Monday, February 18, 2013

President Yoko

 Today Yoko is 80.  I had to post this particular video, as I'm reading a biography of Kim and Thurston's band, Sonic Youth.

 Today I went to the Met and saw the work of one artist: George Bellows (who died at 42 of a burst appendix)

 Today, my novel is comprised of 32,551 words.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

coping by cooking

chilled coconut cucumber soup with dungeness crab
when i can't deal with existential uncertainty, i frequently take down my big bamboo chopping block and my messermeister chef's knife and start chopping.  i'm in love with vegetables, and prepping them floods me with a sense of well-being.

putting together a meal satisfies my need for something finite and contained when my head is going to the far ranging places i've tried to forbid it from wandering to.  when the mind is out of control, i can choose my pan, my high, low, or medium heat, my sliced, diced or minced onion, and so on.

grilled marinated mushrooms & zucchinni, deborah madison's pita bread
i've already (over)shared that the past couple of months have been dark and difficult.  my cooking has slowed down a bit. it's been that bad.  but i have managed to keep at least a couple of nice meals a week coming to the table.

sockeye salmon grilled with pernod & sage leaves
to reduce the stress during a hard period, i added rotisserie chicken night, inspired by my little brother who encouraged me to eat a rotisserie chicken with delicious rice, with my fingers, phillipines style,  once a week.  he told me it was the most comforting meal possible, and he might be right.  being my mother's daughter, i had to add a salad, or on the really bad nights, a sliced cucumber with lime and salt, inspired by my sister katie.

i was looking through old photos and found these shots of a dinner party i prepared with my friend alice in seattle one summer, using a beautiful book she gave me called good fish by becky selengut.  all recipes use sustainably sourced fish.  the salmon and grilled mushrooms are things we always eat with alice and jim in seattle.  the grilled mushrooms are the best food on the planet, and it doesn't matter how many i make, they're gone instantly.

i'm starting to feel my culinary energy returning.  what is everyone cooking these days?  does cooking help you cope?  if not cooking, then what?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

What's Not to Love?

 None of my photos are loading.

 I wanted to send some V-Day Love to the Lower East Side Girls' Club. They run the Sweet Treats bakery and make amazing stuff. I bought their linzer torte heart cookie today and this little gift box. For myself, of course!

V-day gets a bad rap and I suppose it's deserved.

I just very much like pink, chocolate, sweet and heart-shaped things.

valentines tell-all & what i wore

what the?
julie reminded me how much i hated valentine's day in 2012.  i'll admit that the day is hard for me, but not for the reasons laid out in most romantic comedies.

it's just.

a) fake and cheap, b) a huge pain in the butt, c) expensive.  i feel like i have to fabricate emotion or something, and i'm really prone to angst around things that seem inauthentic.

well, today was good!

floral couch dress from boulder, utah.
first of all, i wore this kind of ugly but very valentines-esque dress.  i got it in boulder, utah on a field trip with students.  one of my teenaged boy students wrinkled his nose and said, "it looks like a couch."  it does!  which is why i fell for it.  that and the fact that it was handmade by a woman in boulder from re-purposed vintage fabric.  it usually just sits in my closet, but i decided to try to be festive like julie and wear something for the holiday.

secondly, i started on some anti-depressants.  some might find my confession to be TMI, or possibly deleterious in future job interviews, or embarrassing, but really, people, we need to talk about this stuff.  i used to be so embarrassed about my flaws.  i'm trying to own them, accept them, & love them now.

the black dog bit me, and i need medicine to heal it.  i've been through this before, and i've been lucky that medication has been so helpful for me.  i don't love taking it, but it really helps.  i'm trying a new kind, called vibryd. evoking the idea that i will soon be super vibrant again, perhaps preternaturally so.

i forgot about him for a second.

thirdly, i have this really amazing friend.  she's sort of a goddess/witch/pioneer/muse/and my lady valentine.  yesterday she called me while i was commuting home, exhausted and sad and barely able to keep my eyes open on account of fatigue and tears.  she said, "stop by on your way home."  so i did.  she handed me this e.e. cummings book with her own marginalia and a vintage full-length silver fox coat.  i said, "how did you know?"  she said, "because jesus is real."

i guess i have to accept the coat on account of the fact that jesus told my valentine to give it to me. & it will get passed along to another lady going through hard times some day, down the road.

happy valentine's day!  read e.e. cummings!



by e.e. cummings

there are so many tictoc
clocks everywhere telling people
what toctic time it is for
tictic instance five toc minutes toc
past six tic

Spring is not regulated and does
not get out of order nor do
its hands a little jerking move
over numbers slowly

   we do not
wind it up it has no weights
springs wheels inside of
its slender self no indeed dear
nothing of the kind.

