Monday, December 21, 2009

chuck klosterman

People who talk about their dreams are actually trying to tell you things about themselves they'd never admit in normal conversation.

[image via here]

Monday, November 16, 2009

me too

Oh I love red.  I'm very loyal to my colors.

Elizabeth Taylor

[image via here]

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

on art

The following excerpt has changed the way I look at everything. It's also changed the way I look at my gray cube, as a photocopy of page 204 from Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog now hangs on my wall:

But when we gaze at a still life, when - even though we did not pursue it - we delight in its beauty, a beauty borne away by the magnified and immobile figuration of things, we find pleasure in the fact that there was no need for longing, we may contemplate something we need not want, may cherish something we need not desire. So this still life, because it embodies a beauty that speaks to our desire but was given birth by someone else's desire, because it cossets our pleasure without in any way being part of our own projects, because it is offered to us without requiring the effort of desiring on our part: this still life incarnates the quintessence of Art, the certainty of timelessness. In the scene before our eyes - silent, without life or motion - a time exempt of projects is incarnated, perfection purloined from duration and its weary greed - pleasure without desire, existence without duration, beauty without will.

For art is emotion without desire.

[image via here]

andy andrews

Until a person takes responsibility for where he is, there is no basis for moving on. The bad news is that the past was in your hands, but the good news is that the future, my friend, is also in your hands.

Andy Andrews
[image via here]

Friday, November 6, 2009

bob marley

Tonight I've signed myself up for a Bob Marley Friday Night Flow class at Garden State Yoga. The room is candle-lit and Bob Marley music accompanies the practice. I can't think of a better way to start my weekend.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

george whitman

Shakespeare & Co. is my idea of the perfect refuge, and while my Parisian affair was brief, I spent a generous amount of time in this warm, affable bookstore just across the Seine from Notre Dame.

The Sundance Channel aired a special on George Whitman, ex-patriot and owner of Shakespeare & Co., entitled Portrait of a Bookstore as an Old Man. At the end of the documentary, Whitman recites the poem below. I fell in love with his cadence, the serenity in his gaze, the simplicity of that moment he chose to share his poem, the eccentricity of his haircut. I’ve memorized his poem and it’s morphed into mantra of sorts; I catch myself thinking the words without realizing I’m doing so.

Here is my best effort at putting this poem on paper (so to speak). I can't find it in written form, trust me, I've tried:

Among the visions which my fancies trace
There was one brightest star, one face -
One image from afar filled with syruped grace

Each poem is her heart’s fantasy
Each flower and tree is framed within her memory
Each dream, each midnight, and each dawn
Are garments, thoughts of her put on

Each beam of light from the imperial blue
With her in falls the good
The beautiful
The true

Monday, November 2, 2009


Begin anywhere.

- Frank Giampietro

[image via here]

Friday, October 23, 2009


Autumn is the hardest season. The leaves have fallen. And they fell like they were falling in love with the ground.

- Andrea Gibson

[image via little brown pen]

Monday, October 19, 2009

three lives

Last Saturday, I spent several hours at Three Lives & Company, a special bookstore in Greenwich Village.  It is small, quaint, and stocked with bestsellers, obscure titles, travelogues, local authors, classics, children's books, and so on.   I wanted to read (okay devour) every book my fingers tumbled amorously across.  Miraculously, I narrowed my massive pile down to just one, A Moveable Feast.  Thrilling.

I approached the cashier and he asked, "All that time spent and just this to show for it?"  I smiled and said back, "That time spent is my favorite part." 

p.s. Google Books gives the best previews for perspective reads, typically the first three chapters (or more).

Sunday, October 18, 2009


This news story was bizarre/perfect material for the stunt below.  I might recommend the following be read out loud for cadence's sake.  Make Will proud now. 
[via here]


The ink pad would need replacing by the end of day one.

one big wish

I was within and without.  Simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.

- F. Scott Fitzgerald

[image via here]

Monday, October 5, 2009


Empty thoughts obstruct what I love -
what I long to do in the moments I’m unable,
and stuck
and stapled,
forming an enemy bent to snuff what remains.
Creatively I abscond,
an anti-arsonist.

The bucket of flour – mine,
teeters confidently on the shelf above what’s left,
(now only slight smolderings of craft)
so that it can bully and blanket
my only motive
with a film that hints
teasingly toward a suffocating end.

“Children,” the teacher instructs,
“the pyromaniac is one who gives in to incendiary longing,
weak like the stilted victim with roots that no longer matter.”

So I am both – the anti and the obsessed,
Negation for a brief, anomalous minute
Only until the bucket tires of teasing
and falls,
leaving me

Thursday, September 24, 2009

e.e. cummings

here's to opening and upward, to leaf and to sap
and to your (in my arms flowering so new)
self whose eyes smell of the sound of rain

and here's to silent certainly mountains; and to
a disappearing poet of always, snow
and to morning; and to morning's beautiful friend
twilight (and a first dream called ocean) and

let must or if be damned with whomever's afraid
down with ought with because with every brain
which thinks it thinks, nor dares to feel (but up
with joy; and up with laughing and drunkenness)

here's to one undiscoverable guess
of whose mad skill each world of blood is made
(whose fatal songs are moving in the moon

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

oh the temptation

This is too good:

muriel barbery

Currently reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I'm one thoroughly smitten aristocrat.

