Wednesday, March 20, 2019

first flower(s)

Dear You,

Here is First Flower, a Molly Burch song you can enjoy while you look at these images. 

Until the next flowers, then.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The A, B, C of it.

Dear Print-Readers and -Makers,

Oooh, such a lot of good things to see and watch and read and think on.  Here are the three I am considering today:


Two.   Or, this, if you don't like paper.


Friday, March 8, 2019

Play to Me Only with Thine Straw.

Dear Project-minded,

Oboe, and I am not sure if I have already mentioned it to you, is one of my favorite words.  I also love 'bassoon.' 

Some time ago, I found this recipe for straw oboes, and just lately, I discovered a character making them in a book I am really loving:  Mrs. Miniver.   Which is how I knew it was time to send you the instructions for making the oboe.  In the book, a young character desires grown straw, but is in a place and time with the wrong kind of pasture grasses available.  (I wonder if the insides of our house of straw would have been suitable for making billions of oboes instead of walls?  I might hear some of their unmet potential if I listen carefully to my own walls talking).  As cultivated straw is unavailable to this young person, she gets a box of the manufactured kind of straws (as the book was written in 1939, I expect they were paper straws), and eventually gets the openings cut just well enough to play Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes, which shall be our song for today. 

Once the song is over, and the oboe is made, I encourage you to read Mrs. Miniver- it's filled with fabulous words I enthusiastically looked up:  minims, crochets, piquet, mesembryanthemum, tumbril, woodcraft, tourbillions, skewbald, pyridine, post-prandial, boak, tricoteuse, eupeptic, billeting, vieux jeu, subfusc, dactyl, widdershins, trochaic, secateur, and degringolade. 

Here is the book, right here, if you want to read it this very instant.  I think maybe you should skip all the stuff there at the beginning, just for now, you can read later about Mrs. Miniver and the author.  Go right on to the first chapter, and let them both speak for themselves, even after 80 years.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Hey, Girliecakes.

Dear Feminists,

Today for you a song, and a place to go to play at mixing color and shop.  It seems to me that a custom shade of lipstick would make a mighty fine party favor....  Or maybe custom cosmetics could commemorate all kinds of events: quinceaƱeras, book publishings, record releases, births, matrimonial ceremonies, and maybe deaths, too.  One thing I hope they add soon is nail polish!

I adore the clattering rhythms of Peek A Boo, and you might want to hear it again, too, here.

Thursday, February 28, 2019


Pelican, a dance performance by Robert Rauschenberg.

Dear Curious,

Today, I am hoping to send you searching for a small piece of writing, a prose piece that I am mad for: see a smattering of it below.  You won't be able to read it on the big bad internet; I already tried to find it for you.  You will have to visit a bookshop, or library, and even then, you will probably have to special order it.

I got mine from this good place for getting things, in a collection of essays called On Dolls.

*  *  *  *

The Marionette Theatre
by Dennis Silk

Part One


"Shutters shut and open.  So do queens."
- Gertrude Stein.

The Japanese writer, Saikaku, has a tricky story about umbrellas.  Twenty of them hung outside the temple at Kwannon.  People borrowed them in bad weather.  In spring, 1649, an unlucky umbrella-borrower had it blown out of his hand by a divine wind.  Travelling further maybe than Saikaku, the umbrella landed in the village of Amazato.  No one there had seen an umbrella.  But from its ribs, numbering forty, and the unusual luminosity of its oil-paper, they knew the sungod had landed at Amazato.  They built a shrine to the umbrella.

Saikaku does not describe the landing of the umbrella.  But it must descend slowly on Amazato from up there, slowly and in considered spirals, as a god should.  After the vigorous theophany of its descent, it lies stranded in the market-square.  Yet everyone understands the umbrella is latent.  A farmer closes his fingers around its handle as around a staff-hook.  They travel gingerly up the limb of this god, they feel a metal obstruction then a yielding.  The umbrella shuts.  Deus absconditus.
But what shuts opens, like fingers.  Open shut.  This farmer becomes the attendant of the opening and shutting god.

*  *  *  *

For some footage of Pelican, and two other Rauschenberg performances, go to the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

Friday, February 22, 2019

A better time.

Dear Ones,

I am sorry to bother you again, with another thing I think you really must read.  Yesterday I read about the selection of an engagement calendar and I thought I'd have to come over and get you up out of bed it was so good, but I figured it could wait, maybe, until a better time.

Who knows when this better time will come, and we all know that it might not come at all.  I should have given that coffee boy the cobalt blue glass mug that he admired and now I cannot.  I have no mug, I have no coffee boy, I have no status for such an exchange at all.  What, you wonder, does that have to do with coming here and waking me up now?  It's just that it's that good, and that real, and that important that you read this little thing, this very short thing, that won't take hardly any of your time.

I have given you books and instructions and admonitions for reading Tove Jansson before; because she is an absolute favorite of mine.  I cannot understand at all why she isn't a Major Literary Figure.  She ought to be on the shelves with all those damned guys that you are supposed to read:  Melville, Faulkner, Joyce, Steinbeck, and a bunch of others that I don't even bother with at all.  The good news is that you, dear friend, are here, and so you can read this wonderful bit of writing.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019