October 25th, 2003

A Certain Slant of Light

elizabeg hasn't been writing much lately. I think the pressures and pleasures of her first semester as a UCLA graduate student have made it hard for her to find time for maintaining her online journal.

She has a new, short entry today. Like its predecessors, it's viscerally abstract, a testament to her dedication to craft.

It gets me thinking about what I'd like to accomplish here. I have a mental block that prevents me from going full-bore in my creative writing. Sometimes I have to unleash prescription-strength metaphors when I'm writing a music feature or review, usually because my editor demands it.

But I have a terrible writing the kind of prose -- or poetry -- I enjoy reading for literary pleasure.

Maybe I'm just not good enough to pull it off.

More likely, though, the problem lies with my conception of form.

The slant of light I seek is the one that makes the air vent in our garage glow, providing just enough indirect illumination to make out what sort of items are in a file-safe box, but not enough to really read anything.

And yet, I have spent the better part of my aesthetic life -- back to elementary school, really -- thinking about the way light falls on a landscape.

I'm dubbing some Mini-DV tapes onto VHS for my parents today and saw some footage I shot while driving into Palm Springs in February, the stretch where massive windmills fuck up your sense of scale. I was after the light, as much as the windmills.

I remembered that light a couple weeks ago, when I drove the same stretch in late afternoon slant light.
  • Current Music
    Drown - Smashing Pumpkins - Singles: Original Motion Pic

Off Target

You may recall that I recently related Kim's decision to give in to the Target photo center employee's pressure and go with the "premium" One-Hour processing, because the employee in question said that Kodak was "just digital" and therefore inferior.

Well, the second batch of prints was cut so badly that there are black strips on the top or bottom.

But the worst of it is that the photo CDs -- I just looked at them for the first time -- are grainy and yellow for every roll. If the Kodak photo CD rates a 9 out of 10, the Target gets a 1 or 2 out of 10.

I'm so pissed off.

Remember, Kodak only, even if it takes longer, even if it's "just digital"!
  • Current Music
    Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber - Wu-Tang Clan - Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

Can smooth and rough muscles be tense at the same time?

Maybe it's the solar storms doing it, but I have felt really out of sorts the past few days. And it has been getting progressively worse. That feeling that I can't do, can't think, can only putter mindlessly, if that.

Since my parents and now sister are here, there is surely some psychosomatic component. I do recall having this feeling quite often as a teenager and on more recent visits home.

But the unease is less focused than that, more abstract.

By far the best description I can muster is Joan Didion's prose in The White Album, when she's detailing the effect of Santa Ana winds. I can't quote it here, though, because the book is in our bedroom, where my parents are presently sleeping.

Of course, there are very strong Santa Ana's wreaking havoc in Southern California right now. Fire all over the place.

I suppose my earlier entry about "earthquake weather" can and should be extended to include the autumn threat of firestorms.

I have a good story about the Oakland Hills fire of 1991 too.

Anyway, I'm not sure whether Santa Ana winds in the Golden State can have much effect on the mood of a person living in Tucson, but I'd be a good test subject for a study.

Oh, and the humidity is once again reading "L%" in here, though the night is much cooler than earlier this week.
  • Current Music
    only the wind