Public or Private?

Here’s to going public on the internets: as pointed out to me quite recently, people only read online content if it’s of interest to them, for the most part – there’s enough out here to read such that we don’t have to bore ourselves. Of course, there are those who like to be provoked or provoking, and poke about to find things with which they disagree, but that could be interesting – that is, to have a response that really disagrees in a big way. Not a problem, as the saying goes.

So today’s thoughts are about to be no longer private. Perhaps someone will read them, & disagree . . . but only, of course, if I’ve done due diligence in my social networking, tagging, categorizing, & c., yes?


I listen to an MP-3 audio clip in German re Kerouac & Ginsberg, posted on FB by Michael (Kellner). I can understand it intermittently, it makes a good background to these reflections.

As K said goodbye on his way back to work from his lunch break, he said “indulge yourself in some way – go to a spa for instance if you feel like it.” (that’s a fairly good paraphrase, I don’t remember the exact wording). Ha, the tears commenced at that, though I don’t think he noticed – I’m getting good at hiding tears, from the kind of practice over the years you get if you cry ridiculously easily – My first thought had been, I can’t afford to indulge myself, I’m out of money; & I thought, why am I feeling so sorry for myself? And then I thought, “I don’t know what indulging myself is, I don’t do that, I don’t allow that, I have too much work to do, I – and suddenly I realized that, along with the easily recognized & acknowledged anger, I’m feeling a huge guilt over not getting this job, as if it was a personal failing. Possibly it has been a personal failing to not qualify for hire at a wide range and quantity of purported employment opportunities, but I hadn’t realized how much guilt I was feeling over it. Over everything, it seemed right then. I hadn’t noticed that that was one thing weighing me down, a major thing, in fact. It was suddenly clear that I felt compelled to make up for it in some way before I could feel good again.

What bullshit – as if feeling bad were going to fix anything. Totally contrary to my philosophy of life, which might be crudely characterized in part by the convictions that (1) if you’re not making mistakes, you aren’t learning; and (2) when you make a mistake, the useful response is not to feel bad about how dumb/incompetent/slow etc. you are, but to figure out how to do it right. That’s not actually how I was raised, however, so that may be why I have had such difficulty consistently practicing it, now that I think about it.

Of course, that last phrase (“now that I think about it”) is blatantly misleading. This isn’t the first time I’ve thought about it; on the contrary, I’ve devoted probably large pieces of my consciousness to trying to figure this out, and live it. Such the stubbornness of the human psyche.

Also published as private.

Reflections on Writing in Public

I tried to publish “In Praise of the Convoluted Style” on this blog – take a jump into risk, but I couldn’t do it; in the end, I designated the post “private.” It’s still there, but I’m the only one who can see it. I really have this fear of publishing stuff that later I’ll really not like. I don’t want to inflict junk on the world, and I also don’t want to be seen as inflicting junk on the world. What a coward I am! (This post, too is private).(of course).


In Praise of the Convoluted Style

They say we should write every day: discipline. OK here goes. I write intermittently in my journal, using a pen & paper, a method I favor but which is unfortunately largely illegible to anyone else, partly by design (it’s a really very good way to keep it private) & partly because my thoughts outrun my pen, and the contest between them is a recurring example of the sacrifice of legibility to speed. However, this disjunction between expression and communicability keeps me in possibly a too-private world in the end, so here I go, trying it on in the virtual world. 

Today I feel really trashy in the personal not social sense, having been rejected from yet another employment opportunity, after investing a lot of time, energy, and feeling in the prospect of working at a job & location that initially appeared unattractive and unattainable anyway. The latter proved correct of course, while the former appeared increasingly through the process of approach not to be (correct, that is), which is not really any consolation. I find I can’t do these things without investing interest, however difficult it may initially be to drum it up, it always burgeons if I commit myself to the effort. I did meet some very nice people, who can complain about that?

Well everyone (practically) is familiar with this experience of not getting a job one (1) wanted and apparently also (2) needed badly to one degree or another; there can’t possibly be anything to add through the mediation of my comments on it, but that’s what’s with me today, so sorry, world of virtual communication, you get unemployment, specifically rejection after investment of significant effort, as your opening topic today.

