Wednesday, December 29, 2010

DYP! base camp

The members of DYP! have been summoned for further training at the GibbsCorp Int'l corporate headquarters, which supersedes all external commitments for the greater good of the body politic. They will be dispersed back into the wider world at the soonest possible opportunity, once governing standards have been re-established and the revised mission statement submitted to the committee of the whole for final approval.

How I became a nun / César Aira
here: rain ; there: snow

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

confidential cables

Merry merry and all that. The annual holiday cards were squeezed into the season, a method of procrastinating from an over-scheduled and overwrought month.

Christmases past have produced cards that were high-effort and glamorous. This year the production focused on high-effort and dingy. Why not spend the same amount of time on fewer cards, and make those cards look care-worn and old?

This year represents eight or maybe nine years of holiday card production. Only the past six have been memorable, but the earlier efforts get points for enthusiasm. The most recent three were documented on DYP: the luminaria of 2009/10; origami cranes in 2008/09; and mobiles featuring the fifties family Gibbs in 2007/08.

It was actually a question of significant consideration whether the cards were going to be produced this year. Time was lacking and inspiration hadn't paid a visit, until it did, in the 'leaked diplomatic cables' released into the world. I love the idea of 'diplomatic cables', especially so-called even when they are just garden variety snarky emails. I love the predecessor, the 'diplomatic pouch.'

Originally, the cards were going to be diplomatic pouches. But that was too much effort. Researching cables -- telegrams -- though: that was fun and easy, and what better combination is there than fun and easy? And telegrams information proved plentiful in the research stage.

Research sites for telegrams: basic how to | pdf template | fonts

Then there was the envelope. Telegram envelopes are decidedly unexciting. The first thought was to use brown paper envelopes, which have a charm all their own, but then I discovered the British Postal Museum. Totally adorable. Wonderful pdf downloads.

While my anglophilia has paled to the point that sending actual British telegrams wasn't an attractive option, the lure of the Ocean Penny Postage Envelope:
"Britain! From thee the world expects an ocean penny postage to make her children one fraternity"
was too strong a lure to resist. And it roughly fit the artificial aging through using tea-dying theme.

And so all of the envelopes and telegrams were pdf'd, printed, tea-dyed, trimmed, folded, and posted. Stay warm and conquer the world!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

hair of the dog

She had come to the diner full of purpose and ambition, her head filled with the bright complementary colors of midcentury American paintings by Hopper, but she knew it was an act, a front, and she was too tired and too poor an actress to live up to her role in the painting. So she looked out the window onto the gray street filled with cars which all looked improbably alike and she thought of champagne and crepes and chocolate mousse and espresso and brandy, she thought of the glow of polished wood and the heft of china, she thought of strongly steeped tea on damp autumn afternoons, she thought of the longing she had felt to escape from a world of ketchup on scrambled eggs and artificial maple syrup for pancakes, she thought of rare steak and raw fish and then she smelled the homefries and the coleslaw and the hamburger from the next table over, and she knew she had no home, in either world, that she could claim neither the diner nor the private chef, and so she left a dollar and some change on the table and began to walk.

in prep for the upcoming season of familial contact, books on family psychology

twelve degrees. Really. Fahrenheit.
that's -11.111111111 Celsius, if you were wondering.
(It's 12 degrees C in Dallas.)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

ampersand variations

The Ligature Project : two publications with internal ampersand variations from recent studio work :
{An Exact Collection of Many Wonderful Prophesies | 1689}

From ligatures

{Cressener | A Demonstration of the First Principles of the Protestant Applications of the Apocalypse | 1690}
From ligatures

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Mid-December intermission.

The pond has a skimming of ice; snow tires appointments are made; humidifiers do their best; leaked cables are read; airline tickets are booked; and deadlines of all sorts are met.

Stay warm and check back next week.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


The headdress was heavy without being large, not covering the head as much as perching precariously on the crown, held in place by weight rather than any design to mold to the contours of the skull. There was a necklace as well, not so much a matching necklace as a thematically consistent necklace, whose beads and baubles and things which sure as hell looked like teeth hanging, draped, over my shoulders, and in one hand a wooden model of a hand, disturbingly lifelike, in the other a sharp carving of an animal, in bone or ivory, which my hand restlessly turned over and over, tracing the edges, physically uncomfortable holding a fake hand beneath the weight of a headdress and necklace.

In praise of shadows / Tanizaki

in years past, this storm storm storm would have all been snow :
that counts as a statement of optimism.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Zeffirelli's La Bohème was the first opera that I saw at the Met, once upon a time, a long, long time ago, when I was young and impressionable. My primary complaint was that a woman withering away from consumption should be, well, withering.

Today I realized an additional complaint, namely that no one with TB would have a lovely clear soprano voice. While this isn't TB, my voice is a pack a day jazz singer's growl. I'm smothered in Vick's (fully mentholated), downing codeine, sticking my feet in a mustard bath, and reading bad novels.

