I’ve been having insurmountable problems revising “Switch” and then working on it in Word. Maybe when my helper returns from vacation she can help me get the knack but for now I’m just wiping out what I’ve done on Switch and just writing it on Word.
Sometimes I file long newsy letters in my journals, so I won’t forget, but it didn’t work this time. While clearing the path for the carpet man, I just unearthed a “newsy” letter from my notebook from about 1980:
I just returned from a week in Atlanta where I attended a Rorschach workshop by Exner. For most of the week I “house sat” in Patricia’s new solar home. Though the burglar alarm was turned off, it hummed when I passed strategic points in the house, and the first night her son called to say he’d found a stone near the front door and did I want him to come over and stay and/or cut on the burglar alarm. It seems all the neighbors used to park on the vacant lot that is now her property, and they’re mad at her for building there. The last night I stayed there, after Patricia had returned from a trip to the Grand Cayman Islands, there was a little excitement. The neighbor who shares the driveway with her refused to move his cars and Patricia called the police who said they couldn’t interfere with a civil dispute. They did not drive away, however, and were there in the shadows when the man (an explosive personality) pushed Patricia’s car into the street. I woke up to hear a man’s voice in the front of the house (inside) with Patricia and I crept to the door to see if he was holding a gun on her, and if I needed to burst into the room to save her. It was only the police, who had returned….The Exner workshop was from 8 am til about 5:30 p.m., with about 3 hors homework each night. I fell asleep doing it every night and woke at 5 a.m. to finish it….Phyllis, thanks for trying to take me to the Three Penny Opera the last night; I overheard the invitation on Patricia’s recorder about 11:30 the night of the police visit. I think it was adjacent to a recording of the neighbor threatening to total her car, or something….Mandy and I left Atlanta about 2 p.m. Thursday, arriving in Gallipolis about 1 a.m. Mandy kept asking why I was sticking my head out the window and slapping my cheeks. That was the condition I arrived home in, to discover my cat sitter had not left the key to the house under the door mat.
I propped a concrete block on end, lifted the storm window carefully, reached in and moved a lamp to the floor and, trying not to knock the television off the marble-topped dresser, I edged in the high window on my belly, as the storm window kept falling down on my ankles, then legs, then thighs–no, the other order–all the while the black cat, happy to see me, was rubbing assertively against my face, as animals do when the rubbing scratches their fleas. What an unbelievable homecoming. (Is it any wonder I had forgotten it?) It would probably have been more traumatic if I hadn’t been mostly asleep.
Thanks to the suggestion of some of you I took Mandy and my mother to see Never Cry Wolf today. Perhaps I was still a little contankerous, because my mother wanted an extra cup to put the popcorn kernels she couldn’t chew up in, and they said it would cost as much as a drink. I irritably said she would have to spit the kernels on the floor, then, and I hope she did.
NOTE FOR JOURNALERS: See how useful journaling daily can be…or not?
What does it mean that we can fuss
over protons being two places at once
when millions are starving and homeless?
Has our brainpower overshot its mark?
We could speak of kinship preferences
if we were taking care of our own
but I include myself in those who
worry about how trees can hear.
Or spend time wondering if the protons
who don’t do their thing if observed
would behave the same stubborn way
if the observer were a dog or baboon.
Could our brains be too big for our britches?
When I was in graduate school my professor Morgan Worthy Ph.D. published a book on creativity. If my memory doesn’t fail me, it was called Aha! Tonight while readying for the carpet installers, I came across a page from it and thought I’d share:
Flexible thinking aids creativity:
___1.Catch at A. Saying grace
___2.Jet set B. Roll call
___3.Seven come eleven C. Persian conversing with Siamese
___4.No tab sent D. Quick hatch
___5.Name dropping in Monaco E. Present
___1.Out and out A. Of flight
___2.Monologue B. Bourbon Street
___3.Parallel bars C. Solid state…………I can’t figure this one out
___4.Hashed D. Double play
___5.Lenient sentence E. Fun house
___1.Snow bank A. Trust company
___2.Rear view B. In an atomic nightmare
___3.For altogether C. She has a good voice
___4.Fall outfits D. Book by Dr. Spock
___5. Put out the best silver E. Get loan without collateral
___1.Fighter plane A. Whistle
___2.Banker B. Hopefully not horizontal
___3.Refuses C. Fancy Pool shooter
___4.Electrical inspector D. Circuit judge
___5.Bullet E. Article in magazine
When you have finished, make up your five:
The following was written by me 62 years ago. I’ve been going through old stuff prior to having a new carpet installed, and came across this. I had sent it to the editor of a children’s magazine and it was rejected with a concern for children’s castration fears!
One time there was a little lad
who cried because he was so sad.
Don’t you dare call him a sissy,
My little Mister and Missy!
Because you would cry, too, I’ll bet
If, looking very close, you met
Yourself waving, in the mirror,
A doggie’s tail, covered with fur!
That’s just why this dear little boy,
Looking at it, lost all his joy.
He knew people would laugh and shout
When his doggie tail waved about.
He cried, “Oh, Mommy! Cut it off!
I’ll have no doggie tail, by troth!”
His mother opened her eyes wide
And smiled when she his tail espied.
“Why, cut off your lovely dog tail?
Indeed, you make my old heart fail!
