o magnum mysterium

"Awakened at midnight
by the sound of the water jar
cracking from the ice"
— Basho

2010 winds....

the sounds of revelry and gentle snow - en thaw - grey lumplings arriving home with frozen cheeks and noses - gratefully laid to rest & happily tucked in with....

..... kisses xx

Photo is Prague Winter Scene by fellow Czech, Zdenek Vozenilek

we journey afar to find our way back home

bear died in his dad's arms on sunday night. he was outside, where he wanted to be. his spirit went like a whisper; puff; gone.

i don't know where it went exactly, but i am certain, like all those who have ever left us, he is home.

angel bear: 1996 - 2010

attention: this is a live performance

"Why are you stingy with yourselves? Why are you holding back? What are you saving for — for another time?
There are no other times.
There is only now.
Right now."
— George Balanchine

Lives are changed because of silences. Because of words unspoken. Requests, desires, feelings, never articulated. We think that our actions are what shapes our future, but it is the void, the things not done, the scope of the unspeakable, unknowable ether is what weighs down upon us more than we know.

I have left many many places in my past, but as I explained to a friend the other day, the likelihood that I would have stayed put in any one of those locales had someone, the right someone, sat me down, taken me by the hand, looked me in the eye and said, "I wish you wouldn't go. Please don't. Please stay right here for a little while," is frighteningly grand.

Granted, I come across as pig-headed, as unswayable, as confident and unwavering and devil-may-care - to the point that perhaps it is my own fault that nobody ever had the guts or the grist to get in the way of one my decisions and request a serious reconsideration and reversal. Nonetheless, my life's trajectory has largely been shaped by drastic exits simply because nobody ever put up a good case, often any case, for otherwise.

Which brings me to an recent experience of a friend of mine (no, this is not a veiled tale about me). There is a person in this friend's life who was planning a move - a major one - across an ocean. My friend did not want this person to go.

Me: "Have you asked them to stay?"

Friend: "No. But isn't that a huge request? An unaskable request? Something that signifies neediness on my end. Insults them by implying I think they'd consider such a sacrifice, a redirection of their life, on my behalf?"

Me: "Maybe, but sometimes, the only reason I've left, is because nobody told me not to go."

So my friend asked. Imagine it. A life was asked to be changed. And guess what? The person in question is staying put - for a bit longer anyway.

I am not surprised.

We are so afraid of showing our need; showing our affection; our depth of care for fear of frightening away those whom we feel those things toward. But that is the true irony. For really, isn't that the grand quest we're all on anyway? Finding a person, place and thing who can furnish us with exactly that sort of unrestricted devotion.

This prevalent hesitancy and the potentially life-altering wrongness of this hesitancy reminds me of another of my favourite quotes:

"Say "I love you" to those you love. The eternal silence is long enough to be silent in, and that awaits us all."
- George Eliot

Ahh... the eternal silence. Which brings me back to my airplane theme that you've seen recently, together with the girls in dresses and the quotes from choreographers (above).

I've been taking a lot of risks lately (those of you who know me may say, 'but you always take risks' - true, but these are perhaps more directed, more *calculated* risks than usual). Risks of the heart and the deep deep soul. Taking plane rides and grand leaps of faith. Some have worked. Some not so well.

But a novel is being written (there are dancers in it - I feel eerily in sync with the zeitgeist and all the Black Swan buzz) and a venture is being formed. And if I don't hold back - well, actually, the *if* of that is almost irrelevant as I've reached a point where I don't feel I *can* hold back anymore... a sensation that makes me feel as if I've backed myself onto the right gang plank (diving board?)... a place of such overwhelming surrender because there simply is no choice.

In effect, to appropriately end with another Balanchine quote:

"I don't want people who want to dance, I want people who have to dance."
— George Balanchine

And if you have to dance, dancing then, is what you must do; the very abandon of your existence is fulfilled through the act of dance itself.

Photo is by the similarly-minded Rodney Smith, who (if you read his blog) rarely loves exactly how his photos turn out, but the process, the elements that make up the vocation of photography, is his reward.

cutting bait

"I imagine the feelings of two people meeting again after many years. In the past they spent some time together, and therefore they think they are linked by the same experience, the same recollections.

The same recollections? That's where the misunderstanding starts: they don't have the same recollections; each of them retains two or three small scenes from the past, but each has his own; their recollections are not similar; they don't intersect; and even in terms of quantity they are not comparable: one person remembers the other more than he is remembered; first because memory capacity varies among individuals (an explanation that each of them would at least find acceptable), but also (and this is more painful to admit) because they don't hold the same importance for each other.

