Notes on Conceptualisms

Notes on Conceptualisms: An Evening With Ugly Duckling Presse
Venue: Kitchen, The
(212) 255-5793
512 W. 19th St.,
New York, NY 10011

The event celebrates the release of the nonprofit art and publishing collective’s new book ‘Notes on Conceptualisms,’ an unconventional primer on contemporary innovative writing. Hosted by the volume’s authors, Robert Fitterman and Vanessa Place, this evening features readings by some of the leading figures in conceptual writing: Jen Bervin, Nada Gordon, Kim Rosenfield, Lytle Shaw and Steve Zultanski.

Press releases crack me up. How did I get to be one of “the leading figures in conceptual writing”?!? Love it. And am looking forward to the event.

A little more memoir material

When I was a little girl growing up in northern California among the wild and free, my mom used to get me to do Joe Cocker impressions at parties. That explains a lot, I think.

If you haven’t watched this,
by the way, you haven’t yet lived life to the fullest.

p.s. Gary said on reading this post that he used to do Joe Cocker impressions at parties as a kid, too. So that’s either endemic to California kids of our generation or speaking volumes about our relationship.

Go Wild… and Get a Free Eyeliner!

Two possible titles for something:

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell Yeah

Go Wild… and Get a Free Eyeliner! (in this morning’s spam crop)


The soundtracks to one’s own movies become unavoidable brain feedback loops, sometimes a little deranging.

Lately my Yahoo horoscopes have been uncanny. I think it would be a nice writing project to sort of write around them on this blog, but I have other things to attend to. Still, here are three recent ones (three in a row!) that have amused me:

March 24, 2009

CapricornCapricorn (12/22-1/19)

You can turn heads with your beautiful words today, so use your impressive creative writing skills whenever possible. Have you been trying to work up the nerve to make a move on someone? Write them a note and slip it to them when no one’s looking. Or send them an email that makes your goal clear. What you write will get you noticed and show people that you are not like everyone else. Your extra effort and refreshing creativity is more flattering than any trite come on or hollow gesture.

No comment, but always happy to turn heads with my beautiful words.

The next one I thought was wonderfully apropo of reading Santayana on the iPhone, particularly since he addresses subjectivity and taste with regard to aesthetics:

March 25, 2009

CapricornCapricorn (12/22-1/19)

What is beautiful? Your answer to that question is different from anyone else’s answer to that question. No two people can always agree on aesthetic issues, and you will need to remember that today. Something you see as a great work of art won’t get quite the ecstatic reception you were expecting, so try not to take it personally. These critics might not like what they are seeing, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t like you! Respecting their opinions doesn’t mean you agree with them.

And this next one seemed to reassuringly address what I referred to in my last post as my tendency to be “so predictably emo,” although I have to say that the thought of “a giggle coming up from my belly” makes me think of nothing so much as barfing up a little reptile:

March 26, 2009

CapricornCapricorn (12/22-1/19)

It might feel like your emotions are taking over your entire life right now, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing. If you feel tears welling or a giggle coming up from your belly, don’t try to fight it. Just let it go and let yourself feel whatever you feel right now — it’s the only way to move through it. And don’t worry if these feelings seem to be putting you in a grumpy or introspective mood. You are an imperfect human and it is a healthy thing to process all your feelings.

A healthy thing.

What else? Last night I hung out with Sachiko, a former student from Japan. She was in my first class at my school in Tokyo, which means I taught her when I was 24. She now has two gorgeous kids. Really fun to speak Japanese again with her and her family and friends, even though my vocab is disintegrating. I stated my desire to move back there, and she encouraged me.

Insomnia more or less out of control lately. That makes my days wretched. Maybe the thyroid needs to be lowered again? It’s so weird how this controls me. The thing is, hyperthyroid & menopause signs are almost identical, so it’s hard to know what’s at the root of it. The migrating hives that visit me every night are the weirdest thing, and no one told me to expect that. The flashes come on so suddenly, like, whoa, must discharge molten lava/ feminine fire QUICK (although, OK, that’s romanticizing what is basically just moments of discomfort).

Oh, am I wearing my self-pity threads again? Sorry!

I need to post videos from last week, I know.

Unrelated: I dyed my hair fuschia:

I love to photograph myself not so much because I enjoy my own image, although to be honest I sometimes do, but because in myself I have such a cooperative model, and also in a way to convince myself that I do exist, sort of like when Colin Powell held up “proof” of Iraq’s WMDs, remember?

Oh jeez, I’m slipping into my Fanny Brice routine again:

Maybe I should try to sleep some more.

the human world could have been anything (given the limits of the materials at hand)

The cherry blossoms at the top of this page are optimistic. We are nowhere near that point here yet. I am pleased to report my first sighting yesterday of a BLOSSOMING PLUM TREE (white blossoms) from the window of the F train near Smith and 9th St. Station. In other news, magnolia buds are getting plump and velvety, forsythia is FINALLY starting to bust out, and (sorry to anthropomorphize) those brave little souls, the crocuses, have been making themselves known for a little while now. Gawd, what could be duller than a poet writing about spring.

Further note on “poetry and personality”: I thought to post on it for two reasons. One was that an antagonist of mine objected to my Tzara epigraph at right, saying that it promoted a (merely) expressive (as opposed to investigative) poetics. The other was a conversation after Segue a couple of weekends ago with James Sherry, who said that in editing Folly he had really tried to get me to approach my revisions of the book in a way that would forefront the symbiosis of individual and environment, but that I had responded in such a way that merely forefronted my personality. Fair enough, but you can’t squeeze ecopoetics from a turnip. At least my writing has personality, or more accurately, personalities.

I don’t actually feel much symbiosis with “my environment” (the term itself makes the individual apostate, doesn’t it? we have to change the language to be more gins & arakavian). Do you? I feel like a Venusian. I’m mainly thinking of the human environment, since the human presence in the city I live in overwhelms the non-human, and maybe that’s why the weather is so bad, as revenge (nothing more pathetic than a fallacy!). Walking down a particularly ugly street yesterday, I felt a huge thought like a cold wind in my face that the human world could have been anything, with all our imagination and resourcefulness and technology… and it’s… this? Buildings these stolid unmovable remnants of history & capital, awkwardly placed freeways, stoplights, trees fighting back making the sidewalk bumpy; it’s all so drastically unacceptable. It’s the personality that responds to that with, you know, lyric protest, that “scrawny cry,” that (this) thin, operatic no!

catsitter sought

We need a catsitter to take care of Dante and Nemo and hang out in our apartment from May 14 to May 29 or so. Are any Ululations readers planning a NYC vacation around that time? Brooklyn, and our street, becomes very leafy and pleasant around that time.

It looks like we will not be crossing the Atlantic this year, but rather going westward to visit moms and friends in Portland, Corvallis, Ashland, and the Bay Area…