Monday, July 31, 2006

Cape Cod Continued: Cassia & Co. 

Long day with the kids as the rest of the family went off on various and sundries: my sister to the second day of her veterinarian's conference, Mama and Mom off running pre-wedding errands, Dad down to Florida to pick up his own father. By tomorrow night we'll have four generations in the house, and the newlyweds-to-be arrive in the wee hours tonight.

It's been a good while since I had such a long stint solo with my own children. Took 'em to the beach, but their hearts weren't in it; though the hermit crabs and other kids bright shiny beach toys attracted their attention for a while, it practically broke mine to see the wee one toddle around the sand calling for Mama. She fell asleep in the car on the way home, so we left her there in the shaded driveway while the elderkid and I watched PBS, a rare treat.

Which left us only two more hours to kill, post-nap.

Hint to Daddies who find themselves in my situation: The outdoor shower, balanced as it is with warm nakedness, is a good two-hour timekiller. The incidental cleanliness will win you mega-brownie points with the wife, too.

Drive-in tonight, for the second installment of the piratical Depp-vehicle. Plan was to leave both kids home with Mom and have a proper date, but the wee one wasn't having any of it; we dragged her along, she fell asleep in the car but awoke for the climax to stare owlish and awed at the screen. I think being in the car threw her a bit; she spent much of the time trying to guide my hands to the wheel, as if we could complete this whole movie experience by just driving into it.

House is starting to feel like where we live, at least for now. Nice to be able to blog under the stars, anyhow. Later, the meteor shower continues, I bet.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:37 PM | 0 comments

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Cape Cod Is All Around Us 

After four long hours on the road (how much longer now, Daddy?) I'm writing today from a patio deck chair, overlooking the bright, meadowed backyard of a rented home in Wellfleet, MA. The birds swoop low in the late afternoon sun.

There's wireless here. Also seven bedrooms, four and a half baths, two full kitchens, both my parents, and a holy host of family on their way over the next three days. The house is just big enough for the kids to feel left behind as we drag our things up our respective, almost Amsterdam-steep staircases. We've decided to leave the master bedroom for the happy couple, due to arrive Tuesday.

Supper soon, and a quick trip to the ocean. Because we're here, and because we can. Later, a long walk in the darkness, and perhaps an early start to the neverending quest for a local bar in every port. Or not; the wonderful thing about vacation is that, sometimes, you can wander with impunity.

posted by boyhowdy | 7:07 PM | 1 comments

Saturday, July 29, 2006

En Passant 

No net last night apres thunderstorm; Verizon's tech support was entirely unhelpful, and now I can't remember what my DNS server settings are supposed to be. Also, the red wash got a crayon in it, and it spotted everything pretty bad. Went to bed early, pissed and bored and grumpy, wondering what we did with our time before we were wired.

Spent a much better morning picnicing down the Connecticut coast with Darcie's extended family, celebrating past and impending birthdays and youngest sister Virginia's imminent departure for Hawaii, where she'll harvest, grow, and roast organic coffee on a tiny farm until she achieves full vertical integration in the coffee industry, or just gets sick and tired of working her butt off and comes home. Ginny, we'll miss you.

Back home, cleaning and packing, now that the muddy laundry we accumulated during our annual pilgrimage to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival is finally finished. Amazing how much mess a family of four can make in their own home in such a short time.

Five days home from the fields and tomorrow we're off again for the wilds of tip-of-the-cape Cape Cod, my extended family packed like sardines into a succession of houses. Offline mostly, but I hope to blog from the Wellfleet public library when I can, assuming there is such a thing.

From festival to family, from field to sand, with but the tiniest of hiatus: It's all so just like last summer, really. Except with a home to come home to, this time around. And that makes all the difference.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:05 PM | 1 comments

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Brown From The Sun 

Neck, arms, face and fingers: two weeks of outdoor living and my skin is as crisp and healthy looking as it's ever been. As long as I stick to long pants and keep my shirt on, I could pass for a sunbather, and I like it. Just in time for my brother's oceanside wedding next weekend, too.

