Friday, October 12, 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

the lost month

One of these days, please remind me to explain why I haven't been online to blog for a month.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

remarkable




"Americans are far more remarkable than we give ourselves credit for. We've been so busy damning ourselves for years. We've done it all, and yet we don't take credit for it."

Ray Bradbury

*  *  *
Above, two photos courtesy of JPL taken at Planetfest 1981. The top image is of the world's first unfurling of a solar sail. I was standing right there, an ordinary citizen witnessing history. My modest camera's photos weren't very good so I hope JPL will forgive my sharing theirs.

The lower image is of a panel discussion at that same conference-- Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, Ted Koppel, Ray Bradbury, and Gene Roddenberry. I was in the front row.
Reaching the stars... It all seemed so dazzlingly possible.

Perhaps it will again.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

writer's mop

Sometimes I hear a turn of phrase so absurd, so ridiculous, so perfectly clever, I wish I'd been the one to think of it. Deborah, a friend of mine from Facebook, was chatting with me about the curse of housework and how it looms large-- often more psychologically than anything else-- in the writing lives of women. She said she didn't exactly have writer's block, but she understood the concept of writer's mop.

Writer's mop. Thank you.

Monday, June 25, 2012

shoes and ships and sealing wax

To tell, or not to tell: that is the question. Should a would-be author writing a would-be novel let friends and family know about it? I've had occasion to regret ever mentioning my novel--that most treasured and meaningful of my creative endeavors-- especially since the project in question has now been in the works for over six years.

"Hey; how's the novel coming? Are you done yet?"

Author Tom Wolfe once remarked, and correctly so, that someone who has been working on a novel for years hasn't been working on it that long-- they've been doing a dance around it. True enough, Tom!

In my defense, I'm working on a four-volume work, essentially four interlocking novels involving tons of research and ancillary material. In my heart of hearts, however, I know I should be finished by now. Therein lies a tale or two.

The big fiction project began very innocently. I effectively tricked myself into writing a work of long fiction by publishing short weekly chapters online to a hobby group. The ice was broken, and at least in terms of output, I developed good writing habits. I had a general idea where it was all going, but I let the characters run their own show. For many months, the commitment to providing new material on a timetable removed certain mental obstacles for me.

I was off and running. After a couple of years of fooling around with this format, I gradually awakened to the realization that what I really wanted to do was take my characters, and their basic situation, and write a so-called serious work. And so, much like the old Grandpa's Ax joke ("It's had the handle replaced twice and the blade once") I began the wonderful process of reworking it into something less frivolous and more serious and complex. A whole new game.

One school of thought holds that letting people know you're working on a big writing project sets up a certain amount of useful pressure. While this may be true, writers should consider the flip side of this strategy. Do you really want everyone you know to ask you about it every time they see you? Are you ready to endure their mental eye roll when you inform them, yet again, time after excruciating time, that you're "Still working on it", or, "I'm in the last phases", or, "Getting there."? Is it useful to feel their thoughts burning into you, comments along the lines of "Sheesh, just finish the freaking thing already; what's the big deal?"

One reason some people might share they're writing a novel might be that it sounds kind of cool, as if it were enough to just to be doing it. But I've never liked that idea, and that kind of phony buzz never been my motivation. It's not enough for me to be working on a book: I want, I need to finish it. Anyone can say they are a writer, but I want to cross the finish line and be an author.

For good or for bad, everyone close to me knows I have been creating a long work of fiction. A few close friends have read excerpts, in a couple of cases some lengthy sections. (I removed the original serialized chapters from their online home quite some time ago). There's no real question amongst these fine people that despite my having a minimal track record of published works, I'm still a serious writer. And I'm sure none of them expects to open my manuscript to find 1000 pages of "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Feedback has been positive, and things are moving along. Slowly, painstakingly, but I'm getting there.

"So, what are you up to these days?"

