Friday, August 28, 2009

Twilight seduced me. The warm crowded air of the living room took a nice long breath out on the porch. The sky turned a lurid blue. And now, on the edge of September, the moon came out and the lights went on at an hour when I'm not already settled and sleepy. I took my camera and slipped out to spy on the silhouettes and shadows, the blare of orange streetlamps and the steady domestic glow of kitchen windows. I would do this for hours if only twilight would linger.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Happy endings

What's wrong with a happy ending? And by that I mean, a happy ending in fiction, not in life or on the massage table. Is the idea of lasting love just too damn boring? Is it perceived as a falsehood? Is it inherently dissatisfying to leave the reader on a positive, untainted note? maybe the protagonist learns something about life or sets off in a better direction or treasures that old standby of it being better to have loved and lost blah blah blah. Regardless, the good relationship almost never survives. Pride and Prejudice is the only example in the realm of literary fiction that I can think of that offers a straight up happy ending. Maybe there are others, but I don't know them.

I've come to accept that I love love stories. Most of my favorite contemporary novels have a love story as a prominent component: The Giant's House, Feast of Love, Bel Canto, The Transit of Venus, Mrs. Dalloway. None of these have happy endings.

What do you think? Can love only be lost? Does love found have to be wrapped in the conceits of romance fiction, chick lit and swoony teenage vampire chronicles?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Five hours south of Portland is the little town of Bandon. The coastline there was dotted with dunes and interesting rock formations and even on a beautiful weekend the wide expanse of beach never had more than ten people on it. The town itself was a couple blocks long and strained at every corner to feel festive despite the lack of visitors and the closed-down shops. The poverty of the place ran smack up against the exorbitant wealth. You could see the disappointment loosened across the landscape and tucked into the tired smiles of the retailers.

It rubbed off on me and by the end of four days, I was cranky and ready to get home. I always miss the ocean when I'm not near it, but for now, it's good to be back in a more lively urban swing.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

This has been a backyard summer. I haven't gone camping. I've done one hike, a couple swims, a couple bike rides. I know in years past this would have driven me mad. The need to be out in the woods, in the green and shimmering world, would have itched under my skin. But this year, for some reason, I'm content. I have my forest of sunflowers. I have my basket of tomatoes. I have a breeze and a book and a can of beer. The city breaths beneath a fresh, warm rain. A masterpiece of clouds and jet trails ends each day.

Tomorrow I head to the southern Oregon coast with my folks. This is my father's annual "golf somewhere famous" trip. Apparently, there's some hot shot "Scottish" course down there. Mom and I will watch the ocean. Read. Drink cocktails.

How could I not be content with all that?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

I used to want to be a photographer. I even went to Boston University for a year thinking I'd go into photojournalism (a year in which I learned about the history of journalism and how to write an obituary and ran the classifieds section of the student paper but never saw a darkroom...hmm.) I realized somewhere during that year that I was essentially gutless and surprisingly proper and therefore highly unlikely to be good at pushing myself into the necessary places required of a photojournalist.

What I liked about photography was hiding behind a camera and in a dark room and, in the end, having something appealing to show for it. It sounds a lot like my reasons for writing: enjoyment of the solitude and the process and in the end having something worth sharing.

So I went out and got a nice camera. Not a true professional-grade camera. That would just be silly. But a nice camera. A Nikon D40. I love it love it love it. I love it so much I'm waiting for someone to ask me why I don't marry it. It's going to take a while before I figure out how to use it properly and it will take even longer for me to refresh my old photography knowledge and learn a whole host more.

If I slip into photo mode here for a while, you'll understand. If I ignore this blog altogether while I play with buttons and dials, f-stops and shutter speeds, you now know why. Weeee!

Oh...and the pic is of Oneonta Gorge on one of our 100+ days.