The day after my birthday this year, we drove over to Breaux Bridge, stopping in at the Cypress Island Preserve first. We got out and hiked a bit and then walked around Breaux Bridge, which was mostly closed since it was Sunday. I took my camera with me and thought I was being okay with it, but I really overexposed most of these shots because I had the shutter speed way too low. I also opened the first roll before it was all the way rolled up, so I lost about four shots off it. Overall, not the most satisfying camera day, but some of them are all right, and besides, I learned something, right?
Cypress Island Preserve
We wanted to go on a hike for my birthday, but there is a bit of a dearth of hiking around Baton Rouge. We found the Cypress Island Preserve, which seems really cool — though it was closed the day we went and we were only able to walk around some of the boardwalk.
En route to Breaux Bridge
We left the preserve and began to drive. It didn’t take long to settle on the destination of Breaux Bridge, a little town near Lafayette that we’d heard was great but hadn’t made it to yet.
Turns out, Breaux Bridge, like most small towns, is closed on Sunday. Or rather, almost all the businesses are closed. We still got to walk around a while looking at all the store fronts and I took a lot of pictures, most of which were overexposed and blurry.
We exhausted Breaux Bridge fairly quickly and headed to Lafayette, where we ate dinner at Dat Dog, a really great hot dog restaurant. I tried a brand new dog with blackberry puree, pickles, relish, and mustard on a vegan apple-sage sausage which was amazing. I didn’t take any pictures in Lafayette, though.
I still had some photos in my roll when we got home, so I headed down the street to try and take some photos for a series idea I have: Hand painted signs of Baton Rouge. There’s a ton of hand-painted signs around here, and my dad was a sign painter when I was growing up, so I’ve always loved hand-painted ones. This beginning wasn’t so auspicious though. I need to try again with better exposure settings and a steadier hand.
One good thing from this experience: I got my photos developed by The Darkroom out of California, and it was really easy and affordable. I got my disappointing photos emailed to me within like, 5 days? It was fast.
a long time ago there was nothing, or it looked like nothing, or more accurately it didn’t look like anything because there was no light. That’s when the Sun came in. It lit up the world, or about half of it, and we could all see what, in retrospect, had already (always) been there, but at the time we thought had just been made by the Sun. So we decided to worship it.
We started out pretty tamely — we looked at it til our eyes hurt, sang it songs we wrote about how great it was, we even left it little gifts of food, stuff we were making for dinner and thought it might enjoy. But it never ate any of the food or said thank you or anything, so we guessed it didn’t really like our gifts. And our eyes were really hurting from staring at it.
So we were at a loss, until a dog just died one day and the sun got really strong. Like it really liked that dead dog. We were kind of weirded out, but who were we to judge? There is no, as they say, accounting for taste.
We killed another dog, to make sure it wasn’t just a coincidence. The sun got really strong again. Apparently it really did like dead dogs. We started killing like, one a week, and leaving it out for the sun to do whatever it did with it.
everything changes everything changes all
of the time suddenly and irrevocably but
that's no cause for alarm right it happens all
the time like raindrops happen
spread out over hours or days sometimes not
in a big buckety splash not all at once
each little thing though little changes
each of them is sudden is out of seemingly nowhere
has no sense nothing has no sense
sense must be made by someone that is our job
so they say so they are fond of repeating
someday they will stop saying it someday suddenly
It shines on the river like a bruise on a thigh. The light trips over the water and falls into the coffee table head first. The river, for its part, does nothing but sit there and take it all in. The light, the warm humid air sucking at it like a sucker. The dead spaces where no wind moves over it like a hand. I want to imagine it calling to the moon, something relating to gravity or attraction, but that’s not where this is going. The river is (at least I imagine) heading where it always heads, that is, the ocean, which really is pulled heavily toward the moon all the time, thus tides. But you know that, don’t you? You, O reader, I’m calling you out. What do you know about the moon? What do you know about the Mississippi, which in my head is always preceded with mighty, which flows from (what I imagine is) a trickle, scars down the middle of the continent, builds, crescendoes, exits through the marshy lowlands south of here, into the gulf? Where does it go after that, the water from all of America? I’m asking you. Do you have any idea where the moon pulls it next?
