I See the Moon…Through the Window

Once again, a different experience altogether for this week’s readings. It was simpler for me to follow, and its structure made sense to me. Let’s start off with David Zuern’s Ask Me for the Moon. It was very beautiful and poetic, building up scenes of people’s lives that weren’t so beautiful and poetic. The place of Waikiki in Hawaii, would be a place where one would dream of vacationing or relaxing; a getaway from tough and harsh reality of life. Of working every day, or getting up early and going crazy to earn some greens ($$$). But Hawaii is a dream getaway for us, the tourists. Not the people working there. We desire to leave for a few days but then it becomes a burden for the workers there. And it’s not just us, they have to work for every customer that walks through those doors, whether native or not. Hotels, grocery stores, you name it, someone is working hard. And their benefits? That will only come if they are a union member, but what about the ones who aren’t? Who are considered the “outsiders?” There is separation and differentiation in every aspect of life, whether religion, culture, or even union laborers. The land is heavenly, but the lives of many workers, hellish. There is the “secretion of hope and work.” With their “…pulse of expectation [they] hear their own breath.” Their lives are spent “in frigid kitchens, in fluorescent corridors…” and “all work, is night work.” Their days are literally turned upside-down, inside-out. They stay awake when everyone is sleeping and experiencing a dreamscape, while the laborer hands are becoming hard and rough with scrubbing and cleaning. Throughout the story, there was a very sudden static yet creepy sound that lasted for a few moments. I am not too sure if that was something wrong in my computer or it was done by the author for a certain purpose. It could be possible that it was supposed to give an eerie feeling to be able to comprehend how night life would be as a laborer, with strange sounds occurring everywhere you go. Maybe? I really liked how there was an option for notes, provided with background information associated with this “poem.” It gave me a clearer understand of what the context and purpose of this “poem” was, even though I had a rough idea. But you know how it is. There is always a sense of doubt somewhere in the back of your mind if what you think is correct. There was historical piece of information also added, discussing the phrase “fragment of the body.” The source discussed how Menenius Agrippa, a Roman patrician, prevented the overthrowing of patrician rule by comparing the current government and the significance of patricians to the body. This made me wonder if this analogy was used because of how laborers were vital to the economy of Waikiki and Hawaii in general, just like every body part is vital for a healthy mind and spirit, as well as the functioning of the body itself.

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One stanza is very powerful, as written: “hospitality, what we might have created, in a clasp of hands, or exchange of breath, we produce, without touching, in the frigid room, on the clean shop floors, of the welcome factories, sanitized, breathless.” No matter how hot or cold, dirty or clean, early or late, these laborers produce quality service every single time. They will be breathless, but they will not fail to serve. Another elegant analogy is the following: “the rustle, of palms, the broom, against the pavement.” The comparison of the sweeping broom to the rustle of the palm trees was something I found very unique and captivating. There’s beauty to the eyes with the sight of trees in Hawaii, but there’s disturbing sounds to the ear with the laborers working late nights to make ends meet.

In terms of Window, I couldn’t access the actual piece so the opinion I will be giving will be based on the video provided in the website.  There were images of views outside a window, with a variety of different sounds. Nothing special, but that’s what makes it special. They were ordinary sounds, things we hear every single day of our lives. But it was celebrated in this piece; it was revered. The images kept changing, as months kept changing. For March, “fence panels fight the wind.” A sound we wouldn’t give a second thought about, but Cage did. As the video progressed, there were a couple of stories told. “We stop to listen and suddenly we are here, at home in these quite unnecessary sounds – the important detritus of our daily lives.” It couldn’t be written better. I looked up the definition of “detritus” because I didn’t know what it meant; better yet understand the connection to the story. It read “waste or debris of any kind.” So, these sounds, these present moments are debris? Are waste? At first, I found that very harsh to think but I realized within a few moments that it’s true. We don’t value time as its going by; we don’t value the small minute details in life that should make us grateful for being alive. It’s all music and art around us, but we don’t have the eyes for it. We trash it; let it make a mess around us without thinking of picking it up and noticing each piece. We are instead busy making “touchscreen connections.” We would rather find reasons to like our life via a touchscreen than with people and things in front of us, next to us, in us.

