Unlike my rapturous Portland
experience, interpreted (by myself) as an ecstatic
but ultimately anomalous, one-time blossoming
, I have somehow managed to stretch out my Seattle
high for over a week beyond its extraordinary
conclusion. Whether this discrepancy is because of qualitative differences (no Slam in PDX - but then again, no Powell's in Seattle)
or quantitative ones (Portland was only granted a night to impress me, while I leisurely took almost an entire week to get thoroughly mired in love with Seattle)
is as yet unclear. Perhaps the heightened state I'm experiencing isn't an epilogue from Seattle but an entirely new volume heading off in a new direction.
It would be easy to suggest that I'm in a better mood now that I'm spending what would have been cycling time reading books again (cycling producing an equally-effective but much more intensive, internal, focus-requiring euphoric experience) but I want to believe there's something operating at a deeper level here.
Somehow for the first time since 1999 my regimen has subtly but strongly shifted from interpreting life to experiencing it instead, as followers of my increasingly-dwindling (is that an oxymoron?) noding output may have noticed. I'm doing what I can to take this life and run with it. Live - you can node when you're dead.
I am almost now fully recovered from the antics of this past weekend, ready for the tax two Living Closets in four nights will sap from my willing and eager shell. In case what remains of me cannot adequately string together words and phrases (as if what is here now can) the account of my recent activities will here be made.
* Friday night I miss, completely, an opportunity to scout the site in-use where we plan to mount the Momentum / Living Closet Literary Cabaret this coming Saturday when a close friend suggests I could accompany her to the Greyhound terminal in my neck of the woods and see her off to Las Vegas.
* After interminable funny faces are made between darkened glass, the vehicle pulls off at last leaving me to hie myself to the evening's second destination: the Green Room. No, it's not a gear-storage space nor what is to be found behind the green door; a friend, co-founder of Concrete and ex-roommate (the bum still owes us a couple hundred in outstanding phone bills!) has invited me to an absinthe party, featuring eight different varieties from six different countries on three continents. Somehow, I manage to politely defer wormwood's possible permanent neurological damage while making pleasant enough conversation, noting which books in his well-stocked bookshelf were stolen from myself, and introducing Eat Poop You Cat to a group of people who might have been much better at it had they been less soused.
* Following a nap on my host's sofa I finish my most recent library book, a volume of essays by Italo Calvino, and remove myself from the premises - returning the book to the library en circuitious route to the Sugar Refinery, where the weekend's main attraction looms: The Beans are twelve hours into their 48-hour concert (you thought the weekend sound track was a monumental effort? Imagine it all being performed by four musicians, non-stop!) and I plan to take in as much of it as I can, implanting myself into a milieu of forced creativity and seeing what energy I can suck from the proceedings. (Ultimately, despite three panels of comic book and a tabulation of possible plot elements for this year's 3-day novel, I give more to them than I get - a rare (and doubtless Seattle-provoked) and bizarre 240 degree multicoloured line drawing from me in their guest book - not a good sketch by any means, but compared to my median graphic renderings a veritable tour de force!)
* Six hours of this noodling (think Godspeed you Black Emperor! slowed down to a rate of one song per hour) gives me a taste for tomorrow but by 6 pm Saturday night I am already late for the launch of Shane Koyczan's
spoken word CD, perfect, at a site I have really been meaning to check out again - the Church of Pointless Hysteria, a graveyard to the Living Closet's highest and lowest moments. The guest performers, a sprinkling of the best poetry slam talent from around the world, rock the house as verily it never hath rock-ed before, but unfortunately for Shane the location is too hardcore (in Vancouver's harmless-but-scary Downtown Eastside district) for casual poetry enthusiasts to attend and he doesn't quite raise the funds he'd hoped to tour on. Even if that night's finances flake out, something soon will work out for that man - he is a Big Thing for which there are Bigger Things in store.
* Without hyperbole, the next 23 hours are spent holed up on a sofa back at the Sugar Refinery, wondering if the playing-and-sleeping-on-shifts musical performances will attain the blithering frenzy I myself reach on day two of novel contestry. Though actual sleep is never attained, I bounce in and out of nap all day as various friends - Rice Paper darling Doretta Lau, kazoo conspirator Swill Austin, and indie rock goddess zaykay! filter in and out to taste of the musical feast on which I have, I fear, glutted myself. The music sets me implacably in a constrained place where I don't get wholly bored but can't get very excited, resulting in an inability both to sleep and to remain awake. The sun rises. The sun sets. I think I catch a(n hour-long) repeat of a song I'd heard last night. The room fills with art school beautiful people, and a friendly stranger goes far beyond the call of duty to ensure that I don't mind the incense she's lit, not even though I'm eating, and to let me know that she'll be happy to make room for me once I return from my fresh air expedition. The band plays on, every hour a new song illustrated by a new slide. Fractions are endlessly calculated: twenty-six on fourty-eight, thirty-three on fourty-eight, fourty-one on fourty-eight, fourty-six on fourty-eight. 11:30 pm some joker wonders aloud what the band will play for an encore. When the last slide is changed the room delivers a standing ovation for 20 minutes, in duration one third of one of their fourty-eight songs. In dire need of freedom from the swamp my attire has become after two days, I march a fascist beeline home to the shower; I make it home but don't reach the bathroom until the next day.
Every time I find myself short-changed by some cashier I (puzzling and infuriating to company)
let it slide and invariably find the difference made up within 24 hours by being given back too much - which tends to end up in the tip jar, despite the seeming problems inherent in rewarding wait staff for poor arithmetic or employer sabotage. Likewise in reverse. Is this karmic turnover, all things coming to an ultimate cosmic balance, or do I merely start paying more attention when an injury is perceived and stop when an unrelated compensation is believed to have occurred?
The other day a plumber doing work on my parents' sink asked them if they were related to "the poet, Rowan Lipkovits?" They weren't really sure, but ultimately came to the conclusion that maybe yes, they quite possibly were. It seems my notoriety in the real world has grown during my years of online seclusion. Still, there's something that thrills at being described by an objective observer as a poet. These funny and terrifying things occur when you put your persona on the table for the public - I personally have to assume that no one is ever listening.
And to think I claimed I wasn't interpreting my life anymore. Keep me away from this keyboard.
Hey p_i - get some sleep. You're rambling again.
in our last episode... | p_i-logs | and then, all of a sudden...