When Irena saw Josef at the airport, she remembered every detail of their long-ago adventure; Josef remembered nothing. From the very first moment their encounter was based on an unjust and revolting inequality."
— Milan Kundera

I find it quite hard to leave people behind, even when I know I ought. Yes, more than places or work, people prove my foil. Don't they have a way of weaseling in and making it nearly impossible to completely abandon them? Even when it would probably all be for the best? At least, that's what I find...

This photo, entitled Nancy is by the fantastic Alex Prager. It's pretty clear to me that whatever impending circumstance awaits this red head, she needs an extra dose of courage. Whether she is running from or arriving at her fate, there seems to be an ominous fog and longing in the air of the sort we'd all rather avoid altogether if we could.

On a related, but wholly separate note, if you missed Prager's stylized short film Despair (somehow I did!) starring Bryce Dallas Howard - do waltz on over to Nowness for a viewing. It's totally worth the few minutes - ha - for me, watching it conjured up the the equally technicolour work (albeit, written) of Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down.

wordless exchange

I've been ever-so-quiet in this space lately - I know. I feel the silence between posts and it provokes a gnawing in my forearms, as if the blog's in danger of drying up and blowing away if I don't apply my wrists to a keyboard and start to rake and hoe, to try to plant something, to tend to it properly.

I've been half-heartedly composing a post about a trip I took with my fam to the Spiral Jetty (the picture of my dad, sis and mom above is borrowed from that excursion), but the trip was significant to me and convoluted in its significance and thus needs effort and the sort of words that need mining to explain it and lots of them... soo... hence the wait.

BUT I came across a wonderful site today called Pictory and decided my silencebreaking piece about the Spiral Jetty would just have to wait. Pictory is an arty sort of digital rag where pictures meet story, but the crossroads are executed in such a distilled and potent and significant way that it addresses a problem I have with much of the Internet in general - namely, that most of the content lacks *meaning* - substance.

In particular, I came across a Pictory spread about "Life Lessons" picked up from those who are older and wiser and was struck by this enlightened tidbit:

"I can’t hear you because your actions speak so loudly." - Larry to his to his mentee Tyler

Now, I've heard this before. And we all know the maxim Actions speak louder than words, but it has become trite and has almost taken on the patronizing ring of I know you are, but what am I? such that we no longer hear its message.

But in this incarnation of the quip, the speaker is acknowledging that the words of the other person have been taken into account, nevertheless, there is a discrepancy. I can almost picture Larry telling Tyler in a cowboy drawl, "I get what yer saying, but I can't heeeare you because yer actions speak SO dang loudly..." In effect, pinpointing the frequent contradiction between words and action.

Most of us are guilty of this failing from time to time, but it's one that's easy to dodge, mask, evade, and thus avoid being called on it. I know I'm particularly good at making excuses for people, yet, this is the sort of credo that works like a mirror - making it hard for either party to deny what the reflection actually reveals. I think I owe it to myself to use it as a rejoinder more often.

Which brings me back to my silence. What you are hearing now, in the empty oasis of quiet between posts, is seismic activity. There is a lot ambition, there always has been... and right now, in fact, (hopefully) for the next while, the reason you aren't hearing my words is because my actions are speaking so loudly.

Not a bad excuse - eh?

buona notte

The rain pounded against the black cab; flooded the gutters.
We were not lost, but stuck. In traffic. In our wrong decision.

Then rescued. Plucked from the side of the street in Lesley's Foxtons Mini. Whisked to La Famiglia, an obscure and wonderful restaurant at the end of King's Road; Italy when you step through the door frame.

It was not the easy choice - not the restaurant, not the assemblage of people, not the night with its torrents; not easy simply because this was London and it was what I wanted.

I insisted though because it would be my last orchestrated occasion in town; a last forced bon mot, a toast to what had been my life. Good conversation. Good friends. The sort who are kindred pieces of you, who had taken a long time to find, to make mine. And London was there too - inside of Italy; the crux of everything; seated at the table, indifferent.

"Goodbye, London," I whispered to the empty space next to me after we'd 'ooh'd and aah'd' at the cheese and tarts on the desert cart and the waiter had wheeled it away.

"You're still here?" the city retorted, rolling its eyes, "Will you ever get the message you stubborn Warbling! Be gone."