This is the question that I always feel compelled to answer honestly. I wish I could just make up something out of whole cloth, a scenario that could disengage the whole line of inquiry about the novel and clear my potentially flaky reputation at the same time, but I can't seem to help myself. Friends know I work freelance in corporate film and video production, but that profession has gradually dwindled down to a few small jobs a year. If you catch me more than a month after such a job, chances are I won't remember who the job was for, let alone have anything interesting to say about it. When you ask what I'm doing, I have to say something, right?

"Lately I spend most of my free time working on personal writing projects," I'll say, or something to that effect. (My ego does admittedly play a role in this, otherwise I might simply allow people to imagine I spend my mornings on Pilates and my afternoons getting French mani-pedis).

"So, you're still working on that novel?"

Here we go.

"It's a tetralogy-- four novels. They're interrelated and non-linear so I have to work on all of them at once. But I'm enjoying it... we'll see how it goes," I say, my mind racing as I try to find a graceful segue to another topic and still keep a positive look on my face. I could add, "And besides, I'm crafting it carefully because I'm thinking of it as a literary work," except for the fact that this distinction isn't something an author can claim. It's a status conferred by others via a mysterious process nobody completely understands.

At least I have friends. At least they care enough to ask, right?

The other day, while on vacation out of state, I was enjoying lunch with friends I rarely see. I kept engaged in other lines of discussion to stretch out the time as long as I could, but eventually someone asked what I've been doing since they last saw me. Any movie jobs? No, that's been pretty slow. Well, what then?

My mind raced. Cooking classes! That's it! I'll tell them that.  But... nah. Watching a couple of TV cooking shows a week doesn't count. Maybe it's enough to say "Not much; mostly housework"! Sure, right? No; they'd remember my less-than-perfect house and garden. Or maybe my fashion doll hobby; that might work. But my workshop door has been closed for weeks and I have no doll conventions coming up, so I can't use that. Besides, that activity is almost harder to explain than the writing.
                                                                                
"Well, I've been on a big push to finish writing my books," I began in a small voice, steeling myself.

She cast me a look. Apparently this gal wasn't going to give me a pass on that one, having heard this from me the last time we got together.

"Who cares how it ends?" She said suddenly, her voice rising. "What DIFFERENCE does it make?" She was laughing, but I saw something in her eyes. A feeling of dread crept over me.
"Here's what you do," she continued. The others at the table were silent, eating and casually waiting. "You just... KILL EVERYBODY!"

There was no stopping her now; I knew this. I kept my face carefully neutral.

"I know... You can have a BIG GAS EXPLOSION," she said, clearly enjoying herself. "Nobody gets out. PROBLEM SOLVED."

Several thoughts occurred to me almost at once: with pangs of genuine sadness I imagined the loss of my beloved characters. Oh, the humanity! I thought again of how important book endings are. I mused over my characteristic reluctance to have any harm come to my characters, let alone untimely deaths, and reminded myself how that inclination can impede a book. I reflected on the arbitrary nature of violence in stories and how writers often feel compelled to jump the shark just to keep things interesting. And finally I thought about how great it would be to not be drilled and grilled about my book until it's time to announce its publication.

But of course, it's way too late to fix things. Not unless I tell people my manuscript was lost in a tragic gas explosion...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

ray bradbury: a chair never empty

ray bradbury forever



Ray touched countless lives, mine included. I was blessed to visit him in November, which I will never forget. Strokes had taken their toll on him, but friends and family kept his days full. Since he could no longer see well enough to read, fortunate people would read aloud to him.

The story he chose for me to read aloud was "The One Who Waits", eerily appropriate as it was a story I well remembered from when I was twelve years old and reading one of his books for the first time, "The Machineries of Joy". I was honored to hold his hand and thank him for his immeasurable contribution to my well being. It is no exaggeration to say I would be a different person if not for him.

The day of his passing was also the day of a rare celestial event, the Transit of Venus. Although Ray is forever associated with the planet Mars (he even had a driver's license for that planet!), he left us on a day marked by Venus, for love.


August 22, 1920  --  June 5, 2011

"Live forever!"

