The Accidental Organizer or: The Longhand Blues

Sorry about the interregnum . I’ve been chicken-sitting the last few days and not posting in a dutiful manner.

chicken sit 2

I’ve also been sitting on 4 posts for the past week because I haven’t been able to find the right way to collate, or organize all the pieces. And when I have most of the pieces, I find myself in a place with no computer or, if with laptop, no internet connection. I’m not into the phone culture (yet), so I’m not going to do a blog post the way young Japanese kids are now writing and publishing and reading novels.

 cell phone novel

On the days that I have my laptop with me, about the only thing I’d need internet access for is to find an image or link, or for a bit of research. The content is pretty much done in longhand, from a day-timer, a Moleskine journal, a big spiral notebook, and the odd scrap of memo paper. I haven’t resorted to my hands or running shoes.

Usually, I can gather the longhand stuff together on a table or footstool, arm of a chair, or today, on a back deck, watching chickens. Then, I can start typing it into the app of my choice on my laptop.

These days I’m using David Michael’s great all-round note-taker and organizer The Journal  and MS Live Writer. Sometimes I realize the import of Philip Kerr‘s 2nd tip in his “20 practical tips on Creative Writing”: Typing well is not important but good handwriting is important.”

While watching the chickens, I am reading Siri Hustvedt’s novel “What I Loved“. There is a nice line:
My vanity simply wasn’t strong enough to endure deprivation.
The main character is talking about trying to undo changes to his middle-aged body. (Although I think this can happen at any age, if your real physical body gets out of whack with the ideal you have of yourself.)
I’m also reading some non-fiction: a biography of Harold Innis 

Innis biog

and the somewhat rare “Self-Portrait” by Ross MacDonald.

Another thing I brought out to the country is a DVD with the first two episodes of the new re-make of Sherlock Holmes called “Sherlock”.

It’s from BBC Wales and will make fans of the Jeremy Brett version happy. At the very least, as a tribute. Imagine Jeremy with a smartphone and Dr. Watson just back from a tour in Afghanistan. Sharp, dark, comforting.

I’ll probably watch Sherlock when I’m sure the chickens have all gone home to their coop for the night. One of them is devious and she roosts in a top corner in the back. It took two trips out there, the last with a flashlight to find her. They all have to be locked in. The coyotes and possums have to be locked out. Then, day is done.

There is, I must say,  a chicken connection to my next planned post because the chickens blink in and out of existence. I’ll try to explain. When I got out here in the country, the chicken coop was open but I couldn’t see chickens anywhere. Now, these are the most sociable chickens in the world and normally they would run up to me from wherever they were. This day, an hour went by and no chickens. Chipmunks, hummingbirds, a blue jay, rabbits, vultures, yes. But where were the girls? I was worried about them. I sat on the back deck and read. Finally, looking up from the page, there they were! All five of them, in a cluster. 

chicken group2

They just seemed to “blink” in, like in those old video games where the bad guys would suddenly “blink” into the screen and get you.
I was relieved and went back to reading. A couple of minutes later, I looked up again and they were gone. And when the chickens blink out, a rabbit happens to blink in.

rabbit 1

My next post which is going under the working title “Approaching Zero” talks about Calculus, of all things, and the gap between the blinks.  The main thing is: I have to make up something around these sudden appearances. I knew the chickens are always around even when I can’t see them, but where? I only see them when I see them.
I need to invent the unseen points.


Today’s Listening:

1. World Sick by Broken Social Scene fr: “Forgiveness Rock Record:
2. Origin of Species by Chris Smither fr: “Leave the Light On”
3. The Moment Slipped Away by Christine Lavin fr: “Beau Woes

One thought on “The Accidental Organizer or: The Longhand Blues”

  1. I too was a chicken-sitter last week at and under my watch one chicken is no more…possibly taken by an unknown four-legged thief.
    In 2001 four acquaintances of mine (including a mathematician), who were in an artists’ collective called Petri’s Quadrille, produced a work called “Approaching Zero” which explored the figurative properties of the number zero through a series of temporary public installation artworks in a city in Western Canada.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *