Update 11/22/23: This is now a book. Pre-order today. More news soon :)
Been in the midst of a big rabbit hole project this year I never anticipated with this cycle of centuries. What is a century? Most basically, a list.
This collection of lists is becoming a novella of a book, a shadow box, a podcast. Learn more about the process through the MFA at CIIS Artifact Podcast where this month they devoted an episode to my process completing this series and trying to represent that visually with a shadow box.
This weekend on Sunday (May 1) at MING Studios in Boise, I'll be reading from this series for the first time. If you're in Boise and want to hear, I will begin at 7pm through MING Studio's 7o'clock series. Sometimes they lock the doors right at 7, so get there on time :) It's $7 if you're not a member (and if you're an artist, you can be a member for $13 a year!). A lot of the stuff will be raw and vulnerable, freshly typed, so friendly faces please, for this work-in-progress reading. Thank you!
Maybe I'll see you there. If not, you can check out some of my process below and the podcast to learn more.
The rushing Payette, gentle roar by the shore.
We sat on wide boulder,
low sandstone flat at our feet
displaying our black Rubbermaid plates, containers, bins of food,
brought out one at a time.
Mountain pines stretched all around.
The day in high 60s
but a breeze asked me to pull up my sweatshirt hood.
Pale sky, trace clouds.
Greens, strawberries, crackers with chevre,
a yellow cheese that bit back
and tinned oysters.
Blackberry bubbling drinks rested on river rocks unopened.
We watched the ants watching us,
pools of sugar sand circling round stones,
the sap and water scents infusing life in our bones.
Kayakers waved paddles by.
On mountaintop, grass dried underfoot.
I reached the height of one landing
and knew the climb continued far above.
I craved a hike deep into wilderness,
to walk on and on to forever.
Our red Prius pulled into a temporary spot.
Tiny saplings emerged on the ridges,
bright needly tips shot up just in time to greet us.
On one side, thick brambles of conifers, aspens, huckleberry shoots, reeds.
A rocky soft hill descended steep down the other.
And up above this plateau with fresh open land for wandering,
ATV treads dug in from beyond
leading up to fire pits, fresh burnt logs, still smoldering.
Across the road, another peak raised giant.
Cars motored past in quick succession, short bursts of quiet between.
Anytime we leave the house
it doesn't seem like anyone else is isolating.
Traffic doesn't die.
Lycaenidae and Pieridae flutter by too,
black with orange wing tips, white with blue specks,
damselflies with translucent pixie wings.
I step up on a log, a stump, aged, cracked,
to see what's below the surface wood,
leveraging out the spaces under crevices,
wanting to hole up inside.
Of course the leaves. The wind moving leaves. The burble in my stomach.
Breeze. Breath. Smiles. Footsteps. A soft creak. A chair adjusts.
Sink into this spring evening, waving like a syncopated drum.
Songs of silence and motorways.
A little finch pours in her child's lullaby.
Feel whispers of hope in high waters.
A river gushes, rushing fast bubbles that wash willow tree trunks.
We're all spiraling together.
The flagpole squeaks. Motorcycle revs.
And yes the air currents through lavender bushes, through maple, oak, aspen.
Everywhere singing birds in their own notes and keys.
Some steady, slow, some quick, high pitched.
Everything green. Everything vibrating. Everything the river.
Years ago, the river at its high point closed the greenbelt,
so I took a different route home from teaching on my birthday, on my bicycle,
and Dr. Alluri ran into me in his night blue sedan.
I wear a helmet now when I ride.
I look all ways with more caution, more of my dad's fighter pilot sense behind eyes.
A wavering melody creeps in:
violins, ragtime accordions, silent film pianos unseen,
as though some invisible composer
designed a cinematic soundscape for this moment.
Across the way, thundering booms hard to distinguish.
The traffic stops and starts in spurts, but constant.
Kids yell in a tunnel.
I tell myself hush. Tell worries quell.
Some bicycles creak, their spokes sputter. Some run clean and flow.
Footsteps on brick, on concrete, on wood steps.
My dad wasn't always a great listener but he was quiet most the time.
He allowed space. Didn't interrupt. Didn't not talk over me.
He waited, that patience that boiled my organs
when I wanted something now.
A whistler soothes me with her lips.
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Process notes on a work in progress (me). This mostly contains raw rough content pulled out of practice notebooks. Occasional posts also invite you into the way I work, with intermittent notes on the hows and whys on the whats I make. Less often you may also find prompts and processes I've brought to workshops, as well as surveys that help me gather material for projects. Similar earlier posts from years ago can be found on: