Monday, September 17, 2018

Dear Moon.

Dear Moon-Fanciers,

You probably already know all about it, but in case you missed this nice plan for taking artists to the moon, learn about it here.


Dear Found and Lost,

Here's another place you can go:  Atlas Obscura.  I warn you, it's very compelling, and you'll surely run out of time to sweep the porch if you keep on searching the internet for interesting items!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

thinking of words to send you

Dear Readers,

The juice of a small white peach on my fingers rolled down my arm, almost, with patience, to my elbow.  The progressing drop decreased in size, leaving a transparent, shiny trail, a little like the beautiful track of a snail.

Our thoughts, ideas, and words head out from where we are, like an enormous army.  They keep on going and they will find sometimes a place to stay for a while, or even to die.  Or maybe they are more like seeds, many millions are blown from the spent blossom, but only a few find fertile soil.  But when?  Our words can sit fallow for many, many decades, and then, there you are, using some words that someone gave you a long lifetime ago.

I try very hard to keep the words, the thoughts, that people give me, but holding them is so difficult.  They just flow away like liquid, or dry up slowly.  And then, there you are again. 

It is the kind, praising words I want to keep the most- I repeat them, over and over, hoping to fix them very permanently in my mind.  I want to keep them for use on a rainy, diffident day; a day where a little sanative dose is needed.  Other words might stick around too long, and try as I might, I cannot get away from hearing them over and over. 

What shall we do with the latent power of our ideas and words?  Annie Dillard advises us to give the best ones now; don't save them up.  Spend it all, good and fast.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

100 Days

Dear Y'all,

In ten years, I've only convinced three people to take up roller skating, and a fourth dabbled for a time.  Still, I keep trying because if you love someone, you take them skating.  If you want to really pour on the affection, you give them a pair of their own.  If you already have half a dozen worshiped pairs, all you can want is a great place to use them.  This year, the people I live with made me the ultimate backyard place to skate:  A mini half pipe.  It's the bees knees!

It's not age-appropriate for me, and so I don't feel comfortable shouting from the rafters about it.  People will tell you that you'll break an arm, or a leg.  Or that it's all fun and games now, but wait until someone gets hurt.  I can tell you that if I didn't try to skate on it, I'd be feeling a painful heap of remorse and regret.  It might seem dull, this back and forth, up and downing on a double ended convex wooden thingummy, but I can tell you it isn't.  All kinds of little shifts in speed or gravity can make one of the descents or accents a crazy near-crash.  The thing, you see, that is fun about roller skating, is the almost falling. 

It was a Chicks in Bowls video that first put the idea of a backyard ramp into my head.  Other great women skaters have helped me to imagine such a thing in my yard; Pigeon and Indy.  This website told us how to go about constructing it.

Today ends a little project of skating every day for a hundred days.  Some days I skated three times, some days 2 hours, some days only 10 minutes.  Some days on my porch, or in the house, or on the beautiful ramp.  It meant I had to take my skates with me if I left overnight- I skated for a few minutes in the parking lot of the Ames Research Center in July.  At a camping site in August, between two cars.  It's a nice appointment to keep every day.  Give it a try, both the ramp and the daily skate- you'll love every bone break-defying minute of it!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

It takes a train to cry.

Dear travelers,

We were walking uphill, towards the terminal to meet our flight, at dawn. The sunrise, we said, was so beautiful, but isn’t the violet and blue aurora unusual?  It seemed vaguely menacing, and it quickly became so, as my Aunt was pulled screamingly skyward.  We ran to avoid celestial capture, but there were men with guns in the stairwells, and the end seemed very near.

Isn’t it always so in dreams of travel?  The tarmac is burning, the plane is descending too rapidly, the subway station is too labyrinthine to navigate, and the train rushed by our station without a glance.  Or, worse, it plummeted into a ravine before our stop.  One time, I remember, we rode it many miles beyond our ticketed station, we were chased the length of the train, and throughout the depot, giving up entirely on claiming our bags, walking for miles in starlit Joshua tree forest.  As I walked, I tried to list the contents of my bag; to recall what I had lost., what I would need to replace.

What could these dream journeys mean?  The futility of arrival, the weariness and sorrow of departure?  Is it the anxiety of the future manifested as a transition from here to there?  A new career in a new town? 

Just one good trip in a dream is all I am looking for- a booking that sends you where you want to go, a country without a border incident, a town you don’t get lost in, a connecting flight that lands without disaster, locals with open hearts.

Wish you were here.


Friday, August 31, 2018

Her Song.

Dear Great Beyond,

I have been thinking of Aretha Franklin, lying in state, like the royalty she is, and it really makes me glad to have known her.  Here is her song for the day.

One more sexy, flawless song, and a paean.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

A Closer Walk.

Dear All,

I thought this film was charming- so I give it to you with the hope that it will please you.  I found it while I was looking to find my favorite version of Closer Walk With Thee.  It might be this one.

Or this one.

Or, this.



On second thought, why not sing it yourself and accompany yourself on guitar?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

It is of my intention.

Dear Intentions,

Once, I made such a case, a scene really, against water taps in refrigerators (I want water in my sink, not my fridge) that the man who plumbed and built our house started to feel bad about having water in his fridge.  Despite this feelings, he plumbed our coolerator alcove for water anyway; and behind our very modest Maytag (it isn't stainless, or large, but small and white and 18 years old) in the dust and obscurity, is an eight foot coil of glowing copper tubing waiting for the 'next owner' whom we presume won't have any sense whatsoever and will want, at the touch of a button, cold filtered water to pour forth from their major appliances.

The point, here, is that I hadn't intended to make the builder feel bad about his entitled, first world, luxuried way of life, and so similarly here, I don't intend to ruin your blithe and harmless enjoyment of Paganini and Haydn.  It's a warning, really; if you treasure your feelings about composers Haydn and Pags, maybe just turn the page now, discontinue reading, and pour yourself a nice tall glass of cold water from a spigot in your fridge.

If, though, your appreciation of music can stand some criticism or dissenting opinion, read on.

Many years ago now I gave a painter I knew some music on a cassette tape.  Music that is good for painting:  Henryk Górecki's Symphony No. 3 (of Sorrowful Songs).  My painter acquaintance responded with Pags and Hay, saying that the music I had given her was entirely too melancholy.  The tape she gave me was suitable for weddings and inattentive listening.  What is often scornfully referred to as 'background music.'  It was safe and melodious; easy-listening as 'classical music' goes.

As for my own conception of music, I often wonder if any music except the lament is worth making the noise of.  Still, if your daily activities do not require the solemnity of melancholy music, then good for bloody you; but the undertaking and creation of a world of depth, space and understanding from nothing; a world with its own light, its own cosmology, requires music with a bit more gravitas.  In other words, if you are making a painting, you will want some serious, insightful, mournful, and exquisitely beautiful music like the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.  May it serve you well; I've been using it for years. 

I wonder if the refrigerator of the future might play Paganini on demand?

Friday, August 17, 2018

the letter of the heart

Dear Tea Taoists,

In my quest to explain beauty and encourage people to make things, I often point to wabi-sabi.  Permit me to point you there, too.  It's a lovely concept of aesthetics, celebrating the effects of time on objects.  This short film presents a nice definition and history of wabi-sabi.  When you learn about it, you will have the feeling that you have always suspected these truths.

I remember encountering the term in an article in the Utne Reader.  The concept was familiar to me from studying Non-Western Art History, which is an exciting branch of art history that ignores some of the tenets Western Art History drags along through the pages and the ages; for example, the idea that progress, clarity of vision, and ever growing finesse in execution is the highest goal.  I know, ugh.  It's the equivalent of praising little girls only for keeping their rooms clean.  Double ugh.

If you peek into Non-Western Art History, you find wabi-sabi, shaman, the Dreamtime, ancestor worship, blood sacrifice, human skull adornment, fertility symbols, and latent power lying all about the place, relatively unused and under appreciated.  It's a great place to visit. 

Send me a postcard when you get there.

