31 August 2011

that's just the way it is

I am a 24 year old, bachelor-of-arts holding, part-time parking attendant. Starting next week I give people parking tickets. I got the formal job offer by phone yesterday afternoon. It's something you laugh and cry about because of its hilarity and patheticness. But mostly it's funny. Mostly I find it weirdly charming and a perfect fit for all my other larger-than-time plans. Werner Herzog, love me.

Looking for the moon on a cloudy night led to my mom and I driving out to rural roads that ring our town. It's when it's cool, breezy, with the sky like dusky purple velvet falling into fields of wheat– fields that you know go on forever–when I feel at home, when I find comfort from the idea of this whole sea of earth wrapping around me. Indeed, in dusky lights I'm sure the plains are a blanket I could curl up in.

This will be a strange year. This morning I went on a walk to try to take pictures of the fog hanging around town. That was mostly impossible as fog is best seen in the distance or out of the corner of your eye. But I did see leaves already turning yellow. "Hey!" I wanted to yell, "It's only August 31st! Couldn't you at least wait until September 10th or something?!" No go, winter will be here in a month and a half which serves as an answer to my question of whether I'll dare to attend to parked cars while listening to my ipod and dancing in this extremely/strangely reserved society. I don't think it's possible to dance outside in winter. Not here. I'll try for you, though.

30 August 2011

ground to a halt


26 August 2011

I got the shakes!

This is the town that made me. Kind of.

Come visit right now. You're the only one(s) I have to share this with. I have friends here–well one with some budding possibilities–but for various reasons they don't fulfill this role of share-dom at the moment. Mostly because I'm not sure if they're constantly suffering from the wonderment I feel as I walk around town. I have picked out some houses we should walk past so you can help me decide what it would be like to live there, who lives there now, who built a house like that, who chose that color. Most houses here are neutrals, but here and there are sherbert-like neon homes. Who can blame them, winters are long, people are reserved. I remember now how I've always wanted to shake this town up. Come visit and you can be part of my guerilla (or gorilla) poetry movement. Or whatever else I come up with. Do you have an idea? Hurry, get here, let's be star people.

I went to the thrift store again today. And again the girl at the cash register looked familiar, I must have gone to high school with her. I hesitate saying hello to people I [think I] know because a couple of Christmases ago I recognized a girl in the grocery store. She saw me but showed no sign of recognition. "Hello!" I said, "I'm Marge, remember me?"

"Yeah, I do."


And more frequently people don't recognize me. My piano teacher of 11 years looked confused and a bit upset when I saw her and rushed to say hello, same with several other people at that wedding. It's always a toss up, do they really not know who I am or do they hope never to see me again? What would be the case for the girl at the thrift store? I said hello and re-introduced myself (six+ years and all).........and I couldn't tell.

Well, what have I got to lose? This town could use some shaking. Ask me some time and I'll remove the gloss and reveal the seedy underbelly of small towns in remote areas before I restore their glory again.

P.P.S We'll go to high school football games, they're just across the street. Or the water treatment plant? Just a short walk. The shortest walk ever....I might still know the music therapist at the senior citizens' center, we could sing about the yellow ribbon round the old oak tree.... 

25 August 2011

rambling, probably mildly unclear, filtered list of gratitude

1) I am actually scheduled to present my paper at a conference. I'll be seeing you, Claremont. 

2) I hangout at the county historical library daily. (My second haunt is the public library. Which you should see.) There is a list of a few people who I am extremely excited (and not even nervous!!!) about interviewing. Sometimes, at the museum, as I'm searching through old pictures and newspaper clippings somebody plays ragtime on the player piano. 

3) My mom and I have now introduced lake swimming to our repertoire. Lap swim to come as the weather gets colder. No waves and wind and late afternoon suns but on the other hand, no algae covered bodies. 

4) The mornings are cool and breezy just the way I always remember them. 

5) I still finish a couple of books a week despite the rules I've had to set for myself about leisure reading (the finishing up of books sometimes is to the detriment of the amount of sleep I get). 