(So,when kiss Spring comes
we'll kiss each kiss other on kiss the kiss
lips because tic clocks toc don't make
a toctic difference
to kisskiss you and to 
kiss me)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Andy Week

There are Andy Kaufman events at a gallery in my neighborhood every night until the 24th.

I've now gone two nights in a row.

The first night, Andy's brother, Michael hosted.  There were home movies and TV clips.  Andy's sister was there sitting in the same row as--wait for it, yes--Laurie Anderson.

Tonight Lynne Margulies, Andy's girlfriend, hosted.  (She's played by Courtney Love in Andy's biopic, The Man on the Moon.)

I learned that Andy Kaufman and Andy Warhol bonded over Howdy Doody.

They were similar artists, in that they made ordinary things feel less ordinary.

I learned that Andy was into transcendental meditation.

Both last night and tonight, I laughed my head off.  Seriously.  I really did.

Andy never considered himself a comic.  He didn't tell jokes. He loved hoaxes and playing practical jokes.  He got famous by just performing the little acts and songs that he had always performed in his childhood bedroom.

Remember what I said about paying attention to one's childhood obsessions?

I relate to his voice very much.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

senna, warrior princess

lula with freida pinto, girl rising spokesperson, at sundance 2013
one of the brightest spots at sundance 2013 was the preview we saw of 10 x 10 girl rising, a film spotlighting ten girls around the world and the impact that education has had on each of their lives.

we viewed the story of senna, named after a great warrior who fought for poor people (aka, xena the warrior princess). senna's beloved father loved to watch the warrior princess on television, and wanted his daughter to be as fierce and protective of her people as the televison xena.  senna is fourteen and lives in la rinconada, a high mountain mining town.  she witnessed her father's terrible, slow death after a mining accident, and found solace and courage when she discovered cesar vallejo, and became her own warrior poet.

lula is hosting a screening of this film in provo on march 14th.  i hope locals can join us--here's the link to reserve your seat.  and if you can't make the screening, you can purchase a ticket to donate to a low-income utah valley teen.

lula and i loved the film, believe in the cause, and think you will too.

hope you can come!

ALSO:  special for GITP readers--we are donating two tickets to one of our readers.  please leave a comment in the comments section to enter the drawing!  if you want, give us your perspective on global education for women.

Fat Magic

Lara, I wrote in the lobby of the Ace Hotel today after an appt in that part of town, but this table was full, so I had to sit in a chair.

Oddly, I was never approached about buying anything.

I then went and looked at a sad Fat Tuesday king cake at Whole Foods.   All of their boxed King Cakes looked as if they all completed a full night of Bourbon Street partying.  The box indicated there was a baby to be discovered in each one, though.

After this, I took my heavy, heavy laptop to yet another cafe where I added more words.

The Fat Tuesday plans we had with friends at the Great Jones Cafe got cancelled due to illness.  Too bad--they had beads, king cake AND a crawfish boil.  Last year, the place was mobbed by six.

Think I'm going to walk over and get a big cajun pizza at Two Boots to bring home, then I'll hop over to this Andy Kaufman thing a bit later.

Trying to keep the magic going, L!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Searching for Frontman

 Thinking today about talent /proficiency versus spirit/effort.

Wondering if I've been worrying too much about the former and not enough about the latter regarding my novel.

I was thinking about this all in light of this "Frontman Wanted" flier.  Oh, why always a dude?  Can't a girl channel Iggy/Darby/Gibby?  I know I've always wanted to, tried to in my own small, unassuming ways.

For Halloween in the '80s, I really, really wanted to be Jim Morrison for Halloween and everyday, but did not have the necessary licorice-legged black leather pants.

One last fashion week photo.  Wouldn't it be nice to have one eye-catching statement bag?  And really, it was too cold of a day to go without socks.

