Saturday, July 30, 2011

Town or Country?

We're stumped.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What are you reading?

July 26, 2011 . 6:09 PM . page 31

Monday, July 25, 2011

About an hour north of San Francisco...

The Girls, 2011

Sheriff's calls

Thursday, July 14

STINSON BEACH: At 5:30 p.m. someone wanted more information about a new sign in the library parking lot.

Friday, July 15

BOLINAS: At 9:55 a.m. a man reported that $200 and some prescription drugs had been stolen from inside his mattress.

Saturday, July 16

WOODACRE: At 1:54 p.m. a young white man wearing a flannel shirt and baggy jeans was sitting in his vehicle in front of his residence. Deputies found the young man to be "off" but not dangerous.

DILLON BEACH: At 4:05 p.m. a woman reported that another woman ran over her foot after she told her to turn down her music.

Sunday, July 17

OLEMA: At 6:49 a.m. a black and white calf was in the road.

Thought you might like to know.


excerpts: July 21, 2011 Point Reyes Light

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Great goblets of magnolialight.

Earlier on Fillmore Street (2300), 2011

Later on Fillmore Street (2123) I am sitting with a fancy sparkling water from the UK. I did not know this when I bought it. I also bought a book by C. D. Wright. So, a little bad and a little good. I see Michael Ondaatje praises it on its back cover. Like the water, I did not know this when I bought it. I found this book of poetry in a small bookstore (2195) near this cafe where I sit. Sometimes I buy a book just to show the bookstore that they matter. Books of poetry, poetry written by live poets, are not always easy to find. I did not check to see if this book was a part of our library's collection, I bought it on a whim. I am disturbed by its cover. It scares me, but the pages I skim while still in the bookstore reach deeper than my fear. The book is one long poem. While standing before the poetry shelves I flip through the book backward and see lines such as Sunflower blindness and Take a mirror to the river and Great goblets of magnolialight. It all stems from a road trip through the rural South. I push my other books aside and enter her world, this time from the beginning.

Deepstep Come Shining by C. D. Wright

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Valley Named After the Grass

a month later in a year earlier, 2010

Chicago is not the Windy City, it is San Francisco. So we escaped to a valley named after the grass, where the temperature reached up into the 90s, and the heat was absorbed by the pavement. A parade marched down Main Street. I wore a wide brimmed hat and slipped into my new bathing suit. The inn had a tiny pool. I darted back and forth like a goldfish while he watched from a towel covered chair. The days were long and lazy. One afternoon I woke as a child, hungry, and hearing my mother's voice in the kitchen. Something about the air was just as it was back then. Taste and smell are easy, but traveling through time based on the feel of the air is less common, and more luxurious. The cool sheets were familiar too, the way they felt on my hot skin. The ceiling fan was new, but felt old. Half asleep I wondered what she was making for dinner. I woke up alone in the room, turned onto my back, and watched the fan above slowly rotate. A dog barked in the distance and I heard a faint song from a bird who sounded small. A colander of cherries drifted through my mind. Still groggy, I thought of the sequence of our lives, the way it all unfolds. Something to add to my collection.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Simple Food

sweet potato, 2010

Basic unadorned simplicity, it is a beautiful thing.

The mulberries picked from our neighbors tree when I was a girl. Anchovies with lemon in Liguria. A tomato sandwich. Green peas popped from the pod while standing in the garden. A perfect plum. A slab of cold watermelon in the shade of the back porch. A basic salami sandwich. The jambon et fromage baguette I ate beside the Sienne. The pots of flageolets and tomatoes I made in my tiny Paris apartment (thank you Luisa). Avocado toast. Sardines on rye. Fat blueberries stirred into yogurt and drizzled with wildflower honey. Any green sauteed in olive oil, topped with a fried egg, fleur de sel, and fresh coarse ground pepper. Roasted garlic cloves smeared onto slices of crusty bread. Angel hair pasta with chopped home grown tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper (Chris made (and grew) the best). A bowl of boiled new potatoes with butter, salt, pepper, and fresh dill. Cool radishes dipped in good salt. The warm olives Pizzeria Delfina serves as an antipasti. A hard cooked egg, each bite tapped into salt and pepper. Roasted sweet potato slices.

One night when we were in a French-fried potato sort of snack mood my dad suggested sweet potatoes. He cut some thick slices, slathered them with olive oil, sprinkled them with salt and pepper (he might have used a little cayenne too), and roasted them in a hot oven until soft on the inside and just beginning to crisp on the outside. They were so good.

What is your favorite simple food?

Friday, July 1, 2011

If I leave here tomorrow...would you still remember me?

Lost, 2011

I was eating a pumpkin muffin and listening to Freebird. The lyrics had me daydreaming and not giving the interview I was reading fair attention, so I closed the journal and tapped my fingers on the table, swayed to the music, and looked out the cafe window while drifting off into my memory. I like hearing this old song every once in a while and allowing it to carry me away. I'm familiar with two popular versions of the song. The version I like best is not the live version with play it pretty for Atlanta and how bout you? inserted into the original lyrics.

There are certain songs, novels, films, and paintings that do something that jolts me out of the lovely feeling of being lost in the work. It's something that abruptly shifts the mood. In Freebird I find myself lost in the live version until I hear the lyrics shift for the crowd. Maybe if I were there I'd feel differently, but from here, it just doesn't work for me. I'm not in Atlanta. I get transported to some cheesy stadium concert when I prefer being lost. I do get past the disruptions in this live version and I wouldn't turn it off it came on the radio. Perhaps it's because the song is so long. I have time to recover and get back into the music. Does this conflict with the point I'm making? Maybe, but making a clear point is overrated and often the sign of a narrow mind.

In certain novels and films I find myself thrown by the ending. A neatly tied up ending rarely works for me, especially when the story was anything but neat. I never like it, but clearly others do. To me, it feels strange and contrived, disjointed -- forced. I prefer more open endings, such as Sofia Coppola's Somewhere, Amy Sackville's The Still Point, and Per Petterson's Out Stealing Horses. You close the book or walk away from the screen and you are still under their spell.

Yesterday the shift (not quite a jolt) was good. I walked slowly through an exhibition of works collected by the Steins and was taken by a small Matisse painting. It was a landscape with cypress trees, a palette of mostly grey green and grey blue. In the lower right corner there was one subtle stroke of a salmon color. The stroke took me somewhere else. I left the painting and imagined the wet paint, the painter, his choices. But then I sunk back into the landscape and ended up drawn even deeper into the work, imagining him seeing that salmon color one day while standing there beside the cypress trees.