Thursday, December 29, 2005


Six degrees

How odd that I would have this conversation with the upcoming Spotlight poet at precisely that moment when I find myself working on two pieces dealing with the concept of alienation.

Gene: A quick thank you for your discussion of your work with 'The Flight of the Mind'--I know Ursula K. Le Guin is a writer often identified with Portland, and I've read a fair bit of her work (even got her autograph, way back in the day, when I saw her present a piece on the beauty of the conceit of the 'crone' at a writer's conference one year)--she's quite accessible, and not just to readers interested in feminism. I very much enjoy her work.

Spotlight Poet: Ursula is one of our closest friends. We will be spending New Year's Eve at her house with various members of her family and some of our mutual friends, playing silly games ("dictionary" is our favorite).

Gene: Please do pass on greetings from an old admirer of her work. That said, my admiration for her work pales when compared with that my wife feels for her. When my wife published her PhD thesis (in geophysics), she included one of Ursula's poems at the beginning. I do not have the thesis to hand, so do not know the exact title, but a central element of the poem was a discussion between the speaker and a friend re: the difference between "rocks" and "stones". She's a much loved writer in my household, and though I'm sure she gets far too many such comments already, I'd be quite pleased should you find opportunity to let her know how that her words have been important to the growth of a female scholar in a sometimes intimidatingly male discipline within the sciences.

Spotlight Poet: Gene: That friend was me! The poem came out of a conversation Ursula and I had walking the beach in Port Townsend during the writers' conference when we were both teaching there.

The richness one gains from such human connections should be valued more than our money, methinks. They certainly do us more good.

Friday, December 16, 2005


Waiting for glee...

Or whatever emotion comes with receiving one's contributor's copy of a volume of work in which one's own words appear. In any case, the volume in question is now available at I've been waiting for my own copy since they were mailed out sometime in the first half of November, and I'll probably post my own assessment of the volume as a whole once I've had a chance to read it for myself. In the meantime, if you're daring enough, or just a rabid fan of yours truly, you know where to get a copy.

And today's one more day that I walk into work wondering if my copy will be sitting on my desk when I arrive. I suspect this is half the fun.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005



Gotta admit to being into his music enough to know which answers to pick to get this result--and holding my breath that I'd done so (yeah, I know. Go ahead and call me a dork). All hail Quarblotz, from whose live journal I ripped this one.

iggy pop
You are Iggy Pop, and you snap, crackle, and pop
like fireworks. You have boundless energy, and
you're invincible. You should be dead by now,
you know that, right? You survive everything,
and never get fat. You're spastic, and a great probably could be a contortionist
if you wanted to. You love to shock, and rock,
and do so better than anyone else. Sometimes
your irresponsiblity drives your friends nuts,
and your drug habits can be annoying, but you
are an excellent performer nonetheless and
probably like metallic pants. You never sound

Which rad old school 70's glam icon are you? (with pics)
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


A beauty...

"The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary."

--James D. Nicoll

Gotta love it. Go on, giv'us a kiss...

Sunday, December 11, 2005


A Highly Ambiguous Transaction

A heads up from good friend, colleague in past perf-po exploits, and Trip Picks editor Tania van Schalkwyk nets me Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter's Nobel acceptance speech. As I've often stated my belief mind that the root of a lot of the nonsense we're subjected to in the daily news these days can be traced directly back to the Iran/Contra affair, there's probably no particularly compelling reason for me to expand any further than Pinter does in his speech. And, as I'm misguided enough to be able to fully sympathize with Sartre's decision to decline the Nobel prize, there's probably little enough for me to learn by discussing the question of how "appropriate" it is for the literature laureate to use the acceptance speech as an opportunity to make a political statement. I do, after all, think all such speeches are political statements. However, on the off chance that you have not yet encountered Pinter's words, I did want to pass them on.

I've been working quietly on the sidebar, and tending to a lot of other cyber-tasks, will be on again in the near future for a more personal update. In the meantime, I'd be interested in knowing your thoughts re: Pinter's words, if you're at all inclined to share them here.

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