Tag Archives for

Havi Brooks

NOº 2773

30 Things I Love Right Now: [10.21.11]


1. Installment No. 1 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
2. The one-and-only John Barret
3. Installment No. 2 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
4. The one-and-only Havi Brooks
5. Installment No. 3 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
6. The one-and-only Laura Didyk
7. Installment No. 4 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
8. The one-and-only Matt Maki
9. Installment No. 5 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
10. The one-and-only Jason Slatton
11. Installment No. 6 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
12. The one-and-only Angela Jane Fountas
13. Installment No. 7 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
14. The one-and-only Mike Hamilton
15. Installment No. 8 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
16. The one-and-only John Malatino
17. Installment No. 9 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
18. The one-and-only (Name Redacted by Negotiated Settlement)…
19. Cordial negotiated settlements…
20. Installment No. 10 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
21. The one-and-only Jesse Castaldi Keen
22. Installment No. 11 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
23. The one-and-only Jennifer Horne
24. Installment No. 12 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
25. The one-and-only Amber Holloway
26. Installment No. 13 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
27. The one-and-only Emma Bolden
28. Ketchup
29. Anthems…
30. The Arcade Fire.

NOº 2659

30 Things I Love Right Now: [10.14.11]


1. Installment No. 1 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
2. The one-and-only John Barret
3. Installment No. 2 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
4. The one-and-only Havi Brooks
5. Installment No. 3 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
6. The one-and-only Laura Didyk
7. Installment No. 4 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
8. The one-and-only Matt Maki
9. Installment No. 5 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
10. The one-and-only Jason Slatton
11. Installment No. 6 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
12. The one-and-only Angela Jane Fountas
13. Installment No. 7 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
14. The one-and-only Mike Hamilton
15. Installment No. 8 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
16. The one-and-only John Malatino
17.
18.
19. Mysterious vanishing blog posts…
20. Installment No. 10 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
21. The one-and-only Jesse Castaldi Keen
22. Installment No. 11 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
23. The one-and-only Jennifer Horne
24. Installment No. 12 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
25. The one-and-only Amber Holloway
26. October in Alabama…
27. “Puppy” by Richard Ford…
28. This 1996 Paris Review interview with Richard Ford…
29. Which is to say: Richard Ford…
30. Which is to say: master storytellers and their stories. The ones they write. The ones they tell about themselves. The ones other people tell about them.

NOº 2527

Wait, wait: Who Does This “Jesse Castaldi Keen” Think She Is?


Jesse Castaldi Keen is a writer who works in higher education in Portland, Oregon, and lives a little bit south of there. Things that used to define her that she hasn’t done seriously in several years: piano, poetry, sewing, letterpress, zines, mail art. Things she’s been doing more recently: attempting the delicate art of balancing work and home and toddler and love and self. Partly that has included adventures in Shiva Nata and writing at http://www.myseedhouse.wordpress.com.

My Two Cents

There’s two reactions to report:

(1) Phew… Someone I don’t even know. Never even met.

(2) Wow! Someone I don’t even know! Never even met!

And there’s two places those reactions originate:

(1) The writer in me.

As Holden finishes off The Catcher in the Rye:

D. B. asked me what I thought about all this stuff I just finished telling you about. I didn’t know what the hell to say, if you want to know the truth, I don’t know what I think about it. I’m sorry I told so many people about it. About all I know is, I sort of miss everybody I told about. Even old Stradlater and Ackley, for instance. I think I even miss that goddam Maurice. It’s funny. Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.

I’m a sensitive sort. Prone to nostalgia and sentimentality. The last few Self-Portraits have involved writing about people and places and memories in which/whom I have a considerable personal investment. Writing “artfully” (whatever that means) and accessibly about that sort of stuff is a really fun and intense challenge for a writer — at least it is for me. It also always helps me figure things out, things I lots of times didn’t know I had to figure out. All that’s great and I wouldn’t trade it for a whole lot of things.

It’s just that I’ve never really given myself such a task before:

  • Write three 1000-ish word personal essays, all with bona fide beginnings, middles, and ends, and that all somehow do justice to three people you care a lot about. All in the space of a week — the week you turn 40, no less.

Turns out that’s hard. On a lot of levels. I’m really glad I did it. But it was hard.

Writing a little something about a (nice, talented, smart) person I don’t know from Adam’s housecat = Phew.

Also there’s the whole Mixtape thing. When you’re making a mixtape (CD? MP3? iPod whatever blah blah?), you’ve gotta — well — mix it up.

