written/non-written things by me (from 2005-2008)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A Few Magics

I once worked with middle school students and as such was often asked by a few of the more imaginative ones to critique their artwork. I recall the artistic draftsmanship of one Brittany, a bug eyed dirty blond who made straight 100s and who usually helped me pick up the room after class.
One afternoon, she walked up to my desk during the homework hour and put a manila sheet of paper atop my keyboard and asked me if I thought what she had drawn on the paper “looked right.” What was on the paper was a large cube with arrows emanating from each cardinal direction outside the cube. Captioned next to the northward arrow was “expand-a-wall north,” and from the southern arrow, “expand-a-wall south,” etc continuing for east and west. The blueprint was for “Expand-a-room,” an architectural invention, Brittany elaborated, which promises to “give you more room in your room.” Upon one of the transparent walls of the cube there was a little rectangle, with an arrow pointing to it and a caption that read “power source.” There was also a larger rectangle, a “door.” And there it was, her invention. She had her elbows on my desk and was pivoting on them a bit waiting for my reply. “My dad is an engineer and said that it was a really good idea.” I sat marveled in the sheer lack of irony in her presentation, a simplicity I wanted to eat and have become apart of me. A conflict emerged: what do I say? I could have and wanted to take her comically spare blueprint and Xerox it and give it to all my friends to selfishly feed the pulsing want of irony and all things ironic and hilariously “mal produced” that sometimes seems to replace any kind of “natural” viewing of the world and supplant it with a view favoring incredulous surprise at even the most mundane. But I resisted knowing that a normal person would regard this art in the context of the sweet naïve girl who created it and would smile and simply say, as I did, “Yes, It looks right.”

So now, here, in the shadow of such a preface I present to the world the child-like renderings of Benjamin Jeremiah (see also "Favorite Ever Creation" Sept. 2005), a 25 year old man with a full beard and a penchant for stories about “the stupid things kids do,” whose scribbles and “magics” creations, in there baffling approximation to the “real thing”, allow me the satisfaction of near-Xerox reproduction with out the guilt of exploiting the naive artistic endeavors of an innocent child. Behold:

This one is called "A time for love."

"WeasalBabs To-do list"

"the magic I make" otherwise known as the "25th ofjuly"

Friday, October 14, 2005

A return to space

On the back of my leg there was a tingling. I rubbed at my skin through my cotton pajamas and tried to continue watching the movie. I was sitting slouching in my living room chair in front of my computer screen. The film was in Chinese and required all of my attention. I got up and pulled down my pants in the living room mirror. There was, on the back of my knee a red an intricate whelp, as if I had been lashed by a prickly branch. The door was open. The air came through every so often. It then came rushing through. I walked outside under the tree and looked up as a grey smokey puff was about to over take the moon. Someone approached in the alley, rolling, it sounded, on the gravel. They cast no shadow, no shadow I could see. Half a block visible from my porch a sanitation truck barreled down the boulevard. From the passenger side window hung a single forearm like a limpid wind sock. The smoke had since over taken the moon. I looked back at my house, through the wide open door and through the window whose blinds were turned parallel to the pane. The room was orange with dim lamp light. How the room seemed stewed, or had stew cooking somewhere within heart of the house, with somewhere there must be being a gentle stirring wooden spoon held impassively by a matron. How could this be my warm house, with such invitingness? How could I alone make such a home, a place that if passing in an alley would seem full of couched fed taken care of individuals, a place that fools even me that stew would be cooking there. I looked up and it was overtaken and had since dissipated and the full bright coin exposed. I thought of the language from the movie which still played. How it stirred the trepidation in me and the deep excited need for green hills and a distinct blue line between the hills and the sky. And wide pants and flat shoes. And being alone and unintelligible, until being alone is all I know, and being unintelligible is all I desire. The smokey clouds that broke apart when they passed between me and the moon prodded by a stirring spoon whose handle was so long that everyone held tightly as its splintered cylindrical length protruded into the sky and punctured through city glow and continued past space so cold that I am choked and clasp my throat and return to earth, and fall inevitably back into a chair.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Shoes on a wire 20 miles out of Magdalena.

