Monday, August 22, 2016

Poem: lake feeding (written in 2000 or 2001)

lake feeding

I sit by the lake on the brick wall, legs crossed and grown pale and hard with chill, like iron rails.
The turtles don’t appear on the smooth green-black surface, only a sudden ripple or two, far out.
I break and throw a cracker anyway, nibble on the last part myself.
The stunning pink and purple sky of moments before has settled now into subtle hues of blue, white and a faint orange glow above the darkening water
The cold is numbing but I love it out here
A sudden splish and plop and a soggy, ragged square of cracker has disappeared.
A minute’s wait and then another is gone, and then another
I see the small explosion as a spot of water rises up to momentarily become solid and transparent as glass, then settles to liquid ripples
But I never see the fish, a brown glint at the most.
I marvel at their quickness, never seen but expertly nabbing their target, hardly ever missing
I wonder, too, at the split-second from floating cracker to empty water
All is veiled by the water’s darkness.
It is beautiful, but I have things to do, and the evening chill is growing
The bricks feel like rough ice.
I struggle to my feet and step off the wall, with one last glance for the faintly glowing sky and dark lake
The unclaimed bits of cracker will remain, float uselessly, slowly turn grey in the impermeable water.

- Kat Finger

In Which Is Illustrated The Reason Why I Don't Write Reviews

A long time ago....
(A decade, even)...
there was a website of miscellaneous written stuff called I Drank What?, which featured many things written by, among other people, Cindy Sites Wooley (only Sites back then, a decade or more ago), who had worked on and written for Tangents magazine, and Chris DeLisle (two awesome people, both of whom Facebook now helps my slack ass to keep up with; thank you FB!)

BTW, Tangents went away at one point but now is back again - hooray!! Here is the NEW iteration:

Anyway, I also wrote some stuff for IDW: mainly poems, a few articles, a story or two, and the occasional review. Not many reviews, though. For, you see, I am long-winded -- or rather, long-typed?/keyed? Yeah. In college, I *wanted* to be able to write the 8-9 page papers we were assigned, but in my OCD way I'd end up with 14 pages, still only 2/3 of the way finished with what I wanted to say, at 4 am, glaring at my peacefully sleeping roommate who double-spaced her paper to bring it up to 8 pages. So. very. maddening.

Thus, it came as no surprise to me that I could not for the life of me write a paragraph-long review of ANYTHING. My fellow writers (and happily, also the editors), however, were very very surprised nigh unto alarm. This is one of them, although not, I believe, the longest one. (The longest one, a paen to Die Hard, actually made their eyes glaze over and their faces sag a little. But I can't locate it right now.)
This review is from July 2001.

Exhibit Review:  “Mi Barrio/My Neighborhood” at Gallery L

One of the latest things to go cosmopolitan in Charlotte is the Main Library uptown.  In recent months, I’ve noticed a big change there, namely that the big room that used to be the Virtual Library has now become a seriously suave gallery, with the ultra-hip, New York-style name of Gallery L.  So far, I’ve seen two pretty neat things there:  a Warhol exhibit, and the exhibit I’m reviewing here, called “Mi Barrio/My Neighborhood”.  It’s an exhibit of a graphic novel and various other art created by 13 teenagers in a predominantly Hispanic part of Hendersonville.

The novel uses a combination of drawings, some black & white, some color, and photos.  There aren’t many words:  mostly a collage of pictures and images loosely tell a story of gang life, from riding high to dying.  This is then followed by a page that declares women to be “Man’s Best Hope for Peace” and shows some of the girls that were involved in the project.  Some comics and miscellaneous collage-style pages follow, including a really cool one about the “New Girl Order”.  The novel is in Spanish, reading from one side, then when you flip the book over, the words are in English, which is a really good way to do it.  The kids have done an amazing job of integrating the drawings and the photos, and the composition and placement is excellent, like when there’s a line-drawing of a man pasted into a photograph of a rear-view mirror.  I also like the way certain drawings, like the buildings, are repeated throughout the comic so skillfully, with different portions of a larger drawing in different sizes.  Although the gang story is really simple and almost stylized, it works well that way, and artistically it is really well-done.

Various pages from the novel were put up on different walls of the gallery, so it really hits you first with the collective atmosphere of it all, of gang life and teen life in general.  And since the gallery is laid out so that you have to walk around walls and partitions to see it all, the pages were shuffled even more so you therefore had to pay more attention to each frame, which enhances the experience.  Copies of the novel are provided free at the entrance, though, so you can then read it in order and see it the way they put it together.  Besides the novel, the walls of Gallery L held some more collage-type pictures, and a lot more miscellaneous pieces of art by the kids who worked on this project:  such as self-portraits, neighborhood scenes, some drawings of a more religious or mystical/fantastical nature, and even a few comic strips.

