a printer printing out pages

Printing out a chapter for added scrutiny.

Wet, wet, wet. But not cold. The rain is supposed to taper off today, and not a moment too soon. Puddles back by the garage that normally sink into the ground are lolly-gagging on top of the surface. The ground is just too saturated to absorb the water very quickly.

I went to the dump, which was more necessary than I thought it would be. Arlene has been cleaning out the barn, and she brought a bunch of rubbish (there it is again–the word!) that had been collecting. So the pile was actually quite high. We also had a lot of recycling. I think the last time I went was before Christmas, so I guess that’s about right.

I got home only to discover that I was locked out, having left my house keys on the kitchen table. Arlene had gone to the barn and locked up. So I headed over to the barn to fetch keys and got looped into barn chores. Moving bags of feed and forage. Observing the Making Of The Beet Pulp. And other rather enjoyable barn activities.

I went down to find Arlene when I got to the barn. She and Maud were making the rounds to the horses in the little runabout vehicle that all the farms have to make chores a little easier. They asked me if I wanted a ride back to the barn, and I told them no. I wanted to see Jack and take a few pictures. The pasture is soggy wet, and the area up by the gate near the feed stand is a mucky mess. The horses don’t mind, it seems. Jack and a buddy are the only ones in the pasture. Jack of course knew me and greeted me. I got some good pictures of him, despite the ugliness of the area in the wet. His eyes–no, pretty much all horses’ eyes–are intriguing and intelligent. They seem to know you and acknowledge you.

Even in the mucky-muck wet of the pasture, Jack is magnificent. I took a few more pictures of the interesting horse nameplates, and I talked with Maud a little about her mother. She was an artist, and Maud said that the nameplates were her “fun thing.” Her primary work was stone sculpture, much of which Maud fears has been lost over time.

My occupation with writing that’s been so productive yesterday continued today, though at the expense of getting photographs. I’ve toyed with the idea of creating a “Bernadette-O-Meter” that would quantify my photo-taking and photo-choosing against the Bernadette Mayer standard of thirty-six pictures a day. I’m afraid I’m not up to standard, Bernadette. I think that might actually be a fun thing to do, and it might even be something that could be more broadly applied as a social media measure. I’m thinking Instagram, especially. People might be contributing at a “Two-Bernadette” level, or something. But, then, I guess those people only live on Instagram and don’t have a life otherwise. I actually think that’s an issue that we haven’t directly addressed: can one actually live as (not just on) social media? Some people couldn’t tell the difference between life and social media participation, I bet.

Anyway, I printed out the glamour chapter midday, since I think it’s due the special green ink treatment that I do when I read and revise a printed page. So far, the chapter is forty-five pages, plus notes. It needs a good cut, and the last sections are either moves from previous drafts or writing experiments and doodles that may or may not have a place in the chapter that I’ve got going. Through the writing I’ve come to discover some things about the Jaguar E-type and its place as an “icon of the sixties.” The construction of icon status for the car was done, I think, some time after the car came out, and it seems to me it didn’t rely much on the efforts of the “Jaguar advertising men” (as one car writer called them). The glamour associated with the car rubbed off, so to speak, and became part of the cultural patina of the vehicle. Eventually the car itself transformed into a glamorous object, and I think that was the key element for its status as an icon, and the enchantment that follows.

Writing does unveil, and I think the chapter will come together, though right now it feels rather bulbous.

Six (or was it seven?) eggs today, but that counted from yesterday, too. I didn’t want to shoo the chickens from their spots in the coop yesterday midday. The eggs were easy to fetch today.

In spite of the wet, it was a nice day. I recall what Arlene said a couple days ago: “There’s much less stress.” I was constantly stressed about work, not in an overwhelming or dramatic fashion or even particularly unpleasant for me. But the responsibility was always present, email was always waiting to be checked–and was checked and handled. That burden has been lifted, and I didn’t realize how much of a burden it actually was, both for me and for Arlene.

In the evening, I started the “work and mastery” chapter for the book. The topic has been on my mind, and it’s very much a blob needing some significant shaping. The last time I touched a document relating to that was January 15, 2019–just over two years ago. The sources I’ve been collecting are much, much more recent, since the issue of work is constantly bubbling, especially now that the pandemic has changed so many rules, and automation seems to be more pressing.