Lacuna by C. David Russell and Mateo Galvano. Entering the Liminal.

I always enjoy CURRENTS NEW MEDIA at El Museo in Santa Fe–it’s innovative video and technology in a cavernous warehouse space out of the summer heat and right in my own neighborhood. This year I particularly wanted to see the piece Lacuna by C. David Russell and Mateo Galvano. I stood at its entrance, calmed by an oceanic projection on white.

I almost missed that it was an entry way into a cube, until I followed the pathway in. Both artists were interviewed and respond here–giving another layer of appreciation for the piece.

Miriam Sagan: What is the theme/concept?

Mateo Galvano: Lacuna is a gap or a hollowed out space, or it could be missing or lost parts in a literary work. A number of elements in the installation point to the theme of a physical gap, sometimes under the earth, or underneath reality. In the film that features the Bramble Puppet, the creature comes from some place in between realities. He digs in the ground and peels away the layers to find a hollowed out area, a blue-lit cave, seeming to reveal a space that is there all along if only we know how to look and listen for it.

In the installation, the viewer moves through the environment as the silk both obscures and reveals the work, depending upon the position of the viewer in the space. Films are projected upon the silk, depicting realities in another time and space. In the Water film, which is projected onto the outside wall of one side of the work, layers of clouds filmed from above, and water from various sources, are superimposed and montaged together. The image is otherworldly and suggests the notion that reality is layered and turned upside down. There are alternative perspectives if we observe the patterns of nature. The many layers, both formal and conceptual, provide the possibility of gaps to occur between the layers. Gaps of mystery or absence or longing. The idea is that these voids may contain potentialities for something new, regenerative, or valuable in some way.

It seems as if both David and I, in our individual creative practices, have been working with themes of the liminal or the idea of absence or even loss, for a number of years. So it is not surprising that this work came about and that we chose the word Lacuna as a title and as a concept to circle around. It’s a mysterious, lovely word that felt right as a title, something with questions in it.

The Bramble Puppet finds the lifeless flowers underground, and enacts a ceremony, poking them up through the ground to the world above. He climbs up to observe his cheerful work, and moves one of the flowers to another place. He seems to cherish it before planting it. The viewer might wonder if perhaps the Bramble Puppet is bringing beauty into the world, bringing innocence, transforming a potentiality into a reality, creating opportunities? It’s like he takes nothing and makes something out of it. He reminds us that sometimes all that is necessary to find the beauty of a situation is to shift the point of view. Turn the problem inside out and find your way in through the underbelly.

It is in the unknown, in the spaces of the magical, that possibilities for redemption and healing can grow.

Miriam Sagan: What inspired you?

C. David Russell: I started a series of meditative drawings in which I breathed into each one and let the image flow. What came from those drawings were fractal like figures that were both there and not there, only coming into formation. These drawings, entitled Breaths, led me to want to see if I could bring them into a 3 dimensional form and maintain the wispy ethereal qualities.

In addition, I did a 16-day residency with the New England Puppet Intensive in summer 2018; during that time I brainstormed about materials and techniques on how to sculpt the drawings. I also created the Bramble Puppet. The figure was made of sticks, wire and leather. The quality of the line in the figure had a relationship to the breath drawings but was a bit more corporeal.

I worked with the Bramble Puppet during the intensive. I learned about four principals of puppetry, the first one being breath, second fixed point, third focus and finally articulation. After the intensive I wanted to see what other possibilities the Bramble Puppet had. This led me to the idea of doing a stop-motion animated film where I would be challenged to maintain the life-like quality and the four principals of puppetry and to carry that over into the context of the digital format. I was curious to see if the Bramble Puppet would achieve the same degree of emotional connection that was strikingly evident in the live puppetry.

Mateo Galvano: We were inspired by the Bramble Puppet himself. David had created the creature from sticks while a resident at the New England Puppet Intensive in Massachusetts in 2018, and felt motivated to create a stop-motion animation film featuring the puppet. The puppet lent itself to stories, in part because of David’s skillful handling of the object. We brainstormed a narrative and David spent many hours filming to create the Bramble Puppet film.

We’ve been inspired by Currents New Media for a number of years and finally had some ideas of putting together a collaborative effort for the 2019 Festival.

Miriam Sagan: How did the collaboration work?

C. David Russell: We chose elements that had originated in our personal practice and decided which to develop as part of the project and then bounced ideas back and forth as we made sketches and had many discussions about what created meaning. After each step we looked at the work together to offer observations and feedback to each other.

Mateo Galvano: Even before the Bramble Puppet and the idea of a film about him came about, we each had several elements that we felt would fit together nicely and speak to each other in an installation format. Among other projects, David had been envisioning making a series of sculptures based on the Breaths drawings he had created and exhibited several years ago. The Breaths drawings were made from an urge to discuss the spaces between one breath and the next, and the possibilities in between those spaces. The drawings feature abstract, spindly, feathery, elongated beings, rendered in graphite and hints of colored pencil. Eventually David began making the sculptural version of the Breaths out of wire, fabric, and neoprene rubber forms he had cast and painted. He added strings, beads, paint, glue, leather, found objects, industrial materials and dyed fabric to create a group of sculptures for Lacuna. We talked about their presence in the piece as a kind of silent chorus. Also, they were congregants at a watering hole, witnessing the morning at the brightening of dawn. Perhaps they were animals or spirits or deities. Some of them resemble burnt out, white-encrusted, floating driftwood from some celestial tree.

I wanted to include experimental sound recordings I had made in which I incorporate my voice and indecipherable words into ambient soundscapes. We tried some things I had developed earlier but decided, in the eleventh hour, weeks before the opening of the festival, that I needed to make a new sound composition. The results were successful, and we felt that the sound helped to unify or tie together all the components of the installation.

As we continued to conceive of the piece, it seemed important to allow the Bramble film to take precedence. There was an anchoring effect to the narrative arc in the film, and the Bramble Puppet mesmerized us. David put so many hours into the film, and we workshopped it, with David needing to re-shoot parts of the film when necessary. We were willing to let go of my Water film or to forego sculptural or audio elements of the installation if they in some way reduced the experience of the Bramble film. However, in the end, all these components we had brought to the table were able to work together nicely in the space we had created. There was a harmony in the way our separate contributions and approaches came together.

So, included in the piece was the Bramble Puppet film and my Water Film. We used my cast plaster leaves and David added a lighting device to truly enhance the collaboratively wrought sculptural element that became The Well. We positioned David’s group of Breaths Sculptures above The Well and used my Lacuna Soundscape in a hidden speaker system behind the silk wall. All of this was placed into or onto the white Silk Cube.

Miriam Sagan: Does the piece have any secrets? A thresh hold?

C. David Russell: In my research as a professor, I have been exploring the concept of the liminal in the theater and theatrical design. I see this entire project, Lacuna, as an exploration of this research. Here are some of my notes on Liminality :
In my ongoing, current research, I am exploring characteristics of liminality in Scenography and performing objects as it relates to the ritualistic and aesthetic aspects of performance and the use of space.

The word liminal is from Latin, meaning ‘threshold,’ and refers to a transitional state or a position occupied on both sides of a boundary. Trails, tunnels, roadways, treetops, balconies, alcoves, and rivers are crucial factors in my work. Doors are full of potentialities and are often cruxes of tension. Scenic designs I have devised consist of dynamic pathways of action; the ground plan is the essential basis of the design and delineates the universe of the piece, the essential boundary. When players cross the threshold from the back stage onto the set, they enter the world of the play. The design guides the performers though the narrative.
The audience exists in a place that is both within and outside of everyday life. The notion of the suspension of disbelief is often used to describe the theatrical experience; in order for suspension of disbelief to be successful, viewers as well as performers must accept the underlying scenographic cues. My work is to provide poetic images that help facilitate this process.
The liminal contains aspects of both wonder and peril. In the ancient mystical Tarot, the Fool is blissfully unaware he is poised to step off the edge of a precipice.