Flicker link

Only a few measly pictures. I can only get a few on there and can't delete and add new ones. But more pictures no less.




Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Going 'sola' in Mexico was relatively hassle free, the people and pilgrims I passed on the road were pleasant and fun, but tired no less. The Mexico highway I-15 from Nogales to Magdalena was beautiful (in all places, except outside of dirty, trafficked Nogales) with tall stands of sunflowers right against the road, gentle shrub spotted mountains beyond, little shrines every 10 km or so, little roadside cafes/stands selling fruit treats, sopas, carne asada, what-have-you’s. I passed pilgrims every 3 minutes, of all ages, making the trek from various towns across Mexico to visit St. Francisco Javier's body in the Magdalena Chapel. (And By "body" I mean a (nearly comical) full-sized plaster mannequin dressed in robes laid atop a tomb.) Well, the ride was really incredible, and pretty easy considering it was downhill the whole way (Though of course it was uphill on the return trip).

Magdalena itself was beautiful, loud, crazy, colorful, dirty, funny, and completely over-stimulating. The small city center situated around the chapel and plaza was suffocated by a multitude of lucrative industries: individuals selling blankets, toys, pots, key chains (so many key chains) and fake Nike and Guess wallets, and yummy food stalls, cafes, pushcarts full of colorful almond and coconut candies, roaming Mariachi bands, and a busy street of carnival rides and fair game booths. I didn’t quite know what to do with myself at first. Too many people, no great places to lock my bike. So I did what I do best in such a situation, I ate. I sat down at a street café and ordered a big spicy plate of carne asada and sopas, which I paid for two-fold, once in pesos and the other in an unmentionable way. Then eventually after walking around the craziness for 20 minutes I found a relatively not-insane courtyard where families had laid out pallets. I sat my bike against a ledge and took a seat myself. Soon I had three little boys, Andres (5), Jaun (11), and Alberto (13) come and inquire about me and my bike and why on earth would a girl would ride her bike solo from Nogales to Magdalena. Of course they didn’t speak English, and I don’t speak Spanish, but we got along fine enough playing bull fighter in the courtyard, using my map as an ad hoc toreador cape. They eagerly helped me set up my tent. Alberto was very concerned about my bike and belongings. He was very sweet and asked his family to keep an eye out while we walked around the carnival. I was lucky to find such an escort.
Alberto came with his family from Siniloa, which is on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, he showed me on the map. Apparently, it is not bonita nor are the beaches bueno. His mom was selling café and sopas in the courtyard, they had been sleeping on blankets outside for the past few days. I wanted to treat him to some of the rides but he indicated that it was too expensive. We mostly communicated using a kind of charade sign language. Eventually, I bought him a Guadalajara soccer ball from a vendor. That’s his favorite team. We had a fun time trying to play soccer in the park with all the sleeping families on the grass. Several times Alberto kicked the ball into a few faces. So we walked and ‘talked’ and he took my photograph in the appropriate places in and outside the church. Eventually we had walked around the square and passed the same blanket guy and freak show at least 5 times, so I retreated to my tent after saying Buenos Noches only to be awoken on three different occasions by Andres, the curly haired five year old who talked at dizzying speeds. I could only humor his incessant inquisitiveness for so long. I told him Buenos Noches and he, with a pouty face, zipped up my tent flap sealing me inside for the remainder of the night.

I was camped in the echoing vortex of all the sounds from the carnival: 10, 000 people talking, hollering, laughing, whistling, Mariachi and Mexican rap music, and the loud crazy blanket salesmen screaming into his 4 foot high amp. The cacophony was so extreme that I guess my brain became acclimated to it after awhile and surprisingly I was able to sleep for nearly 9 hours. Though I kept waking up confused and confounded by all the noise and with the profiles of girls and their telltale poofy bangs and ponytails on the walls of my tent. Most surreal camping ever hands down.

So the ride back is mostly characterized by the several occasions that I was struck with the exxxtreme impulse to jump off my bike and hurl myself down steep embankments into prickly bushes and sharp rocks in order to use the bathroom, that and the blazing sun and the 50 mile uphill all the way to Nogales. But of course it was all so wonderful.

My name is Hannah Pierce-Carlson