352 Cheetah puma mantra, privatplatz, clams & the Academia of W Pigs

Dear Internet,

«I haven't had a dream in a long time» as Morrisey says … in fact, we just went and looked at our dream log & there's no folder for 2013. In 2012, we logged 24 dreams. Before that it's sporadic, but that's the first we've gone a whole year ... our dreaming activity drastically shifted around 2003 (before that we had monthly sub-folders full of almost nightly entries) ... that's about when we started putting Poste Restante together (which were stories all mined from dreams), so maybe we «got it out of our system» ...

Anyway, last night i was with J & she was getting on a train to go somewhere (in fact she's in Boston right now) ... we were devising some plan about how i'd go by bike over the mountains & meet her (wherever it was we were going) & she'd take my luggage for me. I gave her everything to carry—including all my clothes, even the ones i was wearing—then rode off on a bike, completely naked, thinking it didn't matter as long as i didn't stop ... tho «i» was thinking this, my p.o.v. was external, watching myself ride the bike naked laughing at how ridiculous i looked. Then «i» realized i didn't have a key (whatever the key was for, not sure), so i turned around & J tossed me the key ... but then i realized i didn't have anywhere to put it, so i put on my running shorts with a key pocket .... then realized this felt more liberating then riding a bike naked. So while J got on the underground train, i went off running on some dirt road alongside all these obnoxious bmx bikers doing stunts. I followed the road as it merged next to a river, slogging along in mud & mogul-like jumps & thought flying might be more interesting ... so i jumped off the bank & started flying over the river. It was easy flying—if i fell i would just land in the water (which i sort of half-wanted to do anyway). But there was no resistance, no exertion needed, so i was losing the health benefits of running. I justified it in my mind as a trade-off—flying had more benefit to my mental well-being. Hovering over the river i could see turtles & fishes & the textured rocky bottom. I was letting myself dip down low, not caring if i hit the surface. It got to the point where i couldn't tell the difference between air & water ... i tried to breathe in & realized i was under water, still w/ that feeling of flying, tho now obviously it was swimming. I kept «flying» along underwater (i was able to breathe water) ... i saw a submerged refrigerator & then more scattered appliances & junked cars ... the submerged junk got denser & i realized before i even surfaced that i was in West Virginia (obviously this was influenced by recently reading Hill William (which we talked about in the last post) ... though it felt more like Deliverance). I got out (still w/ only skimpy running shorts, but hey, at least i wasn't naked riding a bike) & for some reason i ended up inside this janky Indian food cart (no surprise, i ate Indian last night) & all these hill-billy types were sitting along the windows, blocking all the entrances. They were sort of doing it on purpose, passive-aggressively, to see if i would say «excuse me» ... but i was too shy & didn't want to bring attention to myself so i found a way to slip out thru a vent in the roof. Then i saw they NY Tyrant (the publisher of Hill William), which i figured made sense since he's from W.V. He seemed a bit embarrassed to see me ... at first i thought maybe because i wasn't hill-billy enough, but then i realized it was because he was in a yoga class. I said «i'll let you go» to him right as he was reluctantly & somewhat sarcastically reciting a mantra in unison w/ the class: «Cheetah Puma Sana».

Not the first time the NY Tyrant has popped into our dreams, tho in reality (meatspace) we hardly see him .... not sure what he symbolizes … maybe (not necessarily in the above dream) he stands for everything we're expected to be as a publisher ... perhaps in our anxiety over going to AWP (which we're strategically packing for as we speak, trying to cram as many books into suitcases as possible—which probably also had a bearing on the dream, as i usually like to travel light & not check baggage), where we are expected to be «the person» behind Calamari Press ... when really we don't want to have a presence at all, not a personified one anyway. But then there's the conflicted part of us that feels we owe it to the authors we publish to be all, «heyyy» & putting ourself out there. But it sort of sickens us to be something we're not ...

Ok, ok, we'll try to have a good attitude about it ... besides getting organized & taking stock for AWP—which involved clearing out our closet where our bikes are kept, which also probably had a bearing on our dream—we've been doing a lot of archival processing lately. Seems to be the season for it ... last year around this time we went thru a similar archival period, leading us to index 5¢ense ... actually maybe that's why we've been logging less & less dreams since 2003 as 2003 is about when we started blogging here. This blog replaced our journal .... & altho we kept our dream log separate before, now dreams probably get logged here all mashed together. Most of the recent archival digging digging has been into our brother's journals & notes ... in the process of making 'SSES" 'SSES" "SSEY'. But as usually happens when you start digging, it extends deeper, into tangential rabbitholes. There was a certain photo of our brother i was looking for that sparked all this, this one below ...

Chaulky White

Chaulky in Munich

It was driving us crazy because we membered the photo but couldn't find it ... went thru all our albums & random stacks of photos, digging into closets, etc. to no avail. Obviously we eventually found it, but it drove us crazy finding it, so in addition to archiving our brother's journals & art for SSES, we've embarked on the daunting task of digitally archiving all our photos. Even ones from the digital camera age we often just downloaded into random places & all the file names are numbers. So once we get all the (analog) photos scanned (thankfully we also recently acquired a negative scanner, which we got to scan in Kevin's artwork that he had slides of) & organized, we'll also tag them w/ keywords them so we can search & find them ... that said we're probably 1% of the way into this project & will probably abandon it as we have in the past ...

