06 August 2013


Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated
And let my cry come unto Thee.

T.S. Eliot
Ash Wednesday

31 October 2012


Here's a new print that hangs in my living room, masterfully drawn by Lucinda Rogers and perfectly printed by Bryce McCloud of Isle of Printing. And here's a story of how it came to be. And here's the book that made it necessary and possible.

27 September 2012


It's a Moby kind of morning.

I glimpsed a small portion of a book on a friend's* Instagram feed and knew, just a few words in, that I had to read it. (See? all the tech-mess in this world is good for something. In fact, I like to think of my Instagram feed as a time capsule, a connector, an anthropological tool of sorts.) Isn't that, in itself, kind of miraculous? Speaking of miracles, the title of the book is The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. It is usually read to second graders over the span of several class sittings, but I sat at my desk yesterday and read it in about half an hour, then subsequently cried. I didn't quite sob, but tears definitely left stains on my cheeks. I'm not going to give anything away because you, dear reader, must read it. Suffice it to say that there is a china rabbit doll named Edward who travels through years, over miles, and between several shades of emotion.

Here is the passage that I saw on that tiny Instagram screen, which was underlined by a then-stranger but which I knew was meant for me to read at that very perfectly particular time......

"I don't care if anyone comes for me, " said Edward.
"But that's dreadful," said the old doll. "There's no point in going on if you feel that way. No point at all. You must be filled with expectancy. You must be awash in hope. You must wonder who will love you, whom you will love next." 
"I am done with being loved," Edward told her. "I'm done with loving. It's too painful." 
"Pish," said the old doll. "Where is your courage?"
"Somewhere else I guess," said Edward.
"You disappoint me, " she said. "You disappoint me greatly. If you have no intention of loving or being loved, then the whole journey is pointless."

And here is the string of words that I would underline, were I not reading it from a copy that belongs to the school.....

"Seasons passed, fall and winter and spring and summer. Leaves blew in through the open door of Lucius Clarke's shop, and rain, and the green outrageous hopeful light of spring...
Edward Tulane waited. 
The seasons turned into years.
Edward Tulane waited. 
He repeated the old doll's words over and over until they wore a smooth groove of hope in his brain: Someone will come, someone will come for you."

* thank you, Megan. Renaissance-pretty crying lessons forthcoming when I see you next.

12 July 2012


I find that I am rather interested in statistics these days.

I find that I revel in, still-and-ever-and-always, a good, steady, penetrating rain.

I find a yearning for balance, to be able to slam shut certain doors in my the tunnels of my brain. I find myself fumbling for a pause button, the kind on my cassette deck that used to respond with an audible, satisfying "click."

I find an instant sense of fear and shrinking when faced with the grand possibilities I've always desired. I'd like to change that instinct.

I find extra padding on my backside (how'd that get there?).

I find that I'm not too crazy about Merguez sausage.

I find a glaring disdain for the clutter around me. I want to throw all excess on a pyre and shoot a flaming arrow into its center, and then roast some marshmallows and good sausages over it (but not Merguez, of course).

I find a renewed love for one of summer's finest fruits, the peach. I sigh a little at the season's end.

I find the days of summer whizzing past my face way too quickly.

I find a motherly sort of adoration for the plants in my shade garden out back. I talk to my ferns, hostas and vines and try to encourage them that this season, too, shall pass.

I find sheer joy in the renewal of a faithful old kitchen (mom and dad's), the smooth, virgin surface of fresh hardwood and the sheen of pretty copper pipes. I find even more joy in the joy (transl: giddiness) that it brings to my parents whom I fiercely love.

I find that going to a party where I know no one still scares the daylights out of me. My heart beats in my temples and my blood runs to my toes. And then humanity proves itself fine one more time, and I wonder why I wonder that there are such good people, everywhere. I mean, they're crawling from the cracks!

I find that I feel older. Especially in the hip area when I run. This, I do not like.

I find that I giggle to myself a lot.

I find that singing three part harmony still emits shivers and visible bumps to all extremities of my body.

I find that being in the kitchen centers me like almost nothing else can, and I still cheer at the prospect of running my knife swiftly through a Vidalia, then at hearing its sizzle when it hits the fat in the pan.

I find deep gratitude for person-to-person connection.

I find that all of these things that I find are just a tiny part of the glory of who I was made to be, and how very particularly I was crafted, though I might not feel exactly "glorious" most times. I am all tangled up in them; they are me, I am them, whether I like it or not.
I find that when I pull myself up by some good-lookin' bootstraps, slick on some gloss and smack myself around a little bit, I can feel all brand new.

