Just transcribing poetry notebooks, journals, diaries, and so on on a “typewriter-style” computer input device (a gift from Dome Wonderland) and date-stamping pages when done sometimes, while listening to The Matinée’s new album in kura barn studio in provincial Japan – sometimes squinting, something showing the notebooks (trying to maintain momentum).
Poorly lit, no narration, mediocre posture – working on poetry/musings book: “Circumnavigation, of Sorts” Nov. 2022, Tsuchida, Japan. That’s the full real deal.
Working on establishing rhythm / maintaining momentum by not overthinking + rocking a routine (incense, meditation, tea, lighting, music) and staying on course by writing mantras, keeping great books (both form and content) at hand (Gord Downie, Jack Micheline, Larry Harper, Jason Emde, Isabella Mori, Jack Kerouac), recalling the importance of exploring new forms (recalling REM’s Fables of the Reconstruction), flashback to Grateful Dead, Eugene 1990, and remembering why i am doing this (for Stanley, for Me, for Pals / you) – not like anyone else is obliging me right? – whilst in the Kura barn studio, working on poetry/musings book: “Circumnavigation, of Sorts” Nov. 2022, Tsuchida, Japan.
A rollicking mixed-media revue of a groundbreaking exhibit in Japan featuring a stunningly-reproduced facsimile of the taped-together sc/roll manuscript of what became Jack Kerouac’s seminal, counter-culture-sparking novel “On The Road.”
Blurb: A lively conversation between storymaker Dave Olson and with Professor & President of Beat Studies Assoc., Matt Theado of Kobe City University Dept of Foreign Studies, at BB Plaza Art Museum in Kobe, Japan, summer of 2021 after the event was delayed for a year for *public health conundrums* and re-imagined to include a truly remarkable collection of ephemera, chapbooks, broadsides, posters, typewrtier, records, various editions of On the Road, related book, maps, Japanese language glossary and much more – most provided by Kazu-san of Flying Books of Tokyo.
The fast-placed video includes many artifacts from the exhibit and from the host’s life of travels and evidence of “living beat” to connect the experience to *anyone’s* life (that means “you” if you choose).
Logistics of creating the”authorized forgery/reproduction” of the noted taped-together original manuscript & how the original plan of bringing the original manuscript (and Mr. Jim Canary) was thwarted
The symposium of writers, scholars, translators held at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies (YT archive)
Observations about Jack’s process in writing the work (and dispelling the myth of a benzadrine-induced manic type-athon) including the importance of “working with you got,” notebooks, list taking, knowing where you are going
How he immediately re-typed on “regular paper”, changing names and making ready for publication
Scenes of life of America in transition at the time, the embrace of bohemian culture
So many actions yet forward momentum doesn’t feel forward.
I think its a matter of expectations and “how my brain is a little bit broken” / I purchased a book about brains and whether or not one’s might be broken (or specifically how it is not). Have yet to read.￼
Regardless, when making a laundry list of “things ticked off list” – this month was spectacular! Especially when gauged against my *cough* priorities for the year:
Be a great hubbo and papa
Take steps forward for health
Sort out life admin stuff for the long haul
I.e. ￼Intake to new speciality clinic at Okayama University Hospital plus a follow-up visit, seitai x2, a few walks, cleaning ancestors graves, surviving typhoon warnings (really hard for me), stepping up emergency preparedness, passports, taxes, applications, translations, certifications, notarizations, tickets punched, forms filled out, tolls paid.
Truthfully these “life admin” tasks often feel redundant at least and ridiculous at times (noting: there is a choice to fly under the radar though once you surface, you’d best be prepared to deal with the consensus reality￼) ￼but very required and somehow I do have latent paperwork genetics(?) from both strands tailored for the task when the brain is firing. Problem is the brain doesn’t always fire. ￼(Did you read that article from the Atlantic I’ve been bouncing around?)￼
I mean, loads of all of the above PLUS the “creative life” goodness which sometimes feels elusive happened, ergo: An online poetry reading with really fantastic collaborators; a poem in ￼￼a poetry book which sits on my (one of my several) desk(s)￼; 50+ posts in this very archive – including some detailed mixed-media diaries of healing ramble, stories of adventures, usual ephemera, artifacts, collections and more sort-ganizing in ongoing semantic nuance￼￼; solid handful of video storytimes with arts and crafts, stories and poems￼; many conversations, some of them quite lengthy, with friends – both foreign and domestic – by telephony.
