monroe

i don't understand it

my tolerance thermometer for socializing in bloomington gets hot and bothered SO MUCH QUICKER than it does in asheville. in btown, even with various peoples that i really really love, i see them once or twice a week, and i'm good. in asheville, i need so much less interval time between folks. what is it about north carolina people that's so bloody amazing?

[can anyone tell that i'm homesick?]

in other news, made lemon custard/blueberry tart, with almond-cardamom crust last night.

caught an incredible finish to a busman's holiday show at max's place on saturday night.

my sister has recently moved back home, and a family friend moved into my parent's house on wednesday, for an indefinite period of time, and through very little fault of their own, i believe that they could be fueling my intolerance for humans currently.

other current news:
*two cast iron frying pans seasoning in the oven.
*a mug of luke-cold yerba mate with honey to my right, and a jar half full of orange juice to my left.
*sitting with my leg tucked comfortingly beneath myself on a wicker chair has irritated once-forgotten bug bites, and left some really aesthetically attractive zebra-esque stripes on my legs.

other words on (in)tolerance: being privy to drunken behavior has increasingly been making me more and more uncomfortable. i find myself being rude and withdrawn in order to remove myself from situations where i would necessarily be subjected to such states of consciousness. since things with my sister developed a few years ago, i've been moving more and more towards this direction, but now that she's off probation, and legally allowed to inebriate herself once again, my discomforts have intensified, and have expanded at times to include discomfort in being around other substances as well. this, understandably, has had an impact on my social choices, especially in bloomington. *sigh* purely decadent soy- or coconut-cream parties are so much cooler, anyway.

a week and five days until i'm back in carolina...
monroe

A Prelude to the upcoming semester from my professor for a Fiction course:

Liberal Art
(Frame Discourse)

REDUNDANCE

(Nature is redundant, thank god—no
matter what the English Teachers say.
If you didn’t GET IT last time,
there is always another bus
leaving the station.
IT, I said: do I have to spell
IT out?)

Liberal Art (as opposed to the liberal arts,
the various disciplines and major subjects)
has no common definition but I call it the art
of escape: getting out from under, through,
over, away from and yet in, under,
trapped, confined, nailed down:
a disconnect yet
connected.

It's a practice, life-long sport: getting out of the
cave, bubble, box, culture, convention, closet,
yet Still Inside: hooked-up
yet running free.

“A consummation devoutly to be desired.”.

You can maybe see: I'm describing something
like a frame of mind, attitude, outlook, state
of soul (Psyche) and way of being—not not
not information, statistics, data, the facts
and fictions of the various disciplines & majors.

Imagination counts more than knowledge,
said Einstein. Every kid with a laptop is
“the smartest kid in class”
and it's not what you know but whether
you can put it in play. Don't you agree?

I'm trying to construct a FRAME here:
a context for my courses: a collective
mind-set DIFFERENT than for all them
other courses you take.

It always feels like trying to build an ice cream
parlor in hell without doing injustice to HOT or
COLD. I want them separate but equal so as to
sustain and appreciate the nature of TEMPER
and TEMPERATURE. Got to love hell and ice
cream both!

Were we In Class right now, you could object
and take issue with everything I've said: insist
on clarification or argue what I've omitted,
overlook, left out. We could be having pretty
good converse-action here—practicing
liberal art.

THINKING

I will go so far as to say Liberal Art is the Art of THINKING
about thinking—of getting smart. Admit it: you've never had
a course in THINKING, true? Who has? I never have.

It's always taken for granted, like walking, breathing—although,
lately some of us need instruction on how to breath: “just breathe,”
they say—inhale and exhale the chi; conscious of each breath as if
that were liberating.

So consider Liberal Art as (among other ways to talk about it)
the Art of Thinking—as opposed to thinking about this or that,
chemistry or biology, women's & environmental studies,
sociology, language and literature... .where we are using/
abusing THINKING to get some deal done, yes?

Instrumental thinking on the one hand;
the Liberal Art of Thinking —the Sport
Thinking for Thinking's Sake on the other hand.