Monday, August 13, 2018

push plate

Dear  Inked, 
This is an impression of the push plate from the door of the women's restroom entrance where I work.  An artist I know was printing some unconventional things: steel drawings and little silver pendants.  I started to look at the flat, ink-able surfaces around me differently.  May our eyes always be open to looking in another way.

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Great Wars and Outting Pa

Dear Sad Goodbyes,

I have been informed that my mind and body are the field on which the broader culture wars continue to rage.  I am not sure I approve of this tenancy.  I have suspected it, of course, but it still stings.  Setting this injury aside, for now, I give you this review of a book on Laura Ingalls Wilder. 

What the author is, or was, or even who the author of these books is, might be less important than what the readers did or do with the stories, but the Little House books have been sitting in a stack in my studio, awaiting a tough decision:  continue to treasure their pale yellow spines, and sweet Garth Williams cover illustrations, or let them go like mist.

It pained me, 8 years ago, when I was reading these formerly beloved volumes aloud to my son and husband.  These books were formative, like the many Marguerite Henry books on the
Chincoteague ponies, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Madeline L'Engle books.  I found, in the second or third book, that Pa was actually a complete menace to his family.   A tyrant, really.  I couldn't even go on reading them- the family would laboriously scrape out a little hollow of safety, comfort, or stability, and he'd pack it in to move.  I could find no way to excuse or explain this man's actions to males I cared about.  If my job as a mother is to help to form my son's relationship to women, Pa seemed like a very bad influence, all of a sudden. 

I realized I had categorized Pa as a kind of natural phenomenon, a force of nature, an Act of God in the insurance sense- he struck randomly and fiercely, like fires and blizzards.  But strike he did, and that is why, after this final consideration, confession, and tearful acceptance, I am saying goodbye to the books, because I don't want crazy Pa in my life anymore.  I am sorry that Laura and all the beautiful prairie, woods, plains, and mountains will have to go too, but Pa just isn't good enough for me and my people.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Ruling Passions.

Dear Enthusiasts,

Things are in disrepair.  They usually are, but the first problem to tackle is the decision of what to fix and what to give up on.  It's clear from reading other pages here, and even from the words I used to write the previous sentence, that I am always sorry to have to give up on things.  I love repaired things; damaged things, even. 

The old rocking chair on the porch has a split cane seat woven in a complex pattern.  The stuff must be soaked, and then woven, and the oak of the armrests and the rockers is worn out of shape, and there are checks and splinters aplenty.  Repairing the seat and back will only be a temporary stay against utter uselessness as a chair.

Still, I thought we might try a webbing seat instead of the split cane, and so I consulted the Ashley Book of Knots.  With any luck, you have a copy already, because it is a really wonderful book, with beautiful illustrations and fascinating names and purposes for the many knots and plaits.

Whenever I look up a knot in this book, I also read the inside back flap of the crumbling dust jacket.  I look at this flap because it's where I begin straightening the paper tatters when I open or close the book.  I always look at dashing Clifford W. Ashley, and I read this sentence: 

     Clifford W. Ashley had two ruling passions all his life:  marine painting and knot tying.

I know you will love this sentence as I do, and so perhaps you will want to stop reading here now, and go forth into the future with your unique relationship to this arrangement of words.  I don't really think you need me to tell you how I feel about these words, after all.  If you did, though, wonder, after considering what they say to you first, I could tell you that I like to imagine my picture there, on the flap, and to think of what my life under two ruling passions might read like, to consider what the 620 pages would be filled with.  I never get too far imagining this before I find that two passions isn't anything like enough passions.  But then I allow as how these are not just any two passions, these, are the Sovereign Passions, and so maybe I really ought to be able to select two to be my Queen and King and to serve under them happily?

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

confection collection

Dear You,

Suppose you were to take a little sample, a little morsel of everything you encountered in a month, or half a year; every worthy sight; a little of every interesting detail, every curious sound, a little bit, a bite, a slice, of everything you saw and took note of in these moments of time and space.  And then further suppose, you were to take all these bits and bobs, and present them in a large and well-crafted frame, and then give the whole confabulation to a friend.  This marvelous and never-before-seen distillation of all the time and experience you have lived. 

