Freight: Day 3

window-closed-by-a-lattice_justice

It was this need to DO that drove me to think I wanted to be a lawyer. Law is a calling built on taking a stand. It is also built on a shit-ton of tuition debt and apparently dehumanizing work, and if you read One L by Scott Turow, more than a soupçon of  brainwashing . My two month dalliance with the law gave me the perspective that attorneys are an instrument of law, but not necessarily of justice.

Freight: Day 2

manchester-cathedral-gargoyle

I feel the need to do something, but I cannot figure out what individual action I can take that will effect any change. As a seeker and intellectual, I do not consider myself to be political. I realize that the freedom to be apolitical can only come when there is an innate sense of security and generalized (although never perfect) trust in the government. It is a bit like getting very sick, and realizing that the health you feel most days is not promised or required by a universe that is anything other than considerate.

Freight: Day 1

tree-and-storm

There was a time when I wrote. Stories, novels, poems, and a stack of truly horrifying journals I can neither bring myself to read nor burn. I wonder, now, if I haven’t spent the last decade asleep in my own words. Was I that safe, that sure? Could I have been?

Were you?

My solipsistic insularity has grown threadbare. I keep trying to wrap it around myself, but foul winds whistle through. Then there are times, like now, with the train crying in the night-fallen distance, that I fear it isn’t the wind that is coming in, but rather that it is me seeping out…

Eureka, I’m Tickled Pink

Grocery shopping is sometimes surprising. Sometimes, you see your dentist, and choose to hide behind an end cap rather than say hello because, yes, you are a thirty-nine year old woman who is holding a bag of GIANT marshmallows, not some teeth-healthy, crunchy veggies (those were in the cart, I swear!). Other times, you find the most amazing pink unicorn/rubber ducky hybrid, amazingly melded with soap!

Allow me to introduce Archimedes, the Duckicorn …

20170122_135337
Mamma Says What?

 

 

I saw a hawk in the rain…

Points and respect to anyone who recognizes the allusion in the subject line! It isn’t just a catchy phrase, either. I really did see a hawk in the rain as I was driving to work last week. He standing in a neighbor’s yard, and when I slowed to look at his majesty, gorgeous and shimmering in a glister of rain, he turned his golden eye on me.

That night I had my first moment of magic as I worked my way through a mathematical proof by induction.  It was an example problem, posted by a professor at CUNY and I was just trying to work my way from step to step, understanding each move. Given that each step shows the mechanism used to arrive at the conclusion, it’s not as if I was charting any new mathematical thoughts. I discovered, however, that the professor’s grasp of math was (gasp!) much more adept than mine, and I couldn’t make the same hops from step to step without doing all of the minor mathematical legwork in between those steps. I got to a point where I had this equation:

hawk_1

I knew I needed to rewrite it to finalize the proof, but it’s been fifteen years since I’ve done any math, and that was a semester of part time grad school in physics, which was so traumatic I dropped out early the next semester. I thought I’d closed the door on math forever, and pursued my love of writing with enough dedication to shove everything math into some dark realm. In fact, I thought I’d forgotten all of it. Except… as I stared at this equation, I felt something move in my mind. There was a kind of muscle memory, and a feeling not unlike when I met the gaze of the Hawk in the Rain (hint: think Plath, extend from there). I wrote this:

hawk_2

A phrase rose out of the darkness. Factor the quadratic. The motion of writing came before the idea, which should not be strange. It happens all the time with poetry; I write, or a phrase arises in me, and it has no meaning until I put it on the paper, confront it out in the world, separated from me, its own being. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt that with math. I think I was always too busy trying to meet deadlines and make grades, and I am prone (perhaps we all are?) to producing what is measured. Grades were measured; I produced good grades. Perhaps if education measured true understanding, I would have felt this heady, golden eyed hawk of understanding during the long, dark nights of higher-level university math. I filled in the question marks:

hawk_3

 

QED, my friends.

Oh, and to leave on a funny note. At work, there’s been a focus on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). One of our KPIs is developer velocity; i.e., the amount of work that is done, on average, by an individual developer in a bounded length of time. In a slide describing this KPI we found the following hilarious typo:

Improve developer moral and velocity

Laughter, it turns out, goes a long way towards improving morale, although its effects on moral velocity have yet to be proven!

Notes from the Inward Tundra

TLDR; The focus of this blog is changing. I will still post the occasional poem, but I am on new journey and am tired of creating new blogs for each pit stop along the way. If you were only here for the poems, please unfollow. I’ve enjoyed your company and wish you well.


It has been a long time, too long. My journey has been inward. I have strayed from poetry, even from writing. To give you some sense of the scope of that change consider the sensation of discovering yourself, alone, in a vast tundra teeming with presences that move only in your peripheral vision. The sheer brightness of the nothing, the sheer vastness of you unmoored is a galaxy of possibility. The desire is to move, in any direction, to get somewhere. Anywhere.

This is not my first visit to this strange no-land. I came here before, when the words ran dry and I knew that I could no longer commit to the dark fiction I spent a decade lovingly crafting. Months passed. I found religion. This was good. I was no longer alone. And, just as easily, I lost religion. Thank you and curses, Thomas Ligotti. More dead space, with the flitting presences growing bolder. I found poetry. I loved poetry, despite the fearful power of it looking directly upon the things moving at the edges of my self. I spent a year immersed in poetry. Oh, yes, I still went to the day job in software, but at lunch I read poetry. Waiting for the software to build, I read poetry. The first thing I did each morning, and the last thing each night was to read poetry. I dreamed in poetry; Book of Crow came in a dream, as did several others I have yet to share. This was good. I was no longer alone.

And, just as easily, I lost poetry.

I briefly alit in the branches of philosophy of science, and from there floundered upon the study of Law and proceeded to immerse myself in it. It’s nice to drink the dream of going to capital-L, capital-S Law School, but it comes with a $150K hangover.  Also (and this is key!) … I don’t want to be a lawyer. It just seemed a decent way out of:

A) Software

B) Me

C) The Tundra

D) All of the Above

The good news in all of this is that I spent a couple of months doing LSAT logic games. I remembered how much I like solving problems. My undergraduate degree was in Physics, with a Philosophy double-major. To think that I was once young and believed that if I studied the right combination of topics I would Understand It ALL. Ah, the universe simultaneously laughs and farts!  Please see Lovecraft’s Dreams in the Witch House if you have any questions.

Which brings me to the part not subtly foreshadowed by the TLDR: the change in focus of this blog. I’ve started approximately a blog a year over the past few years, each to focus on some particular (and passing) mania. It’s a pain in the behonkis to to make sure I’m logged in as the right version of “me” to comment or post. My longest running and most popular blog is at a natural and good end, so I didn’t want to revive that old self. The others were too embarrassing. Although I’m no longer trying to be entirely anonymous, I am fond of this spot on the web. I’ll be posting on whim. I suspect an upcoming focus on math, with a poem here and there, like chocolate chips in a pancake.

Segue… Do you realize the sheer volume of content available to study math online? It’s fucking awesome. I’ve signed up for Kahn Academy.  If this wave of interest carries, there are a plethora of courses at MIT OpenCourseware. I don’t know where any of this leads, but at least this time I know that.

In the spirit of wu wei, may my action be inaction!