I don't have the darkest skin, though my plight is nothing like that of my wife and children, who are doomed to walk the face of the earth along the treelines, perhaps under parasols, lest their flesh sear and glow. I burn, but it doesn't bother me much any more, and the red fades to a nice brown for a couple of days before my arms turn into leprous scaly things from a zombie movie.

Right now, though, I'm in that golden moment, and the face that peers out of the mirror seems more relaxed, more at one with nature, more aglow with life and weather than the usual haggard workself.

I've been thinking I should document this tan somehow, but the camera flash bleaches out what in direct sunlight was a lovely golden brown from t-shirtline to fingertips, broken and set off by a starkly contrasted strip of pastiness where my watch has been. You'll just have to take my word for it: I'm no George Hamilton, but as long as I keep the pale parts covered, I sure do look beachworthy.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:26 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

And The World Spins Madly On 

Waking with the kids by my side, and clutching them to sleep at night with songs and tummyrubs. A free matinee and a clean bill of follow-up health. Plans to come: a weekend picnic in Connecticut with the inlaws; two weeks on the Cape among my own for my brother's marriage; a side trip to the Vineyard in the middle of it all.

Howdykids, frolickingHow good to watch the girls run through the sprinkler on a freshly mowed lawn, naked and shrieking with glee in the late afternoon sun.

How good to be home, though the place is a mess, and the spectre of work looms faint but ominous on the horizon.

How good to have another month, another chance, another path to follow.

How sweet it is, really.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:12 PM | 2 comments

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sounds Like Everyone Else Had A Good Time, Too 

Then at about 4:00 in the morning we had to evacuate the tent because a van with fireworks and a propane tank was burning up. We went to Dillon's car and spent the rest of the night there, and I watched the van explode in his rear view mirror...

A search for "Falcon Ridge" over at blogtracker Technorati offers a fascinating look at the diversity of experience had by festivalgoers this year.

My own fire story, incidentally, involves being woken up at 4:00 so I could spend the next three hours rounding up diapers for camp refugee families. Thanks to Brink for the quote above!

For the rest of my own somewhat community-centric impression of Falcon Ridge Folk Festival 2006, just keep reading...

posted by boyhowdy | 10:19 PM | 1 comments

It's Been One Week Since You Looked At Me... 

...but over a week without blogging (or, indeed, any communications technology more wideranging than a walkie talkie) has left me a bit befuddled over where and how to begin.

Also, I've changed, I think.

In the absence of the literate urge, and perhaps to better capture the true chaotic mess that is memory after eight days of tentcommunity and fieldlife, Not All Who Wander Are Lost WAS going to be proud to present a sort of quotes-and-moments compendium from this year's Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.

And sure, somewhere in my head will always live a list and litany of days: of swimming holes and trips into civilization for forgotten suplies; of Dave and his constant stream of young and sadly heterosexual visitors, Eileen and her Long Island brothers, of nights under the shade tent while the festival built around us.

But in my mind, the true story of this year's Falcon Ridge Festival will be that this was the year I stopped being a mere visitor-participant, and became truly subsumed, at one with the community, an organ of the festival (a small organ -- a pancreas, perhaps -- but a vital components of the organism nonetheless).

You see, when I woke up on Thursday, groggy in the morning sun, watched children while Darcie painted signs, and finally, after lunch, wobbled over to my shift checking in volunteers and press and performers, I was just another volunteer, one of a thousand working his shift with cheer and as much compentence as possible.

But then I was pulled behind a car for a conference with the Volunteer Coordinator, and the weekend turned into a series of starburst moments, a whirlwind of timing and grace:

Being asked to step up as new Crew Chief for Teen Crew -- on Thursday afternoon, just twenty hours before the crew meeting.

Transforming Teen Crew on-the-spot from a loose posse of teens who spent 90% of their time hanging out at maingate into a truly well-regarded team of curious and hardworking adolescents who spend their time making a real difference while, simultaneously, making the kinds of connections and gathering all the experience needed to become the next generation of volunteer movers and shakers.

Enjoying the new privledges accorded Crew Chiefs, such as backstage access, and a total lack of time to take advantage of it.

Realizing that, as Crew Chief, I don't just get to have my finger on the pulse of the festival at all times, but that I now get to be a part of the committee which meets throughout the year to confer, strategize, improve -- and party.

Realizing, too, that this Crew Chief management group is made up of a group of friends and dedicated like-minded folks, people that I respect more than almost anyone else. And that they treat me like an equal, and are generally glad to have me among their ranks.

And driving home in a fog after a luxurious night of play and chat and song and stars, and a day of mellow sun and take-down with old friends and campmates, and suddenly realizing that joining in Crew Chief management means I no longer have to wait until next summer to be a part of Falcon Ridge. That from now on, Falcon Ridge will always be there, a part of my real world, too.

Being charged with such responsibility and knowing that you're the best man for the job -- because you proved it this weekend, didn't you, and under fire -- oh, it's indescribable.

It is an amazing, powerful, awesome thing, this sudden epiphany that you can do this, and well, and in public, and grin happily all the while, and mean it.

But being given Falcon Ridge forever, all year long?

That, perhaps, is the happiest thing of all.

Oh, yeah. There was also some music. It rocked. For those who care, the total count as of Sunday night's closing song:

Grey Fox:
Infamous Stringdusters
Uncle Earl
Danny Barnes
Hot Buttered Rum
Tim & Mollie O'Brien
Austin Lounge Lizards

Falcon Ridge Folk Festival:
Liz Carlisle
Russel Wolfe
Wild Asparagus
David Buskin
John Gorka
Cheryl Wheeler
Christine Lavin
Susan Werner
Shawn Colvin
Crooked Still
David Massengill
Tracy Grammer
Rowan & Rice Quartet
Eliza Gilkyson
Eddie From Ohio
Dan Bern
Greg Greenway
The Rowan Brothers
Lowen & Navarro
Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams

posted by boyhowdy | 3:04 PM | 1 comments

Sunday, July 16, 2006

In From The Fields (But Not For Long) 

Being a quick entry in the midst of a two-week volunteer gig which will otherwise keep me from blogging, as there ain't no net access in a New York cowfield.

Back under our own real roof for the afternoon and into tomorrow morning, but then we're off again for the wonder that is Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in all its thronging glory, and I can't wait to get back home.

Wednesday night we arrived in a rainstorm as the sun was going down, no one on site yet, but it had been a hell of a trip, what with picking up the picket fence, the total lack of RV batteries at any of three Wal-Marts, and a lost windshield wiper around Springfield.

The fields were muddy and bare, but the farmers were cool, and we bedded down along the road just inside the irrigation ditch to wait out the storm.

By morning there would be a few familiar faces, mostly those at the very core of executive function, there in their jeans and grubby tee shirts, building bridges down by the vendor rows, along nothing but open fields beside.

By the next day, there were twenty crewmen, staking out spots along the meager shade of the lowest treeline. Tents arose from the ground like mushrooms, white hats along the lowest field a skelleton of the festival to come: two on Thursday turning to the full dozen or more stages and stations by end of day Friday.

By Saturday, the tents were wired, and the staff kitchen opened for business. We staked a spot up on the hill along the outer edge of mainstage seating, where we may not have the best view, but we'll always have the closest safe haven from sun and crowd. At Parking John's demand we moved the volunteer camping line out fifty feet under our own toes, putting us smack dab in the edge of handicapped camping (we've promised to limp, if needed).

That night -- last night -- the staff tent was alive and boistrous in the dark, hard drinking and laughter around an ongoing fiddle-and-bass jam and singalong, until long after midnight.

In amidst all this I made it down the road apiece to Grey Fox a couple of times, where we chairhopped around the first few mainstage rows while all around us drunkards roared in the dark, and I fell in love with yet another couple of young, energetic bluegrass boybands; had dinner with my parents; found our camping buddy Dave and spent a hundred hours just sitting around smoking under the stars with the good old crowd.

Oh, and Willow made a dozen new friends, found older kids to watch and wonder at, had a birthday party in the field, with all the site crew kids whacking away at the pinata.

We've been living in the field, watching the community build slowly around us for four nights, and I miss it. The girls love living in the open; they're easier to watch outdoors; they cried when we left, and I'm glad to be able to give them back the land they love tomorrow.

Thanks God for Falcon Ridge, and the organic homegrown community that we rebuild every year, for it is my oasis, my mecca, my summer's peak. Thanks, God, for a family that loves the land and the people and the spirit as much as I do. And thank God we're going back in less than twelve hours.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:41 PM | 1 comments

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

And We're Off! 

Hello, you've reached Not All Who Wander Are Lost. We can't come to the blog right now...because there's no internet in this big open field.

We're folking out at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (with an early sidetrip here).

Plans include much music, serious relaxation, beer and grub, and the usual chaos that comes of living in an open field with two kids, old friends, and thousands of folkies. See below entries for details.

Other than a quick stopover at home on the 16th, I'll be on a blog hiatus until July 24. Falcon Ridge, here we come!

posted by boyhowdy | 1:00 PM | 2 comments

Monday, July 10, 2006

My Strange (Fasci)Nation 

Been checking out folk musician websites overnight, trying to make some preliminary don't-miss wishlists as we move ever closer to our annual pilgrimage to Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.

So far, previously-unknown Jason Spooner and festival (and personal) fave Susan Werner seem to be standing out from the crowd. Here's a track each from their websites; I especially recommend Werner's wryly liberal yet truly majestic ode to this good old country, sure to be a festival fave.

Susan Werner Mp3: My Strange Nation
Jason Spooner Mp3: Big Black Hole

We don't go for the music, of course -- we're true folk communityheads in the howdy clan -- but the workshop stage tends to bring together otherwise-unheard of performer combos. Past years have brought everything from a Moxy Fruvous and Eddie From Ohio lovefest to some of the most amazing impromptu triple banjo sessions ever imagined. Planning ahead makes it possible to make my volunteer schedule quickly, if nothing else. Plus, it's nice to know what the soundtrack might be.

Of course perennial festfaves EFO, John Gorka, Eliza Gilkyson and Shawn Colvin and many other wonderful singer-songwriters will draw me and others to the mainstage, and I'm very much looking forward to a few kidtent sets with the girls: The Nields, and an out-of-retirement David Massengil especially.

The weekend's schedule isn't up yet, but if you want to take a gander at the list of performers, check it out. Maybe we'll see you there.

posted by boyhowdy | 3:48 PM | 1 comments

Fish Story 

Father's day the kids woke me up with a telescoping flyrod; yesterday, we gave elderchild Willow her birthday present early so she'd have her own pole, and the two of us headed out through the woods, just three houses down an overgrown path, to a greenspot where the stream hits the dam backwash.

And so we learned to cast, that shade moves with the sun, how a barbed hook works, and why. We ate crackers, shared an apple, and two tiny fish later -- the world's smallest largemouth and a four-inch sunfish, if you're keeping score -- we decided to call it a morning.

A nice afternoon on a shady summer riverbank, teaching patience, enjoying the day. So what if Willow's most memorable moment involved the dubious phrase Daddy, fishing is really boring, isn't it? According to my list of father-daughter goals, we're right on schedule.

posted by boyhowdy | 12:58 PM | 3 comments

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Continuing Developments 

Dodd's Farm: new FRFF Folk Fest site, new home away from home.

An explosion of recurrence today, starting with an in-and-out prep of the camper, immediately followed by shopping for low-backed chairs, plastic dishes, and campsite furnishings for our annual pilgrimage to Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.

This is our seventh year so preparing, and though the site has changed (see above), by now we know what we want to build, how we prefer to frame our summer's peak. Darcie said it pretty clearly: she goes to these festivals to plan and then build the campsite -- she lives, in other words, to be the camp Mama, just as I live 51 weeks each year to arrive at an empty hayfield a week before the gates officially open, feel a community build around me, and then to live it out while it lasts with all my heart and body.