6) I still bake soda bread when I cannot sleep. And after I eat a slice of it hot from the oven, I think about how peaceful dawn is, crawl into bed and fall asleep so happy. 

7) There's a specific photograph I plan on taking tomorrow. 

8) My closet works as a sound recording studio. 

9) I should find a poetically silly place to do yoga.

10) I get picture texts of my nephew from my sister and she calls me often.

∞  Now and here are beginning to make sense. 

23 August 2011

22 August 2011

when you move back to your childhood bedroom

I remember the tantrum that led to this emphatic statement against dresses.

14 August 2011

12 August 2011

dakota date book

If you visit me we can take a walk to the hardware store where they write out your receipt and get your change from their antique cash registers. There's a Ye Old Books and Curious Goods shop you should see. We can count how many cars go through a green light at the busiest intersection in town. Complete strangers may wave at you. 

We can lay in my back yard and listen to doves and crickets at night. I'll make you granola, lemon curd, waffles, fruit cobblers, vegetable pies with homemade pie crusts, curried-apple couscous. I will not make you zucchini baked fries, not until I do a better job than I did tonight. We will only eat honey that came directly from a bee farm, there is no store bought honey in my house. And there will always be homemade bread. 

If you're taller than me (which you all are) maybe you can borrow my dad's bike and we'll ride along the flooded river. You can see the parks of my childhood drowning. 

If we stay up late talking you will hear the train that passes less than a mile away. I'll read out loud to you or we can read silently. I'm already started on my fifth book and it's only been two weeks. 

We can walk around and see the architecture of the town: a mishmash of farm houses, victorian, and others that seem inspired by eastern sea boards. I'll take you down to the rec center where I worked out in high school, the weight room where I was educated on Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd. 

We can visit my mom's library and chat with all the septo and octogenarians ladies that work there. They'll ask about your life and tell you about their grandkids and if they really take a liking to you maybe someday they'll send you a cross-stitch table cloth.

We can go out of town, stand on a hill and see the blanket of land stretch for miles and miles in a way you've never seen before. The sky hangs so low you'll think you can touch the clouds and if it rains you'll notice more than ever how they turn such an impressive steel color. Or if you come in the fall maybe you'll be able to see a harvest moon. There's a Little Yellowstone, we could camp there. What about buffalo, would you like to see some buffalo? Or do you like bird watching? We have great bird watching.

Have I convinced you yet?

10 August 2011

kites on replay

The last couple of days I can't stop from asking myself, "What am I doing here?" My immediate self-reply is to stop being melodromatic, of course it's hard when you first move and soon you'll settle in and it can't really be as stifling as when you were in high school and you just need to have a good attitude. You came here to test out your documentary filmmaking dreams, remember? I remind myself that if I don't try out this documentation intuition now....when will I ever stop holding myself back?

But my wisdom isn't reaching to the depth of that question: what am I doing here.

"Here" is a small town, population just under 7,000, in North Dakota where the descriptives "rural" and "remote" are redundant. "Here" is where bananas and milk are expensive, asparagus a delicacy, and the only place in town to really buy clothes or books are at thrift stores–which is at once lovely, amusing, and limiting. 

This is the place we have lived since I was three, where I grew up during the years where you feel uncomfortable and awkward because you don't know who you are so you voraciously read books, sometimes to the exclusion of all else. I could elaborate further on the finer points of youth in rural towns and how in comparison I prosaically, unintentionally march to the beat of my own drum, but that's not the point. 

I could also begin listing the reasons I should have stayed where I was. Why did I feel compelled to tear myself away from enjoyable and stimulating friends some of whom really saw me and appreciated me and vice versa–a thing which is to be treasured when found, particularly since it is the first time I had found it; or the great outdoors of hiking and swimming holes and camping and even treasured winter walks; and my dear sister, brother-in-law, and baby nephew, and my cousin J...

The only thing missing was a career direction. I could have cancelled this move, accepted/applied to that film-related job offer that came mid-summer. But I didn't, it seemed it would still leave me with all the same questions about why I want to work with film.

