July (promise to finish 23-31entries today)

Tuesday 31

Painting--again; and Art.

Monday 30

My Day.

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"Brick and Board Installation," BirchLane

(sound representing skateboard rolling)
Grab your board & go sidewalk surfin' with me

Don't be afraid to try the greatest sport around
(Bust your buns, bust your buns now)
It's catchin' on in every city & town
You can do the tricks that surfers do
Just try the Wise-a-moto or the Coff-in-2
Why don't you grab your board & go sidewalk surfin' with me?

You'll prob'ly wipe out when first try to shoot the curl
(Bust your buns, bust your buns, yeah)
Takin' gas & a bush takes a lot of nerve
Just watch for mopeds & pedestrians too
They'll bug you sharp cayabunga now & skate right on through
Why don't you grab your board & go sidewalk surfin' with me?

(instrumental, with skateboard sound)

Just try the Wise-a-moto or the Coff-in-2
Why don't you grab your board & go sidewalk surfin' with me?

So get your girl & take your tandem down the street
(Bust your buns, bust your buns now)
& she'll know you're an asphalt athlete
Yo, brave man, now give me a kick
But if the sidewalk's cracked, you'd better pull out quick
Why don't you grab your board & go sidewalk surfin' with me?

(repeat & fade):
(Skateboard with me, come get your skateboard with me)
Grab your board & go sidewalk surfin' with me

Jan & Dean, "Sidewalk Surfin" 1965

And searching for these lyrics I found this:


We surfers are supposed to be parasitic beach bums who achieve nothing in life, right? Try telling that to South California surfer Chris Carter, a wave rider from the age of 12 who afterwards graduated in Journalism, and edited Surfing magazine for 5 years in the early 80's. Attempting to break into TV, Carter wrote a pilot script entitled Cool Culture (inspired by California beach life) but it was never screened.

However, his gift for writing was remembered, and he later found work at 20th Century Fox where he created and currently produces The X-Files. Not bad for a beach bum - world wide fame, creative royalties, a classic series, and the chance to work daily with Gillian Anderson

I know, dear diary, this past week had been devoid of content; music, music, music--and a few memories. But music, like perfume, triggers a memory; and I am off and running; make that remembering; like "Sidewalk Surfin" from 1965 (1965!); I spent a few weeks that summer with my best friend Andy and his family in Surf City (honest), Long Beach Island, New Jersey at a house a few doors from the beach. We would wake and eat, play football on the beach, look for girls, sleep, eat some more, look for more girls; this was our summer mandala; it was--our path; sun, sand, girls. I don't remember skateboarding in Surf City.

Sunday 29

Shady Grove.

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I spend the morning painting (interior walls; not canvasses), listening to My Back Porch on WRSI, and I hear Shady Grove by Quicksilver Messenger Service, a song I have always enjoyed and never fails to bring back a flood of memories.

Cheeks as red as the blooming rose
Eyes of the deepest brown
You are the darling of my heart
Stay until the sun goes down
Shady Grove, my little love
Shady Grove I know
Shady Grove, my little love
I'm bound for Shady Grove
......more here.

We are all in Michael's dorm room in Founder's Hall, Manhattanville College. It is 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning and we have been partying all night.

Saturday 28

She's back. She's bold. She's bright. She's beautiful. It is 12:30 a.m. I am knocking on the front screen door of a stranger's house. I am wearing my blue and red Dominoes hat and jacket. I am holding a hot pepperoni pizza. "Hello," I say. "Hello." I can see the stranger sitting to the right of the door. "Hello. Hello." He is wearing only a beach towel. "Hello. Dominoes here." He is a statue. He is barely breathing. "Hello." I knock a few more times. I think he is going to one of two things; no, three things; not wake up, wake up and take the pizza, wake up and drop his towel. He doesn't wake. I leave with the pizza. I get into my car. I push Cruel Inventions into the tape player and Sam Phillips sings to me:

black niagara 
of control spilling down to culture mock
you can tell me
feet will land on the ground, safe, and walk
tripping over gravity
missing logic
tripping over gravity
hicks on fire
commuter virus has killed the balance ball
stained with heaven
always washing our legs won't move at all
tripping over gravity
missing logic
tripping over gravity
free thought pirates
neon fights flashing rights on concrete lace
sleepless tired
walls of print chatting cage on jokers face
tripping over gravity
missing logic
tripping over gravity

