Thursday, July 27, 2006

Gene Kelly walked this earth

Late night writing and watching Judy Garland movies. Wish I'd had the chance to know that small troubled woman with the powerful voice. Not unlike Edith Piaf, the little sparrow of Paris. Of Paris, reading Miller's accounts, he says no one dies in the city of love. People arrive and exist only to experience the Paris life--leave before their death. Wonder what city is comparable in Canada.

Gene Kelly's Singing in the Rain always gets me. One of my happiest moments, watching that dance sequence.

I was reminded of the Outsiders today while listening to Stevie Wonder's song Stay Gold, the theme song to the movie (that song always made me cry swimming pools). (Oh how I loved Patrick Swayze.) I adored that movie. Reminiscent of my quintessential teenage experience, growing up poor and misunderstood in the back roads of N.B. Although I wasn't a boy (though us little girls wore a lot of pants in the 70's--mostly orange or brown).

Monday, July 24, 2006

Trying to write/finish/edit a manuscript type thing for a poetry reading in a month. Less than a month. I should get on that.

And, can someone explain what this is please... (rivals dfb's family dance just a tad I'd say)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Miller's "pell-mell"

The brilliance of simplicity, mixed with a rouge of soil, and a double helping of futile atmosphere: Miller's Tropic of Cancer. I'm reading it for the first time, and boy is it glorious. Not just the content (which sometimes I could do, but not entirely, with a little lessening... but then you wouldn't get gems like "I will bite into your clitoris and spit out two franc pieces"), but the vigour and precision with which he defecates lovingly on and into words--blows me away. He wrote as freely and as emptily as he had need to.

Couple passages, then:

"I have made a silent compact with myself not to change a line of what I write. I am not interested in perfecting my thoughts, nor my actions. Beside the perfection of Turgenev I put the perfection of Dostoevski. (Is there anything more perfect than The Eternal Husband?) Here, then, in one and the same medium, we have two kinds of perfection. But in Van Gogh's letters there is a perfection beyond either of these. It is the triumph of the individual over art.

There is only one thing which interests me vitally now, and that is the recording of all that which is omitted in books. Nobody, as far as I can see, is making use of those elements in the air which give direction and motivation to our lives... Passion is quickly exhausted. Men fall back on ideas, comme d'habitude. Nothing is proposed that can last more than twenty-four hours. We are living a million lives in the space of a generation. In the study of entomology, or of deep sea life, or cellular activity, we derive more...

The telephone interrupts this thought which I should never have been able to complete."

I love the realism, or, the instantaneous deliberations--his "silent compact with myself not to change a line of what I write". Great.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

I can clean a toilet and speak 3 languages all at the same time.

Apparently, this new job of mine is normally reserved for immigrants. I was asked today what country I was from.

One girl I was working the same floor with used hand gestures to signal me, similar to those I'd imagine a smaller, poly-legged creature would respond to. I returned to the room I was cleaning. The door shuts automatically.

The girls speak Spanish. I speak English. We communicate in broken French. It's a mess, really. But the rooms are clean. Simple, the language of "sparkle".

I learned how to say pillowcase in Spanish yesterday. It's far more difficult than it should be. I learned how to say it from Valeria, my maid trainer of a higher echelon. She used to be a dancer. Ballet, or as she calls it, vallet. "I use teach dancing", she glowed, "then I teenager, you know. I lose the interest. Then, flamenco. You come to my house, see these dancing". I think I'm going to her house to see some Argentinian posters. Maybe some shoes. I'm very excited. Especially since I've started tango dancing. She's promised to show me some flamenco too.

So far, I've met people from Columbia, Argentina, and Uruguay. I'm from Canada.

(I made 10 dollars in tips today. But I won't spread it around.)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The monied life of a chamber maid

Today I cleaned 17 toilets, changed 25 beds, refilled 12 coffee packets, and rode 8 times in the elevator.

I started a job as a chamber maid. And no, disappointingly, I do not have a cute uniform. I was sorta counting on it.

Having no parental support (father died 32 years ago in fatal crash; mother currently in rehab, again) I must take jobs as they happen to fall into my path. Besides, always wanted to know what it was like to peer into dirty rooms, other people's lives... imagine what type of person leaves the TV on for a whole day before they venture into a new city, or, how one person can use all 4 disposable coffee cups in one 12-hour hotel cycle. In walking into 17 different versions of lives today, I realized I wouldn't recognize my own if I happened upon a room with various sorts of clothing, footwear or toiletries. I suppose that means our things don't really define us after all. Maybe we define them. Or, there simply is no definition. Only perspective, or impression. But I suppose to have an impression of something you would naturally be expected to define that expression.

The monied life? Occasionally, I'm told, either tips or alcohol are left in rooms for the maids. But one must be careful. If you look too grateful or greedy and boast about your free gift, you may suddenly experience a drop in scheduling.

I am a very, very tired poet chamber maid. I am being paid very little. I don't know how long I will last. But it is interesting work. I am working with South American girls. One told me today, a delightful young new mother named Valeria from Argentina, that it is good for a person to work. For someone who's been spending all her time indoors working on Web site projects so far this summer, I have to agree. That aching muscle in my right shoulder blade? That's called living.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Write something good, for God's sake

I am doing my bit for posterity.

By not writing, or rather publishing (lately), I'm conserving and collecting sublime reflection (hopefully) to write something grander than the amounts of awful poetry and fiction that have been written in our time. By myself included.

It is my favour to the world. In exchange for some other things, which will remain unnamed.

When I do resurface, it will likely not be with any grand splendour or pomp. It will just be. As it should. (I'm still writing; but my own little secret stash.)

In other news, I am delighted to read an account written by James Kelman, Booker prize winner, and at the same time discouraged, for the poor state of the Scottish artist and what little they seem to be doing to resolve. Favorite quotes from the article: Read this.

"A fundamental distinction between artists and bureaucrats is the will to judge. Artists make judgements constantly; many are intuitive. Bureaucrats avoid judgements, particularly the intuitive kind. They prefer a decision-procedure similar to that created by Wittgenstein where an end statement is obtained from a series of statements, arrived at by logical inference. This mental peregrination has more to do with “recognition” than “judgement”. Arts bureaucrats rely on the judgement of art experts."

"Originality of vision is required to acknowledge artistic merit in any new work; besides boldness and imagination the critic must take a risk. Scotland is in dire need of good critics, especially those unafraid to go public. Their absence leaves the way clear for third-rate commentary. I come across the literary side more than any other. Consistent in recent attacks on contemporary literature is a general lack of understanding on the nature of art and its creation, and a peculiar naivety. Few show a genuine grasp of the formal problems that have faced Scottish writers during the past two-and-a-half centuries."

Friday, July 07, 2006

maybe it was your fingers

those rows of felt         marks into wood
      steps from where you grew things (I think squash or another large
            shape )

hard to peel

it was fitting       a bird called it       it marked the end of the day

            it wasn't born for this
    the still still


our drinks sweat through our pants

onto our bare knees
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