Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Decade in Review: 2011

January 2011:  After some deliberations, I decided to write on a train from Eugene to Portland.  So I dressed up as a Pegasus Ranger!   The train ride was fun.   I discovered the Crumpacker Family Library (The Temple of Books!) and I had a lovely pizza dinner with Jay Lake.  The summary of my Adventures of a Pegasus Ranger follows:


In the manuscript of Pegasus Ranger in Portland, I see someone using artifice as a tool to search for an axis mundi. He dons a costume and begins his search with a train ride; he discovers that the meridians and parallels of the world are blurred. He thinks he's discovered an axis mundi in a temple of art, but his vision of artistic logos overwhelms him and he retreats. A fellow writer, a kind of shadow-shelf of the searcher, turns his attention to Death. Each of the searcher's encounters contrasts and compares chaos and order; control and surrender; expectations, fantasy, and reality. At the end, he tries to connect the dots into a paradigm, but they don't mesh perfectly. The story ends with the searcher almost home, passing a shadowed milestone.  As he recalls life, art and Georges-Pierre Seurat, who painted A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, the Pegasus Ranger concludes that the Geometry of Life is always Deconstructed by Entropy.  But Life -- which includes its terminus, Death -- is not about seeing, it's about how one looks. The act of observation not only changes the observed, it changes the observer. Look well.  Bring outfits.  Look good.

February 2011:  The grey days of Winter were officially getting to me.  To combat them I would  use a halogen torchiere and fill the house with Summer-like light.  The Winter Light never used to bother me (that I'd been aware) and I attributed my sluggishness and despair to (undiagnosed) seasonal depression.   But some days not eve the torchiere would help, and I'd have to take a picture of myself wearing a turban made out of a starry polar fleece blanket.


March 2011:  We went skiing, where I had the pleasure of admiring a stranger's skiing moves, and discovered I was looking at Mark.  Going home, we got trapped on the highway about twenty miles out of Eugene by a a windstorm which blew a tree over a road and knocked electricity out of the McKenzie River corridor.   Mark drove us to Belnap Hotsprings and discovered a lovely outdoor temple folly.  I was glad I was with him, because I would have pulled the car over at the side of the highway and froze.


April 2011:  I officially began fiddling around with zellij tile design and launched a fascination with producing ten five-pointed stars whirling around each other.  I'd already played with Penrose Tiles, so it was an easy jump.  I find that constructing geometric forms calms me down and is rewarding; I'm not sure if it's the process, of using a compass or the pleasure of creating an ordered design, or the challenge of fitting different things together.

On the writing front, I tried to create an e-book and got stalled.


May 2011:  After watching University of Oregon want ads for about a year and applying for a few jobs, a writer friend from the Wordos clued me in to an IT job opening in the UO Psychology Department.   I got hired as a temporary part-time worker.    This was a good thing; and the extra income made a lot of things a whole lot easier.


June 2011:  We visited Mark's family on the east coast.  It's always fun to visit them because they are New York Direct, which is a refreshing change from Corvallis Nice.  We usually do some site-seeing, and I often visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art -- this visit included a reminder to finish projects.  One day, Mark and I made a pilgrimage to Olana -- we dressed up, and got to be fabulous gays touring an architectural palace (with sketching and a picnic afterward).


September 2011:  My micro fiction, "The Book Deal" was purchased for "Twisted Tales," a micro fiction anthology by Delving Press.  "The Book Deal" was a fun, 66 word horror story.  Alethea Kontis and Damon Kaswell were also in it.


Through the late summer and throughout autumn, I worked on writer craft.  I read Dracula, and I couldn't understand what was so horrible about the vampire until someone explained to me at OryCon that the count was operating outside the circle of Christian Grace.  I read some dreadful steampunk genre stories (one kept flipping back and forth between a romance and something else), and apparently zombies (er, revenants) must be included.  I wrote my first steampunk story, and then another, to mixed reactions at the Wordos table.

And I thought about masculinity, and gay male desire, and story, and what is it that I want to explore as a man who is gay and who is a writer.




If there was a theme for 2011, it was the geometry of life cycles.  I wanted things to be pretty and ordered, but it seems that having a pretty and ordered life takes a lot of practice -- and in the end, the geometry is left open by Death.

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