Three months in 1995 or 1994 I delivered pizzas for Dominoes from 5:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. I drove a Mazda and I drove with only two tapes: Cruel Inventions and Nirvana. When I arrived at the nursing home I am greeted by an old lady in pajamas. "Oh, Tom, is that for me." Tom? "Oh, Tom you've come all the way from South Carolina for me?" South Carolina? "Oh, Tom, come, sit, here with me on the front porch." I sit with her for a few minutes and she talks and I listen. I say "here take these to your friends" handing her two pizzas and I turn to leave tears swelling in my eyes. Once I had to knock on the back door at a dark house on a dark street. "Come in my friend. Let me show you something." Show me something? "It's just over here," he continues. "Down in the basement." If this is my time, this is my time; there is no turning back. "Here. Follow me down the stairs," he says. "Watch you head." I take my Dominoes hat off and rest it on top of the pizza box. "It's a bit dark," he says. "Be careful." He leads me with his hand to a corner room and says "Look, I built this for my son." I don't know whether I should be scared or speechless; I think I am a bit of both and I all i can say is "Wow. You did? It's a beautiful room. I really must be going." And as I turn to walk back up the basement stairs I hear him still back near his son's room sobbing. Missing logic. Tripping over gravity. It was almost always mysterious and if the night was not filled with the mysterious, the unknown, it was filled with sex, scenes from a night exploding into super realism, paintings of couples in hot tubs, students drunk at Smith College, money left on a work-bench at the farm in Hatfield where I always was instructed to not ring, nor knock, just open garage door, take money, set pizza on work-bench, and quietly leave.

The funcition of art? Singer/songwriter Sam Phillips proposes one, paraphrasing writer Thomas Merton. "The piece should point beyond all words into the silence; in other words, inspire people," she says. "I'm hoping there is something in my songs the listener can relate to, think about, and ultimately become inspired by."

Friday 27

Thinking About My Friends. Today I am thinking about my friends and the way in which they have helped me with BirchLane. A friend from Germany writes:

I hear music...and it sounds like bells
I feel like my head is high
I wish...I could meet...every one
Meet them all over again
Bring them up to my room
Meet them all over again
Everyone's up in my room......

......I'm still thinking...Thinking about my friends
In my garden...moments
But now I'm speaking out
Speaking about my friends
Now I'm speaking out
Thinking about my friends

Talking Heads, 77, "New Feeling" an excerpt

Thursday 26

The Forested Landscape. She knows from her geology class and from her secret lover that hidden deep within Northfield Mountain lies a pumped-storage generating plant capable of producing one million kilowatts of electricity. Water from the nearby Connecticut River is pumped to a 300-acre resevoir on top of the mountain. Held untill a period of high electrical demand, the water is then released to flow through the pump turbines producing electricity.

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Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Wednesday 25

"The spiritual life is achieved only by listening to all of life and learning to respond."

"To live without listening is not to live at all; it is simply to drift in my own backwater."

Joan Chittister, Wisdon Distilled from the Daily

Tuesday 24

Listening. In my Dad's apartment are four brown "Pilgrim" coffee mugs. He has had these for as long as I can remember. My Mom and I would sit at the kitchen table when I was home from college and drink coffee together before I drove her to work. I am drinking coffee from the mug with a turkey on it (the other three have pilgrims painted on them). A special friend once wrote "we are the only creatures with poetry. The things that exisit are the learn is to question." I like that. I wish I had written it. I am trying to remember this morning as my Dad still sleeps. And if to learn is to awaken, then if we practice the sacrament of the precious moment, we constantly experience a re-birth; I see this morning a garden with many steps and a waterfall; I step from stone to stone; moment to moment; and like a dog (that "animal mentality"), I hope, super-attunded, focused to that which is there, here. I woke this morning from a dream; it had happened but I was dreaming; Daryl and I are in an outdoor pool in winter in Maine, taking a break from skiing (me) and snowboarding (he). Mist is rising from the pool. Snow surrounds us; and the mountains rise like mythic creatures into the dark and misty sky. All is quiet. All in calm. He is the holy infant. And here is this pilgrim mug from which I drink. I am reading a wonderful article a friend wrote entitled "Focal Points Lead the Eye."

