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.