Feeding my yashi….

Octavia E. Butler’s Xenogenesis trilogy features aliens that have three “sexes”: male, female, and ooloi. The ooloi are neither male nor female but a third sex that is necessary for reproduction. The ooloi can manipulate DNA and make genetic alterations– they are living sythesizers of new life. The ooloi manipulate the genetic material in an organ called yashi. The ooloi hunger for new DNA, discovery of new species, etc. If they haven’t tasted something new for a while, they need to seek it out.

I’ve been taking to thinking of the “creative” organ inside of me as my yashi…. Yashi was hungering this past week, so I fed her. ~___~

Watched several films, read several graphic novels, a trip to the Vancouver Art Gallery, made a painting of a squid, attended a lecture on our microbial environment, and working my vegetable gardens all nourish my yashi so very much!

I’d been curious about Parnormal Activity for a while and finally got to see it– was a huge fail for me. Perhaps the intended audience is meant to be younger…? I think I might have been frightened if I were fourteen? But I found the main characters so extremely annoying that I didn’t care what happened to them. (Which led me to question my own morality– i.e. if I didn’t care for a person based on their personality traits, clearly it’s amoral to have no empathy over whether they live, suffer, or die, etc.) However, another element that prevented any willing suspension of disbelief was the use of the hand-held camera as documenting-event-as-they-occur premise, which I find a huge leap of faith because if you’re really in a life or death situation, how many regular joe people (as opposed to dedicated and practiced professional journalists/camerapeople) would keep on filming? If there’s some weird scary evil shit going down, wouldn’t you just frickin’ stop filming and run, fast? There were several lines delivered throughout the film with the character addressing this very question– explainers, on why he feels compelled to keep on filming. Which only underscored the constructedness of the narrative. In the end it was a gimmick film. But I was very much impressed by the low-budget aspect! It did remarkably well for a small-scale production. Kudos!

Also watched My Dog Tulip, a feature-length animation about an older curmudgeonly bachelor writer who adopts a German Shepard. The writing/narration is a little dated (it was written as a memoir in 1956), but the drawings/animations are so very beautiful and lovely…. Gorgeous and strategic use of colour. The deep greens, blues, red alongside shades of brown. The lines sometimes left gestural. It was such a balm upon the senses, especially in this time of CGI-created uber uncanny valleys… (The most recent unpleasant valley I visited was Rango! Especially the female lead, Beans, to the Depp-Rango-Chameleon. Beans was one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen. I was so distracted by the CGI that I could scarcely follow the story.).

Also finally watched Kinsey! Whoa! Very gripping and interesting and well-performed. Who doesn’t love Laura Linney? I also found the doubling of father behaviours to be well-done. I’ve also begun watching the TV series, True Blood. Not too shabby! And there’s not so  many seasons to catch up to. Not like Battlestar Gallactica. Captn’, it’s not possible!

Read the Best of American Comic 2007, Dogs and Water, and American Widow. American Widow is a memoir of life after 9/11, from the point-of-view of a young pregnant wife who has lost her husband in the attack upon the Twin Towers. Deeply personal, honest and sad, it reveals what the aftermath was like for Alissa Torres, the very intimate human suffering behind a large-scale historic tragedy. The clean, spare artwork of Sungyoon Choi was a perfect pairing with this narrative. Very powerful use of dark and light, simple lines. Unfussy. This graphic novel made me cry….

I was going to share some thoughts on the Surrealist show at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Ken Lum’s installations, and a simple and haunting piece, “Torso of a Young Girl”, by Myfanwy Macleod, but I need to leave, soon, for a plenary session at the Asian Canadian Studies Graduate Workshop! If you’re in Vancouver area please do go to the gallery. If you go on a Tues, between 5-9pm it’s sliding scale and you can pay what you like!

Feeding the yashi is so important to nourish creativity…. Writing is the very visible part of our creativity, but the stuff that supports and sustains it should receive just as much time and focus. And respect.