You got a problem with that?.

A female student years ago strongly advised a mess of us
“professors” at a meeting: “Your job is to teach us how to think.”
The next day in class I asked: how many here don't know how to
think and want to know: raise your hand.

I might as well have asked: “How many here don't have a sense
of humor and want to get one?”

Last spring I asked who here's an idiot, raise your hand.

One did.

The etymology of “student” and “study” share a root with “stupid”
I.E. steu—to be struck by a stick. Stunned, stunning. Stupor. Ouch,
ooo, damnit: prerequisite to Get Smart. I say this over and over.

In certain Zen practices the student is given koans—parables:
questions he can not answer in the conventional terms of his
understanding and gets whacked with a stick until he's stunned
stupid and ready for study.

A version of this in Kill Bill 2--as Uma Thurman is
trained for her vengeance quest. (She's an “idiot:” from L.“idios”--
personal, private, individual which is to say: unique, one of a kind
—original: pure idiocy!.)

A former dean sent me an article where an educator claimed
at a professional conference: “we don't teach students how to
argue.” I'd been trying to encourage a kind of genial joyous
FIGHT CLUB in the classroom—you know the movie, bloody
violent, sure: but then it turns out it was all psychological: a
metaphor for coming to terms with one's “wholeness.” given
the divided self that makes closet schizophrenics out of all of us
—torn between 2 lovers, so to speak: our spiritual and our
material selves and why can't they just get along?

Need we argue?

How to Think About
Thinking About Thinking
as opposed to just plain
Thinking
or
What do we Think About
When we Think About
Thinking?
or
What do we Think About
when we think about
What do we Think About
when we think about
Thinking?

All right: it IS presumptuous and liable to cause offense if not ridicule
to claim to teach anyone how to think. I've been trying to learn ever
since that student said it was what we should be doing. I don't think
it can be done unilaterally. Like trying to learn rugby all by myself.
I think thinking is a reciprocal deal—a converse-action: a game or sport.

There is nothing wrong with those sentences about thinking, by the way.
Perfectly well-formed. You might think about them and how it is they
differ from each other significantly even though they are all about the
SAME THING.

We will read texts together—literary, linguistic, & our own
ongoing responses to each other and to the ideas of the course.

Here's the challenge: to what extent can we think about the subject matter
of the texts AND think about ourselves THINKING about these texts—so
as to be thinking about our thinking AS WELL as just plain ordinary thinking?

Would you have a problem with this?

WE can also talk about HOW we're talking about these texts and about
THINKING—so that we get better at talking and talking about our talking.

As loopy as this sounds—and IS (thinking looping back on itself recursively,
talking looping back on itself recursively—self-consciously), this is a form of
dialectical practice (dia-lectic: talk which talks across itself).

It also called “metalogue” (as opposed to dialogue) AND, in the original sense:

ARGUMENT

from Gk. argo: “the shining,” building up a shared “edifice” for collective
excellence (ex-from; kel: the hill, column—view from the top)

“argument” has taken on negative stigma--hateful: destructive, tear
another person down: prove them wrong. Originally it is an act of
collaborative genius. Jason and the Argonauts, sailing for the
golden fleece; Argentina—city of shining lights. How come
this good word has become a bad word? Think about it.

(So many innocent descriptive words get twisted by the common sense:

“suffer”—to stand up under;
“school”—leisure time;
“sin” – essence, being;
”evil”—up from under, below;
“idiocy” – personal, private;
“conspiracy”—breathing together;
“student”—in a stupor, stunned...

Good words gone “bad.”)

Collaborative Genius

This is an important idea in business and research where creativity and
invention are a premium: making stuff, putting out a product, generating
sales—the front end, golden goose, of a consumer society.

“Wait'll they get a load of THIS!”
Got to have it!

And it's not what we know but whether we
can put it in play that counts.

