I was in India when my dear Mother died, I rushed back via various flights to join with my brothers and friends.
It was (still is) all a blur, so many details missed up through it all, though as is my custom, I assembled oddities in a scrapbook and made annotations along the way.
As such, evidence, including: a boarding pass for the worst flight ever; a list of tasks to complete rapidly to leave Joy guesthouse in Auroville by taxi to Chennai airport; and a poem which I can’t at this moment remember who wrote/gave to me. Was it you?
My university journey in general, and Evergreen college time specifically, had many starts and stops taking in total from 1987 at Utah Technical/Valley Community College to 2004 graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Inter-disciplinarian studies at Evergreen in Olympia, WA.
Digression: While there are times I regret not having an “usual” university experience which I had anticipated being an “outstanding student” during much of my school time, there are some advantages of being a non-traditional student of having more diversity of age and background and expectation in the classes.
Anyway, along this journey, my pal Jay Stewart and I restarted Evergreen doing a class (something about Global Management and Leadership) which was held in-person on Olympia campus one complete weekend a month, with online work filling the time between.
[Noting: this was “early days” online learning which was an interesting thing to observe. Plus, the comprehensive weekends allowed you to do a lot of group work in a short period of time.]
Yeah, Evergreen in particular is particularly in love with “group work” and we had various group projects, some of which we could choose our group and some we were assigned a group… Ostensibly to teach us to work with people we weren’t necessarily familiar with or whatever.
Now, my usual inclination is to be that “person who drags everyone with them and makes a fun community out of the whole thing” but I was determined not to do that but, sort of ended up that way as much of the group floundered and spent more time talking about “why they couldn’t do things” than they did actually doing anything, and spinning useless energy on deciding when and how we would meet to talk about how and when we would do things. Generally very frustrating.
On the day of the presentation, some members went completely off script thinking that they were so fucking brilliant and loquacious they should just change everything on the fly because they were super good and a 10th grade debate class or something and I was fantastically unimpressed. (hey look i was learning!)
Our presentation with something about reforming labour laws in sweatshops or building up unions in emerging economies or promoting economies while protecting environment… something like that. So, I wrote a couple of plays (note to self: find these plays and publish them) set in a Central Asian, post-Soviet country (called Stanastan in the finished work) and did my favourite sorta arts-and-crafts part of making giant backdrops on refrigerator boxes with powder tempura paint. They were spectacular – ha!
I was so frustrated at the end of the talk that the prop some cells were left for custodians or late night ravers to dispose of, but in going through old notebooks, I found some sketches of my mock-ups.
Of course the finished works were even more majestic :) and interesting but looking at them brought back the flashback of just dealing with a bunch of hangers-on in the group. Probably a bad thing that that’s my memory but there were some other part of the class I enjoyed I suppose,…
I remember a presentation about poet-dissident-president Vaclav Havel and the frequent requirement of public speaking in the class (obviously) was a benefit for me. Plus hanging out with Jay during our clandestine lunches was cool.
As it goes, I went on to do some more of these kind of weekend classes, in some cases, going out to the Aberdeen campus studying legal/judicial systems, economies and privacy with a notion to go to law school which fortunately, did not pan out.
Once upon a time in 1992, I hitch-hiked around Germany (and other Western European countries) experienced many hi-jinks and met up with my dear pal Trevor in a magical, fairytale town near the Rhine River called Rhodt unter Rietburg.
To earn some Deutsche Marks, we would gather chestnuts in the woods, and sell them to the tourists who enjoyed eating Kastanien, boiled, while drinking the excellent local wine.
While passing time at our “stand,” I painted the local environs.
Now, with the wonders of the Internet, I can find photos of the scenes I only remember has faded watercolour pencil sketches (i did not take a camera).
In this case, one of “crazy” King Ludwig’s summer villa/castle of some kind… Resplendent with ancient grape vines in the foreground.
In my #daveo50 “personal archaeology“ project, there are over 160 posts pre-scheduled (before baby), however there are at least another 100 in draft form and then still shelves and boxes filled with treasures…
Ergo: The other day I popped out to holy barn studio for the first time since the baby came home and randomly picked up this notebook and it’s pure gold… a log diary from a road trip with my grandpa through UT, AZ, NM, Mexico etc / with no agenda, no school, many motels, every national & state park & monument, endless diners (incl his flirting with waitresses). i’m posting it here as an “placeholder“ reminder to myself that this project can continue on all year and beyond beyond… so much evidence, so many oddities, such documentation.
I also remember that Douglas Coupland exhibit at Vancouver Art Gallery included a display of his notebooks telling me that “the work is the art“ and in this case, this humble $.35 spiral-bound notebook with a mix of my scribbles and my grandpa’s delicious cursive is “the #art” the rest is ancillary.
