Thursday, May 18, 2006

5 senses

BISAs today care of my five senses:
sight: email from ss
sound: amazing seminar on cuba... and an aussie accent
smell: fresh laundry
taste: salmon teriyaki
touch: sleeping bag... i know repetitive... but it's that good!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


my parents names are peter and wendy.
you know how when you are a child you don't really think of your parents as 'people'?
yeah well, someone said something about how cute it was that my parents were 'peter and wendy, just like in peter pan' when i was in the SEVENTH GRADE, and i had never made the connection. i swear. i can remember the moment. it was mrs bjork's math class. i was sitting in the third seat in the last row against the right-hand wall when you were looking at the board.
i didn't tell that person that, though! i just smiled and said-- 'yeah i know! cute, right?!'

the BISA, though, is that i've begun to think it's real too... my dad is totally peter pan... it's like he's got this little boy inside... and my mom is just like the wendy-bird... i really really like these thoughts...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

love letters

i like writing letters by hand. i like writing letters at all, but i really like writing them by hand. i got to write one this morning and it just set the day off right.
my BISA today is letters.
love letters especially-- although, something about letters in general makes me think they are ALL love letters in some way... i mean, you take the time out to write a letter, it's gotta be out of love, right?

'love letters to no one' is a great imaginary... i feel like i write a lot of these actually...
'come by and see me, i'm a love letter away' --voxtrot

Monday, May 15, 2006

wasps and hopes

This post grew out of Mother's Day, and my PhD research project about young people and hope... I know, I know, you can take the girl out of the camp, but you can't take the camp out of the girl. (for notes on usage of elipse-- see previous post)
Anyway, I'm not going to totally bore you, this time, with academic nonsense. The reference is this-- at camp we do this thing called Devotions. It sounds all churchy but it's not really. We just take some time out of the evening to sit together in a circle (best with a campfire) and talk about things that are purposeful, and passionate, and problematic, and possibly fantastic in our minds, bodies, hearts and lives. Yeah, well it's camp. And yes I am getting to the point. Usually there is a central question, or game, that brings out everyone's responses. My favorite game (BWCA rules are the best, but I can make do just about anywhere), the one that give me fire in the belly, is called Hopes and Fears (hence the research topic). And the reason it is so great is as follows: I do NOT have a fear of wasps. Why that is a strange way to start, you say. Yes. But it is significant because I SHOULD be VERY VERY afraid of wasps. All the social theory I can get my hands on tells me that the way I think, the way I hope, the way I fear, is due to past experiences. When I was young (8 maybe?), I climbed up into the treehouse at my cabin with my dad on the ladder behind me. It was a really really high up treehouse. And it had, unbeknownst to us, a really really big wasps nest underneath it. Well, we climbed up into that treehouse, my dad and I, and tromped around. We pissed of those wasps something fierce. And they came a-calling to tell us about it. HUNDREDS of them. And I was in shorts.
I do not remember being stung (over one hundred times). I do not remember being in pain, or being scared. I only remember my dad yelling for my mom and swatting wasps away from me. I only remember him dropping me from the top of the ladder down to my mom waiting below. I only remember her catching me, and running into the house. I only remember her putting baking soda paste onto every sting. I am not afraid of wasps. I don't even flinch. That memory-- the one that Bourdieu and all the other fancy sociologists tell me should always be reminding me to be afraid, only reminds me of how much my parents love me. My dad was stung way more than I. I'll bet he remembers. It's a great memory. And they are fucking great parents. That's an uber-BISA.
Ok and yeah, so if you really want to know, wasps and devotions are pretty much where my PhD is coming from.

well, the whole wasp story, really
the idea of a 'kharma boomerang'-- gets 'em every time.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


I like elipses. Maybe you have noticed this. I like the way they look... and the way they mean something without even saying anything or doing anything...
It's like, here go my thoughts, and you can see where they came from, and you kind of know where they are going, but now they have become your thoughts too...
See! Elipses are great. It's like they promise something good and meaningful, or funny and just not something that one can actually talk about in polite conversation.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