Receiving something like that is what it is to read The Rings of Saturn, by W. G. Sebald.  If when you reach the end of it, and you have licked the bowl by looking up the unfamiliar words and phrases (quincunx, marasmus, soakaways, francs-tireurs, insuperable, barely malt coffee, Silesian, Martello towers, plutôt mourir que changer, tumuli, boffins) you will have left to savor still the transmutation of your own experience into a telling, a showing, an image, a collection, or even just a letter to someone.  Like this one, to you. 

Pleasure awaits: be off to your bookshelf or library!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

wonderful, beautiful shoes

Kidskin sandal with layered cork sole and heel covered in suede.
 Designed by Salvatore Ferragamo for Judy Garland, 1938.

Dear Three Paragraphs, Introduction, and Conclusion,

I am often thinking on the Big Answers, that I have been the casual recipient of over time.  There was a man in the ferry waiting room en route to the Isle of Wight that was telling me something very important about what one 'owes' one's parents.  I never could grasp his meaning, but I am still trying to.  And I showed my studio once to another painter, and she looked around and said, "Well, I can see you have a story to tell."  I thought, do I?  I mean, I do? 

If I did have a story to tell, one story that would be the one that counted, the one that made it, the one I'd give to all the world's readers;  I can tell you that everyone in the story would be able to get their foot in the glass slipper, and they'd all get to live happily ever after.  It might at first seem like this would be entirely too much happily ever after, but no, not really, because to happily ever after you have to know what you want, and hardly anyone knows what they want.  There's so much to choose from.  You can't blame people for not wanting to settle for one thing or another.  Mostly, people wouldn't even put their foot into the shoe, because they couldn't be sure that was what they wanted.  So, in my story, the shoe would fit everyone, but only a very few would even try to wear it.

There is an essay that pertains to these issues of narrative, identity, and shoes, in Dave Hickey's new collection, Perfect Wave.  Here is an older version of the piece. 

One of the little and particular changes between the essay published online and the version in the book is the adjective 'wonderful' before the word 'shoes,' in contrast to 'beautiful shoes,' as you will read it online.  This kind of difference is exciting, because it invites us to decide which is a better descriptor in this context:  wonderful or beautiful; and it further requires us to consider why Dave Hickey made the changes.  When he gathered his papers to review and select them for the book, what little sprite whispered to him "'wonderful' is the word you want there, Dave, 'wonderful.'"

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The white box.

Dear Viewers,

You know how I love the white box, the white cube, the white room, with a tiny bit of formal art in it.  I love it like ponds pocked by rain drops, like the sound of poplar leaves in the wind.  I love the white room with a small amount of art in it.  But, I worry.  It isn't sustainable, to use the parlance of the day.  It isn't very friendly for humans, either.  It's like those people you know, who have three sticky kids, a great dane, and a cockatoo, and what do they get?  A white velvet chesterfield.  It just seems all wrong.

I know a woman who has a very lovely home, there's nary a white wall in it, and she has lovely objet d'arts on the tables and shelves, and drawings, prints, paintings and sculptures on the wood paneled walls.  My own abode has white walls all over the place, but the art stuffs are chock a block-  little sculptures are two deep in the nichos, and folk art is crammed into the glass-fronted oak cupboards.

I want you, for the love of Mike, to want art, to want things that have been made by human hands, in your space, even if it is a 16 foot canned ham trailer.  Art, and I know it well enough to speak for it, wants to be near you; it's lonely in the white cube, where it never changes, because a team of curators and conservators are always fussing with it.  Art spends most of its time, truth be told, in climate controlled storage.  It's sad, really.  A bunch of beautiful things, with stories to tell, with feeling to elicit, stuffed in the museum basement packed in bubble wrap and naphthalene.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A long way down.

Dear Readers,

O!  There are things coming soon-  a little reminiscence of a cassette tape, an essay on marionettes,
a consideration of where art should be seen, and for today, this terrific song that my DJ played for me a few days ago.  If you want to hear it again, try this live recording.

PS  Junior Brown calls that nifty thing he plays a "guit-steel."

Friday, July 13, 2018

Never Been Anything but My Experiences; or, Only Made it Out to Needles.