“So it is written, so it is done”
PS: This note posted elsewhere regarding this “discovery” of personal archeology:
…My heart stopped so many times while opening up all these archives… I’ve moved so many times and been through so much uncertainty and so much turmoil and chaos in my life that the fact these things survived is truly miraculous and each shred of paper and scribble of handwriting is cherished. My grandpa was a colossal character, a real “big Fish“ type… I’m still not to his country count on my travels or to his level of charm so to see his handwriting and remember that trip is really quite splendid.
Note: I wrote a story about a bit of the trip and specifically one morning on a First Nations “reserve” with a few observations while waiting for something to open (note to self: post that up sometime) and read some of it in a Postcard from Gravelly Beach podcast too as well as a tribute to him in another.
Postal mail is now making the journey across oceans successfully. As such, you are invited to send letters, cards, dossiers and packaged goodness to your forthcoming lil pal Ichiro Stanley Thorvald Olson.
+ Service +
Use your national postal service (assuming they are operational) and/or DHL (better for Japan then FedEx or UPS) or if available in your area, the fantastic “Yamato / Black Cat” courier service.
When using national postal service for packages bigger than a card/letter, use the “Small Packet” option / saves money from “regular” airmail.
If sending books/magazines you can use “Printed Matter” service which again will save money (usually sent via Surface Air Lifted).
You will need to complete a customs declaration including assigning a value. Just add a nominal amount – *we know its priceless* but this is for customs duty, not insurance.
Of course, ensure you have a legible return address in case the system is thwarted by various apocalypse. We will do best efforts to let you know when your kind sentiments have arrived.
+ Notes +
“Due Date” is June 18th but he’s “fully baked” and could come at any time. All is healthy and within normal parameters. He is *very* active. We read and sing to him daily.
Current restrictions mean i (sadly / frustratingly) cannot be present at birth to support and assist dear 藤田良子 (Ryoko) but i can visit for an hour after he arrives :). Our great clinic is advocating on my behalf to the prefectural doctor’s board and hopefully this situation will change before he decides to say hello.
Ryoko’s bag is packed for a 5 day stay at the hospital (including her tea set and snacks) for rest and bonding in a cute tatami room. PS Also right now she’s outside planting seeds and arranging her tools in the the glorious tool shed.
Keep the cards and letters coming – all are enjoyed and appreciated.
Postal mail has been a little bit lean of late due to various restrictions and delays and whatnot but wow, the dam burst big-time with a remarkable packet from Lowell, Massachusetts containing a bonanza of Jack Kerouac ephemera and artifacts, along with a lovely handwritten letter compiled into a mini chap book. There’s more to it than this humble snapshot can contain and taking my time to savour it all (and not shockingly, add stickers to suitcases and laptops).￼
Reciprocation underway but this is a hard one to match > Going to have to pull out all the skills.
Fantastically #grateful for all the mail and today, especially this one.
One of my favourite all-time musicians / song writers is Bill Janovitz (best known for his work in power-pop-post-punk trio Buffalo Tom) also does various solo, soundtrack, books and covers releases. He’s also a real estate agent specializing mid-century modern in Boston area). He’s done weekly “happy hour” live shows during the “situation” starting with making a cocktail then heading down to basement studio to play a set with banter (top notch meanderings) with Buffalo Tom songs, various solos, covers and whatnot. Sometimes joined by daughter Lucy.
The shows are archived on his BillJanovitz.com website (along with plenty other treats). Also meant to tell you he namechecks his neighbour and frequent collaborator – the remarkable Tanya Donnelly who i adore.
Anyhow, Buffalo Tom was never as big as peers (bah!) but seemed like secret stash (and the faves of a certain type of smart sensitive type :)), judging by the barrage of enthusiastic comments and praise, i’m hardly the only one. Given time zones and replay ability, happened to watch while making scrapbooks. This is all. A pleasant moment.
Catching up on some scrap books: A few fresh ones, ￼a few bonus items some old ones,￼ breaking the seal on a few others, organizing odds and ends￼ for future use (and the biographers).
Annotations on individual books if curious. ￼ Note: need more bookshelves, the overhead shots don’t really show the girth.
* Tsuchida Life 2020, part 1 *
Ephemera from “regular life” / normal out and abouts to museums, events, cafés etc., mostly from this year (earlier).
Btw the kanji characters on the left are pronounced “Tsuchida” which mean dirt/soil field/paddy – this is the name of our neighbourhood.
* Baby Book *
Just starting on this one for the new human with various ultrasounds, lists, notes, name ideas, announcements and eventually, maybe some of your cards and letters.
* Nagasaki Usual Days *
This one is well, it’s pretty awesome… from our trip in February (which seems like 1 million years ago) to a remarkable city to visit cousins, ride trains, see some sites, and eat all the food. As such: Tidbits from museums, cafés etc. included, plus various snapshots and notes. Just about done…, But I always say that ;)