Saturday, June 2, 2012

dream realized: the writing retreat


Finally: two weeks of blissful solitude to work on my writing. This was my cozy, convenient setup in St. George, Utah where I was housesitting. My injured ankle was, in a curious way, a blessing in disguise as it helped confine me to the condo and away from restaurants and outlet stores.

To keep things simple I slept on the sofa. All of my notes and papers were organized and in front of me, my iPad to one side and my notebook computer winking and ready. All I needed to do each day, for the most part, was become vertical and get to work.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

writing retreat: a wish comes true?

Amazing. It might actually come to pass that I have the opportunity to run off somewhere alone and finish the novel(s) in April. For security reasons I'll report on the specifics of this escapade after the fact.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

verdi's macbeth at the met

Photo is from the Met website and is not mine. Shared here with a handful of friends in the spirit of enthusiasm for the Met and its productions, and with thanks to the talented photographer, performers, set and costume designer, and staging artists.

opera with a friend

As I write this, I'm delighted to be with a dear friend at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City for a performance of Verdi's "Macbeth".

Musically this is unfamiliar territory to me, but Verdi being Verdi and the Met being the Met, I'm sure it'll be a shiny experience on a Saturday.

It all started earlier this morning in my home office in San Diego. A little back and forth on Facebook, a warmup on my coffee, and this happy email from a friend winked open in my In-box:

I am on a train to NYC to see the Verdi opera Macbeth & it's hard to type. (bumpy ride). But, did you see the piece in AT mentioning Bradbury? Hope all is well with you.

More Later,
H

Within a half second a series of vivid images raced across my mental workspace: New Yorkers bundled in winter coats on a rocking train, my friend stopping a moment to reach into her pocketbook and type the email on her iPhone; then some wandering around before the opera, the stairs at Lincoln Center, the massive and iconic chandelier, a walk down carpeted aisle, the stage with its aura of anticipation, the pre-opera murmur accented by occasional practice flute trills, violin scales, and glimpses of tympany like familiar distant thunder.

My day was shaping up. I reminded myself to read the article about Ray. Mindful she was on her iPhone, thinking I might catch her en route, I kept my reply brief:

Can't wait to read it. You're on a train to see Verdi's Macbeth?! I wish I were too! Have a fabulous time! /hugs b

More time then passed with me wandering around cyberspace. I tracked down a way to listen to the broadcast.

Noon was a ways off, but my stomach began growling. I rejoined my own space/time continuum long enough to reheat some leftover lasagna in my home office microwave. Between mouthfuls I clicked my way to some basic information on this opera. Seems Verdi created the work fairly early in his career, before he gifted the world with La Traviata or Rigoletto. The 1847 version of Macbeth was apparently very successful. The 1865 revision, produced for Paris in a French translation, was less successful and the opera largely faded from public view until the mid-20th century revivals.

As I type here about my morning, the Lincoln Center audience is now applauding at the conclusion of Act 3. An ominous drum roll and Act 4 has now begun while I return to writing this story.

I thought about Verdi in his tall hat and dapper ascot, and I thought about the time period of his compositions. Then I thought about the last time I was in New York.

Another email blinked open. H again, and this time it was an iPhone photo of a red gown in the Opera Shop at the Met. It's an incredibly perfect you-are-there moment, and I had a huge wave of the incredible wow-ness of this kind of communication and connection.

I fired back:

That gives me a happy chill.

b

The broadcast quality was good. As I began to listen to the pre-opera chat, it was then I decided to share my morning's anecdote-in-progress with my father, who has a natural feel for this kind of thing. He's 500 miles away but I have unlimited long distance calling so it's like he's across the street.

The same opera was obviously playing in the background as Daddy picked up the phone. I chattered away and brought him up to speed.

We talked for a while. He loved how my New York friend was at the opera and sending me emails, and that I was having a virtual opera adventure and now sharing it with him. More catching up, and it eased into a multi-subject conversation that included his recommendation of the new mystery novel "After the Poison" which sounded so good that while we were talking, I ordered a Kindle copy for myself.

