Monday, December 31, 2007

Hogmanay

Elegy. To all the men I never kissed.

Let us not discuss all the men I would have preferred to not kiss. They may be consigned to the dustbins of memory, fragments which retain their power by what they lacked as much as for what they provided.

But those whose kiss remains an unknown, enigmatic, mysterious passage between two souls: the link that might have been but never was.

I wanted to love you; but you were always and only you, and the me in your eyes was only a fragment of light across the pavement, the flash of light between skyscrapers. You saw only my reflection. I held only your shadow.

When I woke, the indentation on the pillow was the memory of the head which was never there.

The missed opportunities, the pause that could have been significant, the glance that faltered, the conversations whose halting words masked both intent and confusion. I wanted you, but perhaps I only wanted to want you, and only wanted you to want me.

Ghosts moving across evening light.

-----------------------------------------

reading why isn't my handwriting more legible? and when did I forget how to spell? (Blame the Brits.)
weather snow snow snow snow

Saturday, December 29, 2007

recovery

The (sub)urban landscape



This was the Glidden paint factory, but the ownership changed and the buildings are not at all as well maintained.



The old "Josey Ranch" transitioned from fields of cows to fields of houses. The original homestead was "saved", as in not-yet-torn-down.




Stunning photos of trees taken by resident early-career photographer (not I).

reading itineraries
weather thawing

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Merry Quite Contrary



a fleet of balsa wood airplanes
reading Tintin
weather 60's, sunny, gentle breeze

Saturday, December 22, 2007

more on the mobile front




These are difficult to photograph. Shells collected at Harwich Port, summer 2006. Mobile a housewarming present.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

pre-holiday humbug

A day spent reading the most mediocre of twentieth century poets (that would be Hart Crane, inescapably foisted upon me by a cruel universe); a week spent in a peevish sulk; recent writings ruin perfectly decent paper with completely inane text. Instead, I give thee Donne:

A NOCTURNAL UPON ST. LUCY'S DAY, BEING THE SHORTEST DAY.
by John Donne

'TIS the year's midnight, and it is the day's,
Lucy's, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks ;
The sun is spent, and now his flasks
Send forth light squibs, no constant rays ;
The world's whole sap is sunk ;
The general balm th' hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed's-feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interr'd ; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compared with me, who am their epitaph.

Study me then, you who shall lovers be
At the next world, that is, at the next spring ;
For I am every dead thing,
In whom Love wrought new alchemy.
For his art did express
A quintessence even from nothingness,
From dull privations, and lean emptiness ;
He ruin'd me, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darkness, death—things which are not.

All others, from all things, draw all that's good,
Life, soul, form, spirit, whence they being have ;
I, by Love's limbec, am the grave
Of all, that's nothing. Oft a flood
Have we two wept, and so
Drown'd the whole world, us two ; oft did we grow,
To be two chaoses, when we did show
Care to aught else ; and often absences
Withdrew our souls, and made us carcasses.

But I am by her death—which word wrongs her—
Of the first nothing the elixir grown ;
Were I a man, that I were one
I needs must know ; I should prefer,
If I were any beast,
Some ends, some means ; yea plants, yea stones detest,
And love ; all, all some properties invest.
If I an ordinary nothing were,
As shadow, a light, and body must be here.

But I am none ; nor will my sun renew.
You lovers, for whose sake the lesser sun
At this time to the Goat is run
To fetch new lust, and give it you,
Enjoy your summer all,
Since she enjoys her long night's festival.
Let me prepare towards her, and let me call
This hour her vigil, and her eve, since this
Both the year's and the day's deep midnight is.

Source: Donne, John. Poems of John Donne. vol I.
E. K. Chambers, ed.; London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1896. 45-46.


reading: subscription to the Economist expired: life is a vale of tears
weather thawing

Monday, December 17, 2007

cheer and such




Edition of 40, consigned to the United States Postal Service.

Further queries have necessitated a colophon.
Image: father and aunt, circa mid-1950's. Far too much time has already been fruitlessly spent looking online at digitized Sears Christmas Wish Books to completely verify the date.
Images commercially printed on a color laser printer at Puffer Printing, Easthampton, MA.
Backing paper: vintage silver foil wrapping paper with embossed holly and ivy.
Image sizes: 4"x6"; 3x 2"x2"; 2x 1"x1"
Aluminum wire cut to 6" lengths and treated as described in Guy Williams "Making Mobiles".
White bead from a random beading store in North Dallas.
Red paper is probably Fabriano, cover weight. 2"x2."
Silver paint pen is not remotely archival.
Two types of thread were used, either a button-weight grey sewing thread or a cream beading thread.
The edition is not numbered, available only for love and not for money.

reading recipes
weather clear, but do we really require a foot of snow?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

how does this happen?

These two postings appeared on the Conservation DistList recently. The first concerns a very well respected non-profit that seems to have encountered difficulties, and the second is the exceedingly important textile conservation center in England. One wonders when things begin to sour, and what we, as individuals and as professionals, can do to create an environment where this can no longer occur.

Wasn't that part of the rationale for founding groups such as the American Institute of Conservation and the International Institute of Conservation? And isn't part of the concept of accreditation that each person working in the conservation field bears an individual level of responsibility to maintain a level of credibility for our organizations and for our operations in the greater world?

Conservation DistList
Instance: 21:34
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Today's Subjects
------- --------
Campbell Center finances

Textile Conservation Centre closure
"Textile school is stitched up"
Article in The Times (London)

reading publicity contacts
weather between storms

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

battery at 46% and dropping, cat ate the cord again

I. Body Language

Tongue tied?
Gaze into my eyes and know my secrets.
Read me like a book: the poetry of the body.

She had guilt written all over her face.
Lines of indecision furrow her brow.
Intent encircles the neck, pooling in the hollow of the throat.
Promises read around each finger.
Past scripted down the spine, soul evident in the arch of her foot.

Laugh lines. Frown lines. The iambic pentameter of life and love.

You say: you read me and weep; I am a closed book.
But my promise to you and to the future
        laid, a chain around my ankle
        carved, into the pediment of my being
Let us live and let us love.

II. Broken glass

The crack had been forming, slightly, incrementally, for some time. Every few weeks I would glance at the ceiling, notice the growing precariousness of the lamp shade, and continue to ignore the problem. Once, I was changing the burnt-out bulb in the fixture, and took advantage of the opportunity to measure the full dimensions of the needed lampshade: 10 3/4" diameter, 5 1/2" deep, milk glass, held in place with three screws. Completely standard piece of mid twentieth century residential architecture. After taking the measurements and noting that the crack was now eight inches long, I went back to whatever more urgent piece of domestic business was more compelling. Or, to be honest with you and with myself, the harsher critic, I went back to drinking endless cups of coffee and staring blankly into space, over a very cluttered desk and a living room that begs and pleads for vacuuming.

Several months passed in this manner. The angle of the sun changed, linens changed for cooler weather, air conditioner placed in storage, summer whites folded and winter tweeds aired. Inevitably, I would end up in a hardware store for some other necessity: yet more shelving, a ladder, potting soil, a new lamp, bricks, windshield wiper fluid. The magic numbers 10 3/4 5 1/2 would echo in my memory, but the final trip down the aisle never seemed worthwhile. The lampshade was still holding, the apartment a rental, other opportunities for endless consumerism always present. In short, life continued with the crack in the glass.

Until it didn't. Saturday again, the usual toxic combination of sunlight and coffee and dozing cats on the couch. Rather than staring into space, I was cleaning the bathroom and sloshing coffee on the brilliantly white tiles, when a crash from the other room declared the arrival of the inevitable. My meeting with my lighting destiny had arrived.

Once one has a set of bare bulbs, the essential truth of the situation can no longer be gently ignored. The living room rug positively advertises its want of vacuuming in illuminated technicolor. The random piles on the desk magically triple in volume.

