Here is today, and if my guardian angel is a lot like Dr. Walter Bishop, I might be okay with that.
Here is Sunday.
7 am flying monkeys
rehearse on our slumbering heads.
Dawn of the dying weekend:
Jack Johnson & lattes,
maybe hash browns & grits.
Eric Carle memory game maybe,
Becca is Bulls 23.
Floors to lay,toilets to fix, porches
to finish, windows to
replace, house to
burn and collect insurance on.*
to wireframe, logos
to design, videos to edit,
title sequences to build,
copy to write.
Evening of family cinema.
Natty Gann, maybe someDean Jones or Jerry Lewis,
popcorn, apple slices,
giggling girls, and me.
Prep for Montag; it has crashed here swiftly.
Here is Monday.
6 am hungover walrus,
bleary, drag, chug jar of hot water,
'brew.' Chug black lifeblood.
The one day offspring
are not with one of us,
breakneck goodbye as we
race down mountain,
alternating between NPR news
and cheerful Eminem
nihilistic bumpety-thump charisma.
Drop Bride at work, linger as she
disappears, enjoying the rear view.
Hit up mobile office,whisper thanks
for free WiFi and complementary coffee refills.
Try not to get distracted with the conversations of strangers.
Occasionally, I butt in, and
Back to laptop, fingers
Charlie Parker on keys,
Da Vinci Wacoming on tablet,
I like to pretend.
Refill to go, stick on Saul Williams' Act Iii Scene 2 (Shakespeare)
as loud as a bass-less automobile stereo can go.
THE MUSIC STOPS as
I approach the school where
I teach young minds
new things and
encourage them to keep their
plus independent study with driven young lady.
Picture-making & taking, ethics in media and
digital production techniques, connecting art & life.
Mercurial relationship between the
(I lean to the Why, which is why I prefer The Mentalist over CSI, if we still had telly).
Bell. Zoom. Gone. Whiz up the Interstate, occasionally venture to passing lane,
mostly get overtaken by F-150s and 250s and 950s
and motorcycles and…
is that a bicycle?
Wow, I gotta start driving dangerously. That's what
Danish babes like, I hear.
Pick up Bride, sultry hygienist
in dirty scrubs;
pick up wee ones, squeals,
hugs, shrieks, fast supper,
I invent story, likely involving
parallel story lines with multiple
protagonists in magical realist mode; me, falling asleep
while Magdelana prods me:
"Tell it….tell it!"
Off mattress. Down to Dungeon,
where magic happens in the witching hours.
Second wind kicks in, flip machines on, crisp Portland skyline through night window.
Forehead slumping to delete key, snap awake, shut down,
Third wind kicks in:
wind down with Fringe
or 1956 Modern European History hardcover
I found somewhere.
Here is Tuesday.
7 am water buffalo
pound rhythms on our weary oasis bed.
Vegan waffles, a cuppa Joseph, &
Duke Ellington help bring the world to focus,
plus my contacts, without which
I am Stevie Wonder.
Morning in the Dungeon, emails & briefs, invoices and all that which
is not creative, but which is 60% of the job.
Noise from above.
Daddy, hey Daddy?
I gallop up stairs to:
: find missing toy,
: wipe a poopy rear end,
: read a 'homework assignment,'
: get a refilll,
: kiss my wife,
or such, and I plow ahead doing work I am sometimes really good at,
and sometimes just sorta good at.
Video, copywriting, editing, design
I love it, and frequently get to work with my little brother,
photographer Jonny L. Long.
Fortune shines; as distant from 9-5 as
Andromeda is from Earth.
But it is hard for my mind
to close down, to to turn off, when the stresses and deadlines are 17 stairs away; too available.
Winking blinking lights of Portland are familiar friend;
climb in bed past Cinderella hour,
start to turn on lamp for quick 20 pages of Agatha Christie,
by Becca's sleepy Clint Eastwood tone, calm & sharp,
"Turn that on and you're dead,"
I roll to mattress,in darkness, trying to think about nothing, finally falling
to dreams with thoughts of $30 million for my dream project, a transmedia narrative series based around a young girl and her ensemble of friends,
including a wolf, a giant, and a hot air balloon.
Here is Wednesday.
6.15, Mags up to "get ready" with
Becca in front of mirror,
Johanni's room, wafting
the stench of donkey carcass from putrefying diaper; he sleeps purely, comfortable, content in the stink of his own body.
He is so cute.
