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rhetoricguy@gmail.com Posts

Douglas County fawn emergency created and averted; raccoon adventures

Wildwoods received a call today from some individuals who had stumbled upon two brand new fawns, still wet from birth! They were concerned that the babies may have been abandoned.

“Now we Float”

Now we FloatI recently saw the the work of Duluthian Shannon Hickok Cousino, including this piece.

My first thought is that I am drawn to it because it reminds me of other, iconic imagery — like the paintings of Ophelia (paintings by Millais and Waterhouse, below). These are the “tragic woman” of literature rendered as a beautiful tragedy. Almost so beautiful they are hard to imagine as tragic. Without a doubt, we have aestheticized the suffering of Ophelia, of women, repeatedly.

ophelia Ophelia 2

“Now we Float” makes no attempt to aestheticize the tragedy (at least, if by that, we mean erase suffering and replace it with flowers and outstretched hands).

Even as she floats, the figure in “Now we Float” does not break the surface. The surface weighs upon her. A friend of mine called it “weight of insurmountable pressure” — the kinds of pressures that crush someone, inside or out. I am remembering here the Pipher books about Ophelia that were so powerful in the 1990s.

But is the woman in Cousino’s work tragic? “Now we Float,” as a title, speaks to a kind of agency, even in death. As opposed to the scene captured on film (perhaps a scene of floundering, struggling, drowning, beneath those pressures), now, we float. Now, we simply rise to the surface. There is a simple clarity in that title, one that both underscores and undermines the tragedy, I think. No longer struggling, she floats. No longer struggling, though, she fails, still, to break the surface.

Three more artists this week … Coldsnap, Koshinski, Dalbec

Three more artists to mention:

Last Week: Living Large, Locally

Avoiding Homegrown until Friday, when I see my friend Emily Jayne play at Sir Ben’s… but still today enjoying Darin Bergsven at Dubh Linn. Time to reflect on the week.

Monday, I spent some time with Tim Jollymore, an author who arrived at UMD because of the hard work of Veronica and Mareesa and the awesome students in the Writing Club. Jollymore talked to the students about his craft as a writer — and it was an amazing afternoon for all of us.

ARAC Individual Artist Awards

Your Legacy Sales Tax, with some money from the General Fund and from the McKnight foundation, makes possible these Arrowhead Regional Arts Council awards to individual artists in Duluth and the region. If you see a friend on this list, say “Woot,” would you?

Literary Northland

awpThis week has been a week of literary experiences for me, from International Falls to Minneapolis, from Icebox Radio to Holy Cow Press.

I drove with friends from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council to International Falls. It was both planning/working/friendly talking time with Ashley (grants manager) and Bob (executive director) and time to visit friends in International Falls.

Wildwoods: Deer and Eagles

From Wildwoods: a heartwarming, yet bittersweet story about people who saw animals in trouble and decided to do something about it. Then, a depressing story, so sad.

ww3 ww2 ww1

Arrowhead Regional Arts Council Awesomeness

Do you want to see what your regional arts council is funding in your community? Check out the list below, congratulate friends and neighbors who won money, then take a look at the bottom of this message for more about ARAC.

Student Productions, New Works

As a faculty member, I get word of lots of student productions, Here are two worth thinking about.

Tenancy Questions: Pets, etc.

A friend of mine is in a state of post-graduation flux. He’s been asked to renew his lease. He has days to decide. He might be relocating, so renewing is committing before he knows what his job prospects are.

1. He may know within a few weeks. How does one sweet-talk a landlord into extending a lease for a few months?

Busy… Arts and Such

A lot of ground to cover this week…

“A bat flew into my car and bit my hand.”

She was on her way across town to tell me about a road trip she’d taken with friends. She texted me while she was driving — something that I wish she’d never do, but this seemed extraordinary circumstances.

“A bat flew into my car and bit my hand.”

Thank you, DTA

To the driver of the #6/7 running past 20th Avenue East Jefferson Street at 8:45 this morning, who saw me looking dejected as he rolled past the intersection (I was running late trudging through the snow) … and pulled over and waited for me … thank you!

You can read minds.

Fireworks in February

I’m in the cafe at Barnes and Noble, where I just bought the new issue of Charlie Hebdo. I wish that it didn’t feel so commercially crass to have bought this now.

Slowing Down

Friday night, I celebrated my friend Scott’s birthday. When I asked him how old he was, he only said that he was 39 again. I know that feeling.