A quest to find the perfect rose-colored glasses at the lighting store, twelve dollars in cash and two months later still on back-order from an unknown country whose labor practices I am quite sure I disapprove of.

III. Fate, inescapability thereof

Each of us has a specter from the tarot deck living in our address book; the mad aunt in the attic who haunts us most because we are her; we know that only a veneer of sociability, a too obvious layer of forced charm prevents us from joining her in the attic, endless games of scrabble. Family, and blood thicker than water, and years of passive aggression and overt manipulation turns the outcast into an icon.

My future lies in the attic: the same yellow wallpaper, the leather loveseat, the turntable featuring years of listening to the Boston Symphony, the accumulated American Tourister luggage in unfading powder blue: matching vanity case, overnight bag, weekender, and full fortnight on the Continent. These physical specimens of the world I have forsaken to stay in the garret, queen of my domain, served by terrified and tormented nieces and nephews and a doting but controlling sister; my red lipstick indifferently applied, the color rather dated, entertained by the double letter score of the "x" in oxen. Yes, memories of my past on different lands, my dashing lovers and racy weekends in town, the sparkling ambition of my youth: shards of these memories still remain, stylized: I shuffle through them, display the spread to my niece. I was young. I was courted. But the world soured and people changed and a lady hasn't a hope any more.

You placed the salt in the wrong cabinet; no, saucepans are stored under the other counter; haven't you been shown how to chop an onion?

Even family is foreign, even family leaves. In my space, isolated, surrounded by the only true past, there alone is reality. Outside the deer eat the roses and the lawn dies from inattention; but what of the roses, and what of the lawn? I could tell you of gardens I have seen, gardens I have walked in at dawn, the dew still and beading along grass clipped in stripes, sunlight slowly piercing the day, the hem of my trousers damp. The roses opened in shades of pink and ochre, stunning double blooms perfumed with purity.

But you wouldn't believe me, would sequester my lawn and my roses to the burnt remnants of the outer world before you, the only shell that you can see.

battery now at 36%

reading bills bills bills and a happy new year
weather snow tomorrow!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

onward and upward

Spent the evening discussing my future plans to become Mayor with the current mayor -- who better to provide a basic level of insight into the governmental and political workings of the city? He is the first mayor, the town having only incorporated eleven years ago, and will most likely remain mayor for a further ten or more years.

Then it will be my turn.

The joy of small towns is never being alone at cocktail parties.

-----------------------------

Ode to a Swingline (haiku version)

Palm grazes cold steel:
the industrial caress
eternal embrace.

-----------------------------

exchanged reading for looking at my newest acquisition -- tax deductible art!


weather flannel sheets

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

("And the body, what about the body?" --Jane Kenyon)

Encased in wool. Double-knit wool hat, wool scarf, wool coat. Wool gloves. Wool sweater. Wool trousers. Wool socks. A walking sheep, dyed in the many multiplicities of the rainbow, shorn and knit into compliance until the ewe takes human form.

You are what you eat: many vegetarians claim that diet affects system in a wide range of physical and behavioral ways. Do we likewise become what we wear? Do woolens indicate a desire to be led, shepherded, through life; tended to, fed, watered; protected from the worst harshnesses of the elements and disease with the known trade-off that at any moment we may be shorn ourselves, turned into a product not ourselves, processed and spun into a new creation to better suit the vision of our master. Worse, perhaps, than being peacefully forcefully reconceptualized is the possibility that at any moment this path may in fact lead to the slaughterhouse.

What, though, are one's options? To forsake the insulation of warmth and texture and fuzzy appeal that stays warm when wet but shrinks if not taken to the dry cleaner? Or to dismiss the entire quandary and move to the land of eternal warmth, allow the mind and the intellect and the strength that can only be burnished by shoveling snow in subfreezing weather at six in the morning -- to give up this inner resistance to fate and sit, on a verandah, in the sun, drinking iced tea, and gossiping.

To follow the path on the verandah, as the fate of the sheep was followed to the shearing and the slaughter:

The scene, you and I, on the porch, gentle sun, gentle breeze, gentle humidity, gentle conversation about gentle topics of general interest that have happened to the one neighbor on the street whose flowerbed is always a disgrace and whose lawn is five-eighths of an inch too long, and ever so noticeably full of weeds. And did you see her son's new girlfriend? The piercings, and the length of her skirt!

So upon forsaking the life of the snow-shoveling sheep-encased resilient Yankee, we happen upon the diorama of life in the velvet shackles of southern propriety. Where there is not the danger of the shearing or the slaughterhouse, but there is no danger of any future, any change, any event, ever, at all.

But wait! A third possibility emerges, born from the dark forests of Grimm and his ghastly tales. The sheepskin could quite easily be the concealment of the Other, the hiding place of that most feared.

For beneath this sheepskin is a wolf.

---------------------------------------

Reflections and reverberations
refracting the image until it
creates a new identity
separate from the original.
Chopped away by the knife
the cleaver
the machete.

Lightening.

The broken mirror
of that which was
        and is
        and is to come.

The shattered remnants of who we are and
who we would like to be and
who others want us to be and
who others command us to be.
But who are we, composed only of these pieces of ourselves?

I am not your backup singer:
        I sang the chorus,
        crooning flat melodies into cold nightclubs.

I am not your tabby cat:
        mewing for scattered crumbs of attention,
        your touch after dark.

I am not your muse:
        your solitary island of inspiration
        never being a being
        never being a force of nature.

The yellow machete slices across darkness, a strobe light of intense instant revelation.

You are not my god.

------------------------------------

reading Cheating at Canasta
weather the wasps are still alive, how do they manage?

Monday, December 3, 2007

crayon companions

Paper samples from Cave Paper.





reading the calendar
weather too cold for the butter to soften, even after eight hours

Friday, November 30, 2007

together we can

Senators and Representatives by City and Town: http://www.mass.gov/legis/citytown.htm

It is called a Commonwealth for a reason. We all need to participate.

Gambling is bad. Write your representative (email for free, or phone, or print out the damn letter and mail it). Remind them why it is a Bad Idea. Ignore copyright and cut and paste my letter if you have to.


Dear

I am writing in regards to the recent proposals to legalize gambling in Massachusetts, a decision which I oppose for a number of economic, environmental, cultural, and social reasons.

As a small business owner myself, I am aware that the economic impact of casinos goes far beyond the immediate benefits of taxation income for the Commonwealth. Some of the economic costs of legalized casinos include harm to local business; this includes music venues who will see touring groups lured to the larger audiences at the casino complexes; shopping venues and customer shopping habits which will be displaced by the construction of these destinations; and the residential economic harm of loss of area property values in an already weak real estate economy.

The impact of gambling is also observable from an environmental standpoint, which must be considered as the notions of “smart-growth,” carbon-offsetting, and global warming move from intellectual issues to real problems which require a long-term commitment to lifestyle change. Environmental costs are not merely an immediate problem, but one which will resonate far into the future. Issues such as the carbon footprint of large entertainment complexes, the energy requirements for operating flashy buildings, resulting light and noise pollution from the locations, and the increased automotive pollution and need to increase road capability will become major considerations in the local environment. Additionally, both the site of building and the new construction for displaced businesses and restaurants and related venues will affect local green areas, potential conservation lands, and wetlands in the community.

One must additionally remember the cultural damage which will result from large “destination” casinos; through serving as chair of the local cultural council, I have first hand knowledge of the vibrancy provided to the community by a thriving arts scene. One of the strengths of Massachusetts is the encouragement provided to area musicians, artists, and other performers whose audience is best served through smaller venues for entertainment, music, and art. Both the venues and the performers/artists will be harmed as audiences are siphoned towards more homogenized offerings at major entertainment complexes.

Finally, and perhaps most oft-documented, are the social costs of gambling, which include gambling addiction, the loss of residential and mixed-use neighborhoods to new building needs, and the gain of only low-wage jobs, rather than the high-skilled jobs which encourage an area to flourish economically.

It is inconceivable that the short-term tax benefits of making a change on this scale, which would provide a minimum of three destination casinos throughout Massachusetts, can possibly be justified in terms of their much greater social, economic, and environmental costs.

Sincerely,

--------------------------

reading the recipe for carrot cake from Epicurious
weather brittle

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

the tan corduroy lazy-boy recliner

A small grey and white rabbit. Not a looking glass rabbit, but a domestic Dutch dwarf rabbit bred for the companionship needs of a young girl -- a girl of ten or eleven -- who was still lonely, even with two dogs, two cats, a tank of hermit crabs, two gerbils, a hamster, a sister, and two brothers. Her name was Lily -- the rabbit's, of course -- and she was a gift from a group of friends when one of the above pets had died. Perhaps it was the hamster. Lily had short, two-inch ears, grey at head and tail, with a wide white stripe around her middle.

One of the friends also had a rabbit, a boy rabbit, and after reading countless volumes about "you and your pet rabbit," the books always ended with a glossy technicolor chapter on the breeding of rabbits -- checking estrus cycles, keeping the animals from killing each other, the dietary needs of the pregnant and nursing mother, followed by a time progression series of photos of baby bunnies, looking like hairless rats.

So of course there was a wedding. Favorite church dresses, and "Bind us together, Lord" played, quite poorly but with great spirit, on the sister's electric piano. There were plenty of other instruments available: a piano, violin, flute, french horn; but the coveted nature of the keyboard with a programmed bassa nova beat and soft version of Hey Jude was the only instrument for a wedding ceremony.

There were fresh flowers, roses and some white flower with a red center that grew profusely, scattered about, and tied to the rabbits, and worn in our hair. A short ceremony was held, and I cannot recall what undoubtedly emotional promises and pledges were made between the rabbits belonging to two best friends. The bride had an embroidered veil.

Twenty years later, the best removed from the friend by disparate paths of life decisions inspired and enforced by parents and disposition, the photographs from the wedding still reflect the harshness of an early summer day in Texas. While the albums of my childhood were purged many years ago, copies of several remained, treasured, in the once upon a friend's belongings. The photographs have obviously been kept, loved, cherished, serving as a window into the past. Copies of the event arrived this past summer, reproductions of a past which only existed briefly, and in harsh daylight.

There were no baby bunnies despite our efforts.


--------------------------------------------


Small. Purple: a bruised purple, the purple of the tow jammed into the door a week ago, or the mysterious spot on one's calf which is always sore from chairs and coffee tables. Not round, nor ovoid, but very similar to a small, fluttering heart that has grown full of blood and then become frozen. Stopped. Hardened. Calcified.

All this in a potato. Death, Decay. The potato blight, the potato famine, the mass relocation of a people across a body of water, crammed into boats, to suffer the humiliation of immigration at Ellis Island and to then become police officers in Boston, helping ducks cross the street.

The bruised toe: where did the door come from? How does furniture continue to shift, slightly, in increments across the floor? Reading the New York Times, set down the coffee, crash into the table that used to be conveniently placed, but now is singularly responsible for sharp pain, which will echo through shades of blues and greens for some time.

The table was designed for beauty rather than function; the coffee was made -- too strong -- by the friend who has taken the best parts of the paper with no intent to share them, excepting when she grows weary and moves on to other interests.

So I drink my bitter coffee and read the business section, watching the ocean and wondering if there is a point in every friendship, every relationship when the magazine and the style and the front page sections will only reside in the other's possession, whether we have reached the limits of our congeniality.

Coffee prepared badly produces melancholy. The steel grey of the sky is reflected by the ocean, the horizon indistinguishable from the water leading towards it; broken only by the line of small white fishing boats and, in the distance, the slowly passing towers of freighters and container ships.

Someone on one of the ships is bicycling from end to end, keeping an eye on the cargo and watching New York slip away. Would I change places -- leave my coffee, too strong though it may be, and the paper, even if only the business section, for a presumably more primitive life on the high seas? There is no longer the romance of the flapping sails, the challenge of negotiating the Cape in the teeth of a gale; distant ports are filled with tourists who arrived more efficiently in jets with around-the-world ticket packages. Perhaps there is a world that can only be viewed from the deck of a freighter, perhaps the lonely call of sea monsters unseen can still be heard on the midnight watch. Perhaps, though, the nineteenth century is well and truly over, the visions of adventure as impossible now as they always have been.

What would it take to be the person to cast away Life as it is, and board the ship, and find out? What would it take to ask for the Arts and Leisure section?

--------------------------------------------

reading George Ella Lyon
weather winter

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The end is nigh.



These are the finalists.

not reading
weather full of sunshine

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

forbidden fruit


image gratefully borrowed from MoMA

Yes, Montreal was lovely. But it isn't New York.

Alas, I will never be a New Yorker; will ever only be able to view the city through the smudged pane of a train window; have no knowledge whatsoever of the narrow alleys and cracks which form a secret network of intimate knowledge of coffee shops, cafes, movie theatres, off-off-off-off Broadway plays. One must develop acceptance for this candy-store without a nickel situation, though it is awfully embarrassing to constantly leave fingerprints and nose-smudges on the windows.

Alexander Calder at MoMA
Helvetica at MoMA
graphic modernism at the NYPL
Lawrence Weiner at the Whitney Museum of American Art

Consolation prize: living in the valley of the literate.

reading

weather warmer

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tuesday Contentments

Gingerbread baking
The first snowfall
Simple carbohydrates
Undemanding prose
Latin masses
The allure of holidays not yet encountered
Being forgotten
Being remembered
Harmonious cats and
warm sweaters



reading contemplations on the value of the self
weather ambivalence beautiful cold

Friday, November 16, 2007

the list as a poem

I am becoming more comfortable with the mundane list as an existential consideration of life priorities. The list is the most conceptual rendering of who we are that is possible -- and, yes, it was the To Do List blog that brought this completely unconsidered notion to my attention. What this means is that I might start saving my lists. Within reason. And with full permission to destroy them completely when a purge is required.
After two and a half years of a friend's perseverance, the writing group is a reality, and I am finally reconsidering the nature of text as something other than a very sharp, multi-edged knife, one where even the handle can cut you.

reading anything and everything published by Gaspereau Press, a life altering discovery
the current library list (really):
      The rough guide to MontrĂ©al /
        written and researched by Arabella Bowen and John Shandy Watson.
      Lolita [sound recording] / Vladimir Nabokov.
      War and peace / by Leo Tolstoy ;
        translated from the Russian by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhons
      Salamander / Thomas Wharton.
      Icefields / Thomas Wharton.
      Lost in Austen : create your own Jane Austen adventure /
        Emma Campbell Webster.
      The new book of image transfer :
        how to add any image to almost anything with fabulous results /
          Debba Haupert
      The glass books of the dream eaters / Gordon Dahlquist.
      Sharp objects : a novel / Gillian Flynn
      The meaning of night : a confession / Michael Cox.

weather so cold the cats are huddled on top of any object of heat and the windows rattle rattle rattle in the wind

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

please, sir, can I have some more?



I am from pattering footsteps that unceasingly clatter on the oak staircase
            voices rattling up and down
            requests demands ideas
            the same question repeated
            repeated again
            repeated endlessly

I told you the first time twenty years ago
no sugar in my coffee
ever

I am from the pack of mismatched dogs
            whose unmanicured paws
            click on the hard floors
            accessorizing the random spreads of mismatched furniture

the mismatched calico family
of people who belong together
because they cannot escape
who they are

I am from the land of milk and honey
            only the milk is from cows fed full and fat
            on growth hormones and synthetic feed
            and the honey is mysteriously disappearing from dying apiaries

I am from a land where to be one
            to be alone
            is to be respected
            where the law of the individual is responsive to no other law
            no other demand

            where one's own conscious is the only voice
            Except god's. One cannot forget that.