I demand that my garden nurture my mind, my body & my spirit and that it must do this from both inside my house and outside in the garden. How to have that type of garden and busy career depends upon a carefully chosen pallet of plants and the placement of those plants.

Tara Dillard

And she quotes A.S. Byatt:

The divide is not between the servants and the served, between the leisured and the workers, but between those who are interested in the world and its multiplicity of forms and forces, and those who merely subsist.

Again, back to the sacrament of the moment. And later, in the afternoon, my Dad and I sit and read poolside. He, "The New Yorker."   Me, "All in All," prose poems by Laura Chester.

"Bruce," he says, "I can't believe Danielle will be 17 in a few weeks."

"I know. I can't believe it either."

"I remember how when you lived in Weehawken she would wait for you to return from working every afternoon, standing on her foot-stool at the front window and when you finally arrived home and she saw you she would scream Daddy. Daddy. Daddy."

And sitting there listening to my Dad, I heard Danielle; I heard her say "Daddy. Daddy. Daddy." And then this song came to mind:

Across the evening sky, all the birds are leaving
But how can they know it's time for them to go?
Before the winter fire, I will still be dreaming
I have no thought of time

For who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?

Sad, deserted shore, your fickle friends are leaving
Ah, but then you know it's time for them to go
But I will still be here, I have no thought of leaving
I do not count the time

For who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?

And I am not alone while my love is near me
I know it will be so until it's time to go
So come the storms of winter and then the birds in spring again
I have no fear of time

For who knows how my love grows?
And who knows where the time goes?

Sandy Denny, 1966

Sacrament of the moment. Eudora Welty died today. She wrote:

"Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories," she wrote in 1984. "Listening for them is something more acute than listening to them. I suppose it's an early form of participation in what goes on. Listening children know stories are there. When their elders sit and begin, children are just waiting and hoping for one to come out, like a mouse from its hole."

Monday 23

Dad.  My Dad and I are sitting outside his apartment in Fort Lee, New Jersey, poolside. Later, at dinner, I will tell my Dad the parable of Mary and Martha, which when he sees me reading Paul's writings he asks "what is that all about," and I answer "strangely enough it is about the Sacrament of the Moment .

Luke 10:38-42

[38] As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. [39] She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. [40] But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

[41] "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, [42] but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Paul; Alamut, July 22

I've been telling myself this a lot lately: the artist is someone who allows things to happen to themselves. It's a matter of receptivity (think of Orpheus tuning his car radio dial to be able to hear messages from the underworld in Cocteau's version of the story). The danger though, is showing too much enthuasism for the messages (obsession: you said on the phone obsession / obsessiveness is way of 'ordering' grief. I said it was a way of 'ordering' fear.) for what appears to her as simply noise and thereby lose her, ie. either Eurydice (if you're being faithful to the myth) or that other sweet thing you're trying so hard to seduce (if you're not). For she'll inevitably say: "I don't understand you."

......Re 'every day presents another chance to start anew' discussed during yesterday's phone call. I've been thinking a lot lately about how one 'pumps' oneself up with coffee -- blood -- stress from the day's get go, pumps oneself up with obligations (a full agenda), responsibility (tons of work) or (dare I mention what you claimed?) service. One 'girds one's loins', one 'steels' oneself, one 'politicizes' oneself, but to what purpose? Simply to take action? Or simply to be able to take action, where any action at all is seen as a move to escape the gravity well?

......("Just give me animal mentality...").

Earlier, when I first arrived at his apartment, he asked if I ever thought about finding a different job (he meant different industry/occupation). And I said "yes" if you mean joining the Peace Corps and helping people in Africa; "yes" if you mean being the chef/owner of a Bistro and having my own show on FoodTV; "yes" if you mean being head curator of the department of photography or Northern Painting at the MET; "yes" if you mean moving the whole family to a warm climate and working as a private gardener. And again, later, at the restaurant, there is a sign that reads:

"A man of only words and not deeds is like a garden of only weeds."

