Wednesday, April 30, 2014

take, for instance

Last Friday, I left my apartment for the first time in a week -- bedridden with the flu even though I had the shot! Be warned. I went to the Met and saw the Charles Marville exhibit, which Alex discussed beautifully, and the accompanying "Paris as Muse" curation. I'd been reading Invisible Cities, which I can't recommend more as a pairing for those photographs and the urbanist treatise they represent. Certainly easier to carry around than The Arcades Project, at least. I always forget that Paris is quite new when I'm there or when I'm thinking of it from here.

The Met is open until 9 on Fridays and Saturdays, and it's become a favorite place to take myself for a look and a drink. Here are some small thoughts from that day:

Luxury is actually a quite simple thing. Take, for instance, the seventeen dollar chardonnay right here (a glass!) next to my computer when you don't want to know what I have in the bank for the month. And what about the pear in my bag, a few dollars to spend on a soda outside on the steps, the weather mild enough to find a bench in the park, a sunny slope with a tree. And then the table at the restaurant (not the café, not the bar), the laptop out, the Calvino neatly to the side. Luxury defined, thrown into relief, by tea and toast this morning, the colorless cotton of a sweater, hair plainly arranged and just washed, the hygiene of everything.

The restaurant, with its wall of glass doors overlooking the lawn and the obelisk (now under restoration) in the distance, with its "Torso of Chained Action" here before my table, a womanly form next to this vista of blossomed trees and bare and budding ones, is a good place to watch the sunset. Here the sun dips into tangled branches and thick hanging clouds while the robins on the lawn peck around for seed.

image from

Friday, April 18, 2014

our undulating selves

Following a conversation with Rosa a year ago:

Tonight we talked about diaries, and she made a point about self-conscious writing which we of course have all experienced. But she said that as a young person, to keep a diary, a real record, is very brave because one is always aware of the possibility that it could be read and self-conscious and circumspect as a result.

We're never really ourselves when we cast our identity into permanence. I think partly at least, the inauthenticity of the permanent impression is a result of how fluid our personalities are, our undulating selves. We can never perfectly capture the confluence of selves that arrive at one moment because that moment is bleeding into another with its own set of selves and being bled into by yet another. Like how I always feel uglier in photographs, my face requiring animation to be explained.

Wallpaper by Gia Coppola (remember this?)

Monday, April 14, 2014

blood moon

Blood moon tonight, guys! I'd never heard of a blood moon, and then Tom told me just now that it's tonight, and now I know what it is and am incredibly excited. It's at 3 AM, that's the catch. But worth it, obviously, even if you're not already up at that time writing a paper like I will be.

Normally, when the moon is particularly beautiful or strange-looking, I'll call the first two or three people I think of and tell them to look at it. A habit I picked up from my mama and Ms. Zee, moon-gazing women. But tonight, I'm telling all of you this way so you can prepare.

For New Yorkers, the positioning of this special eclipse will begin at 12:53 and peak at 3:07. I really don't know what to expect, but I think the power of the moon, beyond its tide-pulling and wolf-baiting, is largely what you make of it. I use it when I need it and when I remember.

What will you do with the moon tonight? Have a moon bath? Or a reading of The Distance of the Moon from Calvino's Cosmicomics? It's beautiful, by the way. Also, while we're doing this: one of my favorite places to go for inspiration (moon-related and otherwise):

Happy blood moon to you all!

image credit?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

have you been there


 From the diary, last year:

A phone call with X and he is so lost, though perhaps reaching the end of it. He just needed to talk, and I felt afterward that I had been there before where you know what people are telling you and you wish they wouldn't because you know it already and if you want to be contrary then why can't they just let you after all you are suffering so much a little antidotal delusion should be allowed, encouraged even.

Sam Tata, Balloon Seller, Paris 1956

Friday, April 11, 2014

new and not new

My oh my, Spring came this morning, maybe to stay for awhile now, and I guess it was the way it always is, new and not new, funny how I forget what this feels like every year, every year awake like not really before.

Also to say, last night Jess called me out to Skinny Dennis, where I saw Margo Valiante, and maybe she was the one who summoned all of this with her guitar and strong arms, the Spring, the waking, the sudden green shocks along the sidewalk. She'll be at Skinny Dennis again on May 1st and possibly every Thursday next month? She has the best growl, go listen for it!

photograph by Thomas Cadrin

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

red, rock, sand, bone

I miss my desert holiday, so let's go back for a minute. From my diary, last month:

Today we visited a vortex in Sedona. It's important when identifying vortexes, proclaiming them, to have a bald patch of earth or rock, a space where nothing is immediately elevated above the body. This is what I learned today. A vortex is an opening, preferably someplace high and empty, energy in spareness.

In this country, lost in its rock formations, mountains of disorienting proportion, I find limitations in language. Shades of earth, heights and expanses, the scale of light and dark, this is all too exquisite and refined for my own expression. In the same way the Eskimos have a hundred words for snow, the desert must have a hundred words each for red, rock, sand, bone.

Throbbing Pulse by Louise Bourgeois

Saturday, April 5, 2014

taken home

From the diary again, years ago:

Today while being taken home around Arc de Triomphe where there was a patriotic march and flag draping and gathering of citizens, I wanted to cry all at once in a surge of affection for this country, a place that has given me so much to feel about. Later I sat on a bench on the hill beneath Sacre Coeur and felt not much but not nothing.

Anyone know who took this picture?

Friday, April 4, 2014

in from out

Oh it's been awhile! So here's an old diary entry (from November) I just came across:

Tosca at the Met tonight and I felt a part of some scripted scene, in a thrilling way because it was familiar to me. As though I had seen someone else play that part, the part I was playing, and it had moved me. This came to mind when I stood on the balcony in the atrium before the chandeliers, eating my sandwich, looking down through it all at the fur coats and pudgy waistcoats below with their champagne flutes and dinner reservations. You know that film, the one where they meet at the train station and it seems film noir but not quite and sad but not quite. They are at the station restaurant, there is an old fashioned clock, they have so little time. Now I'm reminded of that. But really, I was as in a movie, there on the balcony with my sandwich, looking in from out and yet still being looked at from somewhere else.

Sargent, study for The Spanish Dance