Thursday, December 31, 2020

Miss you.


Dear Friend,

Here is your song for today.  This song for me will forever be a paved, two lane road, with four young people walking down it- one is pushing a bmx bike.  One is carrying a mono radio with 6 D cell batteries in it.  They are headed for the motel, to go swimming. 

Have the version from the road, too.

Monday, December 28, 2020



Dear Early Winter,

Here is your song for today.  I only just heard this song for the first time a week ago, and I love it!  I say try it yourself, with your guitar.  

Have another version; it's that good!

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Regardez ce film.

 Chong Gon Byun

Untitled, 29” x 21” x 9.75," Oil on Trunk, 1990

Dear Holiday Revelers,

Here at the Dodo, and maybe where you are too, we have extra time in the long, dark, winter evenings, and we have spent many of them 'rotting our minds' on TV, as my parents' used to say to me.  There is no need for you to rot your mind, though, because we have sorted the mind rotting material into two piles: pile one, like junk food, will not really bear discussion; pile two, includes this really lovely surrealist film by Marie Losier.  It's a film of artist Chong Gon Byun, and what I have for you here, is this excerpt:  Byun, Objet Trouvé.

The entire film can be found on The Criterion Channel, which is a thing you will have to pay for, or at least agree to a 'free trial' of.  It's 7 minutes of really beautiful, actual, saturated, developed, cut and spliced, film, and here at the Dodo, we found it worth at least double the price of the free trial.

PS     Now that you have that free trial, you might also watch this charming adaptation of The Railway Children.  It's a movie that one imagines young Wes Anderson being inspired by.  It was an absolute favorite novel of mine when I was young and impressionable, written by E. Nesbit; a writer you should know, and if you don't believe me, maybe you'll take Gore Vidal's word for it (yes, to read it, you will need another free trial and to register and sign up and secret password and, and, and....)

Friday, December 25, 2020



Dear Holidays,

Why not stay a little longer?  It's sure been nice, seeing you everyday for the last 24 days.  Best wishes for the new year!

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Monday, November 30, 2020

For tomorrow.

Dear December,

This year I have something special for you!  An advent calendar!  Come back tomorrow and open the first little door....

Friday, November 27, 2020

Friday: I'm in love.


Trimline Telephone, 1968; Designed by Henry Dreyfuss (American, 1904–1972); USA; plastic, metal, electronic components; 8 x 23.5 x 7.5 cm (3 1/8 x 9 1/4 x 2 15/16 in.); Gift of Henry Dreyfuss; 1972-88-179-1 Collection of the Cooper Hewitt Museum.

Dear Receiver,

As I live and breathe!  Have you seen this?  Meaning of course, have you heard of Dial-a-Poem?  Because, I don't know how in the world I have lived without knowing about it!

Dial 641-793-8122, poetry is standing by!

You can read more about artist John Giorno and his project Dial-a-Poem here, on the SFMOMA website.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Honey pie you're not safe here.


Dear Constantly Played,

Here is your song, your song, for you, for the day!  So, hang the dj with me and play it loud!  

Bonus track:  Honey Pie.

Friday, November 20, 2020

On skates.


Dear Lovelies,

It's been a long time since we talked about this, but, today is day 900, and so I will attempt yet again to convince you to roller skate!  

Why, you ask, why roller skate?  

The glamour:  But no, that's not really it, because it's only glamorous if you are Gloria Nord or on the internet.  Just to set the record straight on glamour, let's hear some sound advice from the Dirty School of Skate.

The absurd:  Wheels!  On boots!  On your feet!  That is some kind of human, beautiful, passionate, crazy!

The frightening:  Falling hurts, and you fall; yup, you fall.

The challenge:  It's difficult, and see above, falling hurts!

The joy:  All of the above combined with hurtling, even faltering, slow hurtling, through space and time!

There are also a few more personal reasons that I love skating.  One thing I love about roller skating is the fact that it isn't filled with teenaged boys:  I like that roller skating is something that girls and women do.  I was interested in skateboarding, but not in being the object of a teenage boy's ridicule.  I had to endure that when I was a teenaged girl, and I hated it then, too.  (Question to self:  Do girls ever mortify boys by making fun of their physical abilities?  Hmmm.)

Another thing I love is the parts and the gear.  I love trying different wheels, different knee pads, making skate leashes, rotating wheels, cleaning bearings, all the geeky details.

