Exercise


So it has to be authentic — something that I would actually want. The time it took me to actually figure out what I want makes me realize that I don’t really want much… A whole other story.

WANTED: Dance partner, American ballroom, near Middlebury, with transportation, dreamer.

Art

Music: Life in the Fast Lane, The Eagles

WANTED: A The Way Things Work book, a map, and a book of random coupons.

Art

Music: Island in the Sun, Weezer

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Today we really started discovering how writing, sound, and image can be combined to make a product that is larger than the sum of any of its components. The goal, always, is to find media that work together to create something, not just reiterative media. For the exercise below, BG played 14 pieces of music and we wrote sentences that “inhabited” that music. This exercise followed one in which we moved in a way that inhabited the music. It was interesting, in both exercises, how similar different students’ interpretations were. Lots of nature and sex imagery for the piano and Latin music, respectively. when we were moving, the majority of us were ballerinas for the classical music and did some wiggly hip variations for the Latin stuff.

When BG posts the music that she played to inspire these sentences on the J-term writing blog, I’ll put a link HERE.

1. I’ve wanted it more than anything for so long — and I’ve finally begun to really try for it.

2. It was one of those rare days when you walk through the entire thing as though you owned the world.

3. I can think of things for and against everything.

4. The day I forgot to take a shower was when it all began.

5. He made a discovery and was only just beginning to understand its fantastic implications.

6. Who told you that humans can’t fly? let me show you. It’s like this, and then like this…

7. It seemed his body was not tied to the ground anymore, and they loved it.

8. I was backed into a corner, without knowing how I had gotten there, and I began to despair.

9. There was a malfunction in his power point presentation, which made class much more interesting.

10. Sometimes the little guys can sneak by, unnoticed.

11. All I really felt like doing was sitting and singing to myself — I wished the world were far away.

12. It was hot and sticky, and everyone was flirting and having a marvelous time.

13. The beast was huge and relentlessly walking toward me, but I saw something that looked like it might be good in his eye.

14. I can’t decide who I really want to be, but i think I have the gist of it.

I had trouble with fact vs. fiction in this one. The sledding really did happen, and the two other sections are based on postcards that BG provided as prompts. As for what was actually going on in my head during the sledding/tree experience — no promises. I’m still working on defining that sometimes-fuzzy line between fact and fiction. Also, I suppose that I can’t blame myself too much because I had these three random things that I was supposed to braid together for an essay. I enhanced certain aspects of them and minimized others so that they fit better… Stay tuned.

It’s so strange to see an I-don’t-care-what-you-think expression on someone so young. A dare-you-challenge-me head on a small, shapeless torso and hairless legs.

We were sledding and someone got cold, so the crew decided to call it a night. I wandered down the hill to a giant tree. You can walk inside the tree, and no one knows you’re there.

He forgets that he’s standing on sharp pieces in the sand, that he came to frolic in the surf. You-don’t-matter-to-me.

There’s usually a lot of orange here, seeing as they sell pumpkins, but the color is particularly dominant today. Some pumpkins are smashed and rotting in front of the market. The house behind the market is on fire. The fire and smoke billow, hugely, orange and black. The fire men are there with their truck and their ladder.

Everyone else went inside to get warm except for one kid. I thought he was waiting for me, but it turns out that he had forgotten to bring his key. It was a beautiful evening. I let him wait.

It’s hard to tell whether it’s arrogance or self-confidence or just lifetime. But on one so young? What does he have in his lifetime?

I’m wearing orange also, adding to the brightness. I’m buying a pumpkin for Halloween. I forgot what she told me — round or more ovular? I’ll just see which one looks like it would make a good pie when we’re through.

And if we walk away from that expression, from the youngster who dares us to question him? Will he still be standing there, his feet on the sharp shells, the ocean lonely behind him? Will he challenge the air, or remember that he is young?

I have no responsibility. Let him wait, he can come get me, or someone else will pass by. He’s welcome to join me if he wants, I don’t mind.

After much deliberation, I choose a pumpkin with a nice handle-stem and saunter away.

I lay under the tree looking up toward the sky, and all I really saw were branches.

I-don’t-care-what-you-think, I’ll-do-what-I-want, his expression says to our backs.

