jazzfish: Randall Munroe, xkcd180 ("If you die in Canada, you die in Real Life!") (Canada)
It will have been raining in Harvard Square for only half an hour when you give up hope.

On Monday I got laid off. I spent the next couple of days lazily rounding up personal documents and potential writing samples from the work laptop.

Today I transferred those to my home machine, cleared all personal touches from the work laptop, and shut it down for the last time. Then I went out and stood on the porch for a little while.

The Fraser River was mostly empty. In the distance, a barge full of dirt passed out of view behind Annacis Island.

You cannot know what will happen next.
jazzfish: artist painting a bird, looking at an egg for reference (Clairvoyance)
In case you missed it, [livejournal.com profile] janni is having a sagafic/sagacraft contest to celebrate the release of her new book. I took a look at it last week, and one of the prompts just kind of grabbed me.

(975 words. Prompt: "Three shells in return for my poem." Comments welcome.)

Three Shells )
jazzfish: a black-haired man with a big sword. blood stains the snow behind (Eddard Stark)
It's not just that there's fog. It's not just that I couldn't see the other side of 7 when I came in this morning, or that the far end of the parking deck has been wrapped in gauzy grey-white.

It's that it's late November, and several spindly maples (?) in the lot below are still clothed in harvest-fire leaves, and they can't help but glow through the fog.

Last Monday morning the stretch of grass/creek/powerline on Braddock Road faded into nothingness about a hundred feet out.

I've missed this so much.
jazzfish: a black-haired man with a big sword. blood stains the snow behind (Eddard Stark)
Today is Sunreturn. The dark of the year has passed and we've not given up. From here on up it's all downhill. &c., &c.

I celebrate Sunreturn as a reminder that, even when all the evidence I can see points to being locked in the same frozen patterns forever, there's still hope. The world moves on and so do I.

It's not really a joyful kind of holiday. That's more Spring's forte. Sunreturn is. . . the faith that one's efforts will be rewarded. Even (especially) when those efforts are "only" surviving. It gets better, it gets easier. One day you'll look around and notice that there's a bit more light in the sky, a touch less chill in the air. This will happen, is the message of Sunreturn. All that's asked of you is patience, persistence, and the strength to survive.

These are not trivial things. They're also not hopeless ones.

A peaceful Sunreturn to you all.

fragment

Dec. 30th, 2007 01:09 pm
jazzfish: artist painting a bird, looking at an egg for reference (Clairvoyance)
"It doesn't look all that fragile."

"Great lady, the cage is woven tight and solid. The casing has taken the blow of a sledgehammer with nary a scratch. Never, in the thirty years I have been constructing these charms, have any shattered, save at the will of their bearers."

"Then why warn me to be careful with it?"

"Because, great lady, such baubles have been known to rend the hearts of those who carry them."

--from "Lampwork, and Other Glass"

(inspired by a pendant by Elise Matthesen, after R. Sean Borgstrom)
jazzfish: artist painting a bird, looking at an egg for reference (Clairvoyance)
By now I'm sure everyone has seen the Awesomest Thing On The Internets: Wired Magazine's Very Short Stories. ("Machine. Unexpectedly, I’d invented a time" --Alan Moore)

It's easy to write okay-to-pretty-good ones:
This book didn't change your life.

"If that's not your left arm . . ."

Sobbing, he pressed the DELETE key.
So, tell me a story, or two, or three. They don't have to be amazingly brilliant, secrets of Art in six words or anything; they just have to make me smile, or blink, or catch my breath.

They just have to be you. And very short.
jazzfish: a black-haired man with a big sword. blood stains the snow behind (Eddard Stark)
It's raining. Honest-to-gosh raining, dark and cold, veiling the world in mist and drizzle. Stepping out the door this morning, into the cold and wet and soft wind, I felt utterly renewed. I hadn't realised how unbearably dry August has been until now. I've been waiting my whole life for this rainstorm.

I spend so much of summer focused on knowing that fall comes immediately after. Tonight, I felt cold outside for the first time in months. It was awesome, and I felt a sense of physical possibility and movement towards something.
--[livejournal.com profile] fuzzyamy

The early-morning sense that anything could happen. The curious unmistakeable hiss of wet tires on wet asphalt as headlights grow large and rush past. (All cars are grey in the dark.) The quiet communion with a world poised and ready for . . . something.

Feeling the wind rise up tonight, I remember how much I love the feel of a storm arriving . . . One way or another, everything is going to be cleansed in the aftermath.
--[livejournal.com profile] baranoouji
jazzfish: artist painting a bird, looking at an egg for reference (Clairvoyance)
A month or so ago, while I was staying at Stephen and Shondra's, I broke out my cello. Tuned it up, surprised myself by still being able to do that much. Played a few songs. Determined that I'm at about a second- or third-year level. My fingers still know where first position is, and with only a little time they find second through fourth alright. I can't shift nearly fast enough to play anything for real, though.

I was never a very good cellist. I practiced (not nearly enough), I took lessons for many years, I played in orchestras and quartets, but I was missing something. Partly it was the practice. More of it was a lack of any kind of soul to my playing. I always secretly suspected that you could program a robot to play the cello as "musically" as my teachers were telling me to play it. Notes, dynamics, tempo, it's all reducable to digital eventually.

Point of the story: that night, in the middle of a Gavotte from Suzuki book 2 or 3, I shocked myself by actually playing the dynamics (volume changes) as written. Not because they were written, but because I could tell, for the first time in my life, that that was how the piece was meant to sound. I'm no longer remotely in practice, and who knows if I'll have the time or inclination to play once I'm moved in, but I seem to have some sort of intuitive grasp on the nebulosities of music now. I'm honestly not sure what to make of that.



I took a semester-long photography class in high school. It was easily the single coolest class I had. Playing around in the darkroom is its own reward. More than that, though, there was the sensation that I could draw a box around a scene and have it be Art, have it evoke an emotional response. I even shot a couple of pictures that succeeded in that goal.

But it's not something I've ever understood. I look at pictures other people have taken, and I catch my breath. They're just that damn good. I know it's all in angle, and lighting, and subject matter, and focus, and frame, and I still have no comprehension of how they work.

Case in point: this photograph. The post is worth reading, too, but the photo caught me for unrelated reasons. It's beautiful. The light, the positioning. I could take a thousand pictures and get that lucky once-- and maybe, maybe, recognise it and not throw the picture away with the other nine hundred ninety-nine. Technique, yes, but more importantly knowing how to apply it. Seeing the photograph that will be, and saying "This is good."



Words are easy. I know how to make them do what I want. I should; I've been busily surrounding myself with them from the time I was five.

Yet I can't explain it. I can't tell other people, "This is how to write." Words about words fail me, as do words about music, or photography.

Ultimately the world is analog, after all.
jazzfish: Pig from "Pearls Before Swine" standing next to a Ball O'Splendid Isolation (Ball O'Splendid Isolation)
(It's not Blake but it's more urgent, because I can feel it getting away from me with every minute I spend in this room.)

Out the door and into Straylight, and away. Click a button and down go the windows, click a button and up goes the sunroof. Turn up "Kind of Blue" a little louder, get Miles and Coltrane and the rest flowing right through my skin to whisper across my bones.

Glide down the ramp onto four-sixty, see the fog filling gaps between the streetlights. Gas to sixty and cruise. The wind runs his fingers through my hair, the hazy brown-yellow mist more inviting than anything I've seen in weeks. I feel . . . not more alive, but less. The worries remain but they're not so important, just small voices at the back of my brain.

Times like this, I want to just go. Pick a patch of fog and head off into it, never to be heard from again. There's no Blake in the mist, no Incompletes or apartments or jobs. The mist doesn't care, and after awhile neither will I.

Step out the front door like a ghost
into the fog where no one notices
the contrast of white on white

--Adam Duritz

and a pome

May. 11th, 2005 12:35 pm
jazzfish: artist painting a bird, looking at an egg for reference (Clairvoyance)
To paraphrase Steven Brust Neil Gaiman talking about Steven Brust, I don't write poems. This is one of the poems I don't write.

Swan Song )

a play

May. 11th, 2005 12:32 pm
jazzfish: artist painting a bird, looking at an egg for reference (Clairvoyance)
As always, comments welcome.

Orders )

winter

Jan. 23rd, 2005 11:20 pm
jazzfish: a black-haired man with a big sword. blood stains the snow behind (Eddard Stark)
Snow on the ground and a full moon overhead. As soon as I step outside I'm assaulted by a lightly-tinted glow all around. A pale blue, so pale I don't even recognise it at first. Just the thought "I've wandered onto a movie set." That specific shade of blue that indicates Nighttime, the heroine looking around nervously and speaking in echoing whispers. Far away, stars so sharp and cold they could cut right through your fingers and you'd never feel a thing.

cat

Oct. 3rd, 2004 10:17 pm
jazzfish: a black-haired man with a big sword. blood stains the snow behind (Eddard Stark)
John is out of town this weekend, so the cats are lonely. Especially Ford, who needs a lot of attention.

I hear yowling from downstairs, and my first response is "It's okay, Tommy, we're up here."

ramble )

Ford is sitting on my lap now. He doesn't seem to mind that he's gotten a little wet, or that I stop petting him to type every so often.

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Adventures in Mamboland

"Jazz Fish, a saxophone playing wanderer, finds himself in Mamboland at a critical phase in his life." --Howie Green, on his book Jazz Fish Zen

Yeah. That sounds about right.

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