After 23 years in New Mexico, where he was a Writer-in-Residence at The University of New Mexico's Center for Southwest Research during the last nine, in June 2000, Joel Weishaus moved to Portland, Oregon. Presently an advisor on web-specific writing at Portland State University's Center for Excellence in Writing, his home work centers around completing "Inside the Skull-House," which recently passed the half-way point. He also reviews poetry for The Oregonian, Portland's daily newspaper, continues a series of email interviews with Humanities scholars, and is working on two books.
"About four years ago, having finished work on 'Reality Dreams,' an experimental autobiography, I began to look for another project. One day, I remembered a poem by Herman Melville that ends with 'they will but bury my spine.' Around that time, too, I came across Australian Aboriginal 'x-ray paintings,' and photographs of Siberian shamans in skeleton suits. I began researching skeletons, bones, and ossuaries. As this work progressed, I found that many anthropological materials centered on skulls, so that my interest rose to this level. But the scope I was looking for did not open until I realized that what I needed was the living skull; e.g., what resides inside, and the mystery of the consciousness it projects.
As most of my writing was already
computer borne, 'Inside the Skull-House' was naturally conceived for the
World Wide Web, where it continues to gestate at www.unm.edu/~reality/Skull/intro.htm