My favorite place to do these is on the metro in Washington, D.C., right near the part of Maryland where I live.  It’s particularly interesting on a metro because it levels the playing field — everyone is in the same place, riding to wherever they’re going.  People’s differences (not just those as a result of their different locations) really leap out.  One of my favorite things to do is to figure out what animals people would be if they weren’t people…

 I always wonder whether (and what) people are thinking of me in places like the metro, and during times when I turn around to lock eyes, for a moment, with an unknown person.  If I could tell what people were thinking of me, would I?  Examining my own mind propels me to think that no, I wouldn’t.  

These studies were done in the town of Middlebury and at the Middlebury College library.

He looks as though he’s completely contented in his mother’s arms, being held close and occasionally tasting some of the ice cream.  His upper lip sticks out a bit over his bottom lip – the better to eat ice cream with – and he gets so excited when he gets to “stand” up on Mom’s lap that his whole body launches into quick up and down movement.  He looks a bit like he’s trying to take off from the lap and fly around the restaurant.  He wears multicolored booties, a red shirt with dogs and bones, overalls, and a fuzzy blue hat with a bear peeking out the top.  His diaper is dirty, so in he goes to the carrying case that hangs off Mom’s shoulders.  He wiggles his feet and stares, completely unabashedly, at strangers.

 

He fills a space with cheerful talking and constant movement.  “Ethan, what’s up, bro?”  He stands on a ledge and reaches over the register to shake hands.  Ethan is a vested man with very little chin.  “You like seafood at all?  Not so much?… Yeah, obviously steak and cheese is awesome… hot pastrami’s really good.”  Ethan’s words are lost in the activity, but not his.  He refers to people by their names as he’s talking to them.  He’s inside, then outside, then back in, lightly kicking a wooden stand with bread on it, crumpling cloths and throwing them back behind the register somewhere.  His arms sway as he walks; he’s gone again, then back and pacing back and forth, talking to the guys behind the counter, joking.  He reaches and picks something from a salad after moving the dish, eats it, spins a pizza dish around, and shows his teeth in a smile.

 

He’s wearing a black shirt and a white apron, which is folded down so that it covers only his legs.  His goatee matches his shirt, and his teeth, which he shows frequently, match his apron (minus the stains).  His battered San Francisco baseball cap matches his apron also – stains and all. 

 

He moves constantly and energetically: twirling the pizza pans, walking out, walking in, shaking hands, picking his teeth, and tossing dirty somethings out of view.  He swings his arms and walks with a bounce of energy, even when he’s only walking someplace so that he can turn around and come right back. 

 

I wonder if we’d be friends if we met outside the restaurant, or if he’d be part of a much more rambunctious social scene.  He looks like the kind of person I could really enjoy DOING things with.  He seems to be a cheerful and active doer – even when what’s he’s doing is wiping spilled food off a counter.      

 

She’s an old, slender woman with gray hair that suggests blondeness, whose eyes look as though they’ve sunk a centimeter or so into her skull.  When she looks down to type, the skin under her chin gets all wrinkly and her eyes look as though they are closed.  She gets very repetitive.  She takes a sip from the white and green mug, and then she replaces the mug on desk.  She puts her hands in her pockets, which pushes her shoulders into a shrug.  Up comes the right hand to smooth the short hair on the back of her head.  As long as it’s there, it might as well rub her neck.  Smooth and rub, smooth, smooth, smooth.  Her index finger comes up every so often to pet her lips.  Left hand smoothes and rubs.  Footsteps to the right draw her attention and she smiles at the person, who smiles back but does not stop to talk.  My view is blocked.  When it clears, she’s just where I left her.  To a person who does stop by, she speaks in a voice just above a whisper.  She’s sorry the snow is gone.  When he leaves, she looks out the doors ahead of her and down at the computer.  She smoothes and scratches for an uncharacteristically long time aaaaand… there’s the rub.     

Lost a son in war:

Everything about it is gray. There are windows set back from the fresh air into the grayness, but you can’t see any people — or anything — through them.

Just fallen in love:

There are nuances in the stone – mysteries and treasures ripe for discovery. And so many windows! So much outlet to the world, so much possibility!

Bored:

This wall pretty much looks the same as any other wall. Nothing special.

Frightened:

It’s huge and heavy and looks like it could crush an army of people if it were to topple. Its grayness tells me, “turn around, don’t go here.”