I’ve disappeared this week — Mas and I hosted a workshop on Guattari’s The Three Ecologies for a group of master’s students from Swiss art schools. Awesome week, there has been so much sharing and good conversation and learning. I’m coming away from this awed and inspired, and will have so much to say …. once the week is over and I wake up from a very long nap. For now, here’s the collective blog that the group started, which is already being rapidly filled with articles, videos, DIY projects and recipes:
I’ve been having this problem lately with my work invading my dreams. This is common, but the way it’s invading my dreams is bizarre — not just dreaming about gardening, for example, but dreaming about thinking about the revolutionary implications of gardening.
For example the other night I dreamt that I was on some sort of guided tour of an organic grocery shop, not of the Whole Foods variety, rather like the little co-op place that smells of sprouted bread. Except this place was bright and shiny like the big shops. The person leading the tour was something like a cross between Mark Ruffalo and a guy who’s a member of the garden I’m in (and he’s also a circus performer – nothing to do with anything, I just find that an interesting personal fact of his). We were around the cash register area and there, where normally you might have chewing gum, were several blond wood shelves filled with potted plants — tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Except the plants were the size of bonzai trees and they were bearing full-sized, very unnatural looking vegetables. Big, fat, shiny, waxy looking eggplant sprouting every which way from spindly little trees that themselves looked half dead. Mark Ruffalo/circus guy was explaining what permaculture is and saying how food security is a cornerstone of community sufficiency and started going into a big speech about all that, and I, well, I flipped my shit. I started shouting at him that this was all a sham: First of all, it’s February. We should not have tomatoes, eggplant and peppers in February. Second of all, what in the hell kinds of plants are these?? Beefsteak tomatoes don’t grow on bonzai trees! Third! This is nothing but capitalist recuperation of permaculture! You’re toying with our desires for a more autonomous life in order to sell your unnatural plants! This isn’t autonomy, damn it! (This is madness!) Capitalist swine! You’re just like the rest! And so on..
I woke up thrashing around in bed and maybe shouting, too, I don’t really remember. Sidenote, Alvaro and I tend to dream about produce a lot. He talks in his sleep so I’m privy to his part of it. One night, months ago, I got home late and tried to crawl into bed as quietly as possible, but wound up waking him up anyway and he shot up in bed in a terror. Conversation ensued:
A: TOMATES TOMATES TOMATES TOMATEEEEES!!!!! UN MONTON DE TOMATES!!!!
K: … Qué…??
A: HAS VISTO LOS TOMATES??
K: Um…. sí….
A: ….. Y ….. entonces…? …… (fade to snore)
Anyway, thing is, I found my tomato bonzai dream really disturbing because it wasn’t just any old dream where the physical props of your everyday life are present and maybe you start screaming at someone for no particular reason. In this dream I felt unbridled rage, but it was logical, justified, real world rage, given the situation.
And then, to add an even weirder layer to it all, today I saw this photo posted on the Facebook page of a homesteading thing I follow:
So I guess maybe that sort of thing exists? Or not. God this is all so confusing.
(click image to enlarge)
3: HOUSEHOLD BASEMENT WORKSHOP
A group has pooled its tools and skills, thus enhancing the potential capacities for everyone. The weaver’s loom, the potter’s wheel and kiln are here, as well as the equipment for shoemaking and the ordinary range of carpentry and household repair gear. The community has not forgotten the outside world: posters are being printed by silk-screen. The message is that possibilities of do-it-yourself are greatly extended if you do it yourselves together.
From “Visions: 6 drawings by Cliff Harper. Commentary by Colin Ward,” in Why Work? Arguments for the Leisure Society, Vernon Richards (ed). London: Aldgate Press, 1983.
When I was in college I tried out a couple classes at a yoga studio in my neighborhood (which I quickly dropped because the teacher was a fascist whose yoga philosophy clashed with my own, but that’s another story) and one day a girl in the class mentioned that all she had done that day was bake bread and practice yoga, and that in her perfect world that’s all she would do all day, every day: bake bread and practice yoga. That’s all? God, what a horrible, useless drain on society she would be, I scoffed (in my head). That’s kind of what I was like in my early twenties; I bought into the whole capitalist work ethic program of ideas about what success, societal participation, and what have you look like.
That was more than ten years ago. Last night and this morning, I signed up to teach several classes at the soon-to-open Trade School Geneva, a center for learning and sharing in all sorts of subjects and activities, where instead of paying for classes with money, the exchange functions through bartering.
Anyone can propose to teach whatever they want, and I’d been mulling for a while over what my contribution could be. What am I good for? What do I know relatively a lot about that I would like to share with others? What kinds of things are people looking to learn?
In the end, I proposed classes in bread baking and yoga.
Ho ho ho the irony!
To read: Work and Idleness in the Age of the Great Recession – a special issue of Periscope
Essays on Frugal Abundance: Degrowth: Misinterpretations and Controversies, part 1 of 4 (Serge Latouche, via the Simplicity Collective)
Urban Backyard Food Production as a Strategy for Food Security in Melbourne, Australia (Permaculture Research Institute)
Also, veering quite a bit off topic but it’s via a friend and the context of the journal is interesting: a call for submissions to Project Freerange:
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS FOR FREERANGE VOL.9: THE WET ISSUE
Heraclitus, the old pre-Socratic philosopher, said that you cannot step into the same river twice.
