Cotrupi on Frye on Displacement

A quotation from Northrop Frye and the Poetics of Process. Caterina Nella Cotrupi. pp. 84-85.

What Frye understands by this term [displacement] is the gradual tendency observable in literature over time to move away from the pole of fiction and make-believe towards that of plausibility and 'realism.' The changes entailed in this movement involve the transition from the realm of fulfilled desire, of imaginative freedom to conjure the most ideal and visionary projections, to one where anxieties and concerns with time, contingency, nature, and fact are so pressing as to contrive a veritable imaginative prison or hell. [...] so exaggerated that the plausible has been again left behind and the demonic side of the imagination makes its radical appearance through the nihilism of the most ironic and bleak satires and tragedies.
Captivating. The ordinary is somehow sandwiched between extremes. And the prose has us moving relentlessly.

And so for day 961

Of The Endings of Games

Trying to decipher a thought process from 2001 or 2002. The entries are not dated but occur between entries that are. More mishaps. Misspelt author. Missing publication information. The notebook has "Callois" and page numbers. And no title. No translator's credit. It plunges into questions and quotations. I'm sure the notebook records excerpts from Roger Caillois Les jeux et les hommes read in its English translation Man, Play and Games.

p. 17-18
It is possible to map agon & alea onto hermeneutic stances. I quote:

In the latter [agon] his only reliance is upon himself; in the former [alea], he counts on everything, even the vaguest sign, the slightest outside occurrence, which he immediately takes to be an omen or token — in short, he depends on everything except himself.
p. 19
Perhaps it is in the degree to which a child approximates an animal that games of chance are not as important to children as to adults. For the child, play is active.
This in the notebook provokes the remark "something to be said about the order of presentation agôn-alea-mimicry-ilinx". What that something is is left unsaid. I can only hazard a guess at this late remove. And only by folding upon this the quotation about the interpretative stances (see above pp. 17-18) and bending it towards what follows (see below p. 23).

Mimicry is incessant invention. The rule of the game is unique: it consists in the actor's fascinating the spectator, while avoiding an error that might lead to the spectator to break the spell. The spectator must lend himself to the illusion without first challenging the décor, mask or artifice which for a given time he is asked to believe in as more real than reality itself."
And the comments from the notebook: "when the bubble bursts, players can get involved in the vertigo of yes-no, begin again or not. call and response and its termination become 'digitalized' that is alea can cancel ilinx"

Now reading these three excerpts, I am coming to a reading that posits the following: children have less of an interest in terminating any specific instance of a game than say adults might have; because they are not inclined to end the ongoing play, children have little need of the stroke of chance to mark endings — they have less need of omens and tokens — children are their own random event generators.

And so for day 960

Clioscope and HTML

I have come across the promo for a workshop on wordsmithing for the World Wide Web

Wednesday September 10/97, 7:30-9:30 pm

Francois will be using the example of Clioscope to discuss authoring dynamic text. The presentation will focus on three areas:

Adequate Redundancy - comforting and surprising readers

Hybrid Audiences - accommodating the varieties of surfers

Contingent Closure - planning for future linking
What on earth did I mean? I had to revisit Clioscope to make sense of the remarks and so doing find myself reading the HTML markup as much as the other words in the source document.

Adequate Redundancy - comforting and surprising readers
E.g. using not quite icons but clues (such as graphic element with a vertical thrust with hyperlinks but without verbal reinforcements -- counting on the browser to "Go to #top on this page") Here's the HTML markup <a href="#top"><img src="clu.gif" border="0"><img src="cllu.gif" border="0"></a>
And this is the graphic which appears to be repeated twice and with its twin "cllu.gif" plays with symmetry (and makes for faster loading in those days of dial-up connections).

