Holy

By Donna Ferrato, reviewed by Jonathan Blaustein

… for the most part, i agree with Jonathan Blaustein, that Holy is a powerful book, though my personal reaction to it is that it starts to fall apart a bit in narrative intent at the end, in the “Other” section… i proudly own a copy though… it’s overall, fabulous… i commented on the post, expressing these sentiments…

Come Home to Yourself

By Kaira Jewel Lingo…

You already are what you want to become.1

… hmmm… i am what i want to become?… i would say i am thunderstruck, but that would be overly dramatic… such an interesting statement… on the one hand, it is telling me that my present self is the sum of all the wants i’ve had time to express, pursue, fulfill… there would seem to be a fatalist trap, if we are today what we have wanted in the past, then can we today, want something different and therefore become something different…

… the message of the article seems to be that we always carry our home within us, that if we could recognize that and come through the door into it, we could be at peace, regardless of what is going on around us…

 It is especially tempting in times of transition and challenge to abandon our homes, to leave our territory, in search of answers, perhaps by worrying about what will happen in the future. This is precisely the moment when we need to return to the present moment, feel our bodies, and take good care of ourselves now. Because the future is made of this moment. If we take good care of this moment, even if it is very difficult, we are taking good care of the future.2

… “if we take good care of this moment … we are taking good care of the future.”… what does this moment need of us?… it does not seem possible to me that “this moment” can be taken care of without, at minimum, a slight anticipation of the future and a slight recalling of the past… we may center ourselves in the present moment… but caring for, which is an act, requires intention for where we are going and respect for where we have been… it’s a kind of Möbius strip of iterations of being, continuous, repetitious… we cycle around it while the strip itself moves through time and space…

… so, do i understand something of the Buddhist perspective and have my differences with it?… or, do i not understand it, and/or accept it, so i am filled with questions…

First Thoughts

… i spent time yesterday sorting out the usefulness (or not) of the various apps i have learned about recently… Obsidian, Good-Task (which seems promising), Workflowy (which i have had for some time), Ulysses… the holy grail is to find a set of apps and a workflow that isn’t a barrier to getting good thinking down and deep exploration accomplished…

… i have never found the app and workflow setup that left me satisfied in both ease of use and organization of production… but i wonder, do i get hung up in the method of production as a means to avoid the hard work of production?… i have a number of quests that, in order to feel better about myself, i need to see through to completion, or a depth of knowledge that i am trying to have… as opposed to dabbling in this and that… so, my main rabbit holes of inquiry…

  • pansychism
    • the idea that all matter is conscious on some level
  • the feminine
    • what it is to be a woman
    • women in photography
      • as subject
      • as photographer
      • as critic
      • as exhibit curator
    • gender fluidity
  • non-fungible token art
    • i like making what i call video stills, ten second videos of a scene that capture a moment in which the now connects to the cosmic infinite, similar to the way a haiku does
  • haiku/micro-poetry
    • reading and analyzing haiku
    • writing #micro-poetry

… for each of the above, i have now set up research folders in Obsidian…

  • photography
    • daily photo walks
    • daily editing of photographs
    • daily sharing of photographs

… this morning, the Heather Cox Richardson Post is about Dr. Robert Moses Parris who learned much and did much… he passed away last week… reading it left me feeling frustrated about my own accomplishments… that they are not greater or more meaningful… i feel i have lots to offer, i just don’t know how to make it available in a way that fits with who and what i am and makes it useful/attractive to others…

… i have quickly come to the conclusion that Obsidian is not for the daily notes-on-attention-paid work… Ulysses works better for that… perhaps it is the thing to use for project specific research… that is what i will try next…

The Sketchbook Project

… talk about starting something interesting… 50K sketchbooks and counting! More about it and their current challenges here.

Get your own sketchbook, fill it up, return it!

From my titled post on my video stills…

Until recently, I have not known what to do with these video stills as an art product. Beyond my mixed feelings about the “art industry,” I truly had no idea how I might sell such a thing to a collector if I wanted to. I placed one of them in a group show once and agonized over how to present it in a way that was salable.

Video Stills, Zen Moments, Non-Fungible Token Art

I have, for some time now, been experimenting with, what I call, video stills. These are short (less than twenty seconds) videos that capture a not quite still moment. Here is an example.

I think of them as video zen moments, or, if you will, video stop and smell the roses moments.

One idea haiku poetry has keyed me into is that the simplest of scenes are both exactly what they are in the moment, and pregnant with the possibility of insight. A famous Issa Haiku illustrates this point:

The world of dew

Is the world of dew,

and yet, and yet.1

Until recently, I have not known what to do with these video stills as an art product. Beyond my mixed feelings about the “art industry,” I truly had no idea how I might sell such a thing to a collector if I wanted to. I placed one of them in a group show once and agonized over how to present it in a way that was salable. How do you supply a digital copy that can’t be replicated? I tried a digital frame which would be solely dedicated to the video, but none of the commercial ones were suitable to how I wanted to present the work. How do you supply a digital copy that can’t be replicated?

Enter Non-Fungible Token (NFT) Art. I am still not entirely clear about the specifics of how it works (I’ve just begun my research), but it seems promising.


  1. Issa Kobayashi, The Dumpling Field: Haiku of Issa [return]

The Haiku of Issa

… the last two in the book…

  • insects floating down the river on a branch, still singing…
    • literally, one can imagine a branch breaking off and carrying insects with it… that they would be oblivious to the changed circumstances and still be singing…
    • or, they might apprehend that there is little they can do about the change in circumstance, why not keep singing?…
    • or, they might be pleased to be on a new adventure, and sing with joyous expectation…
    • metaphorically, humanity often finds itself oblivious to the peril it is in… carried along by the years, without really understanding what their lives are about…
  • the poet’s death poem…
    • the stupidity of (being) bathed at the beginning and end of life…
      • i struggle with this one literally and figuratively, why would bathing the newborn or the dead be stupid?…
      • is the poet complaining that life should find a better way to begin and end?…

… i have a new book on haiku coming… this one offers multiple translations of each haiku as a singular haiku can’t get at all the nuances and cultural references of the original… it’s a thick book apparently… may take me a long time to get through it…

First Thoughts

… feeling a little lost and aimless… trying to make the work, wishing something would come of it… good ideas, good intentions, difficulty following through…

… one cocktail last night (it is the weekend)… i mixed myself a second one, but decided to flush it down the drain… yay me!… kitchen cleaned up and ready to go, i feel this morning as i would feel with no cocktail…

… a good BrainPickings this morning, the idea that intuition, emotional intelligence, is at the foundation of true intelligence… that intellectual intelligence is a kind of petrification of self without an intuitive sense of how things work… this is what reading the haiku every day is an effort to achieve, a kind of emotional intelligence… an intelligence of the moment… of seeing the moment in it’s simplest terms…

… a robin sings in the distance…

… it will be cool this week… how will my tomato plants fare?… my last zucchini plant is dying, has died… sad, will need to give them more space next year…

… Fiona woke me up last night… midnight… she was pacing the room like she does… strange though, the doors were open, she could have gone downstairs on her own if she wanted… she might have done if i had not gotten up…

… i meant to call C this week, but didn’t, feel a little guilty about that…

The Most Beautiful Boy in the World, Documentary

… Björn Andrésen, chosen by Luchino Visconti to play Tadzio in his film adaptation of Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice… at the film’s premier, Visconti declared him “the most beautiful boy in the world”… it looks like a sad an interesting story, read about it here then maybe watch the documentary when it comes out…

Ghost Blog

Photographer unknown, assumed to be a self portrait…

… while looking for information on Japanese culture to help understand haiku, i stumbled across this ghost blog, produced by a young woman in 2013 who seemed to be trying to orient her life around Japanese Buddhist/minimalist principles… the picture above is of her… the blog seems to have been short lived, all the posts are dated within a period of three or four months…

… she doesn’t identify herself anywhere in the blog… it’s been eight years since anything was posted… i wonder where she is now?…

… on closer inspection i realize the blog is a school project, possibly art school… a project about interiors and culture… it seems incomplete…

… looking into the evergreen.edu webpage home, i discover it is Evergreen State College in Olympia Washington where she must have been a student…