I want peace, love, and happiness. I want to run with Betsy along the white beaches of Barbados, visit the great gods of Greece, fertile fields of France, drink wine with new friends and listen to the old, fat, barber sitting on a stool sings arias from Norma and La Traviata; I digress--Life is short and unpredictable. Practice the Sacrament of the Moment. Listen. I am helping my Dad, who is on crutches due to his recent knee surgery. He tells me how he misses our house in Ramsey, New Jersey and remembers the vegetable garden Betsy and I had in the backyard, the year we lived with him soon after my mother died; he says he misses her all the time, my Mom, and I say to him I do,too--her love, her smile, her touch, her giving, her happiness, her way with my friends. I keep coming back to the story of Martha and Mary. In church the minister said it is a parable about listening to what is important now; to grasp the moment, to be thankful for the moment; the sacrament of the moment.

Sunday 22

Sacrament of the Moment. What I write I heard in church this morning. What gives our life meaning and fulfillment? Life is the constant sacrament of the little moments. A glance. A touch. A love. A ritual. Eternity breaks into time; moments become eternal. Not quantity of moments; quality of moments. What is it one will remember of me when I die? The precious moments felt like eternity when we were together. We can find it helpful every day to remember this. And summer seems like an ideal opportunity to learn to live in the moment, a season when we have time to see, to experience, to live life more fully in the fullness of the moments we are given. (parable of Martha and Mary)

Driving in my car in the afternoon I heard this:

SALT RAIN marks the debut of an extraordinary new talent on the world music scene.  A singer born in the U.K. to South Indian parents, Susheela Raman's bold and sensuous voice weaves the music of India with sounds from her Western upbringing, celebrating the collision of European, African, and Asian musical cultures.  Empowered by her Indian classical training but not limited by it, Susheela maps out a new musical landscape of intense beauty and invention.  

And this is a fun place. Betsy and I heard him yesterday on the radio right after hearing Frank Zappa sing

I might be movin' to Montana soon
Just to raise me up a crop of
Dental Floss

Raisin' it up
Waxen it down
In a little white box
I can sell uptown

By myself I wouldn't
Have no boss,
But I'd be raisin' my lonely
Dental Floss

Raisin' my lonely
Dental Floss

This was one of the first songs we listened to when we met; too many years ago now to count. We were driving home from a two hour hike at Northfield Mountain when it came on the radio. Walking up the trails of the mountain it was hot, where the paths were mostly exposed to the sun and only cooling when we entered a deeper part of the forest, a pleasant place on the mountain exploding finally into a expansive architectural painting with a mamoth reservoir and rock ledges at its top. There was little sound except for the chipmunks punctuating are steps as we slogged on through the heat. Sometimes we'd see the chipmunk before it screeched and scurried back into the woods.

Saturday 21

Little Girl Blue. What happened?

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I am taking a shower. My dad is making dinner. Or so I thought. He opens the bathroom door and says "what happened to you?" I know what he is trying to say. "I am really disappointed in you." I can't blame him. I wish this water would simply burn me away, wash me away, or at least my fears. Half of my life I am afraid what people are thinking. The other half I am afraid of what I am thinking.

Friday 20

King Street. From the edge of the Northampton parking lot on King Street, if you look north, you'll see Wendy's, McDonald's, Taco Bell, Dominoes, Agway, Ponderosa, Pizza Hut and further north where the eye can not see but the mind can follow, Wal-Mart. Every town in America has a King Street. I drive on this street every day. Today, for the first time, I walked along King Street. I saw

Thursday 19

Found Art.

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"Sand" installation, Birch Lane, July 19, 2001

Wednesday 18

Sensitive Precision.

il desiderio di riaverti, fosse
pure in un solo gesto o un'abitudine

and this:

eppure non mi da riposo
sapere che in uno o in due noi siamo una sola casa.

Eugenio Montale, excerpts from "Xenia," inspired by the memory of his wife, Mosca. (In English here.)

Tuesday 17

First Love & Other Paintings.

I am working on a short story. And because of the great speed at which I write (one sentence or two a day--if not one word or two), I might have this finished in time for Christmas.

Monday 16

A beginning begins somewhere:

I love her and I will probably never meet her. I want to tell you what I can about her.

I enjoyed reading about the French dancer Sylvie Guillem in yesterday's New York Times Arts & Leisure Guide. She will dance her version of "Giselle" this week at the New York State Theater as part of Lincoln Center Festival 2001.

