after the storytelling

a woman came up and told me how much she liked my story

i said thank you

she said she wouldn't have liked it if i wasn't such an odd person

and i believed her


Art School Teacher: Class Announcement

This week we finished our first bound book, a simple Japanese stitch. Everyone including me felt a bit awkward working with the needle and thread. Except Huachewh! We didn't have quite the right tools, which is my fault, I'm learning right along with you. And that's NOT something to be embarrassed about. That's just the learning process. How about this for homework: How about remaking the bond book. Now that you've done the process once, see what happens when you try it again. Maybe think of what kinds of things you want on your pages. Visualize that. And then start. And see what happens. Our next book will be a free choice micro-biography. Think of someone whose work you admire. It could be someone you know personally, or someone long dead. Do some investigation. A micro-biography reveals a few poignant details which illuminate a person's full character. So don't worry about the whole story. Really, all you need to know about Flannery O'Connor is that she raised peacocks. Search for the most interesting details. My favorite source is wikipedia. And browsing the nonfiction stacks at the library. So, make a second bound book, and think about who you want to make a micro-biography about. Feel free to post an observation about class.

sumo book made by Elyse Mische
Check out what Elyse is up to in Lubbock, Texas!


oh dears

i know there's been an endless amount written about this topic already
but have there ever been any satisfactory answers?

can the central dilemma be solved with something as simple as 
a change of perspective, a missive, a bone?

how much help can it be, sitting here breathing?

and if i choose to write about it, to fill these notebooks with this topic
will that solve anything or just make it that much more complicated?

maybe that's the point.

how to understand that my arm is not mine?
how to understand impermanence when i feel so permanent?


river poem #3

a river is a
a pinafore
an accord between
now and then
a mess of well stones
pouring forth
from mitochondria
and springs
the life force
the circulation
of ideas

the high tide brings
the sturgeon upstream
where we marvel
at our own
a river
a life
always moving
and yet always
at home


river poem #2

where is the river
if the river has no edge?

can a being be a river
can a being have an edge?

where is the line between
water and mud?

wing and air
wave and root?

what is the
definitive truth?

can you see me
when i disappear?

can you feel the
current when it’s calm?

when the river
churns and bellows

when the swallows
flutter at dawn?

is it true
is it true?

have the pelicans
moved on?


On the Long Prairie Highway

tad neuhaus, guitar
joanna dane, vocals and flute

it is gone through the city
late to the broken evening
dreaming of 6 bells chiming
on the long prairie highway
the past looming larger
then every scrap beside you
i never know to never wander
in the long mountains
among pastures in the doorway of heaven scent
over the long vast breath

on the magic carpet ride
finding me turning around turning round
breathing in and out
inside of you
never never wonder
why is love how
it has to be
beside you baby oh i
wonder never wander
inside beside child of high sky wide
i’ll be back
back inside
child child child child child
oh my my beautiful child

never never never never never
never wonder why
why love is how it has to be
why it has to be
baby please
never never never never never
wonder why love is how it has to be
beside you baby
oh i wander
never wonder
beside child of high sky why
i’ll be back back inside
i’ll be back back back back back
i’ll be back back back
i’ll be back inside


river poem #1

about rivers
mostly what i know
is imaginary
inventions of mind

mostly what i know
about rivers
is right on the surface
the wild mix of color
and ever changing
sky and willow
wave and hollow

rereading Siddhartha
it’s quite astonishing
to catch a glimpse
of the essence
of the vastness
but mostly
the river of thought
takes over
drowning out
the river at my feet


River Memories

When I was a child, there was a grand river nearby
on the far side of downtown behind warehouses and train yards 
and fields of junk and thistle.

We only saw the river if we drove the bridge to Iowa 
or hiked through Fontenelle Forest.  The Missouri flowed fast and brown.

We threw rocks we collected from the train bed,
our reward for hiking.  Sometimes a tree limb floated by.

Mostly what I know about rivers comes from books, from Mark Twain
and John Hersey, Edward Abbey, Annie Dillard, Rumer Godden, V.S. Naipaul.

I lived at the mouth of a river once, during the months I worked in Livingston, Guatemala 
where every few days I'd slip into a kayak and roll upriver to explore jungle creeks.

And when I got to missing Andrew, I'd hop a boat
that motored up the gorge to Rio Dulce where I'd catch the bus back to El Estor.