The Bramble Puppet is a still from the video. All other images thanks to Tasha Ostrander

What’s New With Maternal Mitochondria

I think it has taken me longer than I’d expected to adjust to being back from Japan. Sort of culture shock the other way. It was hard to let go of the combo of focus and stimulation that made each tiny bit of life fresh and exciting.
But life goes on! Isabel and I were so happy to get back to our home studio practice. We even cleaned the studio! We’ve been working on collage as a meditative technique, and on writing more renga. We also have some BIG suminagashi trays to try out.
And we now have a website. Check us out at
And we ordered business cards (after perhaps a bit more discussion than needed about if we are a “collective,” or “collaborating” or whatever.)
We have a lot of work lined up. Keep a look out for a suminagashi workshop happening in May at the Japan festival, a poetry/suminagashi community installation piece coming to the Railyard Park this summer, and a permanent interactive sculpture at a local business. We’re going to be busy!
“You’re anxious about all this,” Iz said. And I am. I was anxious in Japan, too. Could we get our installation to work, and on time? How can I put up 2-3 pieces in the fall AND go to be in residence at Agate National Monument in Nebraska? But I realized–my fear tells me I care. It tells me I’m on unknown turf and am going to make mistakes. And something beautiful.

Steve Peters on a Shift in Creativity

I’ve long admired Steve Peters as a composer and sound installation artist. In response to my piece on process he noted an interesting twist in his own.
Steve wrote: Last year I was doing a residency in France and made a bunch of these drawings with crushed flower petals – really fast, no forethought. some were lousy, most weren’t. fun and liberating to work that way. so different than my usual long, painstaking process.


At the time he noted: “Having fun making these little improvised gesture drawings/finger paintings/rubbings/somethings. All are 4″x6″ and were made in less than 1 minute using only flower petals crushed directly onto the paper with my fingers. One kind of flower per.”


Quite a wonderful idea–I’m delighted to share it.

Poetic Process by Miriam Sagan

Poetic process isn’t always easy to engage with, no matter how long you’ve been writing. Mine changed in startling and unlooked for ways in the past year—and surprisingly it took me quite a while to notice.
Last October I was at Wildacres in the Smokies, working with my daughter Isabel Winson-Sagan. She taught me to do suminagashi—Japanese style marbling, which works as a kind of mono print of ink on water. In the week there, we worked at full throttle. I wore all the poems that appear in our collaborative book Spilled Ink.
Then, I didn’t write another poem for five months. This is unusual, as I try to write about 8 poems a month—even if they are bad, or off the cuff haiku that don’t quite work. I like to keep warmed up.
Instead, I was working on a novel, The Future Tense of River, entranced by the fun and difficulty of getting the first draft underway. I started another project, 100 CUPS OF COFFEE, a mix of poetry and prose, but the poetry was diary-like, not meant to stand alone.
In the spring, I had a horrifying “oops” moment. I wasn’t writing poetry. I was as startled as if I’d suddenly realized I hadn’t brushed my teeth in five months.
Experience has taught me not to panic about writing, so I figured—hey, just write some poems. I started, and these poems were really different. They were long and skinny (a form I’d been soundly criticized for as a Freshman in college and have avoided since.) They had no capital letters—something I usually think ill of. And they had very little punctuation. This last bit I’ve had to re-think, as editors keep asking for it.
They feel fast, impressionist, associative. They need one solid pass or draft. If that doesn’t work, they don’t seem revisable, I just throw them out. I can do detail edit, but the shape is fixed for good or ill by the first draft.
It’s kind of scary, but they seem to work just like mono printing or suminagashi.
I don’t know what to call them, but I’m writing a lot. And publishing. Editors seem to really like them, and most acceptances are coming in batches. Sometimes the poems cluster, or seem to make one larger poem. They might be a sequence, a book, or something else completely.

Here is an excerpt from a group just published in Apricity—a lovely e-zine.

the red neon SANTA FE
on the top of the Gothic Revival
railway building
across from my hotel room
on a rainy night in
Amarillo, Texas—
my love for you is pure,
an unusual
thing in this world,
and I’m perfectly happy
with you in my bed,
and although
the news of another poet’s
fame made me jealous
I count myself lucky
to not be translating
out of my native tongue.

Check out the rest at

And do explore the magazine— They are reading submissions and emphasize the visual arts, as you can see here:


Retirement, Death, and Art

I’m retiring. In one manner of speaking. What does that mean to me, and in today’s world? The main reason I can say I’m retiring is that I am leaving my academic job and drawing the pension that comes with it. And—thanks to the New Deal—I can go on Social Security. I’m sixty-two, old enough to leave the world of work, and what…
Many folks would now say “follow my dreams.” But that doesn’t apply to me. At the age of 21, I walked out of the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston missing a lung and a chunk of my thorax. I almost died, an experience that changed my perspective then and there. I followed my dreams. I dropped out of graduate school, went to San Francisco, studied Zen and massage, and became a writer. I worked as little as possible until I was thirty, squeezing out an inheritance from my grandfather like toothpaste from a parsimonious tube, and lived on ramen noodles.
In Santa Fe, I started to work. I taught in the community, I freelanced for every publication I could network both local and national, and I did some odd slightly off mission things—writing for a seed catalogue, teaching technical writing on line. I started teaching community college as an adjunct, went to half time, full time, three quarters time. I wrote lots of books.
I practiced seeing my work life as integrated with my creative writing—which was mostly true. I followed my dream of engaging creatively with as many people as possible.
Now—something has changed. But it is difficult to pinpoint what.

Here is what I DON’T NEED:

1. More time to write. No thank you! I’m already writing as much as I can. Sure, my novel revision needs focus, but not years of it as a sole priority. I’m not that kind of writer and I have a short attention span.

2. More time to relax. My average day already contains a nap, a movie, a book, embroidery, and cooking an eggplant. Or gardening, the opera, family, and hanging around.

And here is what I DON’T WANT TO DO:

1. Go back to the freelance life, which with luck and management I won’t have to.

2.Home repair. Yup, we still need new cabinets, flagstone, and window insulation. Is it going to be a high priority? I doubt it!

So…what’s up?

Here is what I’m planning. (Yes yes, I know they say in Yiddish—Man proposes, God laughs. But I love to plan. And it clarifies things for me).

1. Continue what is already working. I’m going to teach creative writing on line for SFCC—still. I’m going to stick to the writing regime that has been so rewarding for 40 years—still. I’m still an editor at Tres Chicas books. I’ll still be on the gig doing workshops and readings. All together, this is my literary life, and I love it.

2. Expand the hot spot. Probably the most exciting thing I’ve done in the past few years is collaborate with a young multi-talented artist—who happens to be my daughter Isabel Winson-Sagan. We’ve traveled, done residencies, created books, written grants, and she’s taught me suminagashi, photography, and mono printing. We’re committing to 2017 as our year of collaboration (there may be more) and are tentatively thinking of test driving or prototyping or at least trying all of the many ideas we’ve generated so far.

3. Working with hospice. Ever since I walked out of the B.I. I’ve been pretty obsessed with death. I read an article recently that said that teenagers and very young adults who have clinical near death experiences have the hardest time integrating what happened. No wonder, I was barely formed as a person. The article also noted a huge contradiction that has run much of my own life:

A. A romantic attraction to death as a vast eternity that pulls on the psyche
B. A lot of joie de vivre and a tendency to live for the moment and gather ye rosebuds.

For better or worse, that’s me. Since thinking about death has long been my hobby or obsession—and since I’ve worked off and on since 1984 with the dying—I’m going to plunge in here.Become an official volunteer with local hospice. Do at least one module of a chaplaincy program to investigate. I want to study religion. I want to…we’ll see.

Sure I’ve got bucket list stuff—to see live opera at the NY Met, to get a residency in Japan, to create a public poetry garden. I’m guessing I’ll proceed the way I usually do—lie around mostly in the bathtub and let the visions sort themselves out.

Then plunge in.

Against Creativity by Miriam Sagan

Against Creativity

I’ve been writing seriously since I was 16—and I’m now 62. Most of my professional life, in different settings, has been based on encouraging creativity in others. And yet I find myself today, on the autumn equinox, with some thoughts counter to the norm. I’ve just put up two jars of refrigerator pickles—my newest love—and am roasting an eggplant. And am going to work in about an hour. There are no small children living under my roof—although the neighborhood skunks have been out all night. I’m going to view the issues of creativity in my own first world context, funky though it may be. So, here goes:

Creativity is not more important than anything else. It really isn’t. It isn’t special, or more sacred than the mundane.The hard truth, though, is that it is very difficult to carve an artist’s life out of a materialistic bourgeois one. I don’t believe that family and making a living are opposed to creativity—for women they really can’t be. Everyone has to do dishes and pay bills. It’s how you do it. My advice is to not live high on the hog and then desperately scrabble for a week’s retreat. This continues the division between art and life. Nor do I suggest you create the most gorgeous work space ever. Instead, go for low maintenance. Conversely, a terrible low paying job that drains you most certainly isn’t going to work either. An affordable standard of living, work that makes sense to you, and about 15-20% less investment in buying things, the internet, and other distractions, should work nicely.
The problem is, we don’t want to try this. We want to say—it’s either a hermit’s cabin in the woods for me or working for the man. But that is false dualism. You are creative, right? Make it work for you.