So, DYP! is on sick leave this week.

Next week, DYP! will be making pies.

Then we'll be back.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

dead pen office

The piano stayed in the apartment, far too much of a hassle for the landlord to move, and no one came to claim it. The apartment was rented to a young family, to two sisters of dubious profession and questionable genetic similarity, to a poetess who became quite famous for her communist views and habits of vandalism, to a school teacher, to a recently divorced chemist, to a dentist, and to a small arms dealer for third world countries. These tenants all kept themselves to themselves, except for the chemist who began an affair with the concierge a week after moving in, more out of habit than passion, and the two sisters, whose constant stream of visitors made them unpopular with the other residents and whose inability to ever pay the rent made them unpopular with the landlord. Over the following years, one infant was born (a boy, with a head full of dark hair), three plays were written, a dozen or so vaguely illegal military coup were organized, a cookbook full of recipes for the perfect omelet was researched and written, a still was operated, three marriages ended and two newlywed couples conceived their first children (both daughters, born elsewhere).

Meetings with Time / Carl Dennis

the only thing I dislike more than this time change -- is the other one.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

invisible shadow

The truth is, you began this correspondence under a misapprehension; you found my name and address on an envelope with the Christmas cards or penciled in an old address book, and you convinced yourself that you knew me, that you remembered me, although we have never met, never spoken, never had a relationship. We did not sit next to each other in third grade, we did not take driver's ed together, we did not work in the same office, we did not attend the same camp, church, or university.
The truth is that we are strangers, that the first letter you wrote was delivered to an address that no longer exists, that may never have existed, and, yes, I confess to you, here, in writing: I committed a federal offense and read a letter written to someone other than myself, and for four years, seven months, three weeks, and five days, I have allowed you the luxury of the fantasy of your nostalgia. You do not know who I am, you do not know where I am, you do not know how I am: in fact, you cannot be entirely certain as to my age, my gender, my values, my hobbies, my politics.

Fragile Things / Neil Gaiman

deep frosts

Monday, November 1, 2010

trapped in time

{Oct. 31, 10}

So simple, really, if only she could remember what it was that she was meant to be doing. It was no Herculean task that she had forgotten, but it was becoming harder and harder to grasp at the moment of intention and implement the thought into action. Once she had only to think a thing and it was as good as done: not merely simple things, like paying the electric bill or calling her mother or making a cup of tea, but more difficult tasks as well once use to almost complete themselves: writing annual reports, compiling financial audits, once even rebuilding a carburetor.

It had all been so effortless, but now she found herself standing in doorways not even certain if she was crossing the correct threshold for the task she had determined to accomplish. Sending a birthday card to her brother. Making an appointment for an oil change. Answering the phone. Picking up the dry cleaning. Defrosting the chicken. Opening a bottle of wine.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

lift the corner

{Oct 30, 10}

The wind picked up, died down, picked up again, unsettled as to whether to move the air from the east to the north or from the west to the south or to do nothing at all, a child started whining for a pacifier, for he was teething and couldn't identify the source of his anguish and did not yet have the words to express the deep agony of bone growth. The house shuddered into a more comfortable position, the framing and windows and foundation creaking in disparate moods of melancholy and exhaustion and anticipation, and outside the clouds obscured what would have been the thinnest crescent of a waxing newly born moon.


{Oct 29, 10}

The eyes are kind, the kindness of bearing responsibility for not merely brothers, sisters, parents, spouse, and children, but the kindness also of holding closely the responsibility for laborers, workmen, their families, and the corporation. It is a harsh kindness, a kindness born of knowing that indulgence is a curse rather than a benefit, that freedom can break hearts as well as bodies, and so a kindness kept under a cloak of uncompromising strictness of rules and expectations and demands which may be terse and curt and strongly worded for all that their intentions are sincere. Above the eyes are eyebrows that argue for prominence against the nose, the bushy effusive brows standing against onslaughts of wind, snow, sun, curses, and bad luck, not thinning with age but turning a bristly grey white.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


For enrollment as a character in the work of qualified writers

To expedite our consideration of your qualifications for the part, please respond as completely and as truthfully as discretion permits. Feel free to use additional sheets, attach supporting documentation, and/or solicit letters of recommendation from third parties.

Full name:
Mr. Smith, esq., but you can call me Bud.

Date of birth: 5/10/54. Taurus.
Where were you born? in the maternity ward. St. Paul's, Cleveland, OH

Any special circumstances or omens associated with your birth?
Yeah, you know, it was a pretty standard birth. Third kid so my mom knew the routine, contractions, water breaks, anesthesia, forceps, stitches. Unless you mean about the big old raven that followed the old Ford to the hospital, and roosted in the parking lot, or having a twin that they hadn't known about, on account of him not gestating properly and being still born. Kinda creepy, being crammed into a womb with a corpse all those months.