One of my teachers in grad school used to quote Ezra Pound a lot when she was talking about long poems:

All long poems need moments of greater and lesser intensity.

Same thing with Mixtapes. As with Self-Portrait projects.

(Also: PS/FYI/411 — I’m liking both of those metaphors for this project: Self-Portrait project as extended/serialized epic poem. Self-Portrait project as Mixtape. Tomato. Tomahtoe.)

(2) The social media dabbler in me.

A friend of mine makes fun of those television commercials wherein a new techno-gizmo (or wireless plan, etc) is presented as the missing link to the millennial age of peace. There was that one Coke commercial back in the day: I’d like to buy the world a Coke. And that was somehow going to make everything okay. Vietnam. The Middle East. Nixon. Everything. These new-millennium techno-gizmo commercials are like that but on steroids.

Like my friend, I’m dubious of that. The Seth Godins and Clay Shirkys of the world seem excited about the transformative properties of social media. I’m pretty neutral. I use it because I can see that it’s the playing field for a writer. It doesn’t make my life 100% easier or better or anything else. Lots of times it makes it harder.

But. With all that said.

Two things that are good (what’s with this two things meme?): I think I do write more (and, therefore, maybe more better) because I have a “platform” and because I make “public” commitments to certain projects on that platform.

On a more human level, though, there’s the reassuring idea that there are a lot of “yous” out there. Maybe they’re not all in your city. Certainly they’re not all in your life. The population density of “yous” varies from region to region, depending on a subtle interplay of demographic, socioeconomic, and climatological factors. Etc. But knowing that they’re — “you’re” — out there, that “you’re” not all that exceptional — that’s a “Phew…” that pretty quickly turns into a “Wow!”

Therefore:

Jessie Castaldi Keen’s 30 Things — and therefore the social media mechanisms that enabled them/her to find me — turned a phew into a wow. And I’m humbled and happy that she/they did.

FYI/411

NOº 2400

30 Things I Love Right Now: [09.30.11]


1. I wrote this novel one time and, yes, I love it. It’s called John the Revelator. Like most things I write (especially the fictions and the poems) it’s pretty dang crazy. One of the four horseman of the apocalypse rides a moped and wields a bike chain. A 1978 orange Ford Pinto features prominently. And a locomotive. One guy is walking around with his face shot off. Another guy wears ascots and cooks a mean breakfast plate, just like his aunties did. All this happens in a place not unlike west central Alabama. A place I know very well and don’t know at all. It’s about these things: (trans)gender, transubstantiation, transcendence. Sacred texts. (Hey!) Sacrifice. Also, I mean, duh: love of course. Of all kinds. Which is to say: things I know very well and don’t know at all…
2. Anyway. Like I said: it. be. crazy. And, as I’ve said about other projects in the past, I really figured nobody would ever publish it because it’s just too weird. Then, of course, when you write something really weird and you show it around a little bit and you get the response you (aka: I) always get whenever you (ibid.) show anything around — which is to say: one or two people love it so much it sort of makes them cry even though they can’t always explain why, and then about twice that number’s like, “You know, comme ci, comme ça, I guess. I didn’t know if the little black dog was, like, actually made of soot and ashes or if that was some sort of, I dunno, metaphor for something.” And then ten agents say, “No. Just: no. Absolutely not. Not ever. But, yeah, um, good luck with that.” — well, you start to think that weird ≠genius; weird ≈ sucky and also a little bit (aka: extremely) delusional. But then you get this garbled message on your voicemail…
3. “[Garble, garble]…is Diane… [garble, brief burst of trash compactor sound]…not even sure if… [deep space satellite sound, garble]…availab… [deep space satellite plus black hole sound, garble]… [garble]… [small pyrrhic beep].” (Note: that’s something of a paraphrase)…
4. Which is to say: Diane Goettel, Executive Editor of…
5. Black Lawrence Press
6. Calling from (appropriately enough) the other side of the world to say she wants to publish my crazy novel called John the Revelator
7. How it’s funny how someone saying Yes! totally changes everything…
8. Which is to say: now I’m like, weird ≠ sucky and a little (aka: extremely) delusional; weird doesn’t even equal weird
9. Which is to say: just saying what you have to say and…
10. Having other people hear it, feel it, and then/therefore want to help other people to hear it and feel it too…
11. Also it’s nice to have an editor and a press who seems to like a fair amount of the literary madness you tend to dish out
12. Running marathons
13. Which is to say: things that are difficult…
14. And of course: Installment No. 1 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
15. The one-and-only John Barret
16. Installment No. 2 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
17. The one-and-only Havi Brooks
18. Installment No. 3 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
19. The one-and-only Laura Didyk
20. Installment No. 4 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
21. The one-and-only Matt Maki
22. Installment No. 5 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
23. The one-and-only Jason Slatton
24. Installment No. 6 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
25. The one-and-only Angela Jane Fountas
26. Installment No 7 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
27. The one-and-only Mike Hamilton
28. Installment No. 8 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
29. The one-and-only John Malatino…
30. Which is to say: cool things coming on the horizon…

