San Diego Poetry Guild

notes on guild, poetry, and San Diego


Butterfly: A Parable

One day I'll translate all of these blog entries and then I'll know what it was I was trying to say.

I'll translate them first into Spanish, then ASCII, then Latin, then Coppergate Gothic Light. In the shadows of a backlit font, I'll make sense of it all, finally.

In the meantime, the plan is to add a link to a new blog (new for me) every time I sit down to write, which works out to about once a week, often on a Monday, which seems to be the only day (these days) I have time to do this kind of thing.

Time between work, studies (reading), web stuff (Factory School), Guild games, cleaning dishes, picking up kids.

I really like this time and wish I had more of it.

These new blog links (on the left) won't mean much to the folks who read this blog (anyone still out there?), since I harvest these links from your blog sites.

Six degrees of appropriation (duplication?).

Recent anxieties about assembling myself as a writer have given way to healthier questions (I think) about organizing group projects, like Guild conferences and F.S. internships. There's a party at Mark Weiss's house too this weekend, and we've convinced the girls (my kids) that a lot of "famous writers" will be there.

So much for "component parts."

Okay, enough bio-graph-esis. (Touring a few blogs today, I discovered that I've been writing these things all wrong. Yeah, yeah, I know -- there's no right way to write a blog, but all the same I've been doing it, me myself, all wrong: too much mimetic perambulatory assaying, not enough cathartic associationist meandering.

Not sure there's a distinction there, but I'll keep trying.)

This is one of those blog entries that goes nowhere. With a vengeance.

My youngest daughter Maya is an artist – at six, better than I was at twenty-six – and recently she was selected among her classmates to represent her first grade classroom in the upcoming "Kid's Art Show." The teacher, meaning well, selected as my daughter’s representative artwork an assembled “butterfly” scene that she, Maya, had put together in class a few days prior composed of glued together multi-colored construction paper. Everyone in the class had built a similar “butterfly” scene, and when the teacher showed me, one day last week after school, the one Maya had done and which would later (this week) be sent to the show, naturally I couldn’t tell the difference between the one I held in my hand (Maya’s) and the ones done by the other kids, all of which had been mounted above the windows around the room, and all of which (including Maya’s) were composed of the same colored paper and evidently fabricated with the same butterfly templates. Now, I know my kid’s work. I know what she can do. At three, she put together a functioning, fully articulated dog using newspaper scraps and scotch tape at the joints. Last month she built a bird house out of a shoe box and scrap materials I’d left laying around the yard. Granted, nothing too astonishing, but pretty good for a little kid all the same, and she had done similar things for class on other days, for other assignments. The point is, of course, it was the generic, scripted “butterfly” assembly, not any of her other more "original" works, that her teacher picked for the show. Obviously I’m happy that Maya will get some deserved credit for her artistic ability. I wonder, though, what it might mean to her later when she remembers that, after half a lifetime of self-motivated, risky artistic wandering, her first shot at stardom came only after plodding her way through reproducible assembly line production.

This story helps me begin the process of translation promised at the beginning of this entry, and in it I find an appropriate lesson for all writers trying to find their respective ways in the land of cut-and-paste butterflies.


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