Out of the miscellaneous art, most was really good and impressed me with the kids’ talent – and a few drawings actually blew me away with the skill in technique and composition.  But the creativity of all of it, especially the graphic novel and collage pages, really impressed me in and of itself.  This exhibit reminded me of how it was in high school, of the kids who were into art and whose talent I admired and envied.  There is often so much talent in the kids around you, and so it’s really important for teachers, counselors, and society as a whole to not let down kids.  Everyone needs to encourage and listen to kids, to recognize how unique and impressive they are, and how important it is for them to feel pride in accomplishment.  This exhibit reminded me how cool most kids already are, at that age – at any age – as people who matter.

“Mi Barrio/My Neighborhood” runs through July 22nd, and it’s definitely worth a trip up to Gallery L.

- Kat Finger

Thank You, Justin Carmical

**Note: I wrote this probably well over a year ago, and procrastinated posting it. Posting it now, apropos of nothing.

"In loving memory of Justin Carmical" -- I just clicked on it because -- let's be honest: it was morbid curiosity.
The video was posted by one of my most recent favourite discoveries in the funny riff-type reviewers - Doug Walker, ThatGuyWithTheGlasses. I'd barely noticed the name "League of Super Critics". I honestly had never heard of Justin before.
Yet I quickly realized this was someone I'd have loved to know: a fan of sincerity, positivity, fun, and just plain old niceness. Reminds me of my friend Val, actually. She and Justin would've been kindred spirits - I hope there's some kind of afterlife or next stage or spirit world wherein they've just recently met and are dancing around in the rain, singing silly songs. Justin's heartfelt message at the end of the video is most definitely something Val would endorse - it's something that she told me about myself many times - in essence "You are good enough, just the way you are. I value you, so I want you to value yourself!"
And it is something so seemingly simple, and easy to mock or disregard, but it's also one of the most important things I can think of to pass on to others.....
You are unique. You are special, and your life has meaning. You matter. Just by being alive, you are making the world a richer and more beautiful place. Whether or not you think you are contributing enough, whether or not you feel you are creative or memorable or are. You smiled at someone today. You wore a bright red jacket, and someone enjoyed that splash of color. You were rocking out in your car at a stoplight, and the sight cheered someone up, jolted him out of his doldrums and caused them to grin. He walked with a little more animation down the sidewalk, and was there to open a door for a lady, then pet a dog a block later. All this happened on your neighborhood, on a day when the cotton-y clouds inspired a girl to write a poem and the little breezes ruffled a child's hair, and all of the little things woven together created a perfectly imperfect and random scarf of a day which will never be repeated again and was vital to the Universe. You, and I, and all of us, we matter and we are part of the mysterious magic that glows in the corners of everyday, in the moments between the events.

So, EVERYONE, please do try to remember that you matter, that everyone matters to someone. There is still hope, even if it seems hopeless.
And I'm posting this, and reiterating it 
- even though it's been said before
- even if no one reads it
- even if it is no longer considered topical, because I was too overwhelmed to blog about on the day I spotted it, so that for all I know, people will think I'm lame or lazy or cheesy or corny....
Doesn't bother me. Because when you write from the heart, it's good enough.
(It's so random and yet...
(I might have just declined to click and never have known...
A man made a video message, and I happened to see it. YouTube is full of videos, and the world is full of people. And it's all competing for our attention, all of the time. But this man, Justin Carmical, was special, and his message is important. It's a message I sometimes feel I was put on this earth to emphasize --value yourself. There is hope.

(So said Val. So said Justin. So say I.)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Turning Over A New Leaf, Hopefully, One Day At A Time

Okay, so....Hola, to whoever? whomever? may be reading this.

(giggle -- sounds like the following sentence should be "If you're reading this, it means the monster caught me and devoured me with his slavering fangs. Tell my mother I love her....")

Anyway, I used to enjoy (or I remember it that way, at least) the school assignments wherein the teacher would require us to keep a journal for a week or whatever, and we either had to write a minimum of (2? 3? I don't remember the number...) paragraphs -- OR if you wrote a poem, it counted as a complete journal entry -- per day. I had half entertained using this idea for / as my blog, but then I quailed at the thought of making people bored or something. So many bloggers are so productive, prolific, and witty on a daily basis, you see, or at least a weekly's intimidating.

However, eff that line of thinking. For one thing, as a friend of mine typed on his most excellent blog The Ramen Stand, "Who cares if nobody reads this thing, ever. This is for me...Never feel as though I HAVE to post. Relieve pressure. This is for fun." So, thank you, Nate Bezner, for inspiring me to give blogging another shot!

