Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Want to impress me? Throw a really good party.

I have finished the introduction for Ben Lerner.

I attempted to practice my lacrosse ball choreography piece, but I couldn't practice too much, because my hamstring is really, really still messed up. I hope that I'm in decent shape for tomorrow, and I hope that performing tomorrow doesn't mess it up even more.

I did get some suggestions about what to do for my pedagogical performance, but no thanks to you all, my dear blog readers. Facebook, twitter, and listservs are where it's at now. At least in terms of advice about conceptual pedagogical performances.

I graded.

I did not write a poem, but I will write one after I write this post.

I was reminded of how difficult it is to organize anything. And how I like to organize things anyway, because I like things to happen. Want to impress me? Throw a really good party. Even if you don't want to impress me, throw a really good party, anyway.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Give me suggestions, happy hamstrings, lacross balls, etc...

1. For the cross-genre workshop I'm taking this quarter, I'm preparing a "pedagogical performance" (i.e. a presentation, but more fun), on Notes on Conceptualisms, by Rob Fitterman and Vanessa Place, & Yoko Ono's Grapefruit. I've got a partner, and in theory I'll be focusing more on Notes, and my partner will focus more on Grapefruit. Any ideas on what we should do? I've gotten some good suggestions thus far involving unitards, go-gurt, and skipping class (because, of course, thinking about the pedagogical performance is more important than the actual performance). If I get enough suggestions, I can at least make a conceptual piece based on the suggestions.

2. In the documentary class, I'm working with a group to make a mockumentary about two animal communicators competing for the "Animal Communicator of the Year" award. Yes, I am one of the animal communicators. It's often very funny. I think posting the final project on YouTube is a requirement.

3. The test run of the movement/performance piece with lacross ball went well. I was happy because the sections that I thought were rough or unclear were the sections that the class also thought were rough or unclear. When I write, I know I can trust my sense of when something is finished, when it's working, whatever working means in that particular piece. With movement, I'm less confident about making decisions. So, it's especially helpful to know that my instincts about this particular piece resonated with others.

4. My left hamstring is bothering me again. It's more than bothering me, but I'm not yet willing to say I've injured it yet. But ouch--it was painful enough that I couldn't run today or do any complex contact improvisation. I'm going to take a hot bath, rest it, and hope it's feeling better for the next lacross ball movement performance piece on Thursday. I need to give the piece a title.

5. I am writing an introduction for Ben Lerner, who is coming to read in UCSD's New Writing Series this Thursday.

6. General thoughts on MFA Land: Well, as numbers 1-3 & 5  suggest, I'm having quite a bit of fun. As I've said, I find it more fun to be a graduate student than to be an adjunct.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I had one of those dreams last night where I find myself taking care of a huge number of birds.


The dream often goes like this: I discover that, unknown to me, there is another bird in the cage with Lester, and that all this time I have been feeding and taking care of only Lester, and not this other bird, who is almost dead. In the dream, I always nurse the neglected bird back to health, but there are always close calls. Sometimes the extra bird, or birds, are not in Lester's cage, but in some other part of the house--frequently under the bed. Once, I was on a pirate ship pitching and heaving in the middle of the storm, and I had to prevent several parrots from drowning and going overboard. In another version, I'm swimming through rough seas while two parakeets sit on my head, singing.

In last nights dream, I heard parrots outside, so I went out to see them. There were two hyacinth macaws sitting in the tree about the apartment building dumpster. They looked quite ragged, but I eventually coaxed them down and took them into our apartment. I found an extra, hyacinth-macaw sized jungle gym and put it in one corner of the room. The macaws began to play on the gym and settle in quite happily. Lester didn't mind them, either. After the macaws were relaxed and preening, Mark came in with two rainbow conures. I found a large cage for them and some extra toys, etc, and soon they were settling in, too. Some version of this kept happening--either I'd go outside and see two parrots and bring them in, or Mark would. At a certain point, our entire apartment was filled with parrots--two to three in each cage (Lester was the only one not sharing his space).

The last bird that Mark brought in was a huge pelican--but in the dream it looked more like a cross between a pelican and a stork, since the bird was very tall. The pelican's beak was cracked, and there were stitches all around her neck. We nursed the pelican/stork back to health, and eventually removed the stitches.

I suppose if I were a mother, I might dream about having ridiculous numbers of babies that I had to take care of. In my dream head, I know that birds are a stand in for "responsibility," among other things.

Does anyone else have dreams like this?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

"Does gender affect x, y and z?" Yes, gender affects everything

What have I been doing recently? I have been making poems, making films (and getting much better at it), hooping, doing acro yoga, choreographing, hanging out with friends, and organizing readings at Agitprop. I've also been working (as in the making money sense--teaching, bits of contract work, my RA duties at UCSD), riding the bus, finally taking advantage of student health insurance by updating some prescriptions, and doing a worse job than usual of putting my clothes away. I also gave myself a large bump on the forehead by walking into a metal lamp post--not my best moment. So, I've been away from blogland.

I am indeed tired of conversations about gender and blogging, gender and publishing, gender and self-promotion. But I'm not tired of the topics--or, at least, I still think the topics are essential. I wish that we lived in a happy land of gender (and racial and socioeconomic) equality, but we don't. So, conversations and actions continue. And will always have to, because even if the world were perfect, we'd still have to work to maintain perfection. But I don't turn to blogland to have great conversations--especially not about gender.

Yes, of course there are exceptions, and I turn to specific blogs for conversation--typically blogs written and moderated by friends that I knew before we interacted in blogland. I've met some people through blogland, and that's been great, but even there, the lasting virtual connections that I make tend to be the result of a whole network of community and social connections that exist alongside the virtual ones.

I do not turn to Harriet or Silliman's blog for conversation. I turn to them for information, but not conversation. In fact, unless I become a paid blogger for Harriet, I'm unlikely to ever join any comment stream on any post there, ever. The comment streams there tend to be repetitive and frustrating. I really do prefer to talk to someone at a bar, or cafe, or over food. I'd rather argue with someone that way, too.

Women do blog, and blog in interesting ways. Smart women and men know this, and read accordingly.

There's almost never any substantial debate in the comment stream on this blog because I rarely make statements like, "Workshopping sucks," "MFA programs are bogus and anyone who does one is a tool." "Women are smarter than men," "white space on the page is lame," "Flarf is more avant-garde than the avant-garde," etc. Blogs that make these kinds of statements are more likely to have overrun and often irritating, unproductive comment threads. My blog is too random, and I post too many pictures of my parrot for that to usually happen. This is fine with me.

The post on this blog that gets the most hits and has the most comments is "Today, I tried to spell fluctuate as 'fluxuate.'"

I think that repeated, community-minded actions and groups of people really do help shift gender (and racial, and socioeconomic) imbalances in the world of writing (and, when I'm feeling idealistic, the world). I can think of numerous examples that have been important to me personally and recently, in no particular order and off the top of my head: HOW2, Delirious Hem, Foursquare, the Press Conference 1, 2 and now 3, the Positions Colloquium in Vancouver, Bridge Street Books, The Flarf Collective, Pussipo, Ruthless Grip reading series in DC, In Your Ear reading series in DC, Palm Press, Tangent Press, Les Figues Press, the Cal Arts Conferences, Area Sneaks, the Poetic Research Bureau, my own attempts in conjunction with others to do a series at Agitprop here in San Diego, the Agitprop Gallery itself, Krikri, and any dinner hosted by Jerry and Diane Rothenberg.