2023-03-29 10:49

📚 What I finished reading in February and March.

2023-03-17 16:20

What? A newsletter? Does the world really need another one of these?

Don’t worry! Mine is obscure, sporadic, and utterly vacuous! You will never feel any pressure to learn anything, be challenged in your beliefs, or even entertained. So go ahead! Subscribe here: “Three Things”

2023-03-16 20:55

Now Playing:

Album cover for the improv album Monstrance by Andy Partridge, Barry Andrews, and Martyn Barker, showing a series of orange and black ovals, as if looking down a deep well made of orange and black plastic, with the word Monstrance across the middle of the image in a typeface that seems almost deliberately designed to be virtually illegible

2023-03-16 18:35

Now Playing:

Album cover for the jazz album Trickster by guitarist Miles Okazaki, showing a paper hillside and two origami figures, a coyote and a raven, looking at each other

2023-03-11 15:56

Oh look, that’s me reading some poems at the above/ground press 2023 AWP (unofficial) offsite (virtual) reading.

2023-03-09 11:58

Twenty Years

On March 3rd, 2003, this quote by Walter Ong was my first post on a long-dead Textpattern blog I installed at a long-gone domain:

The personal diary is a very late literary form, in effect unknown until the seventeenth century… The kind of verbalized solipsistic reveries it implies are a product of consciousness as shaped by print culture. And for which self am I writing? Myself today? As I think I will be ten years from now? As I hope I will be? For myself as I imagine myself or hope others may imagine me? Questions such as this can and do fill diary writers with anxieties and often enough lead to discontinuation of diaries. The diarist can no longer live with his or her fiction.

There were some lost years and there were some silent years, but I’ve always tried to have some sort of blog percolating quietly, like a sad little aquarium in the corner. Even if the fish died from time to time, there was at least a few snails working their methodical way along the glass, and a patient deep-sea diver gazing out impassively from behind its mossy visor, awaiting, like all of us, for a renaissance of wonder.

2023-03-08 08:50

I have at times heard people, perhaps in an attempt to be clever, point out that the TV show M∗A∗S∗H ran for 11 years when the entire Korean War only lasted three.

Sure, okay.

But all 256 episodes, back to back, only run about 110 hours, whereas the war lasted 27,072 hours.

2023-03-03 08:09

Now Playing:

cover image for the album Travel by the Necks, showing a dark blue field with several gold arrows pointing mostly to the right but with a few faint images pointing left

2023-03-03 06:22

Oh look, it’s Bandcamp Friday again.

2023-02-28 21:05

Happy 50th to Gravity’s Rainbow.

A copy of Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon next to a banana-shaped pouch for the game Bananagrams.

OTD Pynchon
2023-02-19 22:20

Now Playing:

Cover image for the album Melt by Blank Gloss, showing a brutalist concrete staircase from below, and beyond is a pale blue sky with a soft pink cloud

2023-02-19 07:14

Season Cycle

We’ve been in our house for nearly eleven months, so we’ve seen almost a full season cycle here. The sun has moved around, once again peeking in windows to shine in corners that have been dark for a few months.

The family of five crows wintered nearby but were barely noticeable. They have suddenly become much more active in the last week or so, calling to each other in the mornings before dawn.

I may be seeing signs of spring, but two more feet of snow are forecast this week.

2023-02-18 07:25

Last, next.

92: Kraft (graph)
93: Signs of Spring (Ghost Flower)

Two Field Notes memo books side by side: one used, one new

2023-02-12 15:17

Now Playing:

Cover image of XTC's 1982 album English Settlement, showing the Uffington Chalk Horse on a plain green field and title and band name barely visible in embossed letters

Released on this day 41 years ago.

music OTD
2023-02-11 08:19

Let me remind you that it’s always possible that tomorrow, all of Sappho’s poems might turn up somewhere. Tomorrow!

2023-02-11 06:26

When it comes to Covid, I’m starting to feel like a final girl.

2023-02-10 14:05

Now playing:

cover image for the album A Light for Attracting Attention by the Radiohead-adjacent band The Smile, showing what appears to be a cartoon rendering of a map of a large lake or inland sea with tributaries and rivers flowing in and out and several stylized mountain ranges or hills; a compass rose or red sun occupies the top right corner

2023-02-09 08:29

Ah ha! The mystery package arrived yesterday afternoon, two days early. I had managed, eventually, to work out what it probably was before it arrived, but I still had my doubts.

image of the book Dancing with the Dead: the Essential Red Pine Translations, published by Copper Canyon Press

2023-02-08 17:58

Now playing:

Cover image for Nils Frahm's album Music For Animals, showing a lake in the background and an arm in silhouette holding a plastic bag with water and a small fish; the water in the bag lines up with the horizon in the distance; the sun is reflected in the surface of the lake but the arm blocks our view of it

2023-02-05 10:07

Nothing like receiving a shipment notification for something you bought so long ago, you don’t remember what it is. I guess I’ll find out on Friday.

2023-02-04 12:31

If the past cannot teach the present and the father cannot teach the son, then history need not have bothered to go on, and the world has wasted a great deal of time.

—Russell Hoban, The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz (1973)


2023-02-04 10:20

She sang the song very softly:

I do not like the way you slide,
I do not like your soft inside,
I do not like you lots of ways,
And I could do for many days
Without eggs.

“What did you say, Frances?” asked Father.

“Nothing,” said Frances, spreading jam on another slice of bread.

“Why do you keep eating bread and jam,” asked Father, “when you have a lovely soft-boiled egg?”

“One of the reasons I like bread and jam,” said Frances, “is that it does not slide off your spoon in a funny way.”

—Russell Hoban, Bread & Jam for Frances (1964)


2023-02-04 09:10

Happiness can be unsettling, like catching a baby that someone has thrown out of a window.

—Russell Hoban, Amaryllis Night & Day (2001)


2023-02-04 08:03

Russell Hoban, Riddley Walker:

Its some kynd of thing it aint us but yet its in us. Its looking out thru our eye hoals. May be you dont take no noatis of it only some times. Say you get woak up suddn in the middl of the nite. 1 minim youre a sleap and the nex youre on your feet with a spear in your han. Wel it werent you put that spear in your han it wer that other thing whats looking out thru your eye hoals. It aint you nor it dont even know your name. Its in us lorn and loan and sheltering how it can.


2023-02-04 06:46

…swimming, swimming, the eye held by the sun, no sharks in the mind, nothing in the mind.

—Russell Hoban, Turtle Diary (1975)

Picture of a passage from Russell Hoban's 1975 novel, Turtle Diary, printed on yellow paper and pinned to a fridge with sea turtle magnets. The quote reads: How do the turtles find Ascension Island? There are sharks in the water too. Some of the turtles get eaten by sharks. Do the turtles know about sharks? How do they not think about the sharks when they're swimming that 1,400 miles? Green turtles must have the kind of mind that doesn't think about sharks unless a shark is there. Sea turtles can't shut themselves up in their shells as land turtles do. Their shells are like tight bone vests and their flippers are always sticking out. Nothing they can do if a shark comes along. Pray. Ridiculous to think of a turtle praying with all those teeth coming up from below. ¶ I think of them swimming through all that golden-green water over the dark, over the chill of the deeps and the jaws of the dark. And I think of the sun over the water, the sun through the water, the eye holding the sun, being held by it with no thought and only the rhythm of the going, the steady wing-strokes of the flippers in the water. Then it doesn't seem so hard to believe. It seems the only way to do it, the only way in fact to be: swimming, swimming, the eye held by the sun, no sharks in the mind, nothing in the mind.