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"Part of the attraction of this "Giselle" is, of course, simply the opportunity to Ms.Guillem dance. Now 36, the tall, slim former gymnast was only 19 when Rudolf Nureyev, then director of the Paris Opera Ballet, named her solo etolie, or principal. Four years later, after a clash with Nureyev, she left Paris and joined the Royal Ballet in London as a principal guest artist. And since then, both with the Royal Ballet and other companies, her reknown as one of the world's most exciting dancers has grown steady."

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Mirror Self-Portrait for Vogue

In talking about her retooling of Giselle, she says:

"I told the dancers, 'I have tried to give you all something, to giv you a personality, someone who had a life before, during and, one imagines, after the scene.' But certain rules of theater also have to be respected because there can be too much freedom. When the main dancers separate, you see an action in one corner. It's like a soccer game, you follow the ball, you follow the action."

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So it is dance in the morning and in the evening it is skateboarding. I take Daryl, and his Birthday money, to the Boardroom in downtown Northampton to buy a new skateboard. It is phat. And while Daryl was deciding on exactly what kind of ball bearings to get for his new skateboard, I discovered this cool and rather well designed skateboarding zine. Check it out on-line here.

Sunday 15

Another Party at BirchLane.

And I'm the Chef:

Grilled Coriander-Honey Chicken
Mediterranean Tortellini Salad
Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, & Mom's New Jersey Style Potato Salad
Lime Soy Sesame Cucumber & Red Onion Salad
Green Salad
Fruit Salad (Betsy)
Chocolate Chip Cookies (Betsy)
Brownies and Ice Cream (Betsy)

This was a party to welcome Camile (from Hawaii) and Rich   (from Philadelphia) to BirchLane; two students from last summer's program at Ithaca College that Danielle attended.

Saturday 14

The Party.

Daryl's 13th birthday party was scheduled to start at 7:00, but by 6:45 five boys had already arrived, one bearing super-bass boom-box speakers to hook up the Daryl's stereo. And so the music began: Prince, JayZ, Michael Jackson, Ice (Ice? where did he come from? ah, I get it; a joke cd) (Bruce; finish this please)

Friday 13

Who's Afraid of Friday the 13th?

Playing tonight at the BirchLane Cinema:

Friday the 13th
Scary Movie
Nightmare on Elm Street

Thirteen years ago Daryl pushed his way into this world at approximately 3:07 in the morning. This morning I see an old man walking along Route 66 near the field of grass that has as its focal point Mt. Tom in the distance to the southeast. I see him often, walking here, but today he his without his small white poodle--alone he walks and I wonder what has happened to his small friend. Morning to night, the summer Daryl was born the sun was an orange orb that hung in a steel grey sky, a disk behind a curtain; the days were long and we were slow to work or play--the nights thick with a motionless wetness and teaming with the sound of crickets and frogs, sounds that seem to come from a long distance, like a fog horn. What's the point of saying how I felt? Hot. I felt hot. But what's the point saying it now? To remember. To see. To hear. To unearth. Every morning that summer the sun was back in the sky--orange; and the day was always hot and wet; the whole house and everything in it was wet--the kitchen counter was wet, the tables and chairs were wet, the sheets were wet; listless yet still busy in the squirming and crying of a child who, too, was red and hot and wet in his blanket and we would wait to witdraw to the quiet comfort of the front porch at night where if we were so blessed a breeze would swell and rise and blow through the screen to us on our rocking chairs singing "Go to sleep, Go to sleep, go to sleep my baby," and Daryl would sigh and I would pat his back and whisper "yes, I love you, I love you, I love you," and then I would sing or hum another song waiting for sleep to sift through the wet air to us here now silent on the front porch. (add other paragraphs bruce)

Thursday 12

Need I Say More:

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Wednesday 11

Bear on BirchLane in the a.m.  Mark Enrelli and Gillian Welch in p.m. I was enclosing a sase in an envelope to Heather so that she could mail me some mirrorproject postcards (The Field of Dirt is on it), and I was thinking I should also enclose a small gift and as I looked up and out the window I saw this bear walking through my backyard, and then through my basil, pepper, and cukecumber plants.