Kitchen, coffee, a kiss.
A Brilliant Little Recipe of Becca's You Might Want to Try for Breakfast.
1. Dump a 3-1 ratio of water and rice into a baking dish. Add a little salt.
2. Put the oven on 175 or so.
3. Go to bed.
4. Wake up in the morning and have hot breakfast. Mix with milk, brown sugar, liquid amines, peaches, peanut butter, and tomato juice, etc.
Note: can use brown rice or steel cut oats also.
Morning worship, usually an Old Testament Biblical tale involving intrigue, violence, vengeance, and other children-friendly morality narratives. The questions fly; wow,
Game of Thrones is tame after a few pages of Saul & David.
We have a "breakfast conversation" that centers around a
particular person or event, and metastasizes from there.
The questions fly higher, the
Johannes joins in with occasional messy-faced comebacks of monosyllabic
To give attention, to give someone your
The ultimate respect.
Finger off keyboard, eyes off iPhone,
mind away from -
Have to return that email now!
The challenge, to forget
and tuneout, to compartmentalize and give myself - and my kids -
the giftof Attention.
Yet still, responsibilities live,
and I cannot turn a blind
eye, and to electronic portal
I race to communicate
and to put out fires
and to respond to those to whom
I must respond and the
and I hate phones and computers and interconnectivity
and I love them too.
on the computer!"
Mags, I have
ONE EMAIL I have to send.
And I tune out those
devilishly angelic voices as I craft an email explaining the nuances of copyright vs. trademark contracts as they relate to graphic design and client ownership of work…
And those squeaky voices refuse
to be subjugated,
the specter of MLK
is strong, they will
not be silenced,
their voices shriek,
demanding I exit work
and enter play,
a distinction that
is less geographic and
more state of mind.
The day moves on, dancing from sun to moon,
Magdelana's perennial fave,
folksy punk mom Kimya Dawson.
Always conversing, always the melody of dialogue
conversing with Magdelana.
Her questions, a Gatling onslaught;
my responses a Derringer, dripping
partial answers, afraid her recognizance of my fallibility
will come too fast.
It's okay; questions aren't usually about the answer anyway.
Supper (reaction against "dinner").
The list is short:
potatoes & veggies
soup & bread
We apron up & dervish around the kitchen,
racing up the driveway when Becca gives the 5-minute warning from bottom of mountain.
Rain, snow, steel, hail, sun, wind, we are Pony Express, we are
unstoppable, we will be there, waiting when she pulls in, because it is important, the ritual.
Of thank-you's for a long day of hard work.
We eat, Charlotte Gainsbourg
or Cat Power
drones quietly, underscoring loud conversation.
How was your day?
all ask each other.
Terrible, mine was really really awful,
Magdelana grins seriously.
Build some blocks,
maybe hot hot chocolate,
dance party that we convince ourselves is serious exercise.
Pajamas,brush,worship, interminably long story
(I invent, and try to stay awake to tell).
To the couch with my beloved,
for post-mod electronic snuggle:
Facebook on iPhones,
opposite ends of couch,
liking each other's comments & posts & everything else &laughing at ourselves because certainly every other person in the universe must be.
Largely the universe is silent except for us
and Johannes cough-tooting in his sleep,
and Mags calling,
You're not watching a movie, are you? Do not watch ANYTHING without me, okay?
Guilt does not overcome the desire for 43 minutes of
genuine old-fashioned snuggling in front of telly,
Bree & Susan & Gabrielle + Lynette & the Housewives grabbing our attention with their selfish lives of kids and family & obligations & saying things that are completely different than what they mean.
It is such a treat, and we both like Lynette and her chaos,
and Teri Hatcher's voice.
Credits roll I wonder if I
can afford to stay on couch, and once in a moon I do,
but duty and deadlines scream,
and inevitably I slog to The Dungeon and bask in carcinogenic blue light.
Portland filaments flickering far away, frogs croaking close.
I remind myself my body will do better falling asleep to a book than alien-filled Fringe.
So I crack open, risking wrath, and make it three magical pages into
Jorge Borges' Labyrinths
before nodding off.
Here is Thursday.
A day I will be massively productive,
I will arise 4 am and hit it
so hard; Ali stinging butterfly.
I might even exercise.
And now it is 6.45 and
Becca didn't awake me.
