Rum (and what?), Art, Writing (Mom), the Cthulucene (Haraway), Oldster, Microdose, Cthulhu (Lovecraft), Kikagaku Moyo, and Leon Bridges
I’m not even going to pretend this one went out on 11/13. It is now 12:30 a.m., 11/14/2021.
Anyone who knows me well, knows I don’t drink much alcohol. For one thing, I’m allergic to grapes and therefore wine. So, it must be significant that at this moment I’m actually sipping a rum/tropical Pedialyte cocktail . . . thing. On the rocks. Yeah, it’s been a slightly rough week. Nothing horrible, really—just several deadlines, a few heart palpitations, at least one cancellation, the extended effects of Daylight Saving, and not enough sleep. And yet, here I am, writing to you, dear reader.
And otherwise, I’m thinking about this conundrum of being 70 and working several jobs: two contract positions and the ongoing freelance gig(s), while also trying to make art and write. I’m coming to a point where some adjustments need to be made.
The art happens, somehow, although I’ve worked out a process that seems to be an outcome of my limited time for art-making. That is, when I’ve got a few minutes, I slap a drippy wash down on several squares of watercolor paper. After the paint dries, when I’ve got a break—some mental space to create—I go over them with my trusty pen.
I trace how the paint flows, pools, and forms rivulets across the paper, becoming landscape, migration, geography, geomancy; there’s even a strange feeling of intimacy in the process.
The “Cthulucene Asemic” is a nod to Donna Haraway’s “Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chtulucene: Staying with the Trouble”), and of course, also to H.P. Lovecraft. I’m not sure I like the piece, though that almost seems beside the point; it seems like an eruption of some unknown language—a sign, a warning.
The writing that I have in mind to work on for another book hasn’t really begun yet. I know it will be prose, and it will likely focus on my parents and the stack of letters they sent to each other during the early postwar period. Thinking about my mother, Trinidad, and her migration to the U.S., her separation not only from family at home in the Philippines, but also from my father, who worked on a merchant marine ship.
How completely alien and lonely that kind of life—not surrounded by her large, extended family—must’ve been for her. There were the letters arriving in our mailbox, though—not only from my dad, but also from her mother, brothers, sisters, and cousins. And one precious letter from her father, my lolo (grandfather) Ignacio, who lived in Kansas with his American family. We didn’t know it back then, but the arrival of my mother’s letter to his home in Junction City sparked a family and mental health crisis.
There were no emails back then. Letters from the Philippines, enclosed in their red, white, and blue airmail envelopes were a wonderful, tangible thing—an arrival, missives with the sender’s personal handwriting on the outside of the envelope, promising more words within, and possibly photographs and cards.
I suspect this mss. will be a little difficult to write. I’m so very used to my usual experimental mode of writing poetry. Writing about this mother-daughter relationship in more-or-less straightforward prose will be challenging, emotionally, as well as in terms of form and process. Have you switched gears in your approach to writing? What was that like for you? I’d love to hear your comments and tips.
Sari Botton’s Oldster Magazine was recently featured in Substack. In her other Substack newsletter, “Adventures in Journalism,” Botton notes that “Oldster aims to de-stigmatize and normalize aging by examining its effects on everyone of all genders, at every phase of life—not just women of a certain age.” So, not everyone she interviews is over 65; people of all ages experience this” travel through time” and their stories, featured in the newsletter, are really interesting.
And by the way, according to European Pharmaceutical Manufacturer, there has been a “meteoric rise” in psychedelic investments over the last couple years.
Cthulhu Statues Appearing Around the World!!! OK, I’m several years late for this mysterious series of events, which happened in 2018, but I think it was a great harbinger of the age we live in today.
“White Walls” Lovecraftian Horror animated short film, created by David James Armsby:
Moving on to something less monstrous: Kikagaku Moyo, a Japanese psychedelic band, played in nearby Big Sur, recently. Sorry to have missed it. They are currently on tour in the Pacific Northwest, then heading east. Here’s video of a full performance:
Leon Bridges, singing “River” on Austin City Limits:
It is now 1:40 a.m. Until next weekend . . .
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