The Haiku of Issa

… i am nearing the end of The Essential Haiku… a few more poems, a couple of prose pieces at the end of the book, i am finished… yesterday i gathered together a dozen of my micro poems to read at an event in the evening that was postponed until next week due to the rain… a COVID precaution… i read them to H who did not seem that enthusiastic about them… haiku and micro poems are funny things… i suspect you get them, or you don’t and the difference between a passable one and a great one is hard to pin down… they need to be specific enough to call you to the details of a moment, but then use those details to open a window on the infinite…

… today’s haiku summaries and interpretations…

  • a small boat drifts down the tide under an autumn moon…
    • first interpretation is literal, a scene observed
    • second interpretation, the small boat represents the poet in late middle age, early old age, as seasons equate to stages in life…
    • tides are cyclical and related to the moon…
    • the moon is enlightenment, the poet drifts in the light of enlightenment and with the push, pull of the tides…
  • I’m here and the snow is falling…
    • first interpretation, literal, the poet standing in the falling snow…
    • second interpretation, old age has overtaken the poet, but he is still there, still alive…
  • making very straight holes with piss in the snow…
    • it’s hard to go to far beyond the literal interpretation here… i suppose the straight piss stream would be a good sign for an elderly man… still some virility left…
  • missing her grumbling, the moon…
    • pining for a woman under the moon…
    • in Buddhism, the moon is a symbol of enlightenment, Issa was a lay Buddhist priest, so it is likely the Buddhist significance of the moon prevails in his writings…
    • so, perhaps it is longing for a woman under the light of the moon, or perhaps it is longing for feminine wisdom to complete enlightenment…
  • the nose of a new foal among the irises…
    • it is hard to go beyond the literal here, though spring and rebirth could be a general theme of the poem…
  • a peasant woman planting towards her crying child, crooked row…
    • this is one that could be literal but is perhaps more satisfying to interpret as metaphor…
      • the strength of a mother’s love, the bond between mother and child…
      • the strength of the bond of family…
      • the pull of youth on the not so young…
      • longing for youth…
      • the triumph of heart over mind…

First Thoughts

… i rescued a centipede from the kitchen sink this morning… i rescued one yesterday too… i wonder if it is the same one?… stainless steel kitchen sinks make good centipede traps…

… i also did not drink alcohol last night… two nights running… kitchen all cleaned up when i came down… coffee ready to go, my body happier… mind, take note…

… Heather Cox Richardson is a mixed bag this morning… she talks about the extremism of the Republican Party, about its continued enthrallment with 45, about voter suppression… but also how there appear to be fishers… apparently 45 backed a candidate in a recent election in Texas and lost… the justice department has declined to defend a member of congress from a lawsuit by Eric Swalwell nor will it assert an executive privilege defense for any member of congress against congressional subpoenas… they will have to spend their own money on defense which may help speed up the January 6th inquiry… unless, of course, private donors step in…

… i have stopped watching much news… even Nicole Wallace, one of my favorites… i don’t think the daily news adds much to my understanding of what is going on and it does much to disturb my peace of mind… H has been kindly keeping the volume down most of the time…

… H will be heading out to Block Island with her mother at the end of next week… it is unclear how long she will be there… hoping it is long enough that i can get a couple of house projects done…

New in the Neighborhood

Ever heard of a Honda Racoon?…

… this one has been tooling around the neighborhood… i want one!… sadly, i don’t think they are in production anymore nor do i think they ever made it to the US market when they were… this one has the steering wheel on the right side so imported from somewhere else…

HEN, Non Fungible Art Tokens

… ok, another rabbit hole to go down… Non Fungible Token art… turns out, this may be a way to sell photography and then receive royalties on future sales… anyone out there dabbling in this?…

HEN is an open source iteration of blockchain art sales…

The present decentralized application allows its users to manage decentralized digital assets, serving as a public smart contract infrastructure on Tezos Blockchain.1

a series on how it might apply to selling photographic artwork

Photography and Mindfulness, Full Manual Mode

… a few days ago i switched the controls on my Nikon to full manual…

… i taught myself to photograph in full manual mode years ago, but haven’t done it routinely in quite a while… my preferred ease-of-making-the-picture setting is shutter priority… being older and my hands being a little shakier, i like to know the shutter speed is fast enough to freeze the scene in sharp detail… i suppose equipment with image stabilization helps a great deal in that department these days, but most of my Nikon gear doesn’t have that feature…