As I type this the last act of Macbeth has two more scenes. I hope to synchronize the posting of this article with the closing applause and joyful bravos in real time.

Anyway, I again emailed my friend H:

I'm listening live! YAYY-- enjoying the opera with my dear friend!

b

She wrote back:

Oh how exciting. I was wishing you were here. Now you are. Only thing I just read it's set post WWII so costumes will be more modern. 1st act 80 minutes long. That's long! Now, must turn off cell in theater. :-)

H

And I couldn't resist writing one more note:

This is great! I get to clap right along with you guys & imagine myself there...

b

Now I was thinking not only of my friend 3,000 miles away but also my father in the Bay Area who, as it turns out, had just spoken on the phone with his lady friend in Utah... who was also listening to the broadcast. He said he looked forward to sharing my story with her.

More coffee. More reading about Giuseppe Verdi. What would that fellow make of all this astonishing magic?

* * *

I've caught up to real time, now.

And so it is that I'm magically in New York on a Saturday, listening to an opera I've never heard before. Soon my friend and I will both be clapping our hands.

Click, send. Clap.

Bravo!

new van gogh painting, new mozart composition

This week has seen some interesting developments in the world of the arts. If I learn anything worthwhile or pick up some credible tidbits, I'll post them here.

Maybe take another look into this, now that it's February 15, 2017 and I'm stopping by from the future...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday, March 10, 2012

notebook mystery revealed

Hi Brenda;

I called your Dad back right after he phoned me this morning . He had called to tell me that he had sent me an Email. I told him that it was true that I had been a student of James Eakle during the time in question; I'd taken Art History 190B and several other classes that were art related from Mr. Eakle. He was, by far, my favorite instructor!

Eakle resembled Don Knox in appearance but had a large, booming voice that carried long distances. He was a passionate promoter of art, especially painting, and came across as someone who lived and breathed everything and anything art-related. In addition to the artists you mentioned in your blog I remember he also discussed Mark Tobey, an artist from the Seattle area; he seemed to find Tobey's work of special worth.

Mr. Eakle lived in Point Richmond during the same period of time that Arlys and I lived there; he lived in a house that overlooked the Bay, towards Marin County. We would pass each other on occasion and wave - I always regret not stopping to talk to him but I felt guilty that I had not pursued painting as he suggested I should and couldn't bring myself to talk to him about it.

So. The notebook. You mentioned you thought the handwriting looked feminine. I take no offense because it should look as it does. You see, your Grandmother, Iris, took a few classes during the same time period. I had no car so I rode the bus out there to the "old" campus, Mom did like likewise but at a different time of the day because she wasn't taking very many classes; we'd pass in the hallways now and then between classes and say Hi.

It's your grandmother's notebook. Mystery solved. Good detective work, Brenda. And I enjoyed reading your essay.

Love,

Uncle John

moebius



Thursday, March 8, 2012

the stuff from february's kitchen adventures

Asian lettuce wraps
Strawberries and blue cheese with apricot balsamic reduction
Parmesan crisps
Red Velvet Cupcakes
Gnocchi with two sauces
Chicken and rice Garam Masala
Crab, tomato, avocado ceviche orange vinaigrette, salsa finish
Spiced mango lassi with agave syrup
Kentucky butter rum cake
Farfalle pasta with lemon cream sauce and capers
French toast a la Bananas Foster
Tuscan kale with seasoned butter beans, on spelt
Butter bean hummus (two versions)
Polenta molded in loaf pan—slice and grill
Rosemary salt
Coffee and Christmas spice liqueur
Homemade farmer’s buttermilk cheese

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

february's food forays & frivolities

Food and food preparation is a new topic here at DL&CS. It's not a cultural pursuit in my life to the extent, say, of fashion design or fiction writing, but I've been fond of cooking ever since those first home economics classes in 7th grade. It's earned some time and space here. Only my notorious overabundance of interests keeps me from serious food study.

