Friday, December 23, 2016

Addicted to Hope

Fog, 2016

I woke up thinking about expectations and disappointments today. Letdowns have always been and always will be a part of my life. Why? Because I'm addicted to hope. It's nothing new. I don't know if I've read too many books, seen too many movies... It's everywhere, really. Plays, musicals, television, blogs, podcasts. A conflict is introduced. A resolution closes things out. And even though the resolution isn't always positive, it can be a letdown, there will be another conflict, with a better resolution. There always is. But long before most of these things were part of my life, I was hopeful, a believer.

When I was 4 years old and in kindergarten my teacher told our class we were going to China. I was absolutely ecstatic. I firmly believed her, obviously. Why would she lie to us? I rushed home to tell my mother. When she thoughtfully tried to manage my expectations, I was appalled. She wasn't there! She didn't know! We were going to China! When the day arrived and we sat on the floor eating bowls of poorly cooked white rice I was shocked, and then deflated. I'd never really liked that teacher, but this seemed a particularly cruel joke.

Oh, I forgot to mention that on my first day of kindergarten, my introduction to the whole concept of school, when most of the children were crying, I was excited to visit this new place and meet new people and start learning. Hopeful. Okay, back to the story... 

I don't remember if any of the other children were upset or even aware of what I saw as profound disillusionment. I don't think so, because I recall feeling very alone. But I did not give up on teachers. Although this teacher was an utter disappointment, due to her lie (I know the word lie seems strong, but I was a very serious child) about China, the way I feared raising my hand and asking her if I could go to the bathroom during Weekly Reader, and an array of other unfortunate events, I did not resolve to distrust all teachers.

As it turns out, the next teacher I met, my first grade teacher, remains my favorite teacher. Because that's the way it goes. When times are tough it means something better is around the corner. This too shall pass. Right? I don't really know how to live another way. The bus breaks down. There is the pleasure of unexpected downtime. A bad breakup? Love will come again. Even when something is so tragic I know the only thing that will aid healing is time, no matter how slowly it seems to move, time does pass. And even if it seems implausible, I know, deep down, joy will eventually return to my life.

This coping mechanism has carried me far, but it began to falter this year. I've never been an avid follower of politics or current events, but I did keep informed about most major world issues, until I snapped in early November. I reached capacity. Part of the reason for this is what the rapid advance of technology has made available to us, at such incredible speed, and the other part is the number and intensity of actual events taking place. Since snapping I have avoided radio, newspaper, online news, talking heads of all sorts, and people who focus their attention in these areas.

I've instead gravitated toward nature, albeit mostly urban nature, literature, beauty, peace, and the belief in the capacity for human kindness that I know still exists. I haven't decided if this is a sustainable way to live my life. At times it seems I'm avoiding reality, or is it just another version of reality? I don't know. I'm sure there are many wise arguments against living this way, but it is where I am at this moment.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

One step at a time.


I can still drink my coffee with Eudora Welty.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

We Can Do This


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Join Us at Litquake San Rafael


I'm getting these two bums off the sofa and we're heading to San Rafael.

We will be joining writers and artists published in West Marin Review, Volume 6 this Saturday, October 8th for Way Out West: West Marin Review Showcase. I'll be reading my short prose contribution to West Marin Review, The Rancher Whispered, and from my novel, After the Sour Lemon Moon.

Saturday, October 8, 2016
4:30pm - 5:45pm

Proof Lab SR  
907 4th Street  
San Rafael, CA 94901 (map)

We hope you'll join us.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

I'm Always a Reader First

Ideal Reading Conditions, 2016

My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout. Have you read it?

I read the entire book in less than a day. It's described as a story about a mother and daughter, but it's really about so much more. It's about a woman's soul, which comes through in her story telling.

I photographed the title page in dappled front yard light, which seemed to match Lucy Barton's story telling perfectly. I recall all of these things as if Lucy Barton actually told this story, as if it is not a work of fiction written by Elizabeth Strout. Why? Because it is how I feel. I don't really want to believe otherwise.

Part of me can't help but wonder how Elizabeth Strout did it. Did she know someone like Lucy Barton? Did this Lucy Barton friend share her story with Elizabeth Strout, and did Elizabeth Strout then write the story down in a way that would get it published? Did Elizabeth Strout fabricate the entire story? Maybe Elizabeth Strout is Lucy Barton in more ways than she is not.