Another little bit of decoration was the <HR> element -- here improvised by the heading element (in the days prior to CSS): -- See <h3 align="center">~~~</h3> -- one is almost tempted to reach for a formula and describe this by analogy with the theatre of poverty as the "poverty of typography" which can used judiciously lend a richness.
Hybrid Audiences - accommodating the varieties of surfers
Play with comments <!-- INSERT-COMMENT -->

As in this little bit at the top of "SaPpHiStRy"

<!-- Yup, the boy - boy version is in the comments -->
<!-- A gem in the markup -->

And if you to scroll to the bottom of the source of "SaPpHiStRy" you find some fun use of the comment space in the HTML markup. (Which reminds me of the chat room Bianca's which had comments which characterized viewing the HTML markup as "peeking under the floorboards" of the shack.)
Contingent Closure - planning for future linking
<a name="string">

Using the HTML to create spots that are the target for links or more eloquently put by Ian S. Graham in the HTML 4.0 Sourcebook "Marks the anchored text as a possible specific destination of a hypertext link. The value of "string" identifies this destination." And the hash tag is used to address such fragment identifiers. Fun to play with and very useful mark up. You can deploy fragment identifiers that could be used at some future date by some one intent on a specific spot...
It's a wordsmith thing.

And so for day 959

Scanning Net Work of Networks

I have lifted this from publication elsewhere and elsewhen to bring it to a novel space and time. Self-spamming?

Somewhere spam senders are paying for connectivity and somewhere that service is being taxed and somewhere revenues are being generated for kindergartens and old age homes. Ah, but you will ask, is it fair for the receiver to be reminded of veniality and incur expense in being reminded. What is the cost of forgetting?
Reminders of veniality include get rich quick schemes and aids to sexual performance. Neither produce great titillation (no transport) and every time I hit delete reminding myself there is no signal without noise.

And so for day 958

Carr, O'Keefe, Kahlo

The Drama. The Passion. THE ESTROGEN.
Reads the ephemera announcing the show.

Few North American women artists have achieved the legendary stature of Emily Carr (1871-1945, Canadian), Frida Kahlo (1907-1954, Mexican) and Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986, American). [...] Places of Their Own, was inspired by Dr Sharyn Udall’s book of the same name.
From a brief description 2001 exhibit at the McMichael. More story but sans mention of estrogen. But trust the reviews to echo the bold statement from the publicity ephemera: Deidre Hanna in Now (July 26-August 2, 2001, Vol. 20 No. 47) Estrogen Art.

And so for day 957


I am amazed that I was able to think so coherently on an abstract plane. This is taken from MetaMimetics - HyperMnemonics

From With Towards

There in the book On the Origin of Objects by Brian Cantwell Smith, a passage fascinates me.

World-directedness takes many forms. [...] subjects (their experiences, representations, documents, intentions, thoughts, etc.) point or are directed towards the transcendent-but-immanent world that surrounds them. A symmetrically realist account per se supplies two of the requiste ingredients in this pointing: (i) the fact that subjects are in an enveloping world, which gives them a place to point from; and (ii) the fact that they are made of that same enveloping world, which gives them the wherewithal to point with. What a theory of intentionality needs to add is the far-from-obvious third ingredient: (iii) a way for subjects to orient towards that enveloping world, the world of which they are constituted and in which they live.
What fascinates me is the way in which "from" is paired with "in" and "with" is paired with "made" and that "towards" remains unpaired. The trio of prepositions reminds me of the experience of modeling content or a way of writing in/with structured forms such as those offered by the Text Encoding Initiative Guidelines. Marking from.... marking with... marking towards. In a very fundamental fashion, writing is about how to segment and how to align. Pick a point. From that point there stem a before and an after. Pick another point and observe that part of one point's after is part of another point's before and observe a between that emerges with its own before and its own after.

Place a mark in a given space and with the given mark, place another mark [erasing is a type of marking] or stop.