Dear Beings,

My dj played this song not long ago, and I tell you what, this song is the perfect expression of existentialism.  Of course I had to play it on my guitar.  It's a wonderful song to sing, because it is true, for now; I have never been to Spain.  I had a ticket once, but plans fell through.  It's a pleasure that awaits me, and in the meantime I have this great song. 

Once again. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Play Dress Up.

Dear Enthusiasts,

Many of you will have already enjoyed this fun film from Planet Roller Skate, but for those of you who might have missed it, here it is:

It's positively charming, and doesn't it make you want to wear a tie when you skate?  Today I was wearing a very sad skating ensemble of an aged and torn grey jersey skirt, a pilled and lint-covered black tank top and pink striped socks.  The socks were fine, but the rest is strictly from hunger.  What if someone dropped by?  It's tricky, because not that much goes with all the beastly black knee, elbow, and wrist pads I insist on; plus, things do get a bit beat up and grungy when you sit on the pavement or fall onto it. 

The issue of what to wear roller skating bears further consideration.  It needs to be tough, dark colored, and flexible.  A scuba knit short dress might be nice.  When I go out to the sidewalks I wear a skort and a tee shirt that isn't too terribly old.  But this, too, lacks imagination and panache compared to a tie.  This winter, I think I will try one of my menswear blazers for skating the streets.  The menswear blazer is a very affordable piece of formality available at any thrift shop.  They can be had for as little as three dollars, and it lets people know that you mean business.  I am especially fond of the pinstripe ones, because they are so mobster/banker/attorney.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Ocean Ipseity

Dear Underwater,

I spent enough time in the sea with a snorkel to breathe through, that I began to feel fearful about my foreignness there.  I began to feel too far submerged in this other life.  Too close to forgetting my terrestrial origins, I might try to breathe the tiny bubbles of the sea water.  The enchantment of it threatened to annihilate my ordinary world. 
The motion of the water had subsumed my sense of self, and I felt the thinness of the membrane between ourselves and everything else.  The feeling of oneness is dizzying and scary, because when you are a part of everything, individuality has no meaning, you may come or you may go; it matters not to the world of land or sea.

I had to return to the dry, unmoving, beige, and bland, sand.

At the concert hall, I love to sit in the high, steep, cheap seats.  There is a walkway along the lowest row of highest seats, along the curve of the balcony.  It has a low rail, and I am compelled to bend down to grip it, because I don't trust my self not to throw myself over.  Not an accident, but a kind of instantaneous craziness, a confusion between up and down, and a wild, destructive impulse that exists almost outside of my mind.

Under the water I heard the clicks and taps of urchins moving their spines, and the scraping sound of parrotfish crunching the coral.*  The way light was diffused by wavelets was shimmering and all encompassing.  The space under the surface was a beautiful and complete world.  I was sorry to leave it.

*Listen for yourselves, and learn a little more about it here.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The Waters of Oblivion.

Dear Valerie, Vivian, Marion, and Marianne,

Your songs for today:  One and two.  Your project for today is to get yourself a Bob Dylan version, too.  It's nice and bluesy, and grittier than the other two.  After that, you'll want to play it on your guitar,

Sunday, July 1, 2018

memento mori

Dear Contemplating,

I am ruminating today on a red abalone dish with three little Lucite legs setting on the coffee table.  It isn't quite right on my coffee table; last year I painted the top of the table an orchid violet color.  It had previously been a sort of muted sage-pine color.  Before that, it was a 20 dollar table with a bright (meaning varnish over wood) top from a college student who sold it on Craigslist after he graduated.  It's a bit clunky, cheap, and rock solid, the way hotel or college furniture can be, but the more delicate, mid-century modern, walnut veneer table doesn't have enough space for the potted succulents, books, pencils, letters, coasters, and frequent projects that the table must accommodate.

The red abalone dish used to be on the round, white marble coffee table of our friends home.  The marble was very cool to touch, and yet soft, in that way that marble is, because of the way the stone diffuses light, the way you can see down into the surface of the marble, like a sheet of ice.  The marble had some fine, pale gray streaks in it, too, which always looked a little blurry; comfortingly out of focus. 