Tights: Grey
Inspiration:  Sonic Youth, No Wave, Cacaphony


sylvia plath
today is the 50th death anniversary of sylvia plath.

i can see why she picked february.

i hate that she was left alone, sick and depressed, with two babies and no support.

"morning poem" has been a go-to poem for me for so many years.  i love its metric beauty, that "fat, gold watch" and the way she beautifully and hauntingly describes maternal alienation.

i'd call her a pioneer for this, and maybe she'd have outlasted the hard parts if someone had described how hard and confusing and devastating it can be:

I'm no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind's hand.

Morning Song

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival.  New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety.  We stand round blankly as walls.

I'm no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind's hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses.  I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat's.  The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars.  And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.

r.i.p., ms. plath------------>>>

Sunday, February 10, 2013

bright spots

1.  sitting next to taylor j. in church today--suddenly realizing we were both shaking with semi-repressed & nearly uncontrollable laughter during the last verse of the last hymn--something about "reproving our every ill desire."

2. receiving my first valentine from moses--this bright yellow heart.

3.  sister tamara.  her stories.  her rocks.  her.

4.  mushroom crepes made by lula and anna.

5.  this bulgari snake watch.  thinking about liz taylor's jewelry. i know it's wrong, but i love rubies a lot.

Experimental, Jet Set, Trash and No Star: Donizetti, Fugazi

The Weekend:  

Gawked at New York Fashion Week.  These pictures are of fashionistas on the plaza.

Went to the opera, the Met's production of Donizetti's The Elixir of Love

Spent a lot of time pondering an obsession of mine from age 19.  I was thinking how important it is to pay attention to your early obsessions--the ones of your youth.  They are significant.

Walked into a gallery and saw a '72 documentary of Los Angeles made by a British architectural historian.

Went to the New Museum's not quite open exhibit of all early '90s art.  (The title of this show is my post title which is also the name of an album by Sonic Youth.  I'm reading a bio of SY right now) Decided I would not be taking my kids.

I also, during the big storm called Nemo, sang at Punk Rock Karaoke (a fundraiser for the ABC No Rio Zine Library) the crowd pleasing "Waiting Room" by Fugazi.

My Novel:  29,251 words

Saturday, February 9, 2013

making crazy*** work for you

john fleuvog's.  hand made.  half price.

my friend andi told me about  the maria bamford series.  maybe you already know about it?

when i watched the first episode, i was all


because this is what it's about, people.

to make good art, you have to embrace the mental, but not let it destroy you.  a very, very fine line.  i've been walking both sides of it for as long as i can remember.

so have a lot of other cool people i know.

while i don't want to make generalizations that are too sweeping or unsubstantiated


it just seems like

to make art,

you have to know how to work the continuum of normal to freaky really hard and well.

does that make a modicum of sense?????


so, here's your saturday goal:

watch an episode of the maria bamford show.

totally attainable goal.

you're welcome.

*** i know "crazy" can be an offensive.  i've searched for an alternative, but haven't come up with a good one:  "mad" is too hipster, "insane" is too crazy, "kooky" too frivolous & perky, & c.  what's the word that means: fun, stupid, sad, manic, depressed, staying in bed all day and staying out all night, crashing and soaring all at the same time?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

tuesday: a list

better times will come again, no?

1) stayed in pajamas writing all day.

2) writing what?  well, my post about the anita hill documentary premiered at sundance 2013.  hopefully it will be up on bust tonight or tomorrow. 'twas a draining task.  you'll see why when you read it.

3) ate:  popcorn, blt, peanut butter m&m's.  diet coke.

4) did not:  clean house, do laundry, cook anything, grade, correspond with students, put on an outfit, lipstick or earrings, or read anything.

5) made one trip to doctor's office with mildly sick kid.

6) wondered:  should i take a shower and get dressed now?  or how about now?  wait, what about now?

hope your day was better than mine!

Monday, February 4, 2013

composer, singer, mother margot glassett murdoch

i met margot ten years ago, as the soprano lead in the opera my husband, composer christian asplund, and i were producing with seattle experimental opera.  margot has a meltingly, mind-blowingly beautiful voice.  and then there's more.  she's also a composer and composer/performer who pushes boundaries, works in electronic music, and does the hard, hard job of raising three little boys.  any one of these things is impressive, of course, but margot does them all.  and, i think female composers are even more rare than female film directors.  correct me if i'm wrong.  definitely check out her music and her performances whenever you get a chance!