Art School Teacher: Book Making Class, An Encounter with Man Ray

Assignment #2 - Make an Accordion Book 
(using an image from assignment #1's ABC book)


I overhear Britta talking about Man Ray
and ask
"The Dada artist?"
and she says
"No, the stingray.  From Sponge Bob."

I remember once writing something about Man Ray the artist
so I search and find the post
and think to use it to make an accordion book
since I haven't yet done assignment #1
so have no ABC book from which to fish for images.

M is for Man Ray!

How to start?  
How about with some old scraps
like the remains of those acrylics on watercolor paper
painted when the kids were babies?
How about cropping to fit the envelopes Strathmore gave away at the park this summer?
How about making two line drawings of Man Ray to add to the two I already drew of Lee Miller?
And needing one more to make an odd number
why not a drawing of an assemblage Man Ray called "self-portrait"? 

Scan, print, trim.

With my nondominant hand
I write the words for the portraits on other cards
planning to glue them together
(a little trick one learns)
making the cards more durable and
decreasing the possibility of ruining what I've already made. 

But something isn't right.

The white against white?

I paint a border on the back of each portrait. 

Still not right.

So I rewrite the words in black ink.

Again, no good.

What is right is the brown painting 
I'm planning on using 
as the strip to join the envelopes together.

What is right is the thin refined line of the portraits.

Why not machine print the text and then trim
making rectangular compositions on the brown painting?

Much better!

This process lasts all week
working on it for an hour or two at a time 
taking a break when the Mod Podge needs to dry

learning once again
that the art is in the process
folding the paper
for example
before gluing on the envelopes

or making the title page last
or knowing to follow your instincts
until you sense it's right.

near the end
I screw up
accidentally gluing the envelopes closed
when attaching them to the brown paper. 
I pry them open with a knife
but it looks like crap.

I don't panic 
realizing there's another pack of envelopes
which I glue right onto the first
this time making sure to not seal them shut
though what I should have used
was two-sided tape
which doesn't leave wavy marks.

But my kids devour two-sided tape so I never have it when I want it.

And I'm not patient enough to wait until I get it

being eager to add a string and. . . . voila!



where do you noodle?

noodle: to think about something in a way that is not very serious

where do you noodle
after a long doodle
dabbling all along the way?

with a pocket full of waggle
and a snuggle in a rocket
while we noodle with the littles

along the Old Tucson trail
where i sometimes dream

i'm noodling
the mariachis 
playing the blues

and the sun shines
blindingly bright

try as i might
i can only 

noodle with my doodle
if i dabble while i noodle

noodle i while dabble i if
doodle my with noodle

only can i
might i as try

bright blindingly
shines sun the and

blues the playing 
mariachis the
noodling am i

dream sometimes i where
trail Tucson Old the along

littles the with noodle we while
rocket in a snuggle and a
waggle of full pocket a with

way the along all dabbling
doodle long a while
noodle you do where


Opinion Poll

Why do we modify opinion with "my", when our opinions are never our own?

Because isn't every opinion formed by things that don't really belong to us: language, culture, class, governance, genes, wealth, poverty, family, health, allegiances, prejudices?

And isn't it true that opinions can change with a song, a commercial, a kind word, a strong conviction, a strange smell?

Don't our opinions of others speak louder about ourselves than of those we speak about?


do you doodle?

doodle: to draw something without thinking about what you are drawing

do you doodle with a brush or a pencil?

a noodle or a strudel?

do you dream of your doodles on the walls of the Pompidou?

or imagine a passerby noticing your doodle and exclaiming,

"that's the most fantastic doodle I have ever seen!"

is a doodle a dabble or a dabble a doodle?

is there such a thing as a doodle that's a drawing?

a noodle that's a novel?

a dabble that's a song?

do you doodle in the dictionary, the phone book, the funnies?

or do you doodle on the table top with ball point pen and honey?

do you doodle while talking, while walking, while sexting?

do you doodle while out on a noodle?


do you dabble?

dabble:  to take part in an activity in a way that is not serious

do you dabble
with your rattle
shaking here
shimmying there
about imagining
for a living?

do you dabble
undermining the battle
of determining good from bad?

would you rather

5 + 4 = ?


9 = ?

do you allow
people to fail
or fail to discover
what it is
to dabble a
seriously unserious

do you dabble
with a paddle
and a craw
and a crook?
how do you assess
a dabble
when dabbling
was all
it took?