"I'm going, I'm going..."

"You're sure? You're sure you'll do it once and for all - without a tear or sentimental regret? You've extinguished all romanticism? Smothered every seed of nostalgia? Every past and future sprout - withered. You're taking it all with you - your whole soul - in tact."

I laughed at the city's skepticism. It knew my general makeup too well. "You've done a good job. There will be no tears, I assure you. Not in my eyes or in my heart. Every cell of optimism, of conviction, belongs to my future; there's no latent belief in the gold I might have unearthed if only I'd stayed a little longer. And yes, it's really happening this time."

"You, living here - you were expected much later."

"I know. I arrived before I should have, forced my in, then proceeded to wear out my welcome."

"Next time, when you come back, if you come back, it will be time..."

"It would be the only way I could stand it. And I'll await your blessing and an engraved invitation. But I've got more faith in the 'when' than the 'if.'"

"Take a good swig of the downpour on your way out then - just in case, just so you're not tempted to come back before then."

I had to laugh at the city's consistency. "I expected as much of a parting gift from you - though there was really, honestly, no need." The rain drops sounded increasingly fierce against the canvas roof. "Alright then. Chin chin and buona notte, London."

"No, not good night. Last night - that will be my only tribute to you - among all the nights that have not been good nights - I will toast to the last evening. Serata finale, my willful girl. Go back from whence you came. Go. And don't look back."


This is, rather happily, the state of my life right now.

Cut-out artwork is by the quirky and phenomenal Rob Ryan (don't miss his delightful Ryantown shop near London's Columbia Flower Market if you ever get the chance!)

come to the cabaret!

"Art is not merely an imitation of the reality of nature, but in truth a metaphysical supplement to the reality of nature, placed alongside thereof for its conquest." - Friedrich Nietzsche

I got an invite in my inbox today for Mr. Alan Clarke's exhibition (a "pictorial cornucopia" he calles it) this Sunday in Dublin and am *gutted* that I won't be able to attend. His pictures are deliciously dark and etheral, intriguing, victorian, comedic - in other words, right up my alley - and they are hard to find!! At least, I've found there to be an extreme dearth of his images on the Internet... so I was greatly looking forward to attending one of his shows.

C'est - next time.

If you happen to be in Ireland this weekend and fancy attending "The Loons Have Looned Their Last" find the details here.

another chorus, or was that the last verse?

"Only the basic situations in life occur only once, never to return. For a man to be a man, he must be fully aware of this never-to-return."
— Milan Kundera

I'm reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being right now, and Kundera writes about Beethoven's last major completed work: String Quartet No. 16. Beethoven titled the quartet's final movement The Difficult Resolution wherein he supplemented the notes with a question:

"Muss es sein?" "Must it be?"

followed by (twice!):

"Es muss sein! Es muss sein!" "It must be! It must be!"

As we live along, it is sometimes curious to me how we make decisions predicated on the number of fresh chances we anticipate will be in our future that may never come to pass, but I'm also continously amazed by how many tries, how many try-agains, we get - to the extent that sometimes it's as if, indeed, what must be, must be.

So now, as I push off a present experience, I find myself musing: Must it be? Was that just the third movement? Or is it sonata-over?

Photo: We haven't seen Mr. Smith in a while.

just like that, all the magic was gone

i once had a boyfriend who said, "you're like a siren of the sea - men see you and they just don't come back." a sentiment he not only acutely felt, but had also witnessed among other men; his own friends and acquaintances; the type of emails i'd get from ex-boyfriends.

i used to smirk whenever i recalled this statement - revelling in its truth; sometimes it seemed if i snapped my fingers in the right way i could cast a spell that would extract a man's heart from his chest and put it in the palm of my hand, to fondle or eat whole as i saw fit.

but today, i suddenly felt nothing more than human. and that power, that wily brook of magnetic pull - i felt it evaporate - sink down through the cracks of my soul and disappear into nothingness. the beguiling flame, which i probably very falsely believed i could control, could wield for better or worse, to captivate, to bewitch, has gone cold; entirely depleted, diminished to nothing more than the flat reality of my white blood cells.

in its place is a pervasive awareness that i am just like everyone/anyone else. there is no elusive allure. there is no je ne sais quoi; no mesmerizing quality. i am no enchantress. i am just another person among the flesh-and-blood populace. and a largely unextraordinary one at that.

all the while, i'm sitting on yet another runway, hitching a ride to somewhere - hoping to end up - well, maybe not another incarnation of an enchantress, but maybe, better off.