I guess it's about time I put an actual opinion up on this thing. It's not gonna 'slip away', but it's really one of the only things I have a damn strong conviction about.
I've been following the Moussaoui case a bit... I read a lot of online news (thank you Google, you are the best friend a girl could have). And I read today that there was one dissenting, anonymous voter who is the reason Moussaoui did not get the death penalty. I've read all the various craziness about the trial-- the guilty plea, the attempted retraction, the changing story, the whole 'martyr' issue... and frankly I just don't care. I applaud the anonymous hold-out. I don't even care if, Runaway Jury style, the whole damn thing was rigged. Yes-- I realize that the 'American justice system needs to do it's job'. And no I do not buy the argument that it is 'expensive' to keep people in jail. The number of people executed is just over 1000. 1000 people. We can't afford to keep alive 1000 people on government cheese and hamburgers? Please. Bottom line? I just don't think that it is, ever has been, or ever will be, the job of the State to kill people. For any reason. And it's not because it's God's or anyone else's job either. It's no one's job. Death just happens. But it shouldn't happen that way. I don't think things are 'wrong' or 'right', but I hate the death penalty. I'm using the word hate here, about the death penalty. It's just not good, not purposeful, not meaningful. I hate it body mind and spirit, all the way down into my gut. I hate it hate it hate it.
I really really don't get angry often. I don't. But as you can see, this whole issue gets me really really heated. Why, you ask? Because it means that the State is deciding that the only meaning in life, the only thing that makes people what they are, is what the State decides is valuable-- their past. Motherfuckers. We NEVER KNOW what is going to happen to us, for us, with us, or through us in the future.
I agree that if you are a citizen in a democratic nation, and you break the rules, you must be responsible for that decision. But I do not agree that any rule, set out by any one or any society, should mandate death. There is just too much grey area, to much at stake in a guilty/not-guilty system which leaves no room for manouvre or context.
If the State set up some rules which led to the killing of black people, or women, or gays, or native americans, or 'insert marginalized group here', we would be outraged. But criminals? Somehow that is ok?
How dare the lawmakers decide what makes someone valuable. How fucking dare they.

Friday, May 12, 2006

windowpane hangover

One wouldn't think you could have 2 bad nights in a row. Or three in one week. One would be wrong.
Do you ever wonder how birds feel after they fly into a windowpane? The one's that live, anyway. And wake up after all the 'stun' business is over. Yeah, I think it must be like a strange hangover... like there was no alcohol involved and yet you still feel nauseus, and stupid... but not regretful because if you hadn't tried flying through you never would have known if it was glass or a great adventure? exactly. And then you also have lost the dreams of what *might* have been on the other side of that window... that's the worst part actually. Although it does force you to keep generating new dreams... that's not so bad.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Ever have 'one of those nights'? Yeah, well I just TOTALLY did.

"I hate awkwardness. It makes little parts of me die inside." (SG)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

i could go crazy on a night like tonight

I'm on a bit of an Indigo Girls kick it seems, but I just love this one...
even though it's just beginning to be summer here, I get this feeling in the evenings when it's all chilly and i need my sleeping bag...

i could go crazy on a night like tonight
summers beginning to give up her fight
every thought's a possiblility
voices are heard but nothing is seen
why do you spend this time with me
may be an equal mystery

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


I was visited by ghosts today. The kind that, unfortunatly, make you cry. Although I don't mind crying-- it does feel pretty good sometimes. But I'm not writing about those ghosts, they just made me think of other ones. GOOD ones.
I lived with ghosts for two summers at camp. No really. I did. There's even a picture. I lived in this little teeny room in the main lodge. It isn't really a bedroom-- I dragged out all the crap that was being stored in there (microscope, boxes, old books, table, weird old dentist chair, you know-- camp stuff), and dragged in a camper bed. My mom made me curtains. I had my comforter that I'd used every summer at camp since I was 8, and my sleeping bag (see previous post). And I had ghosts. Besides all the poetic ones I could think of, echoes of campfire songs, chapel's of yesteryear and firewalk services past, and laughter of long gone campers, I also had real spirits in there. The old director sleeping on his bed under the stairs, doors opening in the middle of the night, lights flickering, screens banging when there's no wind... and just this incredible feeling. This incredible you're-not-alone feeling. I loved that room. I love ghosts. Reminders of all the living that's been going on. All the friendships, and fights, and crying, and caring, and laughing and singing and dancing. I could smell them, the ghosts. I really really could. They took care of me I think. Let me sleep well and live well.