NOº 2214

30 Things I Love Right Now: [09.23.11]


1. Installment No. 1 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
2. The one-and-only John Barret
3. Installment No. 2 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
4. The one-and-only Havi Brooks
5. Installment No. 3 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
6. The one-and-only Laura Didyk
7. Installment No. 4 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
8. The one-and-only Matt Maki
9. Installment No. 5 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
10. The one-and-only Jason Slatton
11. Life’s rich pageant
12. Nightswimming…
13. Gardening. At night…
14. Andy Kaufman…
15. Goofing on Elvis (Heybaby)…
16. Me in the spotlight (Losing my religion)…
17. Your finest hour (Blow your horn)…
18. Radio. Free. Europe.
19. Birds…
20. Snakes…
21. Aeroplanes…
22. Lenny Bruce…
23. Leonard Bernstein!
24. Leonid Brezhnev…
25. Michael Stipe…
26. Peter Buck…
27. The other guy (Mike Mills²!)…
28. The other guy
29. The world* as we know it (and I feel fine) [(*) omission intended]
30. Anything Eponymous.

NOº 1953

30 Things I Love Right Now: [09.16.11]


1. Installment No. 1 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
2. The one-and-only John Barret
3. Installment No. 2 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
4. The one-and-only Havi Brooks
5. Installment No. 3 of the Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror project, brought to you by…
6. The one-and-only Laura Didyk
7. Ginger ‘fros
8. The woodwork…
9. So many reasons to feel humble…
10. Lucy Corin…
11. A praying mantis who watched me…
12. …plucking cilantro at the sink for…
13. …makeshift chili…
14. Numinous visitations…
15. PDX won’t leave…
16. I don’t want it to…
17. Cold fronts…
18. Knowing what’s coming…
19. Not knowing what’s coming…
20. Knowing when to cede the floor…
21. Traffic…
22. Waiting out traffic…
23. …just me and the hum…
24. …and a practice…
25. …in a big gray room…
26. …looking up at the clouds…
27. …feeling small…
28. …feeling big too…
29. When people bend the rules…
30. When people bend the rules for me.

NOº 1822

Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror — “30 Things I Love Right Now” Brought to You By the One-and-Only Havi Brooks


1. This beautiful form. The thirty-ness of it. But mostly the right now
2. Right now. Being here right now. Just like that…
3. Form, in general…
4. The other day I ran into this yoga teacher I kind of know, and I was trying to explain to her how I dislike yoga that is dogmatic and forceful and “this is the one right way and you will do it like this or else.” And she misunderstood this to mean that I don’t like form…
5. I love form. Form is everything. Shiva Nata! Form, structure, patterns. These are the living containers for discovery and play. Without form you have anarchy. And not the good kind of disruptive chaos either, but the dangerous kind. Of course, TOO MUCH form is fascism, but there’s that dogmatic thing again. I’m talking about organic form, combined with freedom, sovereignty and exploration. It’s important. Form is the thing that lets you get to flow…
6. Flow…
7. That moment between intentionally wrought chaos and blissful re-ordering where the world is filled with pure possibility, and all the perfect, simple solutions are waiting to be picked like flowers…
8. Roses, which I completely under-appreciated until I lived in Portland. Roses are fucking amazing…
9. “No pity in the Rose City!”
10. Italics
11. Doo wop. Especially when you catch these hints of ska and swing and cajun and big band all at the same time. Patterns, again…
12. So I started this Pandora station and seeded it with Rama Lama Ding Dong by the Edsels. And I have been religiously caring for it and pruning it. Mostly by giving a resounding and emphatic THUMBS DOWN to anything too talk-ey, or filled with tales of woe, or tralala-ho-hum-things-are-perfectly-adequate. None of that. I want upbeat! I want danceable!
13. So yes, I love knowing what I want…
14. And then getting it. Getting it is even better…
15. But sometimes not getting it is even better…
16. Anticipation. Sweet, sweet anticipation…
17. Plus the tingly possibility of being wrong…
18. All that to say: I love Pandora for being magic
19. I love boy bands from back when boy bands were harmonies and street corners and everything was full of rollicking, hopeful teenage love…
20. I also love barbershop quartets and wish they were around right now because then I would go out to shows every week…
21. But this week is all about experiencing the transcendence of being in a room with Sharon Van Etten
22. At Bunk Bar
23. Ohmylord the sandwiches there…
24. Can I just say there is nothing like a really good sandwich. Especially if someone else makes it for you…
25. Double especially if there are pickles…
26. Speaking of pickles, which I so often am, I was at Kornblatt’s this week because I absolutely had to eat a potato knish that very instant, and it was closer to get there than it was to get to Kenny & Zuke’s, and heaven. I mean, yes, the west coast is not somewhere I’d specifically head to in order to eat a knish, obviously. But sometimes a knish is the only thing that will do. Get thee to a deli and have a knish. You’ll feel better…
27. I love the number 23. It is my absolute favorite number ever, of all the beautiful numbers. And yes, I thought of that four numbers ago but everything was and always will be trumped by sandwiches. Sandwiches!
28. Knowing what trumps what…
29. Being in disguise in disguise in disguise…
30. Getting to do this. I think my favorite thing that anyone has every said about me was when TJ said: “Longitude/latitude-wise: where’s Havi? She exists in the ether. You can’t find her unless she wants you to.” That’s where I want to be. In the ether. Doing this.