Now I see "towards" in Smith's phrase "orient towards" could be read sous rature. Peeking out of those italics is the phrase "a way for subjects to orient [...] that enveloping world" which gives a hint of agency to acts of world-directed intentionality. And so I read again carefully and note a progression from the indefinite "an enveloping" towards a singularly demonstrative "that" through an attestation of "the same enveloping". This rereading helps me better understand the medial position of the "with" between the "in" and the "towards". It helps me comprehend that the connectedness of the made in and of the world might pass through an orientation for the world. Indeed the apperception of being in and of the world might depend upon the declaration of the thatness of the world. (Note, I am not arguing that the world depends upon either the apperception or the declaration.)

What fascinates me is the involutive relation to the actual. It is a relation that is not tautological. I am here because here I am. Contrast this with absolute circular assurance of the I-am-that-I-am.

Smith does not extensively treat the ontological status of the hypothetical, the counterfactual, the fictional. Yet the trio of ingredients in the theory of intentionality he sketches can offer a topological insight into the relations between the actual and possible worlds. And allows us to nuance his assertion that
You can hardly cook for dinner something that is fictional [...]
with the indication that with every cook hovers a hallucinatory body. You cannot eat a story but a story can within limits alleviate the pangs of hunger. You cannot drink a sonorous sequence but within limits a sonorous sequence can quench thirst. You cannot but imagine and that is different from and not the same as the list of things you can do with fictional things that is offered by Smith: "refer to it, wonder about it, or entertain it in a hypothetical". To be fair, one can hardly imagine without reference, wonder or entertainment.

In, with, towards the virtual...
In, with, towards the textual...
In, with, towards the interactive...

A story can eat you.

And so for day 956

Counting to Five

One. Two.

Counting to five. Counting five. Nuance.

If I recall correctly as a child I learnt how to count on the fingers of one hand close to the same time that I learnt how to trace the outline of a hand. Two different ways of counting. A discontinuous numbering associated with the tips of the fingers and the thumb. A route through the peaks and valleys giving the numbering a durative character. When is one one? When two has begun?

Years later I find myself enjoying the sweep of second hands and the cycle of hours portrayed in round clock face. Years later I find myself playing with the pulse of the time separator and the chimes to punctuate my time at a keyboard, my sessions in front of a screen. Sometimes I find myself controlling a cursor with a rhythmic movement of the mouse: feeding a beat back to myself as I deliberate. Other times I feed on the click of the keys. Or, for a pause, foreground for myself the staple sound of the fan motor.

And now I return to the hand. I compare ways of counting up to five. Begin with thumb and wind through the fingers. Begin with index finger and save the thumb for last. What is counting down from five like. It feels different. Counting down in American Sign Language (ASL) is a stretch treat for a tendon that runs along the ridge the middle finger: five digits spread out, thumb in and four fingers out, thumb back out and two fingers out, thumb in and the index and middle finger out, the index alone. That wonderful distinction between the three fingers representing the letter form "W" and the thumb with two fingers representing the number or the numeral "3".

There are many lessons here for how memory works. I've lost count.
Categorized under "interfaces" at/from HyperMnemonics + MetaMimetics. Recounted here. Un. Deux. Trois.

And so for day 955

Musings on Ergonomics

from HyperMnemonics - MetaMimetics

It is not a straightforward progression from the lapwards look of the toddler sharing the page turning experience with an adult to the lone gaze upon the table where lies the precious paper and then to the vertical window-on-community of the screen. A toddler can face the inscription on a tombstone or some other monument. An older child can face billboards, traffic signs, the marks on a doorframe indicating growth spurts and can use the natural light from window to trace an outline.

An ergonomic workstation would of course allow a user to lower and raise the components to be able to play standing or sitting and allow a further position: contemplating the display device as if over a pool of water where even the blind enjoy ripples lapping. Of course the touch screen tablet exists. Will its deployment affect how office furniture, chairs and board rooms come to be viewed?
Always it pays to revisit childhood. It's a lesson I drew from reading Norman Brosterman Inventing Kindergarten. Fabulously illustrated and thrillingly suggestive.