What/who are your ghosts? It's time to make this blog interactive. Give me BISAs people.


and i start to feel a feeling
like the warm air through the screen
you come regular like seasons
shadowing my dreams


Monday, May 08, 2006

ode to my sleeping bag

This whole post is a BISA. Really. And thanks to Tex for the reminder.

I never want to forget how marvelous is my hybrid sleeping bag. I love my sleeping bag. I'm using the word love here, about my sleeping bag. (and if you get the reference, you win a soft shell). It's down on the inside-- for softness and happy dreams, and poly on the outside, to take on the weather. It's the perfect length, and it has a pocket for my watch (alarm) or a midnight snack!!! I have no idea what they made the lining out of.... but it might just be heaven.

This is what I love about my sleeping bag the most, though-- it's like when I am in it, all of the little spaces in my mind where images can be are filled up with beautiful ones of nature... the cliff in the boundary waters where I took the best nap ever, the steam rising from a hot cup of tea just outside the door of the tent on the inca trail, the sight of my house from the sleepy camping-in-the-backyard eyes of my eight year old self, a mouse scurrying along the log walls of my little room in homaji lodge, the sight from the deck of the stars over half moon lake, the moonlight peeking through the straw walls of my little hut at the bottom of the colca canyon, or the nothern lights over the athletic field at camp... my sleeping bag wraps me up in all of these images and I sleep so happy.
I live in the city now. London-- it's a Big City. There is are no tents or canyons in sight. But I brought my sleeping bag. It's on my couch. I lay on my couch, under my sleeping bag, and look out the back door at my primroses and the pidgeons (and the snails-- I have to nap with one eye open if it's raining), and fall asleep on Sunday afternoons... it's marvelous. I think the next time I am camping, there will be a new image to add to the portfolio. Who would have guessed it would have come from my little flat in London.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

In Beauty

In beauty I walk, to the direction of the rising sun
In beauty I walk, to the direction traveling with the sun
In beauty I walk, to the direction of the setting sun
In beauty I walk

All around me, this land is beauty
In beauty, I walk

--Navajo Prayer

Saturday, May 06, 2006

dirty talk

One if the first things I noticed about London was the usage of the work fuck. People say it on the street, on the bus, in polite conversation, and at the pub. Little kids say it. Parents say it TO THEIR LITTLE KIDS. See how shocked I am! Every time I would hear it, my head would snap around to see who'd dropped the f-bomb. And I then realized that no one else was shocked. I was alone. And I couldn't bring myself to say it-- ten years as a summer camp director will do that to you... I couldn't even bring myself to WRITE it; I felt I was living on the edge just sending IMs containing the version 'f*ck'.
Yeah well apparently it's a slippery slope. I find myself using the f-bomb in polite conversation, on the bus, and in the pub (although I will never say it to little kids... that river runs too deep). And I have further realized that I enjoy saying it more than anyone else... in a sneaky kind of way. For the Brits, fuck is just a word. Their answer to the American 'darn' or 'crap'. But for ME? For me it is NAUGHTY. I am being a REBEL. Those of you who know me know what a coup this is-- and it's this very point which makes saying the word fuck such a feel good experience for me. It is like this little secret that I have with myself. I don't have to smoke, or binge-drink, I can just fucking swear... and no one else knows I'm swearing!
Baby steps people, work with me here.
So if anyone wants to cross the street without looking both ways, run with scissors, or turn in a paper without a staple, I'm your girl!

I am writing an essay this weekend and, thus, have only left the flat for grocerys. So I thought today's contribution to the collection would be pretty fucking lame. But I came up with one of my favorite new pop culture references, and he's American to balance out the posting.

"it's not about the bike"

I use this one all the time-- replace 'bike' with whatever.
"it's not about Peru"
"it's not about the mountain"
"it's not about the snails"
"it's not about ME"

Friday, May 05, 2006

happy; two meanings

"really, he just has to be on the happy side of 25."
"don't confuse 'fun' with 'happiness'."