And a last thing, which is related to the challenge; for me, it's a place to be daring and even a smidge righteous, in the pride sense, because to even try to roller skate is really amazing.  I am the evil opposite of a 'gifted athlete;'  I am a ball ducker.  I have poor balance, no innate grace, and a paralyzing fear of injury.  This makes me suited only for chess, but I am rubbish at that, too,  and chess is a dull and sadistic game that requires utter surrender from your playmate.  Chess also has too many teenaged boys, especially the annoying middle aged ones.  However, after skating regularly for 12 years, and floundering on our mini ramp, I still cannot drop in.  My massive and wonderful consolation prize is that I am part of an extremely elite group of 52 year old women who even try to skate ramps, and this perverse fact gives me a heap of nearly harmless and totally comical self-satisfaction.

Sisters and brothers, won't you join me?

Monday, November 16, 2020

Your Pale Blue Eyes


Dear Eyes,

Here is your song for today; sing or tambourine along, won't you?

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Quiet as it's kept.


Dear Readers,

Follow me now, and it won't be easy, because the way things happen is not a straight line; the way things happen is meandering at the minimum and tangled at the max.  

A good pal of mine read a book a several months ago.  She read a book, like she often does, but this time it was harder to read, because she was worried about a pandemic, and fretful.  She made a plan and a schedule and a time to read each day, and she traced with extra difficulty the words, and pages, and books.  

And one of the books was this one:  The Book of Delights.

It's made of small pieces, this book.  

And my pal gave it to me, knowing I would like it.  I read slowly, or nearly slowly, because I wanted each piece to really last, like a a hard candy that I would not crunch down on.  

And I wanted to read you so many of the pieces.  Or pieces of the pieces, like this one:

Prose, though, I often write on the computer, piling sentences up quickly, cutting and pasting, deleting whole paragraphs without thinking anything of it.  for these essays, though, I decided that I'd write by hand, mostly with Le Pens, in smallish notebooks.  I can tell you a few things- first, the pen, the hand behind the pen, is a digressive beast.  It craves, in my experience anyway, the wending thought, and crafts/imagines/conjures a syntax to contain it.  On the other hand, the process of thinking that writing is, made disappearable by the delete button, makes a whole part of the experience of writing, which is the production of a good deal of florid detritus, flotsam and jetsam, all those words that mean what you have written and cannot disappear (the scratch-out its own archive), which is the weird path toward what you have come to know, which is called thinking, which is what writing is

For instance, the previous run-on sentence is a sentence fragment, and it happened in part because of the really nice time my body was having making this lavender Le Pen make the loop-de-looping we call language.  I mean writing.  The point:  I'd no sooner allow that fragment to sit there like a ripe zit if I was typing on a computer.  And consequently, some important aspect of my thinking, particularly the breathlessness, the accruing syntax, the not quite articulate pleasure that evades or could give a fuck about the computer's green corrective lines (how they injure us!) would be chiseled, likely with a semicolon and a proper predicate, into something correct, and, maybe, dull.  To be sure, it would have less of the actual magic writing is, which comes from our bodies, which we actually think with, quiet as it's kept.

Meanwhile, another pal heard Ross Gay on the radio (or something like the radio- a podcast, possibly) and she told me she was instituting a daily delight practice based on the book. She was looking, now, for delights everywhere.  

And finding them by the bucketful.

And, I saw a delight on Sunday that I want to tell y'all about:  Ambling down the highway towards the East, I saw the Three Mules!  You may recall me mentioning the Three Mules here on these pages some time ago.

And, now it is time for you to go out and read this book, or find a delight, or maybe you will even do both.


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Normal Song


Dear Listeners,

I hope you enjoy this lovely 3/4 time song* for today.  I really love these austere songs, but y'all already know that, don't you?  Doesn't it just make you want to sing your own?  To put your own thoughts into a little melody and add a little thumping time beat?  Well, if you do it, I know it will be great, and I hope you go out on your driveway apron, or your apartment balcony, or to the front of your tent flap, and that you sing it for the world.

*This song puts me in mind of Cat Power, Jeff Buckley, Velvet Underground, M. Ward, and Talking Heads.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Christmas Shopping


Dear Shoppers,

Do you have someone on your holiday list that is hard to shop for?  Here is something truly for the person who has everything.  You should also give a life vest to the lucky recipient!

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Etymology & Definition


Dear Everybody,

Well just who in the world wouldn't want this?  It's a site that lets you research what words were coined in specific years:  Check it out here.

When I am not reading about words, I am thinking about them.  For example, what are 'feelings'?  Are those thoughts that come faster than usual?  Or, does it mean the sensation of rough wool on your elbows?  Or, is it a construct of ideas and ideals, like the feeling word we use so much, 'love?'