In a recent article on Collaborative Genius, (google Keith Sawyer) among
other characteristics of the context for creativity and the mothers of invention
recommends the building of::

an environment which
encourages failure

an environment which
recognizes the liability
of clarity—the benefit
of vagueness & confusion,
and indeterminacy

These two environments stand out as diabolically (another innocent word
meaning “to throw across”) antithetically (“against the thesis”) opposed to
the SCHOOL ROOM ENVIRONMENT where individual acquisition of
knowledge and skills is “encouraged” by grade-gun driven institutional
hire education. .

Ice Cream Parlor in Hell.

How to build an environment for loose play and experiment, fooling
around with idea inside a dominant environment of accuracy-compulsion,
clarity-addiction, get R done cover the ground take the credit and run?

It's an environmental issue.

Do I overstate? Or under? Need we argue? If we were all together in
a classroom right now we could correct my exaggerations,
question my assumptions, expose my operating and
controlling metaphors, insist on clarification,
beg to differ—watching our words.

Or any one could punch reply or better reply to all—and we're in business,
building up a shared frame of mind for stunned, stunning and stupid study
together. Practicing the Liberal Art, life-long sport.

Consider or Ignore,

Best, Sam


**i cannot wait for school to start!**
monroe

And when the rain began to pound, I lifted up my face until I was soaked with the ache of the skies

I am currently drinking a quart of salt water. For shits and giggles. Literally. How my family talked me into this, I forget now. I'm beginning the Master Cleanse today, with my mother, and ideally my sister as well, if she remembers. Meaning that for the next ten days, I drink a quart of salt water first thing in the morning, to my bowels discontent, and then drink nothing but an organic spicy lemonade sweetened with maple syrup, all day. I mean, I'm allowed just over a gallon of the stuff a day, so I think I'll be satiated, but dang. Food is an addiction for me. Not eating is going to be a pain. Will keep updating, in not too much detail.

On an entirely different note, if I ever get back onto a Greyhound bus, either I'm going to be gagged and bound, and likely chopped into parts, in a suitcase, or whoever I'm going to go and see will be pretty much the most important person in the world. But I did have the opportunity to converse with a Native Texan, about all things important to him: Mud trucking and racing, his three-year-old daughter who's already a Dom, all things unpleasant about his ex-girlfriend, all the various piercings on his body, and how much he enjoys them... I also got approached by Native Texan's friend, who was very quiet and merely told me that, while he didn't know me at all, he thought I had an excellent personality, and that I was doing the world right, and I should keep on doing what I was doing. It was encouraging. I think he was just impressed with my patience with afore-mentioned Texan.

I spent the past week in North Carolina, and I miss those mountains. Surrounded constantly by music and musicians, and dancers. Oh god, dancers. I've made a point already, back in Bloomington, to surround myself with more of the sort. Music is my life...

And that said, I'm /FAIL at harmonies. If anyone knows how to harmonize, and can give me some pointers, I would be grateful.
monroe

This is not a letter to Dan Savage, and that's weird...

All of the writing I've been doing lately has been privately addressed as ponderings to be sent in to Dan Savage's SavageLove podcast *someday*, and so I'm a little unsure how to approach a public journal. I don't even really know what to update, except that my head is swirly.

My life =

*SavageLove podcasts (This is the big one.)

*Dancing [particularly tango during my Bloomington-time, but relearning swing, and always the contra and the waltz!]

*Yearning [for Asheville, and Ashevillians. And one particular Massachusetts resident. And one particular friend who is about to go off to Europe and forget about me forever more. And for balance. and harmony. and peace. and love.]

*Fixing [everyone else's lives, apparently, except for my own. And yet, my parents still think that I'm putting my own needs in front of theirs. Well, shit.]

*Embracing [mostly, my new awareness of my polyamorous sense of relations, and at the same time, my self respect regarding these relations, and my (unfortunately new) intentions of only engaging in relations with those who I truly respect and love. I've wasted too much hardship and pain over sexual engagements that didn't help my person grow, and I'm over it. (Not saying that all of my poly relations up until now have been unhealthy. There are several dear dear people within the past year who have expanded my views, and gone above and beyond my previous expectations of lovers, and I appreciate them more than I can express.) Also attempting to embrace my inability to 'save people'. The only person we can truly save is ourselves, and attempting to do anything but simply love and support the others in our life is just showing off, and trying to take control. Destructive to those we love in the long run, and impossible to achieve in the first place.]

