New Writing and Close Readings

This past spring, while working on the sketchbook with M.S., the bulk of my writing came out initially like prose -- not like I would normally write my prose, but more prose-like. Not lineated. Not metric, or at least, not intentionally so. And now that we've moved on, M.S. and I, and finished the sketchbook and begun working on ostensibly different projects, the writing is still "coming" out in these strange blocks: without lines, often without much punctuation. Not stream of consciousness but definitely speedier, less deliberate thought.

I don't know if that's interesting. I'm just kind of logging this observation here, in the off chance it turns out to be a useful reflection later on. 

I've also been gathering my feet under me and looking ahead to these next eight weeks of "down-time" before the new semester begins. M.S. and I have begun tooling around with a new collaboration, something I'm working on during my morning writing sessions. Our spring sketchbook-making was such a good way of keeping me/us working through the semester, even with the chaos of classes, and I loved the experience of responding to visual art and having visual art made in response to my writing. The new project is less binary, less call-and-response, and more like two adjacent artists working around a similar theme -- at some point we'll exchange our work and reveal what we have and then move on from there. . .  I think. The project springs from one of M.S.'s earlier works, actually, that I found inspiring and she wanted to develop further, so to some extent I already have visuals in my head that I can respond to . . . unfortunately she has to wait for work from me, since everything is coming out in these weird blotches of language. I'm not really interested in writing prose poems, so I'm just considering them bookmarks for poems that I'll eventually write, and hopefully sooner rather than later.

In the past few weeks I've been doing a very close-reading of Akademie X, too, which is a text I believe I've mentioned here before and that M.S. and I use in our creativity class. I skimmed the thing in its entirety back when I first bought it, and I've read thoroughly the "lessons"/chapters/interviews we actually assigned to the class, but now I'm combing through the book again and taking notes on every part that I find personally useful and that I think might be useful to my students.

Wangechi Mutu and my awesome Art Deco bookmark.
For instance, here's an excerpt from Piero Golia's piece in Akademie X, titled "Expanding the Terms of Reality," that I wanted to extract and think about further:
"An artist is a choreographer of reality, constantly shifting boundaries, an individual who finds himself with a political investment and social duties, making meaning but also delivering it in a memorable way, somewhere between the shaman and the showman. But as Guy Debord says, art that goes beyond the spectacle isn't merely a collection of images, but of social relationships to images, a statement that shakes one into awareness of the living systems that contain us and how we can find new ways to move through them, affect them, let them affect us. Mere entertainments and illusions have a way of limiting reality, closing down possibilities, narrowing perception and choice."
And here's something from Michelle Graber -- I'm probably going to have my students write or talk about this in some way next semester:
"Art is a manifestation of learning. And to quote [David Foster Wallace] again: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience."
So that's this week. I can't believe June is nearly at a close.

p.s. Also, I feel the need to say: I do actually pay attention to current events. I just need to keep this space free of the downward spiral that is our social and and political reality right now.


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