The rather fitting and Hollywood-esque photo is by Alex Prager of LA, which is the city I've just left (again).

i'm still here

Caterpillar: Who are YOU?

Alice: This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. I -- I hardly know, sir, just at present -- at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.

- from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland

Photo is by Annie Leibovitz for Vogue

straw poll

Would you move here??

Even if the people think a little too much like this?

And you were the only person in a dress?

buh bye brooklyn

You were the best part of NYC for me.

These pics are just the tip of the iceberg of my sister's new hood in Cobble Hill... patisseries, indie book shops, boulangeries *everywhere*...sooo darling.

Happy settling Kasey!

a lonely hunter

“All men are lonely. But sometimes it seems to me that we Americans are the loneliest of all. Our hunger for foreign places and new ways has been with us almost like a national disease. Our literature is stamped with a quality of longing and unrest, and our writers have been great wanderers.”
- Carson McCullers (author of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter)

After a long stage of restless limbo, it appears I'll be on the road again very soon. I'm glad. I'm ready for a new place to settle. A place to put myself and breathe in a new routine. It's been an interesting and difficult couple of months - life has felt increasingly liquid, less concrete, like I can't get a grip on anything - am treading water in a vat of Jell-o. So many things up in the air - my emotions and things on no one geographical point on the map. Being a perpetual vagabond is a lonely endeavor. I know I do it to myself. But it often seems unavoidable. I long for roots, and I envy those who have them, yet I still can't seem to put them down - not for long.

In the days of old, gypsies used to move in packs. I guess I was born to the wrong time. I've been watching loads of Carnivàle lately, an HBO series that traced, you guessed it, a traveling carnival across the dust bowl of the Great Depression. It got cancelled after a couple of seasons about 5 years ago - I somewhat think it was ahead of it's time - I have a feeling people would relate more to the uncertain desolation of that era now. Me, I guess I've always related to the desolation of that era. But superimpose the magical wanderlust of a carnival on top of it... whoa... I know that. A life that's a series of places and incredulous events... I know that.

Maybe it's just a sign of being a life-thirsty American - who knows. But here's to getting back on that quiet road, to embarking on more jaw-dropping adventures, to hunting down a plot of land to stake a tent... and to writing about it.

Photo is by a guy who still travels with the gypsy packs, and astounds me with the emotion he can capture in a single still frame, Mike Brodie.

he's a scorpio, i'm an aries... hmmm...

“Yes, but we’ve always had different taste in art and living. I assume that won’t be a problem?” - me

Illustration is by the wonderful Nicoletta Cecooli.

portrait of a self-conscious enigma (shh)

no really, i am...

"In the artist of all kinds I think one can detect an inherent dilemma, which belongs to the co-existence of two trends, the urgent need to communicate and the still more urgent need not to be found..."
- D. W. Winnicott

I'm reading a fascinating book about personality types in the context of the Enneagram... soooo insightful. I consider myself a lay expert on Myers-Briggs, but this book and its in-depth exploration of different personalities far out-trumps any revelations the Myers-Briggs' summaries of the Jungian archetypes provide. I *highly* recommend investigating the Enneagram for self-discovery and understanding the ins and outs of the minds of your (potential) loved ones. It's amazing how different our motivations are, how differently we think, and what we need to find our place in the world.

I'm a Type 4 "The Individualist" (it took courage for me to imbed that link!) - and the authors of my book nail me for the way I communicate in symbols. This blog is usually highly personal in a way that can only be intrepreted by those who are very close to me... and sometimes is only an inside joke with myself. It's the typical tug-pull of needing to put my highly personal thoughts out there - but in such an enigmatic way that only I or a handful of people around me might fully understand. I need to stop that. Trying to get over my self-consciousness is supposedly one of the ways my personality type can find fulfillment... interesting...

