three things: 1/18/17

FEED: Long, long ago, my son introduced me to the eerily beautiful photography of Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison. All their work is fabulous, worth gazing at and letting it settle in you, but it’s the images my son loved that stay with me the most. Here’s one I always associate with him:

“Burn Season”

Check them out — not just in the link above, when I first mention them, but I also linked the image to the specific collection for this one, all of which make me think of Will. So for me, it’s a melancholy kind of soul-feeding, looking at these images, but there is also a resonance with the world right now, and resonance is also valuable. Looking at their larger body of work, though, is lifting in the way art lifts.

SEED: My New York therapist, Elizabeth, always told me that dreams are really just showing you how you are thinking about something, how you are processing it. Dreams use a range of personal imagery, maybe, relate to personal themes, other experiences, etc. Last night I had a nightmare that couldn’t be more obviously related to how I’m thinking about the forthcoming nightmare in our country. I was in our NYC apartment, and Marc and I were packing to flee — and it was urgent, we had to go immediately, something absolutely terrible was about to happen (not specified within the dream but I think I knew what it was). As he always does when we have suitcases, he was leaving to go get the car and pull it up to the curb, but he came back immediately and said, “There isn’t time, we have to run now!” And so we fled, in terror, with a sense that we couldn’t outrun what we were fleeing. If that isn’t the most obvious nightmare you’ve ever heard, I don’t know what would be.

I think constantly about why this feels as destructive and scary as it does, why it feels so all-encompassing. After all, I’m a straight, white, well-educated, middle-aged woman beyond reproducing years. All the hate that he spews, and that his administration is ready to enact into law, won’t affect me personally, at least not in the loudest, most hateful ways. Of course living in a society permeated with that kind of hate will affect me. Living in a country determined to build a wall, remove families, block immigrants, remove access to health care for all but the wealthy, with the greediest sharks directly from Wall Street in charge of Wall Street, and people who want to destroy schools in charge of education, and people who have no idea what they’re doing in charge of the rest will affect me, even if it’s largely indirectly. And a big part of the tremendous upset is that I live among millions of people who voted for him, who weren’t bothered by his mocking the disabled reporter, his gleeful boasting of assaulting women, his harassment of ordinary people, his egging-on violence, etc etc etc. Not bothered by voting for the candidate endorsed by the KKK. Just not bothered by that. My fellow Americans.

The nightmare of his impact on global politics is likely to affect me, and I just hope we all survive. Except for our Civil War, we’ve never had war on the ground here, thanks in large part to the simple fact of geography. The terrifying thing is that with him, absolutely anything [bad] is possible, and the unimaginable — like him being elected in the first place — will be our actuality. Hence my dream, hence my constant despair which arises from the need to be ready for any nightmare.

Resist. We will resist. I will resist. We are stronger together, and as long as he doesn’t destroy the world (whether through war or his idiotic ignorance related to climate change) we can start over when he’s gone.

READ: One reason Obama always felt like my president — and this is a huge (yuge) distinction with the incoming not-my-president — is that his solace and ground is in books. He is a writer, and he has all the talents and skills of a novelist: a keen ear, an eye for the right details, an ability to observe, and an understanding that fiction has the capacity to tell the deep, sustained truths of human life. I can’t even process how deeply I’ll miss him, yet. My beautiful friend Deb directed me to this article in the NYTimes with/by Michiko Kakutani, their chief book reviewer, titled, “Obama’s Secret to Surviving the White House Years: Books.” I may have enjoyed the transcript of their conversation even more, because there is a lot more of his voice. If you like books and/or our beloved president, you’ll enjoy the articles too.


Friday collection of goodies

So this morning I’m off to get my hair cut, and then I have back-to-back calls for work. It’s a busy day, and I have a very busy weekend ahead. I’ve once again collected a whole bunch of open tabs that I can’t seem to close — “I’ll read them later,” but later hasn’t come, so I’ll stash them here and maybe you’ll like one or two, too!


All day he works at his cousin’s mill,

so when he gets home at night, he always sits at this one window,

sees one time of day, twilight.

There should be more time like this, to sit and dream.

It’s as his cousin says:

Living— living takes you away from sitting.

In the window, not the world but a squared-off landscape

representing the world. The seasons change,

each visible only a few hours a day.

