My Own Personal Time Capsule

It’s my stored-in-the-Cloud hard drive. I stick stuff in there from year to year and, like some favorite pair of old jeans, or the perfect black t-shirt you’ve packed away, you forget where it is, and eventually you forget about it altogether. Until, like ebony and ivory dominoes zig-zagged on a hard tile floor, you go looking for one little thing, and a line dance begins with a clatter and continues until all the rectangular pieces have hit the floor and confetti falls from the ceiling.

Yesterday, it was old photos. Today, it was the flash videos I made mostly in 2009 with my tiny cheap wonderful Flip Video Mino (sadly discontinued shortly after Cisco bought Pure Digital in 2011). I thought these little film snippets had been lost to my impulsive tendency to eat my children, but I should have known my hard drive, the Cloud, and the Internet itself are like a landfill or layers in the geologic time table, our individual thoughts encased in amber.

Some of the old videos were embedded into posts; others are like the one below — there’s no evidence I can find it was ever posted, but maybe it was. Things were pretty chaotic in 2008 and 2009, what with the collapse of financial markets knocking us and many others out of our Masters of the Universe role-play game.

By the time I filmed this bit, which I called “Walking Meditation,” the ship was right-side up again, we had modified our investing strategy, and have slept soundly at night ever since.

Stars with Sound and Light Show

Stars with Sound and Light Show from Elizabeth Westmark on Vimeo.


This short poem was an experiment I had forgotten about. It was written and recorded on July 5, 2010. As you will note right away from the "stunning" (yeah, right) graphics, it was intended to just be audio. I'm not sufficiently advanced that I can figure out how to record audio without video yet, so I used my little Flip Mino video camera to make the recording!

Prick of the Spindle Reading 6-19-2010 Cynthia Reeser, Calypso Jewell & a Mad Word Game from Jason Cook

Prick of the Spindle 6-19-10 Reading (Reeser, Jewell, Cook) from Elizabeth Westmark on Vimeo.

Cynthia Reeser (Editor-in-Chief, Prick of the Spindle) was the #6 reader, Orlando-based Calypso Jewell #7, and there was a bonus mad word game from Jason Cook, publisher of Ampersand Books (and a bloody fine game it was, too.)

Sadly, the Flip Mino gasped its last breath of battery just as Jason was about to read  the finale of his mad word masterpiece. . .

Poet Amy Riddell Reads for Prick of the Spindle 6-19-2010 in Pensacola, Florida

Prick of the Spindle 6-19-10 Reading (Riddell) from Elizabeth Westmark on Vimeo.

Amy Riddell was the #3 reader in the Prick of Spindle literary reading line up last Saturday. She read selections from her new collection, Narcissistic Injury, published by Pudding House.

Amy is Assistant Professor of English at Northwest Florida State College, and has poems forthcoming in Prairie Schooner and Blue Fifth Review. I regret that the Mino did not capture her entire reading, especially the final, new poem.

Poet Benjamin S. Lowenkron and Storyteller/Poet Dawn Corrigan Read for Prick of the Spindle in Pensacola

Prick of the Spindle Reading 6-19-10 (Lowenkron & Corrigan) from Elizabeth Westmark on Vimeo.


Pensacola-based literary journal, Prick of the Spindle, held a reading in Pensacola, Florida on Saturday, June 19, 2010.

This is an impromptu, Flip Mino, catch-as-catch-can video of the event.

There were 7 readers. This is a video of #1, Benjamin S. Lowenkron (who divides his time between New Orleans and Baton Rouge), and #2, Gulf Breeze, FL-based Dawn Corrigan. Benjamin read (and sang) from his poetry collection, Preacher's Blues, published by Ampersand Books, whose publisher, Jason Cook, had driven over for the reading from St. Petersburg.

Dawn Corrigan is writer, poet and editor of the journal Girls With Insurance (GWI).

Note:  Apologies to Dawn are called for here, as the poetry segment of her reading is cut off due to my lack of experience with the Flip Mino and concern that it only has memory to record an hour. But when you get to Dawn's opening poem, Nolo me Tangere, which appears after her stories, you will see and hear as the Mino stops recording at a very intriguing spot. You will definitely wonder where this poem was headed  and may have to ask Dawn yourself!

Mino Films Prick of the Spindle Reading All By Its Little Self

Okay. It's sort of Flip Mino cinema verite. And it's taken me a couple of days to figure out how to get it from the tiny camcorder, with the switchblade-like pop out USB plug.

So I figured I would experiment on myself and J. Bradley first. There were seven readers altogether. I was #4 and Jesse was #5. Jesse (J. Bradley) has a terrific new book of poems out, Dodging Traffic, published by Ampersand Books.

More on everybody's creds later, let's do this thing. Browsers vary widely in their ability to be flexible with less than optimal conditions, so let me know if you have both picture and sound, reasonably in sync. That would be kind of a miracle.

If this one works, I'll process the others that have Benjamin,Dawn, Amy, Cynthia and Calypso on them, that is, if I can remember what I did right on this one. If it works.

Here goes: (My part is 1st, and it goes for around 13 minutes, so if you want to skip right on over to Jesse, consider this a heads-up.)

VID00163 from Elizabeth Westmark on Vimeo.

Gift from My Sister

Buck and I watched another segment of Ken Burn's instantly iconic film, The National Parks: America's Best Idea, and talked into the night about a cross-country road trip to Carlsbad Caverns, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Glacier and The Tetons that we have been teasing each other with for ages. We talked about the lure of rigging up the old van and driving all the way.

Finally, Buck  yawned and stood. "Well, that's it for me. I'm going to bed," he said. "How about you?"

I looked over at the piano. "I'll be along in a few minutes."

Buck knows me so well. "You play as long as you want. I haven't heard enough of The Beast lately. Come on, Maggie."

I sat in the semi-dark room, with only the piano light providing illumination. This kind of late-night playing is very intimate. It's not high octane performance. It's not practice. It's meditational plunking. It's quiet, keenly felt joy. I thank my sister, Flo, for transmitting her love of music to me when she was a teenager and I was a child. It was the gift of a lifetime.

"Love is still the only dream I know."

from Seasons of the Heart, by the late John Denver