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September 2017

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Four days with the family at the SCFWA was gorgeous, and there was an eclipse, of course, and I hope to make reports on all of that, especially the writers I saw and heard and (haltingly) spoke to.

But I'm very tired: possibly going directly from one conference to another conference wasn't living my best life, but I didn't want to miss either one. Conference. Not life.

Therefore, I am just going to report the discovery of a new directional vortex in a hitherto-untested-by-me region of the city.

Wednesday was designated for working on the painfully late book review, so obviously I spent the morning dithering and the afternoon trying to become lost. There's no feeling quite as light as not quite knowing where I am or what time it is, provided I also feel I will eventually work out how to find home.

I chose a neighborhood northeast of the university. I found a promisingly irregular green polygon on the map, half-hidden greenspace I half-remembered, and approached it up a street overhung with high branches. I went haltingly because R. Knee does not like it when I carry heavy luggage, or even luggage of a moderate weight, for any distance, and I'd taken an ambitious number of books with me to the conference.

I found an entrance almost immediately, satisfyingly unmarked and ragged, but since my psyche is composed 98% of deferral (2% procrastination), I went 'round by the road to see if I could find a second way in. I did, eventually, through an empty lot. The entry was marked by this official signage:

(Yes, those do appear to be pieces of cut-up Styrofoam tray.)

As promised, the blue survey ribbons did indeed go straight up the hill to my right; hence so did I -- directly up the face of a steep incline, in the exact opposite direction of the sea. Further Styrofoam trays gave updates:

Trail restoration would imply that there was a trail.

Then all trails stopped together. I rested on some rocks with this view, beautiful though unbeachy:

Fortunately, even without blue ribbons, there seemed a fairly clear trail continuing up the hill, presumably to some lookout point with tidy stairs down to the water.

I pressed on. I came to some uncomfortably cultivated-looking ground cover, and I realized that I was going to have to climb up through what looked very much like someone's back hedge. Still, this sort of merging of trail and yard is not unprecedented in my experience, so I breasted the hill, crunching through the leaves.

With dawning horror, I found I had illicitly entered an enormous gated community.

It was proper gated. Very gated. So gated I could not get out.

I wandered haplessly into dead end after dead end. I found a sign marked Exit. It took me to a locked gate with a sign (not Styrofoam) depicting a body arced backwards, receiving a violent electric shock. I hunted around its edges, but I would have had to do something gymnastic and arboreal to escape that way, and R. Knee argued firmly against this. I backtracked and followed a second road -- to another unbreachable gate.

Obviously, I could have crossed back through the yard and the hedge, climbed back down the hill and tried to find the blue ribbons again. Others had clearly gone before me. By great good fortune, though, it happened to be five-thirty, and the gainfully employed began to arrive home. I waited until one of the electric gates swung open and the car had cleared it, dodged through, and gained the outside world again, without being crushed or electrocuted.

And here I am to tell the tale, etc.

It's a stunning Sunday evening: the blue-violet sky is still hours from sunset; in the sunlight white paint is burning like tungsten; and insistent birdsong corkscrews through the still air.

I'm preparing for work tomorrow -- marking, musing, making things up -- and waiting for Episode Six of Twin Peaks to drop. I'm intrigued by "I know where she drinks."

So far, the show is sort of an anthology of experimental film-making techniques. I feel like I'm in a brilliant seminar about the possibilities of visual and sonic form. It has such scope, depth, and weirdness --

[Looks up a bunch of measures of intensity]

-- It rises to the top of the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale. The watts per m2 shatter glass. All the candelas are lit and blazing.

Stuff like that.

However -- I'm really unhappy about and disappointed in the way the returning series has dealt so far with the female characters and their physical being. spoiler )

I'm hoping for a payoff in the end, but I hoped for that with True Detective, too, and spoiler. )

Ok, why not -- True Detective.

I felt like with True Detective I finally understood the difference between direction and writing.

The cinematography, the sound design, the actors' chemistry -- amazing.

Yet I think if I had the script in front of me as bare text, it would read weak.

Apart from Rust's arias, which I loved, (I was all like "finally someone on TV who speaks the truth!") the dialogue isn't actually very good -- instead, it's illuminated by the way the words are performed and articulated.

Further, the plot is full of loose threads, and the show raises, then forgets about, all kinds of essential ethical questions, yet the whole always looks and feels like something full of meaning and revelation.

Season 2 -- same writer/showrunner, different directors -- utter pants.

Resolution: Fukunaga, not Pizzolatto, made Season 1 a work of art -- which I think it is, though deeply flawed, and in some of the same ways Season 3 of Twin Peaks seems to be.

Now. I'm just going to walk down to the store for marking/viewing snacks.

My first walk today was a loop down a beat-up minor artery flowing by irregular ways to the sea, then along the ocean and back inland to commit some mundane errands.

The solstice will be here -- then past -- before I can prepare any ceremony worthy of it (and anyway it might be cloudy), so I'll celebrate today. Hurray.

In the week between classes, I've been trying to take proper long rambles each day, to make more space in my head and all the spaces in me.

Trying isn't the word, really. I'm compelled up and out of the house to wander the earth. Fortunately this bit of the earth is damn pretty right now.

Here, then, are some photos from various park-hunting expeditions of the last few days, organized around the theme of awesome local species rather than chronology, because I'm too tired to explain the chronology.

Distinctive Regional Species and general springiness )

First an interest in barometers, and now another sign of encroaching middle age: idly musing about tide tables.

It's technically Monday now, so this sea-report is late.

It's end of term, so work is all there is in the world -- except that the sun has come out and one has a duty, you know. Here are some pictures of what that looks like along the water in James Bay, on an ostensible errand for groceries.

It was a dry day, the tide fairly well out. I only had one dodgy moment on the path, where I backtracked from a convergence of mud, narrow path, and rounded rock, all creating a natural tendency to the fatal pratfall, and ended up picking my way between the stones below instead. This was perfectly fine; the way was only partially submerged.

stones and sea and a surprising sight )


Walking home

Mar. 28th, 2017 08:43 pm
radiantfracture: (Default)
Even in the rain, the cherry blossoms are luminous, though less distinct, like a vague cool glance from someone beautiful thinking of something else.

Their smell, though, coaxed loose by the precise and insistent raindrops, seems stronger and sweeter than on a bright day. Beyond the familiar peppery scent, something in them admits finally to being flowers.

There's a good cedary smell tonight, too, like a new fence, a young smell maybe also lifted up out of old wood and stain by the water's alchemy.

A fat black-and-white cat surges like a storm cloud into a foggy window, as if responding to me, but not looking at me.

There is a hole worn right through the concrete here, near the new sidewalk, showing through to the storm sewer like a wound.

This was a long day, and not a happy one, but these small witnessings are more than compensation; they are a clear rain that drives the ugly fragments into the gutter, down the drain, out into the great night-soaked ocean.

Though sometime I may have to retrieve and make sense of them, right now I am just grateful for a small clear space.