08 June 2012


The week, in a few words, has been...well, I guess it's going to take more than a few words. (You may be distracted right now by the unbelievable red-brown-ness of that egg over there to the left. I know, me too.) So I'll just say that I've felt that I was darn-near losing my mind. Thwarted by the shortcomings of technology, hemmed in by deadlines, harried by uncertainty, just plain frazzled. Even the state of my hair spoke of the inner unrest. My first whole week of sweet, sweet summer, and what do I have? A quiet, underground sort of thrumming hysteria. The kind where, when someone asks "so, how has your week been?", you don't know how bass-ackwards it's been until you hear yourself start talking. It bubbles up behind my eyeballs, and then it comes clear: I may be certifiably undone. I need a stiff drink. So ready for an asylum. Better yet, drop me off in a field of tall grass with a blanket and come back for me in a week's time, I should be fine by then.

But what's the change? What's caused this interior fruit basket turnover? All good things, really. Believe it or not, but believe it. Even the good stuff can still cause pain, though, the growing kind. Even when your bones and muscles start to stretch and become leaner and meaner, it still smarts. The sinew has to reposition, everything has to settle into the new sense of strength.

So tonight, on the eve of a week away (NYC, baby), I'm in my little smoky-blue kitchen, with candles lit. It's quiet around here. Save for Chet Baker's "Moonlight Becomes You" and a low sizzle from the stovetop, all is, for the moment, really lovely and still. The last of the fresh pattypan and zucchini squash from my CSA box were sauteed with some red onion and almost unrecognizably shriveled mushrooms, then topped with a straight-from-the-barnyard egg, fried in olive oil. Its yolk oozed into the residual fat to make the most silky, tasty sauce on the bottom of my plate. Joined by a light lemony-green, medium-bodied, white-grapey Vinho Verde from Portugal (in one of my vintage, flower-etched coupes), it was a most satisfying supper. It didn't hurt that there was a really salty-yet-lovable fisherman printed on the bottle in a pretty blue-green hue. Utter simplicity reads, lately, as utter luxury.

A peach from the fine folks at The Peach Truck will wrap up the evening's little scrappy meal. Talk about luxury: this peach, guys, hooooo-boy. I shook hands with Stephen Rose and his pretty red-haired wonder of a wife last night at Imogene + Willie. They've got a Jeep Gladiator and a literal truckload of peaches that come straight from Stephen's family's farm. The moment he set the bag in my hands, I instantly knew that I was in luck. The heft of those ten or so pieces of golden-red, perfumed fruit was a tell-tale sign of the goodness to come. When I made it home, threw my keys on the counter and opened the brown paper sack -- bearing a really campy and adorable stamped logo -- well, I'll just report that the fact that I managed to stop at one was nothing short of a miracle.

After I wrestle that peach pit to the floor and have it in a very unattractive, oral stranglehold (sorry), I'll set to the task of packing. It's New York City, I've done it several times before and I can do it again. I find that NYC always requires a ridiculous number of pairs of shoes, though (there's so much pavement-pounding to be done), especially when, in the middle of that week, I'll be jumping on the ol' Hampton Jitney and moving eastward (something I never do, if you know me at all). A painting workshop at The Art Barge in Amagansett and a room at Ruschmeyer's in Montauk await me. The only ways I've prepared for that portion of the trip is by submitting a request for a bicycle, gathering my tubes of watercolor and booking my room. Everything else is up to the Hampton gods. It can't be anything less than satisfying, if there are lighthouses and lobsters, cute surfers and orange sunsets about.

I just needed to record this diving board sensation, here at the start of the summer. I will position my hands, take form, dive down into the days and they will rush past my ears like so many effervescent, sea glass-hued bubbles. So here we go.


10 May 2012


Just a little snippet from my childhood, for which I weep and mourn on the behalf of today's children. PBS does a respectable job of attempting to recreate what we had back then, but I'm afraid it's just not the same. Take Bill Cosby and Rita Moreno for instance. Classic. Hilarious.

08 May 2012


Listening to:

This lonesome tune.

Grateful for: The miraculous completion of work, and the start of more of it.

Remembering and keenly missing:

Travels from summers past. In particular, my solitude and reverie in Marfa, Texas. With an early summer trip to New York City being all that's on the docket this year, I'm strangely looking forward to a summer that celebrates Nashville, but I certainly will miss my usual visits to new terrains.

Marveling at: An empty inbox at work. Hurry! Snap a screenshot before someone else invades the whitespace!

Drinking: My favorite standby: Cinnamon Hazelnut from my neighborhood haunt.

Hoping for:
Response, coolness, and some time to breathe.