This is even before we dig into ￼￼￼Ryoko’s singing performance, various rehearsals, and loads of arboristing and landscape designing. She amazes me with her patience, creativity, strength and sweetness regularly. ￼
And more important than any of this is ￼playtime with Ichiro almost every morning before school and wonderful hot bathtime every single night. We do puzzles, play music on ukulele, piano and drums￼, all the words tumble out of his mouth but the songs even moreso. And He looks through the scrapbooks of his art and always pulls a book out of his pile eager to explore the words both in English and Japanese. W￼hile on the logistical errand to the big gray city of Osaka, we went to a museum exhibit which was especially for him, for us too but for him, was some kind of amazing heaven of Okamoto Taro.￼￼
++ Almost all meals prepared at home, laundry is always caught up dishes almost always, house generally tidy despite an active toddler and two parents with many hobbies￼. ￼
So when to lay it all out, the score is rather high but at the same time, and very eager to do more big creative things. I know they wait patiently amidst stacks of furious notebooks, sheets of unfiltered papers, digital documents with various suffixes –￼and I know the time is coming as I think about these projects all the time in the long hot baths. Will you read them if I make them? The words in the books that is￼￼?
Now the weather will cool, I will get IVs on the weekly, drink magical traditional Chinese medicine potions, other “off label/experimental” medications, I will find my peace, ￼￼and I will pluck the things as ripened.
I didn’t even mention the wild boar attack.
Let’s make a start! ￼Tomorrow comes photographs and possible live Jazz in the streets.
We will travel by bus. the three of us together. October ahoy! ￼￼￼
Tell your stories in the way that feels comfortable, like your favorite pair of shoes.
Document in the way it feels natural to you. Doesn’t have to be a blog, can be a notebook with colored pencils, or buy yourself a fountain pen, or an audio recorder.
Indeed, whatever medium/form”add context and interestingness to tell a story,
Fck stats make art.
PS Vincent van Gogh was a heck of a letter writer, Henry David Thoreau was a solid botanist, Bob Dylan is a great painter, Joni Mitchell even more so, Nick Cave is an exceptional organizer… shall I go on? No no, you go on. (And let me know what you make)
The idea started at a sort-of-secret-hideout with single malt, in conversation with a (now-former) mayor of Vancouver, his chief of staff, and the CEO of a significant company. Realizing the mayor didn’t really know a lot of renegade Vancouver stories, especially around counter-culture, I riffed off a few and later thought might be useful, amusing/educational/entertaining, or whatever for a wider audience.
Thanks for the sweet note. Sometimes I wonder what I do all the archiving for but a lot of the reason is because when the illness started ( #MECFS) In 2013, my “brain broke” and I sort of had to relearn how to do everything from writing into painting whatever so found that making scrapbooks, postcards and later “sort-ganizing” helped rebuild the neural pathways.
When I went to India to the Ayurveda clinic, I can still remember the day the brain started sparking again and then I tried starting to write and paint. Was a little clumsy so I filed everything under “old man punk rock“ :) and made some drawings of the neighborhood and unforgiving oil pastels which quickly attracted a throng of fellas around me who I snapped with a Lomo camera (note: evidenced somewhere here in this archive).
I spend a lot of time in bed still so it’s kind of like playing a video game or puzzle or something for me… finding the right context for all the miscellanea. Imagining about containers in the bath and filling them with stories in all sorts of mediums, both in and out of my fog.
As for the handmade scrapbooks, comes from our mutual love of notebooks etc. – which I don’t keep near as orderly as you do – but now they’ve all sort of come full circle back to me, I’m enjoying transcribing the scribbles, putting checkmarks on the pages that are finished, and organizing on a semi-climate-controlled shelf. All shapes and sizes and formats, eras, all intertwined. Mostly (vaguely at least) inventoried.
My own handmade scrap journals are so much fun to make as it gives me that mixed media/interdisciplinary thrill of playing with tools and sharp objects and paper and the finished result is something that very few people understand the endless possibilities.
Anyhow, thanks for your kind words, honestly it’s been a really tough summer so far for me, I just can’t seem to bounce up so it’s nice to just be “seen”.
One of these days, I’ll hook you up with a scrap journal of your own if you would like. I know you’re very partial to your own specifications so I might go a little bit off script if that’s all right.
Do you keep travel ephemera and other clippings, oddities, coasters, matchbox, ticket stubs etc.? What do you do with them all?
