an observation

Worried. Out on walk this morning saw huge machinery parked in field with a massive rotary cutting blade on the front. I think some trees are going to get chopped in the woods today and I really am not going to be able to cope with it.

when you are deep in the act of becoming things have to continuously move

  1. tentacular* as an entry point:
    earthbound, creature-like, multi-aspectational, reaching out &
    feeling into holes, searching for newer connections, many-twisted
  2. an alternative to the lineal, patriarchal, polarised thinking that
    has dominated western ideology for centuries.
  3. every-direction slipperiness &
    weird thought-nurturing
  4. ‘what am i’ unless that i is itself,
    ambiguous? why be defined?
  5. less defined, more expansive, oceanic:
    more connected to all manner of odd things**
  6. i have been doing it already,
    been doing it in fact, since i was young
    refusing to be defined, though ‘wild’ &
    even that i see, is now an outmoded concept***
  7. i just was never able to put a name to it
    i have been moving from one tentacle to another
  8. the beauty of it
  9. because it does not have to make sense

*used extensively by Donna Haraway in her book ‘Staying With the Trouble: Making Kin in the Cthtulucene’.

**that is why my bio has been made for me by the predictive text on my phone. i have spent a long time with these devices & it is odd that i have yet to connect with their personalities. how comforting it is to know that they too, have a soul that speaks.

***for nothing can be said to be truly wild on this planet if it is being filtered through our naming of it.

in which i make a mistake so i can find my way back in again

there is a lot of trouble in this bag. there is ever such a lot of trouble.

the most urgent thing now is to stay with this trouble, stay with the mishmash of ideas that have been bubbling under the surface for so long.

but this is not like i can open up everything so that it explodes everywhere, no.

when i was a weaver, every piece of work i produced was under tension, it was under restriction. i could not apply bright areas of colour like a painter or twist swathes of fabric around a body like a fashion designer. the only thing i had at my disposal was a weft travelling across a vertical warp and that was it. there was always an underlying structure and formula that had to be followed or the fabric would have broken down. sometimes even this breaking down could be incorporated into the work but only within the confines of the original scaffolding. and even though the end product could be fantastical,

a bit like nature,

it was only the underlying coding that produced the endless and infinite variation. i was submerged in a world of code when i designed fabric;

/binary /on off /up down /in out /yes no. only that.

that is the lure of poetry. the restriction, the weaving of the weft, the infinite variety produced by the basic premise of words travelling across a blank page. writing poetry on a typewriter is even more creative; the human interacting with the machine. the coming together of two opposing elements under the guise of stamping characters to the page /up down /back forward /on off. writing that acquires one to be physical. that produces a physical result. typos are never autocorrected and therefore cannot be made invisible.

just like the quiet dropping of a single warp thread can alter the pattern of the work in such a subtle way.

navajo weavers made sure that every piece of cloth contained a mistake in order that it provide a way for the weaver to escape out of the work when it was finished. a warning to check our obsessions and monotonies so that we may not get completely submerged in them and never find our way out again.

i propose an updated version of this theory (one that is more apt for our bubbling trouble. as trouble, after all, is a source of great insoriation and to sit with it for as long as possible is a good thing).

use our mistakes to dive back in where we most need to help.

bees, pythonesses, bacteria, space suits, lichen, coral, androids, night herons, giant redwoods, medusas. all come writhing out of the bag at this point.

but dont try to avoid all that squirming; see all this as a way to get straight back in.

the container

“A well-made clay pot — whether it’s a terra-cotta throwaway or a Grecian urn — is nothing more and nothing less than a clay pot. In the same way, to my mind, a well-made piece of writing is simply what it is, lines of words.

As I write my lines of words, I may try to express things I think are true and important. That’s what I’m doing right now in writing this essay. But expression is not revelation… Art reveals something beyond the message. A story or poem may reveal truths to me as I write it. I don’t put them there. I find them in the story as I work.

And other readers may find other truths in it, different ones. They’re free to use the work in ways the author never intended. What my reader gets out of my pot is what she needs, and she knows her needs better than I do. My only wisdom is knowing how to make pots. Who am I to preach? No matter how humble the spirit it’s offered in, a sermon is an act of aggression.

“The great Way is very simple; merely forgo opinion,” says the Taoist, and I know it’s true — but there’s a preacher in me who just longs to cram my lovely pot with my opinions, my beliefs, with Truths. And if my subject’s a morally loaded one, such as Man’s relationship to Nature — well, that Inner Preacher’s just itching to set people straight and tell them how to think and what to do, yes, Lord, amen!

I have more trust in my Inner Teacher. She is subtle and humble because she hopes to be understood. She contains contradictory opinions without getting indigestion. She can mediate between the arrogant artist self who mutters, “I don’t give a damn if you don’t understand me,” and the preacher self who shouts, “Now hear this!” She doesn’t declare truth, but offers it. She takes a Grecian urn and says, “Look closely at this, study it, for study will reward you; and I can tell you some of the things that other people have found in this pot, some of the goodies you too may find in it.”

My job is to keep the meaning completely embodied in the work itself, and therefore alive and capable of change. I think that’s how an artist can best speak as a member of a moral community: clearly, yet leaving around her words that area of silence, that empty space, in which other and further truths and perceptions can form in other minds.”

– Ursula le Guin. Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016, With a Journal of a Writer’s Week.