As a writer I am curious about the writer's inspiration. As a reader I am not, I do not care. It is Lucy Barton's story, I need not know more.

I'm always a reader first, while reading. I do not think this is the case for all writers. Some writers read through writer's eyes, and I think this is a shame. I'm tempted to go so far as to call this a misuse of reading material, and if not a misuse, then definitely a missing out on the intended use of the material that, if the writing is good, would certainly be far more gratifyingly read as a reader.

Read My Name Is Lucy Barton as a reader, no matter who you are. You have every right to disagree with me, but if you do, keep it to yourself.

Cheers.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Sebald Sentences

Transportation, 2016

W. G. Sebald is one of my favorite authors. I might have mentioned this before. I'm currently reading Vertigo for the first time. As always, reading just a page or two of Sebald's writing transports me into a trancelike state, sometimes all it takes is a sentence or two. I folded the top left corner of page 84 earlier this morning so I could return to it and share the sentences below with you.

"After barely an hour of breezy travel, with the windows open upon the radiant landscape, the Porta Nuova came into view and as I beheld the city lying in the semicircle of the distant mountains, I found myself incapable of alighting. Strangely transfixed, I remained seated, and when the train had left Verona and the guard came down the corridor once more I asked him for a supplementary ticket to Desenzano, where I knew that on Sunday the 21st of September, 1913, Dr K., filled with the singular happiness of knowing that no one suspected where he was at that moment, but otherwise profoundly disconsolate, had lain alone in the grass on the lakeside and gazed out at the waves in the reeds."
 
Sebald died young, at 57 years old, only 11 years after this book was published. His books have been described as difficult to characterize, and I wholeheartedly agree. What I think I respond to most in his work is the way it both carries me to faraway places and reminds me to be present and live fully. A thoroughly satisfying, albeit slightly disorienting, combination.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Sofa Would Probably Be Reincarnated

Indigo, 2016

We've needed to replace our sofa for quite some time now, but have put it off. Our comfortable sofa, loaded with memories, is sadly waiting on the sidewalk in front of our apartment for the Bulky Item Recycling pickup I scheduled. Our new sofa arrives tomorrow. It's a beautiful indigo and I don't even care.

I bought the sad sidewalk sofa when I lived on my own in Chicago. I didn't have any furniture at all, so I didn't waste much time making a decision. I needed a place to sit. So I simply walked into the showroom, and without much thought selected a model and fabric, and that was that. No perusing Pinterest or Apartment Therapy or design blogs of any sort, because they didn't exist back then, and if there was anything of the sort it wouldn't have mattered because I didn't know about it.

My new sofa was delivered to my empty apartment, not long after my visit to the showroom. It was gorgeous and new and I loved it. I hadn't even met my husband yet. A few other gentleman might have sat on the sofa before I met him, but we won't get into that.

When I moved into my first apartment in San Francisco, which ended up being our (my husband when he was my boyfriend and me) first apartment in San Francisco, the sofa moved with me. The apartment was supposed to be my apartment, but the rental market was brutal and someone saw a window to worm his way into my life. I didn't argue.

Then the sofa moved with us to our second SF apartment, where we got married, on the roof deck, with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. A very special day.

And it moved with us again, to the tiny apartment we moved into so I could afford to go to graduate school. We're still here! I know it seems crazy, but maybe it isn't. We like it here, usually. Another story for another day.

Then the sofa rode with us in a U-Haul truck and lived with us in Point Reyes Station, CA, when we thought we were transitioning our lives to West Marin. The transition was never completed. Again, we'll save those details for another day.

The sofa was brought back to our little apartment in the city and it has served us well, through all of these changes in our lives, until we moved it out to the sidewalk early this morning. I feel I've betrayed it in some way, like there's something more I should have done.

I'm clearly not handling this sofa departure well at all. I know different people have different definitions of what constitutes needing a sofa, but you can trust me when I tell you the fabric was not just bordering on embarrassing, and the cushions, although fluffed regularly, had really lost their oomph. And the style... It was a bit dated, maybe more than a bit, but honestly, I could have lived with dated. It was the wear and tear that solidified the poor guy had absolutely reached retirement age. Yes, my sofa is male. I don't know how I know.

The pickup schedule was full tomorrow, so we decided to just go one day without a sofa. We were asked to have it outside at 6am this morning, so we woke up early and maneuvered that giant out the front door, as we'd agreed we would.