What am I doing here? This is not about the difficulty of change, I'm trying to discern the future, I want so much to see just a few steps ahead. I can rehearse without much thought the rough outlines of the documentary project that popped into my head last September and which is why I'm hear now but it is still so abstract.

It will be until I start filming and even more-so editing.

And I'm beginning to think the question I keep asking myself is integrally linked to the project I set for myself. When I let it ring out loud and clear, "What am I doing here?" I actually feel moved upon to get out of bed and search out the answer. It awakens all my demons but also calls out my backbone. Oh blah, blah, blah, I just have to keep going and soon we shall see.

Right? Oh yes, we'll see (said in a quixotic/inscrutable/ironical/mellow/curious tone of voice) 

08 August 2011

a day in which I realize I would have a difficult time being a truck driver

Or, less succinctly: After hours of driving by myself I snap and start yelling, "I'm booooooored.....AHHHHHH!!!! I'M A MONSTERRRRR!!!!!!! ROAR ROAR RAORRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!" Also, singing with the radio, "FOREVER'S GONNA START TONIIIIIIIIGHT, FOREVER'S GONNA START–once upon a time..."

And to go along with that, a series of my impressions (in no particular order) from the last 24 hours written in list form:

1) This is a strange land I've come to

2) Oh no! People from high school!

3) I'm drowning in prairie

4) This is a nice breeze

5) My piano teacher doesn't recognize me

6) We used to play pretend wedding when we were little! This isn't pretend!!! I'm crying! She's so beautiful! I remember him, so quiet in high school...

7) All the horrifying anti-abortion billboards!*

8) read on billboard "Be American, Buy Ethanol." My reaction: "Whoa.... Hahahahahahaha"

9) (Chuckle) These young kids remember when I was Chrissy Jo Jenkins of The Phantom of the Country Opera (chuckle, chuckle) That was a weird play.**

10) Minnesota is really good at road signs

11) I just drove past Lake Wobegon Trail....

*This is not meant as any sentiment for or against abortion. All I'm saying is the anti billboards are disturbing to me in so many ways.

**More to come later on the dynamics of a small town where people you don't know will forever remember you and treat you like an old friend, something which forever boggles my mind and is also awesome

06 August 2011

I knew it wouldn't take long before I missed the slippers I thrifted when there was no more room to pack them

or to put it more succinctly: in the market for new slippers.

There's not much to say about my week on the www other than it's ridiculous that I didn't remember to pull out my dad's vinyl of The Kinks' Lola vs. Powerman and the Moneygoround. There's not much better than putting that in the record player and turning it up as loud as I please.

And while I keep pondering over seven year old boys who are a strange mixture of sensitivity and absolute terrorists; and chubby two year old boys who cuddle into your lap and pretend to be growling polar bears–I am incredibly happy to be alone in my bedroom thinking about the evils of the socialism of time.

While ordinarily I am sympathetic (though not exclusively) to socialist ideologies, Time seems to be enjoying a good joke by doling out its hours equally to all creation. Children noticeably reach the end of the line by five in the p.m. and adults are constantly banging their heads against the wall trying to get everything done in a day. The obvious solution is to liberate the earth from the bondage of the Law of the Ubiquitous Twentyfour Hour Clock and to measure out allotments of time more justly.

But perhaps Willy-Nilly Time thinks it has something to teach us. Hmph.

Here's something I made this week with a few hours I could wrinkle out of Time:

the mustachio from Marge Bjork on Vimeo.

And Dr. Seuss is still the most enjoyable author to read out loud.   

02 August 2011

Because of guilt–my own guilt and no pressure from my family–I agreed to babysit six children I have never met for two days and two nights and one morning.

You see, I can't tell mothers no (unless they are rich and rich people never ask me for anything), particularly when they have a lot of children, even though I hate the idea of lots of children.

The reason I publish this is to ask for your help. What on earth do I do with six children for an amount of time that will probably seem to me like it's never going to end? Please, please, please have some suggestions for me.