nightbird: Mucha illustration, young peasant holding scythe and grain (we see what we see.)
posted by [personal profile] nightbird at 10:01pm on 24/07/2010 under ,
The Emergency Peace Federation, a hastily assembled pacifist organization, had in early March summoned to the East its champion platform speaker, David Starr Jordan, retired president of Stanford University. During the last ten days of March, Jordan stumped from Boston to Baltimore on behalf of peace. On Sunday, April 1[, 1917], the eve of Wilson's war address, a Baltimore mob of nearly a thousand persons stormed the building in which Jordan was speaking, and started to rush the stage. The pro-peace audience sang "The Star-Spangled Banner," compelling the zealous patriots to stop and stand at attention in mid-aisle long enough for Jordan to slip away.
David M. Kennedy, Over Here: The First World War and American Society

I've officially made my first purchase for researching State Lines. It claims to be a look at American society during WWI, which I imagine will help in writing a Midwestern rail town in 1920. Earlier this week I printed out my draft of The Falling Woman, with a three-ring binder and everything, and varying attempts to get some reorganizing done have gone not very far, which makes me think I need to move on to something else for a while. Hello, myth and Americana.
Mood:: 'hot' hot
Music:: "Girl With One Eye," Florence + The Machine
nightbird: Mucha illustration, young peasant holding scythe and grain (downstate girl)
Loglines and Your Query - Great for diagnosing structural integrity in a story

Ten Point Checklist for Scenes - I love lists! Lists help me tremendously with things, especially things that require consistency.

Wooden Figurine + Katie Hennessey story - Significant Objects strikes again

I went home this week. I landed in Ohio Saturday morning, spent some time with my parents and my guy Gus, and then drove down to Athens. I only had a day, but it was the perfect one: the sun was shining, the air was calm and warm, and it's the beginning bloom of flower season — forsythia, daffodils and hyacinths. I took a lot of pictures, did a lot of walking and thought a lot. There's this time of day that has what I call "ciderlight," and I was able to put my finger on some elements of why it affects me so much. It's late afternoon on a nice day, the last light before dusk, when you've spent the whole day doing things and having fun, and you're just about at that giddy edge of a full day of happiness. It's the time you spend lying on the grass and laughing with your friends. Hipsters seem to like it — I see it in a lot of icons and photo shoots, which makes me happy, hipsters aside. In childhood, it was the time you were allowed to play outside a little longer before dinner. The shadows are long and crisp and you're a giant. You couldn't set a long scene under it — it would have to be about the transience of the moment, but for what it is, it's perfect.

Anyway. I had a hard time leaving this time. It's been a long time since I've been back and it hasn't been winter. More on all that later.
nightbird: Mucha illustration, young peasant holding scythe and grain (August and nothing after)
nightbird: Mucha illustration, young peasant holding scythe and grain (there was another one; something else)
I'm so excited about these links I can barely contain myself. One thing about post-apocalyptic Americana is that it's a vernacular genre: it's deeply rooted in individual, local experiences and worldviews. It may incorporate mass phenomena or communications, but often it's very singular. (My big essay laying the whole thing out has stalled out in favor of NaNo, but I still have all the notes, and I know I'll want a change of pace once I wrap up the first draft of The Falling Woman. Expect a lot more of this at the end of this year and the beginning of the next.)

Vernacular photography is about personal snapshots. A lot of it is weird or strange or even a little distant, but I can never shake that oh feeling when you look at faces fifty, sixty, seventy years gone and just recognize who you see. Accidental Mysteries was the first place I encountered the phrase "vernacular photography," right around the time I was first introduced to the concept of outsider art. Now I've found another site to pore over: Square America, which is full of oddball vintage photographs. I was introduced to the site because of the Amelie-like In the Booth section. If you ever need to meet characters for a story, this is it. Your work is almost done for you, once you look them in the face.

Back in the writing part of my divided attentions, this is a great post about "guerilla writing," or finding the time to do work when you're on the go 28/7. I admire anyone who can use those 15 minutes of waiting around time so efficiently; I'm usually staring off into space daydreaming, which is useful and necessary, but not when I'm at my desk.

