I didn’t have access to Friday Five prompts when I felt like answering them today, so I started my own set: What (if anything) have you had on your walls, as a kid and now? But then I wrote until I had five parts of an answer to this one question, so I’m doing it wrong, oh well!
In my head, Girl With a Hoop’s name was Louisa and she wasn’t that nice– a bit stuck-up when we talked. I never spoke to Girl With a Watering Can.
Oh wait, they’re not all about condiments. Still,
What is your favorite condiment?
Are pickles a condiment? I like pickles. I like pickle relish. On a hot dog I like yellow mustard, ketchup, and pickle relish.
Sour cream is also a great condiment.
What is your favorite spice?
Perhaps cumin, it’s so versatile. Although life without cinnamon is hard to imagine. But “favorite” is different from “hard to imagine life without it.”
I like the incursions smoked paprika has been making.
If herbs count, I’m excited about dill lately and have a dill plant out back in a flowerpot. I don’t know if it will get enough sun though.
What is your favorite cooking oil? (Canola oil, sesame oil, butter, etc)
I like butter. I also appreciate dishes with bacon where the bacon fat is used to cook other stuff in the dish.
What is your favorite starchy food? (Bread, rice, potatoes, noodles, etc)
Noodles! And crackers if those count. Noodles and crackers will get me through a lot.
What is your favorite flavor for candy?
Chocolate and mint together, maybe? I’m thinking Junior Mints. I also like licorice (including salted), pseudo-licorice like Red Vines, and candies involving peanut butter.
Five things you’ll find in my
Five things you’ll find in my room:
Five of my favorite things:
Five things I’m currently into:
Five things on my to-do list:
Would you rather shop or sunbathe?
Sunbathe, but there must be short duration or ample shade, because I burn easily.
I am surprisingly fond of shopping online, and do it for Sanguinity sometimes. Most recently, workout capris from SparkleSkirts— love their stuff.
Would you rather dance or sing?
Sing, probably. You can do other stuff while singing. And in public I’m probably less self-conscious singing than dancing. And I like the vibrations of singing.
Would you rather watch college football or watch NFL?
Um. Is it like basketball where college ball has more evident defense? I don’t watch much football, just study up on the Broncos a bit if I’m going to be visiting my folks, so I can follow the chitchat among my relatives. The moneyed interests and policies in both the NCAA and NFL may be incompatible with my values.
Would you rather write or read?
Oh, read. Hundred to one, reading.
Would you rather chat online with friends or hang out with friends?
Hang out with friends. I don’t like chat at all and very rarely do it. I just can’t get the hang of it, I always end up waiting around for the other person to say something or feeling very rude for going away mid-chat. That said, I do love seeing my friends’ blogs and social media go by and interacting asynchrously as the spirit moves me.
The Friday Five post isn’t up yet at LiveJournal/Dreamwidth, so let’s use the f.riday5.com questions this week:
1. What’s a good movie for October that has nothing to do with monsters or Halloween?
After Life (1998), a Japanese movie that’s contemplative and quirky in just the way I like.
2. What’s a good couple of songs for October that have nothing to do with monsters or Halloween?
3. What are some reasons to love October?
Monsters and Halloween, of course! Also fresh apple cider. Chilly mornings so I don’t get to work all sweaty if I walk. Sunshine with golden leaves and deep blue sky.
4. Radio stations sometimes call this month Rocktober, doing special playlists or giveaways in celebration of rock music. What would be a better rhyming name for this month, and how might it be celebrated?
We have local Walktober promotions. But I’ll go with Socktober, because having enough cozy warm socks without holes is a great feeling.
5. What would be a good holiday to establish in October for those U.S. states not commemorating Columbus Day?
Portland celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Day on that Monday; I’m good with that.
2013 First Lines meme. This post is to be excluded from the 2014 First Lines meme!
January: I had a lovely holiday season with family and friends and road trips.
February: This is far from the first time I’ve meant to participate in the Wednesday reading meme, but the first time I’ve gotten as far as starting a post.
March: Just finished: Sarah Schulman’s The Gentrification of the Mind, a mix of personal stories, history, and analysis.