And so for day 954

Nostalgia for Recycling

Thoughts on containers.

I recall a version of processed luncheon meat called Klick. A brand name very similar to the sound of the key used to open the can. A lever actually with one end like the eye of a needle and the other like the handle of a key to wind up a toy or a clock. The key came attached to the can. The key was detached and the eye-end hooked into a tiny tongue. A winding motion resulted in a wrapping of a strip of the tin and paper round the key. Considerable skill was required to avoid premature snapping.

There were containers that did not come with tools. Some books still require their pages to be slit.

The can opener on a Swiss army knife could also open bottles.

One kitchen tool was the bottle opener (for glass bottle with caps) at one end and a can opener (for cans of liquids) at the other. The can opener too was a lever. It was used to perforate the top of the can. For example, tomato juice cans would receive two holes before pouring. The holes would be placed at diametically opposed positions on the circle. Sometimes one hole would be a bit smaller, the air hole.

Tetra packs don't quite have the same craft potential as an old tin can. However masses of them have been recycled into construction material.

A can not a tin. From the Old English for cup. Apt now when I think of cans as repurposed containers akin to the reusable mason jars. But unlike glass, a nail and hammer could tackle a can and produce amateur tinwork.

Prying caps with a bottle opener was also an art. You didn't want to dent the cap too much. It could be added to a prized collection.

No fuss with milk bottles. No bottle opener was necessary. Fondly hoarded collection of cardboard milk bottle tops were, I believe, to inspire Pogs*, some time after glass bottles had been replaced by cartons. With the arrival of plastic spouts and foiled seals, the art of opening cartons now tackles a different set of fine motor coordination demands.

However much I like the design concept of a milk carton that unseals to form a spout (and produce no disjecta beyond its on shell and that has served on occasion to create candles or nuture seedlings), I am not nostalgic. I am merely sensitive to the memories of handling containers and how such memories might impact not only [...] but also [...], that is reading and writing [writ large]. Material culture counts.
from HyperMnemonics - MetaMimetics

* Pogs, Wikipedia informs me did not come milk bottles but a brand of juice. See Pogs

And so for day 953

Portrait of the Artist with a Cigarette

Hockney, David.

from the brochure for "fresh flowers" which was on view at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto

With the iPhone I often drew with my thumb. I could hold it in my right hand and my thumb could reach every corner of the screen as it was small and the fulcrum of the thumb is within the thumb. I learned to type with my thumb as well, holding the phone in my right hand. I could then have a cigarette in my left hand to help me concentrate. I was one of the first to get an iPad simply because it was bigger and I assumed the drawings could be more complicated. I suggested to friends that they get one and I would send them the drawings. There was a new thing on the iPad. You could play the drawing back with the press of a button. I had never seen myself draw before, this also seemed fascinating to everybody I showed them to. The only thing seen like this before was Picasso drawing on glass for a film.
Drawing and drawing (as in drawing on a cigarette).

And so for day 952


Frenchtown: a drama about Shanghai, P.R.C. by Lawrence Jeffery. It is also about India.

Bloody India... I've been everywhere everyone thinks they want to go: China, India, Africa, the Middle East — Afghanistan, for fuck's sake. The only place that scares me is India. I broke my back in Bombay. A few years later I got stuck in a bad monsoon. I picked up pneumonia. I almost died in Calcutta. I couldn't catch my breath. I was like being in the mountains. The air seemed so thin. Couldn't get enough of it in my lungs... All those other places nothing ever happened... Something about India... You don't visit India.. You survive it...
This to me is a marvellous soliloquy and thematically sets up the question of what will happen in China? Oddly the estranged father outs the son in the middle of an exchange about adopting a boy — the queerness making the adoption impossible but of equal weight is the existence of the Chinese boy's Chinese father and the fact that the man wanting to adopt the child is a foreigner. The "queerness" is almost an after-thought to explain belatedly the estrangement of father and son. It's an awkward outing. Done in haste. At a moment of leave taking. The scene reads almost like a broken back: disjointed articulations. And that is its appeal — a set piece unsettled by its setting. A piece of bad luck akin to surviving India.

