Tuesday, November 11, 2008

3 - 9 November 2008

3 November
Feeling very inarticulate and clueless at the moment. Still very much wrapped up in the whirlwind of stuff around me – which is getting very tiresome to me to be feeling and writing about. It’s just that it’s like walking around with my head stuffed with cotton – everything comes at me muted and fuzzy and I keep waving interruptions off with this mulish “give me a minute,” as if keeping my head down and staying focused is actually going to get me anywhere I want to be.

So last week, my Toshiba laptop died after five years of loyal service. Not bad. But then came the hellish question of replacing it. Which, of course, was not a simple thing. I went to Best Buy on Tuesday, couldn’t make up my mind between a new Toshiba and an HP, ended up with the Toshiba, which then took up all of Tuesday with me trying to get it to recognize my printers. Vista problem or computer problem? I was brilliant, though. Wednesday morning I realized we had a desktop with Vista and tried hooking one of the printers up to it – no problem. Also loaded software the Toshiba had been rejecting. Okay. Computer problem. Back to Best Buy, who, of course, won’t even think of taking the computer back if they can’t duplicate the problem, which, of course, they can’t. So…I finally told them, “I’m not walking back out of this store with that computer, how do we make it happen?” And went for the HP, which recognized my printers and hasn’t had a problem with the software. Go figure. The other weird thing about the Toshiba – it had these really nice shiny keys that looked great in the store, but when I started typing on them, they showed every single fingerprint. Not good. I get slightly neurotic about fingerprints and keeping things neat. The HP has matte keys, so we’re all much happier now.

One bright note: I’ve been selected as the student artist-in-residence at the San Francisco Recycling Center for the February to May slot in 2009! YEAH!!!!!!

Which takes us up to:

6 November
And I am totally not inspired by history. Last week I was able to work with something that veered off the path a bit, but this week, not happening. Which is odd because so much of what I write is about history – like my novel Ithaka which retells the Odyssey set against the Iraq war. Or the new project that has me researching Fort Point and the Gold Rush. Maybe it’s because I look at history as subject not frame – it’s not the container for me, it’s what gets contained. Does that make sense? (I can hear Brian in the back of my head saying, “Can you push into that a little more?”)

Maybe it’s also a question of needing to re-enter my work, re-enter my interior working space.

7 November
Architecture and furniture design catches my attention today – sitting in a Starbucks (try the Espresso Truffle – it’s yummy) and looking at a slot back chair. I’m able to see through it, so I can see both it and what’s behind it at the same time. The chair frames the background. And then thinking about the process by which architects create buildings or spaces for people to inhabit.

9 November
Watching a show about what would happen to the world if people just disappeared. Scenes of Chernobyl and how the natural world has mostly reclaimed a city of 50,000 people in the 20 years since it was evacuated because of the disaster. They showed a carnival that had been set to open 4 days after Chernobyl and all the rides were just sitting there, falling apart – the bumper cars and ferris wheel. It’s striking how spaces look when they are supposed to be inhabited and they aren’t – like when you look at a picture of a meadow, it doesn’t look desolate, even though you can’t see any humans or animals, even a hillside stripped by fire has a kind of beauty to it; but a room that was intended to be inhabited by humans will look desolate and run down without anyone in it.

And then watching Blade Runner later in the day – I haven’t seen it in years and had forgotten how visually striking that movie is. And the attention to detail, even in the background, is extraordinary.

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