Father? Occupation.
War vet, Italian front, Mom war bride. Drifter, auto mechanic, short order cook, either died of alcohol poisoning or ran off with another woman in 1962, mom would never say which.

Calvino / Invisible Cities

foggy foggy rain drizzle and two minutes of light a day, gone, means an hour a month

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Her earlier books had posed almost no difficulty in the writing stage; "Pole-axed: A User's Guide to Mother-in-Laws" she had written while on a drinking binge with an old flame in an unheated cabin in the Adirondacks, and had shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list and stayed there for three glorious months, thankfully after the divorce so the earnings were not calculated in the settlement she received from her ex.
Her follow-up book, "From Capitalist Pigs to Pulled Pork: A Guide to the Politics and Barbecues of Dixie", had its film rights auctioned off before the first printing had appeared, and had been hailed as the "best Southern guidebook on the marker" (Wall Street Journal) and "a bracing introduction to the ways of the works" (New Orleans Picayune).

current studio work in the New York Times!!!

oh, it's cold. too cold.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

la familia

The clock chimed. The house was perfectly still.
One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten.

And then the chiming stopped. At the last stroke of the hour, there had been eleven tolls; no one was at home; the clock stayed quiet, withholding the final two bells.

What was wrong? She had been there, two days ago, in the family room, after dinner, after they had lit candles and said a prayer for grandmama in the hospital and for her brother fighting against the invaders, her father, tall, strong, had walked solemnly across the rug and wound the clock, as he did every Sunday evening without fail.

The Watermelon King / Daniel Wallace


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

nom de guerre

You go on and on and on about freedom of information, how information wants to be free, and, you know what? -- that's just bullshit. If freedom was the name of a dog, say a golden retriever, and, true to his name, all that dog wanted was to escape from the back yard and spend the afternoon chasing cars, you know, that dog would still be on the front doorstep come dinner time, ready for his kibble and to sleep on the bed. And don't try to tell me that information isn't just exactly the same: it may want to nose around the neighborhood, engage in some gentle flirtation, but, really, information knows where it belongs just like that dog does, and information really just wants to stay locked up nice and tight in the desk drawer. So you'll understand that your argument doesn't carry any weight, that I'm not at all obliged to explain it to you.

WSJ article: "A novel, to be compelling, has to have plot, dramatic incident and narrative momentum, but these are the very elements that are lacking in our daily lives, confused and messy as they are."

ugh. Oct.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

a ballad for September

We stayed in that ghastly pseudo-period piece for a good week, with its tepid showers and soggy toast and weak coffee and mattresses that seemed to be made out of straw that had been hauled in from ye olde barn in 1823, and during this week of programmed nuptial bliss we saw the Falls; we perambulated around the Falls; we boated through the Falls; we joined a geological tour group for a history of the Falls slideshow; we crossed a bridge over the Falls; we crossed the border and examined the Falls from a foreign identity; we attended movie showcasings of great moments of cinematic history filmed at the Falls; we listened to lectures about the Falls in the Guinness Book of World Records; and by the end of the week choosing between throwing myself or my beloved spouse over those goddammed Falls would have been too difficult a decision to make.

This Sunday! 4 pm! Neilson Library, Smith College!

Morning Edition : "[if you say:] 'Write something; write anything; you can write a story about anything you want,' they can't think of anything," says Hornby. "But if you say, 'Write a story about a crocodile, a pineapple and a stair lift in a hotel,' then it will spark something up."

alors, October!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

ire / wrath / anger / heat / madness / rage / fury

The first inhabitants of the village after the tsunami were the travelers, itinerants moving between here and there and somewhere else without ever quite feeling the anchor of settling, amorphous communities which may have three mayors one month and no mayors at all the following six months, groups of three families living in proximity for a time, to be joined by a wandering group of young women, the families eventually continuing onwards as the women remained in the village, another week, three months, moving on again in their turn.

Bill Bryson / A Short History of Nearly Everything

{sob} the last day of summer

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

it was there

It was heavier than a brown paper sack would normally be, much heavier, the density of the contents pushing against the seams and threatening to spill out of confinement if given the slightest provocation. Which would have been a problem for more reasons than one, if that had happened, but there were no sharp edges to break through and no damp objects to cause weak spots in the paper, so the chances were not great. Still, it was much safer to hold the bag from the bottom rather than just grasping the folded-over top, and it was hard to not look suspicious carrying a small brown paper sack with its weight supported by the palm of the hand, or, worse, cradled in the crook of the elbow and held against the body: far too obvious, when the entire goal was to be so trivial, so innocuous, as to disappear.

a novel with a lovely title and far too many metaphors and similes

forty??? really??? already???

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

in a tent

Inside, inside is a sleeping bag that isn't really warm on top of ground that isn't really forgiving, next to the snores of companions who seem to find this sort of thing energizing and deeply spiritually fulfilling. Inside is a reminder that some people blossom under the strangest and most hostile conditions; inside is a pile of dirt encrusted camping clothes and various bottles of bug spray.
Outside is another rustle in the shrubs, closer this time, close enough to jiggle the corner of the tent a bit. There are ventilation windows made of mesh along the base, and if there were a moon it might reveal at least the silhouette of a chipmunk or a fox or a bear or a murderous escaped prisoner, and if the flashlight had more of a charge and I was less afraid of disturbing the ramblings of a bear and / or aggressive stranger and waking up those goddamned snorers in the process, and if I at least had a baseball bat or a pistol rather than the underwhelming flash of a sleek new camera, then all this would simply be local color, the charm and majesty of the great outdoors, rather than the least comfortable way to possibly spend several thousand dollars.

suddenly, a plethora of work, as commitments resume /// thus, no books

a box of utility peaches and a farewell to summer

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Oct. 3 : A Gallery of Readers

Save the date, if you know what's good for you. Apple pie and all that.

A Gallery of Readers
Marc Berman & Stephanie Gibbs
Sunday, October 3, 2010
4 p.m.
Neilson Library, Smith College

Nox / Anne Carson
autumnal apples

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Oh, damn, I'm so sorry. I know I promised to walk your dog for you, that you were going away for the weekend with that new infatuation you contracted although if you ask me the infatuation is more delusional than anything else, and rather than put your high strung mutt in a kennel I was going to be friendly and neighborly and walk your dog several times a day. Couldn't be easier, you said. She's a low key affectionate sweetheart, you said. She is totally well behaved on the leash, you said. But the problem is that your self knowledge about your dog ranks right up there with your ability to judge potential romantic partners, and that dog threw such a fit when I tried to open the door that I just gave up and went back home, there was a game on and then it just seemed like too much trauma for the dog to interrupt it over the weekend, when it would be sleeping on the couch or whatever, and it just seemed best to wait for you to return.

omigod omigod omigod: there's actually a medical condition for this? I honestly thought I was just really, really flakey about people.

remembering the hot=summer, so hot=not depressed.

Kept Charlie. Using pheromones and psychotropics.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Here's the OpRep for the month:

designed and sent to the printers:
A Gallery of Readers
Twentieth Anniversary Anthology
Woohoo! Pre-order yours today!

a reading with poet Marc Berman,
Sunday, October 3, 2010
4 p.m.
Neilson Library Browsing Room
Smith College

intuitive printmaking at Zea Mays


Hypothesis {twenty questions}

Epic: West



Conclusions {sections: what is the truth . . . }

the ledger found in Holyoke last summer
from the workshop (resolution on images may not be great)

Orlando / Virginia Woolf
Pride and Prejudice / Jane Austen

the bittersweet departure of summer
children go to school, Charlie goes to Cambridge

Thursday, August 5, 2010

no action is needed

DYP! is up a mountain, and will return with the approach of Labor Day.

Lemonade to all!

Circus techniques / by Hovey Burgess ; with photos. by Judy Burgess.

a smidgen too humid, but perfect for naps

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

rehearsing the big confession

So where was I? Yeah, I was ordering coffee, and I went with the rancid Ethiopian, so I was adding some of that sugar that's brown so it's, what?, better for the environment or something?, to improve the burnt rubber aftertaste and then this lady comes in, and, you know, she's one of those. You know the types. Big hair, big purse, big SUV, big sunglasses. Big rock on her left hand. Tight jeans that a woman her age may be able to wear but really shouldn't, and she couldn't make up her god damned mind.

the August reading list is still in the compilation stage

less than 48 hours until arrival elsewhere

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


He will make it as far as Colorado Springs, where a weary conductor will read him the riot act about trespassing and threaten a lot of bullshit about the repercussions of transporting minors across state lines, threaten to telephone child services and the governor, then look the other way while the kid escapes and scrambles to hitchhike across the final stretch of the Rockies. The conductor had hitchhiked for a week and a half himself, back when he was twenty four and just out of the Army and returning to his sweetheart in Oklahoma, and now they had two sons and were a part of the clockwork of their community, so he wasn't worried about the fate of the traveler, who was picked up by a high school youth group on their way to a revival camp in the mountains, in a chartered bus with a driver who may have been on substances expressly forbidden to members of God's flock.

messages of hope and cheer and joy and love

sunflowers, a tornado warning, a tornado drill, a lightening storm

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

liberté &c

It is often reported that, deep in the woods, lurks a being so foreign and so forlorn, so passed over by evolution and by civilization, that all it can do is shake its shaggy head and bellow, bellow at the unfairness of the universe to pass it by and leave it alone in the woods struggling to communicate with beings of too fragile a construction, too rapid a lifespan to ever be peers or companions.