… if you are photographing sports, rapidly moving wildlife or other quickly unfolding scenes, full manual is not the way to go… otherwise, it is very useful in giving complete control of how the scene is rendered… shallow depth of field, deep depth of field, creative over or under exposure… these have their uses in making an artful image…

… what also happens when shooting in full manual mode is that you are forced to slow down… you have to continuously check the light meter in the viewfinder and make adjustments to shutter speed, aperture and ISO… you can’t just point, compose and make a picture… the… whole… process… slows… down… you are more careful in composition… you are more considered in the exposure… you are more present to the moment… that’s a good thing…

The Haiku of Issa

… each day i read six Haiku from The Essential Haiku, translations by Robert Hass… i do it as a mindfulness practice, to start my day with something centering, something that shows how to be in the moments and see what is present, what is important, what your connection to the earth, sun, moon and stars is…

  • thirty days after the daughter’s death… fall winds, flowers the daughter liked to pick…
    • a visit to the daughters grave in the fall with the flowers she liked to pick…
    • a melancholy poem…
  • a woodpecker still drilling as the sun goes down…
    • little information on the symbolism of woodpeckers in Japan, but i did read that they are incredibly industrious, foraging for food, building nests, drilling holes in which to store food for the winter… this poem seems to be a nod to that industriousness…
    • as i contemplate the poem, i wonder about human industriousness… humans have something called leisure time… is that a good thing?… well, perhaps it is mostly older humans that arrive at a place with leisure time… i don’t know… i work pretty hard, try to write and make pictures every day… among other things…
  • autumn mountains recede against a clear pale sky…
    • this one seems quite literal… i wonder if the mountains equate to time passing and there is a melancholy about being towards the end of life and mountains that won’t get climbed…
  • upon the son’s death… asking why the wild pink broke…
    • best i can figure is wild pink refers to flowers of the spring, maybe pink moss?… why was life ended at such an early age?…
  • a pheasant cries, did it just notice the mountain?…
    • the author staring at the mountain?… a pheasant cries bringing him out of his mountain reverie and leading to a pondering of the motivations of pheasants…
  • mother guarding, foal drinking water from the pond…
    • this one seems like a straight forward rendering of a scene… horses are significant in Japanese culture, gods in their mythology, but i am not sure that knowledge helps an understanding of the poem…

First Thoughts

… so, no alcohol last night, kitchen cleaned up, sleep somewhat better, no ill effects, day off to a good start… i write this in hopes of internalizing it…

… it has been determined… H will be off to Block Island next week, probably Wednesday, to help her mother who is recovering from injuries resulting from a car crash… she will be gone for at least two weeks… i will use the time without her to get some projects done around the house… i will start with rebuilding the back stair which is in danger of collapsing… then i will move on to finishing the trim work in the dining room… not sure what would be next if all that gets done…

… her absence means i will be managing the dogs by myself… shouldn’t be a problem…

… it looks possible that there will be a bipartisan infrastructure bill… that would be a good thing, conservative obstruction and belief that private industry will meet all needs has allowed roads and bridges to crumble for decades and rural communities to languish without broadband… prospects for the much bigger “people” infrastructure bill are still questionable… i worry about the spending, but think both bills are a good idea if the US is to stay competitive…

… tonight i will participate in an open mic reading event… i will read some of the micro poems i have been writing… i will need to choose 10 today…

Micro Poem

 A storm gathering– the number forty-five.

Scenes From A Walk

Spyware

an interesting article on spyware created and distributed by NSO Group, an Israeli company with close ties to the Israeli government and military… the spyware is called Pegasus and is capable of lodging itself in cell phones and tracking the activities of the owner of the phone… it is allegedly being used by repressive regimes to track journalists and dissidents wherever they are around the world and a recent version is reputed to be able to lodge itself on a phone without any action on the part of the phones owner, such as clicking on an email designed to trick the owner into installing the malware…

… i am sure this is the tip of an immense iceberg…

… there are times when i think about how generally pleasant and unthreatening my life is… then i read articles like this and it is like the opening scenes to Blue Velvet, where all looks pleasant, beautiful and good, when just under the ground there is war, rot and decay… do i want to remain pleasantly oblivious?…

