diary entry

this is how big I’d like it. I just press command plus. the other size is too small.

I just want to write more, and I think if I write in general then I can start to write towards a specific goal. I think novels are a fun idea, and I wish I could do the same thing with a collection of poems. I mean what kind of thing would I like to collect. I’ve been collecting things with my phone. but I don’t see any consistency. at any rate, I’d like to know what I can do for the world. I like that I am writing in a journal of sorts. I think I could do this on my lap.

my only complaint about averia font, which really is my favorite is that it doesn’t have lowercase numbers. I really do enjoy lowercase numbers when possible. in fact, medium.com has some font that uses lowercase numbers and it makes it all that much better to write on there. 

I think I could work on my vocabularly. I mean, I am not sure that I have a wide enough set of words to choose from. I feel that I have a good reading capacity, but my writing does seem to feel limited at times. although, I really try to avoid technical jargon on purpose. at any rate, I want to know how I can become a better poet. I mean what does a poet do. a poet must engage with culture, but only as a poet. I think that a poet does not try to be a journalist. I think a journalist has a specific and important job, but a poet’s job is a bit different. I am realizing now, the importance of writing and reading and the importance of language, but I mean to find the purpose of a poet. I suppose I could do more reading on poetry itself. I shouldn’t think of reading as a pleasurable thing. I should think of it as hard work. I can go through reading and the motions of reading, or I could work really hard at it, and when I work hard at something with a clear vision, then I’m sure I will get good results.

I think I am so cynical. cynical enough that I don’t believe in enough. I want to believe in more things. I want to believe that my work as a poet matters. it does, I just don’t know how at the moment. I mean I have an idea, but I don’t have a clear sense of it. I mean I want to collect something, I want to be able to look at this world and think, yes, the world would benefit from a collection of leaves or a collection or this or that. I mean what happens when you gather things, when you put things in a grouping. I mean is that the purpose of a collection, the art of juxtapositioning. I suppose. But I mean I want to find the poets that change my life. that do for me what I imagine other poets do for other people. I don’t think poetry is meant to save lives, in fact, I think it quite impossible for a poem to save a life. poetry doesn’t even endanger lives, how could it save a life. I mean what kind of poem would endanger a life. If a poem could endanger a life, then surely a poem could save one. right?

I should notice that it takes at least five minutes to get into something larger than an episteme. I think that moments can only produce momentary pleasure, and that afternoons will be able to produce an afternoon of pleasure. or at least, I think a project produced over an amount of years, will produce yearly pleasure. and that’s the goal, I want to be able to produce something beyond a momentary or afternoon pleasure.

I quit the youtube. I quit the tumblr and all the momentary pleasures. I think that long-content is something worth keeping. no one is arguing that it should go anywhere. it won’t be displaced. really, when it comes down to it, you get to choose the group you are a part of. there is low culture, surface culture, etc. you can spend your whole life there. and you can reap the rewards of that kind of life. or you can spend your time in deep culture. I don’t think deep culture will ever be current. in fact, deep culture is harder to make and takes time. 

but really, I want to make something that is transcendant, and by that I mean something that appeals to the regular lay-man as well as the deep-culture person. and by deep culture I mean someone who is invested in culture that catches the under-current of culture. there is the zeitgeist, which is the spirit of the age. but there is something deeper than the zeitgeist. there is something that you can dig down into and reach into with your bucket and pull up the water from deep down. 

I think sam is getting in to trouble. I want to go check on him. 

sure enough he was getting water on the floor and in a pile of blankets. I wish there was a way that I could work and not be interrupted. sometimes I think that I don’t work because I expect to be interrupted and so I just dick around and do stuff that is meaningless and unimportant to me. then again, that’s probably an excuse or casting the blame in a different direction. at any rate, I really want to focus and stay focused. 

then again, sam is here begging me to turn on some lego chima youtube videos for him, and I think that it’s hard to get invested in a thought that will be interupted. I mean, do we live in a world where we are constantly disrupted. is it possible that the past was nicer to long moments. I imagine there was the long boring afternoons with legitimately nothing to do. We live in such an exciting world, that it’s hard to decide what to choose. 

hold on.

okay, I’m back. Sam wanted me to make him some vitamin c (the fizzy kind you add to water). 

but this all kind of proves my point. although, this could just be my own circumstances. I imagine that I will have to develop habits of going to places where I can’t or won’t be interupted. and I have to gain the discipline to stay focused.

but again, this all goes back to staying focused on what. what can I offer the world. I mean I don’t even have an inkling of what it might be. but I suppose that I can wander around searching for it, like actually writing the thing, instead of trying to imagine it before hand. might as well get my hands dirty. 

but I think that I will set up some sort of boundaries. 

I know I want to write something. and I want to write it well. 

I mean I guess I can speak as to what I want right now, at the very least I can look at what I have and what I want now.

I want it to be made of words. yes, but do you want it to move? no, I don’t want it to move. I want it to be an object that is moved by the reader. a book that someone can pick up. okay, so you want it to be a book? yes. then it will have to be two-dimensional. on a page, right? yes. on a page. do you want it to be text like this that you are making? I mean do you want it to be filtered through a keyboard. I don’t think so. I kind of want it to be a piece of art. you know, like handwritten. okay, but that will limit the way you make and approach the project. what if you made both? I think I could do that. but I would want both to be something of interest to people. yes yes yes. of course, but do you want them to be separate projects. yes. they will be separate projects. okay. so the one you do visually will be different than the one that you do textually. you’ll do a textual collection and then a visual collection.

for the visual poetry collection, I would recommend buying the size of paper that you plan on the book being. like try to match the dimensions. and then you will also want to match the dimensions with the way in which the poems will appear. do you want tall thin poems, or blocky poems. I would look at the form factor of many of the different collections that you own. for example you might like the size and shape of inscape. in fact, I think that’s your best bet. I would try and go for that. 

I don’t mind the visual one being …

kylie interupted. 

and now I can’t remember my thought.

ah, there it is

… digitally made. I mean they can put the text in photoshop and make the text look like it is handwritten in the book. you know how I did the domestic meditations series, where they were scanned. I don’t want these poems scanned. I imagine the page might be scanned in order to grab the black text, but then I want to put, just the handwritten elements on the page. 

the visual poems will be difficult. but I do want the poems to lose something when they are typed out. that’s how I want to experiment with them. I want them to be so visual that someone will feel bad about typing them out. but I don’t want them to be so visual that someone will feel like they aren’t poetry, or feel that they are something else. I want the poems to obviously be poetry and obviously not be art. not that they couldn’t be art. but what I am getting at is that it’s a very fine and tricky balance. this will be the difficult part. and what I want to figure out is a theme or subject that plays with the line between vision and poetry between object and process (the object of the book) and the process of putting something on the page rather than through a keyboard. I mean it’s looser and the keyboard is more rigid, and it’s the difference between a rock and water. I mean the river might be a good theme to explore this through. and the letter. the handwritten letter is good as well. the looseness of the river and the personality of the letter. these things are possiblities for the thing. 

(on a side note: I thought journals were always a thing that was supposed to be about me, and now that I am using it as a way of recording things about what I am interested in, I find it much more invigorating. I don’t think I lead an exciting enough life to record anything of interest about myself. I am such a dull subject, I always became/become bored when writing about myself.)

so I think we’ve got a project there. I’ve got an idea, now I just need to start making it happen. so, in summary, here’s the plan:

get a notebook that fits the size that you want. 

start working on the theme of the river and letters, notes and other handwritten things. letters and notes will be your forms. in fact, you might sit down and make a list of things that are often handwritten, and you might even research the era of when things were handwritten. I would say that the 80’s and 90’s were the peak of handwritten things. paper and pens were so accessible during those periods. and you might even think about your middle school days. you did a lot of handwriting then. in fact, I think there’s something to mourn with the loss of handwritten things, especially casually handwritten things. and then the river washes it away. river (water) is such an enemy to paper and pen. this is it. I am feeling a lot of good things coalesce here in this idea. a visual middle-school journal about a boy who lives in suburbia near a river. you can explore provo river for your research, and you can search your past for info as well. you’ll look through your middle-school notebooks, and you can work with the faux-naive of that age. an age where you come to understanding and you want to feel both imaginative (but only cautiously imaginative) and yet jaded (tired of irony) and you can grapple with a sarcastic dad and use that as the irony that you are tired of it. I think you might also introduce ideas of step and half siblings. this is going to be a really good collection. I know I’m going to enjoy the challenge of writing it, and I believe people will appreciate what it is recording. 80’s and 90’s nostalgia. you might include things from that era. and here’s a list of handwritten things:




notes passed in class (dear girl who sits in front of me)

letters home (dear mrs. power (you might choose a different last name, but one that is close to you) (maybe even burton)(which would add an interesting meta-autobiographical dimension to your work) (in fact, the main character of your collection would be you and you-imagined, it would be me (zachery taylor power) and me (zachery butler burton). 

grocery lists

notes at church

doodles (it would be fun to include one or two poems that are just doodles). 

homework (you might do a technical math poem)

you’ll want to search your old notebooks for other forms. 

now I wish I had kept more stuff.

here’s an outline

1,2,3,4,5,… (refer to forms, I’m sure you’ll have a lot of good poems that come from that)

I want a scene from the time trent drove by in his car and tryan and I stood next to the puddle and we were splashed

I want a scene from the time chang drank that milk and we tackled him into the pond

that time that we walked on the frozen pond

that thing under the pond deck that we played in with the rocks

I want a calvin and hobbes type aesthetic to it (in fact, I might put that on my reading list as a source of inspiration). 