ceci et cela

c'est Juillet: anniversaires partout

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

with thanks to 1925

Then my memories just start disappearing. I remember the tastes of burnt coffee and warm beer, the scent of a roasting hog and the sound of the lawn mower, but I couldn't tell you if I live in a house or in an apartment, whether or not I'm married, whether or not I have kids, or what state I live in. If my arms didn't hurt quite so badly (and I'm beginning to suspect my wrists just might be tied together) then I'd reach into my back pocket for my wallet and verify these particulars with a glance at my driver's license and business card. Come to think of it, my legs might be tied together, too, and back in elementary school I was always the losing team of the three legged race, so even if I could stand up I probably wouldn't be going anywhere, if I knew where I was, or where I might want to be headed.

"I've been drunk for about a week now, and I thought it might sober me up to sit in a library. -- The Great Gatsby / Fitzgerald

is there any greater summer joy than a knotted rope, a riverside, a leap into the cold depths?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

jardin anglais

They were out for a walk in the park that Sunday afternoon, as they tried to walk in the park every Sunday afternoon, weather fair or fowl. Today they wore their splendid Sunday best, prepared for not only the walk in the park, but also for the luncheon and the afternoon tea and the quiet beat of late afternoon before cocktails are served. Their hats were garlanded with roses, their skirts rustled, they exuded the scent of peonies, as all around the gardens they strolled, waiting patiently to feed the ducks or admire a newly planted bed or watch children or the civilized variety float boats or children of the urchin variety turn cartwheels or immaculate poodles delicately prance along the clipped lanes, all the time filled with the chatter chatter chatter of women of many opinions and few fears.


clear nights of June

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Perhaps the door led to a wall mounted ladder, leading up between the walls of the house to the roof, another hatch, and suddenly: freedom, the night air, stars overhead, and tree branches and fences and the roofs of storage sheds close by leading to an escape from bedtimes and curfews and instead offering access to everything, every house, every street, every neighborhood after dark. Nights of clambering up and down trees, nights of dancing in alleyways, nights of singing, nights of rambling across and among and beyond the citizens of the parallel world of after dark, people whose eyelids have glitter, whose shoes have heels, whose footsteps have rhythm, whose voices have a deep, smokey, half whispered quality, their slang a language all its own.

Scientific American Book of Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions [vol. 1] / Martin Gardner

the livin' is easy / fish are jumpin' / and the cotton is high

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

a bonny Bloomsday

Week II of early summer interlude. Regular schedules resume next week; all interim correspondence has been of the nature of righteous indignation towards government institutions, which will not be reprinted here.

I should be reading Joyce. A close second: the amazing "Dada in Paris." Best purchase in years.

In honor of, Irish, to the core. Looking for an antique umbrella recovering service.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Spending a research evening rather than a writing evening.

as before, with the addition of a vodka tonic and Trio Mediaeval's Folk Songs

very British, in celebration of which, meatloaf

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Möbius strips of verbiage

Ah, June, deadlines met with procrastinations met with vacation plans met with trapeze lessons. Moving, traveling, traversing, and fighting against the rain. The beginning of the month transposed to the end of the month, with the odd birthday here and there thrown in to keep things off kilter.

This month's project, thanks to late-night Economist reading (obituary: Martin Gardner)
is all about making multi-dimensional geometric forms ("a conjuror introduced him to the hexaflexagon, a piece of paper folded into an almost flat six-sided shape that could be manipulated to reveal a series of different interiors") : a four dimensional Möbius strip!

Ah, Google. Ah, mathematicians. The free exchange of knowledge brought gloriously to life. The following were made using the first search results for "hexaflexagon," a paper pattern which I interpreted as being 7 one-inch sections, with 1 inch bases, and a youtube video, which provided the multi-dimensional context for doing what when and where.

Some notes. I used double sided tape and copier paper. My glue stick, as ever, was dried out and didn't stick. The copier paper was not a color I would normally have chosen, but it was in the art drawer. These are rough drafts of projects that will receive more attention throughout the summer, so bear with the wonky folds and questionable text layouts. Other search terms to become acquainted with:

The text of "Places" is from DYP! June 2; what I love about this form is that multiple story-lines without beginning or end can be played against each other, and this piece was in the parallel plot department.

The second piece, "Artist's Conscience," came from two separate conversations, one on the need to develop an artistic conscience ("get work done now!") and one on having a truculent routine, in that my daily routine must be shy or have other issues, since it often can't be found. Is it hiding under the couch? Sulking in the closet?

