Saturday, August 24, 2013

Natural Light

My narcissism is leaking. All these poses. You've seen what I'm doing if you follow me anywhere else online. Me, me, me. Josh is taking a class in traditional photography, and the left hand has to know what the right hand is doing. We have 35mm cameras. I'm learning about all the basics from Josh's notes, from Josh's explanations, from Internet hand holding. I shot a roll of black and white film last week, but I still haven't developed it. I have this other camera I've been using. It's a digital point and shoot. People often say they're playing with something. I'm playing with this. I'm my own subject because I'm always there when I need me.

My local hardware store has a display of regional sodas, including the ginger ale from my hometown in Kentucky. It's been a long minute since I had one. Mostly I don't drink soda. There was a recent time I mixed root beer and cheap whiskey, and the evening turned cartwheels for me. "Too much sugar," says the man who drank four cups of masala chai today at the Indian restaurant.

I'm writing. I don't stop writing. People ask, but the answer is always the same. The projects are as follows: some longer stories, a novel, various and sundry. That's in order of importance.

A gorgeous professor offered me a mentholated cigarette outside a bar the other day, and if this were even a year ago I would've accepted it. I'd just been to his summer class to read from my book and answer questions. One of the questions was about my frequent use of animals. I gave some deep-fried answer about being from the South and how animals are tools for learning about life and death while maintaining a safe psychological distance from one's own mortality. Blah, blah, blah. The student who asked the question said he was reminded of spirit animals, and hey, that's as good a theory as any.

I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about ghosts. But where are the ghosts of animals? I came across a photo online of a hundred deer clogging tree trunks in a midnight forest. All the deer were facing the camera, and I thought I'd finally seen it. Not spirit animals but animal spirits. When a cat is chasing nothing, maybe it's chasing another cat. A dead cat.

I saw a cricket on its back today. Its antennae were whipping. Its legs were still. I imagined it wasn't long for this world, but what do I know about crickets? I know I used to buy them to feed a lizard. I know en masse they smell like a bag of bad potatoes. I know even in their "escape-proof" container they sometimes form a standing chain and set each other free.

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From the mouths of beasts.