It is her fault, and I am still so tired
and half-dream of an Hawaiian holiday where
I don't even make it to the beach; just
watch HBO programming in the hotel and take breaks to watch people
frolic in the ocean
and the half-dream is murdered to reality by the kicks from a Clydesdale,
Are you guys EVER going to get up?
Angry, I am so angry at the Clydesdale and vow I will never watch a beer commercial
with a horse again,
and this Clydesdale is too cute to stay mad
at so I just kick her back and yell angrily
and she doesn't buy it, and laughs.
We are up.
Just for something special,
a cuppa Joe.
Check in with Facebook family, prep for a day abroad, dress sharp, maybe shave but probably not.
Caravan Palace bounce, maybe Glenn Miller swinging' it.
A thermos a kiss, NPR update, switch to Saul Williams Act Iii Scene 2 (Shakespeare) before arriving
at school. No song that makes me want to LEAP into action, that goosebumps me to want to change the world, like this, in its vague call to arms:
I'm not scared of the Truth
Just scared of the lengths
I'll go to fight it.
I tried to hold my tongue son.
I tried to bite it.
Not trying to start a riot,
Or incite it.
Cause Brutus is an honorable man.
It arms me to step into class.
Give me a room of students with vigor, with enthusiasm, with something to say, over the slouched apathy of head-nodding Stepford Wife classroom.
I love the curiosity of childhood; the questioning of youth; it should be perpetuated, a foundation for "adulthood."
My hope is to help them learn to:
ask good questions.
feel, with empathy and look at life from broader perspectives than their own.
find patterns and search for connections between disparate ideas.
look deeper than surface properties, to find beauty in the minutiae & trivialities of life & people
You can interrupt me, I say,
If it is with respect, and relevant to our discussion.
Discussing, conversation, The crux of relationships.Not to just ask for an answer and get an answer, but to start a CONVERSATION.
I want to be a
How's your day?
It is the surface, people ask and respond, Devo automatons.
Conversation, in dialogue and disagreement, listening,
I like my students, they are curious and loud.
They disagree with me sometimes, aloud, and I am proud of them for it
(though their arguments are frequently specious, underdeveloped, and naive, it is the act of speaking up that is important)
and creating an environment that is safe for all to speak up in, an environment I want for my classroom and our home.
Drive home traffic.
I think, and steering-wheel drum to Fiery Furnaces or Neil Young.
Family awaits, driveway, sweet potato smells, London Symphony on vinyl.
The evening rituals, exchanges of stories, information, accomplishments,transgressions.
I feel like Walking Dead sometimes, at this point, smiling, wrestling, laughing, tired, wanting to give my Best,
my Best having got sucked out of the day, but
trying to fake it well.
Will you lay by me tonight and tell me a story, Daddy?
I love those imps, these chimps,
and their acrobatic mom.
And the city lights refuse
to die, waving across the river, reaching 'cross state through Dungeon window.
Here is Friday.
A kiss, a coffee, birth of weekend.
"Pickin' Up Day," my mom would call it.
I stick coins under cupboards, nooks, hidden; Magdelana sweeps her way though, looking for treasures
Daddy, I'm going to save my money for either college or shopping…
Groceries, the endless list.
Avocados, tomatoes, tofu, peanut butter…
Automobile score: Mates of State,
we slow for highway construction; ghost of youthful 4mph-over ticket still haunts me.
Day of Reckoning. Look in the mirror:
what did you do?
what did you accomplish this week?
whatever you didn't do,
You will step away from it.
Fatalism, a comfort. What is done is done.
What is, is.
I accept the here, the now,
the marching goose-step of Time violently tromping on goals.
What I was going to do.
What I was going to finish.
In some countries, in some situations, you can (rightfully) be considered a successful parent if you get your children to adulthood ALIVE.
We all have different rubrics to measure ourselves by, and I do not take lightly the existential luck-of-draw card I drew in having the luxury to measure my success in terms more ambitious than simply "getting them through childhood."
I do not apologize for having lofty goals.
My goal, our goal, is to help our children learn to set their own goals, and to help them develop the self-confidence and curiosity and other tools necessary to turn dreams into action.
to pursue their interests, and
fight for justice,
desire to construct their own unique identity.
How to never, EVER BE BORED.
How to stand your ground with a SMILE.
They don't think about these things now;
their minds are on the curiosities of life,as they should be.
It's my job, our job to think about them now.
