Tuesday, September 27, 2011

September sun & celebrations [& 24hrs till home]

Aside from obsessing over the codex and frantically trying to reconcile my opinions about the digital world with my firm allegiance to the physical book object, I am also always invested in this idea of fiction and reading and "reality" [except I care far less about any actual attempts to define "reality."] Just... read this NYTimes article.
"For a prose narrative to be fictional it must be written for a reader who knows it is untrue and yet treats it for a time as if it were true. The reader knows, in other words, not to apply the traditional measure of truthfulness for judging a narrative; he or she suspends that judgment for a time, in a move that Samuel Taylor Coleridge popularized as “the willing suspension of disbelief,” or “poetic faith.” Another way of putting this is to say that a reader must be able to occupy two opposed identities simultaneously: a naïve reader who believes what he is being told, and a savvy one who knows it is untrue."
Except this didn't start with Cervantes. It started with the things we now call "ancient novels." And it will keep going and going and I can't wait to see how it evolves along side of and in spite of the digital age.
"It is not a coincidence that the English term “reality” and its cognates in the other European languages only entered into usage between the mid-16th and early-17th century, depending on the language."
It actually kind of blows my mind that there are still educated, even brilliant people who align themselves with Alex Rosenberg's assertion that "“the philosophical theory [naturalism] that treats science as our most reliable source of knowledge and scientific method [is] the most effective route to knowledge." People who question "“whether disciplines like literary theory provide real understanding.”
"In fact, the common notion of objective reality that most of us would recognize today and the one on which Professor Rosenberg’s defense of naturalism rests — as that which persists independent of our subjective perspectives — is mutually dependent on the multiple perspectives cultivated by the fictional worldview."
"The fictional worldview, then, is one in which we are able to divide our selves to assume simultaneously opposing consciousnesses, and to enter and leave different realities at will, all the while voluntarily suspending judgments concerning their relation to an ultimate reality. This worldview has had an extraordinarily powerful impact on the modern world; in some interpretations it is the very epistemological signature of modernity, affecting equally our thought and politics as thoroughly as it does our art and literature."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fruit Bats
going to sleep smelling like fire
waking up to sunshine

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Every few years, I do this thing where I google my name, followed by a verb. When I first did this several years ago, my verbs were: needs, misses, loves, waits, dreams, wishes, hopes, wants, hates, knows, and doesn't care. [Don't make fun of my verbs. I was at a very transitional period in my life after having finally moved to New York City and realizing I had no desire to live in New York City.] Anyway, I did the google thing again last September after moving to Salt Lake City and this is what happened. It's like a google self-portrait that changes over time as the internet evolves and more and more information becomes available.

Ali needs to go back to school.
Ali needs to know.
Ali needs to pull herself together.
Ali needs a caning and a moral lesson.
Ali needs three needles.
Ali needs URGENT HELP!
Ali needs a real challenge.
Ali needs to get away from both her father and mother to outlive her full potential.
Ali needs build-up.
Ali needs to be reckoned with.
Ali needs a Batmobile to get herself out of a jam.
Ali needs a win.
Ali needs to stay gone.

Ali misses the point as she swings from one extreme to the other.
Ali misses the togetherness.
Ali misses him.

Ali loves minorities.
Ali loves Colorado.
Ali loves chili on her face.

Ali waits patiently for the bachelors to arrive in their boats.
Ali waits on future.

Water is the lens through which Ali dreams.
Ali dreams the same dream.

Ali wishes to go to him.
Ali wishes that had happened during puberty!

Ali hopes to thrive in the industry.
Ali hopes it will be bigger and better.

Ali wants a quirky and neurotic guy.
Ali wants to leave and get out of the cold.

Ali hates certain noises, like a toilet flushing, and may scream or tantrum from that.
Ali hates rubber.

Ali knows exactly what she wants.
Ali knows that the opposite is probably true.

Ali doesn't care for human problems.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

/I can't belong to winter/

Left a bag of bones, trail of stones
For to find my way home
Now, as the air grows cold, the trees unfold
And I am lost and not found

And who'd know?


The Rip Tide, for everything it says so perfectly about how I locate myself here, now, in the midst of this loud crashing chaos that is summer tumbling into autumn. Every piece of this album is who I am these days.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My little SLC graffiti tracking adventure has turned out to be much more than random tags of pop culture references. Today, I discovered the following two tags near some of the older graffiti I found on campus over the past month [the purple tags that I've been posting on here the last couple weeks].