Love is not the same as "I care for you," but it can include that action and statement.  F'rinstince, I love words and I love thinking about them, but, I do not really water them like plants, or make them a sandwich like I do my flat mates.

So, today, join me in thinking about what the word love and care mean, or, take a nice romp through the above website and find another word to think about, but, know that I love you and care about you.

Collections IV


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Did you hear?


Dear Delight-Seekers,

Today I have a delight for all my fellow sound art enthusiasts and pipe organ fans!   It should also appeal to candle lovers and John Cage groupies.  Which actually makes me think of something I might want to make: a fan club t-shirt for John Cage.  To make it right, to make it authentic, we must subject it to an action and a period of time.  By it, I mean the shirt.  Here are three sample actions a t-shirt could endure:

car drives over

tossed out window

mop up pale blue paint spilt by a kick at 8:15 pm

If you have just no idea who the hell this guy is anyway, you must, you must investigate John Cage.  He is a person who will fill you with pride in that you share a place as a human with such a mind as his.

Try a poem.

Try a print.

Try a piece.

Bonus Track:  Water Walk again.  Watching Katelyn King perform it is a double delight, because we can compare all the delicious details.  Also, if you want to hear more Cage, try this place.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

dessert à la Dodo


Claes Oldenburg, Pie à La Mode 1962, 

Muslin soaked in plaster over wire frame painted with enamel

50.8 x 33 x 48.3 cm

Courtesy Museum of Contemporary Art, LA. The Panza Collection © Claes Oldenburg

 Dear After Dinner,

This is just too delicious an article not to send you to!  If you aren't already on the Atlas Obscura and Gastro Obscura email list, you should consider adding them to your inbox- the are always interesting!

Saturday, October 17, 2020

A good one.

Dear Part Two,

Now where were we?  Oh yes, "Have a good one," she said.  Whenever I hear someone tell me this, often it occurs on the telephone, it feels like a little tear, a rip, in the script we are performing:  I am saying thank you, they are saying thank you, then they say have a good one, and I say you too.  But I am really all agog at what, exactly, I just wished them one of.

Let me expand on my (a)gog.  I have a multifaceted response to being told to have this 'good one.'  I feel wary, because who is this smart aleck to tell me what to do?  And I feel a kind of delight at the sheer absurdity of having a good one: A good what, do you suppose?  And, then, there is also the weird authenticity of the wish- I am struck by the speaker's sincerity and certitude; they earnestly wish me a 'good one.'

In conclusion, there is no where to go but here:  Have a good one, dear reader!

Bonus track.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Collections


Dear Boxes, Tins, and Jars,

I took some really fine collections from my shelves and I scattered them to the winds, figuratively, and in some cases, literally.  Before they were hucked and lobbed, I took some photographs to record their loveliness.

There will be some images in the days to come.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Harvest Time


Dear Fields and Crops,

Look at this fine Rothko of red apple skin.  I got this unusual and delightful apple from a pal, who got it from a branch, on a tree.  And the green grass grew all around, all around, and the green grass grew all around.  Enjoy the bounty of the season, friends.

Red and Pink on Pink, Mark Rothko, 1953.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Meet me in the middle.


Dear Sisters,

Here is your song for the day.  It's good for a lot of days, actually.  You may have already had a day where you needed this song, and there will come another day when you will need it again.

When I used to hear this song, the other pop station version, I always thought it expressed a beautiful clarity regarding communication.  I loved it's plaintive quality and its candor.  I love this version, even more, for the inversion of gender relationship, and the stripped down, ethereal, Norwegian Wood, & lamenting qualities of the arrangement.

And don't forget, even if I am too too hard to find, it doesn't mean you ain't been on my mind.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Another one.


Dear Love Song Collectors,

Here is your song of the day, another beautiful declarative song from Tom Petty; a love song to file between Brian Wilson's God Only Knows  and Billie Holiday's I'll be Seeing You.  When my Mom dies, I am going to have I'll be Seeing You played.   For my own memorial, I will have Paul Simon's American Tune.  

Bonus feature.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Salad Days


Dear Diners,

It's time for a salad manifesto.  Deal with it.  

1.  It must be composed of less than you think.  If you have 8 different things in the bowl, beyond what is making up the dressing, you should take half of them out.

2.  It must have salt.  You could skip pepper, but you cannot skip salt.

3.  It must also have oil, and unless you love your salads, you should begin by doubling what you currently put in.

4.  It must NOT taste so much of acid that your eyes water.  Begin by cutting the vinegar or lemon juice that you use by at least half, and probably you want about 1/4 of what you currently use.