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Tonight Betsy and I saw Mark Erelli and Gillian Welch at Pearl Street in Northampton. A lot of Oh Brother Where Art Thou kind of music and boy was it great.

Tuesday 10

Une Femme est une Femme. Daryl and I are playing tennis at Smith College but I am thinking about the dream I had this morning. I had been dreaming about A Woman is a Woman--a film I have not seen in at least fifteen years. I know from from the college French Cinema class that Godard was often was in equal measure earnest and mischievous and once said, I believe, in the late 1960s:

I am trying to change the world

Aand in this movie he pays tribute to the American musical. It is a film where Jean-Paul Belmondo makes a reluctant entrance into the apartment of a bickering couple and says, "Make up your mind. I'd hate to miss 'Breathless' – it's on TV." It is also a film where Anna Karina suddenly explodes in joyful abandon, "I'd like to be in a musical with Cyd Charisse and Gene Kelly . . . choreography by Bob Fosse!" According to Yahoo film reviews:

With A WOMAN IS A WOMAN, French director Jean-Luc Godard pays tribute to American musicals in much the same way that his debut feature, the critical and commercial smash hit BREATHLESS, did to American gangster films. The story follows the beautiful Angela (Anna Karina), a strip-tease artist who wants nothing more than to have a baby. Her live-in boyfriend, Emile (Jean-Claude Brialy), doesn't want to refuse and risk sparking major friction between the two. However, fed up with her constant pleading, Emile finally suggests that she shack up with his best friend, Alfred (Jean-Paul Belmondo), and much to Emile’s dismay, she eventually takes his advice. Godard's second feature employs jump cuts and jarring sound mixing--most notably during Karina's strip-tease performances. A WOMAN IS A WOMAN is Godard at his most affectionate and good-natured. He also makes several cinematic in-jokes, including one in which Belmondo's character mentions that he wants to hurry home to watch BREATHLESS, the film that turned Belmondo into a megastar just one year before. Featuring a magnetically cute performance from Karina, who soon after the film became Godard's wife, this loving romantic comedy is a dazzler.

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According to writer Robert Lort:

A pivotal text on Godard, is that by the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, "Three Questions about "Six Fois Deux""2 dealing with a series of TV programs made by Godard in 1976 with Anne-Marie Mieville. Deleuze adjusted Godard's own formula, "not a correct image, just an image", by transposing it into his, "not a correct idea, just an idea."3 The sense being the opening out and experimentation of ideas in a way that does not normalise ideas according to dominant orders. To create a cinematic/philosophical surface where images/ideas are freely able to be experimented on in a non-judgemental, non-hierarchical and non-exclusionary framework. Godard's filmwork is also characteristic of the concept of the "Rhizome" developed by Deleuze and Guattari. Godard's use of short-term ideas, offshoots, disconnected spatial and temporal coordinates, sudden shifts between layers, degrees of speed and slowness, d�rive, and the heterogenous use of structural elements is intensely rhizomatic in form and structure. Deleuze's text on Godard, points out how Godard's filmwork is essentially inbetween; between text and image, cinema and television, sound and vision, passion and politics. If we consider it, the very concept of montage is itself the meaning inbetween, the rupture between the two images, the fissure of intensity created by the juxtaposition. Deleuze goes on to describe this disaggregation as stammering. Which for Godard becomes a visual stammering, to stammer not in one's language, but in how one sees. Where the language of cinema is disassembled, taken down to its elements, to produce a molecular cinema, the twenty-four frames a second. As Godard himself says, it is, "admitting that you're stammering, that you're half blind, that you can read, but not write..." The question is always what is there to see? What is imperceptible? These are Godard's reasons for dissolving linear narrative and normative cinema conventions. The sequences of slow motion, fast forward, repetition, distortions, out of focus and scrambling attempt to deconstruct the viewers senses, to destabilise the perceptual plane. To slow the movement down to see what remains, to speed it up again to see what is revealed, what is lost and what is captured in each frame. It becomes a machinic cinema, brought about by the continual extrapolation and complexification that Godard submits his films to, as part of the editing process. Repeatedly throughout Histoire(s) du Cinema (1989) we see Godard labouring over his film editing machine, as if he were a worker in a factory. Throughout his career, Godard has been increasingly moving more and more towards smaller film crews, verging ever so slowly towards that unobtainable solitude. By reducing the size of film crews, Godard gives himself increased freedom to manipulate, focus and control the output, without the interference of stars, budgets and producers. The use of minimal film crews, is also an attempt to resolve the hierarchy implicit to the filmmaking process, plus it affords him a greater automaticism in the filmmaking process. This increasing verging towards solitude, is something that Deleuze described as "an extraordinarily populous solitude," meaning that this kind of solitude allows him to intensify the interconnectedness of his work, between a plethora of different filmmakers, writers, thinkers and musicians. The music in his films alone has stretched from Beethoven and Mozart to Stockhausen, to Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits. What has emerged is an inbetween, between life and filmmaking, where the two begin to converge indiscernibly. What is created is an inbetween, which is a strange cluttered reality, discontinuous, fragmentary and decentred. In a short film by Armando Ceste, Two or Three Things, there is the inclusion of footage of Godard and his voice narrating over the images. Godard says, "Even today, its easier for me to make a film as it should be made... than live the life I would like to live... If I could live the life that I believe I have the right to live, I don't think I would make films or art," and elsewhere, "The cinema is life, and I would really love to live life as I do cinema." It is the sense that making a film, is simultaneously making reality and simultaneously making himself. The separation between the onscreen and the offscreen becomes blurred.

