Monday, June 28, 2021

A case of The Shoulds.


Dear Betty,

I never knew, as a youth, while enjoying cooking and baking, that I was a part of the gender role wars.  I just liked it, and I didn't concern myself with the notion that I might be enslaving women with my pleasure in cooking.  I have asked myself many times since "what have I done?!"  And I have seen also that being good at something can often make you an object of envy and hatred.  And so, so what?  So I only cook for a very few people, and I keep it a dark secret that I enjoy it.  I don't go quite so far as to complain about cooking, but when pals start to talk about cooking, I don't join in the conversation, and I don't let on how much I know about reduction sauces, pâte à choux, or making tortillas.  

Recently, I was asked to use a little paper wheel with spaces to fill in the things that made up my 'identity.'  Well, like anyone would, I crafted this thing oh so carefully!  I kept out anything that might make me look house-wifey, or home-makery, or crafty;  everyone hates Martha Stewart Perfection, and creative, expressive women who are doing the 'real' work, women who are 'leaning in' do not have time for such things.  Consequently, this wheel was missing a lot of the things I like to do on it.  I picked only the most boyish and intellectual of the things I spend my time on.  I avoided anything that smacked of excess or obsession, and tried to stay inside the tidy lines of 'passion.'  I am not proud of my fabricated self as detailed in the identity wheel exercise, and looking at it, I didn't even like this safe, careful person I had built of six safe, careful hobbies.

And so, again.  I am enjoying (from a comfortable, safe distance, and behind my blind of anonymity), the shifting sands around cooking these days.  I hope you will read this article by Laura Shapiro about Sam Sifton's cookbook and popularity.  Shapiro has excellent criticisms, and worthwhile issues to consider.  I also sympathize with Sifton, and I enjoy his relentless positivity and cajoling.  He reminds me of these pages, in fact.  And so, I hope that I haven't, in my enthusiasm, produced a case of the 'shoulds' in you.  As in, you should cook without (or with) a recipe, or you should read the article mentioned above.

Watch for more on my favorite topic of Not Doing soon!

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Becoming one.


Ana Montiel

ECHO: Psychical Continuity Is Not a Given but Something Constructed

Acrylic on canvas, 95 x 99.5 inches, 2021.

Dear Listener,

Today, on Radio Dodo, a trio of songs on the theme of fading: into and away.  I bring these songs to you with great affection, and I imagine you out there, waiting to hear them.  But, maybe I am more like Marta Beckett, in my opera house, painting my audience on the wall.

To fade, away or into, has me recalling those times, which might be the best times, when your skin seems inseparable from the rain and air; or when you look out into the distance, and the landscape dissolves and expands through the space to meet you.

Not Fade Away

Bell Bottom Blues

Fade Into You

Don't you forget now, my love is bigger than a Cadillac.

Monday, June 21, 2021

an eyeful


Dear Simpatico,

Today I got an eyeful in my inbox!  Perspicacity was the name of the day.  One of the things that (as they say in journalism) 'landed' there was this word of the day, "myology" from one of my favorite internet things, AWAD.

I know you also will appreciate it.  This is your re-direct of the day; should it be a regular feature?

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Cultural Appropriation.

Dear Friends,

I have been an interesting conversation about cultural appropriation recently.  I don't know if this happens to you, but words that people say often stay with me, for months, years, forever; and they shape my thoughts ever and anon. 

So, what to do with this song, Apache, by The Shadows?  I offer you this bit of reading on the topic of cultural appropriation in pop music; and now that you have read it, you can decide what should be done with the song, in a cover version by The Ventures.  Or try this one.  And this one.  One more?

I think what I would do, is apologize, publicly retract the title, and choose a new one for it:  How about "Reparation?"

Friday, June 11, 2021

Deadline & Dandelion: A poem.


Deadline & Dandelion

I was looking for direction, an answer: a word; it began with d.

Discussion, downturn, diffident.

700 thousand silver marks?
A room, papered in maps?
A suitcase, with words on it?

I packed the case, began the journey and arrived at the snow;
an avalanche.
I retreated; 
walked back through the seasons, the fall, the summer, the spring.  
Time is not a spiral after all; it is a pendulum swinging into 
winter over and over.

Deaden, dredged, double-dip.

I painted on my suitcase large words of resistance:





Tuesday, June 8, 2021



Dear Skaters,

Today is day eleven hundred!  Doesn't time fly when you are having fun?  I have two films for you today to hopefully inspire you to 'lace up' as skaters like to say.  

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Square cats.


Dear Kitties,

All you cats are going to love this cube car; just love it!  It is your film of the day.  It fills me with joy and possibilities.  It came to me from a member of the intrepid Dodo staff.