Who doesn't like to eat good food? While I'm fairly competent in the kitchen, I'd love to be more of a true expert, comfortable in a useful variety of modern basics.

Even if it weren't so trendy to be a foodie, I like creating a wonderful bowl of soup that rivals a twelve-dollar restaurant offering. I've been known to read vintage cookbooks the way some people read novels. I love wine glasses and dishes and place settings and kitchen appliances and pot racks and playing around with my spice collection. When I was younger I jumped right into entertaining with more enthusiasm than skill. I have several decades' worth of recipes, magazine clippings, and restaurant menus. I scribble notes during cooking shows, and I've taken a few classes. It's only the frustration and drudgery of having to stop and cook when I'm otherwise occupied that can make cooking as annoying as any other household duty.

With the January Project largely under control, in February I began taking my food planning, purchasing, and preparations more seriously, browsing through my oversized cookbook collection for inspiration. It's fun to eat new and interesting food, but in the long run I'd like to feel accomplished in this area with better culinary skills and wider horizons.

I know what you're thinking: I whine almost ceaselessly about how little free time I have and how I need to spend precious waking hours on my writing and not frittering it away (on fritters or anything else). Why on earth, except as self-sabotage, would I suddenly put down my virtual pen and grab a potholder?

The answer can be found on my blog's masthead: Tempus fugit, carpe diem. Given that I will waste X number of hours per week anyway, my soul needs to look at life's big picture and plan to spend at least some of those hours on things like my love of food, sightseeing, mastering a foreign language, and the like. As a related aside, I'm also following a very realistic fitness program because sitting at the computer all day isn't healthy. A writer writes, but a writer also lives their life and values their health.

I can do this.

Anyway, I was off to a great start in February, and queued up a number of interesting food projects. Having organized my kitchen and pantry in January, as well as my cookbook collection, I was off to a positive start. Having an electronic day planner for the first time and actually using it (surprise) has also been a great aid to these efforts. I now grocery shop on an actual schedule, just like a grownup, and always have food and wine information with me on my iPad. I take my food supplements on schedule, too, and follow scheduled exercise sessions both at home and at the club.

Interestingly enough, thus far all this planned activity has resulted in my being more productive, not less, in my writing. I still dream of monastic seclusion, of removing myself from the household during the last weeks of my novel... but more about that later.

Later this week I will upload a summary of what I was up to in my food-focused February.

Cheers, gambatte, a votre sante, carpe diem, and bon appetit.

Monday, February 27, 2012

a notebook mystery

Work avoidance is an art form, as I've noted before. I'm in especially fine form today in that regard, sitting here at the exclusive Center for Research at Dilettante Enterprises International at 11:16 AM, still wearing my Scrabble pajamas, sipping on reheated butterscotch coffee and listening to my new album, "Classical Goes to the Movies: 50 Blockbuster Hits", busy trying to decide what Rev and Donata will be snacking on in the deceptively lighthearted limo scene of my chapter 67 rewrite.

One of my various little fixations of late is an old notebook I found within a box of papers from my late grandmother's estate that I hadn't fully examined until recently. I love a good mystery, and that's just what this is. It takes the unassuming form of a putty-gray paper folder, the kind with built-in brass brads for holding three-ring punched paper. The folder's edges are wavy, fraying and amber to about one-quarter inch all around, not bad, minimal decay from its several decades' wait for me to find and preserve it. On the cover, in an almost-familiar female hand from a generation preceding mine, is the title, "History of Art 190-B". A typewritten outline-form class syllabus is clasped and apparently complete within its covers. No expert am I in the history of document duplication, but the typing is in black and predates modern photocopying, not to mention the fragrant blue-inked ditto-machine handouts of my own school years.

Front and back, from first page to last, the neatly-typed outlines are gloriously dense with student sketches and marginalia. These notes were written quickly and very informally in both pencil and ink during lectures that probably included images of various works of art on an overhead projector.

