a curve in the sea

I’ve only been a few places in the world that have torn me into this many even, beautiful, terrible, curled pieces. The spiral of land is much like the spirals we’ve been moving toward, and I feel disoriented when I see a photograph of where I am from above. I’m not sure why.


I’m quietly sitting in front of the windows, looking out onto the sea and making practical headway on the new ideas that I had while we were working in the Cambridge library, ideas about yet more new ways to separate sections of beadwork cleanly.

One of them is for cloning any form of leaping winged or zig-zag shape by simply sketching onto a form with one round of beads the desired configuration, and then making its living component in place, to size, and letting it dance off cleanly, leaving only the sketch (or more precisely the idea) behind. This is good work, and changes everything for some small subset of humans, but is essentially unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

What I’m really still hanging up on is that I find it difficult to believe that even six months ago none of us could think of one way to clone that form easily, and now it’s obvious to even the casual observer that there are at least six good ways to do it with no coding errors or use of advanced techniques, no Exploding Round.

ptown from the air

But it is the same with every solving. And I am not annoyed in the slightest that all of my previous innovations have been rendered moot (or even foolish) by the new tactics. It was all good work, each timestep, and each thing was better than what we had when we started. Wait, that’s a lie. I’m incredibly annoyed. Why couldn’t I see the structure?

My body is rearranging itself again, and I wish I could measure how. Whatever is going on here, it won’t be much longer now, that’s all I know, but I have no idea what is coming. An idea? A structure? A solution to a problem? A human being? An event? Even positive events can be unsettling, if enough of them happen very fast.

And again, although no one ever engages with me with this, I want to know why, if something is so easy to see, it can remain cloaked in plain view.

There is an answer here beyond the obvious.

4 thoughts on “a curve in the sea

  1. I must admit that I am sometimes a bit envious when I see all the places you can go to, in particular this amazing place, and the town where Gail has her shop – she makes beautiful photos and I often wish that I could walk with her on the beach. Just like I would have loved to sit there with you and watch the sun go down…
    I don’t know if this answers your last question, but I think that it’s the universe who whispers it to us when the time is right. Each time this happens, it makes a lot of knowledge obsolete, and the new solution so obvious that it is hard to figure out why we didn’t think of it…

  2. For years, Ketchup was sold in bottles with tapering glass to a narrow exit. Finally someone noticed you could make a better Ketchup bottle by making one that is turned upside down.

    It was right in front of our eyes all the time.

    • So many things like that. I find the timescales of discovery embarrassing. And even when we know there is a better way, it can be hard to get people to do it. It stuns me that every city has an underground liquid waste sewer system. This was like…. the stupidest thing anyone could ever have thought of. Human waste is simple to compost, and right now, today, we could just switch. It would be so much cheaper for big cities to replace every single toilet with a modern composting unit (they are so good now most people wouldn’t even know the diff) and simply shut down the waste plants and close the sewer pipes. Processing greywater would be a pleasure after dealing with sewer systems. And so much smarter than cleaning ALL of the water, because we deliberately contaminated it all with human waste.

      There are still rivers of human waste that run down the city streets in some lands, causing a different set of problems. It’s. so. dumb. And the solutions are hardly rocket science. Bill and Melinda Gates are working this problem in third world countries, but they gave up on even trying to sway America on this issue.

      The Phillips screw. Solar power. The shopping bag. I look at people from the 50s, carrying around BOXES TIED WITH STRING, like it was all they could manage to come up with. And the rolling suitcase. Was that such a leap, seriously? I find it confusing and impossible to explain that people are so slow to improve basic functions. Sometimes there are good ideas on the table, and people are like penguins, not gonna do it. The guy who invented the Phillips screw and driver couldn’t sell it. Finally he unloaded it to the Phillips screw company, who rolled forward with it and changed the built world.

      But then sometimes the ideas just… aren’t there.
      In beading, you know, it’s mindboggling. 100,000 or so years. And so little new work. I wish I could see behind the curtain of the curtain. I feel like sometimes things are cloaked, waiting. And that is a very silly thing to think.

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