Photo is by Jackie Young and Cybil Gustafson... from an Austin-based project of theirs called "I am ______ " Who are you? Take the Enneagram test yourself here.


just back from the hamptons and am feeling thrown. it's odd how some of life's best moments take a while to sink in... take months, years, and other continents for you sit back in reflection and think, "my, how sweet, almost ambrosial, that was."

other moments, such as those final glimmering seconds of christmas, are appreciated as divine and passing within closer proximity to living them - often *as* you live them. my trip to the hamptons this weekend was more like that - a rare circumstance animated by its unchecked merriment and singularity.

so when kasey, our friend tom (international man of mystery), and i boarded the train home, it felt like i was sorrowfully dimming the lights and pulling down a bittersweet curtain over the memory of our weekend. i have not laughed so hard, nor been so thoroughly entertained and surprised by events in a very long time. we gathering hopped, we met artists, we met (other) eccentrics, in some ways, we met each other... and through it all, we laughed, oh how we laughed. it was an unexpected and redemptive bit of perfection... a freeing gust of air... the type of unleashed contentment you'd like to cork up; consumed moments that somehow, someway, you wish you could down again so you could savour different elements of them; those rarest of unmarked hours that are not grand or extraordinary per se, but sober you up with joy, make you wince at their passing, magnify the reality that life is temporary... all of which make it difficult to let go of the experience while it's still up close.

our trio's trip to the hamptons of aug 20-22, 2010 may have been absorbed by the sponge of time passed, but i do hope that something very similar will unfold again, ideally sooner rather than later... and perhaps with greater frequency... yes, being able to count on that would make me less mournful and more gleeful, replace my clingy reminiscence with a sense of anticipation - like the promise that a thousand imminent christmases from my childhood are going to appear on the horizon and i'll have the exhilaration of watching them draw closer and closer, and living through them, all again.

Photo is by a very cool Los Angeleno (can't you *tell*?) who I discovered during our weekend - Alex Prager.

Re: the picture... Is her life over? Or is this some kind of liberation? The moment looks both transcendent and lethal. At any rate, it seems to capture a point where one thing has stopped and another has begun. Shrug. It seemed appropriate.

oh how i love thee, may i forget the ways...

"Maybe the best thing would be to forget being right or wrong about people and just go along for the ride. But if you can do that -- well, lucky you."
— Philip Roth

i love thee, i love thee not..... no really, may i forget how i love thee... entirely, sometimes incontestably, and without measure... (cue: opposition to step in...)

photo is from the latest portfolio of work by the enigmatic and darling Tierney Gearon.


"In my childhood I led the life of a sage, when I grew up I started climbing trees"
— Philip Roth

when i was a child i'd climb out onto decks, balconies, anything that put me above-it-all, and marvel....
at least my adult-life has witnessed *some* consistencies...

midtown girl

right. so i'm living life mid-air right now. not quite here, not quite there. my belongings are in boxes on one continent, i'm across the atlantic looking at them from another. an atrium in my heart is tremulously balancing - teetering, really, on a grain of sand in a bankrupt western coastal state, while i'm waylaid in the hello-limbo tar pit of new york city, though my long-term future plans don't look to include either locale.

basically, i'm a homeless, bi-coastal, bi-continent, decision-straddling vagrant who is waiting.... waiting, as my friend said today, for something solid that i can place both feet on to appear. yes, that would be ideal or even as wishy-washy sounding as nice. but at least trying to hover over the unknown till something materializes shouting "me! step on me next!" till then, i'm nothing more than your common, everyday, living-on-good-graces squatter.

i've mostly imposed at my sister's apartment on the upper west side, but it's a bit of a literal and figurative war zone (not going to get into that) - she calls it baghdad. so fortunately, i've got the equivalent of switzerland on reserve as a place to put myself. have occasionally fled to my friend's ridiculously appointed midtown high rise as a quiet, air-conditioned, oasis of refuge. his pad is *quintessential* new york - what people mean when they say 'the big apple.'

sleek and polished with near-360-degree views.

taken from the balcony 50 floors up - it gives me the shakes to even put one foot on it.

ahhh... central park... surrounded and enshrouded in all its smoggy and dreary architectural glory. honestly, if there's one thing this stint has taught me, it's that even though i always thought i'd *eventually* end up in nyc, i actually don't think i could live here permanently - after london it's just too anonymously urban, too poorly executed, grimy, blah.....

though it looks better at night. which is when i tend to live anyway. so i ought to appreciate it, since i'm here.... until.......


i am here.
on a shelf.
come & get me.

