Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Raking The Clay Diamond

The park maintenance guys were raking the clay baseball diamond when Lily and I arrived today. They waved, shouting hello when we got to the field. I see them all the time around the city in their glow-yellow shirts. During baseball season they attach a gigantic rake to the back of the city's white pickup truck and drive in circles until the whole clay diamond is perfectly flat with thin grooves and no footprints, ready for the nightly game. I decided that Lily should have a run, knowing they wouldn't mind, so I threw the baseball for her. She ran like lightning with her green leash trailing like an airborne snake. We played fetch for about eight throws, moving across the grassy-green outfield while the two maintenance guys drove in circles, perfecting the gray clay diamond. I knew it was time to go home when Lily ignored my ninth throw, preferring to sniff for snacks along the fence. I felt lucky that we had a few minutes to play.

Black Sky With White Curtains

When I got up at five it was dark. I sat with my notebook writing down my thoughts. I was glad it was dark out and sorry when the sky began to brighten from black to cobalt blue, getting lighter by the minute. The past three mornings I wanted it to stay night all day. I wanted to stay in the room of black sky with white curtains. It's supposed to rain and storm all day tomorrow. Good, a naturally dark day to match my mood.

May Sarton

. . . sometimes one has simply to endure a period of depression for what it may hold of illumination if one can live through it, attentive to what it exposes or demands.
-May Sarton, A Journal Of Solitude p16

Monday, September 20, 2010

May Sarton

My own belief is that one regards oneself, if one is a serious writer, as an instrument for experiencing. Life - all of it - flows through this instrument and is distilled through it into works of art. How one lives as a private person is intimately bound into the work. And at some point I believe one has to stop holding back for fear of alienating some imaginary reader or real relative or friend, and come out with personal truth. If we are to understand the human condition, and if we are to accept ourselves in all the complexity, self-doubt, extravagance of feeling, guilt, joy, the slow freeing of the self to its full capacity for action and creation, both as human being and as artist, we have to know all we can about each other, and we have to be willing to go naked.
-May Sarton, Journal Of A Solitude p77


Suffering often feels like failure, but it is actually the door into growth. And growth does not cease to be painful at any age.
-May Sarton, Journal Of A Solitude p147

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Charles Bukowski

But writing, of course, like marriage or snowfall or automobile tires, does not always last. You can go to bed on Wednesday night being a writer and wake up on Thursday morning being something else altogether. Or you can go to bed on Wednesday night being a plumber and wake up on Thursday morning being a writer. This is the best kind of writer.
-Charles Bukowski, Living On Luck

Monday, September 06, 2010

A Stranger Will Do

I have no idea what friendship is. I have been thinking a lot about it, why I have no gal pals, why I can handle only one friend at a time until things blow up, which they nearly always do. I saw my parents have the same problem in their friendships (and even with each other). Is friendship simply about sameness? Perhaps with women it is - I seem to have plenty of guy pals.

I panic when a friend says she wants to join me and my dog on our walks. No way, you'll spoil it for me, I think. I'm suspicious when a friend decides she'd like my company, or wants to "catch up." If I give it a go it's usually a huge disappointment. The friend will suddenly need to control me, put me in her kitchen and tell me to peel the carrots (no not that way, this way!). Or she'll treat me gingerly as if I were a rabid dog that needed pacifying.

Or she'll throw a party, and rush around in a hostess frenzy so we can't really talk. I don't like to drink. I don't have any big reason, I just don't like it. At a party this makes everyone uncomfortable and needing to drink even more. I have noticed that people who like to drink or smoke seem to have plenty of friends. So do people with vacation homes, boats, and lakefront property. I have to admit I am truly suspect of anyone who wants to invite me to stay at their country house. Once out in their remote paradise, most owners of country homes become movie directors who need to control everything around them. I become claustrophobic at the thought of not being able to run out and catch a bus home.

What I want is for people to read my writing and view my paintings and eat my bread, and they need not be a friend to do so. A stranger will do fine.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Richard Wright

Is not life exactly what it ought to be, in a certain sense? Isn't it only the naive who find all of this baffling? If you've a notion of what man's heart is, wouldn't you say that maybe the whole effort of man on earth to build a civilization is simply man's frantic and frightened attempt to hide himself from himself?
-Richard Wright

Men can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as they can from a lack of bread.
-Richard Wright

Blues, spirituals, and folk tales recounted from mouth to mouth . . . all these formed the channels through which the . . . wisdom flowed.
-Richard Wright

The artist must bow to the monster of his own imagination.
-Richard Wright

Friday, September 03, 2010

Fear Doubt Honesty

Writing, for me, means humility. It's a process that involves fear and doubt, especially if you're writing honestly.
-Kiran Desai

Thursday, September 02, 2010

On the Hottest Day

On the hottest day
I am with my dog,
hiding from the heat,
making a painting
of ice skates.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Freedom of Expression

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.

-Tibor de Nagy

Itchy Lily

Lily has been itching all over like crazy, allergic to the pollen from the ragweed growing everywhere. She has been rubbing her snout and her ears with her front paws, and nibbling on her arms, and clawing at her underarms with her back paws. We had no idea that taking a few days away from her nightly pond swim would be detrimental to her. All those swims were washing the pollen out of her fur! Now we can't bathe her for 24 more hours because the flea medicine we put on her neck yesterday needs 48 hours to sink in and thoroughly dry. Last night her scratching kept her up all night, and us too. At 1 AM I removed her collar to silence the jingle. I remembered that Benadryl tablets stuck into a blob of peanut butter could be given to a dog with allergies. Later I rested on the couch and fell asleep. I dreamed that Lily was scratching, and it woke me up! She was still sound asleep on the floor beside me. Tomorrow she gets her oatmeal shampoo bath, and we all get a good night's sleep.

Lost in Woonsocket

Last night we saw Lost in Woonsocket. It's about two guys who were camped out in the cemetery in our neighborhood. I recommend it.

NYT review when it came out.

See Lost and Found in America about the film: