The madwoman in the attic looking for inspiration...

Where oh where has inspiration gone? Blogging was easy the first year, lately it's been like, umm, like not being able to find your pantyhose in the morning when you have to get to work in an office you've never been in before; realizing there isn't enough coffee cream for the 2 thermos mugs you need every morning, and milk is so weak; being driven crazy by the Wal-mart clock on the wall that ticks worse than Cap'n Hook's crook because time is passing and nothing is emerging; seeing all the bright diamond glistenings in the snow when you take your dog out for a romp and knowing it's all been blogged and so have whatever photos you can think of taking; a dull kind of February silence filling the well that's frozen...

What am I thinking about? Men, confusing beautiful creatures that they are, but that's a constant, so never mind.

I wonder about evolutionary theory and the development of ethics. This topic's come at me from 3 different sources in the past few days. Something about how do you explain the development of ethic in 'natural selection.' Probably it's similar to wondering how 'mind' emerges from 'brain,' though I don't know. It's fascinating and perhaps I'll be able to work it into a prose poetry piece soon.

I wonder about the ballyhoo at the Museum of New Painting with a face-off on Saturday between the curator of the Art Gallery of Ontario, a couple of well known professors, and international artists over the "new new art." Or what I imagine is a faceoff between new media artists and old media artists, but we'll see...

I wonder about my birthday next week and why I'm here and what life means and what the future will bring, you know the score.

But mostly I wonder where inspiration is.

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A late Winter's path...

A quiet weekend. My daughter at her father's, the exhaustion of single parenting sets in. Yesterday I napped on and off all day, and was too tired to go dancing at 10pm, even though I was showered and dressed and ready to go, so I spent an hour meditating with 'loving-kindness' instead and fell asleep. It's February, classically my most difficult month. Seasonal Affective Disorder. I've tried staring into full spectrum light bulbs in other years for an hour or two a day, clipping it to my computer monitor, making sure to let the light into the retina, with perhaps a minor sense of a lift the next day but nothing substantial. I slump. It has turned cold, wind chill of -17C, with a northerly wind, and I know I'm not going to make it to the lifedrawing session I thought I might attend tonight. What I will do is take my dog out to Christie Pits where she can run up and down large enough hills and buy just enough food for tomorrow at a local Italian grocery store and return home. Probably I shall do my monthly two and a half hour meditation this evening, the one I always do when my daughter goes to her Dad's on the one weekend a month he allows. It's a cleansing, a rest, a time to recoop, a time to prepare for whatever's coming. I can no more avoid the '1/10th of the day' meditation than I can the feeling of exhaustion after she leaves. Her return is always celebratory, usually she returns late, when, after a weekend of rest and extended meditation, I am renewed. While I had some lovely conversations with friends by phone, all plans for activity this weekend went by the wayside: sometimes rest is best...
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Favoured quotes

Not usually liking quotes out of context, prefering either the original author's or the poster's comments for embedding the jewel in, I, too, have my favourites. These speak to me about art, ways of being, meaning...

"I stopped and let myself lean a moment against the blue shoulder of the air. The work of my art is the work of the world's heart. There is no other art."

Alison Luterman

"You are not here to love the world; you are here to be love in the world."

Grace Johnson
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A woman who is always there, somewhere.

Update:edit. Thank you, Richard,and MB, for your invaluable feedback. I've made some small changes, & will let it rest a bit and come back to it in a few weeks. The drawing I did in the mid-90s at my long gone cottage on Georgina Island. She's not the woman in this small word sketch, but somehow a similar energy...

In his "wish stream" a woman like her doesn't exit. She is beyond the years of possibility. She is slipped into, and relaxed in, like a well-worn dressing gown, a comfortable old couch, a favourite cafe in which to ponder one's thoughts. She is the warmth of a female oasis where struggle isn't necessary. She is the mother's arms, the place of acceptance, the restful time of sunset. She is the quietening. She is not just over the hill, but down in the valley on the other side, laughing and dancing her opulences. There is no need to impress her, or even to pursue her. She is a feature of the unchanging land. The aging woman with unbounded compassion towards herself and him. She is a prophecy of what he can become. Now she lies like sheer vintage lace over his vision. A bit obscuring, a reaction to the fickleness of his youthful women, an attempt at having a fixture of permanence to rebound back to. But it isn't what he wants, what he dreams of, what quickens his body, opens his heart. The 'wish stream' of images, visions, idealizations of love that he yearns for in his dreamy harem of beautiful women only includes a house mother who services others. Her yellowing teeth, her aging skin and its wrinkles not for the ardour of sweet romance. He found his way into her realm to heal a tired and wounded heart, the slings and outrageous arrows of lost love, and now he must make his way out and away from her, glistening again like a new-born baby.
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Between One & the Other

There is a moment where you're not paying attention when you melt into. Before that, self conscious effort. If the ego is how we see ourselves, we forget who we are. In the forgetting we open. Looking back, we can't say when or how it happened. Only one moment we were skin sliding on skin and in the next culminating towards orgasm; we were moving our bodies with awkward rhythm and then we were dancing without care, liquid motion, instruments of the music; we were struggling with disassembled words that wanted to flow with great pasison but couldn't and the next we were writing our opus. It's the moment of melting, where we've disappeared from ourselves, that I'm intrigued with.
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Hydra-head of Essentialism in Neuroscience

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usEssentialism: women’s essence is maternal; to be fulfilled, a woman must be a mother and spend her life mothering. Which not only is ludicrous but dangerous to the life, liberty and freedom of all women to live their lives fully in any way they choose and to develop their talents, intelligence, capacities in any and every area of human endeavour, not just the one of raising children.

This is not to deny the importance of having and raising children! Nothing could be more important for us as a species. But that one half of the human race should be limited to this role is essentialistic. As if it is her unchanging, eternal role…

That thought system has not only been challenged but overthrown in the Western world, surely. After half a century of feminism aren't we are well past it? Does it keep cropping up in various forms because to have clearly defined roles for people makes the workings of a society easier?

The latest incarnation is in the field of neuroscience. Did you know that “from pregnancy on, female mammals are brighter, bolder and better able to cope with life than their childless counterparts”? That “[t]hese brain improvements are permanent, lasting from childbearing years into senescence”? Basically it all seems to boil down to some hormones that increase the ability to bond and the capacity to love: cortisol (which is usually associated with depression but which appears in elevated levels during the first week post-partum and appears to be involved in initial mother-child bonding), the endorphins, oxytocin and vasopressin, or “love hormones.” And increased neuronal pathways in the hippocampus, the hypothalamus (a region claimed to "strongly" affect "maternal behaviour"), the amygdala (which is claimed to regulate "maternal love"). Much of the evidence for the necessity of maternalizing the woman because it makes her smarter is based on the fact that women can distinguish their own baby’s cry out of a multitude, or their own baby’s smell in blind smell tests. Oh, and mommy rats could do mazes faster than non-mommy rats. It’s all a dubious application of fascinating scientific research and leaves me palpitating with worry. Maternal neurotransmitters just sounds like jargon for yet another hydra-head of essentialism.

The deeper message of this research, it seems to me, is that falling in love itself increases intelligence, curiosity, daring, and the beautiful nurturing behaviour that follows naturally surely sends those “love hormones” skyrocketing.

If you can lay down the inherent essentialism of the article, the research is utterly fascinating.
Article in question, and from which I quoted: Giving Birth to Supermom, by William Illsay Atkinson.

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Dancing Chameleon

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usSince, of late, I've changed my profile pic rather too frequently, I set out to create one today. I'm trying to post something I can live with. This one's okay, the hall corner we (my daughter's behind the camera) took it in drab so I dabbled a bit with the background, whitened out the window with the tea towel hanging as a curtain. We liked the silhouette; the lines of the body; the painterly background. Perhaps I can leave this photo as a profile for awhile... going to try. I'm not just in an 'identity crisis,' shifting semblances of the self, but a 'life crisis.' Oh, sigh. Who are we anyway?

My favourite creature as a child in Zambia, where I lived in the jungle, were chameleons which I played with for hours. It's hard to stay the same, and yet we never change...
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moon under ice clouds

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click on image to read the poem


Pearl in an Iced Web of Light

Tonight, the landscape iced, the streets, parks, roofs of the houses, encased. The branches of the trees I passed were glossy and fragile. I went out to photograph in the alley behind the house where I live, and came home with a pearl in an iced web of light.

Update: I left this image looking like a stage set, the 'pearl' so flagrantly hung, as a postmodern homage to "Pearl," a 14th century poem by the 'Pearl-poet,' thought to be the same author who wrote, "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight." My hommage doesn't have reference to a Pre-Raphaelite or New Age female muse, doesn't refer to the courtly love tradition, nor even to the Christian sensuality of "Pearl," with its open adoration and jewelled luxuries, which must have been a relief after the austerities of the Byzantine era. But the "pearl" is imaged, held in a web of light: it's been found, is still shining all these centuries later...

Since I can't offer a url with a translation of the poem itself, but only guide you to a site where it may be found, for anyone interested in long read, I have pasted the entire poem into a comment below.
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Dance of the Dual

This is about a third in to The Move.

Entering an enclosure of great transparency and light where things name themselves.*

Fulfillment of our desires is not fullness in itself, but a counterpoint between lack and abundance. To know one is to know the other. They are twin forces, balancing each other through all the cycles.

The creative force is the force of entrophy. An oscillating dance, each necessary to life and death.

Life cannot exist without death; so death cannot exist without life.

In counterpoint we know each other.

Dualism enables us to straddle the middle, the golden means, the pivot of the centre. Even in uncertainty.

On the threshold of being, non being.

The dialectic of our soul.

*This line, I'm sure, is from Michael Hamburger's introduction to Poems of Paul Celan, which I would've written onto one of the copies of this mms. but which didn't get onto the computer, and which means a trip to the library...
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