10/26

dreamt. vaguely. My parents and sister were there. Don’t think I ever “saw” them

flux

everyone flitting about doing “their bit” – dunno

I didn’t have a bit that I knew about.

vague surprise from family

I consider seeking out a bit to do,

it seems incorrect though

inaction, waiting for things to slow

grey out…

Back on my Literacy Soapbox

First things first: Thank you educators (formal and informal). You guys are on the front lines doing something about literacy issues.

With our digital world still unfolding and it currently being the wild, wild west of the world, I worry there has been a tendency to view words as inferior to numbers. Reading is seen as escapism, a hobby, and other whimsy. Literacy starts meaning the ability to read a newspaper, which is written on an 8th grade level. What do we mean by literate?

The ability to grasp meaning from language requires a capacity to hold those abstract principles in your mind and then critically apply those abstractions to yourself. Sure, a 10 year old girl reading Anne of Green Gables, is absolutely doing this. Even if she’s reading for a school assignment and hates every second of it: she will have a feeling about what she reads and that feeling becomes opinion which she then must express in both a written and oral book report. Then she has learned to think for and express herself and her own thoughts.

Working in risk management for businesses and professionals, my days involve a lot of reading of policy forms. That huge stack of papers they give you when buy, say, auto insurance. Not the page that shows your coverage limits (commonly called or declarations page) but all the stuff after it, that is a legally binding contract you paid money to sign. Consider court documents and the language of laws. Reading a court filing yesterday, I hit a word I did not know. I have 4 print dictionaries I consult for such things. The word was in none of them and I could not find much online either. I was outraged.

I consider the work of promoting literacy to include the right to readability of “binding written agreements.” Things like state and federal law, how voting works, court papers and explanations of rights and lead options, credit card and bank agreements and capitalization and interest practices, student loan education.

The list goes on. My point is: there are ways language can be used to obfuscate instead of illuminate. The less we read the more likely we are to not even notice it. That is not a fair game; everyone deserves equity.

Alabam

Alabama is strange and gothically beautiful. A charming place to encounter, but a contentious place to live. At least for me. So I left, but do like remembering.

The Gulf of Mexico is only a few hours away. Summer vacations at Destin or Pensacola Beach. The sand there is soft and fine and white. The gulf waters are lighter and vibrant like the Carribean waters southward. This contrasts with the deep blue, navy color characteristic of the Atlantic on the East Coast as well as the Pacific Ocean on the westcoast.

We’d invite our neighbors, the entire Cole family. Sadie and I were the same age-specifically, being in that thrilling 13-17 yr old range, where you are so excited to be seen and see. People were there year round because it was the cheapest family get away going, often referred to as the Redneck Riviera. My hair likes to curl in general. But, with salty water, hot breezes and 95% humdity, my hair would curl the way I wished it would everyday. Strong memories of walking the beach, feeling my hair blow in the coastal breeze, and being thrilled about how glamorous I surely looked.

The beach was good, you could be and act like yourself. Tuscaloosa required a bit more work. Sadie’s family did not “have a church” and my family, we were lower middle-class transplants upon arrival. There were the rich folks and there were the really poor folks, but not a lot in between.

Tuscaloosa is the center of high society for the state. Population just shy of 80,000. I remember hellacious springs that brought in the Azalea bush season. A staple of manicured landscapes. Ours were pink.

My Mom loved dogwood trees. They bloom quickly and lose their petals even quicker. The dogwood flower is symbolic of Christ’s crucifixtion (most everything in Alabama ends up being about Jesus though), accounting for much of their local popularity. We planted one when my grandmother died.

The Black Warrior river running alongside the heart of Tuscaloosa.

This historic trellis bridge on Black Warrior river demarks Tuscaloosa from Northport. Barges and tug boats frequent the water. There is a 3 mile river walk nestled into the shore of the river, and the University of Alabama is across the street. When classes are in sessions, students traditionally setup hammocks between two trees and study there. UA is a football, party, society schmooze school for the elite. There is an old joke that men attend the university to get an MBA degree (Master of Business Admin) while women attend to pursue their MRS degree (find a husband, get married) and so from Miss to Mrs. Gross, right? That is why this gal prefers to use no title before Casey, but when pushed, I always go with Ms. Just for mystery, ya know!

Best restaurant in the state. They do ribs with white bread. That is all. But the way they do it makes anything else seem unnecessary.

This is the University of Alabama.

This is the university during any given home football game.

Too many people for me, but they seem to have a real good time.

This was the safe place for punks, goths, and plain ole’ rock n’ roll animals like me.

Outside of Egan’s, it seemed masks got melted on faces and gender roles became horrific molds to be fit.

Tuscaloosa society gals, begin preparing in high school with debutante balls, antebellum societies, and finally culminating into rushing a sorority and hoping they let you in. Rock n’ roll animals like me, avoided the feck out of these parades.

Spent a lot of time in this theatre. Remains my favorite theatre to this day.

This is Moundville. The peoples who built the land up so and lived here, were one of the most complex civilizations of their time. I majored in Anthropology, so I spent summers doing archeaology fieldwork for class credit. Totally not as romantic as it might sound, but who doesn’t like digging around in the dirt from time to time.

Tuscaloosa gets dozens of tornadoes every spring. The twister in this picture resulted in one of the most expensive (to rebuild) disasters in US history, following right behind the hurricane damage.

After shot below.

By a bit of water

After her meander, she soon spotted him sitting in the tall grass with an unlit smoke hanging off his lip, facing the bottleneck where the narrow little creek began to come together on itself and collect into a pond. A dam edged the flow at the far side of the water and a fishladder sat right alongside this spillway.

Salmon spawned and climbed there. But not yet, as fall was only now making the scene.

She wonders what he is seeing. What made him sit down in the first place?

His back faced her and yet she knew he was gone. Mentally absconding down some path, having been beckoned by guazy spirits within his imagination. She liked to watch his corporeal form when the immaterial consumed his attention.

It was the way his neck worked. Parallel thrusts of unnoticed nuchral rigidity held his head fast and at its present attention. The slope delineated by neck becoming shoulders.

She considered breaking his reverie, but chose to keep still in the moment with him and bask in the felicific tension.

In the suspension of outcome;

the bit before the finale;

the desire for denouement.

Dream of Troubadours

I dream troubadours whisper Provencal words against my neck.

An apothegm: my legs will not stop shaking.

An aphorism: about that which one does not know, one might do best by remaining silent.

Breathe, hold it in and hold in stillness, then release.

Prudence and patience,

my prowess has power adapted to the need.

I work in mystery-the intersection of suspense and anticipation in a heavily muted silence.

Decorously discreet both in dire straits and in heedlessness.

My obliging pruriency sure hopes he pries.