No other boy can e’re maintain
Such a nice royal, shaggy train!”
The boy stood straight and laughed aloud;
He stroked the tail and looked real proud.
Said he, “Yes! I can use it for
Climbing up our old Sycamore!”
And whenever someone laughed at him,
He smiled a small pitying grin–
As if to say “You poor, poor boy,
You have no dog tail to bring joy!”
And later on the tail dropped off–
(He sneezed and coughed a too-big cough)
And you know, I really believe
He was sorry the tail did leave!
Sounds carry. Tucked asleep into my first berth,
I have no ticket to ride, no known destination.
Black-capped conductors, uniformed and faceless,
pass silently all night down darkened aisles.
The gentle jostling of the carrier and its faraway
howling are fast becoming deja vus.
Baby has a mouse in her mouth, but leave it.
She may need the protein.
Sprouting myelin sheaths encoding both
memories of dreams and dreams of memories
pulse in concatenation with the tempo
of the great clickety clacking conveyor.
Faces of inaccessible passengers
flash past on other lines, here and near, then gone.
Zhivago futilely bangs on the window
for Lara’s attention, then terminal separation.
Nan Mykel 9-7-09
THE WEED’S SONG
I am a weed
of common breed
I pop up in
beside John Quills
and Daffy Dills,
shamelessly uninvited guest
forever taken by the quest
of brand new beds
for my many heads.
In short–or tall,
Or, contrary weed
of specious breed,
Nan Mykel previously published in Grab-a-Nickel 2004
It is not because I am filled with obscure guilt that I step gently over, and not upon, an autumn cricket. It is not because of guilt that I refuse to shoot the last osprey from her nest in the tide marsh. I posses empathy; I have grown with man in his mind’s growing. I share that sympathy and compassion which extends beyond the barriers of class and race and form until it partakes of the universal whole. I am not ashamed to profess this emotion, nor will I call it a pathology. Only through this experience many times repeated and enhanced does man become truly human. Only then will his gun arm be forever lowered–“The Lost Notebooks.”
http://www.theguardian.com › Environment › Conservation
Stefano Marcuso, author of Brilliant Green, joined with Elizabeth Van Volkenburgh, an American plant biologist, Rainer Stahlberg, a German plant photobiologist, Eric D. Brenner, an American plant molecular biologist and František Baluška, a Slovak cell biologist to publish an article in 2006, Trends in Plant Science.
The authors contended that ‘the behaviour that plants exhibit is coordinated across the whole organism by some form of integrated signalling, communication and response system … [which] includes long-distance electrical signals, vesicle-mediated transport of auxin in specialised vascular tissues, and the production of chemicals known to be neuronal in animals’.
Michael Pollan, who wrote an article in the New Yorker in Dec. 23, 2013, says for the longest time, even mentioning the idea that plants could be intelligent was a quick way to being labeled “a whacko.” But no more, which might be comforting to people who have long talked to their plants or played music for them.
The new research, he says, is in a field called plant neurobiology — which is something of a misnomer, because even scientists in the field don’t argue that plants have neurons or brains.
“They have analagous structures,” Pollan explains. “They have ways of taking all the sensory data they gather in their everyday lives … integrate it and then behave in an appropriate way in response. And they do this without brains, which, in a way, is what’s incredible about it, because we automatically assume you need a brain to process information.”
And we assume you need ears to hear. But researchers, says Pollan, have played a recording of a caterpillar munching on a leaf to plants — and the plants react. They begin to secrete defensive chemicals — even though the plant isn’t really threatened, Pollan says. “It is somehow hearing what is, to it, a terrifying sound of a caterpillar munching on its leaves.”
Pollan says plants have all the same senses as humans, and then some. In addition to hearing, taste, for example, they can sense gravity, the presence of water, or even feel that an obstruction is in the way of its roots, before coming into contact with it. Plant roots will shift direction, he says, to avoid obstacles.
So what about pain? Do plants feel? Pollan says they do respond to anesthetics. “You can put a plant out with a human anesthetic. … And not only that, plants produce their own compounds that are anesthetic to us.” But scientists are reluctant to go as far as to say they are responding to pain.
How plants sense and react is still somewhat unknown. They don’t have nerve cells like humans, but they do have a system for sending electrical signals and even produce neurotransmitters, like dopamine, serotonin and other chemicals the human brain uses to send signals.
“We don’t know why they have them, whether this was just conserved through evolution or if it performs some sort of information processing function. We don’t know. There’s a lot we don’t know,” Pollan says.
And chalk up another human-like ability — memory….
Pollan describes an experiment done by animal biologist Monica Gagliano. She presented research that suggests the mimosa pudica plant can learn from experience. And, Pollan says, merely suggesting a plant could learn was so controversial that her paper was rejected by 10 scientific journals before it was finally published.
Some of these plant neurobiologists believe that plants are conscious — not self-conscious, but conscious in the sense they know where they are in space … and react appropriately to their position in space.” www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/12/23/the-intelligent-plan
We always thought her meek and mild
until the day that she went wild
and fell in love with an antique Greek,
or should I say a Greek antique?
She gave a moan and then a shriek
that echoed through the whole boutique
and without a pause
with hands like claws
she clasped him to her ample bust,
moved not by piety I think but lust.
As a matter of fact he was scantily clad
and to tell the truth I think she was glad.