Speaking of which, on the train this morning I found myself wondering how improv is going to change how I do NaNo this year. One of the key elements to improv is making a strong, clear choice at the beginning and giving it legitimacy by committing to it utterly. Quick decisions and listening are what drive your storytelling. If I wind up agonizing less because of comedy theater, I will share my notes. For now, I keep running over different starting points and wondering which one will make for the strongest opening. November is almost on top of us, and I've been waiting for it so long I have no idea why I'm still surprised.
Music:: "People Get Ready," Eva Cassidy
nightbird: Mucha illustration, young peasant holding scythe and grain (star witness)
Usually I hold off on my Etsy lust for other venues, but this map of the United States is absolutely, 110% necessary once I am no longer poor from paying rent and tuition for my next session of improv classes in the same week. It's not about state lines, it's about collage. The field of "amber waves of grain" is a great Midwestern Mythic counterweight.

I'll have to find a place to put it. I have a ton of framed prints and photos that I need to hang before they gather too much dust.

Pictures, frames and maps )
Mood:: 'hungry' hungry
nightbird: Mucha illustration, young peasant holding scythe and grain (August and nothing after)
Today is Mexican Independence Day, and in the little outdoor area across the street from work a mariachi band with six dancers gave a concert. It was wonderful. (To the person behind me who said that if this was a real party, they'd be doing shots right now, screw you for missing the point and being a jackass.) The costumes were incredible, with red sashes and gold embroidery and silver coins on black costumes for the men, and intense, full skirts and incredible hairdos with ribbons woven in for the women. The women wore purple, green and orange, and all six dancers as well as the singers yelped and trilled and sang and stomped.

The woman in orange took over: she would dance because she wanted to, by God. She flirted and mocked and grinned and talked back and swayed her hips, and she was so in control and mighty. The only time she was quiet and more reflective-seeming was during the second half of a love song, this gorgeous, full-throated serenade by one of the male band members. It was amazing to see. I want to know more.
Music:: "Catfish Blues," Robert Petway
nightbird: Mucha illustration, young peasant holding scythe and grain (star witness)
It's one of those days. My boss is out today and there's very little to do (two 200- to 300-word articles for my NPO's magazine and a draft of a blog post for our website). The only creamer that's communal is this ghastly powdered kosher stuff, which means I've only been here a little over ninety minutes and I'm already contemplating a trip to Caribou Coffee. Read more... )
Music:: "Wireless," Imogen Heap/"The Water Jet Cilice," Andrew Bird
nightbird: Mucha illustration, young peasant holding scythe and grain (little boxes)
posted by [personal profile] nightbird at 04:27pm on 24/08/2009 under
Music:: "The Song They Were Singing When Rome Fell," Anais Mitchell
Mood:: quiet
nightbird: Mucha illustration, young peasant holding scythe and grain (the fox confessor)
Project: Write the story that accompanies this soundtrack.

1) "Come Home," Kris Delmhorst (You left here on your dirty feet but you're gonna come home on the train)
2) "Doubletree," Jeffrey Foucault (That morning came up shining clear and sharp as broken glass)
3) "Maybe Sparrow," Neko Case (Notes are hung so effortless with the rise and fall of sparrow's breast)
4) "Muddy Meadow," Calexico (Instrumental, 0:54)
5) "End of Amnesia," M. Ward (Instrumental, 2:12)
6) "Iowa (Traveling III)," Dar Williams (But for you I came this far across the tracks, ten miles above the limit and with no seatbelt)
7) "Cinder and Smoke," Iron & Wine (Give me your hand and take what you will tonight)
8) "The Song They Were Singing When Rome Fell," Anais Mitchell (No evening news, just our bodies and a record playing Delta blues)
9) "The Pharaohs," Neko Case (You kept me wanting wanting wanting like the wanting in the movies and the hymns)
10) "John the Revelator," Son House (Mary, Margaret, they were there and heard every word he said)
11) "Homeward These Shoes," Iron & Wine (Homeward with heaven above me, old road behind me, a door up ahead)
nightbird: Mucha illustration, young peasant holding scythe and grain (in a city by the water)
Mr. K.I.A. He's not a prophet. Nobody told him a thing he didn't see for himself. War's over and the whole United States is all bombed out. Cities are pulsing, trains are running, women are working, but all those years this country poured and pushed and flooded into one thing and now it's not needed anymore, and the ones who are left don't know what to do yet. He sees it — he sees what came back from what was shipped overseas. Walking craters in uniforms and A-line dresses, that's what we've got. They're gonna want peace and quiet, but this country is due for some yelling time. Something's coming, something that knows this place can do big.

He has seen the future and he will be waiting for it with drinks.

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