31 July 2010

You won't get too far from me believing everything you read

Leaving for Amsterdam tomorrow! It's going to be rainy, but I'm sure the old stone streets reflected in puddles will be doubly lovely. Pia's photographs have been providing welcome inspiration and excitement.

29 July 2010

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked

I can't wait. September 24th.
"angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night..."

On another intellectual note, I have not yet met my summer goal to finish reading Lolita, and it's almost back to school time! (and I'm woefully underprepared) It's a good thing that I have 9 hours on a plane on Sunday.

That's right, dearest readers-- I'm going to AMSTERDAM! I've never been before, and I'm so excited. It will be a whirlwind trip, because I have to go to a wedding in Poland after, but I'm hoping to absorb as much culture-- and a bit of obligatory tourism-- as I can in 3.5 days. Do you have any words of advice, suggested itineraries, or "must see" places? Or phonetic pronunciations of Dutch words?

28 July 2010

we're all the same, the men of anger and the women of the page

I promised to publish the second "manifesto" that impressed me. Now, forgive the writing; I will say that the sentence structure leaves something to be desired and sometimes have the philosophical wordiness of an art history textbook. (Have you ever tried to read one of those? Pure torture.) However, the sentiments ring pure: sharing the joy of the written word, recreating the fleeting nature of poetry through their own mobility, spreading the self-improvement institution that is the library, and growing wisdom throughout the world. I'm talking about the Itinerant Poetry Librarian.

In terms of the project’s philosophy: it touches on so many things that to try and sum it up in one neat sentence just isn’t possible. But now that we’ve had some time to sit down and collate our thoughts, if you will, we can tell you that the major issues we touch on, and are seeking to negotiate, are: the idea of poetry as a unique form of human communication, and thus a unique form of knowledge; and the idea of the public library as both recycling-knowledge space and civic space – concepts which we believe can also be used as models for sustainable growth in order to oust ourselves from the current cul de sac that is consumer-led, maximum profit-centred culture.

Surrounding these two core theories is the concept of liminality, both in the architectural sense: the conceptual, ephemeral relationships between people and spatial environments (installation and live performance art as a practice of liminality, library practice beyond physical building environments); and in the post-feminist (Luce Irigaray) and post-structuralist (Michel Foucault) sense of the hybridisation of forms of knowledge, experience and practice, that is, an exploration based on where and how ‘things’ meet, rather than where and how ‘things’ become ‘separate’ or are examined on the basis of differentiation. The blurring of borders and boundaries: that’s what we’re interested in exploring, the periphery of the periphery – or, as one recent new member of the library put it, the event horizon, in fact.

In terms of the ‘liminality’ of our library, this is essentially represented in both the library practice itself – operating without the confines of a building, so we literally install the library pretty much anywhere we manage to get to – and in the ‘liminal’ ethos of the library’s collection of items. The collection ethos – our acquisition policy, seeks to recognise and re-negotiate the ephemeral nature of poetry, in the sense of both its oralcy, and its continued existence in the outer realms of the ‘literature’ world. So, as you see, we’re back to the periphery of the periphery again.

Floating amongst all this are several further conceptual and literal explorations of sustainability: which centre on the core concepts of sharing and redistribution (of resources, knowledge etc.) and collectivity (working together, sharing together). These ideas have been generated, and expanded, throughout the project’s timeline, as we continued to explore, and find ourselves necessarily negotiating, these ideas (and thus their practical applications) in order to quite literally operate the project, in and of itself, and to maintain the ongoing growth and development of the project through time.

All of these ideas feed in to, and seek to help address, what we see as the key issues of our time: recognising the limits of our world’s resources, recognising that we may live ‘alone’ but that we share this world with others, recognising that the answers we seek are best addressed by a collective, civic-mindedness, that places health, education, lifelong learning, and ‘life experience’ above and beyond the pearly gates of simply making money.

Anyone can make money. It’s what you do with it that counts.

Essentially, we see that our work is about re-placing these notions of humanity, these values, back into our cultures: for if we do not, our cultures, our world – we – will not survive. Bertolt Brecht asked “What keeps mankind alive?” All the world over people have been answering his question, but the answers have been getting quieter and more and more subsumed by the burble of consumer-led culture.

It’s time to reclaim the conversation, and sing a song for (wo)mankind once again.

In homage to Brecht, our recent engagement with all things library-related and Germany, and our vision of the library as the curated collective mind and knowledge-space of our species, we’re christening this movement, this mindset, this concept and practice as:


It investigates human development from a systems analysis point of view, starting with the:

D (Data) ---> I (Information) ---> K (Knowledge) ---> W (Wisdom) model.

It encompasses:

Sustainability (Ecology of the Library)
Collectivity (The Commons / Copyright / The Library)
Recycling (The Library)
Alternative Distribution (Publishing / The Internet / The Library)
Redistribution (Publishing / The Internet / The Library)
Liminality (The Library / Poetry)
Civics (The Library as Civic Space / Democracy / Human Rights)
Civility (The Library as Citizen Space / Collective Social Minded-ness / Democracy / Human Rights)
Welfare (The Library as Knowledge Portal for Lifelong Learning and Development)
Society & Culture (The Library as Collective Cultural Archive / Knowledge Curator)

It is about exploring knowledge, and how we ‘attain’ or ‘acquire’ knowledge, as humans, from birth to death, and how this feeds and sustains our evolution, our development, as a species.

