Friday, June 23, 2006

Text and Image Class

While I'm on sabbatical (which technically starts in the fall, but whatever) I've vowed to take art classes almost all the time. This is partly because the side of my brain that does stuff like art (right? left? can't remember) is puny and atrophied... while the other side is big and overdeveloped. So it's a balance thing. It's also because I really like it, of course - and that's really the first reason.

So I'm in my first class now, a text and image workshop taught by Lynn Avadenka . So far, I'm enjoying it HUGELY. Lynn gave us a poem to work with - a cool and funny poem (by a poet whose name I can't remember) - and we divided it up into lines. We're typesetting the lines (by hand), and then illustrating the typset pages with images that resonate for some reason with us vis a vis the lines. My lines are great- they have to do with the author of the poem trying not to be loud and out there, which resonates with me. :-) Last night I messed around with some of the elements I wanted to use in my illustrations - bubble wrap (which worked fabulously) and cool textured paper that I bought at Hollander's, which is where the workshop is being held. I was trying to do pressure printing with these - so last night I first inked a plexiglass plate and put the stuff on that, then put the paper on that and used the tympan (the heavy roller on a printer) to press the paper into the ink. Cool, but too dark. After a few tries, Lynn suggested inking the elements, not the plate, and rolling the paper over - beautious. When it's done, I'll take a photo and post it. (That will be a few weeks.) It's WAY cool, though. I'm into these art classes that don't involve drawing, since that just doesn't work for me. But collaging kinds of things, like this? Yes. And of course jewelry, which I still enjoy making and don't do nearly enough.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Long dark tea time

Not really a long dark tea time, actually... though that is one of the titles of a chapter, or something, from one of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy chapters or sequels. I've been listening to the radio version of Life, the Universe, and Everything at the gym lately (because my daughter got it as a bat mitzvah present last year, and so it got put in the iTunes to go on her iPod, and we synched, then, from the same computer...). Anyway -- highly entertaining. I recommend it to any/all reading this.

It has been a while since an entry, however. Work continues on the OMB, though I've focused my energies mostly on preparing for the WPA conference in a few weeks. The heavy travel season starts soon. A week from today I'll head to Indianapolis to visit with Crunchy Granola for one of our blitz writing efforts. I'll come back from that trip and the spousal unit and I will depart for a week of actual vacation with no computer in Vermont... by ourselves, too, since our daughter will be at camp. I return from that and it's off to Chattennooga for the conference.

Working on the paper for WPA has been quite useful for the "principle" chapter of the OMB. As some of my earlier posts indicate, I've been wrestling over the idea of tikkun olam. My wrestling came from trying to figure out how to move this concept from one realm to another, with my own discomfort with writing much about myself (apart from my 'academic' self, that is), with my sense that I have to be an "expert" on what I'm writing about, and there's just no freakin' way that I'm going to be an expert on Judaic concepts in the same way, say, that the authors of the various books I'm reading are. But my good friend Sherry sent me a key e-mail in the midst of this wrestling suggesting that admitting that I'm no expert, but that I try to live this concept, is a good thing -- after all, aren't we all trying to figure out how to make this stuff work? That was a huge help. So in its current (conference paper) state I define the concept, use a story from Rabbi Hillel to make the point that defining is easy, but enacting is hard, and then go from there. In the OMB chapter I'll spend some more time with it, writing about the evolution and interpretation, but I still think I'll move to enacting. And that's all good.

In other news, Steve Krause has developed a spankin' new web site for our writing program - check it out, especially the banner photo and the About Emus link. (Not that the rest of it isn't good, but...) EMU clearly missed a golden opportunity when they didn't adopt an emu for their mascot, but we in the FYWP won't do the same.