I am from the land of the singular, the eccentric, the explorer, the renegade,
            the world of Berkeley in the sixties but never a hippie,
            and in all this I am from the land of godliness and righteousness,
            the strong arm of dominance that cannot be escaped.

I am from all of these places. Yet I belong to none of them.




The river. More of a stream, a stream much wider than deep, the water barely skimming over the rounded stones in the bed. The road that follows the stream -- the path between the mountains -- the path to -- where? Speed limit is usually fifty, locals drive 40 and visitors drive 60. Two lanes, yellow line unbroken for miles.

The lure of the road, anchored by the call of the stream: leave the car, leave the appointment, cancel the plans, play in the stream, where the rocks are worn smooth and the water is warmed by the sun.

This ceaseless drum of "accomplish," "do," "be," the need to arrive, the almost narcotic effect of the power of the accelerator and the biological appropriate growth of the clutch pedal onto the left foot.

The road trip started for a higher vision: a philosophy or a purpose echoing the escapes written by famous men. Following the road to enlightenment, somehow; a god of Niagara Falls; the homage paid to the being that lives in a cheap pizza joint in Chicago. The pilgrim followed the stations of the Cross, and these stations are as exactly as precisely as preordained as the series of churches and reliquaries. The road across America: following the veins and arteries of the country, criss-crossing Mason-Dixon, route 66, the Bluegrass Parkway, the Turnpike, the Skyway, the mental catalog of bridges, tunnels, tolls, traffic.

In the fog of carbon monoxide is faith.

Is this drive any different? Driving to someone or away from someone; escaping myself or escaping someone who reminds me too much of myself; escaping the past or the future?

All this read in the chatter of public radio as the trees change color on the road to Williamstown. The art gallery, the bookshop, the coffee shop.

The pure yellow of late summer sunlight.




reading my own handwriting
weather falling

Monday, November 12, 2007

on longevity



What is the rest of one's life? How does the body change and morph over time? How are we perceived?

How effective is pancake make-up?

Options.

In conceptual order.

I. finis
indigo blue, all lower case, serif font (Bookman Old Style or Garamond)
just above tailbone, 4 inches in width (approximately 2" high?)

II. &
yes, as in the ligature for "et", serif font unknown, black
just above smallpox vaccination scar, approximately 2" high (1" wide?)

III. vivamus atque amemus
black, all caps (Perpetua titling, Goudy old style)
right ankle, all encircling, less than 1" high

Considerations.

In order.

1. Might be the beginning of: (1) total punctuation spree; and/or (2) total ligature spree

2. Pain.

3. Expense

But am I a mouse?

reading accumulated emails: Remembrance Day equals notes from friends of yore
weather damn cold

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Kensol, The Kelsey, and The Hibiscus

The first chase is set.



Operating under the mistaken impression that we All Need a Friend, I tried placing the Kelsey and the Kensol next to each other in the studio. They appeared to have similar practical natures and functions, and I assumed they would get along well -- be able to swap shop gossip and the like.



I was wrong. (You, o heartless cynic!, saw this coming.) They got into a HUGE argument regarding the benefits of gilt versus technicolor ink, the Kensol let out a temperamental blast of heat, and the rollers of the Kelsey now must be recovered. Not inexpensive.



So much for trying to introduce a bit of congeniality into the workplace.



The hibiscus, which has received an inordinate amount of individual attention due to its First Houseplant status, requires outside assistance. The outside being you, the reader, who hopefully has some knowledge of household horticulture.



What are these little deposits? They don't crawl or fly, and seem to be associated only with the blossoms. Help!



reading grant applications -- requested total: $36,000; amount provided to the city for cultural enrichment: $7,530

weather not as bad as expected and an amazing sunset

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Misanthrope

Text not available


Such is this year's Halloween costume. The goal is total immersion -- not simply appearing as the character, but being the character. Inhabiting the alternative persona. Some years this is easier than others -- this year "becoming" the misanthrope shouldn't be too difficult at all.