Earlier in the day, before tennis with Daryl and before questions about dreams and Godard, I had been in New York City and driving home through the Berkshires storms started to form over the Massachusetts Turnpike:

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Monday 09

Mad/Mud Potter. Fascinating story in yesterday's New York Times "Arts & Leisure Guide" about ceramicist George Ohr (and the new Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Miss, designed by Frank O. Gehry). First two paragraphs:

NEARLY a century ago, George E. Ohr was mostly criticized for his innovative ceramics, paper-thin vases and jugs that he ruffled, pleated, pummeled and twisted. Some he gave colorful glistening surfaces; others he left unglazed, looking like cookies, good enough to eat. Critics either ignored his work or derided it, labeling him the "Mad Potter of Biloxi" for his unorthodox, frequently erotic pots, as well as for his egocentricity and his bizarre appearance: he sported an 18-inch mustache, tip to tip, and a ragged goatee. Even when Ohr won a silver medal at the Louisiana Purchase International Exposition in St. Louis in 1904, the award was not publicized and he failed to make a single sale.

This inability to sell his work, which he called his "mud babies," was to plague him throughout his career. He managed to earn a meager living for himself and his family by peddling door to door, on a pushcart he built, the flue pipes and water jars he produced. In 1906 he abandoned ceramics, transforming his studio into a garage where he and his sons repaired and sold motorcycles and cars. At his death at 61 in 1918, Ohr left 7,000 pieces of pottery stored in open crates in the attic of the garage, which his sons ran under the name the Ohr Boys' Auto Repair Shop. The pots remained there undisturbed until 1968, when James Carpenter, a New Jersey antiques dealer, stopped by to see whether the sons had any of the old cars — Cadillacs and Model T's — that he collected. He didn't buy a car that day, but, when the sons let him see the pottery, he tried to acquire all of it. They resisted for several years, however, before selling him most of it.

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George Ohr

Sunday 08

Sweet Aspirations. This has always been one of my favorite websites and today Jann selected BirchLane Vol I No I as her "aortal" site of the week. She writes:

AORTAL Link of the week: BirchLane Vol. I, No. I ��

As part of the Project, this first issue offering by Bruce is oh-so-beautifully compiled with poetry, art and photography.

And if you haven't discovered Bruce's journal, go take a look at This man can write! My, my, my.

Thank You, Jann and Thank You BirchLane contributors (Dennis, Helena, Alaina, Katharine, Terry, Letitia).

Saturday 07

Food, Fuel, and Candy. This is the working title for a screenplay I was thinking about today; the story of a nearly twenty-year-old female genius with artistic/literary ambitions who spends a summer making sandwiches at a gas station in the rural south.

Friday 06

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Danielle in the sprinkler at BirchLane.

Thursday 05

Beautiful Book(s). One beautiful artist's book will be found here.

