Archive for Work and Adventure

The Surface of Things…

As a writer, I’m trying to avoid the three Big topics of the day:

  • Black Lives Matter
  • Covid-19
  • Donald Trump

These are this week’s low hanging fruit. Unless I have something personal to add, I think they’re better left to professionals working those beats while I limit my perspective to the surface of things – at least for today.

The events of the past few months have impacted the way we live our lives. We see the world differently because of the invisible threat. We’re aware that it’s inherently dangerous and unpredictable. The fallout from it has taken me places I thought I’d never go and given me permission to navel gaze as never before. read more

American Master…

We may all have a case of cabin fever but there is no scarcity of good books, videos, films, and music to keep us occupied while we wait for Covid-19 to be vanquished. On Sunday night M and I watched a beautifully made PBS documentary American Masters:Wyeth, chronicling the life and work of Andrew Wyeth the great American realist painter–who lived most of his life, by choice, in self-isolation. 

While taking an art history class in the 1950s, I became aware of Mr. Wyeth’s work but didn’t understand how to place it in the continuum of American art. Neither did the arts experts; realistic painting seemed old fashioned to them. But, in 1948, Alfred Barr, the founding director of the Museum of Modern Art, purchased what has become Wyeth’s most famous painting, Christina’s World, for $1800 and that act helped change the art world’s perception of what “might” be modern. At the time abstract expressionism (Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Clifford Still and others) was the big thing in modern art and realism was out of favor and assigned to a place in art history.  read more

A Different Contagion…

You could have held the tight little nest in your cupped hands. The mother bird had chosen a potted cedar on our back deck for safety. We’d been out of town for a month when I discovered the bowl of fine twigs with four tiny eggs in the bottom close to the cedar’s trunk. Almost simultaneously, I understood why a group of crows is called a murder. Dozens of them were lurking in the trees behind me, as intent on living up to their collective name as I was in keeping them at bay. War was in the air. read more

Sliding Tiles and Memory…

With the dual contagions of Clovid-19 and Donald Trump in the air, I’ve been looking for an escape from the news cycle. It’s exhausting, but after combing the Netflix, Amazon Video, and Audible libraries while rereading The Plague, The Andromeda Strain, and Love in the Time of Cholera I think the solution is to go back to work. Writing as therapy.

Most writers carry a notebook where they jot down snippets of dialogue or the elements of a scene, so they have material for a story or article, but I was always a lousy notetaker. Back in college, when I was studying for an exam, I had a hard time making sense of my notes. Nothing stood out. I’d look at them and see nothing but “the” or “and” as if they were the important facts in a lecture. I was hopeless. It didn’t take long to learn I’m an oral and visual learner which is why I love the iPhone camera and why I never wanted to miss a class lecture. read more

Is This It for Us?

As of today, April 24, 2020, there are 2,736,979 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide and 192,125 reported deaths. Of those, America has 870,468 cases and 50,031 deaths. Here in Washington there are 12,282 confirmed cases and 682 deaths.

“April is the cruellest month” (T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land)

The world is on lockdown. Our streets are empty. Essential businesses are permitted. Nothing else is open. In New Orleans, rats are swarming in the streets, because the restaurants are closed, the dumpsters are empty, and there’s nothing to eat. read more