The red abalone dish sat on the marble table for years, until last year, when our friends began a move they are making to another country.  The dish sat there with books, two exemplary kaleidoscopes, and a set of coasters with illustrations of Great Authors on them.  When you would sit down around this table you would pull James Joyce over to you and set your coffee or prosecco on him and admire the red abalone dish, and see what was being read lately.  You would also probably take a look into the kaleidoscopes, because the view in them is never the same twice.

It's very lovely to have the red abalone dish, as you can imagine, but you can also see how much is missing when I look into its concave emptiness.

Several years ago artist Maira Kalman re-presented some objects in the collection of the Cooper Hewitt museum - please enjoy her thoughtful consideration of objects and stories. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Without You

Dear Cruel World,

Here is your song for the day  Sing it like you mean it.  I adore Lene Lovich.  She makes the fourth in a quartet of singers that were a part of my youth and that I remain devoted to: Nina Hagen, Siouxsie Sioux, and Exene Cervenka.  These women used their voices in exciting, varied, riotous, raw, and unusual ways.  I adore both the intelligence of their songs and the operatic sound of the vocals. 

Can you imagine Adele or Lady Gaga covering one of these songs?  I was one lucky 12 year old to have women like these four around to sing to me.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

New Music.

Dear Radio Listeners,

Here is a piece from an album that I cannot play often enough.  In my usual remarkable good fortune, a kind fellow at the place I work introduced me to it.  If you need to arrange forms in appealing patterns, or compose little bits of dark on pale fields, then Landfall is your music.

Monday, June 18, 2018


Andrew Borde's 1542 Diagram Depicting the Universe

Dear Sundown,

Researchers at the Dodo have corroborated an observation:  the sun does set slower on your porch, with pink wine and a cheap guitar, in the summer.  It does it in the winter, too.  Read about it here, and be sure to enjoy the heck out of the extra half a minute of the sun slipping down and out. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

fiftieth state















Friday, June 8, 2018

How To: Look at Pictures.

Flesh Art, Joan Snyder, 1974.

Dear Nancy Drew,

I thought for today we'd talk about how to look at pictures.  How to look at art really, and specifically, how to look at the flat, illusion-of-space of paintings.  Approach the painting with the thoroughness of a detective.

Begin by noting how you feel- in many ways, looking is an awareness thing:  Like a guided meditation on seeing pictures.

So, how do you feel?  Itchy?  Confused?  Comfortable?  Are you anxious, sad, or elated?  Do you feel something subtly or Big Time?  Are you hugely impressed?  Why?  Be as specific as possible- does looking at this painting feel like a slice of cake?  Like a bad news phone call?  Like another election?  Like finding a lost earring?

Okay, now, what else is here- where are your eyes sent?  Observe where your eye is resting, moving, and returning to.  Where are the edges?  Where are the directional lines?  Where are the brightest bits?  What is, or isn't, in the center?  What are the darkest places?

What is the rhythm, the sound of it?  Are the colors a clue to the emotions the painting might be trying to evoke?  Are there feisty colors?  Angry or sad colors?  Is it somber or punchy?  Quiet or loud?

Lastly, and really do try to do this step last, what specifically is here?  Is it purple, is it insects, is it sky, is it skin?  What is it that we could name?  What, now, then, do these things suggest?  What is the story of this painting?

What tale could this be telling?  Who are these characters, and what are they doing, what is their purpose in the world of the painting?  This step isn't just a list of what is in the painting, for example, a barn, two trees, a rock, and a cow.  Your questions should be along this line:  Why is that cow heading away from the barn at this hour?  Has the tree grown up around the barn, or was the tree there long before the barn?  How is the weather?  Is a storm coming?  Is that rock there to prevent my eye from leaving the canvas, or is it a symbol of some kind?  An immovable chunk of prehistory that will remain long after the cow, barn, and tree have been blown away by the passage of time?