What lectures, what instructor? At least that much is known: Contra Costa Junior College West Campus (I'll ask my father when they changed its name to Community College), Instructor Mr. Eakle. More about him in a moment.

Nowhere in this notebook can I find the student's name. Therein lies the first mystery. The handwriting is like that of my late mother, and yet not quite, and it occurs to me the handwriting in those days seems to have varied less from person to person than that of today. I know my mother went to CCJC, as did my father, but my father doesn't remember her having studied art history there, despite her interest in art. And there's something telling about the lack of her name anywhere; my mother was almost obsessively fond of putting her name upon everything she owned, at least during the years I knew her.

Did my Grandma (her mother) take this class? The handwriting is similar to that of hers, but I would need to study it more closely. Did she enroll in a college course in art once her children were grown? Possibly, but for other reasons that doesn't seem quite right either, although she was a librarian for decades and definitely interested in the arts. Did she run across this notebook during her time of employment at the San Pablo Public Library? The college wasn't far away so this was geographically possible. Did she rescue it from the lost and found, or a dustbin? That's certainly possible given her personal habit of hoarding books and printed matter.

From the mention near the end of the notes of the modern artist John Marin that gives his death as 1954, we at least know the syllabus of the mystery student was from no earlier than that. This now rules out my mother, who was married in 1952, busy having me in 1953, and more or less stuck at home until she got her driver's license and her own little Austin America in the late 60s.

Tabling the nagging question of authorship for now, I forge ahead online, in this, our Glorious Era of Information, and within seconds learn something quite wonderful about this mysterious fellow Eakle.

From the website Askart.com I find the following notes:

James Eakle studied at the University of California 1939-1943, 1950 (MFA); California School of Fine Arts from 1947-1948 (BFA) under Clyfford Still, Mark Rothko, Ad Reinhart. Eakle spent his entire career as an art instructor and eventually head of the art department at Contra Costa College where he hired many well known active Bay Area artists to its faculty including David Simpson, John Battenberg, and Robert McLean. He continued to paint until his death in 1997.

--end quoted material.

My own art history teacher during my community college days, a gentleman named Bruce Watson, was quite good at presenting similar material. I wonder if Eakle was gifted at the lecturn and conveyed enthusiasm as well as his obvious acumen? He studied under some of the most famous painters of the modern era. What did he and his students think of modern art's relationship to what came before? How much verbal exchange did he have with students during his classes? The outlines and notes are all about the various formal qualities of various times, locations, and works. Did he attempt to discuss why art means something to us, or was this implied? Did he love to teach, or was it just to pay his bills? I may never know, but I like to think his classes were a worthwhile time expenditure during the finite life of whoever's notes I hold in my hand.

Further digging online has revealed no other mentions of James Eakle, no images of paintings. So far at least, despite a promising start, I've turned up almost nothing.

I return my attention to the date of this artifact. If the notes are to trusted, abstract expressionist artist Georges Rouault had not yet passed away, which was 1958. It merely shows the typical parenthetical born date followed by the usual grim reminder, a blank space. This would seem to imply a time frame for the syllabus of 1953 to 1958, but this conclusion isn't reliable. Interestingly enough, Eakle's notes do not cite the date of Raoul Dufy's passing, which was 1953. Perhaps it wasn't convenient to re-do these pages and Eakle waited until the next semester break to update it.

Max Beckmann-- always a favorite of mine since seeing his amazing, lively paintings during our many family visits to the M.H. De Young Museum-- is noted as having passed in 1952. (Someone over in Wickipedia-land cites it as 1950, a discrepancy that reminds me that it's an online encyclopedia, not the Brittanica).

If these various dates were more consistent our detective work could be more solid. Although Paul Klee passed away in 1940, that date hadn't yet been entered into Eakle's notes. That everything wasn't entirely current might only mean he prepared the text at the start of his teaching career. But maybe it's not that it's so vital to know the precise year as much as it is to come to terms with not knowing.