5.  You may put sweet things in it, but only two at the absolute most!  You may have apples, and honey, but not dried cherries also!  That is WAY too much- see the first rule.

6.  You should be able to taste all the things you have put in, which means your dressing should not be so strong that you cannot taste the lettuce or greens.

Additionally, you may put kale or other cruciferous vegetables in your salad, but they are pretty tough, so consider always when you make a salad that your goal is a kind of almost delicacy.  Cheese and nuts are fine in salad, tortilla chips are not.  Crisped up bread in all forms is welcome in salad, beans are okay in moderation.  Minced shallots are perfect in salad.  Dried fruit is acceptable, but not if you have already poured a cup of candied nuts in!  Candied nuts plus dried fruit makes your salad into a Clif Bar.

Lastly, these are not the rules for slaws, these are strictly salad rules, and they do not apply to pasta salad, bean salad, rice salad, jello salad, tuna salad, ham salad, or broccoli salad.  If you don't like these rules, make your own!  

 :  Many thanks to Judy Rogers, whose salad rules have guided me for years, and are much of the inspiration for the manifesto.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

a rain of stitches


Embroidered coat by Lisa Smirnova

Dear Penciled,

I really enjoy an accumulation of line segments.  It's what makes a drawing a drawing, and these lovely drawings are made of thread segments!  It has me running to my needles, threads, and my closet.  I think there isn't anything in there that wouldn't look better with a bit of embroidery inspired by Lisa Smirnova on it.  Let the connecting power of stitches be our project for today!

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Me gusta.


Queridos Amigos que patina,

¡Esto es muy bueno!

Missing Joy?


Dear Whom it May Concern,

Did someone take your joy?  Do you want it back?  A friend of mine, a woman I have great admiration for, suggested that it might be subversive to be cheerful, to be joyful, at this time.  Another artist I know, made this film about her search and subsequent reclamation of joy in times of trouble.  I think it qualifies beautifully as cheerful subversion and subverting cheerfully.

If watching the film doesn't help you find a little joy or cheer, send 50 cents to an address in Boulder, Colo., and see if they can't mail you a replacement. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

A double.


Dear Autumn,

Today, for you, and your efflorescences of yellow gold in the cottonwoods and your hazy still skies, a double: this is both your song of the day and your delight of the day.  Enjoy your season!

Monday, September 21, 2020

That ain't Jack.


Dear John,

This is, though, and it is also your song of the day.  I adore these short, simple, and declarative Tom Petty songs.  

Thursday, September 17, 2020

What nests within?

Dear Radio Listeners,

This is your song for the day, but just like the Matryoshka doll, it also contains many songs.  Additionally, it is the delight of the day, because it's a real pleasure to watch these two performers ham it all up eight ways to Sunday.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Why & How


Dear Readers,

Do you know why I am here?  Did I ever tell you why I write to you?  It might be a good time to remind you, even if I did tell you before.  I write here because of time.  I saw so many things evaporating; things like bowling alleys, telephones with cords, film cameras, all kinds of stuff that maybe isn't very meaningful actually, but it seemed like a lot of good stuff was going the way of the dodo, so I thought I'd make a little list, a little collection, and give it to you, here.  But, I didn't really do that.  I started on it, and sometimes it seeps in, but I thought it was kind of sorrowful to just send you lament after lament.  So that was what I planned to do here, but that isn't what I do, and this leaves my purpose here intentionally ambiguous.  How about you?  Why do you come by?

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

poem, print


Woodcut print by Bryan Nash Gill.

Dear Ones,

I bought a case, to put my odd objects into, because I felt sad that they were in boxes, and if I am not making these things for me, then who?  As an audience of one, I wanted these things presented in a vitrine, and so they are going into a cabinet.  However, some things are not going to be kept any longer.  

A shoebox of leaf skeletons, although it might be the best thing I own, will be documented and then, tossed onto the wind.  Photographing these things will have to suffice.

Also, a chocolate box filled with fabric snips.  A box of rocks.  Many boxes of shells, coral.  A stack of stamps cut from the RSVP's of my wedding invitations.  A box of conkers.  Seeds and pods.  Winged leaves.  Stems of dried bulbs.

These are the collections that are going, many more are staying: the birds' nests, more boxes of rocks.  Cut scraps of yarn.

All of this saving seems to be what gives me meaning, and that brings me to poem, which I think you should save, in a box, in a collection of poems that bring you meaning.

Tree Rings

There's no choice
near the end
but to curl in
on yourself.

That's all that
remains, but for
that around
which you curl.

- Todd Young.