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Message in a Bottle

Today's message in a bottle came in three languages: English, Mandarin, and Spanish, and additionally contained a UBS stick on which was a music video promoting a 2002 French film--it was dropped from a container ship somewhere between Hawaii and Vancouver and was found by a marine researcher--on the very day she'd been talking about messages in bottles--bobbing off the shores of Vancouver. The complete story is here, and I added it to the messages-in-bottles page on the Pen Pal website. (There's a pretty good collection there now!)

Milkweed Fibers

I haven't gotten much further in trying to process the long fibers of milkweed, but some of the bits that had broken off I left on my porch, where they were rained on, and the rain washed away more of the chaff, and what was left was shiny white like the hair of the thistledown man in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Alas, this photo doesn't get how glowy shiny it looks:


A poet: Ijeoma Umebinyuo

In addition to sharing poems on her tumblr--powerful poems and lovely poems, harsh poems and honey poems--she also shares thoughts, memories, essays.

"Stay, you are beginning to glow"

"Excuse me, but you cannot have 'Ijeoma' as her baptismal name" --a poem about cultural imperialism, when even names in your own tongue are denied you.

You can check out more of her writing here

. . . And maybe you would like to know how August is doing? August is doing like this...DSCN4956

. . . and this



( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 9th, 2014 01:41 am (UTC)
Those saint names had to come from somewhere, right?

I knew Europe was anal about what you can and can't name your kid.

Also, there's an exhibit at the Fuller Craft Museum with fiber art. I saw it earlier today; it's there until the end of November.

Edited at 2014-08-09 01:43 am (UTC)
Aug. 9th, 2014 11:23 am (UTC)
I was allowed the name Desmond because although there is no St Desmond and I don't fancy my chances even with the new rule changes it was holy enough for the Irish Missionaries without whom the Roman Catholic Church might well have remained Italian. Though these days the Church does allow native names for baptism. Syncretism was frowned upon so they rebranded it inculturation which was never condemned. That's the burden of being a Church that is not able to preach error. All new teaching is announced with the phrase the Catholic Church has always taught... It does confuse older people and now I have become an older person I dislike the term elder it implies I might have some wisdom or active cancer but yes previously you weren't allowed statues of KRSN or the dancing Nataraja because these were symbols of the Devil but you are now allowed to worship God in the way the Spirit has manifested God in all ages and in all ways so the Church has always taught... apart from the protestants who still think that KRSN and Nataraja are forms of Satan and the Orthodox Church who think that Heretics like Roman Catholics are far worse than simple devil worshippers like Protestants and Pagans because the former had the truth and rejected it while the latter were just plain ignorant. We all go to Hel though these days Hel might not be as bad as it was previously painted out to be. I don't mock I don't think much of churchmen but I still worry that God will send one of his angels to take everything from me if I annoy him. And he can do stuff like some people think God won't some that God will but those that think God exists agree that's one of the options and I got enough hassle without upsetting God as well. Hey you wanna play russian roulette on the day of judgement don't drag me into it. My brother got Ivan which I don't think is a Saint in the Catholic Church but as a Vicar of Christ in the Russian Orthodox or because it's a version of John which must be a version of a Hebrew or Aramaic something anyway he was allowed that one.

Oh and I really liked the story of Jonathan Strange what can I tell you it's my life.
Aug. 9th, 2014 05:23 pm (UTC)
Re: caflicks
That's neat that you're a fan of Jonathan Strange too! I have just posted you a paper letter; I talked about it a little in that.
Aug. 9th, 2014 05:22 pm (UTC)
Europe *was* anal. An Estonian LJ friend of mine was talking about how in the 19th century, you couldn't get an Estonian name on a birth certificate for school--it had to be a German name :-(

I *loved* your photos and links from that exhibit.
Aug. 9th, 2014 05:49 pm (UTC)
I think Germany requires German names and if you want a non-German name, you had better be the ethnic group your name is from.
Aug. 10th, 2014 11:57 am (UTC)
I'll have to send you something real also then. Very few people send real letters any more apart from herself. Even lobbyists prefer email. A friend sent me the book and I passed it on to her after reading. Magick has only really one tiny flaw, it doesn't actually work.
Aug. 9th, 2014 09:22 am (UTC)
Our August smells like bushfire smoke - there are hazard reduction burns in progress all around the city. But it sounds like currawongs, magpies and kookaburras.
Aug. 9th, 2014 05:25 pm (UTC)
I like the sound of the *names* currawong, magpie, kookaburra.

Does the bushfire smoke smell like eucalyptus?

I hope the controlled burns help prevent any really dangerous wildfires :-(
Aug. 9th, 2014 09:24 pm (UTC)
It doesn't smell like eucalyptus oil (that you might buy in a bottle), but it does have a distinctive smell (I guess it's eucalyptus combined with all the other things). We've just heard that our local burnoff has been cancelled today, so we're off for a paddle.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 9th, 2014 05:29 pm (UTC)
Re: fibers
Wow! Spinning the wood fibers!

Now I want to find out more.

The milkweed fibers are very strong--I want to try to take more pictures….
Aug. 9th, 2014 01:28 pm (UTC)
Names matter to people. I remember how angry Maya Angelou was when an employer in "Caged Bird" insisted on calling her Mary. And think how important it seemed to the Bible writers that Adam named the animals. And how people sense the wrongness of an unmarked grave. A name is the one thing we carry to the grave that we didn't have when we arrived in the world.
Aug. 9th, 2014 05:25 pm (UTC)
A name is the one thing we carry to the grave that we didn't have when we arrived in the world.

That's beautiful, and true.
Aug. 9th, 2014 02:06 pm (UTC)
Your wild Plants
They look much like my untended fields that lie beyond the horse fencing.
Aug. 9th, 2014 05:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Your wild Plants
Familiar shapes and colors: snakeweed, daisy fleabane, joe pyeweed, purple loosestrife--soon there'll be turtlehead in there, too, and there's still purple clover. ♥
Aug. 9th, 2014 02:06 pm (UTC)
I love these images so much!
Aug. 9th, 2014 05:28 pm (UTC)
I was thinking how August, here, is a time for big clouds.
Aug. 9th, 2014 03:30 pm (UTC)
"Ijeoma" is a lovely name. I like names that refer to nature: "snow", "wind(y)", "rose"... or places, like "sahara"

Names bound to cultural traditions bind you for the rest of your life... I know :=)
Aug. 9th, 2014 05:28 pm (UTC)
Ijeoma *is* a lovely name. And yes, a name certainly does.
Aug. 9th, 2014 09:05 pm (UTC)
Messages in bottles: What a serendipitous find! I wonder why the music video was for a French movie but none of the letter languages were French...

Milkweed fibers: I love the image of them being like the thistledown man; not only it is a good image, it gives the milkweed some magical, ethereal, and, dare I say, malicious* connotations.

Ijeoma: Lovely name, and lovely lady. She looks amazingly like a Congolese woman I go to church with named Zawadi. Zawadi is Swahili for "present/gift," and I would dare say that God understands that and much more that "those priests" in Ijeoma's poem give Him/Her credit for.

August: Lush!
* "malicious" in the sense that Faerie's ways are seemingly cruel compared to humans, when, of course, one does not dwell on the cruelty that humans are capable of...
Aug. 10th, 2014 03:41 pm (UTC)
I'm entirely with you on God versus those priests--and yes! the milkweed fibers actually have some shade of that faerie malice to them. they are rather sharp: sort of strong and skin-slicey, if you're not careful.

I wonder the same thing about the languages… very mysterious!
Aug. 10th, 2014 01:52 am (UTC)
That's so cool about that message in a bottle!

Is the milkweed soft? Or brittle?

August appears to be beautiful.:)
Aug. 10th, 2014 03:42 pm (UTC)
It is soft! Though as I said to mnfaure, it can give you a papercut (well, milkweed cut), if you're not careful. And it's not too brittle. I'm hoping I can truly get the long fibers processed well enough that I might send them to someone who spins and see if they could really spin it.

August is lovely ♥
Aug. 10th, 2014 05:58 am (UTC)
The second poem, about names and cultural imperialism, got me right through the heart.

The first one, I need to make a postcard out of sometime.
Aug. 10th, 2014 03:50 pm (UTC)
You will love-love-love her Tumblr. Her poems are all sorts, her insights are all sorts. And yeah, I feel the same way about both poems.
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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