My branch of the library has recently acquired a lot of juvenile titles, so I’ve been reading a few of them in my spare time at work. I recently picked up New Kid by Jerry Craft, about Jordan Banks, a black kid from Washington Heights who wants to go to art school but instead is sent to Riverdale Academy, a majority-white private school with better opportunities. The book is a chronicle of his first year at Riverdale, and his experiences with implicit racism and bias that are inherent to the school. A big example is his teachers’ continual mixing-up of names among all the black kids, but not among the white kids. Jordan also makes some friends he might not’ve expected along the way, too.
I liked New Kid for its frank discussion of what it was like for Jordan in a mostly-white school, and for the clear lens through which he showed systemic racism and microaggressions that impacted his life daily. I also liked the drawing style and the jokes, especially the pop-culture references in the chapter titles. I would’ve liked to see more about Jordan’s life at home and his interactions with the neighborhood kids, which seemed set up to be more than they were. Overall, I’ll keep my eye out for other books by Jerry Craft.
The problem is, writing a new thing every day cold is no way to do anything right. So I feel the quality of these is decreasing, and I worry that by the end of the year they’ll be trash. I know in my logicbrain that’s not true. My logicbrain doesn’t always have control over my thoughts.
I’m hoping this is the hump I have to get over to really get into the good stuff, which is what they call the stuff that gets published, or at least I think it is. That’s what I want, right? Honestly, I’m not as sure as I think I was in seventh grade, when I started writing in earnest, little terrible poems that were, nonetheless, beautiful in their earnestness. Or that’s what I’m telling myself.
Nothing is ever final in my mind. There is no finishing a thought, putting it away, never to be taken down again. Sooner or later, I’ll run over it with my thumb, wearing down the smooth places again, turning it over and over until it goes back up. For a little while. Is that effort, that running-over? Are there answers to any questions?
I’m doing this to clear out the cobwebs, I’ll say. To burn out the pipes to make room for the flow of creativity, for good poems, stories, children’s books, whatever. To get ready to show everyone what’s going on. To get ready to begin.
But I’ve already begun, and this is it. This is me writing. The best isn’t the only way to do something right.
it rises and sets rises and sets it waxes and wanes too it circles the earth and it always faces the earth it can be seen day and night if it’s looked for hard enough but the sun its enemy blocks it out most of the day time but it’s still there trusting those who seek it out will find it if they look hard enough it’s hidden in plain sight as they say plain daylight they should say it thinks alone in the space between today and tomorrow that’s big enough to house every other planet in the sun’s orbit side by side but is still small enough to make out craters and mountains and a face if it’s looked for hard enough at night or alternatively in the day as it rises and sets rises and sets early people thought it rotated around the earth and they were right about it but not about the sun which is why it is its enemy the sun the moon are enemied and the sun always wins except for sometimes every so often there’s a moment when the moon blocks it out and nothing is seen on earth the bees stop buzzing the birds lose their nests in the sudden night the people become quiet and hushed and everything is very still the moon for once is in charge over the earth and it feels good to be in charge to get that taste but it makes it all the bitterer when the moment is over and the sun takes back its day relegating the moon to its borrowed light in the cold darknesses of the windless barren night
There’s an infinite number of them in the next room, but I’m concerned about Michael Jackson’s, sitting next to me as I type this. Bubbles’ eyes look like a dog’s, puppied and pouting. He’s disappointed about something, I can feel it. I have no idea what it could be — the language barrier of our separate bodies is insurmountable. He keeps looking at the keyboard, then back at me. Maybe he wants to type something, some message, a tell-all book about his time with Michael, a request for more humane conditions for the chimpanzees in zoos or films, a love letter to Jane Goodall. I don’t have the heart to tell him she’s been dead for a while now. I suppose Bubbles has been too, since it’s come to that. Who’s dead and all. The chimps in the other room are getting louder. I think they’re ready for me to read what they’ve written. They’re ready for an editor.
I am a librarian. I am a special kind of librarian, however, not your run-of-the-mill, hair-in-a-bun, severe-faced, glasses-wearing librarian, but rather a horse librarian. I deal exclusively in books about horses. Libris equis, you could call them. I call them that. Most of the books are manuals of some kind: how to stable the horse, how to bathe it, how to feed it and water it and help it grow into a big strong horse, how to bet in a horse race, who to back, the optimal weight of jockeys, where horses come from, surveys of wild horse populations, histories of the domestication of horses, you know. But my favorites are the books full of horse stories, with their covers with black horses so tall, in paperback covers. I don’t read any of them, but I like seeing the children come by and pick them up and take them home, and seeing them again a week later with the books back in their hands, ready for more.