Measured Extravagance

2001-07-11 - 1:28 p.m.

On the one hand, I've enjoyed "girls' nights out" with co-workers past and present, but on the other hand, touchy-feely women-only groups tend to make me twitch. That said, I'm looking forward to the "craft night" being hosted at church by the Women's Group later this week -- I like the woman in charge of the gathering, and it'll be an excuse to sit still and actually focus on creating something tangible. It feels like it's been a long time since I've made anything -- my drafting table is buried under books and papers and shoes (yes, shoes - out of the reach of the Furry Menace), and I'm going to have to do some serious rooting around to locate the hooks and skeins I want to bring with me to Craft Night.

Which is not to take away from what I have been doing -- preparing meals, drafting poems, filing minutes, cleaning after the dog (shredded toilet paper, sigh), washing wineglasses, reading Harold Ross's letters -- but I'm missing what I'd call the "positive tangibility" of crocheting -- of feeling fabric take shape between one's fingers. Household chores are a sort of "negative tangibility" -- one's performed them correctly when the food has been completely consumed, the stains have been eradicated, or the clutter has been vanquished. Reading and writing -- well, a good poem might be able to make you forget that your knees are cold, but imagine the wordless pleasure of draping a thick, handmade afghan over them...

...but I'm overstating the case, of course - it's easy to fantasize about a basket of yarn and a rocking chair when I'm sitting here at my desk with five reports to draft and a tin of roasted eels for lunch. By the time I get home, I'm not going to be in the mood for yarn or paint -- I'll want to cook dinner, and tackle some housework, and soak in the bath with Vanity Fair, and write a letter to a girlfriend, and try to bend a would-be sonnet to my will. (That, and Mo assigned "Spy Novels" as this week's theme. I do have a notion of how I'm going to approach that poem, but still, good God.) Not that I'll get to all of that before I fall asleep -- which is why it's been a long time since I've sat down to crochet. Not that I'm whining, you understand -- this is just me musing aloud on why I'm looking forward to sitting in a church Friday night.

* * *

I took a sun break earlier today (the office is freezing) to browse through the most recent issue of Wallpaper, and on page 48 there's a very cool apartment building designed by Foster & Partners called "Chesa Futura": it looks like a lopsided glass-and-metal bauble perched on an inverted steel tripod, with three stories of ceiling-to-floor windows and balconies nestled inside the copper curves. If you brushed out the trees and mountain range (the building will sit above San Moritz), it could pass for a 25th-century Christmas ornament.

* * *

"A problem found in sandblasted glass is its reluctance to release any dirt or grease that it picks up." - Andrew Moor, CONTEMPORARY STAINED GLASS

Isn't this sentence cool? I'm trying to coax a poem out of it -- the metaphorical possibilities are irresistible.

* * *

"Concrete, the world's most ubiquitous building material, has been around for over 3,000 years, which would tend to suggest that it ain't broke and don't need fixing. But what if there was a material with all that solidity, flexibility and applications, which could also let light through?...If [Bill] Price succeeds in manufacturing a material that can transmit light, it would be possible to make buildings that glow from within." - Wallpaper, July/August 2001

I'm not trying to make a poem out of this one -- I simply think it's nifty. Although "translucent concrete" does have metaphorical possibilities as well -- though, I wonder, will those possibilities diminish once it crosses over from conceptual to commonplace reality? Maybe I should try to work "translucent concrete" into a collab while it's still in the realm of invention. . .

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