Pausing in the Kura barn from arranging dongles, cables, tripods – trying to upgrade tech aspect of telling stories – Dave starts with Kiana Brassest singing in the background while adding notes about decades of story making & thoughts about continuing with vigor.
Then into a recent Osera magazine cameo from a fermented foods tour (including saké, beer, cheese, wine, miso, shoyu…) in Maniwa, Okayama (which is also sorta son Ichiro’s first publication).
Next onto recent books by post including:
“Waiting for Now” world-traveling “Scarborough dude” Ken Bole *often very* candid letters from Japan, Nigeria, Thailand, Canada etc to friends and family (with numerous coincidences and intersections with my own life).
“High White Notes” – David S Wills’ brand-new literary biography of Gonzo writer/journalist renegade Hunter S Thompson – available from his Beatdom publishing imprint + riffs include namechecks for Dr. HST’s book of letters “Proud Highway” and references to Joseph Conrad (re: Importance of dedication to art), Henry Miller (re: Big Sur etc), and Jack Kerouac (re: enemy of my enemy is my friend – if he could get write about drugs and get published…)
“First Third” – beat, prankster, railroader, hero “Adonis of Denver” 50th anniversary of Neal Cassady’s partial autobiography, inscribed by his daughter Jami Cassady on behalf of Neal Cassady Estate –including postcards with noted photos of, and by, the elegant poet, photographer, lover and muse Carolyn Cassady – with the aim of “Keeping the legacy alive” ++ a bit about Ken Kesey & the Merry Pranksters Further bus.
Finally, a whole rundown of poets Gary Snyder and Wang Ping spending time together at Kitkitddizze in Sierra Nevada –working on translation, amplification and edification including coffee, Han Shan poems, Hanko stamps, sons Gen and Kei, Lagunitas IPA and gyoza dumplings and cowboy steaks, the history of Axe Handles poem (and translation thereof), Snyder’s new book “This Present Moment” and me at “home” (finally) in a red velvet robe with coffee cup by potter Marty Thurston Kendall of Utah knowing while our journey is our own, there is precedent for path before (like I can be 91 hanging out with my son Ichiro, living well and making poems in a barn).
+ finding stride, making things and preparing for others +
Yeah, don’t know, maybe you noticed but im making a lot of audio/video recently, and semi-importantly – trying to step-up my technical production standards. It’s not really my forté. Requires lots of adapters, extenders, dongles and testing… I just like to do the part where I tell stories.
First, a snappy yet functional outfit to fit the autumn rain (rare here in our area), a bite to eat, another coffee, half an hour of paperwork (during which I try to ignore all the emails I haven’t replied to and resist the urge to edit another video clip I have on standby about a few new books I received my post), and go sort-ganize to get ready for another shoot tomorrow.
This next dispatch introduces and shares some artifacts from my 1996/7 documentary film about hemp in all it’s forms. specifically the segment from Olympia WA’s capital dome in the midst of California’s groundbreaking proposition 215.
Will set up the clip in studio, roll the film clip, and come back with a few pieces of ephemera, catch ups about some of the faces you’ll see & foreshadow the following week’s live Q&A chat with hopefully a special guest or two if I can figure out some technology. Ugh.
I’m at the hospital for most of the day on Thursday which means Friday is going to be a rest and recovery day.
PS have you watched my recent videos/listen to recent audio? No big deal, just think you might enjoy.
In reply to someone’s “hot take” about how major media doesn’t give a shit about poetry (whatever)…. I replied:
Do any poets give a shit about major media?
Roll your own chap books, build your own culture, wander widely to find your audience, make *things* every day, stick poems to message boards in grocery stores & telephone poles next to lost cat flyers, mail 500 poetic postcards a year, find the renegade youth to mentor, transcribe stories from grandmothers, but every used great copy of poetry you come across for $3 and abandon them on buses with a note, go *everywhere* just to find coffee shops with a good table in the back corner and write so fast you’re inky pens run out.
Then paint poems on post boxes, make a painting of the poem on the post box and do an exhibit with other paintings of post boxes with poems (preferably at a goat farm in the country)…
Strangely, people show up, people ask questions, people want to be part of whatever it is that they’re doing even if you or them don’t understand it.
Doing these things, I find very little time for erstwhile mass media or even submissions to *highbrow* literary journals (plus rejection letters need a return address and well, I don’t always have one).
Poetry is for you to create and share with those who seek the goods. Carry on accordingly.