But "truculent" wasn't exactly the word that we used in our conversation. I can't remember the word, and hoped consulting a thesaurus would trigger the neurons. It didn't, but here's the text of "Conscience":

{with all due thanks to the Mac dictionary application)

antonym cooperative, amiable.
defiant, aggressive, antagonistic, combative,
belligerent, pugnacious, confrontational, ready for a fight,
obstreperous, argumentative, quarrelsome, uncooperative;
bad-tempered, ornery, short-tempered, cross,
snappish, cranky; feisty, spoiling for a fight.

antonym cooperative.
intransigent, resistant, obstinate,
uncooperative, noncompliant, recalcitrant;
obstreperous, truculent, dissenting,
disobedient, insubordinate, subversive,
rebellious, mutinous, feisty.

antonym compliant.
uncompromising, inflexible, unbending,
unyielding, diehard, unshakable, unwavering,
resolute, rigid, unaccommodating,
uncooperative, stubborn, obstinate, obdurate,
pigheaded, single-minded, iron-willed, stiff-necked.

antonym flexible.
inflexible, unbending, unyielding, unshakable,
resolute, rigid, hard-line, immovable, intractable,
inexorable, firm, determined, obstinate,
stubborn, adamant, obdurate, intransigent, headstrong,
stiff-necked, pigheaded, single-minded, bloody-minded.


As soon
Seek roses in December, ice in June;
Hope constancy in wind, or corn in chaff;
Believe a woman or an epitaph,
Or any other thing that ’s false, before
You trust in critics.

George Gordon, Lord Byron

Dada in Paris / Michel Sanouillet

The Posthuman Dada Guide: tzara and lenin play chess / Andrei Codrescu

Bauhaus 1919-1933 : workshops for modernity / [organized by] Barry Bergdoll, Leah Dickerman.

Big ideas for growing mathematicians : exploring elementary math with 20 ready-to-go activities

Mathematics appreciation : ten complete enrichment lessons / Theoni Pappas

Hexaflexagons and other mathematical diversions : the first Scientific American book of puzzles

Polyhedron models / Magnus J. Wenninger

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


An old, old man, so old he has lost count of how old he actually is, and when doctors or people from social services ask, he just makes up something that sounds plausible. 98. 102. Ninety eight is good, that's body temperature. One hundred two might be more accurate, though. He is no longer concerned about such matters. His wife died twenty years ago, hit by a drunk driver on her way back from the grocery store on a holiday weekend; they had married just as young as possible, childhood sweethearts, and he found himself confused by so much that remained unfinished. He had learnt about laundry and cooking when he retired, and she took up stained glass and watercolor painting and the house was filled with her half finished projects. Some of them he tried to complete, before shrugging at the futility of it all and returning to the crossword. He had never lived alone, found the silence eerie, began playing the harmonica a bit just to add some noise to the place. His houseplants flourished and a stray cat in the neighborhood adopted him.

Drink Your Pudding! guest blogs internationally for Notes from a Cartwheel!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010


As much of it as I can remember, at any rate, and this is going back a ways, back before I really got good at remembering and mostly practiced forgetting, and as much of it as can be revealed without causing potential law suits to be given a mistrial and a de facto charge of perjury, and as much as is really necessary to answer your question, but not too much more, because over-sharing on an event like this could ruin our entire relationship, which is on pretty unsettled ground, anyway, with me not knowing you that well and you being rather eager to go off and follow, what?, your instincts or your ambitions or your vocation or the voices in your head, but besides these rather minor digressions and concerns and considerations, yes, of course I'll tell you the whole thing.

Trying to read Mauve Desert, by Nicole Brossard, but the problem with reading meta-fiction, especially before bed, is that it doesn't make any sense. And even though I write a fair bit of it, I'm the first person to admit that meta-fiction is actually much more fun to write than to read.

sundresses sandals straw hats

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Recipe for Work

The mix contains equal parts of the dreams of the very young, the ambitions of the adolescent, the quirks of fate, acts of god, perspiration, inspiration, dumb luck, self control, and self aggrandizement. Small but not undetectable amounts of delusion, perseverance, ready sources of cash, true love, well timed exits, reliable transportation, and quick thinking are necessary, but not in prescribed doses. The facility where all of the above is processed also processes dairy, wheat, eggs, peanuts, misconceptions, mistranslations, crashed hard drives, stolen glances, squeaky shoes, flat tires, lost notebooks, broken windows, soggy newspapers, bad haircuts, and missing shoelaces. Please be aware that the Food and Drug Administration had not tested, approved, or verified any of the claims made herein, whose risk lies wholly with the consumer.

sleeping. sleep sleep sleep

They promise spring. I hope they deliver.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


The cab reached the office tower, settled with the falsely optimistic once upon a middle manager, slid into the stream of cars heading north. The vendor on the corner didn't notice the middle aged man in a suit, a shadowy duplication of millions of middle aged men in suits, nor did he notice the cab, one of an army of cabs that patrolled the city. He served hot dogs and made change, and it was his first week as a hot dog vendor after years of selling pretzels, and he doubted the wisdom of his move. Hot dog customers were a finicky lot, wanting their mustard relish onion cheese just so, asking difficult questions about the meat: was it all beef? was it kosher? How the hell was he supposed to know? It was HOT DOG. What was kosher, any way, and if they cared so much, maybe they should start their own stand. And the pricing system he kept forgetting.