And so for day 951


Mutsuo Takahashi. Poems of a Penisist. Translated by Hiroaki Sato (1975; reprinted by University of Minnesota Press, 2012). The volume opens with a poem "Dove" which establishes a to and fro between the speaker and the one we take to be the love interest. Here is a little of their exchange from the middle of the poem:

I like its eyes, he said and touched them
I like its beak too, I said and touched it.
The back and forth is resolved in the last stanza by an image of release and embrace:
I love you, he said and let the dove go
It's gone, I murmured
In his arms
The murmuring seems to cover both the reported speech and the reporting and thus bring the past into the present. There is a lingering at work.

And so for day 950

Copy, Paste, Paste

From HyperMnemonics - MetaMimetics some thoughts about the features of the text editor software Emacs.

One of the joys of working with Emacs is the buffer. The user can select and paste from many blocks of copied or cut text. Every time the user copies or cuts a region, the block is added to the buffer without wiping out the previous block. It's a compositor's dream.

One of the other joys of working with Emacs is the terminology: mark, point, kill-region, copy-region, yank from the kill ring. Text editing sounds like a playground game of dodge ball.

I like the symmetry: select a block to be copied or cut; select from copied or cut blocks. Emacs is a generous replicator. With other applications and platforms, I have achieved similar results using multiple windows to create and access scrapbooks. Still there is a difference. Select, copy and paste [using multiple windows and a wordprocessor or text editor] is not select and paste [using Emacs].

And we go on to think about language and practice:
Yes, memory management needs account for the difference. But the language makes one wonder. Does the ellision of selection [i.e. copy] in the common holophrastic expression (cut-and-paste) reflect a view of of the user as one-block-at-a-time reader? It may not just be memory management that is at work when one considers the metaphors that shape a user's understanding of what they do.

Intriguing how the ability to practice and compare different ways of writing serves remembering disjecta.
One wonders how the economy of gesture impacts the modes of thought as one is writing...

And so for day 949

Details and Demons

Granularity can drive one wild.

Especially in the world of markup.

<c> for character
<w> for word

Example..... "what it might be to hug the clouds"

<c> </c>
<c> </c>
<c> </c>
<c> </c>
<c> </c>
<c> </c>
<c> </c>
Is that ellipsis counted as one character or three?

And so for day 948

Self and Selves

Excerpt from a comment entry to George Williams's blog Thanks for Not Being a Zombie (December 10, 2005)

I like how questions about the constructions of personna and of audience converge on the thematics of authenticity. But constructions are perpetually entangled in the empirical whereas authenticity seems to belong to the a priori.

To replay some Kantian distinctions: there is a gradation of imperatives (and reasons to blog) the rules of skill in the (speak or write to be heard); the counsels of prudence (speak or write the truth) and the commands [laws] of morality (speak/write the truth to "you"). The act of blogging starts from within language and moves through an adjudication of statements [yes, there is "truth" in fiction] to an asymptote where the writing reaches out to the future reader only dimly imagined by the writer. The dearest of readers, not belonging to the audience, may never reply to the call: "Alternately, dear reader, you could let me know which items you would like to hear more about, allowing me to focus on topics of interest to this blog's audience:" or the dearest reader may reply and the reply never reach the writer who too becomes asymptotic, a receeding point, only approached but never intersected.

Blogging is like writing past oneself to one self: there's in that spacing, a moment for imagination to reach reason.
In rereading this I am less impressed by the tortuous path to the statement about "writing past oneself to one self" as by the succinctness of the movement from "oneself" (an almost egocentric moment) to the singular pointedness of "one self". Space makes all the difference.

