Friday 1.15.10

Testing the angle of repose of fortune cookies on a glass table.

I confess. I did not row today. I got a ride into work. Hah. It was god-awful raining and had been for days. I decided to take it easy. Eeeeeasy. I knew I’d be working outside for 12 hours on Saturday and it was likely to be raining then too. They’re predicting flood rains this weekend. On Saturday, I’m curating, filming & performing in a full-day, rain or shine, outdoor event in Lower Queen Anne called Studies in White. Only I would invent such a thing, with so many unknowns, so few payables. Will we be thrown out? Will it rain? Will there be witnesses? I have no idea. All I care about is the opportunity to prepare and carry forth a study. All it needs is my desire and energy and I’m in charge of that. I want to investigate the difference between a study and a practice or performance or improvisation. What makes a study a study? Have I ever conducted a study? Could I handle one now? A friend suggests that everything I do is a study. Hmm. I consider how that might be true.


I was invited, this afternoon, on a formal tour of NBBJ with Kelly Griffin & Ashley Widman of Studio 33. They are introducing a group of University of Oregon design students to the company and I was invited to sit in on the tour. Fantastic! I learned that the beautiful, neighboring, brick building that the roof-top deck sits on, used to be a laundry. That lends great information to me. I begin imagining. They explain the concept of the alley and its current intentions for this group of users. I question the results and wish to challenge them. The visiting students are completing degrees in interior design. They are all women with great hair and square glasses (to maximize their fields of vision), genuine leather shoes, dressing the part of the designer so well, in a flounce of ruffles, a mix of textures, good dark career grays. You’re all hired!! The most surprising thing about them is how much pizza they are able to eat. Students still. Later they will learn to eat at their desks, get a Bumblebar from the healthy vending machine and work on.

A Warm Place

In the afternoon, I got to feeling cold and tired and lost. I didn’t want to be at my desk. I was on the verge of several projects and needed a warm place to think. I didn’t have my laptop to port about, so I collected my notebook and pen and went looking for a place. I was eager to move forward, but with so many ideas I needed time to sort things out. I went to the Great Steps. I'd spent time there my first day, but found today they were too close to the shoreline. No, I needed a dune. I looked into the nautical nook on the 2nd floor landing. Too airy, too streamlined for my mood. I could hide in the library—if only it had a big armchair! One day I'm going to bring in an afghan, if I had a cat I’d bring it in too, and sit in one of the chairs in a nook and say, “Look at me. I’m taking a break. I’m sitting in a nook and I’m reading a book and it’s ok.” Someone needs to say this. Creative people neeeeeeeed to flush the buildings out of their minds from time to time. Lift their eyes, leave their bodies, seek and see peace, you know. But where?


I linger at waistline windows, question the passersby. Where do you go to refresh? When you need a break, where do you breathe? The smokers, I know where they go, shhhhh, to hide, but the breathers? I don’t know. I don’t think they do. I think they stay. Don’t they need a place too, time, air, some shade between the bright spots? It’s not like there aren’t places, places here to sit. There are. There are lots of little nooks. And chairs. And end tables. But it’s another thing to say you can, you should, sit here. I won’t look at you and think, "Slackergirl." I'll look and say, "Damn, I should do that, take a break." Studio 54 called a dance party at 4 o'clock. They announced it over the intercom. I was working hard at my desk. Writing. I’d go down soon. But I didn’t. I kept working. The party was over before I got up. Life. Next time I’ll go. The party is short, the work day long. What’s my job? Jump on opportunity.

I had a beer in the hallway with a couple of architects at the end of the day. I asked them questions. What does this space need? Someone said they wanted to put herbs in a box on the roof-deck. What do you want? They said they didn't know, they’d have to think about it. Do, I said. Then we talked about the look and shape and size of NBBJ, not of the building but of the culture. It’s a construction too.


I make a list to describe this slice of life, architects. They are a slim, fit, fashionable, white, short-haired, leather-shoed, dark-framed, angular, bespectacled, quiet-spoken, exact, um-free, word-ready, pen-toting, conference-loving, beardless, watch-wearing, balding, softly gesturing, alert, focused, visual-thinking, paper-rolling, fair-minded, inclusive, feet on the floor, short-nailed, idiomatic, quick to rise, unpainted, textured, achieving, coffee-drinking, multi-layered, code-referencing, questioning, jovial, witty, answer-seeking, process-defining, right-handed, price-getting, cost-cutting, assumption-breaking, athletic, referencing, prioritizing, detail-staving, recommendation-seeking, paper-hungry, pleat-panted, benefit-listing, disaster-ready, suggestion-offering, ruler-pointing, always-improving, aesthetic-weighting, cost-weighing, ok-answering, settled, professional, ring-wearing, straight, married, self-monitoring, pin-pushing sort of people.

On Foot

After work I walk home, the long way, posting notices about my event in caf├ęs, on telephone poles, around Counterbalance Park.

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