Thursday, May 04, 2006

skeletal remains

Funny story of the day:
My friend's yoga teacher had to leave class in a panic because her child had scary bad diarrhea. When she arrived at class the next morning, her opening line, without even a hello, was "he ate a frog". Please deal for a moment with the mental picture of that diaper!


"if I needed some 24year old to tell me the world was 'dangerous', I would have called my little sister. she tells me these things because she loves me, not because she's a wanker."

"and then i do wonder where my attention was. if that is even the question." (m.r.)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

sneaky suckers

This post is about snails. I live in a small flat in London, and am blessed with an even smaller deck out the back-- it's just big enough for about five planters stuffed with flowering plants. I'm a wilderness girl in the city for the time being, as my anthropology department is smack dab in the centre of the big smoke. Because of this, my plants are the light of my universe for now. I have few friends in town (they aren't kidding when they say the life of a PhD student is one spent alone), and although I haven't named my plants yet, I do love love love them.
But as I said, this post is about snails. The little suckers climb up the brick wall from outside my deck, sneak into my planters, and devour everything pink. I have been spending about 30mintues every day picking them off plants and tossing them back from whence they came. My routine has changed somewhat now, however, thanks to an episode with a particular snail two days ago. After removing three or so quarter sized individuals from their lunch, I returned inside to finish my novel (Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro, pretty good). About an hour later, I glanced out the window in the back door to see a snail inching its way up the outside of one of my planters. Shaking my head, why won't they just leave us alone, I thought, I went outside to reprimand the newby. Picking him off the planter, however, I noticed that his shell was cracked, and it was missing a big old chunk. You little fucker (I said this out loud, smiling, sort of). It one of the same damn snails I had just tossed out. I admit it; hucking snails as far as I can over the far brick wall of the building feels pretty damn good. Do birds like escargot?
See how you like THEM pidgeons, Slick.
And stay out of my primroses.

BISA's for today:

'a strange new combination of the things we've handed down' (m.cohn)
'farewell to the old me' (dar)
'the beauty of the rain, is how it falls' (dar)
'you are what you read' (y.g.m.)
'my friend who cares about me, but who doesn't give what i need and doesn't need what i give...'

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Introduction to BISA: Wordography

I'm fasinated by words. Fitting them together, making poetry, making rhythms, making thoughts and images take shape and form through language.
I've tried my hand at songwriting and poetry, and am always working phrases around in my head... the only thing I know I am really good at writing, though is letters. The by hand kind. The by hand kind that means I get to use stationary or postcards, stickers and postage stamps. I like the way handwriting is expressive, how certain strokes depend on the viscosity of the ink, density of the paper, or construction of the writing implement...
But that's sort of an aside, because this blog ain't about letters. For those you'll have to wait for the book. Ha.
This blog is about words. It's about phrases... the little gems that I think up, and the ones I borrow from conversations overheard, songs, quotations, ads, poems... This blog is about the phrases people use in everyday life that capture emotions, and be-ing... the ones that capture truth.
Just as a photograph can portray something real and wise, so too can words create images of beauty, if only in the imagination. It's wordography. I’m a wordographer, and I fashion wordographs.
So I'm making a collection. I've tried this before-- time and again, really. But it never fit properly. China dolls, meh. Books, hard to transport. Patches, stickers, buttons... meh, meh, meh. Favorites get lost, there's no cohesion, no purpose, no meaning.
But WORDS, man. Stuff that won't just end up on a Nalgene water bottle, or covered with dust in my childhood bedroom awaiting transplant to the 'tubs' in the basement. A collection of ideas, of images, of intimate truths, is a collection I can get behind.
But, frankly, 'wordograph' just isn't pretty. I don't want to be calling this a collection of wordographs, of wordos. Hell no. My term of choice is 'bisa' (pronounced bis-sa). If you haven't caught on already, gimme a second to explain...
My challenge, my hope, my goal, is to collect at least one great bisa every day antes de la se escabulle.
Before It Slips Away.