Time is not your problem. The sad truth, which I’ve observed over decades of teaching, is that if you don’t have time now, you probably never will. I know you don’t want to hear this—but explore the idea. Treat your creative pursuit professionally. You are busy, yes. You will probably always be busy. You have to prioritize your writing or painting—not the first thing all the time but very high the majority of the time. You like to read the paper and drink coffee quietly and go for a walk in the morning? Fine. You are a person having a pleasant morning, not an artist. Here again, it isn’t all or nothing. Give that first hour to art five days a week. Take a day off. Details aren’t important part. The central thing to remember is that a relationship with creativity is like that with a person—you have to give to it, continuously.

Art is the pursuit of intimacy with form, subject, and audience. Saying you want to be a writer and then not devoting yourself to it is like getting a partner and then leaving him or her to fend for themselves. That partner is not going to stick around. Be a good spouse to art. Treat art as if it is no more but no less special than anyone you love. The Muse will reward you for it.

Japanese cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, green tomatoes, vinegar, salt, sugar. Leave in refrigerator for two days. Eat.

Making of Two Monoprints by Isabel Winson-Sagan


The title is “I Am Body.” It was done as a palimpsest, over two poems by the artist:

“I Am Body”

I dream of having sex with the dead
Skeletal, flesh departing slowly, laughing face of bone and mirth.
He is a kind lover.
And I am a body.
I am not separate from myself.
I am not at war.
This disease is not my enemy, insidious, inside my very skin, tears me apart.
My brain screams, every second, every day, “Pain! Pain!”
I wake up screaming.
But this is MINE.
This is me.
I am not at war.
I am a body.
I will not overcome, defeat my own bones.
The dead man is kind.
He does not notice.
“It’s not normal,” they say.
“If you only work at it, you can be free”
/Protestant bullshit, Calvinist work ethic built America but it cannot make me believe in a war against myself./
I am body.
I am alive.
And my dead lover waits for me to realize
how the veil between our worlds
is so very thin.


“Race War”

There is a race war
In my mind.
I am in a peaceful place
Lama mountain behind
Birds cooing in the early light.
But the mountain
Is on fire.
Smoke fills
The inside of my mouth, tickling, searching.
Farmers thresh the fields
In this pastoral paradise.
The mountains burned 20 years ago
And now,
Black men are being shot
Black women are dragged from their cars and beaten
There is a race war in my mind.
The mountain is burning
Why is my body a battlefield.
No one can apologize for existing.
I never thought that this would happen again,
In my lifetime.
How do I get out?
How do I stay?
If everything is only you,
Why am I burning.

This print was also done during the residency at Herekeke.


Title from a poem by Miriam Sagan: “sober as the Devil and drunk as God.”

Maelstrom Project by Doug Bootes

IMG_2577Don’t Shoot the Messenger- The Maelstrom Project
By Doug Bootes
I stand over the Rio Grande rift, feeling my legs being incrementally pulled apart with the continent, paintings on one side, words on the other, me in between, disappearing into both.
Poems, paintings. I began with a concept, maelstrom, a general reference to the undertow created by the insidious disparity of wealth and power in our free society and its devastating consumption of millions of lives, of generation after generation. Not an easy topic, not a well-articulated idea even. No, I didn’t want to respond to myself with a poem interpreting what’s depicted on canvas. No, I didn’t want to paste, paint, scribble or scratch words onto the canvas, no more than I want to decorate the words on the page in illuminated text or illustrate the stanzas.
So for three months I painted and wrote, separate, but parallel in context; whatever came to mind when I repeated the word, maelstrom. Liberated from the confines of form, the project took on a life of its own, a space where I can breathe deep and reach out in all directions, a space I can’t possibly fill.
Ten paintings and twenty poems. A collection of thoughts arranged around the idea that true beauty and character thrives in the vast southern underbelly of America stretching from Florida to California along interstates, on street corners, in alleys, in human beings pushed to the curb of consciousness, the people behind the card board signs with complex stories and lives that led them to the periphery of our vision.
Upon closer investigation, their environmental and socio-political backdrops are equally layered with neglect and ignorance of undiagnosed ills, decay and abuse. In words and paint I depict despair in the context of the freedom that comes from survival, from overcoming, from the liberating knowledge that we all bear the same light within us, no matter how deeply hidden. Chaos juxtaposed with transcendence; to only depict one or the other is incomplete, perhaps even irresponsible.
In the beginning, an exploration of society ills, in the end, an exploration of my own pale reflection.
In days when publicly funded police gun down the mentally ill and addicted as preferential treatment, when politicians speak endlessly of change which only occurs in their pockets and bank accounts, its time to realize that if we continue ignoring the problems staring us in the face begging for change, if we don’t join them in the streets to challenge the status quo, we doom all of our children to dwell in their chaos.

