This morning, around 3:20AM, I was woken from a dream by the smell of freshly sprayed skunk funk. I have a fan going in my window — one of these kind — and basically it efficiently and masterfully sucked the snunk funk into my bedroom, gassing me awake. Living in the sticks, I’m used to the faint olfactory evidence of skunks, but I’ve never experienced this level of intensity…I feel like the bugger sprayed right beneath my second floor window — certainly in the vicinity. Wonder what got it riled. I assume they only spray when startled/threatened. I suspect it might live under the porch of our house, or at least like to hang out there. Anyhow, my window fan has a feature so you can switch it from sucking air into your room to sucking the air OUT of your room, and I did that. It took a long time to get back to some semblance of sleep, though, and the smell REALLY lingered. By 6:30 when I got up, things were mostly much cleared out.
This morning I enjoyed Jeff Oaks’ chapbook, Shift, published by Seven Kitchens Press as No. 1 of their “Summer Kitchen Series.” The poems are so excellent (I have always been partial to Jeff’s work, I’ll confess), and the book itself is so beautiful! Ron Mohring does such a great job with design — hand sewn, hand-covered, hand-numbered (mine’s 12/49). I love a limited edition. In the digital world, with all the ease of replication and distribution, I’m drawn more and more toward the truly ephemeral. And the handmade. I think lots of folks are. That’s one of the things I love about letterpress printing — you run your broadsides, then take the type apart and redistribute it to the case. End of edition. Move on. Make something new.
On Monday night, here at VSC, I attended the slideshow/talk of visiting painter, Roberto Juarez. It was fantastic to spend some time looking at images and hearing an artist talk about his work — a nice break from the literary focus. I know nothing about painting, so even the most basic stuff is fascinating to me — I loved, for instance, hearing what he had to say about the difference (pros/c0ns) between painting with acrylics and painting with oils. Acrylics are, apparently, great for more quick/improvisational work, because it dries so quickly. Oils are great for more contemplative/slow work, because they take a very long time to dry — you can (re)manipulate the colors/textures/layers over a longer period of time. I like thinking about the connection between process and materials.
Tonight, we’ll have brief slide talks from a bunch of the artist residents — I’m looking forward to that, but even more so to this Friday’s “open studio.” Friday after dinner the visual artists will open their studios for a couple of hours so everyone can wander around from studio to studio to see what folks have been up to (without worrying that they’re interrupting at a bad time). I’ve been doing a lot of editing/revising/arranging work here, but I’m really ready to get going on some brand new poems, and I’m hopeful that seeing folks’ work might crack open some inspiration for me.