On the character Manuela -

'When you eat a walnut, you must use a tablecloth,' says Manuela, removing from her old shopping bag a little hamper made of light wood in which some almond tuiles are nestled among curls of carmine tissue paper. I make coffee that we shall not drink, but its wafting odor delights us both, and in silence we sip a cup of green tea as we nibble on our tuiles.
This girl from Faro, as I was saying, who wears the requisite black support stockings and a kerchief on her head, is an aristocrat. An authentic one, of the kind whose entitlement you cannot contest: it is etched onto her very heart, it mocks titles and peole with handles to their names. What is an aristocrat? A woman who is never sullied by vulgarity, although she may be surrounded by it.
Yes, as if I were a queen. When Manuela arrives, my lodge is transformed into a palace, and a picnic between two pariahs becomes the feast of two monarchs. Like a storyteller transforming life into a shimmering river where trouble and boredom vanish far below the water, Manuela metamorphoses our existence into a warm and joyful epic.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

an accurate capture

Just remember, the same as a spectacular Vogue magazine, remember that no matter how close you follow the jumps: Continued on page whatever. No matter how careful you are, there's going to be the sense you missed something, the collapsed feeling under your skin that you didn't experience it at all. There's that fallen heart feeling that you rushed right through the moments where you should've been paying attention. Well, get used to that feeling. That's how your whole life will feel some day. This is all practice. None of this matters. We're just warming up.

Chuck Palahniuk

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

water for elephants

Read this. It is excellent in all of its ying-yang'd glory.  Gruen creates two contrasting worlds, the Benzini Brother's Most Spectacular Show on Earth contra a lifeless nursing home seeping inertia (my oxymoronic tendencies need a leash, forgive me).  Although these worlds exist decades apart, Jacob Jankowski's barreling fervor laces a common youthfulness throughout - twenty or twenty-three, ninety or ninety-three no matter.

I took an immediate liking to Gruen's subtle intent; very Joseph-Heller-esque (and believe me when I say whoever borrowed-for-good my copy of Catch-22, my heart is broken).  Camel may have been my favorite character for this reason - "'It's Camel,' Earl says in a hushed voice. 'He's got trouble. Foot trouble.  They've gone all floppy.  He kind of slaps them down.  His hands aren't so great neither.'" Rosie and Rosemary are a close second, but not second and third.  I thought they played too similar an understanding and sustaining role in Jacob's life to differentiate between them both (and not for physical reasons, obviously).  

Again, it's fulfilling and will not disappoint.  Themes abound, plus, the cover's a good one.  I love stripes.

Friday, March 27, 2009

jeffrey mcdaniel

Reminiscing in the drizzle of Portland, I notice
the ring that’s landed on your finger, a massive
insect of glitter, a chandelier shining at the end

of a long tunnel. Thirteen years ago, you hid the hurt
in your voice under a blanket and said there’s two kinds
of women—

those you write poems about
and those you don’t. It’s true. I never brought you
a bouquet of sonnets, or served you haiku in bed.
My idea of courtship was tapping Jane’s Addiction

lyrics in Morse code on your window at three A.M.,
whiskey doing push-ups on my breath. But I worked
within the confines of my character, cast

as the bad boy in your life, the Magellan
of your dark side. We don’t have a past so much
as a bunch of electricity and liquor, power

never put to good use. What we had together
makes it sound like a virus, as if we caught
one another like colds, and desire was merely

a symptom that could be treated with soup
and lots of sex. Gliding beside you now,
I feel like the Benjamin Franklin of monogamy,

as if I invented it, but I’m still not immune
to your waterfall scent, still haven’t developed
antibodies for your smile. I don’t know how long

regret existed before humans stuck a word on it.
I don’t know how many paper towels it would take
to wipe up the Pacific Ocean, or why the light

of a candle being blown out travels faster
than the luminescence of one that’s just been lit,
but I do know that all our huffing and puffing

into each other’s ears—as if the brain was a trick
birthday candle—

didn’t make the silence
any easier to navigate. I’m sorry all the kisses

I scrawled on your neck were written
in disappearing ink. Sometimes I thought of you
so hard one of your legs would pop out

of my ear hole, and when I was sleeping, you’d press
your face against the porthole of my submarine.
I’m sorry this poem has taken thirteen years

to reach you. I wish that just once, instead of skidding
off the shoulder blade’s precipice and joyriding
over flesh, we’d put our hands away like chocolate

to be saved for later, and deciphered the calligraphy
of each other’s eyelashes, translated a paragraph
from the volumes of what couldn’t be said.

[image via here]

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

robert graves

Who calls her two-faced?  Faces she has three;
The first inscrutable, for the outer world;
The second shrouded in self-contemplation;
The third, her face of love,
Once for an endless moment turned on me

If I am ever asked to describe myself a five-line poem, this would be the poem I would recite.