The hard part of archiving basically our brother's life into 1 book is figuring out where everything goes & how. In scouring his journals, it's surprising how similar we are in our thinking ... or maybe it's because a sort of transference happened, where we in part assumed his identity (or vice versa) ... like a parasitic meme machine that collectively we've taken to calling Chaulky. One thing we're discovering that sets us apart from our brother, is that he needed human companionship. We can go days without talking to anyone, like now when J is out of town. But in his travels he couldn't stand being alone. And he also seemed to need more nurturing, from familial entities & also a girlfriend (which he couldn't seem to maintain). Maybe it's just that we were more fortunate in that department, but it never seemed to be something we craved, it just happened upon us (maybe that's the secret ... to not want it).

He also cared more what people thought of him. Not giving a shit what other people think might be one of our stronger suits, but it could also work toward our detriment—because then people don't give a shit what you think & you become a nobody. But caring what people think was also his detriment, leading to shame, which we talked about plenty already in the last post or two ...

In Kevin's journals, in fits of self-loathing he'll say stuff like «... I’m going bald, I can see my scalp. Fuck all this, fuck anyone who is reading this, I don’t want other people to know or read this, it puts me at a disadvantage. I haven’t even thought about art for weeks. I feel like a prisoner without an identity...» Part of me wonders whether we should publish it, whether he ever intended it to be read, but the fact that he tells us to fuck off for reading it means in the back of his mind he assumed it might be read. And there's the flipside that if we don't publish them he'll die forgotten & unknown, which we don't think he would've wanted. Of course we could censor & selectively edit it, but it seems like it should be an all or nothing affair.

Part of the reason we were looking for that photo (besides that he is in Munich, where the corresponding journal entry was written from) is that he is standing next to a sign that says «privatplatz» which we presume means «private place» or something of the sort. If blogging was around back in '89, he probably would've blogged his Transiberian trip that spawned 'SSES" 'SSES" ... but instead we'll do it for him, in parallel w/ whatever trip we are on ... which at the moment, Feb 25, 2014, 4:42 p.m. is grounded still in Manhattanville.

... now it's Feb 26 & we're in Seattle. On the plane started to read Inner Tube by Hob Broun, but wasn't feeling it, not as much as his Cardinal Numbers collection we recently read. So we switched to editing SSES ...

Before we left, we also read Little Rooms by James Lewelling ... which looking now doesn't appear to be on your radar, oh holy Internet [it's on Amazon now]. It's an advance copy he sent me, but perhaps it will be out soon, a fledgling press called Deep Sett put it out as their inaugural title. Good stuff, like his other works (we published his Tortoise) there's hints of Beckett ... in fact, we imagined it our head as a play, sort of like Polanski's Carnage. There's this part where this guy, Jack, decides to spy on his kid (well, not even his kid, but some kid he sort of just finds & is stuck caring for (meanwhile, all the adults seem to do is drink a lot of hooch) after he's left him alone in his apartment ... it's creepy good.

Janes Lewelling: LIttle Rooms

We also—perhaps inspired by reading Cormac McCarthy last week—thought it high-time we read more Faulkner, started to read Sanctuary, before realizing 20-30 pages into it that it seemed like another book he wrote, and then 50 pages into it, we realized that we'd already read it a long time ago. And we didn't feel it was worth re-reread.

And we've also been re-reading The Odyssey, slowly chapter by chapter as we write SSEY. We're up thru book 8 ... Odysseus is hanging out w/ the Phaeacians, about to recount his actual odyssey.


stairwell somewhere in Seattle

Got to Seattle, registered for AWP ... annoyingly they didn't even have my credentials ... you drop $450 on a tiny table & you'd think they'd be organized enough to give you a name tag so you can go in? Instead they told me to wait in some long "helpdesk" line. Definitely the last time i'll put up w/ these pigs. Dropped off the books then went to Pike Place market & got a bucket of clams & clam chowder (in a sourdough bowl of course) at some seafood stand. Still didn't get enough so went to Ivar's clams by the acres & got another bucket & a dozen oysters & calamari.

It's been a while since we've been to Seattle ... in fact i know exactly when i was here last ... april of 1997, a week or so right after my brother & co-writer of SSES died. I didn't feel like going at such a time, but we already had the trip booked. But we're from Portland, so the vibe here is somewhat familiar. Coming from NYC it's surprising how sketchy Seattle is, all the junkies & homeless people just hanging out, doing drugs right there on busy sidewalks, getting in your face for spare change. Our hotel has a pool, which is something you don't get to do often in NYC. Didn't have goggles tho so my eyes are killing me red. Our Seattle friend picked us up & we went to Ballard where we at at The Walrus & the Carpenter ... more oysters, little plates of sardines, trout, swiss chard, cheese, etc. all very tasty.

Seattle at night

self-portrait of our camera in Seattle

Now we're at the bookfair, the first morning. We've set up the table & are just watching everyone filing in. Did an inventory & we started w/ 240 books. The plan is to come back empty-handed, let's see if we can do that without giving everything away ...

  > 353 > Fancydancing w/ geoducks at undertaker bootcamp, followed by triage at 40,000 ft.


[  (ɔ)om.Posted 2014  derek white  |  calamari press   ]