And so for day 947

Of Positioning

A segment preserved from a much larger piece now destroyed.

belong blown
OF ambiguity
of: coming from as a messager
of: belonging to longing to be

desire as possesion of position

I like how the visual (the first "of" in a box and the subsequent instances of "of" simply set off by a colon) mimics an unpacking which is what is being rehearsed at a linguistic level. Also intriguing is the use of red for one line ("desire as possesion [sic] of position") and its re-use in a circling ("i/on") -- all contributing to a de-positioning

And so for day 946

Picture Exact Description

Steve McCaffery "Tenderizing Buttons" Open Letter Second Series. No. 6 (Fall 1973) p. 101 ---- The subject is Gertrude Stein or more specifically her writing and the flow is sometimes broken by spacing and other times by periods    here we go in media res

picture the thing through the belief is there you get the author's moments     apparently to hit on some connexion between exact description (certainly) and verbal spontaneity as the paradoxically most exact description is the most verbally autonomous. was-events become is-events to write with words as if the words did have no history.
And open to a remix
was-events become is-events to write with words as if the words did have no history through the belief there you get the author's moments. picture the thing    the most verbally autonomous verbal spontaneity as the paradoxically most exact description is apparently to hit on some connexion between exact description (certainly) and.
events were becoming being events

And so for day 945

For An Autistic Child

These lines written for an autistic grandchild also convey a universal condition of behaviour issuing from pre-linguistic grounds. The gesture is simple. The child

snatches a cracker biscuit, shaking off
the smoked fish, and then smiles suddenly
as if amused by some mischievous thought
growing out of a landscape I can't reach,
the unknown pathways lying under speech.
Elaine Feinstein "Christmas Day in Willesden Green" in Cities.

And so for day 944

No Waver No Wobble

David McFadden on Stompin' Tom Connors. "What I See in Tom's Boot" in Open Letter Second Series. No. 5 (Summer 1973) p. 40.

It's a thing that's often overlooked, especially by people who have heard him only on records, but Tom stomps real good. He never misses a stomp. He never wavers, wobbles or loses balance even for a second. It's insane. And all the time he's doing (relatively) intricate things on the guitar, remembering all the words, digesting his dinner, keeping in mind all the things a famous person has to keep in mind, & singing.
It's a cheeky homage. I like the slang for "glorious" — "it's insane" which nowadays might be rendered "sick".

And so for day 943


I have spent months brooding over some four lines of poetry. I initially thought that the rhyme paint/faint was too strong until I realized that it was the sound within a line (the relation of "wilt" and "faint") that was to my ear off — I would be happier in brining the "t" sounds closer together. And so here are the lines from Tulips by A.E. Stallings

These tulips make me want to paint:
Something about the way they drop
Their petals on the tabletop
And do not wilt so much as faint,
I would adjust the syntax: "And do not so much wilt as faint" but that leaves me without the sharpness of "do not wilt" and falling away of the assonant "so much as faint". I hesitate. It is like second guessing the artist with the brush. Like rearranging a bouquet.

And so for day 942

Of "uv"

The poetry of bill bissett is marked by non-standard spellings that make phonetic sense. This of course poses a bit of a challenge for machine processing. As observed by Christian Bök in "NICKEL LINOLEUM" (Published in Open Letter: bpNichol + 10, Series 10.4 [Fall 1998]: 62-74)

When Wershler-Henry uses his Microsoft program, for example, to correct the phonetic spelling in a poem by Bissett, the software fails to work on behalf of semantic lucidity, translating the desire for errata into a comedy of errors, so that, when confronted, say, with the word "uv," the device does not read it as "of," the correct variant, but as "ultraviolet" (1997a:[68]). Just as the gears of a printing-press drag Bissett, screaming, into their own mechanism, so also do the codes of a spelling-check drag the poem, gibbering, into their own formalism: "the machines were thundering on, turning fat ultraviolet" ([68])
The references is to Wershler-Henry, Darren. Nicholodeon: A Book of Lower Glyphs. Toronto: Coach House Books, 1997. And a copy of the referring text is available online via the Electronic Poetry Center at State University of New York at Buffalo