Margot Glassett Murdoch, composer and extended vocalist, received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Brigham Young University and received her Ph.D. from the University of Utah in 2011.  Her dissertation included an analysis of Luciano Berio’s Sequenza III and a cataloging of extended vocal techniques, as well as a piece for electronics, soprano and string quartet.  She has written for a wide variety of ensembles and written most extensively for voice, harp, and electronics.  An enthusiastic teacher, Margot has taught everything from toddler music classes to music theory and ear training at the university level.  As an extended technique vocalist, she has performed with Seattle Experimental Opera, Uba, a Utah based improvisation group, and as an independent soloist performing her own works as well as works of Cage and Berio.  Margot is currently involved with the Salty Cricket Composer’s Collective in Salt Lake City and sings with Ars Nova, a choir dedicated to performing new music.  She is the mother of three young sons and currently resides in Utah.    

You can listen to some of Margot’s work at

What do you hope to accomplish this year?

I hope to run a couple half marathons, to have a successful premiere of my piece “Omni Voice” for Loop Machine and Extended Voice, to visit the ocean, and to be able to say at the end of the year that I’ve made good progress in helping my children to become well adjusted and educated.

What inspires you?
In the past, I have been inspired mainly by other art forms, but lately I find the most inspiration in the sciences.  The scientific method has been informing my work lately and I’m particularly enthralled with particle physics.  I’m not going to pretend that I understand the math of such a tough subject; I’m more of a Nova/National Geographic/podcast kind of science fan.  Hearing scientists talk about their quest for the recently confirmed Higgs Boson or hearing about different scientist’s positions on string theory is inspiring to me, because these scientist have a logic and process driven faith in their theories.  It motivates my own thinking to be more critical, and to be more process oriented and skeptical about my work as a musician. 

Are you in a tight place, and if so, what are you doing about it?

In some ways, things are great right now, but I recently found myself on my way to run errands singing/composing pointalistic, Webernish twelve tone rows with the phrase “How am I going to get through this time in my life?” so I guess my place is a bit tight.  This particular moment in the car was preceded by an afternoon with a teething baby, a tantrum throwing preschooler and a hyperactive kindergartener.  Motherhood and I aren’t always harmonious and raising three boys is a tall order.  At times, I do enjoy that I am able to imagine, meditate, and mentally organize while I am doing housework.  I appreciate the brain space the job allows and I feel really centered.  Other times I find the day to day tasks of house keeping and dealing with children to be mind numbing.  I’m bothered that I’m not as eloquent as I used to be or as well read as I’d like to be.  I’m worried that having three kids will have put an irreversible stall in my career and that I’m losing my chance at doing what I love, since academic jobs in my field are hard to come by for even candidates who have it all together.  I know there are seasons to life; I’ve had lots of women tell me this and it is true that my kids won’t require this intense level of care forever.  I know this, but I just have a hard time settling myself down and being OK with now.  I have a hard time trusting the future. 
What I’m doing about my tight place is 1) continuing to compose and staying current in my field 2) participating in “therapy sessions” in the form of running and making music with other people.  Running helps dissipate anxiety or aggression I feel (I feel these often), making music cleans out and organizes my brain, and having regular social contact with other adults combats the isolation induced social awkwardness that, for me, is a bi-product of motherhood.  

What is your favorite legwear?

My favorite legwear is super-light running shorts with the underwear built in.  Not only are they a 2-for-1 clothing garment, which is admirably efficient, but I feel they are my legwear mascot, my clothing metaphor.  They were engineered to serve a purpose without feeling like they serve a purpose.  They stay out of your way, but you can trust them to keep you modest.  I wish it were socially acceptable to wear them all day.    

Sunday, February 3, 2013


from the christmas card that never got sent. 50 of them are sitting right next to me as we speak.

i'm in one of those agoraphobic, anhedonistic moods:  don't want to get up, do work, talk to anyone, leave the house, etc. 

i try to resist getting too deep into this mode.

i already told you about s.o.l.e.

next week i need to focus on some really specific goals and getting back into the routine of the practices that keep my own personal black, panting dog at bay.

so here's the plan:

1) yoga on tuesday, thursday, & friday.

