Tuesday, July 29, 2008

{Iced Coffee}

{This picture's from LauraTitian, who adds the whole new world of iced coffee cubes for iced coffee to the mix. Oh, love.} I love it. I've always loved it. I've always been thirsty for it. I used to take huge mason jars of it to class. I've tasted the cold-brew. I love the cold-brew. I'm making the cold-brew tonight.

This Recipe's from NYT

:: Recipe: Cold-Brewed ICED COFFEE

:: Time: 5 minutes, plus 12 hours' resting

:: 1/3 cup ground coffee (medium-coarse grind is best) Milk (optional).

:: 1. In a jar, stir together coffee and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover and let rest at room temperature overnight or 12 hours.

:: 2. Strain twice through a coffee filter, a fine-mesh sieve or a sieve lined with cheesecloth. In a tall glass filled with ice, mix equal parts coffee concentrate and water, or to taste. If desired, add milk. Yum.

{Charcoal Eyes, Monroe Hips}

"I miss your broken china voice/I wish you were still here with me."

If you, too, missed Tom Waits on his Glitter & Doom tour, visit NPR for the next best thing--an audio recording of his complete concert at the fabulous Fox Theater in Atlanta. I saw him once, on possibly the best day of my live music life, when I'd spent the day in the sun with Guided By Voices, followed by a magical transcendence from Tom Waits in an old-world theater that evening during Austin's SXSW festival. Below is the set list from his Atlanta appearance on July. His ballads have always been my favorites. My favorite album of his is Rain Dogs. I wish he were my uncle.

Set List
"Lucinda / Ain't Going Down to the Well"
"Down in the Hole"
"Falling Down"
"Chocolate Jesus"
"All the World Is Green"
"Cemetery Polka"
"Cause of It All"
"Till the Money Runs Out"
"Such a Scream"
"Hold On"
"Black Market Baby"
"9th and Hennepin"
"Lie to Me"
"Lucky Day"
"On the Nickel"
"Lost in the Harbor"
"Innocent When You Dream"
"Hoist That Rag"
"Make It Rain"
"Dirt in the Ground"
"Get Behind the Mule"
"Hang Down Your Head"
"Jesus Gonna Be Here"
"Eyeball Kid"
"Anywhere I Lay My Head"

Monday, July 28, 2008

Beatrix Potter

Miss Moppet ties up her head in a duster, and sits before the fire.

Happy Birthday to Beatrix Potter. The Story of Miss Moppet is definitely my favorite. She once said, "Believe there is a great power silently working all things for good, behave yourself and never mind the rest."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Upon All the Living and The Dead

In my opinion, the last paragraphs of James Joyce's short story The Dead from Dubliners (which was also legendary director John Huston's final hushed blessing upon the living, released after his death in 1987), is among the most beautiful string of words and sense in all of language. I had to look it up to solace my cubicle-addled soul this morning. Words like these balm the fear, and make my heart swoon to a bird's-eye view of wonder, reminding me, reminding me, reminding me...

A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

Ahhh. I can breathe again.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I Am Not Done With My Changes

The Layers By Stanley Kunitz (Courtesy of Writers Almanac)

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle not to stray.

When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.

Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.

Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
"Live in the layers,
not on the litter."

Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

The Ecstacy, The Remorse, and The Sorrow

Today is Hemingway's Birthday.
Hemingway said, "All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse, and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was."

Good Morning, Natasha

Meet my new kitty, Natasha.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hunter S. Thompson

His beat, he once said was "the death of the American dream." --Washington Post

No wonder he shot himself in the head. Today would have been the great gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson's 69th birthday. I first read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas when I was about 13 or 14 years old. If you know me, this isn't surprising, given my father's occupation, loves, and habits. Thompson's writing, his truth, his documentation. Nothing like it. Nothing like it at all. But for all his love and experimentation and reverence for states altered, the power of writing, he said, beats all. "I haven't found a drug yet that can get you anywhere near as high as a sitting at a desk writing, trying to imagine a story no matter how bizarre it is, [or] going out and getting into the weirdness of reality and doing a little time on the Proud Highway," he once said. Long live this fire, this fervor, this razor's edge. Most of today's journalists can only dream of writing the truth you lived. Happy birthday, Hunter. I hope you're in a better place.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Panty Project by Erin Bennett

Shameless leonine self-promotion here. I never got to see the photo of me in my silver stars panties until just yesterday. This last photo is among a series taken by an old friend I don't keep in good touch with, but hold fondly in my heart. This image is a held-still moment of beauty in the beginning of what was to bring forth some of the darkest years of my life. I want to hold this beauty close. Erin's backyard in Candler park. The cool of the grass. The joy of attention, of focus, of Erin's watchful, wonder-filled eye. The photo above is of another good friend, and the one before it is an Erin self-portrait. Erin finally had her show at the awesome Youngblood Gallery, run by Maggie and Kelly, after I left town. This woman is an incredibly talented imaginative artist with a pure heart, fueled by beauty instead of ego. Check out her full gallery, and send her encouragement to go out and conquer the world. Do the same with the women at Youngblood. I think, in part, this post is an attempt to reach back at the good in those dark days. Divide up my wrongs, and, as Virginia Woolf said, to know them, and to put them away.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Heartbreaking Genius

That I've hitherto completely missed. If you're with me, check out this amazing MC, J-Live. You're Welcome.