Monday, March 9, 2009

e.e. cummings


who knows if the moon's
a balloon, coming out of a keen city
in the sky - filled with pretty people?
(and if you and I should

get into it, if they
should take me and take you into their balloon,
why then
we'd go up higher with all the pretty people

than houses and steeples and clouds:
go sailing
away and away sailing into a keen
city which nobody's ever visited, where

Spring) and everyone's
in love and flowers pick themselves

e e cummings or e. e. cummings or E. E. Cummings or Edward Estlin Cummings was a poet and painter and play-write and much more.  His peculiar syntax I find alluring; his intentional strewing of punctuation across the page, I quiet my compulsiveness and curiously enjoy.  Because of Cummings' distinct style, it is almost vital that his poetry be read out loud.  And as a result, Cummings continues to masterfully influence the way each poem is revealed to the reader.  So go on, read it aloud a second time around.

[image from The Red Balloon via here]

Saturday, March 7, 2009

song of myself

I've always been taken with poetry, and I want more of it in my life. Walt Whitman is the man fueling the desire:

Have you reckon'd the earth much?
Have you practis'd so long to learn to read?
Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poetry?

Stop this day and night with me and you shall 
possess the origin of all poetry
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, 
(there are millions of suns left)
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books.
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself.

This (demanding, passionate) snippet from Song of Myself by Walt Whitman encourages spending time with poetry so that words can come alive in a way unique to the reader.  In that sense, poems are like fingerprints - not one person's application is the same.

[hypertext image of Whitman's writings via here]

Thursday, March 5, 2009


My morning routine has taken a reflective turn, literally. At the top of the first hill on 190th, and depending on the morning's clarity, I am gifted with a brief (but so satisfying) look at the ocean behind me via my rear view mirror. Often coupled with 105.1's national anthem or Big Boy's casual chatter (both of which offering very distinct accompaniments), I'm hit with a wave of graciousness. I am so fortunate.

And as if that weren't enough, I see the sun in reverse on my drive home. The colors are vivid and electric and I swear I haven't seen a single hue repeat itself in the 8 months I've lived by the beach.

Sunrise and sunset, nature's bookends. It appears as though they hold me up as well.

[Hermosa Beach sunset image via mstlouis]

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

you crazy child

My morning coffee has served it's purpose, and now I am alert after a seventeen hour work day. (Monday's and month-ends are not the most promising combination.) Heavy lidded eyes and the almost-mistaking of my morning oatmeal for a soft down pillow have me wishing for something comforting and familiar. So naturally, I've turned my Pandora station to Billy Joel in hope that I'll hear Vienna, the song that serves as my sweet and subtle slap on the wrist when my work/life balance begins to slip.

Slow down, you're doing fine. You can't be everything you want to be before your time, although it's so romantic on the borderline tonight. Too bad but it's the life you lead, you're so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need - though you can see when you're wrong, you know you can't always see you're right.

When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

[image via Merisi, author of a brilliant Viennese blog]

Sunday, March 1, 2009

a tease

oatmeal with vanilla bean
trail mix, with one cinnamon stick
the sun deck and a round table
faded tablecloth and iron chairs
bathing suit and sundress and bare feet - propped,
four chairs for just one summer-stricken girl
reading and being,
striped beach bag packed
for a sun day like this -
and when the sun is just right she walks
down her white-washed steps and
onto the sand
to sleep - stretch - write - listen -
to memorize everything on purpose, as
sun days will be hard to come by
in february
on another coast

[image via irene suchocki]

Friday, February 27, 2009

take me away

I need the world:

SANTORINI, to recover my heart I left behind.
MAINE, a sailing stargazing sojourn.

THE NORTHERN LIGHTS, because I've never turned down an invitation to dance.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

reading currently

My reading currently list has grown out of hand. It is comprised of books that are individually deserving of all of my attention, not one-fourth of it:

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
Glory by Vladimir Nabokov
Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik

I resolve, for February, to read these four books. It shouldn't be too difficult, as I've already started all of them.

[Image via Toast]

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Quote D'Jour or Nabokov's Glory Once More

"...and what a condiment that was to being in love, what bliss to stand in the wind next to a laughing woman with wind-blown hair, whose bright skirt would now be worried, now pressed against her knees by the same breeze that had once filled Ulysses' sails... and there she is again, aboard someone else's yacht, sparkling, laughing, flinging coins into the water."

[Glory by Vladimir Nabokov, chapters 9 & 20]

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

star mist velvet travelvet


"A star fell: as so often annoyingly happens, it fell not quite in his field of vision, but off to the side, so that his eye caught only the twinge of a soundless change in the sky. . .'Travel,' said Martin softly, and he repeated this word for a long time, until he squeezed all meaning out if it, upon which he set aside the long, silky skin it had shed - and next moment the word returned to life. 'Star. Mist. Velvet. Travelvet,' he would articulate carefully and marvel every time how tenuously the sense endures in the sound. In what a remote spot this young man had arrived, what far lands he had already seen, and what was he doing here, at night, in the mountains, and why was everything in the world so strange, so thrillful? 'Thrillful,' Martin repeated aloud, and liked the word. Another star went tumbling." 

[Glory by Vladimir Nabokov, chapter 11]