27 July 2010

hear my song, it will show you the way you can shine

Generally I am not a fan of the manifesto or "mission statement," if you will; they get too close to standing on a soapbox. Being polemical or belligerent, often being narrow-minded and damaging in their speech...it is impossible to argue with someone on a verbal rampage, because they never seek to learn, but rather seek to reassert their own "correct" opinion. Ad hominem, etcetera. If there's one thing that I think could destroy our world, it's human beings with reductive thoughts and hate in their hearts.
Phew. Excuse my own little manifesto.
Anyway, the point of this post is point out two people who get the manifesto right-- it's about what they believe, not what is. It's a way of life, a preferred way, but one that is still personal to the believer and anyone else who might self-elect into belief. It is not the only way; it is not denigrating to others; and most importantly, it comes from a place of love and beauty and learning. Anyone who seeks to be a life-long learner and purveyor of wisdom is a-ok in my book.
The first of these? Miss (now Mrs., officially!) Katie Armour, whose neotraditional style is after my own heart (although mine might have a bit more bohemia thrown in). It's a philosophy of loveliness and simple beauties:

We believe…

We believe in being glass-half-full sorts of girls.

We believe that often times, granny is chic.

We believe in peddling vintage Schwinns with flower baskets.

We believe in poetry, picnics, and piƱatas.

We believe one is never too old to keep a diary, the secrets only grow more scandalous.

We believe in arranging fresh flowers unruly like an English garden.

We believe in adventure and traveling the globe, be it to Marrakech or Malibu.

We believe in mixing lucite with oriental rugs. Thrift store finds with heirlooms.

We believe in handwritten thank you notes, better late than never.

We believe in needlepoint, letterpress, decoupage and forgiving Martha Stewart.

We believe in piggy banks and cookie jars.

We believe in book clubs full of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Austen and Woolf.

We believe station wagons are hopelessly chic.

We believe in recycling our Grandmothers’ names. Eloise, Jackie, Faye…

We believe in collecting: stamps, shells, books, big glittering diamonds…

We believe in marrying the boy that writes us the best love letters.

We believe in highly competitive board games—Chess, Scrabble, Chutes & Ladders.

We believe in spontaneous road trips and charming, chintzy bed & breakfasts.

We believe there’s something to fortune cookies, wishbones and 4 leaf clovers.

We believe in classics, shaken and stirred.

How can you argue with that? But the best part is, if someone does and peddles Philip Roth and Dan Brown, or even if someone differs slightly (like me) and wouldn't mind being the one writing the love letters instead of the other way around, that's just fine. Either we can shake our heads and marvel at the differences in others' tastes, or we can invite all the chipped teacups under the umbrella (that's a mixed metaphor if there ever was one!) and appreciate them for what they might be able to offer us. Maybe the manifesto will even change with time...
Check back tomorrow for the second manifesto-maker-made-good. I'm sleepy, and I have a meeting with Sir Department Chair tomorrow that will not permit me to laze the day away. Goodnight, dear ones...
Thought bubble: I'll take the ride, and you may not hop into the driver's seat, but maybe you'll be an occasional travel companion, or at least a slightly-unwilling-but-still-smiling-because-my-enthusiasm-about-randomness-is-what-makes-me-me listener to my tales.
"Of shoes-- and ships-- and sealing wax
Of cabbages-- and kings--"

25 July 2010

a moment, a love, a dream, a laugh, a kiss, a cry, our rights, our wrongs...

To know where you're going, you must know where you've been.
Seeing you last week...I knew that half of my heart is still yours. We fit together...like dessert spoons. Like pinkies.
But our lives will never be compatible. Nor can I trust you. Sometimes, though, I worry that I've exhausted my supply of love-- and then I tell myself that we are in the past, a different us ("not as we") is in the present, and I-- and someone special-- will be in the future.
What has been will be...but right, this time. You and I...we'll be fine. And in the meantime, I'll climb peaks and precipices and make masterpieces wherever I go..."like a cactus tree..."

"I want to speak with you in the round vowels
of your own language
to tell you how
I've named you myth and memory,
how I've made you a half-god."
~Patricia Fargnoli~

"The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before."
~Albert Einstein~

"In Greek, nostalgia literally means the pain from an old wound. It's a twinge in your heart, far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn't a spaceship, it's a time machine. It goes backwards, forwards. It takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It's not called a wheel, it's called a carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels. Round and around, and back home again. To a place where we know we are loved."
~Don Draper, Mad Men~

23 July 2010

"It would be magical. There'd be a tree fort involved. And Christmas lights."

I know, it's been a while...but to make it up to you, here is a new mixtape tracklist! It's called "I Like Bikes."

1. "Don't Worry, I'm Yours" mash-up by DJ Dain featuring Jason Mraz and Bobby McFerrin
2. "King of Anything" by Sara Bareilles
3. "I'll Try Anything Once" by Julian Casablancas
4. "Tonight the Streets Are Ours" by Richard Hawley
5. "Touch Me" by the Doors
6. "I'm Into Something Good" by the Bird and the Bee
7. "Grace Kelly" by Mika
8. "Don't Stand So Close to Me" by the Police
9. "Better" by Regina Spektor
10. "Little Lion Man" by Mumford & Sons
11. "Last Request" by Paulo Nutini
12. "Rambling Man" by Laura Marling
13. "Haven't Met You Yet" by Michael Buble
14. "Nightingales" by Sondre Lerche & the Faces
15. "Bravedancing" by Rachael Sage
16. "Tangled Up In Blue" by Bob Dylan
17. "Islands" by the xx
18. "Kisses Over Babylon" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
19. "Jungle Drum" by Emiliana Torrini
20. "Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side" by the Magnetic Fields
21. "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" by Billy Joel
22. "Home" by She & Him
23. "Trouble Comes Running" by Spoon
24. "Caught Up in You" by .38 Special
25. "The Only Living Boy in New York" by Simon & Garfunkel