It gives me various odd feelings to read this document. For one thing, from years of exposure to the world of art, a world I consider both wonderful and absurd, I've come to think of these artists as mythological figures rather than people. And yet I'm reminded that many of them lived and passed away during my own lifetime: Yet to leave the world were Oskar Kokoschka, Andre Derain, Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Man Ray. Now they are all of a category, so many famous names, so many figures from art history.

As always, this kind of journey is a wandering one.

The class notes themselves are mysterious in their lack of ancillary comments. Nowhere, for instance, does the student's attention wander into a series of bored and mindless squiggles. No notations about another class, no personal memorandum like "don't forget-- buy tuna". It would seem that at least during those lectures, all those painstakingly detailed talks of line and color and dynamic symmetry and chiaroscuro and who influenced whom, they were focused and attentive.

There are various seemingly unrelated pieces of paper that have been inserted into this folder many years later that argue for it being my grandma's property: dated 1986, a brief dream account accompanied by a sketch, the whole thing transcribed on die cut heavy stock that looks like the insert to a packet of women's hosiery; on a series of unlined sheet the lyrics to "Blue Hawaii" and several other songs. Some notes appear to be related to the class, but were written with a looser (although not entirely dissimilar) hand. I hold unwavering to my notion the student was female.

No name anywhere, no Iris Fylstra, no Jane Doe Student.

One immediate and vivid image in my mind's eye, whenever I handle an artifact from another time, is that of lines being drawn through the space-time continuum for each of its various elements. A folder, some paper, someone at his typewriter preparing the syllabus; meanwhile somewhere else, someone is born, moves forward through time and space in a specific path, and decides to take an art class. At some point the papers were inserted into the folder, the tines of the brads bent into position where they have, quite possibly, remained in uninterrupted service holding those pieces of paper from that point forward. The folder was carried to and from class, day after day, opened and closed countless times, tucked into a valise or satchel, taken out at a desk for an evening's study prior to an exam. What desk, what street, and for how many hours?

And forward through time and space it goes, from one home to a box to another home to another box, handled by a series of people for various reasons, packed and unpacked and read, or not read.

* * *

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

january project complete; real projects begin

One of last year's high points was going to Chicago. It had been several years since I'd been there and was eager to see the Thorne Rooms again at the Chicago Art Institute. Here is a glimpse of one of my favorites.

More about the Thorne Rooms soon.

February has begun, and with it, the year's ambitious new writing schedule, to be announced.

Onward.

b

Thursday, January 26, 2012

weekend favorite, the sound of times past


finished watching 'twin peaks', 'midnight in paris'

Notes on these viewing experiences to follow. The January Project is taking most of my time, as well it should, but I have stopped long enough to view the entire Twin Peaks television series, and to have a look at Midnight in Paris.

Once February begins, I'll no longer have an excuse-- my household will be in maintenance mode, reading and media viewing will be at a minimum, and I'll be full spead ahead with my book writing (and updating my blogs as I do so).

Onward!

b

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

good morning, 2012

Dream journal, here I come again. I pulled out an old blank dream journal to use at my bedside, even though I haven't been a dedicated dream recorder for several years.

Actually, this particular blank book did have two days worth of dream entries in it-- from 2001. More about that later.

That is not to say I haven't recorded dreams since then, but I've been only sporadic about it, and largely negligent for the last three or four years.

My dreams lately have been unusually strange and melancholy and puzzling and funny, starring diverse events and personages: old employers giving me advice, deceased cats coming to life and leaping into the air, ailing authors surrounded by strings of lights, watching the planets line up in the night sky, and applying for a marketing job for the late Apple CEO.

Curiouser and curiouser.

How can I continue to ignore these night adventures when they're so obviously clamoring for attention? Maybe I can even conjure up a lucid dream or two; wouldn't that be something.

I wonder if my having watched three episodes of Twin Peaks tonight will send my mind in new old directions? Nineteen eighty-nine, baby! Ouch!

Happy new year. There's no place like home, even though Utah was spectacular.

b