I took a ferry to Sausalito and Sausalito really was at its best today. It felt good to be there. The fog and the mist were beautiful and the library was quiet. But then I remembered the sofa and started feeling nostalgic... I tried to distract myself with the purchase of a huge ripe tomato. No, I haven't tasted it yet. My fingers are crossed. It will be our first ripe tomato of the season. Usually very exciting, but the sofa... I assumed it would be picked up before I returned home.

I got home today around 2pm and it was still there, on the sidewalk. Now it is 5:30pm and nothing has changed. I've called the service twice. I fear it will be out there all night.

Every time I walk past the sofa or look outside I feel terrible. I imagine it's cold and lonely out there without our bodies to keep it warm. I wish we could have donated it, but my research showed it was not in the proper condition for donation.

The last time we scheduled a pickup for a piece of furniture we had it out of the apartment at 6am and it was picked up by 7am. Done. And I didn't even care about that item.

My husband offered that the sofa would probably be reincarnated and this idea made me feel much better. I'm thinking it will be a goat or a saguaro cactus in its next life. Just a gut feeling.

Wait... I hear a truck.

Nope. Wrong truck.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

What Is Now

Endpapers, 2016

I was reading a book of poems written by a woman who decided to take up poetry at the age of 90, a book offering more illumination than I was prepared for this evening. Illumination of so many things.

What it might feel like to lose a spouse and miss that spouse, desperately. The experience of reading your own writing, many years after the words were written, and realizing that beautiful part of yourself is gone. The gratification of taking a stand on a small thing, but one that will change each remaining year of your lifedemanding no one buy you birthday gifts, at 90 years old. The relief felt. No more false gratitude required. The energy of those little lies, returned to you.

And just as she gets me thinking about my future, I turn the page to find an interview where she is quoted:

It is very constrictive and destructive to always be living beyond the moment; to be preparing.

So I lean forward, resting my right elbow on this book, my chin in my hand, and look at the wall for a while, appreciating what is now.

Poems from the Pond

Sunday, July 24, 2016

On Perfect Schedules and Saint Barthélemy



Design Your Perfect Schedule. What would you do, say, on Tuesday at 10 a.m. or on Friday at 3 p.m. to make your life meaningful? What, when you really come down to the quotidian details, does it look like every day to have time to do good work, to spend quality time with your family and friends and to refresh your soul?


July 24, 2016, 5:08pm

I’m in my husband’s office, hiding from the sun on the desk I’m using and therefore awkwardly positioned beside some file cabinets stacked with books. I found the questions above somewhere in January of 2015, and although at the time I thought answering them would be worthwhile, have put them off, until now.

A perfect schedule. There cannot be such a thing, but I’ll try and pretend there could be such a thing, for the sake of this exercise, with the hope it will at least move me closer to perfection than I am now.

Let’s begin with Tuesday at 10 a.m. Okay. Where am I? Is this only a perfect schedule? A perfect schedule seems as though it would require a perfect setting. I have no idea where the perfect setting is located, but I once spent several days on an island named Saint Barthélemy, in a beautiful bungalow with a small private pool, and room service.

I was young and impressionable and had read it was a favorite getaway for young attractive jet-set celebrity types, and that was all I needed, along with a maxed out credit card. I was in. It was a long time ago, it seems like a different life, but I do remember quite a bit about this place, especially the general feeling of being there. I recall details such as appreciating the bar soap in our bathroom, and I don’t even like bar soap. Everything was white and beautiful and impeccably clean.

There was a boombox and the hotel had a library of CDs. I borrowed a pile of these CDs and settled into our small but luxurious backyard area and was as pleased as I’ve ever been on any vacation in my life. It was the absence of stress. No, it was the ability to ignore it. Unfortunately, my companion did not appreciate this extraordinary space as much as I did, so I went about my business without him. I don’t recall really minding. Maybe there were a few fits of rage, but they were small fits, very small.

I had sun. I had shade. I had music of my choosing. I had beautiful food. And I had time, so much time. I ran around the island and did other things with my unhappy companion—jewelry shopping, restaurant going, bar hopping—but none of it was as enjoyable as the time I spent in the backyard of our bungalow, alone, swimming breaststroke, slowly, back and forth, in our small pool, while listening to Tears for Fears, General Public, and The The.