Other comments: along the line of ‘no sincere effort is wasted,’ in the process of becoming even more knowledgeable about social media than I already was (within the library context) – which turns out to rather more beyond the average for my age & disposition than I expected – I discovered – much to the distaste of the literary, technical, and social snob in me – that getting more involved in Twitter has yielded access to a surprising & pleasing crop of connections who have provided really interesting information. Here I reveal myself to be old school in the disguise of a (relatively for my age) hip & tech-savvy writer-librarian. Books, paper, typography . . . still most beautiful.

One of my biggest barriers to communication is how tired of myself I so easily become, especially of my thoughts & words. Perhaps a condition endemic to writers, but I haven’t heard anyone else complain specifically of that dystopia of the spirit (crap, I don’t read enough is probably why). You might ask, if that’s the case, why bother to place this self of which you are so tired in the public view? Probably to give someone else that opportunity?

that gold

that gold in a Gauguin sky
crocus stamen something of a star
glimmer in the blood elemental
passage of large numbers of wild animals
sky at twilight winter-burnt grass
when distance between you & you turns
solid or inhabited again by gold
nothing to tell nothing happens
unless some piercing of horizontal flash
gold-speckled lightning pass
across weathered wood that is
solid gold
string beads on it that
dash against one another thus
incarnadine impact casts flames
profuse wild fabulous
immersed in icewater they form
inviting fissures as in
certain ceramic arts or
crack open in the
palm of the hand

Helmut Salzinger: A Retrospective

Helmut Salzinger, Activist, Critic, Philanthropist, Publisher & Poet (1935-1993)

Salzinger’s critical theory work around the cultural revolution of the 60’s, his philanthropic activities & political activism, and his idiosyncratic voice, played an important role in literary arts in Germany. In his early career as a reviewer & music critic he wrote for the prestigious journal Die Zeit and for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung (The South Germany News). A selection of his articles for the German music journal Sounds written under the pseudonym Jonas Überohr, are collected in the volume Best of Jonas Überohr – Popcritik 1966-1982, published posthumously in 2011 (Philo Fine Arts) and his poetic and literary bibliography remains compelling and impressive.

In the early 80’s, after his stint as a reviewer at Die Zeit was terminated, he moved to a farmhouse in the moorland village of Odisheim on the North Sea. He named his home Head Farm, & after giving up on his initial idea of a commune there, lived more privately, exploring the surrounding natural environment, writing, and carrying on philanthropic activities to support the arts, and students, artists & writers.  He established the publishing house Headfarm Odisheim, and Head Farm became a gathering point for writers and thinkers. As well as books, Headfarm Odisheim published the literary magazine FALK, which appeared monthly for three years, 1986-1989, and was produced at Head Farm. A lifelong sufferer from diabetes, he died at his home in 1993.

Salzinger’s life is celebrated in the German Humus – Hommage á Helmut Salzinger (1996, Modick, Salzinger, Keller). However his work, largely not translated into English, has received little attention in the English-speaking world. With this documentary project Curmudgeonly Press hopes to bring more of Salzinger’s life and work to the English-speaking world.

The Retrospective will include three main components; a broadside and photo exhibit to take place at the Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Cafe in Boulder, an opening event with live readings from Salzinger’s work, and an online interactive documentary. Additional readings and discussions will be held as well, time & place TBA.

Exhibit Opening
September 20, 2012
Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Cafe

1203 13th Street Suite A
Boulder, CO 80302  Map

A selection of newly translated poems and excerpts from Salzinger’s essays, presented in broadside format, with photographs of Salzinger, his home and the eco-region that inspired much of his poetic work, friends, and colleagues, highlight images and writing representative of his work.

The exhibit opens with a reading of Salzinger’s poetry by exhibit author and translator Clara Burns.

Interactive Media Archive
The online component, built using Zeega (, an html5 platform for authoring interactive documentary work, will incorporate exhibition materials as well as recordings and photographs from the reading, experimenting in a new medium for documentary expression that will expand the reach and influence of the project.