Isn't that the most gorgeous publisher's binding? Quarter cloth, marbled sides, and the handwritten label -- it is quite a stunning combination of utilitarian elegance. (See David Pye, "The nature and art of workmanship")

reading Rombauer The Joy of Cooking
weather crisp

Friday, October 26, 2007

the future of print

Well, the future of printing in my studio. This is quite exciting news: tomorrow,

the Kelsey Press (5"x8") (pedigree: from Huron Press, Bruce Chandler) (for a description see http://excelsiorpress.org/kelsey.html )
meets the wood type (bought from John Barrett, http://www.letterpressthings.com/ ),
and combines with the Futura, Cheltenham old style, and Bookman,
with the super-amazing assistance from Wild Carrot Letterpress, Dan Keleher,

and printing begins in my studio! Pamphlets. Broadsides. Postcards. Christmas cards. Letterhead. Business cards.

All of these things, and more, but only if they are of a Very Frivolous Nature. For Earnest and Serious Printing needs, it would benefit all and sundry to look elsewhere.

Further frivolous printing can be seen at Quercus Press, the studio of the quite talented Johnny Carrera, who introduced me both to letterpress work and to the Red Sox. What a guy! Quercus Press is open on November 4, from noon to 5 pm.

reading Emily Post's Etiquette ($1, library book sale)
weather trying to rain

Friday, October 19, 2007

Fool, said my Muse to me, looke in thy heart, and write.

Have you read the Futurist Manifesto?
It begins:
We have been up all night, my friends and I, beneath mosque lamps whose brass cupolas are bright as our souls, because like them they were illuminated by the internal glow of electric hearts. And trampling underfoot our native sloth on opulent Persian carpets, we have been discussing right up to the limits of logic and scrawling the paper with demented writing.


teacup


I, too, have been commanded to write a manifesto.
In many respects, such is the purpose of this blog. There is obviously far too much navel-gazing to be of much entertainment value to the general readership, since joy can often only be transferred in person, and rarely indeed does actual joy transmit through written language.

Off, off, off, dreary exhaustion!

weather a dark and stormy night

Monday, October 15, 2007

a promotion, of sorts

Ferdinand, he who can do no wrong, just worked his way through the cell phone power cord. Again. It will soon be sent to the in-house electrician for additional repairs, along with the Dormeyer Mixwell, which requires new brushings. One day I will need to become proficient in electrical repairs. Hopefully that day remains in the far distant future. He was eyeing the laptop umbilical cord, but decided to content himself with purring gently.

So my job title has recently changed from "Conservator in Private Practice" to "Technical Art Historian, Freelance". My rates, likewise, have seen an increase of approximately 27.5%, in keeping with the expectations of this new title. This means that my business cards will need to be reprinted, but such mundane details are quite minor compared to the truly astounding conceptual shift of "Technical Art History". I mean, where did it come from? And why? And why has this new term not been discussed in any of the literature? Or do I read the wrong literature?

[see http://www.smith.edu/wsc/artofthematter/program.html]

reading: Katha Pollitt, "Learning to Drive"

weather clear

Sunday, October 14, 2007

To begin at the beginning


Autumn. Linens in storage and woolens airing on the porch. Cats napping in patches of sunlight.

Who are you? Why are you reading this? Are you a friend or a foe, or a past friend who has fallen into the gaps of memory?

My heart is wrapped in mothballs. Is reeking of mothballs. Is more content, settled, hidden in the dark recesses of the closet in a box within a box within a box, surrounded by tissue paper and naphthalene, waiting quietly for the appropriate season to appear. Colette wrote ' Retreat from Love'; she wrote 'Break of Day'; she understood. The efforts involved in giving away the best of oneself require exertion too great to be sustained.

The rejuvenation of the nap in the sunbeam.