I recall reading about this hotel suffering hurricane damage shortly after our stay, but when I look at the current photographs of the place all of the old memories return. It looks the same to me. I would not be surprised if a hurricane or two have hit Saint Barthélemy since then and some special force has protected this magical place. It seems impossible for a place to be so perfect, and that I would have had the pleasure of staying there at such a young age. The whole memory, it must be a mirage.

So my perfect Tuesday at 10 a.m. would have to be spent in that pool on Saint Barthélemy, in its perfect mirage state, of course. I would have just eaten a late breakfast of fresh bread, fruit, and chocolate. There would be a breeze, obviously gentle. I’d exit the pool, dry off with a deliciously soft towel, and put on a robe of the same sort, climb into my chaise lounge, and then I would sip coffee while scribbling perfect paragraphs into my journal.

Yes, that would be my perfect Tuesday at 10 a.m. I do believe my life would feel wildly meaningful. I know it all sounds rather shallow, but I don’t usually live this way, and when I’ve tried it has failed miserably. I hate feeling disappointed, but no one would be disappointed with this Tuesday at 10 a.m. No one.

Friday at 3pm I would be taking a nap with my husband (not the unhappy companion), after a perfect 60-minute massage. We would have eaten lunch around 1pm, something like a delicious cold soup and salad, on the terrace.

The good work would be getting done, the quality time with the one I love would be happening, and my soul would absolutely be refreshed. Yes, it would all be covered.

But I’m still here at the file cabinet with this laptop pushed up against some books, feeling fairly sure this exercise hasn’t really helped me move closer to perfection in my day-to-day life. Whose idea was this?

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Carnival Evening

Carnival Evening, 2016

May 22, 2016

I let it go. For a moment I just sat there, my feet warm in thick socks as the wind roared outside, and examined all of the details of my new book—the silver National Book Award Finalist seal on the front cover and the detail of the Henry Rousseau painting it was stamped over, the small square photograph of the poet's face on the back of the book, lower left, and the bookmark the person at the shop had tucked inside.

Then I heard the wind again, it had gotten louder, and I put the book down. It was strange, I thought, the way books sidle up beside weather. Or is it the other way around? I'm usually aware of the weather when I'm reading a book, aware in a way I am not while watching a movie or researching a topic on the internet.

Soon there was only the ticking of the clock and the settling sounds of the cottage. The thing I had let go attempted its return.

The wind growled and saved me. I picked up Pastan.

#threepoemsthursday

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Frickin' Good

 Path to the Beach, 2016

There's a lot going on in this world, much of it negative. 2016 is far from a lull in life-changing events, and it is difficult not to consider all of the larger implications of these events.

From a more local perspective, I'm reading Joan Didion's book, Where I Was From, and she's tracing California's history. The tracing is absolutely interesting, but not at all uplifting, and has me thinking about this state's future.

And then there is day-to-day life. Just the regular stuff. The sun rising. Drinking coffee. Laundry. Trying to incorporate learning about an armed robbery in my neighborhood, the neighborhood I thought was safe, and walking down the street more cautiously. Remembering to buy dental floss. Thinking about what we will eat for dinner. The sun setting.

Of course, there is also the filler, silly sort of stuff. It's life too.

Robert, a barista in my local cafe, asks me, How's it going?
I reply, Good.
He somehow hears, Frickin' good.
So he looks at me inquisitively, What did you say?  
I said good.

To make a long story short, he laughs and tells me he was a little shocked because he thought I'd said, frickin' good, and it was so out of character. I smile and my cheeks start feeling hot, and probably taking on a pinkish glow, as they do when I'm embarrassed. He tells me I'm usually...then he motions downward with a flat right hand. I assume this means low-key.

How do you know something really fabulous didn't just happen to me?
He smiles, True.

I sit down with my coffee and think, Do I want to be the type of person who says frickin' good? Would that person live more lightly in this chaotic world? Would she have more fun? Is frickin' good a part of me that's hibernating? I think it might be. It clearly came out more often when I was drinking, but I don't want to sink back into that hole.

I'll just let it be. This part of me will climb up and out when it is ready, or it won't. I can wait. I think I can wait.

I might as well return to Didion's California. And I do.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

On Not Gardening

 Rhubarb, 2016

This is what our garden looked like the day we said goodbye. We’ve given up gardening, at least for now. There were a variety of reasons we chose this option.

