you too much with, and when I saw the three ravens in there, well.

one day, I will print it out, and paint it, and learn to sing the songs.of course, that might be a someday too far in the future to see now. but I'm in no particular hurry. I'll get to it eventually, I expect, and if I don't, well. I'll be so involved in something else I don't imagine I'll miss this one idea unfulfilled.

so many of my particular fancies seem to be coalescing this year. and there's often a temptation towards forcing the pieces to fit, internal and external pressures bearing down, the instinctual urge to push and the voices pleading, encouraging, demanding. it's difficult sometimes, knowing what and who to listen to, and knowing when to close my ears and eyes and be still enough to follow the only voice that flows from the authentic and original source, whatever it is or wherever it flows from, or to.

do I believe I've lived before? sometimes, yes, I indulge that particular fancy. sometimes it makes sense. sometimes the pointlessness of everything, the unknowableness of purpose, paralyzes me. sometimes everything is so amazing I doubt my doubt, or I believe in both doubt and god. and god would be many forms, the face is a personal thing, whether it's the lion's head in tree bark or the long aching note held in the throat, or the old bearded man, abandoning me to a life of perplexity and choice, the way all parents do. my middle daughter sings about a god that created everything, she didn't learn that song from me, but who am I to stop it from flowering in her heart?

which does and doesn't have anything to do with anything, but you know the way these things go. the pattern often isn't seen until the weaving is completed and even then who says when enough is enough and it's time to rest? the choice to cut that particular apron string, to lean your back against the thorn and birth yourself out of whatever trouble you've gotten yourself into, that choice goes way back, past the fruit and the tree, past the wings, past the chaos at the root of nothing.

so in the face of that, what do I do? take pictures of honey in a green cup, of course.

Friday, May 9, 2008

paint cans dreaming of the fourth of july.

I've decided to live with the splotch on the lens. because to send the camera away for a month to have it fixed just doesn't seem to be an attractive option, even if it is covered under warranty.

I'm aware this might be considered decidedly odd and unreasonable behaviour. I've decided I don't mind being thought odd and unreasonable, for the most part. it certainly cuts down on the likelihood of being asked why I do many of the things I do.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

waiting sort of patiently for my camera. though I suppose patience is an all or nothing proposition.

so I guess I'm not waiting patiently at all, following that kind of extreme logic, as I seem so often to do.

of course, my grasp of logic is limited to whatever I've taught myself, right or wrong, and what I recall from that one class at university, I loved that class. didn't always understand what the hell was going on, I'll admit that freely. half the time I was tired, or distracted, or

oh whatever, I was something, anyway. that wasn't why I started posting, it was to say I'm really excited about my camera.

though I'm happily taking hundreds of pictures with my painted & battered up one, despite the spot on the inside of the lens. sand? paint? the case is cracked, from a fall, or being banged on something, the poor camera's always slung around my neck or the girls use it sometimes, or I set it down and then wander off and someone sits on it. it's remarkably sturdy, given the stresses it lives under it has done quite well. I'd definitely get another one. especially if they're sensible and keep the same sort of menu, just finetune it a bit, but really, how fancy of a camera do I need? this one's 5.1 megapixels, the one my husband was showing me was 12, honestly, six hundred dollars? so far the only money I've made from any of the tens of thousands of pictures I've taken is five bucks that one night at the bar in texas, for that nice biker couple. and those were out of focus, but artistically, you know.

anyway. the cameraphone's not so bad, once you learn to work within its particular constraints. this is from the shed tonight.

thursday morning. grey, but not (currently) raining.

I believe this is the current default setting for weather. sunny breaks would be a lovely change, if you have any you're not using, please feel free to send them my way.

but it's not a dark day inside, just a quiet one. and the grey's not dark, really, pearly I suppose. soft looking, moist but not heavy with rain. sun seems possible.

the school bus just left, the recycling truck's come and gone, some people have gone off to work and some have just come home. breakfast dishes are stacked neatly in the sink, and a pile of laundry is in the garage in front of the washer and dryer. but there's enough clothes and towels (clean and folded and put away neatly) to last a few days.

I've got paint calling from the shed, which has curtains now, and is quite cozy with the propane heater. plenty of ventilation, between the window and the door and the rusted holes here and there. sometimes the roof leaks, but I don't mind that so much. there's nothing so precious there it can't stand a bit of rain and wind, and if it can't, oh well. it won't last that long anyway, no sense worrying too much about it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

and again my husband asks, are you writing a book over there?


all I know is that last night I snuggled up with my beloved after a week's absence, or years, possibly, it felt like years, since the memory card in my camera stopped working and the camera wouldn't turn on, and in the morning the first thing I saw was its slim silver paintspattered self there on the mattress beside me, strung on a black cord.

oh it's good to have it working again, last night I took 268 pictures in the dark in the candlelight, in a daze, blissful.

and this morning we're off to the shed, despite the gloomy grey sky and the rain promising/threatening. to take more pictures it's possible no one but me will ever see, and that's neither here nor there to me, not miserly or secretive with shame or doubt, nothing but a need fulfilled, the shutter hush-clicking over and over until it becomes a meditation and I forget everything, let go even the possibility of names and purposes.


I have a holga camera on its beautiful way to me, I am so excited I can barely stop singing to type this.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

one minute faces.

well you know. sometimes you get bored.

my grown daughter saw these scribbles last time she was here and took a couple of them home. I think my favourite one is the one she called "the angry french twins". that made me laugh.

in another life, I was a cartoonist. or maybe that's a future incarnation. it's hard to keep track. I'm always wondering, is this the life I get to be a gypsy?

apparently not. but I've got the shed painted up nice, inside and out, it's much more elaborate than the pumphouse ever was, and all it needs is a strong set of wheels and some sort of animals suitable for hauling things. a mule team maybe. they'd match me for stubbornness. almost.