And so for day 941

Disciplined Patience

Sometimes how we write things is as important as what we write. I remember asking Marilyn Capreol about how to develop patience which she seemed to display abundantly. She said "The key to developing patience is discipline." which I wrote on the back of her business card and I now see was given the space of a few line endings:

The key to developing
is discipline

And so for day 940

Interview Intervention

It's catch 22. The poem is about an interview with a social worker type and the strange bid to portray oneself as just crazy enough to get benefits without being too crazy to get locked up. But the reader is left to surmise this from the opening lines "you are going to an interview / to prove you are crazy." But the poem ends with gesture of refusal:

in a small room
    your inquisitor sits:
he serves up death
    like lemonade
perhaps you will forget
        to be crazy after all
;perhaps you will hand back
the lemonade with ice-cubes
  & ask him to drink.
Gwen Hauser. "The Interview" in May 1977 issue of Germination

And the placement of that semi-colon adds the appropriate touch of craziness.

And so for day 939

Formalism and the Masses

Alan Liu. "The Power of Formalism The New Historicism" in Local Transcedence: Essays on Postmodern Historicism and the Database.

In the peroration to this piece about the space between text and context, the stakes are starkly positioned:

To read the world, after all, is not an ideologically neutral act. It is to appropriate the world from the masses of the less articulate and literate. It is a statement of privilege.
As stark as this may seem it doesn't lead to impasse. It is not so much the case that privilege is to be surmounted as it is to be acknowledged. There is a moral obligation hinted at here that the intellectual moves from an "I can" to a "how may others do." In a sense the reading becomes at some point self-reflexive if it is to avoid becoming self-absorbed. And so, the appropriation leads to a kind of alienation.

And so for day 938

Breeding Bread

Petite trouvaille.

Stephen Collis. "Another Duncan Etude: Empire and Anarchy" in in W [dix] a Duncan Delirium published by the Kootenay School of Writing

Dante’s thought can be seen to be a breading ground of democracy.
I imagine a lot of crumbs set out to mark a trail but somehow scattered by the wind or lost to the animals.

And so for day 937

Cowboy Miranda

Some people tuck flowers and herbs into books. In my inherited (from Peter Blake) edition of Nina Clark Powell, Japanese Flower Arrangement for Beginners I have placed a picture of a uniquely poised bouquet.

It is a photo of the late Peter Blake at a Spearhead run in 1993

I can vividly remember how we smiled together at the "Cowboy Miranda" picture. And now you can too.

And so for day 936

Top Five

How magazine's 20th anniversary issue (February 2005) offers various listings in groups of 20. One of the listings is devoted to "20 tips to rev your creative engine". My top five from the list (highlights as per original):

Collect. Maintain a reference file of raw material, such as photographs, magazine pages, fabric swatches, etc.

Take a long shower or bath. You'll be surprised what comes to mind when you're too soapy to write it down.

Allot 15 minutes for drawing or writing without distraction. No idea or concept is bad. Don't judge, analyze or stop until the 15 minutes are up.

Record. Carry a sketchbook or digital camera wherever you go.

Use tools like clouded glasses and weighted gloves to experience processes as though you have the abilities of different users. This is an easy way to prompt an empathetic understanding for users with disabilities or special conditions.
The one of course that sticks out is the Record injunction since in the original the whole of it is in a bigger point size and has a wavy arrow leading to an illustration of someone using a sketchpad. And it is prominently in the middle of the list. What strikes me about most of the tips is the embodied nature of creativity. And, obviously the connection of mind and body and its importance for flow.