One of those reasons was the incessant watering required to grow vegetables (we aren’t really the ornamental garden type) during drought months (roughly half of each year), and the rate in which the freshly dampened soil returns to dusty dry dirt. It’s downright depressing and seeing it happen in this up-close-and-personal way leaves one wondering if California should truly be the produce paradise that it is.

Gardening started to feel unnatural, which of course it is, in the true sense of the word, unlike nature. But there was the promise of fresh rhubarb tempting us, so we carried on, for a while.

There were also the logistics of getting to the garden, toting garden clothes, tools, gloves, and shoes, and then getting back home. This was not a backyard project.

Protecting the plants from critters such as skunks, raccoons, rodents, and a variety of birds was another challenge. We used bird netting, but then began to worry about the possibility of birds getting caught and injured, or worse. What were our other options? Building something more stable? Would we need tools? Lumber? Did we really want to tame nature? We were having doubts.

Lastly, there were community garden politics and community garden gossip. To avoid joining in, I’ll say no more.

I am well aware that these are issues only a very lucky person can complain about. We waited 8 years before getting this garden plot. It seems we should be happily dealing with all of the above, but instead we channeled Bartleby, so off the plot goes to the next in line. I hope the new gardeners use the plot as long as they find doing so enjoyable, and then pass it on to the next people who want to give it a go.

The truth is that I don’t really miss gardening. There, I’ve said it. Call me fickle. I understand. It just might be true. For now, I prefer admiring the not-so-natural-yet-beautiful elements others in my neighborhood have chosen to tame, eating farmers market fruits and vegetables, and crossing the Golden Gate Bridge to explore Mother Nature’s more wild side.

Farewell, dear rhubarb. I wish you well.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Hanginaround

Posy, 2016 

I was waking up differently than I had just a month or two earlier. It was easier. I started to think some miraculous transformation had taken place in me, then I realized there was simply more daylight earlier in the morning, so I sighed, felt foolish, and moved on.

I went downstairs, washed a few dishes, and made a few notes on this and that. I did these things while listening to Counting Crows. I began to wonder if they named their band after the behavior of one of their members. Was Duritz a crow counter? I hadn’t thought about the origin of their name before that day, never noticed a bird in their band name. Yet I’d listened to them for years. 

Some things just get passed by, not purposefully ignored, but still overlooked. It’s not like I don’t ponder a variety of unimportant matters on a regular basis. I don’t know why some things stick in the mind for further exploration and others don’t. 

Was I paying attention to these crows because I was on vacation and spending much of my time outside with insects and skunks and foxes and birds? Maybe.

Anyway, I found myself particularly tuned in to the song Hanginaround, and listening to the part about long days with nothing to do, and I thought back to telling my dad, "There’s nothing to do here!" This is a thought that no longer occurs to me. The last time I whined such a thing I was probably in my early teens. It must be a mindset that recedes with age.

My 13-year-old self would have filled her long nothing-to-do days diligently rewinding songs such as Hanginaround on her cassette tape over and over again until she heard each word, writing them all down, and memorizing them so she could sing along with the tape in front of her friends, appearing as though it all came to her naturally, as if those words had never been rewound, written down, or memorized. Yes, it is true.

If I find I have a stretch of time with nothing to do now, I don’t mind. I don’t blame Dad. I no longer write down the words to songs, but I do still think about them, and band names, and birds.

Origin of band name (I had to look it up…)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Fish & Game Quarterly

Poet's Chair, 2016

I'm sitting in the poet's chair over at Fish & Game Quarterly. The spring issue of this online publication is out today. I've just learned that my two poems in this issue are Fish & Game Quarterly's first poetry offerings. I'm honored. These are not warm and fuzzy poems, although one of them is titled Peaches, but they are dear to me.

You'll also find photographs from Inverness, CA, a remembrance of Prince, an essay about space and place written by a former bass player in the band Hole, digital art, a piece about the future of food magazines (there's hope!), even an instrumental track by a trio described as an idiosyncratic blend of dub, roots reggae, and spiritual jazz traditions. This and more are shared by a diverse group of contributors from New York to Bali.

Fish & Game Quarterly 

Enjoy.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Upstairs in the Poetry Room


Last Thursday I visited City Lights, specifically to visit the poetry room upstairs. Two windows, five chairs, one stool, and the largest poetry selection I've ever seen in a bookstore.

