Thursday, March 23, 2023



Dear You Again,

Here's the thing, you are sticky, and not in a good, cinnamon bun way.  I wish you no ill, but whenever we have contact, I regret not telling you off, as it might have prevented our meeting.  I can make no use of your friendship. It does sound harsh, but, isn't this whole thing about you, actually?  Aren't you calling me so I can tell you that you are good and whole and socially acceptable?  Well, you may not be any of those things.  Also, I am not an expert, so getting my approval should be cold comfort.

And so.  Now what?  Do we agree to keep our distance?  Do we pretend this never happened?  Do I keep on crossing to the other side when I see you coming?

Yes, it is a pickle, that is sure, but, I guess I will go with one of the half-truths: my road is out, my dog is sick, and my car has carburetor trouble, but you be sure to have a nice day and we'll catch up one of these days!

Monday, March 20, 2023

smaller, bigger


Smaller oak tree, camera, & photographer (me).

Bigger oak tree, camera, & photographer (Ansel Adams).

Friday, March 17, 2023



Still Life with Garlic, 1949, oil on canvas, William Scott.

Dear Fairies, Merrows, Kelpies, Banshees, & Pookas,

Meet in the meadow, make a community stew, dear ones!  Play this on your radio, and later on, when you are back at home after the celebration, check out fabulous artist William Scott, your countryman, and my latest crush!  


Viewing tips:  Notice the way his beautifully observed still lives flatten into dynamic abstraction.  This, friends, this indwelling of two worlds, the 2 and the 3 dimensional, is the glory of painting.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

value study


Dear Looking,

Oh!  Regard this lovely formal exploration of rectangles, texture, and value:  isn't it terrific?  

I love finding these amazing compositions that just happened from actions of an entirely different nature.  This wall has a long bracket of some kind, which used to hold something (a sign?) that is long gone.  There is also a lovely dark stain around some kind of placard that was attached to the wall with maybe thick double sided tape?  All that is history, of course, and it hardly matters that someone might have been quite frustrated over weeks and months, trying to keep a stuck up onto this rough stucco.

The staining of water and time and wind, and the tapings and signs and brackets are now just exactly what they are: a very lovely composition.  They interest me for their poetical connotations, yes, but also because they are the kind of marks that happen in the course of life, they are not self-conscious marks.

Sticklers & shutterbugs might argue that they are self-conscious now, here, as I have 'taken' them and 'presented' them to you, but, I think we can enjoy them together with or without semantics and semiotics.

Thursday, March 2, 2023



Dear Reader,

To the Bat Cave, Robin, I must write!   Because, you were always on my mind.  Sometimes, I ask myself:  what goes here?  In fact, it might be my most asked question of myself.  What an awkward sentence!  

A week or so ago, I led a little group in a meditative drawing exercise, and I felt so clearly the wave of concentration and, hmm, what is the thing?  Not just concentration, not just intention, not just care, but maybe, maybe it was love.  It was ecstatic like that, so it might have been.  A little field guide would be handy here, wouldn't it?  With a cross-reference of 'feels like' and then a page with what it is you might be experiencing?

On the topic of my writing you, I think you should know that I never use auot correct when I write you here, be cause it would be less true for my hurrying, let alone what denigration partnering with a machine might feel like when you are reading.  This is funny, of course, but also, my true feelings on the matter.  I think we get some out of whatever we put in.  

Which leads me to two things: this digital tool is not a threat to anyone, or any notion of quality or honesty.  If you don't want to use your thumb to scumble out 't h a n k  y o u' on your device, I still believe you meant it.  And if writing is a chore, or even tortuous for you, I give you permission, utterly and completely, to use as much AI as you you like.  I won't even complain that it tastes like canned.  It's all Gide* anyway.

Second thing, is that I have some old blue ink on lined paper writing of mine, and I love to note things like this:  BE cause.  Now, that doesn't look like it is; I used (and still do use, but less) a weird (& expedient) mix of capitals, lower case, and cursive in my penned writing.  If, as a human, it is possible to lift our self loathing even a tiny bit, I would do so, in order to tell myself how sweet and charming a mistake BE cause is.








*Toutes choses sont dites déjà; mais comme personne n'écoute, il faut toujours recommencer.

Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

can phone


Telephon S-----------------E, JOSEPH BEUYS, 1974, in the collection of The Broad art museum.


Do nothing till you hear from me; I'll be calling by can.  

A reprise.


Friday, February 24, 2023

Ms. Green.


Dear Delia,

I've got your songs, here, for today.  If you don't have time, there in your storied afterlife, to listen to all of them, listen to the last one; it's the best, the true song of you, and all of us.  .






points north


Wednesday, February 22, 2023

good & gooey


Dear Sugar,

Here (and hasn't it been a long time?) is a recipe for marvelous, sticky, caramelly, butterscotch blondies from the incomparable Claire Saffitz.  If you don't like brown sugar, don't even bother to to tune in.  If you can never get enough of it, well, you have arrived!  I made these similar blondies, from my another of my big dessert crushes, David Lebovitz, and they are delightful, but, if I had to choose, I think the award would go to Ms. Saffitz's blondies.