So, I guess I'm sort of proclaiming, at least to myself, that writing something in this blog and posting it, hopefully daily but at least once a week, will be mainly what this is all about: writing exercise + therapy. But also, a place to store a few links or lists or random reminders about things, here and there. We'll see.

And allow me to wish EVERYONE a Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I Recommend the Following...

Thoughts in my head one minute, blank slate the next moment...ADD is not helping me be a writer right now.

However, I always wanted to do random things on a blog (a decade or so ago, I dreamed of having my own website - but this is MUCH easier). I wanted to make lists of things, recommendations of things, etc.

Here are a few things I highly recommend that you, dear reader, check out / try, etc.

~ Listen to old radio detective shows, like Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar and Pat Novak For Hire and Line Up. A) they totally RULE, and B) they are great company / background for when you're doing chores, or walking around the block, or driving, or trying to fall asleep, or wrapping gifts when it's Christmastime, or waiting for an appointment, or whatever. I especially particularly recommend the following Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar episode "The Royal Street Matter".

* Put blueberries in your chocolate ice cream - tastes great, especially if it's dark chocolate flavor.

> Any time you're near a fountain (of reasonably large size - not a water fountain that you drink from), especially if said fountain shoots streams of water in arcs, try to keep your eyes on one droplet of water from the moment it shoots out of the nozzle, up into the air, over the top of the arc, and down again into the pool of water. Of course, you can't really latch your eyes onto just one droplet of water without binoculars - but do try to keep your eye fixated one piece of the water's stream, as specifically as possible, up and over.

This will freeze the water for a surreal few seconds, and it will feel like you're looking at stop-motion photography -- but in real time. Like this!

It may sound goofy, but if you try it, I'll bet you'll find it diverting and possibly even fascinating, as I do.

+ If you like the book Jane Eyre, and you are at all geeky or a fan of fantasy or sci-fi, then you owe it to yourself to read Jane Slayre. It is SO well done, and I really enjoyed looking through both books simultaneously and seeing which parts of Jane Slayre were word-for-word the same as the source material, and which bits were much the same but slighly altered to fit the situation.

Also, if you were always a little (or a lot!) turned on by Mr. Rochester, I suggest you check out the book Jane Eyrotica. Yep, it's what it sounds like. ;D

* Any Bryan Ferry and/or Roxy Music fans in the metaphorical house? You should know, if you don't already, that the Bryan Ferry Orchestra put out a CD of many Ferry and Roxy songs RE-DONE AS 1920s JAZZ TUNES. Yes. They. Did. The CD is called The Jazz Age, and it is SO awesome!

To wit: here is "Virginia Plain", by Roxy Music:

and here is "Virginia Plain, by the Bryan Ferry Orchestra:

So...there are a ton of other things that I notice and enjoy, which I'm not sure that everyone has taken the time to notice and enjoy. I plan to revisit this topic quite a bit. (I'm also one of those people who delights in using a jukebox to play Amateur DJ to the entire restaurant.) When will the next post be? Who can say? To quote Dirk Gently: "Pray God I am not too soon!"

One of the podcasts I listen to and love is called The Great Detectives of Old-Time Radio. I shall emulate the host.

This is Kat Finger, signing off.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

written before midnight, posted after midnight - and now, goodnight

(Okay...wrote this one actually today, unlike the other two I posted today, which were not actually written today.  It appears that I sort of wrote it once before already (entitled I Hope Perfectionism Falls Down the Stairs and Gets Gout). Well, too bad.  I wrote it today (okay, technically, since it is after midnight, it was in fact yesterday...) and I'm posting it not-today-but-feels-like-today-because-I-haven't-gone-to-bed-yet.
Ah, makes for some interesting sentences.)

I have some things I have to "work out", personally, and I always mean to get around to writing, and I think better when I can write it down, so...
"Problem solved!"
It may not be interesting to ANYONE but me, however, writing it here and there results in
= collecting paper = too much, so am now going to be doing sort of diary/website/etc
on this blog. Probably no-one reading anyway; suits me fine if it's just me & maybe a friend or two peering at it.

The thing is...
when I am away from a screen or paper (really I hardly ever have written anything on a screen, only some poems in the college computer lab a lifetime ago --
still, as mentioned b/f, there is too much paper)
anyway, I come up with insights, minor "voila"s, etc, bits of things -
so many thoughts and it's hard to hold them if i don't type with closed eyes they will disintegrate
i will get hung up b/c the thoughts they are such a tide
so yeah, I was upstairs and having thoughts i wanted to put into a blog, like
"indecision kills"
Grr - I came straight downstairs and started typing, with my eyes closed == but I had already lost the thoughts as I began to type.
I know that perfection is my enemy, and so is form and expectation (and sometimes self-in(tro)spection)
I wonder if i am the only one who write (types) "blind" - out of sheer necessity?
i know the distraction element is so incredible in my mind at any given time
One thing I listened to was radio remix - tonight's show informed it somehow but how?
I remember that the in between times of life informed was what i was going to type about yesterday
all swept away now by new thoughts but what were they? they are leaking out of my head the more seconds pass that i am away from their original conception
radio the man was talking about bit bits various flotsam and jetsam and puts them together well that is what this blog is going to be b/c that's what
it was meant to be
we'll see
but anyway there are things in the emails to retrieve
and yesterday I was thinking about the in between moments of everyday life and maybe how I am, when in those in-between moments? But I can't remember exactly.
GAH! so frustrating!!!!!
I've written a thousand opening sentences for blogs, in my head, but they never stay long enough for me to put them IN the blog.

