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09/01 Direct Link
On the movement of static things #12:
Static is not the same as motionless: you can run fast, peddle hard, work frantically, just to stay the same. If this is your goal, maintaining your place might require all the effort you have, and even then, it may not be enough to hold fast and retard change. The story of King Canute, who wanted his kingly abilities to enable him to control nature – mainly to stop the tide from coming in – a myth no doubt. His desire - to be the centre of everything, and to control the movement of everything.
09/02 Direct Link
Sifting reality is the primal skill: finding cracks in logic, a sentimental weakness, a new metaphor, or myth, creates leverage. Weighting an inference or merging with it, shifts focus, causes the evidentiary base to sway and lean. A career in this life is short. Building blocks, many formed of ideas that shore up your elemental place in the universe, are used and wasted. These stepping stones, over which heavy shoes tread, are sacrificed for the amusement of others. You create dreams and illusions from your bones, only to look back and see truth that completed you, is corrupted and discarded.
09/03 Direct Link
Objects #13:
Recently I came upon the concept of ‘suitcase words’. These are commonly used words, but within each of us is pack into these words our own understandings: inside words are hidden meanings, implied or cultural exclusion and inclusions. An example can replace a thousand words, and the one I choose is ‘business’. When you and I talk of business, we don’t know or see or imagine the same physical things. Meaning changes in context, too. We have private business, public business, and even no-one’s business; we can be talking about the same thing, or something else, or nothing.
09/04 Direct Link
Responsibility is fatal, but so is life generally: none of us get so good at life that we survive forever, but if we continue to burden ourselves with all the responsibility of solving life’s problems for everyone, life will be hard and short. You may initially succeed but, when you start to fail and then fail more often, you will become a pariah. As you lose resilience and drive, your life will become a dire warning to others and more things will fail. You must push responsibility to everyone, not to blame others but to make sure everyone helps lift.
09/05 Direct Link
Life as documentary #16:
Routine is my saving grace and also my downfall: without routine I would collapse in a heap but doing the same thing over and over wears me out. I managed a routine when I was working because there was only so much time to do washing, cleaning, tidying, so I was efficient and finishing a task was reward enough. Now when I have all my time free, I don’t start. The last thing I want to do is vacuum or sweep the house, and the windows are so dusty I can barely see out of them.
09/06 Direct Link
Two more assignments slammed through. I feel as though I am on a production line. This morning I had a breathless moment of panic arriving at a section of the essay – poetry analysis – that I hadn’t even thought about, but after my fingers started typing the words just appeared. A little research gave me no clues, so I made it up out of my impressions and with a pinch of creative leaning. After all, the work was required to be my own subjective opinions, with evidence from texts, it was not a summation of the best minds of our time.
09/07 Direct Link
Letters #24:
I would like to draw your attention to the overuse and reductive properties of ‘it’ in composition. I mistrust this word, seeing only a boast of shoulders and a plosive presence. ‘It’ relies heavily on a reader’s attention to carry meaning forward and carries no heft or expansion, instead colour leaches out of expressions with use. Having multiple instances of ‘it’ littering a passage of text does not build a cumulative picture. In using this referential short-hand construction, a thin stream of meaning devoid of imagery flows through various dependent clauses. I advocate bold expansive words, not it.
09/08 Direct Link
I was having trouble steering into this rambling stream of noise. Repeating back what I heard him say had unexpected results: my attempts to slowly talk him out of the metaphorical burning building of his rhetoric did not even make him pause. When in danger of being understood, he shifted his arguments and did the verbal equivalent of veering headlong into on-coming traffic. If I found a foothold in his logic, if I seemed to connect to what he was saying, he ran that argument into a culvert and, pouring on anger, surrounding himself with a molten wall of sound.
09/09 Direct Link
‘You need to factor in context: context changes everything.’
This was cogent: certainly, the most cohesive idea he’d expressed so far. I was sweating in my effort to follow what passed for instructions, knowing this might be the difference between life and death.
‘What I observed was that if I acted without thinking, relying on instinct, that is when things would go wrong. We are a very reactive species; we don’t formulate actions to fit the probability of an outcome. As a species with unlimited choice, historically we choose badly.’
‘Can you give me an example?’ I asked. ‘A clue?’
09/10 Direct Link
‘There is no law of unintended consequences. You made that up to seem clever.’
‘And what does your anger and disbelief do?’ he said. ‘It’s only going to make me work harder to justify my argument.’
‘Don’t even start,’ she said. ‘This is just you trying to flirt your way into my pants.’
‘Now there’s an unexpected consequence I like,’ he said. ‘Couldn’t have planned it better.’
‘No,’ she said. ‘You are a known, known. I was told about you at registration. Someone’s friend tripped over your vowels last semester and got a bruised ego. That won’t happen to me.’
09/11 Direct Link
The evidence of experience #16:
We know a cliché when we hear one and the expression ‘emotional baggage’ has joined that confederation of commonly used words. This metaphor evokes travel and we can easily populate that scenes imagining running for and in danger of missing a train, slowed down by the need to drag baggage round. Or, having caught a train, storing heavy luggage on the racks above your head and fearing for your safety as the bouncing train races to enter a tunnel. Somehow emotional baggage removes confidence in a happy ending: we know all will end in tears.
09/12 Direct Link
The evidence of experience #16 (continued):
Yet all moods come bearing their own evidence and histories of why now and when this happened before. Understanding this and removing the idea that what we know is baggage, can provide a way to change and re-invent your behaviours and actions.
Moods come in many flavours and strengths, yet gathered under the umbrella term, ‘emotional baggage’ are all the sour moods, those the feeling that close you off from people and experiences. Our journey doesn’t have only one endpoint: we can always reassess our plans and change our minds about where we’re heading.
09/13 Direct Link
Engaging with the spectre to past years, we evoke a physical presence that stands before us vengeful and pitiless: always thus, the past haunts and taunts and threatens, reminding of all the missed opportunities, the cheats and slights that allowed us to skate through life as lazy and crazy as ever. We are bootless and derelict, having washed up here, in this moment in time, without a future, just relying on the universe’s absence of focus and ignorance of our true nature. But the past is unforgiving: we are clothed in the remnants of our histories and wear our deeds.
09/14 Direct Link
‘Just stand here and tell me what you see.’
I started to speak, but he stopped me.
‘You can’t tell me anything yet. You haven’t looked. Until you’ve looked, really seen what it is you are looking at, you have nothing to say.’
And there in front of me, the object he had pointed out for me to observe was a tree.
‘I don’t want your opinion.’
Now, I know that saying it’s a tree wouldn’t mean much to most people. I needed something else, something original, new: he was expecting more.
‘And, don’t try and impress me,’ he said.
09/15 Direct Link
In the vibrations of blinds and microscopic movement of glass in the windows, I see sounds pouring out of opening and closing mouths. Faces contort showing muscles strained and moving; the lift of a chin and twist and the muscles in the neck are exposed like ropes. The angles of faces and features are sharpened in the low light and glare, in the flickering of fluorescent lights, in the mirrored reflections cast back. Between and around are shadowy imprints of passing staff, refilling glasses and circling tables to put down dishes of gleaming, moist food and pouring wine into glasses.
09/16 Direct Link
‘Good news, bad news?’ he said. ‘What do you want to hear first?’
‘Just wrap them up to go. I haven’t time for your games.’
‘Hold on. I’m trying to prepare you for a surprise. You don’t listen, you could miss out.’
‘You are just dicking around, trying to make yourself important. What do you want?’
‘You’ll thank me later, I know. Just bear with me.’
‘Come on, give over. You’ve pissed me off already, don’t disappoint me too.’
‘I’ll do my best.’
‘Just give me the bad news. I can wait to hear good news in my own time.’
09/17 Direct Link
Letters #25:
I would like to draw your attention to the use of ‘way’ as an adjective, as in ‘way out’ or ‘way faster’, and how meaning and application of this word is shifting away from showing scale or distance, to instead imply exaggeration or the improbability of an action or outcome. ‘Way’, with its plosive sound, is used where a speaker wants to be emphatic, to assert the strength of their disbelief, or to strongly repudiate another’s statement or truth. This leads me to ask: is ‘way’ a new method of swearing, of being confrontational, without being overtly abusive?
09/18 Direct Link
What can you do? What can you do to make a difference in this hill of beans? Three days and two more poems to write. And that is a joke – to write a poem – when the creative sense is equivalent to punching and pulling raw words with brute force out of myself, seeing my idea, the umbilical cord of this birth, shredded and pounded until if breaks from me. Here I throw down words at random, like prophesy sticks that cannot fall and land without intent. This is just smoke and dreams disguised as truth and poetry in the universe.
09/19 Direct Link
Let me just say, this is a recognizable state. You will know this as a stereotype you see played out in how people around you survive, if not as the pattern of the life you live every day. We all do this, hold on and revert to the most common denominators, just to keep the ducks lined up. If we all daily tried to grasp the true nature of being, you would walk around and see everywhere people curled up in corners crying. Most of us a just here, with the ducks, paddling frantically below water, keeping this world afloat.
09/20 Direct Link
Objects #14:
Today, mid-sentence, my pen ceased working. My hand pen gripped tightly and I was in mid-thought when the ink ceased to flow and words failed to appear on the page. What had been unfailing, the pen that had never hesitated or delayed my writing, ran out of ink. There was not one drop of ink left in the barrel of the pen. I could see all the way through the little window onto the ink-well, seeing daylight on the other side. And the carcase is recyclable: new pens for writing new words can be resurrected from this husk.
09/21 Direct Link
How can you write about the total immersion effect of music? This is not about the wall-of-sound effect of modern electronic bands that ram sounds into a solid unbreachable barrier, but the layered patterns of many instruments that wrap the listener into a virtual space lifting them out of their reality into a somewhere that didn’t exist before. And within that sound space expands in all directions and you can glimpse infinity, or the space between time, or the connections that link everything together and yet keeps everything apart. Then the music stops and the silence rings like a gong.
09/22 Direct Link