Photo is by Mike Brodie.

something white, something blue

ah meghan, my closest dearest kindred friend from boston. my senior year roommate; the girl with an equally reckless & incorrigibly independent streak; the person who lived a life parallel to mine, albeit, seemingly, always a few steps ahead.

we met through her childhood friend jaime (i also had a childhood friend called jamie) and were fast friends. on the surface, it didn't appear that we had a lot in common, but emotionally, we shared a very similar makeup, plus, it seemed, we had similar life stories. a trend that amplified over time.

in the years following university we appeared marked for the same destiny. first she got stuck back at home, then i got stuck back at home. she moved to california (LA) and left, then i moved to california (SF - then LA - missing her by mere months) and left. she got mixed up in TV, then i got mixed up in TV. she abandoned broadcasting, then i abandoned broadcasting.

if that weren't odd enough, our romantic lives also seemed to follow a similar course, the men we dated, the way things with them played out - it felt like looking in a mirror... i can't tell you how many times we rallied each other having just been through the *same thing.* it was *weird.* honestly, for the longest while, it seemed i could predict what lay in the cards for me based on how meg's life had looked six months prior.

and then.

she moved back to boston - permanently. she got a 'normal' job. she met a guy. they stayed together (whoa). a year ago, they bought a house. in the house was a ring. he asked her to marry him. she said yes. they planned a wedding. on saturday, that wedding happened.

clearly, all parallels between our lives ended about five years ago.

and i *could not* be happier for her. meghan, of anyone i know, deserves to be happy. you see, not only do i love meghan because she is fun and free-spirited, she is *nice* - through and through - without having any good reason to be. her niceness isn't a compensation for a lack, or a way of glossing over hollow bits of her character that she doesn't want you to see - no, she's the full package. she's gorgeous, fun, possesses an unshrinking (sometimes she's made me sooo nervous!) wild bent, and has been through too many health problems and other high waters to mention, and she *still* doesn't have a single malicious barb to her makeup. you know the type of person who is so lovely they don't even know how lovely they *are*? that's meghan.

can't you just see it?

so when she told me a year ago, "i'm getting married!" then, asked, tentatively, "it'll be in newport - do you think you'll be able to make it?" i said, "are you kidding?!? yes!!! of course! i have to be there. i WILL be there."

and i was.

after all, i had to witness this person who i consider something of an extension of myself tie the knot, come full circle - i had to approve (and i do... just look at the way he's looking at her, he loves her... )

nathan, you may kiss the bride.

ta da! just like that. nathan and meghan. man and wife.

the best man made 170 people cry during his speech, which he delivered with an undisguisable crack in his voice, despite being a total joker who clearly never dreamed he'd shed an emotional tear in public. it was so good that i'm stealing the gist of his tearful last line: "may you be happy together as long as you live and forever and for eternity."

you both deserve it.

flight. cancelled.

"When your dawn theater sounds to clear your sinuses: don't delay. Jump. Those voices may be gone before you hit the shower to align your wits.
Speed is everything. The 90-mph dash to your machine is a sure cure for life rampant and death most real.
Make haste to live.
Oh, God, yes.
Live. And write. With great haste."
— Ray Bradbury

I am Sedona bound.

Photo is for UK Vogue by the surrealist de excellence Tim Walker.

owning my siren self

"Doing all the little tricky things it takes to grow up, step by step, into an anxious and unsettling world." - Sylvia Plath

Right now, I'm on the Atlantic coastline of Newport, Rhode Island and it's lovely - one of the most genuinely charming and surprisingly vivacious towns I've been in a long while. Steve Martin is down the street, strumming a banjo, my skin is burnt from a half-hour of direct sunlight, and I'm about to watch one of my best friends walk down a beach aisle and say, "I do" to a guy who realises how lucky he is to have her - nice.

Also nice is an epiphany I started circling around today - all about recognising my place in the world enough to be confident in it. To allow my age and bird's eye perspective to bolster me from my groundling status to instead take hold of the paddle and start flexing the strings in the grand design of my life. Traces of this thought of my yet-to-be-realised potential struck me more than once today - in relation to different universal themes. A burgeoning sense of my womanly empowerment that I will also blame on Steve Martin and the 75 pages I read today of his (unreleased) novella, An Object of Beauty. Coincidence? Hmmm....

Photo is by Sarah Moon.

la, la, red rover... and where will she land?

most people aim to minimise the number of unknowns in their lives... sometimes, it seems, i do my best to maximize mine...

Illustration, which very much captures the way I feel at the moment, is by the lovely Rebecca Dautremer.