2) meeting with special collections librarian on thursday to work on my mapping salt lake city project.

3) work on two poetry commissions. finish one of them!  (it's already late.)

4) meet with committee chair.

5) submit poems to ten places.

what are your plans for the week?

how do you keep the black dog at bay?

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Look!  In the middle is Joyce Johnson, Jack Kerouac's '50s-era girlfriend.  She's written two books about him.  I dropped in on this panel discussion on the way home from work.
We can't get enough of Kerouac as a culture, can we?  I need to think about why.  I've been thinking about Kerouac since I was 19.  The other day, one of my online students said that she loved On the Road, which I found remarkable because my students tend not to be readers, by their own admission.

I haven't see the movie yet, starring KStew yet, have you?

Words as of today, 11:33 am:  25,256

final decisions

after much rumination, the super bowl menu for 2013 goes like this:

*homemade whitecastle-style burgers

*sweet potato fries & curried fry sauce

*apple walnut slaw

*chips & guacamole

*root beer floats

*salty chocolate chunk cookies

not that i care AT ALL about the super bowl, but it's an excuse for a party & some kitchen time.

anyone else cooking tomorrow?

i always miss emily this time of year.  one time she made the most delicious whoopie pies ever for the super bowl.  i can't recreate them.

Friday, February 1, 2013

finishing the manuscript

from the holiday card we never sent.  i love the colors, and these two finished manuscripts.
i started this project the gentian weaves & her fringes, a collection of poems using material from emily dickinson, in 2008.  it seems to take five years for me to finish a larger project--and not because i'm not spending enough time on it daily, but i need that much time for conscious and unconscious forces to do their work.

like other projects i've finished of this same scale, i thought it was finished after two years, but it really, really wasn't.

i need a lot of time away from things to figure out what they need to do.  it really doesn't seem like it's up to me. it really doesn't seem that, if i had worked on nothing but this project for a year,  crammed all five years of work into a single year, it would have had the same outcome.  at all.

so, so, so   ::::    i think i'm really done!  i'm sure i'll do a few more tweaks.  but for now, i'm gonna do as my dear husband recommends and freeze the design.

finding a publisher for a work like this is at least another year's worth of work. 

now i can move on to something new.


as (one of) my (many) therapist(s) said: you love beginnings.  you need to learn to make middles more fun.  it's true!  what i just did was a middle of sort.  it won't really be done until the book is published, and i feel proud for getting through the stills.

i need to celebrate.  this is the first completed new year's resolution of 2013.

what should i do?

here's the table of contents.  i think it  looks pretty cool, and will look even cooler in a real book:

a sudden (((bright coin)))........ 8

ambuscade of clover........ 9

angels babble........ 10

beetle’s ordination........ 13

buttercups rannunculae........ 15

chartered (((from my otter’s window)))........ 17

(((daffodils))) :: (((my blondines)))::........ 19

declined day—phantom’s bare & groping feet........ 20

((dim)) & unsuspected tenderness........ 21

eyes—little trees—........ 24

& favorite tints........ 26

gaunt swimmers ransomed........ 29

globe—bashful—humming........ 30

(((green cartiers)))—........ 31

*(((hoard of gems)))........ 33

(((   i died)))........ 35

i gather idle (((bumble-bees)))........ 36

jointed—........ 38

king’s fork........ 40

lost—the stolid bee........ 42

my tree........ 44

(((moth-star dropt))) last night &........ 45

night hid her throes:........ 47

(((o))) heart-sodden &........ 49

our antiquary ransacks august........ 50

pare this apple........ 52

& pauper’s slit &........ 53

(((parceled))) in yellow tulle—........ 54

peeps onto that sleeping egg........ 55

quivering—........ 57

ragged phoebes (((tremor)))........ 59

rapt: morning::........ 60

:: rouge november—........ 61

september’s escutcheon........ 63

snow falls april (across the altar)........ 64

the child is a small ear........ 67

the (((timbral))) flickers—........ 69

this (((broily))) day........ 70

***throng of acorns........ 71

unfrequented & august........ 73

vane turns in zephyret........ 75

we have slendered ourselves........ 77

window’s anodyne does not fail—........ 78

extacy &&&&&........ 80

yclept........ 82

zinnia?........ 84