Sunday, December 18, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Bronze Buddha, Crafts of India
When the subject of meditation comes up in conversation, the person I’m talking to will often assume the posture of faux-meditation – fingers pressed together into a point, hands upturned, eyes closed in a semblance of bliss – and will hum ominously, giggling, as he half-imagines entering into some far-out realm. The irony is, meditation is exactly the opposite of all that.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Catahoula Elementary, 1977
In second grade I wanted to be an officer when I grew up. That's what the memorabilia book says. What I meant was that I wanted to work in an office, to be an office worker, to have a desk and a nameplate and a title. How wrong I was.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Spent the weekend working on the index to my book of dreams. These are the people who have appeared in my dreams over the last two years: Andrew Bishop, Angella Theriot, William Martin, Bill Stiles, Bonnie Franklin, Bob Dylan, Brad Pitt, Carole King, Debbie Allen, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Emily Bronte, Farrah Fawcett, Father Columban Lesquivit, Gail Courville, Jim Carrey, Joanna Newsom, Joni Mitchell, Liza Minnelli, Lucinda Williams, Miranda Blanchard, Robyn, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sting, Shannon Nae Nae Murdock, Sue Theriot, Sufjan Stevens, Theodore Roosevelt, Timothy Frederick, Valerie Bertinelli, Yolande Doiron.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Every now and then, in the early morning just before I awake, words will scroll before my eyes in my dream, often in fully formed sentences. This happened to me one morning about six years ago. All these sentences kept scrolling in my dream. I could read them very clearly. And as the sentences scrolled, I floated down a gravel road, the gravel road to the camp in Catahoula, formerly known as the OLD PLACE, because my dad grew up there. These are the words I woke up and wrote down. The title came later.
photo: timothy frederick
A LITTLE LADY lives comfortably in the head of a happy giant. She never sleeps. She’s always cooking up some project or perfecting a complex routine.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
The windshield you’re looking through is a curved slab of glass fitted into the front window of your car, an inner version of your outer perimeter of vision, serving to frame what’s important to see while you’re rolling down the road, invisible enough to see what you’re driving toward as clearly as possible while still protecting you from the elements, and coated with thin layers of plastic to prevent shattered glass, in the event of an accident, from being sprayed into your face.
Low gray clouds are sweeping across a gray and blue sky this morning, polishing the moon's disc silvery.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
A blizzard of thoughts and emotions swirls around each of us, obscuring the true nature of mind. But if we learn to sit tall and let the blizzard happen around us, and if we do this over and over, we come to know the blizzard for the emptiness it is, and we begin to see through the snow clouds in which we've become ensnarled.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
photo: joel kalmin
I painted a fourteen-foot branch on the gray wall of a room. The room has one glass wall -- the wall opposite the painting -- and is so narrow that a photographer wanting to take a picture of the mural can't capture it in its entirety, even if he presses himself all the way up to the glass wall, unless he has a wide angle lens. And standing outside the room, looking through the glass wall, the view of the painting is obstructed by the glass wall's steel frame and the blur of a privacy stripe. The mural isn't easy to photograph, so you can't really get a sense of it unless you're standing in the room with it. In a way, the painting resists the capture of the camera. You have to go to it to see it. I took my mom to see it today.
Monday, October 24, 2011
A while back I dreamed the word "coconouille". I googled it today to see if it was an actual word . . . and it was. "Nouille" means "noodle" in French. I never knew that, go figure. So "coco nouille" is "coconut noodle". I learned this when the recipe for Poulet Coco Nouille came up in the search results. It sounds pretty tasty, like a good dream should.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
The sky in October is so something. For the last three days I've been searching for the word. Blue, yes, blue, but the sky's blue in spring and summer too. No, there's something special about the October sky in particular, when summer's dead beyond a doubt and breezes shake pollen from the ragweed. The sky is so what? . . . thin? . . . tinted aqua? . . . sheer? . . . otherworldly?
Friday, October 14, 2011
Last night my mom called to tell me she'd just seen a big pack of about thirteen or fourteen raccoons. "At first we could see only their glowing eyes," she said, "and we didn't know what kind of animal they were. Then we saw that they were raccoons."
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
Big apples come from small apples. That’s how it works. The apples you find in grocery stores today haven’t always been so large. Go back two thousand years and imagine a fruit market in Mesopotamia. See how the apples were so much smaller then? Go back four thousand more years and imagine a primitive apple tree in a spontaneously flowering orchard. See how the wild apples are even smaller than the Mesopotamian ones? Now fast forward to a supermarket today. The apples are jumbo. Small wild apples, over millennia of cultivation, have become large domesticated apples. “This is the way of all fruit,” I thought to myself, pinching a small wild persimmon I nearly stepped on moments earlier.
Friday, October 7, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
The whole football fits pleasurably in the cupped palm of my hand. It’s a tiny football made from foam, smaller and lighter than an actual football, stamped with orientaltrading.com and MADE IN CHINA. It’s elongated and slightly pointed like an uncracked pecan, larger than a pecan but not heavier than one. Four quadrants are defined by two thin gutters ribboning the foam surface of the football lengthwise, perpendicularly oriented ovaloid grooves tracing a pair of smooth paths through the roughness of the grip, independent equators criss-crossing at the two tips of the ball. Grip. That’s what they call it: the pebble-grain texture on the surface of footballs and basketballs and other objects designed to be held by hands. It’s a kind of grit, a bubble-pimple pattern on the basketball or football that enhances its grippability. Gripping is what the hand does to the grip of a ball. Gripping is what the hand does to the grip of a handle.
This is the chapter of the book I originally set aside to tell you about how reading is like playing with a toy, how books are like toys you play with by reading, but when Andrew, having just returned to Houston from a visit to his home in England, handed me a treasury of fairy tales he used to love to read as a child, now battered and falling apart, missing its first thirty-four pages, colored with pencil and crayon marks, its spine completely collapsed, its remaining tattered pages barely holding together, I decided to just describe in words the scrawlings I found in that book, and use that for the chapter instead.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
photo: andrew bishop
About 8 months ago I started giving a talk that required clementines as props. Clementines were in season then, but I knew that if I wanted to be able to give the talk when clementines weren't in season I'd have to find artifical clementines. An internet search turned up exactly three silk clementines.