"Love is a drama of contradictions."
— Franz Kafka

Photo is by Spanish duo Jorge Alvarino (photographer) and Ali Larrey (art director).

the baroque & the marvelous real

"In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia, even the guillotine."
— Milan Kundera

I don't know how I missed the movie Everything is Illuminated when it came out five years ago. Surely, if I'd seen a trailer, I would have taken note - the film brings together so many different elements that resonate quite deeply with me: magical realism, Jewish history, a distinctly Slavic style, a quest into the past... Where was I when it was released? What was I doing? How did it so entirely escape both my sister's (a Slavic film buff) *and* my attention? I don't feel that I was even remotely aware of it.

Equally curious, is that while I was oblivous of its existence for 5+ years, as of about a month ago, I haven't stopped hearing about it. References, questions, mentions of "everything is illuminated" has been *all over* - even the Kundera quote above was something I just stumbled across.

I took the universe's hint and it became something of a quest to watch the film, which, after multiple set-backs, I *finally* managed to do a couple nights ago.


Highly recommended. Set in the Ukraine about an American boy searching for the truth behind an old photograph of his grandfather and "Augustine"... it's heartbreaking, and funny, and surreal, and an all-around charming movie. Go see it if you also happened to miss it. Though I still don't know exactly what I was supposed to get out of it yet... perhaps that bit will come later... or maybe I also ought to read the book - ha - is that gauche?

Photo is by Tim Walker - appropriately, I thought, of a Russian household interior.

enjoy this. this one moment. right here.

"Why didn't I learn to treat everything like it was the last time. My greatest regret was how much I believed in the future." — Jonathan Safran Foer

Photo is by Mike Brodie, The Polaroid Kid, who has done a masterful job of documenting life of modern rail jumpers - people who are likely better at doubting the future than the majority of us.

twopenny island

On occasional weekends throughout the summer, New York's Governors Island transforms into a Jazz Age Lawn Party where fellas and flappers wistful for the Charleston era congregate to dance, peacock their retro duds and generally get swept up in the nostalgia for a roaring decade they never knew.

Kasey, Malena and I packed a gourmet picnic (and attempted at dressing up) and joined them.

1920's style tip: when you've got great socks, show them off.

Malena made this caramel apple masterpiece for the "pie bake-off." She won the Hobo's Choice prize - as in, the pie a hobo wouldn't be able to resist absconding with if he spied it cooling on a windowsill.

The Baby Vamps. (Available for bookings.)

This kid's going to be a foxtrotting maestro.

rash acts

late last night, while standing on the platform waiting for the A train to the upper west side... i nearly turned right around, headed to la guardia, and boarded a plane.

Photo is from Danish photojournalist Joachim Ladefoged's Shanghai 'Neon Revolution' photo essay. (Thanks much to Inge08 for pointing me in his direction!)


"You may not remember the time you let me go first.
Or the time you dropped back to tell me it wasn't that far to go.
Or the time you waited at the crossroads for me to catch up.
You may not remember any of those, but I do and this is what I have to say to you:
Today, no matter what it takes,
we ride home together."
— Brian Andreas

Photo is by Heri Cartier-Bresson - an artist who made it his aim to capture life's "decisive moments."

le misanthrope

"I have the fault of being a little more sincere than is proper." - Moliere

i recall, once, someone very dear, shouting at me, "are you really that naive?!" concerned that i was feigning some simple observation i'd had, some idealistic attitude, some uncalled-for and unsophisticated reaction....

as my eyes widened, stung by the accusation, he realised, not without some horror, that yes, yes i was... at that age, and in spite of all the experiences that should have left me hardened, calloused, wizened... i was as willfully delicate as ever.

this weekend, i spent some time with a group of guys who, once again, rather painfully reminded me that compared to run-of-the-mill joes, i take living, too gravely. our brash treatment of each other, too sensitively. i can't help it - the acceptable norms, the glib flippancy where people seem to meet on common ground, are waters laden with sharp scissors in which i do not comfortably tread.

how is that people do it? laugh at one another - in the most tragic and cutting way? say things that they surely cannot mean? or if they do mean it, how can they actually stand it? to participate in those supposedly friendly encounters so thoroughly saturated with contempt?

i'm incapable. of digesting such maliciousness; it makes me ill. of welcoming the dispensing of acidic grime, which i'm sure i taste with greater amounts of toxicity than it is intended, since i can't separate words from their meaning. i survived the weekend, albeit with a grand and shocking finale of tears. but the fact that this was not an anomaly, that people ladle this out, with disturbing regularity - oh, i hate humanity for it.

Photo is by David Bailey.