NOº 1835

Wait, wait: Not THE Havi Brooks?!


Um. Well. If you mean “THE” Havi Brooks who’s the brains (etc) behind The Fluent Self and who’s a Shivanaut and who is internet famous and who also has her very own Playground (where she holds Rallys!) and who lives in a place that’s a haven for introverts and Highly Sensitive People and that calls itself — unabashedly/fittingly — The Rose City (also: I prefer: Rip City, just because that’s kind of cool, but anyway…)…well then, yes. Indeed. That’s the Havi Brooks in question.

Here are some other things you can look at if you want to know more about Havi (and: PS: you should want to know more about Havi):

More About Havi

But methinks it’s a little bit more than that.

A Little Bit More Than That/My Two Cents

So. I went to Portland this summer. But you knew that already. I went because of The Shins. Miranda July. Matt Groening. Sleeter Kinney. Kurt before Kurt was Kurt. The aforementioned Guillebeau character. You know: just because cool stuff comes from there.

But also I went because of Havi and her Playground.

(Which, yes: is also “cool stuff” and “it” comes from there but there was also this kindred-spirit, not-confined-to-any-one-place (the ether!) sort of thing I got from her blog, wherein she said crazy shit that I totally effing got right off the bat and she also had some tics etc that I sort of had/have too, so I was like: oh. Um. So yes. I guess I knew there were others like me but really, you know, really I kind of didn’t. Which is basically the experience, writ large, I had in PDX. But that’s another story altogether. Which I’ve already linked to so I won’t do the tedious thing of linking to it again. Thank you. Amen.)

Anyway.

As with everything: it was a process. With lots of tangentially related processes involved. These are all tough to suss out, but the chief component parts are thus:

Chief Component Parts

  • Component Part the First: My friend Laura who A) clued me into the aforementioned Guillebeau and who…
  • Component Part the Second: …also (with the help of my Bossman) B) clued me into a movie called Once. Which: that’s a long story but it involves loving music more and also just ART in general and also — therefore — finally/once(!)-and-for-all owning the vocation of Poet(ry). Even though I have like a graduate degree in that or something…
  • Component Part the Third: Oh and, I mean, if we’re really gonna give full credit where full credit is due…C) Laura clued me into Miranda July as well. So. Yes. Laura is important…
  • Component Part the Fourth: So is teaching. And learning. I’m a teacher and a learner. That’s important (and vocational) too…
  • Component Part the Fifth: I think we’re at the cusp where the conventional model of teaching and learning has plateaued and must yield (or at least incorporate) another model. I’m not the only one who thinks this: so does Seth Godin — and while, prior to encountering Havi’s Playground, I might not have been able to articulate what that means for now and forever going forward, I have since made a punctuated-equilibrium-style leap forward in my thinking and understanding of these sorts of issues. Mostly because of Havi and her Playground.

Not that I know everything after going to The Playground. (That’s kind of the opposite of the point.) Just that I know everything has changed. And that’s probably an even (way) better place to be.

Regarding Installments

I think I thought I could do this in one post, but now I know that’s folly. It’s going to be a three-parter.

