Monday, March 3, 2014

Seattle Status (Lines)

2/25: Going to the big writers' conference, seated next to a guy with black-framed hipster glasses, two digital devices, a kindle & a laptop, who was trying to get his young son to write a 12 page story about boogie-boarding (to be written in a booklet the size of a blue book, with lines and a big square for drawings). They argued about the story, the son slammed his fist against the tray table, and there was no peace in our row until the boy got to use his iPad again.

2/26: Going to the big writers' conference, three hour lay-over on Maui (what we do to get good fares). No paper in the women's room, or soap. "At least we're going back to the real world," one woman says. "I live in Hawai`i," I say. 

2/26: "You know, like straight guys who really love cats . . . had no idea they existed, until I met Ryan." 

2/27: The lovely hand written signs in the vegetable markets in Seattle remind me of the work of the Australian painter, Robert McPherson who paints grocery store script on canvas. The hand written sign by the young white man who sits near the Convention Center: "Money, food, bus ticket: anything helps." He was working on the lettering this morning. Last time I walked by, he had his head down, sign propped up. 

2/28: Homeless man in alley crushing crackers under his heel so the birds can eat; writers at AWP bookfair--no, the metonymy's too easy.

2/28: One of the hotel housekeepers was telling me her throat hurt. She thought she was getting a cold. On a hunch, I asked if she was Cambodian. Yes, she said, usually people asked if she was from Thailand. I showed her pictures of my son. She was from Battambang, in the west. Our friend Hongly's father died there of starvation during the Khmer Rouge time. She said my son looked like a movie star. We laughed and said good-bye.

3/1: We talked about the weather, the couple next to me on the airplane and I. Then we talked trauma: her mother had tried to kill her as a baby, spent years in hospitals, left her to be abused by a grandfather; she hadn't known what it meant to feel. [Her husband explained "conversion disorder" to me: she'd been paralyzed, except for her eyes, for two weeks. When asked by a therapist what she remembered, she'd said, "nothing before age 8."] Her husband said he just wanted to be her best friend. Their one grandson was found abandoned, covered in HIV sores, in Ethiopia. [He's autistic, but they live too far away from treatment to qualify.]

3/2: In the "it never ends" department:
[I have no idea what happened to make the photograph appear in this way, but it's appropriate]: 

[To see what this actually is, go here]


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