Sunday, February 18, 2007

Happy Chinese New Year!

It's the Year of the Boar.

When I was a junior in high school my alternative high-school teachers supported yet another "art project" that involved running away from home. I had escaped before on various art projects and they supported me all the way. This time I moved to Chinatown, Manhattan, to an apartment on Mott Street. The rent was 150 dollars a month. I got a job as a cashier at a health-food store on Bleeker Street in the Village. I would work nights and then run home through Little Italy to Chinatown. The apartment was one tiny room with a tall ceiling. The turquoise wallpaper was covered with a busy white print. I got vertigo just sitting in there. I felt like I was in an elevator going up and down. There was a tiny stove and a tiny bathroom and two windows. The apartment next door was the same size and there were a dozen people living in it. I was terrified, but even more terrified of living in my parents' house. The gods protect the innocent.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Quote of the Day

Art is a personal expression no matter how much or how little it covers of the universe. Whatever it encompasses, it has to be a sincere vision. The technical skill with which it is created is essential for its success. I see, in every artist, a priest of his own religion who wants to deliver a sermon in order to collect his believers. The places where he exposes his beliefs are art institutions and galleries. There are many priests but hardly any saints within a given epoch.

I believe in complete freedom of expression. You have to choose your own god and interpret him in your own way. But you have to be sincere about it if you want your prayers to be appreciated and remembered.

A striking balance of intellectual and emotional experience makes great artwork. An original artwork will delight the responsive viewer.

     - Tibor de Nagy

A Woman's Place is in the Groove

I took this title from an article about a band leader who mentions that women make great bari sax players!

We are having a sleet and ice storm! And the northern part of the state, where I live, has shut down!! Hurray!!! We finally got one!!

We made buckwheat crepes to celebrate the snow day.

Happy Valentine's Day!! Eat a chocolate!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

In the Woods

I've been dropped in the woods with my paints. Painting is my big demon and I have to stick my head in the demon's mouth every day to complete the pictures. The demon dance is like playing chess with the devil. But this has always been true. Some days I can outrun the terror and some days it outruns me. Some days it's a picnic and some days it's a truce. But it's always a jump off a cliff. By comparison, playing with words and making tones on my horn are usually refreshing. Maybe I should be more grateful for the painting demons, for making words and music fun.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Quote of the Day

I always forget how important the empty days are, how important it may be sometimes not to expect to produce anything, even a few lines in a journal. I am still pursued by a neurosis about work inherited from my father. A day where one has not pushed oneself to the limit seems a damaged damaging day, a sinful day. Not so! The most valuable thing we can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of a room, not try to be or do anything whatever.

     - May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude

Cow Doc

There's a shortage of large-animal vets according to today's NY Times. Much livestock has become dead stock. A C-section for a Chihuahua pays more than rescuing a calving cow, and this is part of the problem. Perhaps I should ditch everything and become a cow doc.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Touching the Brush

Once I slay the myriad demons to get to my easel, I can sometimes enjoy the dramatic adventure of making a picture. Painting can be a retreat, a sensory wordless world of colors and textures. But I always need a deadline to force me to finish things.

Quote of the Day

This quote is taped to my computer monitor:
But when at last I wrote my first words on the page, I felt an island rising beneath my feet like the back of a whale. As more and more words emerged, I could finally rest: I had a place to stand for the first time in my life. The island grew, with each page, into a continent inhabited by people I knew and mapped with the life I lived.

     - Jimmy Santiago Baca, from Working in the Dark:
       Reflections of a Poet of the Barrio

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Mercury's Rising!

We just saw Mercury in the sky with our naked eye. Have a look, at 5:45 PM, from wherever you are! It will only be this clearly visible at this time for another week. Look at the horizon where the sun sets. It's below and to the right of Venus. Mercury's rising and the temps are dropping!

I visited the calves today at Wrights' Dairy Farm. They are so cute with their pink snouts. They were mooing as the farmer banged out the ice from their white plastic gallon buckets and gave them fresh water and food. The calves sounded just like those mooing toys little kids have.

One of the bakers at Wright's is a star gazer and she points out the constellations and moon phases to her baking comrades. She starts her day in the dark, looking up! Cow jumped over the moon?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Quote of the Day

We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

     - Joseph Campbell

The Lover

Finding your instrument is like finding a lover. As a dancer I've always felt that the drums and bass are the heart, legs, and lower torso of a song.

Good for Your Age

I realized today that as a musician, I am not good for my age. If I were fifteen, I'd be good for my age, but I'm 46, and a beginner. Perhaps when I am eighty, dancing in rockette shoes playing my bari sax with long white hair, rosy cheeks, and sparkling eyes, I'll be good for my age!

Second Quote of the Day

How can anyone be expected to govern a country with two hundred and forty six cheeses?

     - Charles de Gaulle

How I Feel

The ten-degree air creates skin warmth for me, like when swimming in a cold pond. Heat radiates out when I'm surrounded by the dry cold air, and it feels great on my teeth.

My mouth tingles after playing the sax. It's the same sensation on my lips as how my feet feel after I've taken off roller skates!

Sometimes I feel like a human lollipop and I have to hide from peoples' attention.


My husband and I found a SOUND HORN sign by accident the other day. It is painted eight feet up from the ground at the base of a gigantic brick chimney in Fall River in among the mills. The sun hits it perfectly at 2:30 PM!! The Bronchodilators need a group photo here.

Looking for Love

I heard a news story on the radio. Lonely dairy farmers in Wales looking for love put mug shot stickers of themselves on the milk cartons. This happened on Saint Dwynwen's Day, equivalent to our Valentine's Day. Apparently it was a hit! This could be a trend in grocery sales. How about mug shots on laundry soap, "looking for a clean guy?" or mug shots on a box of crackers, "looking for someone to eat crackers in bed with." How about hardware? "Looking for someone to rake leaves with."