April: Yesterday I went to see Eileen Myles at Reed.
May: To my surprise, I was invited to a Jeopardy audition after all!
June: ALL I wanted my dad to do was sign the Reba McIntyre CD so I could send it in and get… um, I don’t remember now.
July: I signed up for my first fic exchange, The Exchange at Fic Corner 2013!
August: [no entries]
September: I replaced my damaged Scarlatti keyboard sonatas CD with one by Dubravka Tomsic.
October: Remember how I was rereading all the Ramona books to get ready for a fic exchange?
November: Last weekend I took Friday and Monday off work, and Sang and I drove out to Stub Stewart State Park to stay in a one-room cabin, sans internet.
December: When I’m idly googling hot fudge sauce, most of the recipes call for cream or evaporated milk, neither of which I keep around.
From Tumblr, apparently, via owlectomy:
You are now a Time Lord. The object closest to your left hand is your Sonic item. One of your parents’ occupations is your title. Your last text is your catchphrase
I am The Secretary. I have a Sonic Oatmeal Bowl. My catchphrase is, “Someone should tell them about the Idea Fairy in the shower.”
If I do say so myself, I would totally watch a holiday special about Time Lord Me.
Just finished: Sorry, Tree, poems by Eileen Myles. Most have short lines and are from one to three pages long. I like how their associations reach farther than my logical mind, but somehow I don’t feel lost. The endings feel like endings, but not overly tidy.
Here’s a bit from “Fifty-Three” that reminded me of my own desire to just look at trees and hang out with them:
I desire a big book about
this not better than them but
Who doesn’t love the text?
a book about trees
it’s like a park
except that all its windows
you look up at the world &
a book is
a web I suppose
saying you come
here to go
which a tree
my best friend
By happy coincidence, Myles will be reading at Reed! On Thursday, April 4, 6:30 PM in the chapel.
And also, though non-thematic: Sara Pennypacker’s Clementine and The Talented Clementine. I picked up Clementine because someone said it was reminiscent of Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books. Well. Clementine doesn’t name her doll Chevrolet, she names her cats after things in the bathroom. She isn’t told to “sit here for the present,” but she notes that being in gifted class has not resulted in getting any gifts yet. She gets in trouble for messing with the hair of the overachiever girl. And there’s a definite Henry-Huggins/Ramona dynamic between her and that girl’s older brother. It wasn’t reminiscent, it was downright distracting in its parallels.
I got past it, though. It is a little strange how the Clementine books are written in first person, but have more knowing smiles over the main character’s head than the Ramona books do in third person. But there are funny moments and Clementine has a great set of parents. I’m going to keep going with the series.
Reading now: the draft of a friend’s novel. I like the main character’s heartfelt voice, which reminds me of Madeleine L’Engle’s Vicky or Poly a bit. And I’m getting a glimpse of a cultural moment I missed but not by much– a decade, a degree or two of church immersion. Such a luxury to read an editor’s draft, too…hardly any typos or grammatical clunks!
About to read: A Simple Revolution: The Making of an Activist Poet, by Judy Grahn. I read a little, not much, of Grahn’s work when I was in college. I dunno, I’m having a fling with the old-skool. Lesbiate and Smash the State!
The reason I know I’m about to read A Simple Revolution (and also What If All the Kids Are White?), or at least give them a try, is that I got them through interlibrary loan and therefore can’t renew them. Which brings us to
Sadly must return mostly unread: Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History, by Heather Love. More academic than my usual reads, but I was intrigued by its focus on the shadow side of queer identity. Pride is compulsory, but what about the feelings it demands we get rid of, like shame, loneliness, and regret? Not that those are my favorite things to feel, but they’re key to our collective history, (see The Well of Loneliness and so on) and certainly part of most (?) of our individual and family coming-out histories.
