Thought Trafficking

October 31, 2009, 8:52 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It is Hallowe’en, and the season has almost succeeded in knocking most of the leaves off of the trees. All save a few, like the cherry tree in our backyard. Every gust of wind brings  a flock of leaves over the roof and down like diving swallows, the same arc.

On this last day of October, I will tell you that I have this cousin, and this cousin of mine is pretty fantastic. I say this blind but savante, because though I can’t remember having met him, I read him. I want to show you this. I hope he will not mind.

“The Body October”

October is a transition zone moving over

the valley corridor. The roadway,

lit by trees as they shed their skin, is still.


Factory air leans for it cannot leave the ground :

strange herald to the marriage of orange and grey.

October winds in the cool light, lifting the clouds


from the shelf, showing no rain, or rain defined

as a crystal lattice, observable in the sound of it

on October nights. This is the beginning of the year


in palindrome, a hinge in the present opening

all of us to a list of years, taking from then to now

and translating it perfectly. Like placing a ruler


against everything, the measure in the hands

of the silent draftsman. Its sky drawn in

as granite flecked with a month of migration.

– Michael deBeyer

His first book of poetry found me through an uncle in Maastricht, where Dad and I were staying in July, 2004. I had finished all of the books that I had space to bring, and so, in the ridiculously large room allotted me, I read whatever Cees could lend me under the scratchy wool blankets there. One night, there was the most fantastic thunderstorm. It left everything soaked and spongy for days afterward, it sounded as though it could easily cleave the sandstone hills of that area into pieces.

I am making post-writing resolutions right now: learn to quilt; learn to crochet; learn to sew; get Kindermusik certification; take more Spanish lessons? Or maybe another language?; get to know the people in my office better; finish Battlestar Galactica; go lots of places; apply for the next degree; grade 10 piano? or just more lessons; play music with other people; get better at explaining myself.

I am holding off on writing about the performance that I witnessed (I think witness is a good word here; I am too ambivalent about it to say that we merely “observed”) on Thursday night, but want to write a few more “real” pages before I do.

My sister once offered snacks to one of her friends asking if she wanted “homemade bread” (bread that I had baked) or “real bread.” So what is this “real” writing, anyways? The writing that has quantifiable worth, according to the credits that I pay for, I think.

Here is more from Michael, for those curious: one, two, three. The last link should be to the book from which the above poem is taken, Change in a Razor-Backed Season.


Croyez que ce devrait être très beau
October 16, 2009, 3:05 am
Filed under: academese, living, outside, Reading | Tags: , ,


Snarfle 1

The sun peeked out at dusk, and the love I had for its reddish light falling on the blue spruce in a neighbour’s yard was overwhelming.

I agree with the following, but for different reasons than the reasons it was written for:

In the strange garden of effective existence, anything is the swan, that is, potential beauty, but nothing is the peacock that entirely spreads its fan.

-Yves Bonnefoy

(Made of reason because the reasons are my own)

Bring your winters in for cleaning before the snow flies
October 6, 2009, 4:35 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The new Mountain Goats album, The Life of the World to Come is to be released tomorrow. I strongly urge you to check it out.

I am currently re-reading a script that Cixous wrote for Mnouchkine’s Théatre du Soleil. Love. Here is why, in several unconnected citations:

Aeschylus: I’ll look for my dictionaries. /Experience has taught me / That pain needs numerous synonyms.

Madame Lion: Proof of telephone calls? No. I should have thought of that. One should never cry out in cries, on the air, by telephone. Everything should be cried out by letter.

Madame Lion: This non-signature shines before me like a flag. / How alone I am! Farewell my brothers and masters, / I see you bolt away. All is fear and cowardice, / There is no love. The Night is beautiful, / And they do not even watch it breathe. / I believe I am about to be born.

Mother: Later on, I will build for you / A temple with silence, / A tribunal with silence, / A theatre with silence, / But if I create all these silences / Who, among you, will cry out? / I’m going to put my words, my thoughts, my angers / Underground, beneath your feet. / But out of this earth pregnant with my secrets / The tree of cries must grow. Or else, / Never again will a human being with light-filled eyes / Come to maturity in this country.

Visual learners.
October 4, 2009, 11:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Roasted Pears


I wasn’t quite able to focus the second picture as I wanted to. I could have tried harder, but I was sleepy.

I had forgotten what fall was like here, had forgotten that I hadn’t spent fall here since 2003. That is six years, but it seems so familiar. The only unfamiliarity is that I am always cold, now. This will pass.

Symphony last night, the highlight of which was Kabalevsky’s second cello concerto. The concerto, while itself a Thing On It’s Own, was augmented exponentially by William Eddins’ conducting. He jumped, swayed, leaned, petted and smashed. It was amazing, and at points I felt as though he has strings attached to each of his body parts, and was coaxing the sound out of the orchestra. He also conducted Brahms’ second symphony from memory. I reiterate: without a score. I’m a sucker for that kind of thing. Sure people may think that you are showing off, but as far as I am concerned, you have earned the right to show that off. Mom commented that the whole orchestra was right with him, completely responsive and sounding just smashing.

On the way home, I tried to explain to Mom where the fine line between genuine feeling and out-and-out showboating lies. To me, Eddins and Boulez are epitomes (in my limited experience) of conducting at its best. Eddins has a footstomp for one kind of accent and a wave of the arm to describe each crescendo he desires. Boulez twitches his pinky and (I can only assume) blinks twice to achieve the same effect. In both cases, it works. Big or subtle, the orchestra responded to the feeling that they had for the music.

When I think of negative ostentation, I think of seeing Elgar’s cello concerto performed last December, with Kait. We exited the building giggling, because while Mr. Friesen had performed the concerto effectively, he hadn’t missed an opportunity to flourish his bangs out of his eyes and practice his “ocean breath” (if you don’t do yoga, ask someone who does). It was… uncomfortable, to be honest. As the daughter of a music teacher who has taught piano herself and never hesitated to cut her students’ nails, that kind of thing does not fly with me. If it is in your face, get rid of it. If it is impeding your ability to play your instrument/see the music, if it is making you fidget in a way that distracts from your performance, it is gone. That’s what mothers and music teachers are for – efficacy. Oh, and teaching you music.

There is a difference between performing the music and performing yourself. Each can be appropriate, in different situations. Boulez’s statue-like conducting is, to me, a performance, but of the music. Lack of motion can communicate just as much as a dance.  But I am not Wagner, and cello concertos are not music-drama or gesamtkunstwerk. Cut your damn hair.

What was I saying?