Obs, you should make both, invite some pals over and do a proper tasting,  Here is a song for you to enjoy while you make or eat them!

Saturday, February 18, 2023

OAD & longing longer.


Dear Friends,

I have a serious case of Object Attachment Disorder.  Take, for example, this Walter Foster book on how to draw with pastels.  Really, do take it!  I put in a box that I left at the Goodwill, so you can find it there easily.  It looks like an ordinary, harmless, slightly lame, instructional drawing book.

Let me tell you what it really is:  it's a fetishization of pale green wool carpet, romantic love, and velvety softness.  It holds two, maybe even three generations of longing in it.  It's cliché to the max, and I finally set it loose.  No, no; congratulations aren't necessary.  This is about a grieving confession of short-sightedness.  No, it was more willful than that.  Complications?  You betcha!  These great barges of emotion don't float down river easily; you really have to inventory it all to launch these behemoths.  

My Grandmother gave it to me, and like everyone's grandmother, she represented a sophistication that I was encouraged to strive for; she was genteel, I suppose, and from a time period, status, and income level that I did not know, so of course it seemed desirable.  So it wasn't just instructions for drawing, it was instructions for a lot of things, including manners and relationship, and morals, oh!  So many twisted morals!  Still, what it came down to, was the cover.  I loved the cover of this book like crazy.  It was big, like, 18 inches by 12.  It had the same vase of flowers (my Grandmother said: vaahs) on the front and the back, except the back did not have the title.  This was magic to me, this flattened and bizarre three dimensionality.  

I almost just tore the covers off, and pasted them up in my laundry room, next to some other odd private and suspect bits of identity-  prints of Frida Kahlo paintings, a photo of a Spirit Bear, a playing card with a bullfighter on it, an old postcard of a Montana highway.  A sort of vision board of guilty image pleasures.

But see, I don't want to stay in this place of longing any longer, so I say, Take it All Away.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023



Dear Old Lover,

Ooh, I found the last of your old letters and poems; there was a choice, a forking path:  toss them or read them?  I took the second, and as as happened before, I saw that it was not just awfulness and neediness and greed, that there was care and compassion, and for us, maybe, as people just learning to swim, there may even have been some of what they call 'love.'  Certainly, there was passion, which is a kind of an absurd thing, with a lot of sequins and glitter and flashing lights and too much of everything on it.  A great, elaborate, frosted cake of passion, with little to sustain anyone in it.  And yet.  I do love a celebration with cake.

One doesn't want, as one becomes, to pretend that it never happened.

The next forking path: what to do with these last words, these recorded emotions of yours, but also somehow mine, as they were directed to me?  I am reading- like writing in reverse, words go in, instead of out-  I am reading a book about the daughters of patriarchy, and I see, that I am so much a one, even as I struggle to shed that mantle, and so, and so, I will burn them, because there is or was a thing there, an energy that can be released, I think, as smoke now.  

Yes; burning will be just reverence enough.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

what is my job?


Dear Y'all,

Here is a fine song for today- I got it from my DJ last week- it's a funny thing, too, because, I thought, yeah, that's the sound I want to share with you, but, I don't always rush to shout it, because I like to be sure it is good enough for you.  You might wonder what isn't good enough, and I'll tell you:  here are three songs that I am not quite yet convinced of.  But, isn't this a good chance for you to decide for yourself?




Tuesday, January 31, 2023

1700 Days.


Dear Rolling Skaters & Everyone Else,

Well, here we are!  Day 1700!  Did you imagine it?  I sometimes think back on my second pair of skates; I got them in 2008;  Strawberry Moxi Lollys.  They were a size too big for me, but I skated on them for a year, before getting a better fit in a low boot Riedell skate.  I missed the Lollys like mad, so I then got a pair in Floss- I still have them.  The low boot skate, a 595, is being used by my sister in law.  I also have, and have had, several other pairs.  Right now, I use this skate primarily.  It is the bomb!  It has incredibly stiff ankle support, which suit me and my joints beautifully.  Still, it's worth noting that I never would have tried such a stiff boot in my early days- they are like those wonderful Italian hiking boots; you have to wear them to get them to love you back.  

But what kind of discursive narrative is this?  Who starts with the second pair of skates, and trails off to the second to last pair?  What am I trying to say to you, dear ones?  I bet you can guess!  Skates come and go, but skaters are forever.  So don't fret about the numbers, the frequency, the proficiency, because none of that is where it's at.  Roller skate for one of these reasons:

You never have,

you always loved it when you were younger, or

you love it already.

(See how I have covered the past, present, and future?  Impressive, no?  Also, note that you don't have to love it every time, or every day, or every minute.)

With all of this in mind, you are now ready to borrow, beg, or buy some skates!  Here are the kind I want to try next:  Chuffed Skates.  Let's meet again in one hundred days, as usual!