Friday night: opening of Shabbat;
the Jewish Sabbath,
I grew up in a Seventh-day
a Christian denomination frequently associated with:
A. the LDS church (no relation)
B. Vegetarianism, temperance, and general "healthy lifestyle" initiatives
C. observance of the seventh day of the week (Saturday) as a holy day. Judaism refers to it as Shabbat, which I like.
Without sparking an exegetic debate about Emperor Constantine, evangelical pluralism, or apocalyptic interpretations of the book of Revelation,
let me strongly throw my support behind the concept of Shabbat.
: a 24-hour period beginning Friday sundown and ending Saturday sundown.
: a period to reflect, rest, step away from work, responsibilities, and stress in general.
: a chance to say No to even thinking about the projects & deadlines looming overhead.
: an opportunity to close out the week with semi-formal family dinner, candles,
Phillip Glass twinkling softly….
a Ritual, and
a chance for me, post-bedtimes, to lay on the floor, empty sketchbook & pen,
fill the dim room with Sigur Ros e-bowing, and
write,like write what I'm writing now, or
maybe read some Borges or Chesterton.
There is a growing movement (even) in the broader secular community to observe a Shabbat, a day of rest once a week.
It feels so good,
the gift of not having to head down to The Dungeon.
No need to argue internally over whether or not I should.
I just don't.
By this point in the week,
I'm so excited to not have to stay up late that I stay up extra-late, resting.
Here is Saturday.
To really make it special,
make a very special
pot of dark roast,
or Americanos, maybe topped with whipped cream,
in my favorite mug
Johnny Cash thundering out two-step
warnings about beasts and virgins & men coming 'round,
loud, and we wrestle Nartje and Hanna Anderssen brights
lock up, pull out, race down mountain, perhaps to be on time, which we consider, sadly, to be within the -neo-Hawaiian zone of 'less than 30 minutes late.'
There is a place we have been going to worship that feels like what Christianity should be for us.
A place to get free food and coffee.
It is hard to not be judgmental about some of the churches we have sampled, so I will just not fight it and be judgmental.
Maybe they are a good fit for some; me,
I like coffee with my sermon;
I like gypsy mishmash of suits, flannel,& cigarette-stained hands folded in prayer.
Me, vehemently anti-tobacco,
I feel comfortable in a holy place where sinners step out for smokes between songs, grab a waffle,
on our feet to sing-a-long a rousing chorus of Our God is Stronger, which is probably not actually the name of it,
electronic bleeps fading out as Pastor Dan,gentle motorcycle soul
lighting a little shining light to Northwest Portland and its
homeowners and shopping cart owners and cross-river visitors
religious folks and
our children, munching on fruit and coloring equipment fanned across chairs.
Filling hearts with music,stomachs with food,
minds with the challenge to look after God's people,
all of God's people,
on earth, before demanding their blood oath allegiance to a heavenly holiday.
Dan George in Portland,
Geoff Blake-Nelson in San Francisco,
these are people who make me feel at peace saying
I Am a Christian,
who give me strength to balance intellectual rigor with hopscotches of faith, who militantly love all God's people
in the brutal face of dogme,
who make Christianity
more Benny Goodman
John Phillip Sousa,
(all respect to the drumliners).
who make me comfortable saying to my friends,
to the freaks and
the kids under construction:
Come around. You are wanted.
You are welcome.
God loves you.
And so do we.
a hike, urban stroller jockeys, curbjumping, maybe tofu & potato burritos at Pepino's,
under five bucks if you're someone who still has to check menu digits
Or parkwalk, or haystack gathering of personalities in cozy living room, musical dialogue,post-church gossip.
Haystack = basically a taco salad with chips.
Dream of a nap, a beautiful nap, curled in Anthropologie afghan, both unattainable, except
for that one time, winter sun winking through window -
- blasted window! Is the seal leaking on THAT ONE TOO!?
Breathe. Calm. Shabbat.
This is rest, if definition of Rest is
chasing adrenalized hyenas,
through vegetation & around dog walkers.
It is rest,
Home, countdown, sundown, legalities satisfied,Jerry Lewis with wee ones,maybe Ides of March later, snuggled under yellow blanket. Becca, awake, then out.
To The Dungeon,
Fringe Division,season 2?
Must rest. Falling to dreams, soft sandpaper voice of Dr. Walter Bishop,crackpot scientist extraordinaire, is comforting, gentle,
I imagine my guardian angel is similar to him,
Here is Sunday...
7 am flying monkeys
rehearse on our slumbering heads...