Supper we tested the camper grill -- hamburgers and a wonderful potato gratin thing Darcie learned from her papa, all foil-steamed and bleu-cheesed up. Even the fridge is working after three years out of the running.

The oddness of universal cyclicality struck again after supper with a familiar horror when the baby got her finger stuck in the shower drain this evening, just like her Sister did back in March:

Tonight out of the din that is two kids and company one of those present-tense parenting moments: a sudden screaming around the corner and I'm sprinting around the kitchen island like slow motion and into the bathroom and there in the shower my little girl is standing shaking shrieking all alone behind the frosted glass and honey what's the matter O my god she's (Darcie!) bleeding really badly o my god o baby (Darcie! Come quick!) oh baby it's going to be okay and Daddy I was stuck in the DRAIN...

Luckily, Mama was in the shower with the kid this time around, and was quick enough to pour shampoo on, lubrication enough to get her free with a minimum of finger fleshtearing.

It's bad-looking nonetheless, and no less so for the much younger self and much smaller finger that suffered this time around. But she's resilient and independent kid, that little one; she wouldn't take anyone but daddy, stopped crying in less than ten minutes, and pulled off every bandage and wrap we tried just for the sheer mobility of it.

After the kids went to bed I tried downloading some music, but the hard drive was full, so I went about digging through the old files, looking for trashables. Came across my inbox archive from my last year of college, and have now spent a delightful hour marvelng at what was on my mind a decade ago.

Revolting how careless I was in my online writing back then. But then, astounding to see how much my online voice, my online self have evolved. Surely the two are related, the lack of care given to the language a function of both discomfort and lack of practice, two sides of the online persona coin.

Good bookfodder, that. Gels well with the intro to John Seabrook's Deeper: My Two Year Oddysey in Cyberspace, published in the same year, 1997, back when the Internet was new, and not yet mutually symbiotic with our meatspace, and not yet so much a part of us:

An on-line home, on the other hand, seemed more like a little hole you drilled in a wall of your real home to let the world online home built for solitude didn't quite make sense, maybe because people tended to be alone while they sat in front of their screens. In going on-line, you made some of your personal space available to other people.

Ah yes. Back when the online world was built for solitude. Back when the space of the web was borrowed personal space, not yet a public entity in and of itself. And of course what was true for the culture was true for the individual; Neil Postman (The Medium Is The Mind), and before him Marshall McLuhan (The Medium Is The Message), would have had it no differently. But we can rebuild it; we have the technology, indeed.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:49 PM | 0 comments

Friday, July 07, 2006

Six Adages: Boring But True 

Dirt Breeds Dirt

Two Daughters Separately Are More Apt To Impress Than Two Sisters Together

If The Hose Can't Reach, Don't Park The Camper There

A Day Without Shoes Is A Day Of Abnormally Severe Pants Cuff Stress, A Sick Day, Or Both

Reading Somewhere About Putting Clear Packing Tape On Your iPod To Protect The Surface Won't Keep It From Getting Scratched Until You Actually Put The Packing Tape On

You Can't Mow Everywhere

posted by boyhowdy | 10:19 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Between The Lines: Two Sonnets and a Zen Affirmation Poem 

The Smith College Japanese Teahut Produced five or six full sonnets and some fragments over the bookwriting weekend, mostly in order to keep the fingers flying even when my mind needed a break from trying to generate a chapter and then some in only 72 hours (and during a heatwave).

Call 'em the Smith College Sonnets, though not all come in at 14 lines. I've included three here, just for fun. Each was produced in less than twenty minutes; all need work, though the Zen Affirmation poem seems complete somehow -- it captures the duality of the writing moment, perhaps. Comments more than welcome.

Smith College Sonnet #1

I am looking for a place to write this poem
In the shade of the trees by the circular pond.

The teahouse gazebo is occupied
By a pair of Smith students in stereotype,
Chunky, and with the same black stringy hair.

Here there is a wildflower garden
in someone’s memory, with two bridges
to go across the marshy streamlet
and back again, while admiring the swamplillies.

In the lake, the ducks dive and disappear
In sequence like synchronized swimmers
Besequined in a cinematic musical number.

They are gone a long time.
It feels like they will never come up.

Smith College Sonnet #4

Just now the pagoda was empty, only when I came closer
This couple came out of nowhere and sat down.
Now I’m sitting on a rock by the water.
My back hurts, and my brain is a little fried
From too many blocks walked in the heat
Wearing long pants. My underwear is cutting into me.
They have a picnic in paper bags. I hate them.

I’ve got to stop trying to say what the book is about
And let the book be about what it is going to be about.

I’ve got to stop making excuses, and write.

Down along the bank, a dog is swimming
Somewhere I can't see through the grasses
A man throws the ball into the water again and again
I can hear his voice come back off the water.

3. Zen Affirmation Poem
(written in the Japanese garden, Smith College, July 3, 2006)

I am one with the ripples
That spread from those rising bubbles
Over there. Maybe there's a fish.

It’s easy to say “ignore the mosquitoes”
But one just bit me.
Maybe to truly ignore the mosquitoes
Is to miss out on the pleasure of squishing them
Against your arm.

These frogs are really goddamn loud.
Huge, too. They jump all over each other.

Put something beautiful here
About how the heron flies so effortlessly,
Or something.

A thought: I come with room to grow,
a medium coffee in a large cup.

Also, people keep walking by with bathing suits on.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:50 PM | 0 comments

Wandering In
Blogentry #1600 

I'm afraid to take a look at what I wrote last weekend. 24 pages, you'd think some of it might be good, but the generative writing's only the tiniest sliver of making sense of it all, and do I have it in me to weave something so grand out of the world, after years struggling with vignettes, mere moments of an ongoing life?

Sometimes late at night, after the world has gone to sleep, I sit by myself in the dark, and play plaintive voices accompanied by quiet guitars, and let myself get sad about things, without really thinking about any one thing in particular, just the whole damn overwhelming wash of it all, entropic, like a watch you took apart when you were a kid, and now every time you go to fix it, it's just gotten worse.

It's good to sit and be sad, I think -- cathartic, cleansing. Just not too often. Say, a couple of dozen times over a four year run, which isn't bad for 1600 entries on the nose. Happy anniversary, blog.

posted by boyhowdy | 12:02 AM | 1 comments

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Hot, but we marched up and down the parade route anyway, first to line up with the library ladies, then back down into town through hundreds of cheering faces, with the kids on wheels, in our firefly shirts.

After the last marching band passed through the streets filled behind it like a zipper closing; you could see it on the hill, this mass of overheated, semi-patriotic humanity, closing in on you, sweaty and eager for hot dogs and beer.

Now it's hours past their bedtime, after a long slow evening of grilling, goats and glowsticks on the top of a cleared hill, admiring the sunset while we slurped our ice cream.

Once the sky has stopped cracking, the hills grow dark again. Porch lights flicker out, leaving only the fireflies, blinking furtively among the trees, for illumination.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:55 PM | 0 comments

Monday, July 03, 2006

This Is Writing, Too, Isn't It? 

Spotted in Northampton today: a handwritten sign informing passersby that prenatal yoga is cancelled pending increased enrollment. If you're planning on conceiving sometime very soon, stop by -- they're right next to Haymarket, and they really need some business.

Also spotted a guy carrying an old boombox blaring the Spice Girls. He was singing along loudly, and getting some pretty strange looks from the lesbians, freaks, hipsters, hippies, and all the rest of this town's overwhelmingly countercultural population as he passed through. Guess it takes all types.

Not spotted: information on how, or indeed whether, 'hamp celebrates the 4th. I know the Pride Parade is the big event around here, but c'mon, folks, acts of patriotism must include dissenters and activists, too, lest we abdicate our voices altogether, and end up powerless and impotent, speaking always to the choir.

