upper state (not upstate)

What I like about most states is regionality and regional identity. I liked that, in Buffalo, the identity was blue collar and a boasting proximity to Canada (even the threat to leave if state politics got too out of control). It wasn’t like Ithaca, NYC, or even Rochester (it’s seemingly sister city). All the regions: Upstate, Central, the city — and the smaller divisions — Southtowns, Finger Lakes, etc. had their own peculiarities.

It’s not surprising that it’s this way in California too. Chico, unlike Santa Cruz, was canyons, rivers, and the kind of lounging we haven’t gotten to do since moving to this state. After talking about how we missed rivers, how the ocean could never be like the rivers and the lakes that we’re used to (TLC, you got it right it seems), it was good to float around and be pushed by a river.

I’m more thankful that we got invited to go – by the Truby family – to see their family. I’ve relocated enough to know that it takes time to assimilate, but invitations here have been less frequent. This was a really intimate invitation: the chance to see three families at once.

Enough blabber about the trip. Getting back to work: the poetics of place on the mind and, at home, a resurgent conversation about Guy Debord and the situationist.

Jesse and I are thinking about our move here as akin to a derive: certainly less planning and more following a sense of psychogeography. At least, a whim. There’s an instrument, in this kind of mapping, that I’m starting to think all our moving, marriage, and time together neglects: autonomy.

In the first exercise of Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit, she asks about your tool. I can’t help but think that, as the artist, it might have to be the self. And the second I think it, let alone type it, I feel incorrect:

Like the ego of “I” is the “sudden, restless revulsion form the whole tradition of nineteenth and early twentieth century poetry,or maybe from lyric poetry as such, because it seemed, finally, to have only one subject, the self, and the self–which is not life.” (Robert Hass).

Imagine the individual telling the story: we moved to California because… Both Jesse and I would map this out differently, but if we put the maps together and then create the co-map, we’d noisily be showing how difficult it is for two people to really live together, to make those kinds of “moves” together.

Jesse’s map would have more hope: a job offer, a company he really loves, a friend he already feels affection for, and an idea to “build” a family.

My map would have more bleakness: leaving family and friends (a more deconstructed space)

Both of us bearing our own less “mappable” things too and we might have to liken it to how the sun is different in each place we’ve lived, how the windows filter the light differently and we’ve seen each other look completely brightened and completely shadowed in each move.

The point is, there needs to be a response to the very real feeling of dislocation, of trying to locate something we both know: we moved together. There needs to be a response to a real thing that’s happening and that can’t come with just self-understanding or a self-narrative map. Chico might be the beginning of “moving together” as a map.

What we need now, more than a tool, is a process:

the point of departure
the observations of departure and
the thread from here to there
and the succession of facts to see overlap

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