What really made me take this book home was that I opened it to a quote from another book, José Esteban Muñoz’ Disidentifications, that I found fascinating and spooky in equal measures. Disidentifications is probably also too much theory for me, but here. “Recounting a joke that he shares with a friend, Muñoz describes plans for a ‘gay shame day parade’:
This parade, unlike the sunny gay pride march, would be held in February…Loud colors would be discouraged; gay men and lesbians would instead be asked to wear drab browns and grays. Shame marchers would be asked to carry signs no bigger than a business card. Chanting would be prohibited. Parade participants would be asked to parade single file. Finally, the parade would not be held on a central city street but on some backstreet, preferably by the river.
So now that’s here, and I can go to the book return tomorrow with a light heart.
Just finished: Sarah Schulman’s The Gentrification of the Mind, a mix of personal stories, history, and analysis. It was like the perfect book for me. Gentrification and its amnesia, the unacknowledged trauma of the AIDS epidemic and its echoes in the present, intersectionality, the pitfalls of making art in a time of consumerism and erasure.
The core of the book is the intersection between the AIDS epidemic and gentrification in New York City. Brutally concrete connections, like men dying and their apartments going to market rate as their lovers are evicted because they couldn’t get on the lease. And broader parallels of displacement and homogenization, infecting minority, artistic, and queer cultures until people think it’s normal that art is about money in New York, and gay politics are about marriage, and the institutions of power are immutable.
I want to turn around and read it again, but it’s due at the library. I expect I’ll eventually buy a copy, but it’s published by a university press and expensive. (“Gentrification of Our Literature” chapter in action, I guess.)
This book comes closer than anything else I’ve read to articulating the amnesiac, normalizing aspects of whiteness and gentrification that are difficult to get at, though its discussions are brief. And beyond that, there are personal and tangential (except not) stories that link to my own memories and preoccupations:
I love that this tribute is here even though Schulman and Acker were not best buds, but “friendly acquaintances.” Acker had reviewed Schulman’s novel in The Village Voice, out of the blue. “There was nothing in it for her, believe me. I had no currency, no connections. I couldn’t help her in any way. She just liked my book and she said so–how ungentrified of her.” Schulman went to her house and looked at her bookshelves: “She would read every book by an author. She had more curiosity that way than most people. She had read every book by Norman Mailer, which I remember really striking me as he was entirely irrelevant to everyone else I knew.”
[a side note: when I was a student at Reed, Kathy Acker and Craig Lesley came to campus on the same evening, and did separate readings. I felt like the literary landscape was laid out for me right there. At the time I was like, Acker’s way is my way. I am very different now.]
I know teachers who face these issues, or mostly try not to think about them because they don’t seem solvable. As for her MFA years, Schulman estimates that about nine of her students had real talent…and she would have helped them anyhow, without the job. In most arts, the MFA system has been part of the machinery of gentrification.
The book bugged me in places. New York is the center of the universe, with a distant satellite called San Francisco. I don’t think Sarah Schulman would have the time of day for me, assimilated as I am and living in omg Oregon. She’s dismissive. Her take on LGBT parenting is ridonkulous, though I think she knows it. (“Very few children actually grow up to make the world a better place. Personally, I don’t feel that creating new victims, perpetrators, and bystanders is the great social ooh-and-aah that it is made out to be.”)
But. She remembers what it was like, and her stories feel like the opposite, the ungentrified opposite, of name-dropping. There’s just something about hearing someone speak the truth.
Reading Now: Triggers, by Robert J. Sawyer, my go-to author for mental popcorn, and I mean that in the best way. Also just started Silas Marner via emails from DailyLit, so I’m continuing my love affair with George Eliot.
About to Read: Sarah Schulman’s Ties That Bind: Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences is waiting for me at the library.
This is far from the first time I’ve meant to participate in the Wednesday reading meme, but the first time I’ve gotten as far as starting a post. Yay me! In the twelve minutes remaining in my lunch hour:
What I’m Reading: Ninth Ward, by Jewell Parker Rhodes.
What I’ve Just Read: Three Among the Wolves, by Helen Thayer. I love reading about her adventures; she is quiet and tough. Here she spent a year observing wolves, along with her husband and their dog Charlie. Charlie was able to act as their ambassador and interpreter to some extent.
What I’m Reading Next: Something due soon at the library. Maybe Brian Doyle’s Mink River, maybe Sarah Schulman’s The Gentrification of the Mind.