Florida summer nights are magical. So's the little town I live in. Palm trees line the streets. Spanish architechture silhouettes against indigo blue. And sunsets are long, and pink, ever fading back into that indigo. The moon is waxing, I think, and it's bright. Rain threatens perpetually, keeping the air thick, stirring up breezes, pushing the Atlantic ocean's waves back and forth. Monday night I found a beautiful new-to-me marsh with a friend. Fiddler crabs scuttling from our steps, the pier's wood old, worn, salty, and the green so green, the sky so lush in the golden summer hours of early evening. Then the rain came later, almost silently. I looked into the streetlight, and the water fell in an almost static sort of rythm. These are pictures from my beautiful world, in my beautiful, quiet little town, where I hear frogs and cicadas at night. Where white cranes and storks fly overhead. Where everything. Is everything.

Writing Below Sea Level

The St. Augustine Project. Hosted by Writing Below Sea Level , gorgeous writer Connie May Fowler's love/dream child, this venture was incredibly important and impactful and exhausting and wonderful. 8 days of morning manuscript critiques, afternoon lunches with writing community pros, and soul-baring studio sessions of reading our work aloud--raw, soul bearing, filled with tears, with laughter, with inspiration. I can't believe it really happened. Connie May is so generous, kind, open, and solid. She is delightful. Dorothy Allison is wonderfully powerful, and funny, and kind. She says "honey," a lot, which is endlessly charming. These women both wrote novels, incredible works of art that live inside me still. And I learned, by spending time with them, that art is not really a choice. You stifle it. Or you let it flow. Only then are you free. I've been woefully out of touch with all the women I experienced this conference with. It's like resting up after an intense, short-lived love affair. So much was there. So much remains. I hold the love these women hold for their art and for themselves close to mine, like a bluebird singing.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Think Love

"When You Think of Others, Think Love. When You Think of Yourself, Think Love."

This gorgeous print was Made By Girl.

Think love.

Monday, July 07, 2008

soft urgency all over.

The Matanzas Bay Just Before the Bombs Went Off

Spent the weekend reading David Sedaris's new book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, which is wonderful as everything else--perhaps his most meditative to date. Also finally watched Sweeney Todd, in which Johnny Depp was still hot; Definetly, Mabe, starring Ryan Reynolds, which was actually very delightful--funny, surprising, engaging, and touching. Finished Grey's Anatomy. Am in the midst of The Wire, and am currently catching up on Six Feet Under. Also watched fireworks with mi madre, from the Bridge of Lions, and attached a moody view of the bay prior to the gorgeous explosion.

The Cover of Sedaris's Latest Essays

A Golden Image from this Flickr Site

Like Riding a Bicycle
by George Bilgere from The Good Kiss

I would like to write a poem
About how my father taught me
To ride a bicycle one soft twilight,
A poem in which he was tired
And I was scared, unable to disbelieve
In gravity and believe in him,
As the fireflies were coming out
And only enough light remained
For one more run, his big hand at the small
Of my back, pulling away like the gantry
At a missile launch, and this time, this time
I wobbled into flight, caught a balance
I would never lose, and pulled away
From him as he eased, laughing, to a stop,
A poem in which I said that even today

As I make some perilous adult launch,
Like pulling away from my wife
Into the fragile new balance of our life
Apart, I can still feel that steadying hand,
Still hear that strong voice telling me
To embrace the sweet fall forward
Into the future's blue

Equilibrium. But,
Of course, he was drunk that night,
Still wearing his white shirt
And tie from the office, the air around us
Sick with scotch, and the challenge
Was keeping his own balance
As he coaxed his bulk into a trot
Beside me in the hot night, sweat
Soaking his armpits, the eternal flame
Of his cigarette flaring as he gasped
And I fell, again and again, entangled
In my gleaming Schwinn, until
He swore and stomped off
Into the house to continue
Working with my mother
On their own divorce, their balance
Long gone and the hard ground already
Rising up to smite them
While I stayed outside in the dark,
Still falling, until at last I wobbled
Into the frail, upright delight
Of feeling sorry for myself, riding
Alone down the neighborhood's
Black street like the lonely western hero
I still catch myself in the act
Of performing.

And yet, having said all this,
I must also say that this summer evening
Is very beautiful, and I am older
Than my father ever was
As I coast the Pacific shoreline
On my old bike, the gears clicking
Like years, the wind
Touching me for the first time, it seems,
In a very long time,
With soft urgency all over.

"Like Riding a Bicycle" by George Bilgere, from The Good Kiss. © University of Akron Press, 2002.
"A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us."--Franz Kafka

"When the wolf is at the door one should invite him in and have him for dinner."--MFK Fisher


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