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№ 75 Posts

Naming conventions

Bridge over the Clallam River, October 2007

This is a sort of bridge to nowhere shot, though I wouldn’t dream of giving it so precious a name. It’s bad enough admitting that’s what I saw and felt at the time.

Visiting Clallam Bay is a mixed bag. It’s a profoundly depressed area with all the usual afflictions- meth labs, no industry and packs of feral cats roaming vacant lots. A maximum security prison sits atop the hill and surveys the Strait and Seiku headland like Elsinore. The only grocery store closed several years ago. But the local bar has three pool tables and there is an interesting new gallery down the street.

I sometimes feel like I should give these important social elements consideration, but political notions make me flounder horribly in thoughts of exploitation, intrusion and general brinkmanship.

The construction outfit I used to work for did the repairs to the bridge after a particularly hard winter, and also repairs to the prison roof. After work I would often come down to sit a spell before the drive home. Some autumn afternoons the fog, light and icy breezes mix for wonderfully ethereal lapses into nowhere.

A moment not here

Rialto, February 2008

A little interlude from a personal favorite-

The river runs fast at the mouth where the shore is made of the sky, and the waves curl inward fanwise from the sea. For the swimmer there is no warning posted against the sharks that enter and patrol the channel.

Some time before sunset birds come to stalk or scurry along the sandbar, but before dark they are gone.

Paul Bowles, Points in Time

High water mark

Rialto, February 2008

Everywhere are these little piles of stones. Cairns, if I’m not mistaken. They mark trailheads, campsites- I can only assume this one was meant to gauge a high tide. If so, I hope little was at stake.

I was tempted to get way in, set up very close and have the pile fill the frame. But of course I fell for the semi-tragic scale of the tiny pile of rocks against the scope of the Pacific and the sea stacks off on the horizon, especially with the haphazard teeter of the stone on top of the pile. The tinyness of some things can be, I suppose, touching when paired with the reliable futility of collecting things, arranging them. One has only to suffer a scant glance around to see similar collections- little tableaux of driftwood, shells, kelp hearts. Ultimately hapless but hopeful monuments against the crush of time.

Correspondingly, I wanted the foreground of the print to look bright and optimistic; the background to be less certain. Turbulent, inevitable, if not yet altogether distinct. Not sure it works, but I can’t seem to print it any other way.

The long dark night of the…housepainter?

Crescent Bay, July 2008

The rush is on to paint my house before the rains return. Not so much because you can’t paint in the rain- I’ve painted in the snow before- but because it’s my favorite time to head out to the coast and snap away. I started to re-side my house LAST summer and I’m only now agonizing over color chips. But the mind wanders, and such petty anxiety is generally symptomatic of larger concerns.

I think/hope this project will continue for as long as I live here. Humans bind themselves to the abstraction of purpose in odd ways, and this certainly qualifies. I feel I’ve found my reason. In doing so I’ve neglected my job, friends and any sort of plan for future security, so I guess I better make it count. So, trying not to seem self-important streamlines nothing in the process; it certainly doesn’t flatter the necessary vanities of creative impulses, or even neurotic impulses for that matter. Saying otherwise is pretense, and tiresome at best.

Kafka comes to mind:
From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back.
That is the point that must be reached.

Principium soberer: the uncorrected text

Strait of Juan de Fuca, February 2008

Good dag,

They had been the doomed passengers on a sinking rosewater, mingle it with a quart of cream, six had reasons, said sir charles. Quite natural ones. Sufficient light penetrated the place to reveal locked, our bodies intertwined, and that infernal m. Poirot! Cried jane. What is it? It is, said her room. A note was left addressed to the would be taken direct to the hirondelle, so i say,’ answered rupert ‘i have just read miss and being cold, fill your poultry, either in cauls when the skullfaced man was taken away, it was and true men will not unfrequently damn their…

Can spam get any odder? This, to sell V1@gRa..The words seem designed more to trigger sleeper cells than sell pills. Like the line from The Manchurian Candidate: ‘Why don’t you pass the time by playing a little solitaire?

Although, I do especially like the doomed passengers on sinking rosewater imagery, as mingled with a quart of cream. I’m thinking of compiling a tome of spam abstracts for bedtime reading. But should I worry about copyright infringement? :p

A spacious split second

Rialto & Cake Rock, September 2007

I waited for over an hour for the tide to do again what I thought I saw from the corner of my eye. I’m always chasing peripheral impressions. But I waited more for me than the tide. I was about to pack it in when the cycle finally repeated. The next time it happened I was sure it would be too small, and so on..Must learn to count. How many second chances do I get?

Time to make the donuts

Ruby Beach, February 2007

Getting up really early, well it never gets really easy. But it does get tolerable. When I was younger and first moved to Seattle and worked in restaurants I used to get up to catch the bus at around 4 am. Of course I drank somewhat more in those days. Nothing quite like a whiskey hangover and the dim fluorescents of a metro bus at four-thirty on a winter morning in a strange new city. The desolation and futility of such an existence seems comically melodramatic now, but I’m still tethered to those days by slender threads of muscle memory, free association, and a knack for packing as much headache as possible behind one bloodshot left eye…

You can never truly forget such things, so sometimes when I flick on the kitchen fluorescents at 4 am I get an associative migraine. But the thought that I’m doing this for just for me is plenty to snap me out of it.

Gnawer of the moon

Salt Creek, December 2007

I only vaguely remember troll stories from kindergarten, but waiting under this bridge and the cold of the December morning was enough to debilitate me with childhood nostalgia. I remember the first time I noticed cold expressed as a distinct visual, some early winter morning chewing off the buttons of my winter coat, snot and drool alike getting cold, watching the rime star the leaves and glass. Waiting while my mother spoke with Ms Weintraub the kindergarten teacher, who was also a family friend. Of course it wasn’t the same day I heard Billy Goat Gruff for the first time, but the memory does exist in the same soft oculus that seems to illuminate all childhood memories. Anyway, I don’t remember being particularly impressed with trolls in general; though possibly with the peculiarities of their habits. Perhaps the cold, the gathering dawn light and the surreal glow of the frosty pilings conspired to hit me over the head in lieu of symbolic folkloric subtlety.

They call me Troll;
Gnawer of the Moon,
Giant of the Gale-blasts,
Curse of the rain-hall,
Companion of the Sibyl,
Nightroaming hag,
Swallower of the loaf of heaven.
What is a Troll but that?
-Bragi Boddason the Old

Spring fever

Ruby Beach, April 2008

I’m a little feverish today so I won’t dare risk rambling on, but still I wanted to post a weekly image. I think this needs to be a little moodier, but I’m already feeling plenty dark today.

Ping the depths

Ruby Beach, April 2008

The treeline at Ruby Beach is a recurring subject in my work. I must have 4 or 5 images posted so far. If I go to the coast and don’t at least stop by to have a look at current conditions it nags at me the entire drive home. I’ve gotten as far as the Upper Hoh road and turned back, so now I stop whether I think I need to or not.

It’s the one perfect subject I’ve come across; or at least recognized. The diminishing line is an ideal foil for all peripheral concerns- weather, tide, rock formations, or simple geometric study. A tree occasionally breaks rank and succumbs to the elements. There is such wonderful secondary design in the tining branches and lacework of the sitka bark. It all conspires to transform even rudimentary camera skills and haphazard composition.

I’d like to fill a volume with Ruby pictures. Even risking cliche, escapism and lipid sentiment… though if I even really want anything deeper it is increasingly difficult to say.