dipping into Aliens in the Prime of their Lives
bittersweet sunlight of departure

Saturday, May 15, 2010

a freshly washed day

On the river are small boys in neatly pressed sailor suits, their folded boats grasped proudly in one hand and their mother's aunts governess's, sometimes father's, grasped tightly in the other. The fathers stand, erect, uncomfortable, all too aware of their own childhood expeditions with nannies and paper boats that inevitably ended with running too close to the shore and slipping on a patch of mud and falling into the river, the shock of cold wet water and the surge of fear followed by the scolding of the nanny and the quick harsh look of disappointment in their father's eyes when they returned home, crisp sailor suit now covered in mud and disgraced beyond civil recognition, outward faults obliterated by hot baths and laundry soap, but the momentary scorn of failed expectations branded into memory.

"Human character ever more publishes itself. The most fugitive deed and word, the mere air of doing a thing, the intimated purpose, expresses character. If you act you show character; if you sit still, if you sleep, you show it."
Emerson -- Spiritual Laws
sun --> food --> sauna --> sleep --> sun --> yoga --> food --> sleep

habits of being

{May 14, 10}

The weekend began with six shoes, none of them pairs, lying underneath a pile of newspapers from thirty years ago bought en mass from a library book sale and intended to be turned into an entire flotilla of origami boats which would be filled with fortunes written in green crayon on slips of paper and then set alight with a kitchen match, the strike anywhere kind, and floated down the river as a pageant welcoming the arrival and promise of spring, and beside this unkempt stack of mismatched shoes and brittle yellow newspapers full of out of date stories of local interest was a paperback novel of no overwhelming interest cracked open upside down to the first page of chapter twelve, at which point the author had either had a drink too many or his wife had walked out of his life leaving behind nothing more than a half gallon of quietly souring milk and

Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes

a rainbow and its shadow over the hills!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


By the age of fifteen, she had excelled equally in lace making, surgery, archaeological exploration, enameling, watercolor painting, race car driving; held the world record in error free words per minute typing and had performed at Carnegie Hall; was in therapy for addiction to video games and an artist of great renowned in extreme origami, and could make ice sculptures resemble any animal described or depicted. She drew illuminated manuscripts that were commissioned by the Vatican, and a rumor of her attendance of any event was sufficient to double fundraising levels.

still ploughing through Kafka on the Shore, every so often referencing the front flap copy that reads "this book has a happy ending."

well, it was spring; really, it was!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

scales and arpeggios

The epitome of grace, agility, and beauty: the skiing Adagio Trio performs daily at Florida's Cypress Gardens.

They weren't always the Adagio Trio; they had started as the Largo Quartet, performing dances of grave gracefulness on the still waters, synchronized swimmers in the deep. They had trained with French mimes and with American dance companies and with the Canadian circus and at a musical academy in Austria, and each member of the Largo Quartet brought a sense of deep grounding and meaning to their performances, their interpretations of classical forms of movement hailed as nothing short of revolutionary, ground breaking, genre shattering, inspired, and challenging.

For a time the art world was abuzz with the output of this talented and intense foursome, and they became the darlings of a media desperate for sexy young things pushing boundaries in performance art. Each member of the Largo Quartet rotated through each of the character roles in each of the pieces, but as performances were improvisational events bearing the individualistic stamp of the intellect and the body and the passion of the specific performers, it was not so much that each member of the Quartet played the assigned role: more that they filtered through their core of being an impression of the suggested character, and let loose this entirely new presentation.

Kafka on the shore, Haruki Murakami

oh! warmth!

Monday, May 3, 2010

May Day! May Day!

After waking up on May Day with a champagne hangover (always the best sort to have), the calendar began to click along, declaring spring, socialism, and book arts!

(Don't forget the upcoming afternoon of mustaches, martinis, bocce, & lilacs | Sunday : May 9, 2010 : 2 p.m.)

This month's artist's book group will take our percolating ideas, and serve them out in coffee cups!

This month's announcement (thanks, Meredith!)
Is it possible that it's May already? And today even felt like August! Time has flown right up to the next meeting for our Artists' Book group.
I look forward to seeing you this Thursday evening! Come at 6:30 for an easy potluck (last time we had plenty of food, so don't worry if you don't have time to make/buy anything--come anyway), or at 7:00 to turn the conversation to books. Bring whatever you've got, whether a vague notion or a project in process.

In my studio the projects are all based on words, words, words, quite literally, as everything that is in for both repair and for alteration is a dictionary, or a book about a dictionary. The Johnson's Project is finally nearing something resembling completion, and the set book for the upcoming GBW competition is that of my friend and mentor: so I'll be doing a test binding on a printing of the first edition, then the final binding on the GBW copies. Words indeed!