(Alas: 2¢ ÷ 3 = 0.6666666666666666666666666666666666667¢)

But here’s a teaser:

The Dreaded IEP

In contemporary public education, there is something called an IEP. It’s a codified and (admittedly) highly bureaucratic accommodation for a particular student who learns differently than the so-called typical student. In some cases, very gifted students have IEPs that address their need for more advanced studies, but in the vast majority of cases, a student with an IEP is a student who has a hard time navigating the conventional school environment. Thing is, nobody wants an IEP. Not a student, not a parent, and certainly not a teacher. It means more work for everybody, and it usually means a student is in real danger of falling through the cracks.

You want to know the punchline?

Here’s what IEP stands for: Individualized. Education. Plan.

Wait: What?!

Individualized. Education. Plan.

But doesn’t EVERYBODY have an Individualized. Education. Plan?! That sounds like such a very GOOD thing to have.

Well. No. And not only that: the cloud-cuckooland goal of conventional contemporary education is to make sure nobody ever has one. In the “real world” of conventional contemporary education, an IEP is a major f-cking problem.

Um. Oh.

What’s worse is that, given the current model of conventional contemporary education, it’s totally rational and understandable why that would be the case.

It’s also pretty f-cked up.

But! That’s where Havi comes in. And Howard Gardner. And Laura too. (Me too, I guess/hope.) And you too, no matter how old you are. Because teaching and learning doesn’t really ever stop: that’s the very first unconventional thing we have to not only accept but fold into the very fiber of who/what we are — individually and as a society. Our relationship(s) to it/them evolve, yes, but they never end.

More to come…

NOº 1544

30 Things I Love Right Now: [08.12.11]


1. Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings! At Workplay! In Birmingham!
2. Workplay. Yes. That word. It’s all one thing, work + play…
3. Week #1 of workplay at the job that’s not a job…
4. Havi Brooks. Who is right. About teaching. And making. And space. And pretty much everything, really…
5. Biology…
6. I got this renewed Damien Rice thing going on right now. (I look to my Eskimo friend!) Which is fine…
7. Which means also Lisa Hannigan, which/who is definitely also fine…
8. 30 Things I Love Right Now. Which is a thing, of course. It’s really a way of doing things or at least a way of noticing things, which is the work(play) of a poet/artist/teacher/person…
9. Which is to say: noticing…
10. Documenting the noticing…
11. Systems…
12. Developing systems…
13. Calling it “systems,” which sounds official or something, but really it’s just how you make lists and put things in piles and categories, sets and subsets, just like that one time in Fourth Grade when Mr. Goldberger was at his wits end because you were, like, way underachieving and mostly just blowing off school altogether, and so when your dad came to pick you up from school one Friday, he buttonholed him and said, effectively, “Uh. This kid needs an intervention. Or at least he needs, like, a file folder or something. Cuz. He’s pretty much a total freaking mess and I’m a really good teacher and everything but I don’t have an effing clue what to do with this em-effer…” And then you have this long, weird talk in the car with your dad about how/why you suck at school and he’s all understanding and, like, wise or something, and then you get a file folder and you put things in it and somehow it means you get all A’s after that. Magic! (Until, of course, the Evil Vortex that was Francis Scott Key Intermediate School [eww]…)
14. The rockets’ red glare!
15. The bombs bursting in air!
16. Proof!
17. Through the night!
18. That our flag!
19. Was still there!
20. My boss’s boss’s new boss…
21. Boss, the adjective…
22. Ozone Blue…
23. Which, I mean, I’m not ready to grant that Ozone Blue is a superpower (such as: The Superpower of Gray!). (Even though, yes: I do know that it totally is one.) But. Still. I mean. Okay. Granted: it’s at the very least a thing that I’ll always love, regardless — if still more from, you know, a distance…
24. I don’t know, man. I guess it’s a good problem to have if you think there’s more than one place in the world where you can be happy. I guess
25.Song” by Brigit Pegeen Kelly. AKA: the Freebird of contemporary American poetry. Heavens to Betsy, what a poem
26.Sentimental Atom Smasher” by Darcie Dennigan. Heavens + Betsy (Oh. Wait. Betsy. I didn’t even mean that, but…) + Etc…
27. This correspondence I got going with somebody who was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, which totally makes me Franz Xavier Kappus. Which is fine…
28. www.tjbcw.wordpress.com
29. My favorite comfy/frayed + threadbare jeans that are falling apart and (so) also perfect for an SRO show…
30. The Waysider. In Tuscaloosa, Alabama. On a Sunday morning. And a good reason to go there.