Monday, July 30, 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012


Crab, 2012

Does it sometimes seem everything over here is lovely and loving and delicious?  Not always.

I'm in a terrible mood today.

Perhaps it began with reading this article over breakfast.  No, it was probably waking up with a headache.  Could it have been our argument over lunch?  Maybe it was listening to Bayonne this afternoon.  Work is not coming as easily today as it did yesterday, today is more like wading through quicksand.  I'm not saying the article or short story were uninteresting or poorly written, they're just both quite depressing.  As for the headache, argument, and the quicksand--I don't know.  Also, I'm kind of sick of having to get around mostly by car.  Yes, the landscape is stunning, but I like running my errands on foot.

I must admit, complaining publicly like this is sort of making me feel better.  I hope it doesn't become an addiction.

Thank you for your patience.

Update: 7:02 PM 
That rant was a little ridiculous.  Sorry.  The light is nice right now and I'm feeling better.

Monday, July 23, 2012

My Place Today

Monday Morning, 2012

I was watching a documentary about our national parks yesterday evening and there was something said about natural wide open spaces being where we find our true selves, or something along those lines.  I adore these natural spaces, but fail to believe that we cannot tap into our true selves in other ways as well.  We are resourceful beings.

Standing on the sand and seeing the Mediterranean Sea for the first time can be a spiritual experience, and hiking through a forest of enormous redwoods can feel transcendent, but the view from a 50th floor window above Manhattan, with the quiet city below, does have its merits, as does being up just a few floors in a Paris apartment and looking out over a stretch of beautiful rooftops.  Sometimes just lying down in the grass (or on the hood of your car) and gazing up at the sky is enough.

We all need a special place to go when we seek answers.  A place where we can breathe slow and deep, and clear our heads. 

I've had so many of these places.  They exist in all the landscapes I've lived and many I've only visited.

I don't know if I crave vastness more than other people, but I do believe crave is the best way to describe it.  Feeling confined or stifled, without a doubt, brings out the worst in me.

When the landscape is unavailable I can sometimes create the state of mind without the place.  It's tricky, but possible.

However I arrive, it is where I find my best thoughts, or at least the seeds that allow them to grow later.  This was my place today.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Catalina Island, 20?? (a while ago)

Who are these people?  Oh, it's us.  A long time ago.  We've changed in some ways, but the best parts have remained intact.

He asked me to marry him, on this day, ten years ago.  We were on Angel Island with a wet picnic blanket, sandwiches from Molinari's, and a half bottle of Chianti.  I said yes. 

Best decision I ever made.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Discovering Grace Paley

notes, 2012

I'm nearing the end of a hefty project phase, so of course I've put the gratifying completion on hold and invested hours of this day in discovering the work of Grace Paley. I've looked at photographs, read poems, interviews, book reviews, and various biographical pieces. Her short stories will be next.

I've touched on this author's work several times, added her books of poems and stories to my to-read list, and then finally checked out her book Fidelity from the library.

I liked Proverbs, the very first poem in the book, immediately, and a specific line and a half has stuck with me.

a person should be in love most of
the time

Yes, if possible. Definitely. And the stanza preceding my favorite line and a half, to me implying what it is to love another, made me grin.

a person should be understood    though
he has brought both of his brows together
in anger and also suddenly begun to laugh

I found her poem The Poet's Occasional Alternative online. It begins as follows.

I was going to write a poem
I made a pie instead it took
about the same amount of time
of course the pie was a final
draft a poem would have had some
distance to go days and weeks and
much crumpled paper

And then a visit to the Paris Review.


How do stories begin for you?


A lot of them begin with a sentence—they all begin with language. It sounds dopey to say that, but it’s true. Very often one sentence is absolutely resonant. A story can begin with someone speaking. “I was popular in certain circles,” for example; an aunt of mine said that, and it hung around in my head for a long time. Eventually I wrote a story, “Goodbye and Good Luck,” that began with that line, though it had nothing to do with my aunt.

Yes yes.  This reminds me of those circles Rachael mentioned in response to my last post.  She was smart to make note of them.  My unfolding was briskly followed by my circles.  They were not about to be cast aside.  And this suits me just fine.  I need them.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

And Then There Was Space

Summer, 2012
My mind has completely unfolded.  I had to move it from the large living room floor out into an open field.  It required the space, like a giant map.  Now every wrinkle, each tight crease, rests flat. 

Reading it is so strange, these individual thoughts free and existing in their own areas.  I'd become accustomed to the folds, trying to read through several layers of thin paper.  Ignoring the lakes and sand dunes from an earlier route, following the wandering blue line, hoping to find my YOU ARE HERE. 

Now it is all so clear, but what they don't tell you is there is always an adjustment period, even when moving into clarity.  I'd thought additional space yielded simplicity, and perhaps in some ways it does, but it is not what you'd imagine.  The openness, the space for all of it to be accessible at once.  The clean idea of it is different than the reality. 

Fighting through information is where my evolution has taken me.  I'm cut out for it.  Elbowing through the crowds to find what I need.  I was used to the clutter, all of it tightly packed.  I could carry it with me. 

Now I need a small airplane, to take me up.  Down here I'm too close to it all to get a good look. 

But I don't see a plane in my future.  I'll have to change, explore one area at a time.  Forget the rest of the map, for a while.  It's not going anywhere.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012