Wednesday 04

A Mirror Photo. Here. And Here. And Here. Today I weeded, went on a hike with Betsy (and Daisy who later we discovered brought home a number of ticks--ouch; one on my pillow crawling this morning and is this a dream; I recall waking up during the middle of the night and ripping some bug boring into my flesh out and throwing it to the floor), started to read a great book, The Life I Really Lived by Jessamyn West, and thought about how the mirrorproject has brought all these people around the world together and given us all an opportunity to communicate that otherwise we would not have. A Humanitarian Award to Heather, please.

Tuesday 03

Fireflies. I miss my children and my neighbor's children playing flashlight tag in our yard and on Birch Lane in the summer night. I sometimes, too, miss the long, hot carefree days of my youth when the only worries I had was making sure there were enough holes in the jar lid so the fireflies could breathe--and hoping I wasn't the last one picked for the baseball game; the nearest thing to a rush job was running home as fast as I could to get the fifteen cents because I heard the Good Humor man or Mr. Softee truck just up on Tilden Avenue in Teaneck, New Jersey. My first real summer job I worked as a janitor at Benjamin Franklin (BF) Junior High School. This was the summer between 9th and 10th grade. I was fifteen. I worked my way around the school on my hands and knees, boy's room to girl's room, hallway to hallway, solitary, wiping the walls and stalls clean with a stringent solution, wiping the dirt and graffiti away; there was not much graffitti of the kind we see today expect for an occassional "T.J. Sucks" (the other junior high school in town; Thomas Jefferson; the school where I went, where I had just graduated, where the "poorer" kids in town went, kids from the other side of town) and "Bonnie Loves Paul" and little, if any, of the graffitti we see today in school bathrooms; "for a good time call Lisa at..." and "for great sex call 888-000-0000." Tenth grade in Teaneck would be my last year in the town. I played three sports, got B's, and had a girlfriend--Carol. The next summer I said goodbye to Carol and to Teaneck and to childhood. And tonight I watch the fireflies from my front porch thinking about my children and the games they once played in the front yard; volleyball, croquet, and flashlight tag, wondering about their glow, the children's glow, and if it, too switches on and off, on and off, on and off.

Monday 02

This Song is for You. When her debut solo album, "The Captain,"  was released in May 1999, 23 year old Australian singer-songwriter Kasey Chambers had a master plan. "I want to change people’s perceptions about country music." I heard her sing this song the other night on Austin City Limits and I liked it:

We're all gonna die someday lord
We're all gonna die someday
Mama's on pills daddy's over the hill
But we're all gonna die someday
Well it hurts down here on Earth lord
It hurts down here on Earth
It hurts down here cause we're running out of beer
But we're all gonna die someday

We're all gonna die someday lord
We're all gonna die someday
Mama's on pills daddy's over the hill
But we're all gonna die someday

Well all of my friends are stonned lord
All of my friends are stonned
Janie got stonned cause she couldn't get boned
But we're all gonna die someday

We're all gonna die someday lord
We're all gonna die someday
Mama's on pills daddy's over the hill
But we're all gonna die someday

Well they can all kiss my ass lord
They can all kiss my ass
If they want to kiss my ass well they better make it fast
'Cos we're all gonna die someday

We're all gonna die someday lord
We're all gonna die someday
Mama's on pills daddy's over the hill
But we're all gonna die someday

I say

We're all gonna die someday lord
We're all gonna die someday
Mama's on pills daddy's over the hill
But we're all gonna die someday

--Kasey Chambers

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"Pine Cone Alignment" 7/02/01 (after John Baldessari "Ball Alignment")

Sunday 01

Next Stop The River. Driving to Vermont yesterday I hear this woman singing on the radio (WRSI The River") and she sounds like an angel. I stop at the Visitor Center in Southern Vermont, which I might add, is quite beautiful, and when I get back in my car and turn the radio on I hear a woman say "The first person to stop and see us at the Brattleboro Outlet Center wins a pair of tickets to see Gillian Welch at Pearl Street in Northampton." Literally minutes away, I get off the highway, park my car at the outlet center, find Jenny and say "I listen to WRSI all the time," and win the tickets. A perfect start to a perfect day:

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I had a wonderful Saturday afternoon here; Jessamyn's home in Vermont. I met some very friendly and interesting people.  And I met the world's greatest host/ess, pictured below with me. Thank You.

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