See, feel, contemplate. What I’ve ended up with are ten paintings and twenty poems encompassing humor, tenacity and resourcefulness.

Conceived on the winter solstice of 2013, the first installment of the Maelstrom project includes ten paintings and twenty poems interfacing each other. The ten paintings were done in a progressive succession of twenty six steps, each step photographed after its completion. The resulting two hundred and sixty images were then combined with thirty five detail images to compile a slide show documenting the process from the first scratch of charcoal on the canvasses to the last wash.
The twenty one minute slide show will be projected onto a screen during the reading of the poems, first forward, then backward after a brief intermission. A chapbook of the poems and images of the paintings will be released during a reception in Santa Fe prior to the opening of the show in New York featuring several of the original paintings.

Devon Miller-Duggan on Creativity: I’m only alive when I’m On the Wire. Except that I’m also only alive when I’m holding my new granddaughter (amusingly for this particular piece, named Edison). I’m only alive on a certain small beach in Maine. I’m only alive when it’s snowing.

Miriam posted/posed a question about “living on the wire” a couple of days ago—about whether it’s a definition of creativity. Like many things that crop up randomly, it made me think of my father, who was a wire kind of guy—unusual, I suspect, in a dentist. But he loved the wire. And he was profoundly creative—most dentists are at least artisans in their hearts, if not artists.It also made me spend a lot of time thinking about my own relationship to the wire, which I will confess consists mostly of highly refined skills at procrastination. But the question wasn’t about Nik Wallenda (I’d have liked the whole thing a lot better if he’d worn a darned harness—which tells you a lot about my taste for suspense…) or my father or my fantastic abilities to survive my own addiction/genetically-determined procrastination. It’s about creativity and the wire. The answer’s kind of no-duh if you’re in the Artist-as-Romantic-Hero camp. It’s also a big no-duh if you’re in the MFA-trained-It’s-a-discipline/job camp. And if those were the only two camps, the question wouldn’t be all that interesting.

As usual, at least in my brain, what’s interesting is the intersection of those camps, or the paradoxically both-at-once space that I suspect most of us operate in. Even there, there are fairly well-known formulae having to do with a dynamic relationship between some sort of discipline and availability to inspiration/daemon/muse. But we don’t much talk about the “wire” part of things.

Creativity is The Wire, I think. In both the senses of Wallenda-over-Canyon and in the electrical sense. Maybe even in the sense of wiring an aging tree or a broken jaw. It’s the thing that tempts and calls and threatens, the thing that carries the necessary charge, and the thing that holds us and our processes together. So, yeah, I guess I’m only alive when I’m On the Wire. Except that I’m also only alive when I’m holding my new granddaughter (amusingly for this particular piece, named Edison). I’m only alive on a certain small beach in Maine. I’m only alive when it’s snowing. I’m only alive when I’m praying. I’m only alive when I’m in the classroom and it’s going really well. I’m only alive when I’m listening to Bach or watching great dance. I’m only alive when I’m walking on a boardwalk through boggy forest (aaahhh, Jordan Pond Walk). That’s a lot of “only.” I think it means that I am a happy failure at being a RomanticHeroArtist. Which is good, since I’m hoping for a late-life career blossoming. But I’m also pretty wretchedly undisciplined, unless you consider that I just plain keep writing (not in the regular butt-in-the-chair way so many brainy and correct writers write about) and have learned to work with my own “bursts.” I suppose that very un-discipline is another kind of wire, though I would not claim that I feel particularly alive in its company—mostly just kind of grateful for my own persistence. I wonder whether I’d be more conventionally disciplined if there were actual money attached to any of my writing—living money, not occasional money–but that’s a whole other question, isn’t it?