Sensuous and fluid yet powerful, raging and unforgiving – from Styx to bottled water, from great lake to babbling brook, from poetic vessel to trade route, water exists in a myriad of states and is characterized by its many forms and expressions, its imaginative potential and raw impact upon life on earth. Its changeable nature and ability to hold contradictions (it is both life-sustainer, provider of food and abundance yet bearer of disease and destruction) has leant water to art, metaphor, songs, philosophy, literature, science and a myriad of other disciplines. Revered in religious and cultural practice, yet continually degraded by industry and human activities, water has a symbiotic relationship with cities, politics and of course, pirates.
Freerange thought it was time to pay tribute to the most abundant substance on earth, the universal solvent. Water shapes landscape; it creates and reflects history. It defines where civilisations have established themselves and has forced them to move (whether through diversions, dams or rising sea levels). It has appealed to pilgrims, explorers, scientists, philosophers, weather forecasters, town planners and swimmers. And now with rising sea levels, pollution, increasing reports of natural disasters, water criminals, water degradation and privatisation, water is set to be the definitive resource of time to come.
So we are calling for submissions on the big issue for our next issue: Freerange Vol. 9: The Wet Issue. We want to hear your thoughts, experiences and artistic expressions on water: from holy water to mythical flood, from ice cap to desert, from Moby Dick to naiads, from Atlantis to Venice, from resource to privatisation.
Some things to think about: Poseidon, armadas, treasures, foreshore and seabed, watery graves, climate change refugees, erosion, purification, Old Man and the Sea, astrology, battles on it and battles for it, tropical storms and big snows, river highways, irrigation, tears, Shackleton…..
Please send your abstract of 100-200 words firstname.lastname@example.org by April 1 .
in “Sounds” (p. 72-73 in the Dover edition):
I did not read books the first summer; I hoed beans. Nay, I often did better than this. There were times when I could not afford to sacrifice the bloom of the present moment to any work, whether of the head or hands. I love a broad margin to my life. Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a revery, amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sang around or flitted noiseless through the house, until by the sun falling in my west window, or the noise of some traveller’s wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time. I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance. I realized what the Orientals mean by contemplation and the forsaking of works. For the most part, I minded not how the hours went. The day advanced as if to light some work of mine; it was morning, and lo, now it is evening, and nothing memorable is accomplished. Instead of singing like the birds, I silently smiled at my incessant good fortune. As the sparrow had its trill, sitting on the hickory before my door, so had I my chuckle or suppressed warble which he might hear out of my nest. My days were not days of the week, bearing the stamp of any heathen deity, nor were they minced into hours and fretted by the ticking of a clock; for I lived like the Puri Indians, of whom it is said that “for yesterday, to-day, and to-morrow they have only one word, and they express the variety of meaning by pointing backward for yesterday, forward for to-morrow, and overhead for the passing day.” This was sheer idleness to my fellow-townsmen, no doubt; but if the birds and flowers had tried me by their standard, I should not have been found wanting. A man must find his occasions in himself, it is true. The natural day is very calm, and will hardly reprove his indolence.
My mother and I finally had post-Madrona Skype talk 1 on Sunday (we only had an hour to talk so there’s still more to tell — she and I have an otherworldly endurance for conversation) and so I’m here with some of the info she shared. Madrona is a yearly retreat in Tacoma, Washington, for people who are into knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving, etc. She got back last week but her yarn won’t get back for a few weeks, since she bought so much that she had to ship it ground delivery. That’s my Ma.
One of her biggest finds at the retreat was the Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, by Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius (whose blog I can’t find, so I suppose she doesn’t have one, but Mom said she writes for Hobby Farms and Mother Earth News). The sourcebook is on the many different animals that give us their wool for yarn, and while my mother doesn’t raise animals (one neighbor in particular would have a fit, I’ll tell you that), she picked up the book because of all the information to be had in it on the provenance of the yarn she buys. I’m not about to get into animal husbandry just yet. (Read about my turbulent relationship with crochet here, here, and here, for starters. I am not ready for sheep.) Even so, I was glad for the reference because it lead me to Deborah’s blog, and the Hobby Farms website.
I don’t know anyone else in my PhD program whose mother provides them with research references. +1 My Mom.
Other fibers have been on my mind since yesterday, because yesterday I started more seriously considering the question of what sort of pretty dress I’m going to wear for my wedding. (That’s the first mention of “wedding” I’ve made on this blog. Kind of lackluster, no? How about if I put a smiley in there? )
Melanie (who hates smileys ) said yes when I asked if she would make my dress for me, and she might be regretting her answer now. I like to think that I’m not being high maintenance about the whole thing, but I do have some preferences for how we do it. The top two priorities are that it’s something I will wear again many times, and that it has a big swingy skirt that spins out when I dance. Unfortunately these two priorities don’t fit together very well, because the sticker is that I’d also rather not use synthetic (ie petroleum-based) fabric, which is exactly the kind of fabric that spins nicely while dancing. The only natural cloth that I can think of that will spin when I dance is silk, which costs, I learned yesterday, about 60 Swiss francs per meter, and using silk will also most likely lead to me never wearing the dress again because the dress will require dry cleaning. I don’t do dry cleaning.
(In case you were wondering, yes, I’m kind of folding the making of my wedding dress into my research.)
So one of my priorities will have to go. I’m leaning toward nixing the swingy skirt, as much as it kills me to do so. I think the last time I had a swingy skirt was back when I was but a spry three-year-old dancing at my dad’s summer office party. Kate at 32.75 years old would really love a swingy skirt, but more important is that all Melanie’s hard work and the work of whoever made the materials isn’t going to get stored in a box after one day of use.
Speaking of the influence of princess dreams on grown-up desires, I saw this on Facebook this morning (posted by the page Buy Nothing New for a Year):
(One more for Mel)