29 Hulyo 2014

Notes on Alluvia

The New Yorker recently released a write-up on Iveta Vaivode's ongoing photography project called "Somewhere on a Disappearing Path".

This bit is what I'm interested in because I'm planning to create this sort of community as well. Also the phrase imaginative record sits lightly on my tongue because that's what I imagine a novel is.

These are some of Vaivode's photographs I'm interested in recreating/appropriating in some way:

27 Hulyo 2014

Space between stories 1

The slump between one story and the next is probably the hardest to overcome. I keep thinking if  doubt that I have any words left. Surely that is also a finite resource, although one that we haven't yet designated the limit of. How many words does an average woman speak (in an hour, a year, a lifetime)?

I found borrowed with no intention of returning several early photographs of my paternal grandmother and her husband whom I had never met. In 1961, Lola Gloria favored a plain button-down dress with modest sleeves, a choker of black pearls, a pair of rings, and heavy gold bangles around her wrists. My grandmother's angular face is smooth but her expression isn't calm. Far from it. She is stiff, perhaps unused to sitting still or posing (how often do they go to these studios and to how many different studios did they go? The photos were stamped differently). Lolo Basilio has the fish-lips and the wide brows of my own father. High cheekbones taper into a delicate, almost feminine, jaw. His ears were huge. His features seemed too large for his face and it was this discrepancy and his slim shoulders that made him look even smaller within his barong Tagalog. In both photos, the stiff garments were ill-fitting, at once too long and too large. He swam in them, the sleeves falling past his wrists. In these photographs, my father, the eldest of the three siblings, was three years old. 

One boasts of an inscription in an unfamiliar penmanship:
To Mr. and Mrs. Mercado,

Remembrances during our three year anniversary.

Mr. and Mrs. Ballesteros
Lola had been a secretary. It requires no great stretch of imagination to convince myself she had written the note. In the twenty-four years I shared with her, I had never heard her speak any language other than Tagalog or Spanish, and if she did it was in the broken, cackling comedy that she used to make fun or humiliate. How many words does an average woman speak? If you plotted it out into an infographic, did my grandmother grow tight-lipped or did she simply run out? Did she reach her quota, was she careful to budget the vocabulary left to her? 

18 Hulyo 2014

Scene: a tree tunnel

I hope Lars will forgive me for screen-capping his photo but I need to remember this for Alluvia.

17 Hulyo 2014

from the collection The Haunted Future
Blake Ritter
from the collection Rear Window
Jordi Huisman

I've wanted to return to a longer piece I've been working on. Lars' father happens to be an engineer (who builds, among other things, houses for his children) so I'm keen on introducing myself to begin some of the (much delayed) research.

Houses (abandoned, built close together, etc) fascinate me. I want to write stories exploring the way we build houses and how proximity destroys (or creates) relationships. I think space (both as an integral part of form, as in how the page looks, as in the spaces between, as in what is said and what isn't said, as in long paragraphs) and my queer relationship with people who either get too close or not close enough merit at least one story. Or two.

Scene: lights & reflexes

A long stretch of road formless in the dark. Headlights from oncoming traffic are blunted by the haze of distance and all the crowding shadows. You are familiar with this road. Memory lights the way. Your hand is steady on the wheel and the windows are down. The wind stings your cheeks, makes your eyes water but there is almost nobody around. You speed up until you pass the glowing pair of red lights--a devil's staring eyes--a little way ahead. In a few meters, you will shift to the right, pull the car that way for the gentle turn. The island separating traffic has long disappeared into the black murk. Your eyes are a little unfocused. You are not thinking of the traffic. When it is quiet like this it is easy to think you are alone. The car beside you hardly makes a sound when your ears are filled with the howling wind. You push the knuckles of your hand into your eyes, blink at the tears, and reel from the explosion of white light. You squint into the black as you make the turn. The night presses against you, close and thick, until the headlights of a screaming car slide out of the shadow to gun you down. You are awake. You pull right, your car swerves into the next lane, and smash into another vehicle.