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Radiating Light

Radiating Light

This is how it should be:

Because the cosmos is lit with magic and full of wonderment, it contains inside it all the reactive elements needed to create new universes inside itself.  With the flit of a small set of wings, so much can be changed, created, dismantled, renewed, and restructured.  In the merest of moments, entire universes can collapse into vague nothingness — floating particles and embers faintly blinking with the memory of the kinetic life that once was.  In a bang (tiny or gigantic), there is a collision!  Two people — separate beings with mutually exclusive social matrices never before having shimmied past one another in this universe of undulating molecules — suddenly collide.  And in that moment (tiny or large) of collision — a glance, a word, a pause, a misstep, a clank, a footstep, a brush — those entirely separate beings become cosmically intertwined.  Perhaps the people will quickly free themselves from the moment, untangle their elements, and part.  But, then again, perhaps the moment of collision carries with it all the cosmic elements of creation and in that moment – bang! – the pair of strangers silently and perhaps subconsciously aware of the cosmic shift toward one another become enmeshed in an instantaneously beautiful, sparkling union.  Hand in hand.  Eye to eye.

But since it is not so….

Any singularly creative spark in the cosmos may be ignored by two people unaware… people do not collide in this manner.  People collide in much clumsier ways, erecting complex webbed surrounds to house their insecurities and fears and secret wants and politeness and confusion and rules.  Unable, for some reason, to be vulnerable in the arms of one another floating out in the dense, hot expanding arms of the universe.  People tether themselves to their extant environments, sheltered from becoming adrift in the unstable elements of the cosmos.

We don’t date, my best friend and I.  Dating is so dangerous and clumsy.  We say too much.  We worry we’ve not said enough.  We misrepresent ourselves.  We bumble all over ourselves with successive missteps.  We try so hard to explain the universe that we fail to feel the explanation of the universe that we embody…. My best friends and I shrink into the wallpaper of social coterie, and reduce ourselves to quiet conversation… On one such occasion, my friend Mark posed and attempted to diagram this question: “could there ever be an explanation of the universe so real it came alive?”

Today I ask this of the cosmos: could there ever be a single collision so powerful it changes the fibrous composition of its creatures?

I believe that amazing new creations can form out of nebular messes.

I believe that this rag doll could come to life with a little cosmic magic.  I believe her heart could beat in the palm of tenderness.

Can we have a little tenderness?  A little honesty?  A little feeling?  A little plain talk?  A little collision?

I don’t date because I rush in… When I begin to feel, I feel deeply and fall into the cosmic chink completely untethered.  I do not date.  I fall fall fall fall.  I hope with desperation that I will be wanted as much as I want others, and that others will be able to tell me how they feel and what they want.

My best friend does not date.  She cautiously unravels the universe’s cosmic fingers and unhinges herself from the moment of collision.  Or she too jumps in and recoils, like I, when others fail to tell us how they feel.

We do not participate in the dating game (for surely so often it is a game with winners and losers yet few ties) ….  too tired for the rules of it, bereft of all the needed pieces for the match, wishing hopelessly for a games chancellor to assure the fairness of things, wanting instead to jump lightfooted out of bounds — to say how we feel, what we want, what we hope for, what we need and to embrace the moment, the person, in our arms beset with radiating light.

We do not date.  Instead, we wait…. we hope that these foolish walls will tumble…. that the people we meet will not shy away in fear of falling and will just allow the universe to lead us…………………………………………………………………………

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The guillemot (a European bird much like Bernsie, herself) hurls itself off a precipice before it is fully fledged, not as a test of will or wings, but as an instinctual following act just a few steps behind its mother.  And the fledgling guillemot doesn’t stick the landing.  It doesn’t even fly.  The guillemot feels weightless in plummet just moments before it crashes to the rocky beach below.  But even as it crash-lands in the grit, the guillemot is not unsteady.  It dauntlessly, haplessly perhaps, picks itself up and continues its relentless waddle to the water.

What mother leads its young into a hopeless crash dive off a cliff that doesn’t end at the sand below, but continues to drive forward into the great blue deep?

Each morning I wake up hoping to have grown in my flying feathers, and though I have what appears to be feathers growing in, I still can’t fly!

I have my own nest.  I even have a flock of young creatures (not of my own species or procreative efforts, of course) to look after — think Jean Piaget flock of ducks.  And, yet, I continue to feel unfledged.   I can’t save a dime.  Alright that isn’t exactly fair, I have managed to save a few dimes with my save the change account that rounds off my debit purchases and puts the extra pocket change into my savings account.  But it doesn’t ever seem to amount to much.  Because all I ever do is move my money around to delay its expenditure until it is appropriately allocated.  Then, by month’s end, I’ve nothing more than a few spare dimes to save.  I don’t know much about credit, but what I do know is that it is very difficult to build and very easy to obliterate.  I’ve bombed my credit off the map!  And it isn’t as fun as you might think it sounds.  I only have one credit card and has a very modest credit line.  Trouble is, my credit card has been my emergency safe and I’ve had more emergencies in my young adulthood than I had ever planned on.  So even though my actual debt is fairly minimal, I’ve only one credit line and it’s close to max.  I can’t seem to pay it down because my interest rate is horribly astronomically bound (we’re talking black hole big).  And the credit company won’t offer much to help.  So I slowly pay pay pay pay pay what little I can here and there throughout the month.  It’ll work.  It just takes time.  A slow drip drip drip of time into a tiny bucket of dimes.  All the while, I spend my time practicing to be a fledged adult.  I try to keep a responsibly clean and organized apartment, and I try to get my oil changes regularly, and I try to forecast a future for myself at my job.  If I squint hard enough at the horizon, I can envision a doable future of flight.  I can see it!  But how the hell do I get there, do I just keep hurling myself off the precipice hoping to either fly or make it to the bottom in enough pieces to walk myself to the water?

It isn’t a new theme.  It isn’t a new question.

You see, like the guillemot, women are born with sea legs and have to learn to walk on the land of men.


Maya Deren, “At Land” (part 1 shown), 1944.

As Maya Deren wrote of feminism in her films, I think that the strength of men is their great sense of immediacy.  They are a “now” creature.  And a woman has strength to wait.  ‘Cause she’s had to wait.  She has to wait 9 months of the concept of a child.  Time is built into her body in the sense of becomingness.  And she sees everything in terms of it being in the stage of becoming.  She raises a child knowing not what it is at any moment but seeing always the person that it will become.  Her whole life from her very beginning it’s built into her a sense of becoming.  Now in any time form, this is a very important sense.  I think that my films, putting as much stress as they do, upon the constant metamorphosis.  One image is always becoming another.”

Time is built into my body in a sense of becomingness.  But what am I to become?  What is to become of me?

That is a question that can only be answered in the air drift en plummette.  That can only be secondarily confirmed by the sea.  If I can make it to swim in the kelp, even if I become enmeshed and tangled, I’ll know, like the young guillemot, I have made it at least so far.

Photo Credits: “A guillemot swimming over the kelp beds” by Jonathan Wills

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Do you know the functional purpose of the spleen?

I can’t think of one.

And certainly there can be no aesthetic or therapeutic purpose for the spleen.

So, folks, I can think of no better time to buy your spleen a coffin!

That’s right, our friends at spleencoffin won Best of Baltimore for Best DIY Local Record Label!!!  And we couldn’t be beaming any brighter with pride because our own April Finklestein is featured on the label’s spring compilation release – Ladyz in Noiz (pictured below).  Not to toot our own horn (well certainly to toot it ’cause if we can’t toot on our own blog just where can we toot the good toot?) — She has, count ’em, three tracks… one on each of the compilation’s three discs! Two with her solo musical project Roaring Aurora and one with her swirl-grrl and pop-rocks-n-soda outfit Paper Rockets!! Please visit the spleencoffin website for information about how to purchase the compilation and to seek information about the label’s other fantastic local artists including the label’s head lady Marlo Eggplant! Baltimore’s City Paper defines her as “cuteness personified,” which is nothing short of spot-on. Please support Marlo’s music by visiting her website: ME is Cute. And don’t forget to tune it to Marlo’s west coast DIY radio show Canned Fruit which airs Weds. 9-11 PM (Pacific Time) and Thurs. 10-11 AM (Pacific Time) on Hollow Earth Radio.

Read up:
Best of Baltimore 2008

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As we approach our first anniversary, my moondoggy and I step further and further out of the shapeless abyss and into our bodies dancing together.  And in the process of taking form, we ever discover small secrets and delights — hidden not for their shimmering angry brightness, in fact not hidden at all, just uncarefully stowed away in oops-I-forgot-about-that cranial caches.  As we walked through the toy isle of Walgreens searching for humorous and happy delights to gift a friend at her quarterlife bowling party, we stumbled upon a shiny red Duncan yo-yo.  A cheapie, of course.  But in my moondoggy’s hands, they were both transformed — memories leaping out of those oops-I-forgot stows to his anxious fingers and lips — he became a glowing boy much larger in life than his friends and that cheapie yo-yo shined with sparkling man-becomes-boy magic.  Suddenly the afternoon became I-can’t-believe-I-forgot-abouts all over the place — kiosks in the mall, yo-yos of the past, competitions with friends, talents and tricks, grade school social strata, and fads.  When I was 7 or 8, I wanted one of those sticky gel hands you could throw against the wall and watch ooze down, so I begged my dad for a quarter at the grocery store checkout.  His precious quarter became a lesson in fads, planned obsolesence, and oddities marketed only to children.  Maybe what I wanted more than thing-itself (the noumenon) was the phenomenon of it all — popping the translucent red lid off the plastic bubble, sticking that toy to the end of my fingers, yakking it at the wall with might, and watching it slurp to the carpet and become dotted with blue carpet fuzz.  I didn’t get that oozy-sticky-hand at the grocery store 16 or 17 years ago, but I did buy the cheapie red yo-yo at Walgreens.  And it transformed my vision of my moondoggy.  He has a hidden talent!  I couldn’t help but watch him giddy as could be with heart-beaming pride and admiration — (I can do nothing with a yo-yo but make massive tangles of string).  As he brought it home to our family of cats, that cheapie red yo-yo became the most exciting thing we’ve ever owned!  So here I share his hidden talents with you — I’m gifting you one man’s small happy memory from childhood (wish I could show you the Lisa Frank novelties we gifted our quarterlife pal !) as a reminder to allow joy into your adulthood, to never assume your significant one is what he or she may seem to be, to inspire you upon a quest of unearthing others’ hidden talents from childhood and beyond, and to encourage you not to pass by a quarter trinket because gifting one can create amazing moments you might not ever imagine without your fad piece!

I will always proudly boast my moondoggy’s hidden talent as I flash my quarter machine painted black and gold engagement ring!

Pictured are my moondoggy, the cheapie red Duncan, and our family of cats: Dr. Hot Dog, Casper, Amelie, Thora, and Riley.

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“A noumenon in the philosophy of Kant, an object as it is in itself independent of the mind, as opposed to a phenomenon. Also called thing-in-itself. ”

Source: noumenal. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved August 14, 2008, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/noumenal

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Does the thing-in-itself actually exist?

Take, for instance, an apple. We might describe it in a variety of ways: red/green/yellow (by color), tart/sweet/juicy/simple sugar (by taste), autumn/harvest (by contemporaneous use), or one-a-day keeps the doctor away/give it to your teacher (by cultural use). However, each of these descriptions requires perception of the apple — none describe the apple alone, none are of the thing-in-itself, none are of the noumenal. But can one ever approach the noumenal? Perhaps, if it is possible, it cannot be possible in words for, at its core, linguistics is a byproduct of culture (which is of the phenomenal). So, then, does the noumenal exist in or about actuality as does the asymptote exist about finality?