Green things followed by golden things followed by whiteness—

abstractions from which come intense pleasures,

like the figs on the table.

At dusk, the sun goes down in a haze of red fire between two poplars.

It goes down late in summer—sometimes it’s hard to stay awake.

Then everything falls away.

The world for a little longer

is something to see, then only something to hear,

crickets, cicadas.

Or to smell sometimes, aroma of lemon trees, of orange trees.

Then sleep takes this away also.

But it’s easy to give things up like this, experimentally,

for a matter of hours.

I open my fingers—

I let everything go.

Visual world, language,

rustling of leaves in the night,

smell of high grass, of woodsmoke.

I let it go, then I light the candle.

~ from Louise Glück A Village Life (Ferrar, Straus and  Giroux, 2009)

  • And finally, here is an absolutely lovely video of a beautiful, beautiful song, Mad World:

Happy Friday, everyone! I have such a busy weekend of things to do, fun things, a bit of work, a lovely lovely weekend. I hope it’s the same for you!

good thing of the day: It’s raining! And the promise of a new start that a hair cut brings, small but (potentially, anyway) uplifting. 

the good thing

Yeah, so here’s the very good thing about having a lot of interests: you don’t have to sit alone in your house all the time. Here is my schedule for the next few days:  tonight I’m going to hear a fiddle-driven folk rock quintet (the Lost & Nameless Orchestra) that describes itself as a unique mix of Appalachian Mountain music, Celtic fiddle tunes, and singer-songwriter folk. They say they’ll make me want to get up and do a jig — and I just might! Tomorrow morning at 8:30 I’m going to a nearby coffeehouse to join a writing group for a couple of hours. Next Thursday morning I have a Skype writing session with an old friend in NJ, and then book club that evening, and then the next Saturday (the 5th) I’m going to an art opening at 6pm. Sunday the 6th I’m joining a photoshoot on Congress Avenue, meeting at the Capitol — a bunch of photographers getting together for the afternoon to take pictures. I’ll have something to say about all these as I do them, I’m sure.

My interests make it easy to be the new kid in town:

Reading — well, this one’s pretty easy, though it can probably handle some refinement. Austin is a reader’s town, and the independent bookstores have long lists of reading groups. BookPeople has a whole list (and regularly brings in authors), and so does BookWoman — just the stores I know off the top of my head without even investigating. I’m attending two book club meetings at BookWoman in January, and at least one at BookPeople.  Will the attendees be my people? I don’t know, obviously, and it may turn out that the groups feel too different from my dear book club in NYC, so I’ll have to keep looking. I haven’t even started looking through Meetup yet, or through old friends who still live here.

Poetry — I started a Meetup group and in very short order got 27 people who love great poetry. Our first meeting will be at my place on January 8, but I can only handle about 6 at a time, so the group has already splintered off into multiple meetings. 

Knitting — There are knitting group meetings every single day of the week, so I’m going to look at my schedule and see which one(s) fit my routine and join. 

All it takes is a couple of good connections to get the ball rolling, so if these already-organized groups turn out not to be my particular cup of tea, maybe I’ll meet a person or two who’ll connect me to their webs. I’ve joined another Meetup group of photographers, and a group of women my age who seem to do fun things together, so we’ll see how I fit in those groups.

For some strange reason, the men I’ve known in my life had no interests, isn’t that weird? Not a one of them liked to read, they didn’t care about movies, they didn’t do things (what was I thinking, now that I think about it!), they had no hobbies or activities they liked to pursue. I can’t even understand how one lives in the world without being interested in something, anything. I have more interests than time to pursue them, which can be frustrating now and then but I’d rather have my problem than theirs. The best part is that some are solitary, some require solitude, but others are social. Lucky lucky me.

I’ll be taking my camera with me tonight and if other people are dancing a jig to the music, I’ll snap some pictures. It’s going to be kind of chilly (it’s on an outdoor patio) so I may be dancing a jig just to stay warm. 🙂 I hope you have as fun a Saturday planned as I do. It’s the last one of 2012, and I’m happy to be escorting this year out the door.

Here — I’ll leave you with a taste of the Lost & Nameless Orchestra, in case I don’t take a little video later tonight: