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A New Day

So all right! We won back the presidency. I was pretty worried about it. The novel Teep that I’ve been working on has a whole big chapter, “Juicy Ghost,” about some rebels removing an illegit third-termer named Ross Treadle. But, thanks be to God, that can stay in the realm of SF rather than in the world I live in.

Even so the novel’s going well, and there’s no reason not to continue it, which is mostly what I’ve been doing all fall.

I’ve been writing and painting, and Sylvia has been quilting quite a bit. Here’s a beautiful new one, named “Ahoy.” More info about her quilts is on her site.

We got together with Rudy Jr. in SF for a Halloween street party. I really liked this young woman’s Grim Reaper costume. A lot of thought about that type of thing during the past month!

The one trip we were able to make of late was to Fort Bragg, CA, where daughter Isabel has moved…from Pinedale, WYO. Big change in the political climate, and it’ll be a relief for her. She’s moved there with her family, and her workshop for Isabel Jewelry

The photo above shows the full moon setting (as as opposed to rising) in the west at 6 am on October 30. Seen from this great reasonably-priced all-ocean-view-rooms motel we stayed in just north of Fort Bragg, it’s called The Beachcomber.

Fort Bragg has some amazing cliffs and beaches. One of them, the Glass Beach, is known for it copious amounts of sea-polished broken glass—years ago the city dump was…the beach. Love the green glow of the sunset-lit sea moss (?). When the light is slanting like that, I think of nature as a cathedral with stained-glass windows, and the windows are the leaves. In a higher sense, I think of there being a higher SUN that beams its cosmic White Light through each object in our sacred world. I’m a stained glass window and so are you.

Love the kelp strand echoing the wiggle of the foam’s edge. The fact that the time wiggle of the kelp resembles the space wiggle of the wave front relates to the ergodic theorem of classical mechanics.

Naturally I sighted a flying-jellyfish UFO at a park north of Fort Bragg. That fallen plant is called a sea palm. Now imagine that it’s twenty feet long.

Awesome well-tumbled driftwood at this local beach. I like that someone built a shelter there. They weren’t home. Those logs have been pounded so hard they’re shaped like cigars.

And here’s Isabel in her new studio/apartment, on the second floor of a building near downtown Fort Bragg. Wisely she hired a couple of mover guys to lug the stuff up the stair from her U-Haul! I already had a sore back by the time we got there, just from carrying a portable radiator from my house to the trunk of my car.

There’s something of an art scene in Fort Bragg, fueled by its adjacency to the many galleries in Mendocino. I love surrealist assemblages like this window near Isabel’s studio…I think the place is a printing shop.

Another cool window. Dig the painted globes casting globe shadows. And the annotated map. And the reflection of the sky. Perfect. One mathematical quibble…the latitude lines of spheres should be narrow ellipses, and not pointy-ended double-arcs.

Speaking of ambient art someone (a kid?) superglued a bunch of plastic dinosaurs to a stone all on a street near our house in Los Gatos.

I put four of my recent paintings on my wall in my office. Left to right, top to bottom, we have “Two Lizards,” “The Halo Card,” “Pinchy’s Big Date,” and “St. Georgia and the Dragon.” More info on my Paintings page.

Speaking of art, the SF MOMA museum is finally open again, to limited numbers of people, and they have a terrific show of the SF “figurative movement” painter David Park. He started with figures, went to abstraction, then got back to figures. Love all the red in this one of people in a movie theater, and the odd point of view.

My fave living artist Wayne Thiebaud is 100 this year, and he has a big show at the Crocker Museum in Sacramento, and a small show in the Berggruen Gallery across from the MOMA in SF. He didn’t necessarily make sketches on site for his streetscapes; it was more that he go out and look, and then paint the images that had formed in his memory. This is one of his best.

A very uncharacteristic Thiebaud painting of what looks like a long manuscript with a cover letter. The writer’s goal! The platonic ideal of a finished novel. Dig what he does with the colored edges around things.

My neighbor down the street had two inflatable eyeballs, powered by a small electric air pump. Awesome.

A Halloween pumpkin with odd, non-matching eyes by granddaughter J, and mouth by me…and wearing my hat. Grandpa. By the time I went to buy a pumpkin at the supermarket, they only had these fancy warty ones, which are kind of great.

“The Halo Card” acrylic on canvas, Oct, 2020, 40” x 30”. Click for a larger version of the painting.

This appears in the wall image earlier, but it’s worth seeing it big. The image relates to a my novel-in-progress TEEP. The toroidal halos are lifebox vortex rings of quintessence, which store lifebox copies of users’ minds The little guys are ball walkers named Glory and Miss Max. The humans are the telepathy-biotech hacker Gee and the energetic mountain woman Mary. Mary’s mind is stored in the lifebox torus, and she has a newly grown clone body. I had the idea of making the canvas be flippable, so you rotate it 180 degrees if you like. Like a face card in a deck of cards. So then I thought of putting in two suit symbols. And I say “Halo Card” because as a tactical maneuver for the book’s internal tech logic, I did need to “play the halo card” in terms of how to store a mobile soul.  The old time artists knew this all along.