I sit here and the computer keeps talking to me, in yellow messages popping up, that I just click to ignore Mostly they are polite asking if I want to review my privacy settings, but generally the impression is that they are invasive. I am the only one who has access to my computer, and also the only one interested in what I am writing. Why there should be a security issue is beyond me, this worry worries me and makes me think that there is something I should know or should find out about, but my motivation is low.

09/23 Direct Link
I am buried in special features and symbols, hidden artefacts and embedded technological characters, the emps and simps of meaningless code, that railroad data and tag language objects, revealing when the surface sounds are conveyed in an intended range. These elements form sounds into words and words into sentences; they include unintended and unheard features and fragments we ignore in our drive to understand, and the fonts, special characters, even punctuation and pronunciation prongs and slivers that litter any text. Social conventions teach us when to breath as we utter from written texts and what to ignore when we listen.
09/24 Direct Link
‘He’s only asking a peppercorn rent,’ he said.
‘Do you know why?’ she asked. ‘It isn’t like we have anything to trade with. There’s a catch.’
‘Think about this: it will let us get a start. But, it’s not really bad, and we’d be doing a good thing. And he said we can have a lease for 2 years with extensions. He wants good tenants.’
‘He wants someone to fix it for free. What’s wrong with it? Do we have to put up a roof?’
‘There’s a bit of damage, but it’s habitable now.’
‘It will take all your time.’
09/25 Direct Link
‘We need to restore the building: its heritage so needs to be done properly. And you know I love this kind of work.’
‘That could cost thousands. What the materials? What if we need to get people in to help?’
‘That is the best part. I know I can do most of the work myself. He will pay for equipment and supplies, and we’ll negotiate the work that needs a contractor.’
‘You’re crazy. When would you have time to work on our business? That won’t just stand still. If you’re really going for this, then we need an escape plan.’
09/26 Direct Link
‘If I work out a get-out-of-jail card, you’ll agree?’
‘And a safe word – I need to be sure you will listen to me. If I see it’s falling apart we have to agree to talk about our options. So how much is a peppercorn rent and when do you think he’ll start increasing it?’
‘I know you love the building and Ian’s a good bloke. It’ll be a lot of work, but think of what we can build here.’
‘Two years of not seeing you because you’re on a scaffold somewhere, sanding architraves, doesn’t sound much like fun to me.’
09/27 Direct Link

Now today is a problem. I feel a tidal force raging around me, pulling me under, as previously hidden causes ripple nearby. Even in the shallows the waves can destroy equilibrium and destroy. Maybe this is the inevitable outcome of a risk-adverse lifestyle: have I become frail because I avoid challenges? Every now and again I have felt my protective habits to be a restrictive prison, narrowing my choices and limiting my life. Weighing up my options – assessing risk versus reward – I inevitably remain behind my sheltering ignorance, being pummelled by the tides outside from those who live larger lives.

09/28 Direct Link
In a world populated by ignorance, redolent with profanity fuelled by alcohol and desperation, there is no difficult charging up the aggression of a crowd; especially when everyone has come for the sport, to be spectators in the use of brute force to take down another team. They all feel immune in the bleachers where they can sledge and vent their anger with impunity. There is no room to regress there, those who weaken in the face of a challenge, are expelled by their peers and thrown into the fight, where they must defend themselves from friends and foes alike.
09/29 Direct Link

‘Do you know about living within a budget?’

Her anger, hot and liquid, rolled out in sprayed spit when she said budget. Although this was not a rhetorical question, I wasn’t going to answer.

‘Don’t you shrug and turn away,’ she continued. ‘This is important.’

‘Just moderate your tone. I’m not going to argue with you. This isn’t your problem. I need to do this.’

‘What?’ she asked. ‘Should I just take a chill pill when you blow all that money?’

‘This isn’t about us. If you keep going, it’s going to end in tears and they won’t be mine.’

09/30 Direct Link

Yesterday I was in all kinds of hurt, the kind of pain that feels like the universe is playing in a different register and I am out of synch, knocked and tipped out of alignment. Even writing caused pain; with each keystroke I felt my nails hit the keys and trigger my nerves to react, as though overnight my nails had all grown longer. My thinking was clunky and forced, but translating thought into typed words, caused anguish. Life was out of focus, the thread of my narrative no longer engaging with the passage of time, and emotions overwhelmed me.