This will be the next blog entry anyway - screw it.

Free Writing on a Thursday Night Most Likely Months Ago

(this was actually written, I think, sometime early in 2013??? Apparently it was a Thursday)
(btw love MGee & NCIS in general so title is a nod to that)

Blank page - aaaaugghh!

So: Freewriting...
 - humidity sucks - "too much information/runnin' through my brain" - what is most and least interesting to write here, what's good enough or not enough? - Fascinating cat : will he wink back? - sky gets dark so fast, once it starts - where do all the thoughts go when you try to chase them around and corral them they dry up, disappear? puff of smoke - if I open up something in my brain just right, a torrent comes out - thought torrent - if it could just leak it directly through the pen but it's not a pen it's my fingers on keys; if only one of my fingers could double as a pen; stupid brain full of thoughts at all the wrong times then they hide if torrent is required! It figures, those klutzes; still better to at least spill some thoughts - they get SO majorly backed up in me then fester yes sit around and mildew-  not good precious must get out and shake thoughts loose always think better flows better when I'm moving don't know why - "movin' on from town to town" - aha: all the songs that have moving in the title maybe I'll make into a list; could make another blog called Free Space "watch this space" always a new different list or observation or just random words -  btw I highly recommend magnetic poetry even if you have no room on the fridge just attach something magnetic to the wall - "over me, over you/over everybody" - heavy the laptop is, and such a weak battery, so not actually as portable as I'd imagined - still a vast improvement over monitor and stays-in-one-place PC - was listening to a good episode of either Talk of the Nation or Charlotte Talks, on NPR, about technology of maps on phones and soon even in the lens of your glasses; it could cut you off from the world maybe - got to be careful of that - it is so important to walk down to the pond, tiny and polluted though it is, just to see maybe one frog, hear six or more frogs' enormous and eerie voices, and see tadpoles actually jump just a bit out of the water coming to the surface to get food. A better memory would help, in re: how thoughts flow so much better when I'm moving mustn't wreck the car after all when brilliance (okay maybe more like inspiration) hits or when epiphanies occur - still working on the "perfect" dictaphone set-up for car.  "Too much information/ drivin' me insane" - how odd, the sheer volume of ideas that someone has already had, thus the feeling 'it's as though this song was written for me!', 'how did he know I'd feel that way?', nothing new under the sun and all that rot yeah yeah, but sometimes it's the juxtaposition of when you hear the song just on the heels of what your see or when you think of the song just as you've heard words the song describes or leads to the words pointing a path down the runway straight into Sting's voice and tight bass and guitar and that perfect sax climbing and dipping over and over....  It's hard to just stream, let all words out, not self-edit especially hard to hit right keys when eyes closed so it's a good thing I took typing in high school (do kids even take typing anymore?) helps to have your hands hover above the board, hit the keys as they were trained to do long ago -  my grandmother knew shorthand; looks like hieroglyphics to me - lots of things we're losing as I grow older, as people go away and years pass - we lose shorthand, languages, some arts and crafts - one major thing we are losing or have lost is to take time to do a thing or make a thing - when there was no shortcut to cooking or cleaning it wasn't maybe better quite, but more real - it's so hard to remember to Be Here Now, but, of course, it's not always due to  technology...I used to burrow deep inside my own soul not just inside my mind it was like I took my mind and therefore my self down into the pit of my stomach so that only a warm husk of a body was sitting in the seat it was there to hold a place to look at but vacant because my entire soul was locked far within the interior well, sightless no sound no awareness of surroundings of people of furtive looks of snickers - but of course also losing awareness of the good parts I would especially do this when in church youth group functions...funny how much nicer, healthier, less 'dangerous' an environment you can get amongst a bunch of D&D-playing drama-geek gamers than you sometimes do on a youth group mission trip. Satisfaction, that's what I need to work on: yes, work on Being Here Now, and on being satisfied and not always questing after more or better, or wondering if I'm missing something-  must get out of my own head more often!
Yikes -- 10 pm and no dinner yet -- so this is the end of this blog.  Happy Thursday to all, and to all a good night.