I’ll have a story about Gee and Mary in Asimov’s SF this spring; it’s called “Mary Mary.”

The lovely gnarl of ambient objects; e.g. this door’s strike plate, which I was repairing. Our house is (very) slowly sliding down the hill, which has skewed this frame so that the door latch no longer clicks into the little hole. I chiseled it lower. There’s a French word for the process of fixing things without really knowing what you’re doing, it’s “bricolage.” Akin to “jury-rigging” or “tinkering.”

The incomparable Terry Bisson, fellow Kentuckian SF writer, seen at his home in Oaktown, CA. My fave of Terry’s novels is the wonderful, playful, inventive, and socially conscious Pirates of the Universe, available in Kindle. And if you ever wonder about why it is you can never find things that you drop, read my joint story with Terry, “Where the Lost Things Are,” found online at my Complete Stories site.

An unused ice bucket in Terry Bisson’s backyard. I have a thing for spherical mirrors. The inside image contains the entire rest of the universe. N matches 1/N, baby… The penguins are elder Kentuckian SF gods, you understand.

My ultracool collaborator Marc Laidlaw was in town, wending his way up the West Coast, having left his home in Kauai. You should read our joint Zep & Del story, “Surfers at the End of Time,” which is quite possibly the greatest time-travel SF story ever written…and with a surfing theme…and set in San Francisco. This one, too, can be read for free in my online Complete Stories web site.

Glimpsed at the epic Four Mile Beach, four miles by odometer north on Route 1 from the last traffic light in Santa Cruz. Love this place. The cliff has a little cave or tunnel in it, and I was at the beach with Sylvia, enjoying a sunny day, out from our endless “sheltering in place.” And this young surfer woman was working on her Apple laptop! Possible student at UCSC? Viva California!

As I’m always saying on this blog, one of the things I love about the ocean is that it’s always different…and it’s always the same. Different in that all precise details are terminally unpredictable from moment to moment…because the natural computations performed by turbulent fluids are so rich that they’re “incompressible,” meaning that they can’t be emulated by simpler systems or computed any more rapidly than nature carries them out. The same in that the same general kinds of patterns eternally recur. Foam, wave, ripple, droplet, splash, eddy, lace of bubbles, scalloped edge—these are what we chaoticians call strange attractors. The system just can’t stop itself from settling in on them, but always in minutely different ways.  A moral on how to live your life.  Accept your standard daily attractors, and glory the differences between the individual instances.  And now and then—splash!—make it different.

And here is a fresh exhibit from Profesor Ruker’s Museum of Gnarl. A twisty heavy-duty zillion-volt wire that I found on the ground under a high-tension power-line while trespassing in some woods on a perigrination. Looks like kelp, but it’s not.

More gnarl. A married pair of trees, twining their roots on a path that Sylvia and I often go walk on, an out of the way spot, a bit away from the Mask Wars.

And here I am scanning a print-out of some pages from Teep. The book’s going quite well just now. I was stuck for a chapter, and then I hit on the idea of having the point of view character for the chapter be a guy who’s been presented as a villain thus far. He steps onto the stage and, introduces himself in the first line. “People say I’m an asshole, but I’m not.”

Ah, the human condition.

The De Young Museum in SF also opened its doors recently. There’s a sculpture/installation/gazebo building in back, a little domed structure with a hole in the roof. This is kind of an abstract photo of it.

Normally I like to chase the grandchildren around and around this little building, all of us screaming in fear/excitement—we call this a “caucus race” after a similar activity in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass.

Sadly we’re not doing things with young ones as often these days, thanks to the long-lasting covid. But we do still see the kids and grandkids from time to time. Always such a burst of sunshine to be with them. We’ll make it.

And now we leave the foul Trump-verse for a better one. It was only a temporary deviation down a false stub of time, a mistaken mirror-world. O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

One Response to “A New Day”

  1. paradoctor Says:

    So are we teleporting? Are we quantum-tunneling from one universe to a better one? It’s true that I’m feeling the same disorientation as four years ago, though calmer this time. Maybe teleportation is a transreal metaphor for this sort of dizzyness.

    Here’s a fantasy story: teleportation is possible, and our hero tries to teleport to a better world, and eventually succeeds but only by teleporting along with the rest of his world. Teleportation is not some-but-not-all; it is all-or-none.

    In my rap battle “Big Brother vs Miss Liberty”, the goddess mocks the demon with these words:

    Welcome to my universe!
    I’m sure the one you’re from is worse.

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