Since the bookfodder has hit its twentieth page (twelve point Times New Roman, single-spaced), and I've become overwhelmed by the struggle to figure out how and whether to fit later events into the narrative as I write, I'm thinking I'll have Darcie and the kids pick me up this evening, instead of tomorrow as previously discussed. I need hard copy, damnit, and a floor to spread it out upon. And I wouldn't want Willow to miss her chance to march in the Monson 4th of July parade with the librarians.

posted by boyhowdy | 12:15 PM | 0 comments

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Writing Life 

Spent a few hours here and there writing, first in the dorm room and then, due to a severe lack of caffeine, in Haymarket, where I had the first coffee of the day and a beautiful omelet made with fresh mozzarella and herbs. Followed this with more writing, this time down by the river hidden in a bus-stop like structure deep in the wooded environs of the Smith College Japanese Gardens. Then it was too hot, so I lay down and read an old Dick Francis book I picked up in the used bookstore in town yesterday to clear my head while the laptop batteries charged.

The heat makes difficult to begin again, so I thought I'd sweat my way down to the Northampton coffeeshops again in a few to post a blogentry – yes, and now you’re soaking in it – as the Smith wireless is password-protected. Free wifi is such a wonderful thing. Pity one has to go to town to enjoy it. Now I'm back in Haymarket after an hour's worth of in-town snacking: pizza here, a coffee there. It’s supposed to rain violently soon, but so far, the weather is just oppressive, and the sun shines through large breaks in the cloudcover.

Note to self: next time you do this, bring shorts.

Decided to include small vignettes about where I'm writing in the book itself, to lend the immediacy of writing it to the subject of writing the self through blogs, and what kind of self could emerge, given the particular self writing, and the situations in which I have found myself.

Still trying to say that last bit better, though. Right now, describing what this book is (and what it is not) takes up a good three pages, when I’d like to think it should be evident from the writing.

Overall, I have managed to produce over 6,000 words, 15-plus pages of mishmashed paragraphs in some rough semblance of order, though it’s increasingly looking like they span the first several chapters. At this point, I can feel myself reaching a point where I won’t be able to do much more in the generative sense, not without a printer and red pen at my disposal. If this is it, I suppose – if the rest of the weekend is a total wash, and I end up fudging with the words rather than writing them – it will still be enough.

Have successfully avoided writing anything from the second half of the book – the second child, the loss of job, the summer of homelessness, settling into the new home and vocation. Those readers whose lives are inexorably, unavoidably intertwined with my own need not yet be concerned about their own recent lives, and how they might look on paper. After all, the goal today and tomorrow is to crank out a single chapter, that it and an outline might be sent to an agent as yet unchosen and unpursued.

But writing constantly does not always allow me to choose my subject, and the way I write doesn't always let me put aside the voices without running the risk of losing them. Soon, too soon, it will be write it or lose it. Soon I will have to write some of it, if only because if I am to continue to write, I will need to write about something; if only because writing it is the only way to ensure that it doesn't go in the first chapter, even if that's only to create a bookend for later.

I'll try to be kind, but I also need to be comprehensive and honest.

The storm is coming, or so the paper says. Outisde, the sky grows grey with clouds again.

posted by boyhowdy | 5:26 PM | 3 comments

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Booking It 

Started the book this afternoon on a bench just outside the Smith College botanical gardens, under the bronzed gaze of some turn-of-the-century alum who went on to do great things, such as donate serious cash to the fledgling university. Typically, what I found myself writing about was the act of writing what I was writing about.

I'm staying in Mom's generously donated, dorm-furnished room over at the graduate school of social work, hers to use or lend while she teaches her summer course in Couples Therapy but generally vacant save on Tuesdays, when she's up to teach ehr class. The building, a converted homestead mere steps away from the president's house, is deserted, so I've no excuse to write save writer's block, and the lure of Northampton nearby.

So, of course, an hour after I started, I'm already in Haymarket in town, finishing off an espresso milkshake while I take advantage of the free wifi.

I'll be in Northampton until Tuesday, carless and on my own, while the wife and kids laze in the sun up north in Brattleboro, at her parents' house. Trying to get past the temptation to churn out notes, and a few pages of half-alive, almost-false starts. Wish me luck.

posted by boyhowdy | 3:52 PM | 1 comments
coming soon
now listening