I entered alone, but there was someone right behind me making my photo taking awkward and self-conscious. He seemed serious. He picked up a book, sat down in the poet's rocking chair, and did not stand up until he left the room. I must have looked at ten different books—up and down, up and down—and I sat in two different chairs. But I was serious too. We were both quiet.

Then a very tall young man entered the room, serious as well, and focused, like the other guy. Just one book and one chair.

Any less serious visitors felt uncomfortable in our presence. If they were too loud and chatty, they toned it way down to a whisper. If they were overly impressed with the poetry room, and too vocal about it, they calmed down and patiently perused the collection. Those who obviously didn't care about poetry, but were inspecting the place as a landmark, departed quickly.  

But maybe it wasn't us. Maybe the poetry room has its own power. It's possible it controlled us too.

#threepoemsthursday

Monday, May 9, 2016

A Reading in Marin


It's time for another reading.

I'm going to be joining a handful of writers and artists published in West Marin Review, Volume 6, in Corte Madera on Monday, May 16th. I'll be reading my short prose contribution to West Marin Review as well as a few pages from After the Sour Lemon Moon.

An informal evening of prose, poetry, and art.

Book Passage
51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

If you happen to be in the neighborhood, we hope you'll stop in and join us.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Admired and Feared


Joan. Saturday night.

I was sort of listening to Selected Shorts when a female voice began reading Goodbye to All That and, how does one describe the spell Joan Didion casts with her words? She is sharp, wry, and brutally honest. She cuts straight through to my heart, exposes those savage feelings I've felt and never told anyone about, and leaves a lump in my throat.

She's one of those brave unrelenting women, the type people admire and fear. You can see it in her eyes. You can hear it in her voice. I saw her live in conversation with Vendela Vida in 2011. She was 77 years old, small, but not at all frail. She was sharp, impatient, and curt.

I always feel the need to prepare myself before I read her work, but I was caught off guard this Saturday night, at home alone, husband out of town, possibly too much space for rumination. And maybe this is the best way to experience Joan Didionwithout armor.

She left that lump in my throat. She forced me to think realistically about my future, and she reminded me how fleeting each phase of my life has been. 

Nothing stays. Take nothing for granted.

Monday, March 14, 2016

A Reading in Petaluma


I'm going to be joining a handful of writers and artists published in West Marin Review, Volume 6, in Petaluma, CA on March 25th. I'll be reading my short prose contribution to West Marin Review as well as a few pages from After the Sour Lemon Moon.

An informal evening of prose, poetry, and art.

If you happen to be in the neighborhood*, we hope you'll stop in and join us.

Friday, March 25th - 7pm
Copperfield's Books
140 Kentucky Street
Petaluma, CA 94952

* If you are in Northern California, but Petaluma is a bit out of the way, I'll also be participating in a similar event at Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA on May 16th.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Statement


A gray-haired painter (house painter) walks into the cafe and orders a coffee. The person at the cash register places a cup of coffee on the counter and says, '$3.50.' Without a word the painter turns and walks out the door, leaving the coffee on the counter.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Two Weeks Later

Judged by Its Back Cover, 2016

No conversation today. I hope it's good.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Conversation with Myself

Peter Orner's 'Love and Shame and Love' and Me, 2015

'You don't need a new book.'
'Then why are you in a used bookstore?'
'I don't know. It's like a disease...'
'You should just put that book back on the shelf.'
'But Peter Orner is tempting me with drawings of Lake Michigan in winter and Mavis Gallant quotes.'
'Just shut the book.'
'If I don't buy books all the bookstores will close. Life will have no meaning!'
'Shut it!'
'No! Okay, fine.'

Monday, February 1, 2016

To the Top

Guardian Angel, 2016

It's been a while. How are you?

Much has gone on during my absence. I've been productive, which is a good thing, but I don't find productivity all that interesting. Do you?

When I think back to my time away, the experience that rises to the top is a trip to an off-season beach town where I found Patti Smith's M Train in the local library. It was a trip taken not long after my departure from social media, yet I don't think anything I experienced afterward felt as good.

Between getting bundled up and taking long walks at low tide, and quiet mornings with soft light entering the bedroom and falling upon Patti Smith's words and images, well, it doesn't get much better.

It's nice to be back. I hope you've been enjoying the start of this year.