*Drinking [responsibly, gently, without excess. For maybe the first time in the past five years of my Bloomington life.]

*Abstaining [from tobacco, for the past four months?, and counting. From, as I said in my embracing update, meaningless sex, and from delusions of grandeur. From excess in general. And somewhat from gluten and dairy, and for the most part, from non-fair trade and non-organic foods. Though I've begun to eat salmon occasionally. Who knows...]

*Gauge-ing [my earlobes. Down to a 10, not really lookin' to go further. Yet.]

*Saving [Money. My soul?] (I've been attending my UU church again, and it's really been wonderful, but more than that, I've been philosophizing, and ruminating, and wondering, and singing, and forming my own opinions about life and death and spirituality for maybe the first time in my life, honestly.]

*Planning [my future in Asheville, in Italy, in college, after college, in life. Culinary school, acupuncture school, post-graduate travels. Short term, volunteering this summer in Bloomington with Pages to Prisoners, and maybe with Habitat for Humanity. Putting more effort and practice into my ceramics, and into idea bubbles for my slowly looming graduation project...]

*Dreaming. Always. And forever.

Love.
monroe

OH MY GOD

MY FACE IS SO TIRED.
Quarter to six in the morning, and I'm still fucking packing and cleaning this godforsaken room.

I am ready to send all this shit up in flames and spend the rest of my life in the clothes on my back. Material possessions disgust me all of a sudden.

Not to mention that I think I'm going to go into a catatonic state anytime now. The dust and dirt in this room isn't just alarming: it's invincible.


I called my sister up at about 2:45am, to complain about my packing woes and to take a break, and she broke the news to me that she's thinking that she may have ovarian cancer, while also telling me that she's got a billion big parties planned for as soon as I get back into town, respectively making me want to rush home at once, and making me not want to go home at all, ever.

And so in a frenzy of allergy sickness (plus I'm still getting over a stomach flu/virus), and anxiety, I pack and I clean. I can probably get away with breaking out the vacuum cleaner in an hour or two... Is 7am too early to vacuum in a dorm setting?
monroe

WOOOOO!

CONGRATULATIONS CALIFORNIA!

2nd state to legalize gay marriage!



Feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, I must return to writing my last paper of the semester, about AIDS and Art.



Also, last minute poll. For tonight's celebratory activity, should I:

A. Go Advanced Dancing down at River Falls in SC ($8)
B. Go bowling for free
C. Go swing dancing (maybe for free?) in Asheville
D. Stay on campus, party it down, and bum booze off of the unsuspecting (Which I can always do upon returning from any of the above around midnight...)

::EDIT:: I think A and then D are winning out. Dancing, then boozing, and then making myself crawl out of bed at 8am to perform for the graduation commencement ceremony sounds like a whole lot of fun. ::/EDIT::
monroe

Not to negate the importance of the previous post, but...

I really think that yerba mate stimulates my libido.

If you like nudes, or if you like classic-style photography (*coughcoughjessicawillowcoughcough*), check this website out: http://xupacabras.weblog.com.pt/arquivo/2004/01/11-week/
I'm not sure whether the blog's in Italian or Spanish, but I must have spent two hours this morning already looking at the nakey pictures.

It was studying for a paper, I swear.

Log into WNCW.org at 5pm Eastern Standard Time, and listen to my choir sing, please, because we kick ass.
monroe

I haven't posted in forever. But this is important:

WWC folk choir: WNCW, Wed, May 7 at 5pm hour EST!

TUNE IN AT WNCW.ORG and stream it live! 5pm - 5:50pm EST!

THIS WEDNESDAY!

[i.e. This choir is what keeps me in school, along with the occasional contra dance(r)(s).]

It would honor and tickle me tremendously if you listened!


Love,
me.
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