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January 2006
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every other day


30 JAN 06
She said she'd found herself at the table--maybe an hour had passed, or two, the light had changed--listing the words inside the words "Pictures come back to me," her mind a fury of searching, suddenly promised language from this odd source and, in the rearranged letters, relief from a thousand snapshots. It was as though the pain of her inability to help the other woman, or any of the women and girls, was eased somehow in making these cramped lists.                        [click image below to see a page]

She wants to paint the words into the just-stretched canvas--to layer the lists with leaves she's saved, pressed between pages of phonebooks for years, "for later."

Sometimes there's a word written down that can't be used, for lack of a letter. "No L" it says beside a few crossed out.

blame no L   lock no L   talk no L

She said her chest felt like it had been scraped clean with a rake. Coke, memo, sum, some, samurai, cadmium, comma, coma, tubes, tuba, breast, brim, use, upstream.

"You can't get rid of smoke by pouring water on it. We don't have any water anyway." (Looking at her page, on which there's smoke but no fire, ice but no water.)

Later, when we were walking, I could see she was spelling, in her mind, things that we were saying--listening and talking but also spelling words out, and from time to time writing one down, if the letters were right.

 

28 JAN 06


It only takes 20 minutes. But you've got to have it, you've got to use it, and you've got to remember.

 

26 JAN 06

Apollo MT
Last night I received from Janet her design draft of the pages of case sensitive. Seeing the text transformed reminded me a little of the first time I saw my youngest brother in an expensive suit. Wasn't he a kind of biker-looking guy with a missing tooth and a long ponytail, like a minute ago?

 

24 JAN 06

Why do people photograph? How does photography--intentional, casual, chance--affect the way we learn, think, contemplate, feel, act and interact in the moment? What is public, what is private, what is both? (lens culture, link via wood s lot)

PS: Lately I've been fooling around with the "click on the image, keep clicking & you'll get back to the start" idea--the first long one (4 clicks) is at 8 JAN 06. (First short story here.) Not every image leads to another, but sometimes I want to supply a little more information. Like Philip Winter, I'm no photographer. I've been thinking about photography because I'm taking photos. Not sure why. "Have I said it before? I am learning to see." (RMR)

 

22 JAN 06

At some point after I'd stopped taking photos with the 35mm, my grandmother acquired a polaroid camera. (The house with the black bathroom had been sold, and I never made another darkroom, though I carted my cheap enlarger from place to place for years).

I thought of Gran's camera last night when Max & I looked at the beginning of Alice in the Cities. It's a film I've seen many times, and one I need to see every so often. It provides a kind of rest that boils down to a feeling of belonging.

What I liked most about polaroids was watching the image slowly collect, similar to the way an image comes up in the developing pan in the darkroom.

still from Alice in the Cities

In the movie, the character Phillip Winter is supposed to be writing an article about "the American scene" but mainly he's been driving from one state to the next, shooting polaroids. He isn't a photographer and he's missed his deadline. He's making notes in a notebook, but he has no story. He just has the pictures.

still from Alice in the Cities

"about things you can see... The reason why I shot so many pictures is part of my story."

still from Alice in the Cities

 

20 JAN 06

"I have never been interested in making a photograph that describes what the world I live in looks like, but I am interested in what pictures (of the world) look like. I am interested in the conventions of picture making, in the desire to picture the world and in our relationship, our continual love for and fascination with pictures." (Uta Barth)

 

18 JAN 06

We have again spent wonderful days together, we the "family." We had a wonderful time skating. And today they took me past the little lonely church to which people can come to pray only on ice skates. (Modersohn-Becker to Rilke, 10 January 1901*) (&*)

I've been working on the final this-is-it version of case sensitive. Tomorrow the manuscript leaves my hands for my publisher's hands. Certain commas have been removed and reinstated more times than I'm willing to admit. So much buried in the text! Only two quotations from Paula Modersohn-Becker remain. When I started writing the book, I thought she would be visible on every page. Her love of the ice! (The ice is visible.)

Actually letting the manuscript go, allowing it to be done, is harder than I thought it would be. The lingering sore throat seems not entirely coincidental.

b&w photo of a self-portrait by Modesohn-Becker

 

16 JAN 06

"I dreamed you and I were living in the past, I could tell by the clothes."

"Turn here." He trusted her to drive.

"I can show you on the map. The small streets. It already happened."

The way the miles collect.

"Your lack of costume is a costume in itself." She was having trouble with the decades. The sun in which they finally slept was unseasonably hot.

. . . . . . . .

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