in which witness is borne: birds, politics, fiction and critical art theory


Wednesday, October 27, 2004
On Monroe St., between Wabash and State, yesterday around 4:30pm:
A POST-IT which reads, in red ink:

*5 bottles of raspberry (DIET) Iced tea
* water (duh)
*apples-enough for 5 school days
*ricecakes-lightly salted
*watermelon jolly ranchers
*scoopy spoons {underlined}
*auntie anna's mac + cheese
*diet pepsi
*cocoa mix
*6 btls of mocha (or maybe caramel) frap.
*stir fry bowl
*soups? (w/ veggies)


I AM BORED! {double underline, heart in place of the dot under the exclamation point}
{drawing of sad face crying fat tears, with the word "me" underneath}
say: "I have to go to/ (make up what you have to do)"
so sorry. BYE!" (double underlined}
2:48 PM :: 0 comments ::

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smoke on the water

Tuesday, October 26, 2004
chillingly noted at an artists' tax seminar over the weekend:
a CPA said in passing that the only clients of hers EVER to be audited have been audited in the past 2 years for 2001 and 2002 AND
they are all individual-owned businesses which reported a net LOSS for that year.

it takes a lot of sitting meditation practice to accept that there is an endgame to all this--severing of civil liberties, escalating war abroad and fear at home, lies about the benefits of tax cuts, misallocation of resources to scrutinize the poor and camouflage the rich--that will benefit the greater good of humanity. Perhaps this whole economy, this whole obese society needs to crash to its knees in order to learn what it is to be good for its citizens.

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nesting instinct #1

Monday, October 25, 2004
spent the weekend either in bed with the flu OR buying groceries
thinking about the next project, the last leaves fluttering dryly against the windowpane
looking at the pumpkin on top of the tv we dragged in from the back porch that only shows color when you hold the channel dial all the way to the left--wondering if i'll find the time to carve it (the pumpkin)
(lots more about the next project coming later)
sweeping and mopping the cat puke off the kitchen floor

got an email this morning from the naturalists that many migrants attempted Lake Michigan last night and didn't make it all the way. they will be coming back into Chicago and slamming their exhausted bodies into skyscraper glass this morning. i'm bringing my large paper grocery bags downtown with me today...what a grim wake up.
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more list

Thursday, October 21, 2004
today, the 21st:
Red Sox are going to the World Series. Trish and Michael are going to Game One, a richly deserved reward for being fans for --this is not an exaggeration--generations.

also today, Grant Park, Chicago:
--many, many juncos
--2 winter wrens
--brown creeper
--a late flycatcher
--a pair of late warblers, either Prairie or Cape May (i know the Cape May is unlikely, but the birds i saw REALLY look like the pictures!)
--several white throated sparrows
--2 hairy woodpeckers
on my way to school, i saw a dead white throated sparrow on the pavement. reminds me to let you all know that Chicago birders downtown have observed several skyscrapers disobeying the mayoral directive to turn lights out at night in the interest of saving avian lives. if readers observe same, please comment here so i can pass the word along.

...and, i am officially down for the count with throat ish. let's all hope its not FLU.
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(in case you don't already know me as a birder--i'm an amateur aspiring to be a connoisseur! Hence the blog.)
Grant Park, Chicago, October 20, 2004

2 winter wrens
6 juncos
at least 4 white-throated sparrows (ever seen these guys? they camouflage so well that if they're not moving you can NOT see them.)
1 brown creeper
2 late warblers (these are so damned confusing that i can only guess at their true identities. One of them was either a prairie warbler or a blackpoll. Any clues?)
4 lively black capped chickadees
American crows

ALSO yesterday morning, leaving the house in a hurry without my binoculars--i walked across the street and heard a rustle in the fallen leaves on the curb.
i caught sight of a red tuft, a longish beak, a lovely spotted wing--he hopped up and checked me out for a while before rising to a nearby branch. dashing back inside to grab binocs and field guide , i realized i'd seen a yellow-shafted flicker, here much later than he was supposed to be. And in the middle of the city! I'd post it on the Illinois birders' listserve, but i'm afraid no one would believe me.
7:53 AM :: 0 comments ::

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step one

Tuesday, October 19, 2004
i went to my second aerobics class today. i found myself entering the crowded room and feeling out of place, like i didn't belong there. and it felt unlike most other athletic situations, where i feel out of place because i suck at whatever the particular activity is...i felt somehow that i was BETTER than all of these people, that this wasn't enough of a workout for moi.
i realized then that i needed to stay in the class, that i was out of my comfort zone and in danger of losing my soul, a little. does this make any sense? i was in danger of becoming, like, a GYM BUNNY. which is kind of laughable, actually. if ever there was a misplaced sense of superiority...
and then it was okay. i did the grapevine step, and the marching step, and the bicep curls, and it wasn't terribly strenuous, but i was there for ANOTHER REASON.
and finally i realized what it was: i was afraid i looked like my female relatives, all the ones with wide hips and short legs, and i needed the mirror to say it wasn't so.
but the drill sergeant pushed on, and i squeezed my butt extra hard to emphasize the point to myself: i PROBably WILL look LIKE those WOMen. And you know what? THat's FINE. it's FINE for me to look like my own version of my mom and her sisters. Because i AM them. i am not better, or different, or somehow special in relation to them. i hope i can read this later on and accept it again the way i do right now.
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the ox's hoofprint

Monday, October 18, 2004
...and what have i been doing all this time? take birding for example. i finally joined a gigantic birders' listserve and now i have an enormous headache from reading the 24 postings i get from them twice a day. and i've been invited to join the annual Hawkwatch at illinois beach state park, a high from which i haven't yet come down in the 2 days since i got the message. i'll likely go this weekend.
even if i see hundreds of hawks, what is that?
take a look at
the link to the Ten Oxherding Pictures
for a clue. Can anyone guess why i'm agonizing?
8:16 PM :: 0 comments ::

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brass tacks--sort of

Sunday, October 17, 2004
god damn the work with my hands eludes me this month. like drawing and video have doomed my 3D art muscles to atrophy...
looking into the gift as art these days...and vice versa. like how i write testimonials for people on friendster and craft them to the utmost.
cultivating a spirit of generosity, esp. as the creation energies swirl through my family and friend circles. get it before it dissipates!
one more idea...a sound installation with just canadian geese.
(Carol if you are reading this you are an amazing artist! just in case the Smart Museum purchasing your work wasn't enough to convince you you've arrived...)
anyway not much to show for my weekend except a couple of ink spitouts on index cards and a new space heater. Winter looms.
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figuring it out

Thursday, October 14, 2004
birds...myself...my family...movement...suffering...returning...promising...breathing...cycles...submersing...surfacing...witness...muteness...depth to shallow...practice...birdwatching...watching.

how do i get from my immigrant grandparents to birding and using my body to make art? in class, last night-a discussion about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, in architecture specifically, using a field of similar or even identical forms to create another, greater, more complex form out of which a figure emerges. like the great mosque in cordoba or a tribal complex in new mexico, the final product is not given all at once and is only possible with many contributions. in such a system the individual is only a fragment, not the all-important ARCHITECT...i find this perspective entirely comforting.
i've been searching for singularity of purpose, for a unified practice of artmaking to somehow reveal itself out of my whole life so far. ha! i may as well go searching for the ivory-billed woodpecker! totally missing in the process the immense mystery of the fragments that make up my existence, the contributions, the connections. i need a re-territorialization of my own awareness of myself as an artist.
ok so
i plan to update my website this weekend with link to this blog.
9:03 AM :: 0 comments ::

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Wednesday, October 13, 2004
oy!i am getting to the point in my life where my grandparents' lives and work are starting to feel relevant. like echoes down an empty hallway that i can't quite make out, but which feel like they are announcing my destiny.
so, they spoke Yiddish. no big deal, lots of people's grandparents spoke Yiddish. but i never knew them (well, Sylvia i knew till i was 3). and zayde Avram edited a Yiddish language newspaper called the Morgn Freiheit out of New York and Cleveland. i would like to track down his writings and have them translated, i think. or at least talk to someone who knew them.
a big shout out to all the youth. check out www.fzine.com, the students section, and go to the blog for updates on the youth art webzine.
9:32 AM :: 0 comments ::

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