Saturday, November 22, 2008

a turn in the road | Nov. 19


The road that is seen in the rearview mirror has shards of exquisite memory embedded in the shoulders and under clearings between trees, but it is littered with the husks of good ideas unrealized, of gallons of milk gone sour, of friendships betrayed, of solitude interrupted, of rusted cars and broken shoelaces and sharpness where kindness was expected. And so the road behind shields the memory of beauty behind the thickening crust of accumulated reality, but the road ahead glitters with the nuggets of all that can still be achieved, found, treasured.
Where did this unending journey begin? The Atlas that beckoned from the bookshelf: countries with scalloped coastlines and names from nursery rhymes, aunts and uncles who only existed as disembodied voices over telephone lines, with the entire mystery of where did they live, what did they look like, what exactly was the family relationship, what would it be like to live their life? Back issues of National Geographic, hopelessly outdated, photographs of puzzled posers gazing from their depths, displayed alongside vessels for underwater exploration. Books set in places other than here, films taunting with offers of how.




reading
itineraries for the upcoming fortnight: from here to Chicago, to Jersey (not UK), to Dallas.

weather
snow tires on, snow shovel stashed, storm windows in place

Friday, November 21, 2008

November 12 : An Epic

He was magnificent: a fine figure of a man. Built upon sturdy lines, the physique of an ox. The cunning of a fox. The temperament of a bear, but mostly of a bear in hibernation. He was projected to go great places, do great deeds, rescue cities from invaders and single-handedly battle dragons, evil empires, organized crime. He was sent out from the town at the age of ten, the sages foretelling success in actions and wisdom.

Unfortunately, sages can be wrong. In fact, sages are often wrong, but they have an agreement with a very talented public relations firm, and their inaccuracies are inevitably spun into all-encompassing metaphors, perfectly dove-tailing into the events which did actually transpire. Their mistake with the ten-year old boy was perfectly understandable given the proper framework.



reading Defining the World : Henry Hitchings {a fantastic biography of Samuel Johnson}
weather early winter

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

no ideas but in things [a cautionary tale]


It started with a set of blocks. A standard, unexceptional set of blocks, squares and rectangles and columns and arches and triangles, a set offering all of the principles of shape and balance but lacking the necessary mortar to hold the creations together. Precarious castles constructed in the hallway, ephemeral fortresses defending against the loss of the afternoon and the enemy of bedtime approaching under cover of darkness.


The set of blocks supplemented by a set of Legos, the brightly colored interlocking plastic squares forming a substructure beneath the geographic demarkations of the wooden blocks. Entire regions: mountains, bays, bridges, rivers rendered in 4" by 4" by 1" blocks and arches, the sinew of Lego roads and houses and buildings meandering through the landscape.

The stability of the tightly meshed Legos could survive the earthquakes of passing dogs and the tsunamis of the encroaching vacuum cleaner, but the nature rendered in wooden blocks, lacking the connectivity of mortar, collapsed into the city, detritus of destruction onto the fantastic domestic creations.


To which were added a set of mismatched letter blocks, 2 inch squares with raised letters, detailed in colors vibrant and unlikely. The destroyed city now acquired a newspaper, blocks forming a tickertape announcement echoing the mosaic of the evening news broadcast.


The citizens, two inch plastic PlayMobil worthies functioning as the politicians and newscasters and firemen,


half-inch scrawny Lego people swarming desperately as the residents and school teachers and mailmen and children; the citizens were now presented with broadsides which to the uneducated illiterati proclaimed:
        [yellow] A [red] J [yellow] X [blue] Z
        [green] B [blue] E [yellow] M
        [orange] R [green] N [red] S [blue] T [green] I





reading The writings of the Gilbreths, edited by William R. Spriegel and Clark E. Myers.

weather cold dark & raining

thanks to amazon.com, Lego, PlayMobil, etc., for the use of the images