24 May 2011

how to squander

Begin the day with an hour of Sudoku. An hour because after five minutes you realize you have made a mistake when the puzzle's remaining boxes cannot be filled because something is not right. You find that you inadvertantly scribe a 3 where a 1 ought to be, and it takes you twenty minutes to realize that's where the errors began, and another two minutes to convince yourself it's worth the effor to erase half the puzzle to fix your mistake, and another ten minutes to finish filling in the corrected puzzle, plus three minutes to find a replacement line of lead to restore your pencil to writing capacity. The extra twenty minutes for the break in the midst of all this to wonder why you keep doing Sudoku puzzles, and why you did not spend those wasted minutes writing a poem instead, or editing a poem, or addressing an envelope and filling it with poetry and sending it out into the world.

Spend the next few hours cleaning and packing your room. This could take you minutes, only you don't really want to pack your room. You're not used to seeing your books not there, and your bears not there, and after some time--maybe a few minutes, maybe i's been another hour--you realize you're not really packing because you've just been sitting there, missing things being where they ought to be, holding a doll you can't make yourself pack up because she belongs with you, in your arms, from infancy to eternity.

Shower.

Get dressed. This will take another half hour, simply because you don't really want to get dressed, because you know you're only putting on real clothes to uphold the illusion you have actual plans. You do have actual plans. You need to go to the bank. But you don't want to do these plans. You want a park, and a swingset, and a mild temperature.

Sit down to write a blog post about poetry. But begin thinking. Thinking of the fact that twenty-five years of your life have come and gone and you don't remember entirely where they went or how you spent them. You might try to ignore that feeling that if days were dollars you've thrown away a small fortune, but the thought nags, and comes out anyway, through your fingers. So you think instead of that doll, and the doll reminds you of a friend, and another friend, and a teacher somehow, and perhaps a year, and another, and months and days. You begin to feel better, wiser, richer-- then you glance at the time.

My, how it flies... 

17 May 2011

ovalizin

About five minutes ago, while posting a comment to a friend's blog, I had to submit a CAPTCHA word to verify I am not a robot. Frankly, I think CAPTCHAs vastly underestimate the intelligence of robots ... which are artificial intelligence beings; if "intelligence" is part of their description, I don't think we should discount that they might actually be intelligent. But for as much as I believe robots are clever, and capable of one day rising up and ripping us apart with their spindly little riveted fingers and laser beams, I think the CAPTCHA system is on to something. I can't count the number of times I've had something so close to a word I've had to stop and puzzle, Am I just reading this wrong?

For example ... ovalizin. I know it's so close to "ovalizing" it's not even funny ... so why? Why no "g?" Perhaps the robots that generated the CAPTCHA phrase were messing with the Grammar Police of the world, using the colloquial and slang jargon to throw them off their high horses. Or maybe--just maybe--it's the cleverest reinforcement of the Three Rules ever.

Think about it. What's something robots struggle with all the time? If you've ever used a computer, you know the answer: errors. Robots and other machines can't stand errors. So could a robot, even an internet bot, force itself to enter "ovalizin" and skip that vital "g?" Or would its head explode?

I like to believe its the latter. I also like to believe that an entire post not related to poetry, not related to the craft of constructing clever or witty or profound verse, a post written out of a desire to write but not out of a desire to write about anything particularly worthwhile or clever or witty or profound, can be worthwhile, or clever, or witty, or, yes, even profound.

... But probably not. 

10 May 2011

my secret success

My thesis is finally done. Done. DONE! (In case you didn't get that ... it's finished.) Well ... sort of. What?! You just emphasized that it's "done", like, a million times! Well, it's done to fulfill the requirements of my degree. It'll need a lot of editing and further fine-tuning, to take place over the Summer of Bliss, before anything more is done with it. Aha. Yeah, so, "done," but not done. Liar. Literalist.

All joking with my inner dialogue aside, it almost seems hard to believe that after one semester I've put together a "collection" of forty-two little babies that want to go screaming and wailing out into the world. Not the prettiest metaphor, but still pretty accurate. And I'd like to share the secret of my success. The trick to getting together forty-two screaming power drills that long to rush out into the world to burrow into your brain. Better? No, guess not. So here it is:
1. PROCESS
Putting together a thesis is serious stuff. But it's also a hot bed for a ride to Procrastination Station. Like, three hour long "breaks" to try and figure out what those numbers mean on LOST. And when you realize you have not 4, not 8, not 15, not 16, not 23, but FORTY-TWO poems in your thesis ... it's like a brain explosion.

2. WRITING
 No, I'm not ashamed to admit it. I had a crack team on it. They did an amazing jobs. Turns out, chimps at keyboards come up with sah-weet metaphors.

3. TIMING
My ultimate top secret secret? I actually failed my thesis three times. Because of time, man. Kept running out of it. Then I saw this:
And figured, hey, I can do that! And I could make it bigger! Dare I say, BETTER! And so I did ...
And if you don't believe me, here's proof. I went and spent an evening in Saint-Remy. It was captured in a painting:
Maybe you can't see me. Here's a close up:

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