The Conservationist

"Fame gets mistaken for intellect, which is dangerous." - Sarah Crow, Journalist.

It's all I have left to add about the previous post [actually, if new, interesting links become available, more might added], an old quote from a friend that I kept in the back of my mind the past couple of days. It has helped me to keep perspective while in territory I am not yet equipped for, or entirely comfortable in. But it was also interesting, to crawl into something like this, and while I don't really feel "out" of it yet, there is a general feeling in the air, as if the winds have shifted, and now the people who are supposed to be helping one another are now sniping, respectfully, and what I mean by that is that they're at least prefacing everything "with all do respect." I guess in a way, the whole thing is about people who are supposed to be on the same side trying to remind each other of that.

Of course, there is a lot more to it than all of that too.

I haven't written much. It is a bit of a madhouse here, as my Uncle and cousin from Louisiana have come to visit, and all the proper planning and preparation we've put in sort of... you know, unravels as those thing do. It is always good to see long-absent family, but their company is always a little jarring. What I mean by that has nothing to do with their behavior, or decorum -- quite the opposite, they are wonderfully polite and some of the best house guests you could hope for. But my cousin's voice is just a little too much like my aunt's, his mother, who passed away while I was in college.

She was a wonderful woman. Her name was Diane, and we were not blood related, as she was my grandfather's daughter, and my grandfather was actually my step-grandfather, though that seems wrong when I think it, and my fingers go a little stupid when I try to type it. My maternal grandfather, my Dad's dad, if you will, was basically a hermit, a man who lived far away, and on his own, and seemed to prefer his TV Guide and his cabin the woods to his family's company. And I could understand that. But Diane! She was always so kind to me, so willing to engage me in my "adult conversations" -- little Randall using words too big for his mouth, talking about things so far outside his scope.

Things don't change.

But she was always a visitor, like her son and husband this weekend, and when she died, I was in Vermont, huddled down for the winter and not all that concerned with anything but myself, my own little world that went not much farther than the dorm, and only outside of it when I had to go to class, or for pizza. Or on one of those long, lonely walks. And since she was always a visitor, a holiday caller, someone who "away" was a fairly common way of being in my mind... her dying never struck me quite as heavily as it should have. She was just away. And one day, she'd visit again.

Her boy is now hardly a boy, more of a man, though that's a title I have trouble even giving to myself, let alone someone x many years younger than me. And he sounds... so much like her, and it is such a strong, hard reminder that she is gone, that she will not be visiting again. That there will be no more adult conversations with her, now that I am actually an...

Well, I told you. I have trouble with that.

Still, it's a good feeling, hearing him, remembering her. Bittersweet. Kind of like... a tenderness, a soreness, a sensitivity. A pain that you know if you can just work out, it'll be better, stronger. You'll remember the sensation fondly, as healing. The process of getting better. Fitting too, that they're here -- it feels like, when I'd see her, I'd always see her at Christmas. And it's a wonderful time to have a house full of people.

Sometimes I feel like I get too personal here. And sometimes I kick myself for not being able to turn these feelings into something, like they're reservoirs of raw material, but have no idea how to forge them into iron or steel. And then I get all Environ-mentalist, feeling guilty for mining these memories, stripping down my sentimentality for selfish aims. Is there a more selfish pursuit than the written word? They're all picketing me, you know. Making signs, and chaining themselves to drills and bulldozers. Rallying cries to conserve.

I like this. Don't ever let me tell you different. This is stretching to me - I am the immodest, athletic beauty who decides among friends it's okay to cartwheel in her sun dress; the fighter who, shirtless in the lamplight, finds in his shadow the perfect momentary opponent.

For modesty's sake, it might be best to stop myself. Besides, there are people out there actually doing things. Take Zoe Chevat, for instance, animation student extraordinaire, who has new sketches for her thesis film up over on her blog. She has this stylized bleed going on in them that's just driving me wild, definitely suggest you go check them out.

And then, brand new to the internet, Dave Baker [one half of the Modern Mythology crew], has started his own webcomic, "Strangeways." I'm really excited for this project, really excited that Dave's getting started on it, as last time we talked it seemed like it was still sort of off in the future. But the future comes quickly, so I suggest you bookmark, or stick it in your RSS reader, and check back regularly. Not sure what his posting schedule is going to be, so I'd visit regularly to keep from missing new pages.

Finally, unrelated to anything, just because I've linked it everywhere else today, and am absolutely taken with it, has a video up of Kathleen Hanna in the NYC venue Joe's Pub, talking about the 90s, and explaining/covering Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Plus, we get just a little bit of "Rebel Girl." Enjoy.

P.S. I did end up adding more links to my previous post, and more yet may be added.

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