Home, Home on the Blog

Back home in downtown Denver, I find that a blogger I began following on St. John is a fellow Denverite. His blog, Rake's Progress, has generated enough interest to get cited by fellow lit bloggers enough times for me to notice and check him out, but the number of comments left at the Rake's blog is not much higher than the consistent number of comments left at The Chronicles, namely zero. He intriguingly posts only a photo and a one-line bio at his "About" link. I could e-mail him and find out where he fits in the Denver lit scene, but not yet. I'm going to lurk on his blog for a while longer. He's got that blog-speak sass and snap down pat, a voice which simply draws you in, makes you feel as if you are already one of his smart, literary buddies. His posts are short, pithy, and filled with spicey links, like this one, to a Josh Levin essay in Slate comparing bloggers with rappers. I particularly enjoyed this excerpt from the Levin piece:

But rappers' and bloggers' self-importance also has something to do with the supremely annoying righteousness that rides along with those who believe they're overturned the archaic forms of expression favored by The Man—that is, whitey and/or the mainstream media. Ninety percent of rap lyrics are self-congratulatory rhymes about how great the rapper is at rapping, the towering difficulties of succeeding in the rap game, or the lameness of wanksta rivals. Blogging is a circle jerk that never stops circling: links to posts by other bloggers, following links to newspaper stories about bloggers, following wonderment at the corruptions and complacency of old-fashioned, credentialed journalism.

And so, of course, I am happy to join the circle by blogging about the Rake's blog. As for being home, that's a concept which is being undermined by so much travel. With only a month here before we leave for France, the apartment this morning seems more like a very nice next stop on our trip than anything permanent. It's scary and comforting to wonder if my real home is becoming a virtual place. Scary because, well that's just weird. But comforting because you're never more than a screen away from what makes you feel most grounded and real.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Captain Blog Posted by Hello

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Posted by Hello

Island Writing

One morning two weeks ago I found myself at Hawksnest Beach on the north shore of St. John, an hour early for the outdoor AA meeting. It was a cool, cloudy day. The beach looked smaller with no one on it. I sat at a picnic table that slanted toward the water at a sharp angle requiring me to dig my heels into the sand to keep my butt from slipping off the seat. As usual, I used the journal to muddle through an issue that was bugging me. Had my internet detox at Maho Bay Camps shown how out of whack my online obsession had become? My friend Kes Woodward, a painter whose techno enthusiasm nearly matches my own, had expressed feelings of being overwhelmed by e-mail lately, in a long and articulate e-mail. I was also chewing on a sharp exchange I'd had with Darlene's sister Deb the day before. I had been waxing grandiose about my Edward Said review, and Deb had accurately pointed out, "It's just a book review." At Hawksnest, I let the record show we were both right. It WAS just a book review, but it was one I'd been working on for five months that I wanted to be the best I could make it. (The piece was accepted for publication in the next issue of RAIN TAXI, I learned a week later in an e-mail from the editor.) With those worries out of the way, I scanned the horizon and found the turquoise of the sea muted but still distinctly Caribbean. When I scanned future writing projects, I found a similar mutedness but a distinct hunch that it's time to begin work on an essay about videogames, with the door in perhaps being my Maho-isolation play of Super Mario 64 on the new Nintendo Dual Screen (DS). By the time I'd completed two full pages of writing, interspersed with my usual flipping back to read prior entries, in this case one I'd written just after returning from France, I found myself at a usual place of muted optimism, distinctly my own voice pressing forward. I am tempted to quote the concluding sentence, but I balk as I start typing it out. A writer who quotes his own journal in his blog is one to be feared and avoided.

This will probably be the last of my island writing this trip. Darlene has begun packing here on the patio of the studio apartment at Frank Bay. This afternoon I've rented a dinghy so she, Deb and I can explore the north shore, especially the famed Honeymoon Beach. Tomorrow morning we will roll our bags to the dock at Cruz Bay for the 50-minute ferry trip to Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas, then take a taxi to the airport for a US Airways flight to Charlotte, North Carolina, and a connecting flight to Denver. Then it will be Hello to Mile High Winter, and the RTD bus to Market Street Station, and rolling the bags up 16th Street to the Barclay, hi to the concierge, squeeze into the elevator to the 11th floor and home.

My new friend Gus and I sold a total of eight T-shirts at the St. John Arts Festival today, raising $115 to benefit arts education scholarships for kids on St. John. Gus moved here from Chicago in 1998 and has a landscaping business. We manned the table from noon to 3 pm in the Cruz Bay park while an Army band from St. Thomas serenaded from the band stand. Posted by Hello

Monday, February 21, 2005

Techno Marriage Breakthrough

Odd things happen in the islands. Today was the first day Darlene cashed in on the Wind Spirit Agreement, in which she can ask for four hours of techno help each week. Tonight up at her sister's house, she asked me to program the speed dial on Deb's phone and fax machines to handle a call to the Sam's Club prepaid phone card number and enter the PIN. I could feel my old pattern asserting itself in pre-grumbling. I'd had a long day selling T-shirts for the St. John Arts Festival, updating Maria's virus software, swimming, etc. But I remembered the agreement and sensed new terrain. So without a moment's hesitation, I buckled down with the phone and fax manuals and figured out how to enter the information, wrote up instructions for Deb, and entered the numbers.

Back here at Caribsurf, Darlene tried to explain that my display of no-questions-asked, non-grumbling technical assistance was a really big deal, a significant breakthrough. I'm not getting her words exactly, but I got the drift and was grateful that I had stumbled into a new pattern. "I don't care how much time you spend on the computer, when you help me with something I need help with that way..." she said, or words to that effect. I basked briefly in her gratitude and then fired up the Vaio to surf literary blogs for an hour, guilt-free. So this odd agreement that we made aboard the Wind Spirit does seem to have legs. It may turn out to be as lasting a shift as the mirroring dialog technique that we learned from Harville Hendricks at an Omega Instute workshop several years ago at Maho. We still use the process to clear the air. So I continue to be a believer in the islands' ability to keep us moving deeper and deeper into the mystery called marriage.

Sisters at Solomon Beach

Darlene and Deb yesterday afternoon at a beach located a half-hour's hike on a National Park trail from Cruz Bay. Posted by Hello

Sunday, February 20, 2005

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