I did a little research just now and found some interesting things. First, a very vague call to action in this video posted by Anonymous, a group that appears to be part of Operation AntiSec [stands for anti-security]. Also, this news article with a similar message as found in the video. Most of the info about these groups, their project, motivation, and past attacks can be found on their wikipedia page.

I'm still not actually 100% certain that the previous purple graffiti tags [or the black Golden Girls tags] have anything to do with this, but I'm on the lookout for any and all new graffiti in the SLC area.

Monday, September 19, 2011


A very brief summary of what I talk about most these days...
"As soon as you say, 'In the world there are writers and there are readers,' what else is there? There’s a whole bunch of things that start becoming clear, one of which is that the writer and reader is in fact the same fucking person." - Richard Nash ["Revaluing the Book" interview, Boston Review]
"Indeed, the codex isn’t just another format, it’s the one for which the novel is optimized. The contemporary novel’s dense, layered language took root and grew in the codex, and it demands the kind of navigation that only the codex provides." - Lev Grossman ["From Scroll to Screen," The New York Times]
Both articles provide timely, insightful points of entry into this debate, though I don't agree with everything either critic has to say. I particularly appreciate Nash's argument that we should all stop pitching hissy fits about eReaders, but I'm going to continue to pitch hissy fits about eReaders. As the president of the AAAS Pacific Division said to me after my presentation at their conference this summer, "I love that you are so dogmatic about eBooks!" I assumed he was being sarcastic, but maybe I was wrong. I've also continually used this controversy to teach enythmemes to my WRTG2010 class this fall. They think I'm nuts. I suppose I might be. Call me a Luddite. I dare you.

I'll leave you with this quote from one of Jake Adam York's Kenyon Review blog posts this summer:
"This I love about physical books—how the particular feel, weight, color of everything become not just delivery conduits but as well signatures of the moments of our reading and of ourselves as we grew through and with those books... Even the sudden need for a book—remembering a note you’ve written in the margin of a book you’ve packed away several states distant—can’t be answered by a new copy; reading the replacement is, indeed, reading a new book."
If you wanna throw down about this stuff, my UofUah textual pioneers and I will be presenting a panel related to the subject at &Now this October. San Diego. Friday, Oct. 14th. 8:30am.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

And true love waits
In haunted attics
And true love lives
On lollipops and crisps
And in the spirit of celebrating life...

I tagged along with a couple friends last night and, after a picnic with our colleagues and employers, ended up at a fantastic house party complete with caterers, a bartender, live music, an outdoor fire pit, someone willing to speak with me in Spanish, and the best drink I've ever consumed named "The Wrath" [jalapeño and cilantro margarita].

Befriended the singer of the band, of course.

This morning, rode Banchi to the library where I attended the first event for the SLCC Community Writing Center's program 'Teens Write," where I am a mentor. Met my mentee, a smart and enthusiastic 11th grader from a local high school.

Then drove home late this evening in the midst of a sky set ablaze.

And though September is a month of loss and ghosts, and though I'm suffering from the lack of a community in which I can properly mourn those loses,

I am not, am not, alone
I want you to know

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Amazing how a year can change everything and nothing.
My heart is in Colorado today, even though most of them aren't.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Nothing says "your friend buried another one of your friends today" like a little graffiti tag of recycled hearts on the sidewalk outside the coffee shop that is too far away from your Colorado family that you can't even be there to say goodbye.
Finding all kinds of things to collect in this city...

Including the random tags that are now showing up all over central campus...

I'm hoping this is the same person responsible for the Golden Girls tag I found at the beginning of the semester.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Last fall, my semester hobbyhorse was narratological violation.
This spring, it was furniture.
This fall I appear to be stuck on failure. Is that even right? Failure? Can't I be obsessed with something prettier, like aluminum?

[No longer even making sense to myself. I blame nostalgia, stress, ghosts, September, and the absolute failure of HBO to conclude Entourage in a manner that is even remotely satisfactory.]

Anyway, here's something small next to something big.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Costume ideas for Halloween:


Boat is all I have so far.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I've been collecting bits of SLC.

Parents came to visit for the long weekend, which means I had several amazing meals at restaurants I can't afford on my own. Also, we drove up to Emigration Canyon because, well, frankly, we didn't know what else to do.

Then there was Saturday night's party in a Peery Hotel room suite in celebration of my newly wedded friends.

Oh and this is the pretty, old building where I teach.