12/1/22> @ DCA waiting for a flight to JFK. Our 1st time flying since last year round this time when we were coming back from Italy, and now we're going back, so it's almost like we're returning to pick up where we left off, which in a sense is what we're doing. After hanging out mostly in Bologna for a good part of last year to see if we could make it home, we had planned to travel around Italy + Sicily in December 2021 into January 2022, but all the COVID restrictions made it difficult, we couldn't get boosters there + would have had to get tested every time we wanted to eat in a restaurant or stay at a hotel. Assuming that's not the case anymore?
Already finished 1 of the books we were gonna bring on this trip before we even left the ground—Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor. Part of the reason why is we started it a week or 2 before, so didn't want to bring a half-read book. We also knew this book was a keeper, not 1 to leave behind on the road. We read it in English, though we got copies both in English + the original Spanish... we didn't know whether to read in Spanish or English first, but since we're going to go to Italy we figured we didn't want to confuse our Italian w/ Spanish like we've been prone to do. We'll read it in Spanish later, it's that kind of book anyway, like Sound and the Fury, where when U get to the end (+ find out what happens) U feel inclined to flip back to the beginning to re-read it. We were so engrossed in the language we didn't care much about what it was about. A riveting narrative w/ no paragraph breaks + often in 1st person w/ dialogue mixed in, not in quotes, so in an omnipresent voice going in + out of ppl's heads in this fucked community in Mexico, on gulf coast near Veracruz. As brutal + visceral az Blood Meridien, but about modern-day Mexico... uber-violent w/ graphic sex, often disturbing... the scene w/ the dog
perhaps crossed the line, but then again, in a book why not? Definitely not a book you'd want to see made into a movie, though thematically similar to 499, which we recently saw, but more about the machismo homophobic violence that seems prevalent in Mexico. The language is colloquial vulgar slang, we haven't read the Spanish, but seems the translator Sophie Hughes did a good job of translating into English, capturing how Mexicans speak... granted the Spanish we learned from 30+ yrs ago is probably very different than how they speak today, curious to read it in Spanish now, but that will have to wait as we didn't bring it w/ us.
JFK> read 25 pages of Edisto by Padgett Powell, but wasn't into it too much... interesting only b/c we lived in Savannah for a spell + i did field work out on Hilton Head, but felt sort of dated, hard to get into. Maybe we'd feel different if we'd read Powell's poetry. Started to read The White Album by Joan Didion instead, which we're digging so far.
11/2> Arrived Fiumicino.... gazing out at the familiar landscape on arrival, wondering how many dozens of times we'd landed @ FCO? got a car (a Lancia Ypsilon) + drove north an hour or so. Staying near Tarquinia, Viterbo, at a hotel on the beach in a ghost town of a place with houses boarded up for the winter. Our hotel/restaurant seems to be the onely thing open, barely. In typical fashion they ask if you're hungry + then just start bringing you whatever food, not off a menu + never asked to pay for it. Walked about 7 miles in soft sand, along the beach, not seeing anyone except a few fisherman. They were having some private event @ our hotel, a '70s theme party so all these ppl were dressed in ridiculous getups, well-bottoms, tie-dye shirts, fake fros, etc. so made for an interesting dinner, lit by spinning disco balls.
on the Mediteranean
Just when we thought we might abandon iSBN + work on U/X (in case U couldn't tell from the language of last post), «i» worked more on iSBN the day or 2 before we left. «i» still don't have the voice nailed, as w/ U/X we dig the idea of using U/i or i/U, or using the charatcter «Φ» to denote the negation of I, as if to say:
... problem is Φ, or phi, 21st letter of greek alphabet, varies font to font, so using it here we have to settle for whatever default look of it, which is not exactly how we want it to look (at least in our browser), so we might have to just create or own character, depending on what font we use (+ settle for this default subsitute here on 5cense, while we method-act). Φ also symoblizes U/i, which we're using in U/X, alternating w/ i/U, as if the moment U the reader read text i write, i dies + becomes U. Φ also looks like an eye, or eYɘ as we were playing around w/ 2 posts ago. And thinking we'll also revert back to 1st person plural, which feels most comfortable to us. Been at least a decade since we've been writing anonymously in 1st person plural, something we started w/ Ark Codex ±0.
P.O.V./tense aside, Φ want the text to be like this... a readable, grammatically correct narrative. The fluidity of Hurricane Season inspired us, how to create a narrative that is so engaging, regardless of meaning, and also colloquial, though as it stands, iSBN will be creative non-fiction, so also a sort of reportorial air to it. And in addition, and perhaps most importanly, Φ want the text to reflect the main «thRiver meme» theme, in that we humans are not in the driver seat, that we shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us. So for example, rather thans say Φ write iSBN, we'd say iSBN writes us. Or rather than say «we drove to Tarquino», Φ would write «Ypsilon (our car) drove us to Tarquino»... ironic in that Ypsilon is a play in on ipsilon, Italian for upsilon, 5th letter of the Greek alphabet + 25th letter of our alphabet (Y) + 21st letter of Italian alphabet since they only use 22 letters. So bear w/ us as we get into character.
12/3> the hotel in Tarquinia that sheltered us woke us up + Ypsilon drove us north. We wanted to stop at a few places but it was pouring rain the whole time. Got to our place in Cafaggio (near Campiglia Marittima), which is like staying at someone's house. The owner has dreadlocks + is some sort of artist that makes natural prints to sell at craft fairs. Went into Campiglia Marittima to get some lunch then it cleared up enough to walk around a bit... typical Italian hilltop town, how many hundreds of these have we walked around? Mazes of steep alleys capped by sort of castle, w/ plastic bottles in doorways to keep the cats from peeing, etc.