Extrapolating from this short list from the original 2o, I would like to add a sixth:


1. Collect
2. Take long showers or a bath
3. 15 minutes without distraction
4. Record (variation of collect)
5. clouded glasses, weighted gloves

Notice how a transcription can subtly shift perspectives?

And so for day 935

Recalling Sam The Record Man Spins

TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Book 7 presented by Diaspora Dialogues was designed by The Office of Gilbert Li whose page layout (lots of white space at the bottom and bunching of type at the top) took a little getting used to. However, striking are the illustrations that accompany the texts. In particular, the one for Irving Ellman's "The Poet's Voice" recalls in its design the huge signs that adorned Sam The Record Man and spun out their radiating light. The story of course features visiting the store. In lieu of a quotation from the story, here is a scan of the illustration that doesn't quite do it justice since the book has illustrations on the left and the title/author on the right of the spread for each of the texts. Difficult to reproduce the pairing. Nonetheless, here is the visual homage to Sam's.

And so for day 934

Post Enlightenment

The tenth vignette of the Ten Bulls by Kekuan is about returning to the world after a journey beyond and it reads

Inside my gate, thousand sages do not know me. The beauty of my garden is invisible. Why should one search for the footprints of the patriarchs? I go to the market place with my wine bottle and return home with my staff. I visit the wineshop and the market, and everyone I look upon becomes enlightened.
The Chinese story reminds me of a tradition with Hassidism. As related by Phyllis Gotlieb in an article about the work of A.M. Klein ("Hassidic Influences in the Work of A.M. Klein", The A.M. Klein Symposium, Seymour Mayne editor, University of Ottawa Press, (Ottawa, 1975) pages 47-64).
The Lamedvovnik conceals his virtue behind a mask of silence, secrecy, poverty and ignorance. When danger threatens he emerges from concealment temporarily to defeat the enemy by his Kabbalistic powers. I do not think it is a coincidence that the Superman comic was invented by a couple of Jewish boys
I chuckle at the image of super Buddhas that this juxtaposition proposes.

Bibliographic information re the English of the Ten Bulls: page 75 in Writings from the Zen Masters (Penguin, 2009) which is a selection from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones (Charles E. Tuttle & Co., 1957). The material was transcribed by Nyogen Senzaki and Paul Reps with illustration by Tomikichiro Tokuriki (b. 1902 - d. 2000).

The article by Phyllis Gotlieb has been marked up in an XML version using TEI encoding — and from that an HTML version has been generated —

A little bit of writing done on the way to market for those in search of some reading on their way to market.

And so for day 933

Smart Design

My library card sits in my wallet and peeking up is the top line from my Toronto Public Library card. It reads: "think read listen enjoy".

And when I lift out the card it explodes into a drama of colour and lexical delight.

And so I find my way.

And so for day 932

Cooking for the Barbarians

J.M. Coetzee Nobel Prize Lecture

But now, reflecting further, there begins to creep into his breast a touch of fellow-feeling for his imitators. For it seems to him now that there are but a handful of stories in the world; and if the young are to be forbidden to prey upon the old then they must sit for ever in silence.
One of those stories is that of demise. Given to us by Brillat-Savarin (trans. Anne Drayton).
On the appearance of the barbarians, the culinary art vanished, together with all the sciences of which it is the companion and consolation. Most of the cooks were massacred in their masters' palaces; others fled rather than cater for their country's oppressors; and the few who stayed to offer their services had the shame of seeing them refused. Those fierce mouths and scorched gullets were insensible to gentle charms of delicate fare. Huge haunches of beef and venison, immeasurable quantities of the strongest liquors, were enough to please them; and as the usurpers never laid aside their arms, most of their meals degenerated into orgies, and he banqueting-hall was frequently the scene of bloodshed.
There is a steak house in Toronto named aptly enough Barbarian's Steak House. Where alas tartare is not on the menu.

And so for day 931