Sex, Cats and Dogs

Mostly about cat porn…

… yesterday i shared an article on AI generation of cat images that seemed every bit as real as the images of cats posted by so many people on social media… it’s always been a little distressing to me that people can get more attention by posting and writing about their cats (and dogs) than anyone can get with most other kinds of posts… it’s click bate really… everyone loves a good cat (or dog) pic… i’m not sure images of newborn babies even do as well… well, i shared the article to FB and wouldn’t you know, it is tied with a post on the flowers in our front garden for the most views ever!… in one day!… i posted a selection of edited photographs from my walk earlier in the morning and shared them to FB at the same time… only four people brought to my site as a result… in addition to sex, we have to add cats and dogs to what sells…

The Haiku of Issa

Today’s six Haiku summarized with notes on what they mean or suggest to me, or the questions they raise…

  • watching dawn over green fields with his father…
    • the generations, time, intertwines… green fields are spring, early summer fields, the poet will be younger than the father…
  • unaware fish in a tub, cooling at the gate…
    • about to be dinner?… this is not the first poem suggesting animals are unaware of time, of the near future, of the past… they are all about just being in the present moment…
  • ducks quacking on a new year’s morning…
    • in celebration?, or just doing what ducks do?… a sign that nothing has changed… a quack to greet the new year… humans make of it what they will…
  • the world of dew, and yet…
    • one of the more famous and enigmatic poems Issa wrote… dew is short lived past the dawn… as the sun climbs, it evaporates away, yet while there, magic occurs, little worlds by the millions, sparkling diamonds… yes, dew is dew, nothing more, and yet, when gazed upon by eyes that see… and yet…
  • a spring day lingers in the pools…
    • i guess this would be the pools of a stream or small river…
  • beneath an image of Buddha, tiresome spring flowers…
    • initially i thought statue of Buddha, then i thought painting or print depicting Buddha… which makes me think of a Buddha alter in the home with spring flowers placed beneath it… why tiresome?… is it tiresome by comparison to the concept of Buddha?… is the devotion of placing flowers tiresome… why tiresome?…

First Thoughts

… angry with myself… drank a little more than i should have last night… drank enough that i lost motivation to clean up the kitchen after dinner… this gets the following morning off to a bad start… it’s a negative energy start… plus, i feel a little the worse for the alcoholic wear… i don’t have a drinking problem per se, it’s just that i like it a little too much in the moment… i exchange those momentary good feelings for a cascade of not so good feelings, physically and emotionally, following in its wake… i keep trying to remind myself that i don’t like the negative cascade that follows, but it doesn’t usually stop me… how much better i fell all around when i drink moderately or not at all… how much better the next day starts… i am determined to learn this lesson before i die…

… the January 6th Select Committee hearings began yesterday… i am in awe of Liz Cheney… maybe even a little in love with her… she and i are on the opposite side of almost any policy debate, but i deeply respect her for putting her political career on the line to do the right thing… the testimony from the police was powerful and moving… it’s too early to hope that there will be consequences for those involved from within government… it’s too early to think that the hearings will persuade enough people that the far right is a problem… but it got off to a good start…

… i hear Fiona scratching around downstairs… she was a restless girl last night… got me up at 2 AM to let her out… not sure she did much when i did… i did get back to sleep but up again at 4 AM… she is coming upstairs now… she is on the studio bed now… good, i don’t have to go see if she is getting into trouble…

… the birds are starting to sing…

… yesterday i paid attention to the Cicadas for the first time this summer… i assume they have been rattling for a while and i haven’t focused on it… the Cicadas a sure sign that we are past the middle of summer, i wrote a haiku about it…

Cicadas rattling in the trees— where does the time go?

… it doesn’t appear to be the predicted brood X inundation… there was one year when in some places there were swarms of them flying through the air… i haven’t seen that this year… maybe i need to drive north… that’s where we encountered the swarms before… we have to do that on Sunday, so maybe then…

Micro Poem

_ Cicadas rattling in the trees– where does the time go?

Scenes From Today’s Walk

The route…

… the scenes…