These readings taught me something interesting this week: to value our lives and to appreciate the things around us. No place is perfect, no person is perfect so finding perfection is probably a goal that can never be achieved. The thing is, flaws are what create beauty in us and in our surroundings. Like Waikiki, things that seem beautiful and perfect on the outside are hiding a lot of pain and sadness behind its picturesque views. But like Cage, the little things that are in our own view, things that we can personally experience, is what should be respected the most. Next time, look around you. Look around and “observe a change in the sky or hear [if] the wind is up, or notice some other shift in our co-existence.” Observe, accept, appreciate, enjoy, repeat…

Being Present in the Everyday: Analyses of “Window” and “Ask Me for the Moon”

Both of these pieces invite us to take into consideration realities that we might otherwise not even recognize, but that are very real. “Window” urges us to be present and not take things for granted. A day is made out of a symphony of sounds. I really enjoyed the text in which it was explained that Cage made bread and slapped the dough (as is required). He seemed to be a person who gloried in the everyday.

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Experiencing the interactive piece of “Window” was like turning the soft pages of a well-worn book. The sounds were familiar and oddly soothing. Hearing a spoon clink is not something that I think about, yet it happens every single day as I stir my Agave or Truvia into my coffee or tea. The kinetic text that blooms when certain diamond, raindrop-shaped dots are activated creates poetry in both literal language, in motion and in sound. I particularly enjoyed the text “a radiator gurgling.” That brought me right back to my grandparents’ house on a cold day.

Cage did not want us to take the intimacy of small acts for granted. Isn’t that what days turn out to be? A concatenation of sounds and visuals that produce ambiences. Cage seemed to be a person rooted in the art of quotidian experiences. He was dedicated to taking note of sounds and visuals outside of a window. The pandemic has made me conscious of small pleasures, but I am not as contemplative as I would like to be. “Window” is a gentle call to be absolutely present in the same way we are supposed to meditate. So many times we fill rooms with music and banter. I think we should heed Depeche Mode by enjoying the silence. There is beauty in silence because it is never really silent. It moves, ebbs and flows like falling leaves or lapping waves.

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In “Asking for the Moon,” beautiful kinetic poetry emerges in the form of haiku. It is powerful because certain words overlap previous text in a continuum. The main theme of the piece focuses on showing the disparity between vacationers in Waikiki and those who are on call all of the time to make sure the tourists have a great, comfortable time. Although I am a good tipper, I haven’t always thought about what makes a hotel run, especially at night and even while vacationers sleep. How many times have I stopped to think what hotel workers’ lives are like, the constant hustle in which they are immersed?

I did get a strong sense of the separation of travelers from hotel staff, etc. when I visited Palm Beach, Florida in college. I was incensed to know that all of the workers were made to live in West Palm Beach, the less tonier side of town!

This piece encourages me to rip a gauze-like veil from my eyes and view things clearly. I loved the poetry as well as the use of turquoise blue in the interface. I’ve never been to Hawaii, but I imagine that the crew works all day and night to satisfy all visitors’ needs. I do not denigrate generating money through tourism dollars (that is necessary), but it is important to understand that there are real people behind the agenda of making sure you have a good time.

Thesis Update 10/1/2020

It took me some time to sit down and get going on furthering my thesis project this week as I had work in other classes that needed to be done.  With that being said, I feel as though I am staying right on track with where I want to take my project.  Once again, I do not want to go too far into the specifics of it all, but I will let everyone know what my process looked like this week.  I actually took some time to continue developing the main character of my story, Kirk Ramsey.  For those of you who have gotten a chance to read the work I posted within my blog last week, you know that this character is something that I have taken time to develop and am feeling closer and closer to him everyday that I spend working on this project.  For me, the biggest thing is making sure the kind nature of my character gets across to the people that may one day decide to read this piece of work that I am putting together.  How I did that this week was thinking back to how I came up with the character in the first place.  It really is a reflection of me in many ways (not necessarily the kindness part.)  Rather, more to do with the way that he keeps to himself.  So, with this in mind, I felt it necessary to do some writing exercises to solicit what I mean.  I approached this by thinking about how I am one to keep to myself and keep myself closed off from others.  I would not say it is my best quality, but I am definitely someone who does not divulge too much of my personal life or struggles to others.  In Kirk, I want to accentuate that feeling, and make sure the reader can see him for how good of a person he is while also being able to recognize the flaws that he may have.  In doing this, I am hoping to make his story compelling and one where the reader feels as though they are cheering for him the entire time.  As my story is built on the “wrong place at the wrong time” kind of scenario, I looked to a book I read in my childhood, Holes.  I, of course, did not have enough time to read the book, so I did the next best thing and watched the film based on it.  In this piece, the protagonist, Stanley Yelnats is a law abiding citizen, and is the victim of his own family’s bad luck and misfortune.  Through the entire film, Stanley never really waivers, or feels bad for himself even though the circumstances are not fair and certainly not his fault.  That is the kind of resilience I foresee with my character in this book.  For the sake of the story as a whole, it is important that he comes across this way to me, as I want the reader to see his pain and feel his struggle as that kind of relatability is paramount for the progression of the story and the Kirk Ramsey character.  

