from Friday, August31st of the year2007.
Every time I leave New York and go to another city, I am overcome by (actually, overcome is the wrong word. More like “constantly aware of”) a jealousy about space. Detroit (whose actual city motto is Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus) has a really interesting history that I never really knew anything about. I wish I knew more about the way American cities changed in the 60’s and 70’s; I went to High School in Providence, which experienced its own complicated decline and renewal in the 80’s. Detroit reminds me of Providence but in a way extreme scale. I’m staying downtown, or, technically Midtown, right off of Woodward, which is the Main Drag. From this window, I can see a skyline, and then closer to me, a million abandoned lots that have gone to seed. I had a close-up walk through one of them yesterday and it had once been paved, but the saplings and grasses had completely obscured the concrete. Eerie!
All my friends here have enormous spaces ““ they’re all percussionists, see, whose main requirements are “a big abandoned space where nobody will mind if I hit this snare drum forever” ““ and this is when I start to go slowly crazy. I start thinking, you know, what if I just rented some Enormous Space and set up a Table there and got the Internet and a jar full of Pencils. And then, you know, an antique credenza and a set of knives and a rosemary plant. My desk setup now is a huge pile of computers, bills, cat hair, actual cats, manuscripts, Icelandic grammars””think how much more efficient it would be if I just got a big poured-concrete affair somewhere out here!
But then I read articles like these and realize that there’s not much possibility I could live outside of New York for longer than a month. I had a really clean, cat-free setup in Iceland last month, which was Idyllic, Perfection, Immaculate (even construction sites in Iceland are miraculously dirt free; occasionally a little bit of Lava would get stuck in my slipper). But then I’d miss the gorgeous chaos of my front door in New York:
It doesn’t get much better than that. I think what I’m going to have to do is arrange for these Months in other places just to breathe and have a smooth, unbroken surface on the floor as a means of better appreciating my desk at home. Also, I have vowed to myself that the minute I have enough money, I am going to get a goddamn large wooden chest like the one pictured above. I know that I’ve done some of my best writing in weird space situations ““Â when I was at Columbia, and I wrote this piece Clear Music , I was living in a space 9 feet by 9 feet, right off of a shared kitchen. My “desk” such as it was was a notebook I’d hold in my lap and put a piece of manuscript paper up on. Around the same time, I wrote a piece called Flexible Music in a friend’s proto-squat in Berlin.
New Yorkers and space, New Yorkers and space. It’s a perverted obsession. We leave the city for one minute and start thinking about imposing our mania on our kind hosts elsewhere.
Anybody who wants to read the cringe-inducing transcript of Senator Craig and Dave Karsnia, my Most Favorite Officer, check this out, via the Smoking Gun. For maximum effect, listen to the mp3 at the same time. I just love how Officer Smiles tries to shame him into telling the truth. “Well, you’re not being truthful with me. I’m kinda disappointed in you, Senator. I’m real disappointed in you right now […] so far every person I’ve had so far has told me the truth.” Also, Officer Smiles’s accent is so endearingly Please Call Stella. I think I’ma send him a card c/o Headquarters. Do we not love how he’s saying that even among the subcategory of “Men who touch each other in public restrooms,” Senator Craig is a dishonest shit? Let’s not forget that Craig, after Katrina, said, “”Fraud is in the culture of Iraqis. I believe that is true in the state of Louisiana as well.” (source) I’m going to Minneapolis in October; I think I’m going to write a little piece of music on a tape recorder that I can just leave in that stall, see how long it lasts. Like a Buddha Machine! A Cottaging Machine! For electronics and viola. Site-specific installation, 2007.