My Life, Joan Snyder, 1996.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Tickled Pink

Dear Pink,

A short film for you today, filled with sight gags and silliness, illustrating the perils of street skating.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

flip, flop, fly

Dear Builders,

Here's the thing:  I am completely in love with that little object in the middle- Richard Tuttle's White Rocker.  You might be thinking it doesn't look like much, but, oh!  It's absolutely perfect.

I insist.  It is a perfect sculpture.  You will need to stay with it, examine it, until you cry uncle and admit it's fabulousness. 

Once you let it into your life, you may thirst for more Richard Tuttle.  Try these works on paper, and when you have absorbed a goodish bit of that beauty, consider getting a book, like this one.  As for me, I am going out to my studio to make little Tuttle-esque watercolors, plywood assemblage paintings, and wire drawings.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Red Roses.

Dear Florist,

Send a dozen roses to my beautiful dj!  She played this song that I'd forgotten- I could just kiss her.

Go ahead, play it again!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

on my list

Dear Readers,

I have a word here, for our consideration:  peroration.  I found it in the 'bonus section' of a 50th anniversary edition of Catch 22.  I know I looked it up once before, but I couldn't remember what it meant.  As for Catch, I have been meaning to read it for decades.  I took the book from my parents' bookcase, in '95 or 6.  I think I put it aside at page 37.  I might even have taken it earlier than that, but I know that I have had it in three different domiciles, and on four different book shelves.  I lost it, in fact, and searched all over for it before capitulating and getting it from the library.  My paramour thought he had a copy too, but that also couldn't be found.  I don't know for certain that I would even have gotten it read yet.  Here's what it took to read it; a short version:

Taking the book from my parents to begin with, many moons ago, then hauling it around for a long time.  Meanwhile, I dated a lot of people, thinking it would be nice to have a mate and maybe offspring.  More time passed.  I finally found someone I could stand and we got married.  At this point, it was rather late, biologic-clock-wise, so we next had a baby.  Then, he grew and changed and learned to read, and 13 years later he wanted to read Catch 22.  But, we couldn't find the book.  We got it from the library and he read it and he told me little bits and he laughed at it, and he said: 'you should read it- it is a great book.'  The library has a very generous renewal policy, and you can have a book for three months if no one else requests it, so I read it.  Near to the end of reading it, I found the old missing copy- with its dyed leaf edges, in a deep blue green color that suggest a sulfurous smell.

And that's what it takes to read a book, and you can talk to me about your puny procrastination and your perverse pride in it, but I, dear ones, took 22 years to read Catch 22.  Beat that, if you dare!

If you do beat that, then set your sights on this:  I found in my journals (which, you will recall, I am transmuting into sculptural objects) an intention to read The Seven Pillars of Wisdom in 1992.  I haven't even opened it, but my consort* read it 4 or 5 years ago, and so the book is on the shelf and the clock has been ticking already for 26 years, and counting!

* A partial list of unsatisfying words to be used instead of 'husband:'  concomitant, mate (ugh!), spouse, partner, helpmate, other half (dear god!), old man.  It's enough to keep a person from getting married in the first place.  'Swain' is worth a closer look, but it's aimed a bit more at the time before a marriage, like the word suitor, or beau.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Just looking.

Dear Fellows,

Your song for today is a fabulous slice of the road, the times, the places, and the people.  This song is pretty much perfect, except for the fact that there is also this song (the orange bled the blue), and this one, competing for pre-eminence in the Paul Simon oeuvre.

Play them all and send me your preference by pigeon, or bottle; or leave a note at the Greyhound station for me.  Mark it 'For Catherine.'

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Thinness, Openness, Perforations, and Wrinkling.



Details of Ten Views of a Lingbi Stone, Wu Bin,
China, Ming dynasty, Wanli reign, 1610.

Dear Interested,

These compelling images show a scroll detailing Spirit Stones.  These special rocks are thought to be living and able to change shape.  I am pretty certain they could do it.  This scroll is on display at the LA County Art Museum right now.

Here are a few examples of these stones, and here is a short film detailing the history of Spirit Stones. 

And here is a song that is only tangentially related.  Try it on your guitar, the chords are not too tricky.  Until next time, keep your eyes open for a stone to study- they're built like light.