I also spent limited time looking up information about the place that I am setting to be the hometown of Kirk, which is Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Oddly enough, the inspiration for this being his hometown is also kind near to me.  For those of you who do not know, during the spring semester, my entire family, including myself, caught the coronavirus.  I was in my bed for two weeks, as was the rest of my family.  While I spent those two weeks without a sense of taste or smell, agonizing body aches, and a fever consistently at 104 degrees, there was a song (one of my favorite country songs,) “Callin’ Baton Rouge” by Garth Brooks that I played on repeat from my google home in my room as I was waiting to feel better.  It was constantly playing this song on repeat that I decided to incorporate the city in which the song is named for into my story.  I know it sounds weird, but because of this, I feel a deep connection to that song.  With all of that being said, I did light research into the city, and even spoke with one of my closest friend’s mothers, as she is a native of New Orleans (not Baton Rouge, but she can still speak to what Louisiana is like.)  I found some information from my chats with her combined with my own research that I plan using to make sure that his character stays consistent with someone that might have come from that area.

This project is becoming more and more a part of me with every activity I do that relates to it and I am going to push on to keep the momentum going. 

Thesis Update 10/1/2020

It took me some time to sit down and get going on furthering my thesis project this week as I had work in other classes that needed to be done.  With that being said, I feel as though I am staying right on track with where I want to take my project.  Once again, I do not want to go too far into the specifics of it all, but I will let everyone know what my process looked like this week.  I actually took some time to continue developing the main character of my story, Kirk Ramsey.  For those of you who have gotten a chance to read the work I posted within my blog last week, you know that this character is something that I have taken time to develop and am feeling closer and closer to him everyday that I spend working on this project.  For me, the biggest thing is making sure the kind nature of my character gets across to the people that may one day decide to read this piece of work that I am putting together.  How I did that this week was thinking back to how I came up with the character in the first place.  It really is a reflection of me in many ways (not necessarily the kindness part.)  Rather, more to do with the way that he keeps to himself.  So, with this in mind, I felt it necessary to do some writing exercises to solicit what I mean.  I approached this by thinking about how I am one to keep to myself and keep myself closed off from others.  I would not say it is my best quality, but I am definitely someone who does not divulge too much of my personal life or struggles to others.  In Kirk, I want to accentuate that feeling, and make sure the reader can see him for how good of a person he is while also being able to recognize the flaws that he may have.  In doing this, I am hoping to make his story compelling and one where the reader feels as though they are cheering for him the entire time.  As my story is built on the “wrong place at the wrong time” kind of scenario, I looked to a book I read in my childhood, Holes.  I, of course, did not have enough time to read the book, so I did the next best thing and watched the film based on it.  In this piece, the protagonist, Stanley Yelnats is a law abiding citizen, and is the victim of his own family’s bad luck and misfortune.  Through the entire film, Stanley never really waivers, or feels bad for himself even though the circumstances are not fair and certainly not his fault.  That is the kind of resilience I foresee with my character in this book.  For the sake of the story as a whole, it is important that he comes across this way to me, as I want the reader to see his pain and feel his struggle as that kind of relatability is paramount for the progression of the story and the Kirk Ramsey character.  

I also spent limited time looking up information about the place that I am setting to be the hometown of Kirk, which is Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Oddly enough, the inspiration for this being his hometown is also kind near to me.  For those of you who do not know, during the spring semester, my entire family, including myself, caught the coronavirus.  I was in my bed for two weeks, as was the rest of my family.  While I spent those two weeks without a sense of taste or smell, agonizing body aches, and a fever consistently at 104 degrees, there was a song (one of my favorite country songs,) “Callin’ Baton Rouge” by Garth Brooks that I played on repeat from my google home in my room as I was waiting to feel better.  It was constantly playing this song on repeat that I decided to incorporate the city in which the song is named for into my story.  I know it sounds weird, but because of this, I feel a deep connection to that song.  With all of that being said, I did light research into the city, and even spoke with one of my closest friend’s mothers, as she is a native of New Orleans (not Baton Rouge, but she can still speak to what Louisiana is like.)  I found some information from my chats with her combined with my own research that I plan using to make sure that his character stays consistent with someone that might have come from that area.

This project is becoming more and more a part of me with every activity I do that relates to it and I am going to push on to keep the momentum going.