Saturday, January 31, 2009

I dream of a white washed room where I wake up in a bundle of late morning sun that got caught in the sheets. My eyes skip across the boards above my bed over to where the door bends out of its frame and can no longer be locked. You have already escaped to cook something sweet in the kitchen. And outside is the ocean and the ocean and the ocean.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My best friend of nearly 20 years turned 40 this weekend. My friend and I surprised him at the house on the Long Beach Peninsula where his boyfriend had taken him. We congratulated ourselves on a surprise well-executed and finished off a pile of linguini and clams and a couple different cakes. To keep us from drifting off into an elderly post-meal snooze, we walked onto the dark misty beach, heavy with clouds and lit by the dim glow of the little town on the other side of the dunes. I might have walked for miles if I were by myself. Instead, we returned to the beautiful victorian house tucked into its patch of mossy evergreens, watched some movies then drifted off into our white clapboard dreams

Company keeps me sane. Friends keep me human. But more and more I long for my own path uninterrupted by others. Misanthrope? Oh, probably a little. But there's something else at play as well. I feel how the day races and how hard it is to slow any of it down when surrounded by people. Or rather, how my ability to concentrate and appreciate are so easily distracted when not soaked in the luxury of solitude.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's been hard to find the time for this space knowing that everything I might say about the inauguration and these first few days of Obama's presidency have been said. I continue to battle my cynicism and yet can't help but feel a flutter of relief when I see the man standing at the podium and then hear the man and know that he's on excellent terms with the english language. Chalk up at least one victory for literacy and language and those badly battered words, terror and nuclear.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

This picture offers no evidence of all the somber and ragged humanity I encountered yesterday on my journey out into the world, though this view did provide some balm when I got back to my neighborhood.

Working out of my house in a rainy winter town without a car makes for a sheltered existence. I seem to be particularly housebound this year. Yesterday I had to go to downtown Portland for a dentist appointment and felt snagged if not shocked by all the people moving through their lives. Not that the Street of Shattered Hopes and Thwarted Dreams (Hawthorne Ave.) doesn't have its share of raw desperation, but something about being downtown really overwhelmed. It's a good thing I don't go down there often because I ended up shelling out a bunch of money to people: a man picking half-eaten egg rolls out of the garbage, the Street Roots guy selling his paper, and a performer desperate enough to paint himself silver and stand statue still outside the mall in the middle of a Monday.

Add to that the grumps on light rail, the old Chinese man slapping his knees violently at a bus stop and the high school girl sent to crawl between the wet, prickly bushes and chain link fence to get the shot put she threw there, the boys on the other side of the bushes having a laugh at her expense.

A good rattling for the stagnant loop of my winter days.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Here's a little fun I found out about from my friend over at Noodles Rice and Pasta. It's a real clock gobbler, so watch out.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Grandma always said bored was a dirty word

I just watched this video of men base jumping and flying in "wingsuits." Amazingly, I don't find this insane. What I find crazy is the human ability to adjust, settle in and grow dull with just about everything. At one point one of these guys says that trying to clear the cliff with the greatest distance got boring so they started to play around with flying closer to the rocks at 100mph.

The fact that this sport exists is kind of thrilling. I mean, they're fucking flying, right? But what does it say about us that we have to throw ourselves off cliffs to get a fresh perspective? These people jump and plummet and swoop and after a time they think they're birds. They think flying is normal.

Okay, so these guys probably aren't big Proust fans, but it makes me wonder what hope there is for delicate poetry and complex fiction and small beautiful paintings in a landscape where people grow bored with flying. Sure, they're two different audiences, but I see this lack of awe and wonder everywhere and wish we could all give ourselves the time to be amazed by something miniscule, overlooked or silent.

I studied anatomy in massage school and grew amazed at the machine that is our bodies. We're so complex that I'm amazed we don't break down and die more easily. Our outstanding adaptability keeps us going even when something goes awry. We shift and adjust and before you know it, hey, it's no big deal. Same ol' same ol'. Kind of boring really.

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Years Eve I rose in the early, unhurried dark and made my way back west. I hit many of the major forms of transportation–car, foot, plane, people mover, light rail, bus–and arrived back in Portland twelve hours after waking. I didn't even make it to midnight on east coast time, exhausted with the effort of crossing a country.

I've now slept, finished off the last of the sweets (for a while), exercised off half a sliver of the massive amounts of chocolate and cheese that I've eaten over the last week and gotten back to work. I sifted my way through the pile of mail, sneering at a pat rejection letter that took a year and a half to get here then moved on to better news. I've been awarded a week long stay at Hypatia-in-the-Woods, a retreat center for women artists in Shelton, WA.

Come March, I will be tucked away in this little secluded house with nothing to do but write. How wonderful. My thought is to try and write something new while I'm there. I want to dig in to the solitude, send the nagging critic off into the woods with some bread crumbs and see what happens.