We will never truly reach the noumenal, but ever approach it.

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We are, between us, the following:

One world traveler/grad-student-to-be/post-Brookylnite/post-post-Baltimorean/canvas shoe wearer/fledgling orthalogian/daily consumer of Americanized Mexican food

One domestic cat-lady-in-waiting/psychiatric rehabilitation specialist/counselor/fledgling harpist/wannabe philatelist/incredibly redundant wordsmith/potential theology student

We are both cheeky. And avid coffee swindlers. And, of course, obsessive list-makers.

Once in a seminar/training, titled “Therapeutic Crisis Intervention: The Cornell Model,” I was asked about my own coping skills and interventions. What do I do to relieve stress and self-soothe? I write lists. A completely original/novel yet odd answer replied the trainer.

Why do we write lists? It’s a tradition began in our freshman years of high school (and, incidentally, our first year of friendship). These are not to-do lists. We write lists because we are process-oriented people and obsessive cataloguers of information/data, including personal information. The process is self-evaluation, or: when together, mutual collaborative evaluation. We make most lists in an informal tripartite reflective structure with the following categories: Good, Bad, and the ever-fluctuating Questionable.

So, even now, as we prepare for the departure of one half of our homo-social life partnership (Rachel) to the Czech Republic, we are engaging the process of reflection through list-making. When we planned our last stateside time together, there was a tacit understanding that list-making would/should commence. Only now, and for the near-first time (we did very briefly blog together — but it was often far too listy and did not have enough textual content), we are publishing our lists online. Names will be changed to protect the innocent and, the more likely of the two, the not-so-innocent (and, most importantly, ourselves). Moreover, these lists will be more prosaic as they are meant to document our intercontinental experiences in a variety of contextual ways, but most simply in the ultra-textual Internet.

So, here it starts.

Good:
Us.
Johnny Depp.
Taco Bell. (The first 3 are historic inclusions, and required. By our own rules.)
Today (23/7/08 — Rachel writes the date this way for practice. April writes it this way because it makes sense — like Russian nesting dolls).
Moving on — taking the next BIG STEP. (No more baby-steppin’!)
Commitment to our new blog!
2008 so far!
Colby Canada (Ape swoons!) and mustaches.
Escape from the rats (also known and heard as kangaroos on rollerskates).
Sweet summer romances.
Nostalgic mixes.
Baltimore music scene (at present).
H&M T-Shirts — casual. cheap. perfect-fit.
Good-fitting jeans — Levi’s and J-Crew.
Canvas slip-on shoes.
The unexplainable energy sweet romances gives you that somehow transforms your body and the way you feel about yourself. When someone else sees you as a beautiful, it is because you finally are beautiful — there is an energy that surrounds and encompasses you. You are more forgiving of yourself and the way you look.

Questionable
Going home with co-workers.
Limited choice of Baltimore music venues.
Friendship with England.
5 cats:1 house ratio.
Job status.
Grad school (Where? When? How!)
Where April will be this time next year? Is Austin the next big thing? Chicago?
Time-limited relationships – can you put a time-limit on feelings?
Canvas shoe tan-lines.
Packing up your LIFE in 2 suitcases or less – how to trim the fat and stick to the essentials?
Ape wonders about writing a children’s novel…
Being 5 pounds away from your ideal weight.

Bad
Solo birthdays (birthdays apart from our homo-social life partners).
Drifting cat odors (gross!).
Cat incest (these species don’t have taboos!).
Sick + Tired.
Car expenses… + repairs (Gemma the Jetta is 10 after all).
Rach has no wheels.
Bone spurs.
Rach has no health insurance and Ape’s health insurance doesn’t believe in women’s reproductive health!
Feeling creepy-crawly this summer.
Not having enough time together!
Feeling skinny but having stretch marks.

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