Rapt : attention and the focused life / Winifred Gallagher
up to a six mile jog! now to get the miles up to ten and the time under seven. and to no longer be terrified of the bicycle.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Inventory of the Contents

Into the upper safe deposit box, he placed a yellow rubber duckie and a pair of black leather cashmere lined gloves, and from the lower box he extracted a quarter of a million dollars in cash, three loose square cut emeralds, a small velvet bag containing 27 carats of cut diamonds, a key to a safe deposit box to a bank in a completely different region, an envelope of negatives depicting a very important person in a very compromising position, a bag of an opiate based narcotic, and a small pistol.

actually, having Neil Gaiman read to me. lovely.

piles of tones of gray temper the skies, the seductive scent of lilacs, a glowering full moon through the mists of clouds, and ugh! the final (!) week of dreary cold

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Where's the magic?
The magic is under a rock amid the moss next to a tree growing alone in a field where during the rainy season there is a stream and during the migratory season a constantly shifting scene of ducks and geese and always clouds, wind, sky, sun, stars.

The magic is in an unmarked box in the basement stacked in a corner by the water heater next to the abandoned armchair with broken springs and not visible from the cellar steps.

The magic is woven into the rug in the living room, the threadbare Oriental rug with an unfortunate wine stain and a corner which was gnawed off by a puppy years ago.

The magic is in this envelope with the creaky handwriting and the 5 cent stamp addressed to someone who may or may not have been a great aunt.

The magic is here, in my hand, and I give it to you, freely, without expectation.

reading. hrmm. that would be books, magazines, newspapers, or electronic articles. those things. I left them somewhere, just over ... hrmm ... here? maybe? there?

ah, forsythia. ah, daffodils. ah, tulips. ah, dandelions. ah, violets. ah, bleeding heart. o! spring!

Monday, April 19, 2010

vernal advents

Babs de Genlis and Pippi Aubergine
implore the pleasure of your company
for an afternoon of
mustaches, martinis, bocce, & lilacs

Sunday : May 9, 2010 : 2 p.m.
Arnold Arboretum

martinis, mustaches, lilacs, and bocce provided
please bring guests and something frivolous to eat and/or play

Babs de Genlis
Pippi Aubergine

Also, May 6 : artist's book group meets! 6.30pm for 7pm

all the trees in bloom

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The To Do List

The overhanging trees cast a murky shadowy dusk that hides more than true nightfall, none of the houses have numbers, and what people can be glimpsed offer only impassive sideways looks of mistrust, bad pasts, lost narratives. There, ahead, partially hidden by an over exuberant rhododendron, a lone red balloon and a stiletto spray painted in glow in the dark paint: a final right turn before the directions can be consigned to the glove box, the baking chocolate and whole chickens and lettuce and berries moved into the kitchen, the board games added to the assortment on the coffee table, the pin the tail on the donkey tacked to the wall by the fireplace, and greetings all around and dive into the hammock with a chapbook of poetry just released and a martini freshly shaken, ice-cold, for the final twelve minutes of daylight before dusk fully descends, and brings with it the future.

my new favorite book: Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess : Instructions

magnolias in bloom! daffodils in bloom! this horrible terrible no good very bad dreadful lingering cold in retreat

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

après l'école {a DYP! production}

The other puppets, led by The Count, decided to kidnap the marionette and tie her to the railroad tracks, which was accomplished by wrapping the ever-tangled cords of the puppet around the broomstick, and then enlisting the alligator as freight train. As the music cued up for the theme song of the Lone Ranger, the monkey puppet reappeared, a silver star pinned to its chest, and the rest of the puppets bounced above the curtain rod, demonstrating their best galloping without a horse as part of the sheriff’s posse. The crocodile was thrown headlong into the crowd, the marionette and the monkey embraced, and the music cued to It’s A Small World, as all the puppets were thrown into the air.

The Infinities, under the influence of opiates (hooray for codeine)

crickets, sunset, clotheslines, and seersucker

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Two years into being the urban anti-commuters, and they had formed betting pools on everything from the final four to the Oscars to the World Series to the elections, commissioned matching t-shirts screenprinted with the outline of the old Volvo, and were forming a weekend brunch rotation when the expected happened, and the car was impounded by the police for possession, as it had been making the weekend run up to the border to supply organic pot to the city's demanding clientele. With a group suddenly bereft of sole car and driver, they gazed forlornly over their brown bag lunches and tried to hatch an alternative transportation plan, then decided to instead tender their resignations en masse and find work which didn't require a commute using a car.

Dear mustachioed junior captain, stay well and happy.
A. Chekov
{to Ivan Leotyev 3/22/1890}

ducks then picnics

{photo credit K.G.G.}