I also want the time that copper was frozen in the pond.

I also want all the swimming pool stuff.

a swollen eye or a swollen ankle (I imagine from the step-dad, and the boy can write about it in his journal, but he can talk about it in a cool way “this swollen eye is pretty rad” and it will be a kind of metamodern sincerity thing.)

a group of us kids, pissing in a barrel, let’s see if we can fill it up.

I also want to address the wet dream and masturbation.

I also want to the water night song I sang in jazz choir to come in. 

any kind of water from my childhood needs to be added. 

also I want to imply some sort of family disfunction in the background

the time water leaked in through the basement windows because it rained so much

I want the timing to be one year or less

I can imagine this world that I live in. it’s a very missourian world. between ages 8 and sixteen, but it also has a very australian vibe to it. in fact, I might mention australian as my moon, my getaway, my dream. and I think it would be smart to refer to memories of australian water as well.

the time I was tracting and my shoes literally turned brown from the wet shoe polish. 

I think this might become one of those lyrical novels, perhaps. the kind that is mentioned in the australian edition of poetry magazine. I don’t know, I’ll have to read a few of those to get a real sense of it. 

some of these ideas might have to be cut and used in later projects. 

why do missouri and australia feel so similar. utah feels so SO different. 

okay, I think that I’ve exhausted that idea. not exhuasted it, but I feel that I have gotten into it enough that I know where to go. 

but I wonder about a wider audience appeal. I mean what will it do for people. 

I keep feeling this feeling when I think about this space. but I can’t describe it. 

also you are not just recording an episode of a life, you are recording a space. a spacetime that no longer exists. 

I want to glean through this and condense what I have so far:

a book, two dimensional, on a page, poetry, handwritten, one would feel like something is missing if it were typed out, get a notebook that fits the size that you want, choose from forms that are handwritten / handwritten things (letters, notes, grocery lists, detention slips, etc.), 90’s, middle school, water, rivers, provo river, faux-naive, metamodern, cautiously imaginative, tired of a sarcastic step-father, step and half and full siblings, cousins, the main character is zachery butler burton, water scenes from my childhood, water, masturbation (shame, etc.), family disfunction, depression as a child, missouri, australia, basement, one year, calvin and hobbes, lost, lost boys, (listen to music from these time periods of yours: relient k, astoria, mxpx, blink 182, etc.)

but what is the main story arc, or the main aesthetic arc? I imagine it’s something like what’s eating gilbert grape, something like the mother in the background. something like a river flooding, yes, and orgasm, and divorce. those three things will swell at the end or gradually swell throughout the collection. we start in winter and move to spring. a warming up, a melting, a getting moist, a humidity building, and then at the height of spring it all happens, the river flooding, the divorce, the wet dream and masturbation, and then it leads out to a boring summer. 

you must read and re-read the metamodern essay while writing this. 

in terms of thesis, I want it to be a sort of boyhood sexuality book. used as a sex-ed manual, not really that, but something like that. I guess, I would like people to use and refer to it as something like mango street a sort of coming of age type thing, a suburban explanation of boyhood sexuality, a book that explains the stirrings of boyhood. like a book that a parent would give to a boy before they had the sex talk, or even after they had the sex talk. I think that’s the right direction to take this, but then again, that doesn’t feel right at the moment. it feels close, but it’s not quite there. I think it might have something to do with that. but there must be something a bit more specific than boyhood sexuality. I want to dig deeper into it, I want to be able to understand something. I’ll have to think about it more. because there are other parts of the collection that don’t have to do with sexuality, but does have to do with something that also has to do with sexuality. I have to zoom out and in at the same time. 

and now I am wondering how I am going to accomplish some of these while staying in the boundaries of the handwritten. I guess the journal might work. 

i figured out the thesis: swellings of boyhood. or the swollen. or a boy swellings into a teenager. that works because swelling has to do with a boy getting bigger (growing up) and then with sexuality, and also with a lot of other things. 

okay. I think that sounds like a cohesive project. I really like it and I am so excited to see what it becomes. 


now I am wondering about that other project. the keyboard one. 

I want the project to incorporate my dot language. and I want it to be typed out, for certain. no commas, just dots, like only a website bar language or something like that. but funny it will be hard for computers to read it. 

I’m not really sure what kind of writing it will be. maybe one that grapples with technology. I guess why does it need to be typed. why does it have to be digital. I think I will name the collection .com (dot com) and it will be about corporate ideas and playing with companies and jobs and kind of an absurdism and surrealism with capital systems, etc. 

I think there will be bots in it. like the magical surrealism bot on twitter. 

you know. I think I’m done for today. that’s a great start. I will have to address this other project tomorrow or another day.