Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mary Oliver

The Uses of Sorrow

(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand

that this, too, was a gift.

- Mary Oliver, from Thirst, Beacon Press, Boston, 2006

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


I dreamed I was telling my sister that if I committed suicide I'd come back as a cockroach but if I died naturally I would be reincarnated into a cucumber.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

David Foster Wallace

‎A real leader is somebody who can help us overcome the limitations
of our own individual laziness and selfishness and weakness and fear and get us to do better things than we can get ourselves to do on our own.
- David Foster Wallace

August Wilson

Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.
― August Wilson

Hello, Stranger

The great thing about strangers is that we tend to put on our happy face when we meet them, reserving our crankier side for the people we know and love.

I been with strangers all day and they treated me like family. I come in here to family and you treat me like a stranger.
― August Wilson, The Piano Lesson

Friday, April 25, 2014

Ray Bradbury

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.
– Ray Bradbury

James Fenton

The writing of a poem is like a child throwing stones into a mineshaft. You compose first, then you listen for the reverberation.
- James Fenton

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Robotic cow milkers.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Gabriel García Márquez

Mr. García Márquez once wrote that, as a young man, he believed his bad luck with women and money was “congenital and irremediable,” but he did not care, “because I believed I did not need good luck to write well,” and “I did not care about glory, or money, or old age, because I was sure I was going to die very young, and in the street.” He learned, in reading the works of the masters like Faulkner and Joyce, he said, that “it was not necessary to demonstrate facts,” that it “was enough for the author to have written something for it to be true, with no proofs other than the power of his talent and the authority of his voice.”


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thornton Wilder

But soon we shall die and all memory of those five will have left the earth, and we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.
― Thornton Wilder

There's nothing like eavesdropping to show you that the world outside your head is different from the world inside your head.
― Thornton Wilder

The test of an adventure is that when you're in the middle of it, you say to yourself, 'Oh, now I've got myself into an awful mess; I wish I were sitting quietly at home.' And the sign that something's wrong with you is when you sit quietly at home wishing you were out having lots of adventure.
― Thornton Wilder

We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars . . . everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you’d be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being.
― Thornton Wilder, Our Town

The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude.
― Thornton Wilder

Being employed is like being loved: you know that somebody's thinking about you the whole time.
― Thornton Wilder, The Matchmaker

Good-by, Good-by, world. Good-by, Grover's Corners... Mama and Papa. Good-by to clocks ticking... and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths...and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you.
― Thornton Wilder, Our Town

If you write to impress it will always be bad, but if you write to express it will be good.
― Thornton Wilder

Sunday, April 13, 2014

1964 Toy Guillotine Kit

My friend Peter had this toy guillotine kit in 1964 ~ trippy.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Mark Strand

Poetry is about slowing down. You sit and you read something, you read it again, and it reveals a little bit more, and things come to light you never could have predicted.

You don't choose to become something like a poet. You write and you write, and the years go by, and you are a poet.

-Mark Strand


I dreamed I was on Brighton Beach riding the elevator in my Grandmother's old apartment building. The elevator was exactly the same as when I was five. I saw my reflection in the metal door plate. I looked just like them, I thought. In the dream there was a family gathering and my Uncle had black hair, black horn rimmed glasses and long black Elvis Presley sideburns. My brother had gray hair. Is that your hair, I asked him. He removed the gray yarn Raggety Ann wig to show me his real gray hair. His cheeks had little red hearts, rubbed away. Doesn't Uncle Ron look like Elvis Presley, I said. I tried to tell them about my dream of seeing my reflection in the metal door plate in the elevator. I've never dreamed my reflection, I said but nobody was listening. In the dream my postman was my landlord and he was at the party telling me how dangerous the neighborhood was but I had already rented the apartment.

Monday, April 07, 2014

A Dream

I dreamed I went to visit Robert Bly in Minnesota, imagining I might want to move out there. He had an Irish Setter that walked upright like a human, and spoke English. The dog was scratching a lot from itchy skin. This is like some weird dream, I thought and then I woke up.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Emotional Hemophilia

I hate being cyclothymic. I'm either elated or suicidal for 10 week stretches. The emotional pain is a tornado spinning within. Here it is a glorious day and I am tempted to lay down in the road so cars will run me over. Please shoot me, I want to scream at anyone who might be able to comply. I'll donate my organs! I am reminded by my patient husband that I will adjust to the downward mood switch and it won't be so bad in a week or so. I feel that I don't have that kind of time. Yet I don't have a choice so I take a long walk and that helps, and then a hot shower. I started 4 books yesterday, none of them were right. They all had false notes, bad metaphors and lies. When I need to read, I hunger for honest writing so I feel less alone in my pain. This is about tending to emotional bleeding, a bout of emotional hemophilia.

Painting Is

Painting is strange work: I walk into a room with all of the terrifying voices of fear and self doubt swirling in my head like a tornado. I pick up a brush, my sword, and start carving my way though the tangled mess to make a sketch on canvas. I enter the battlefield each day hoping to find something that might take hold. Then working on the painting becomes a game of chess with the void. I can't call it fun, exactly, but necessary.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Andrea Giovino

Well before the sun rose, the streets around our house at 689 East Second Street in Brooklyn smelled like a combination of antifreeze, dirt, the ocean, and corn chips. If poverty smells like anything, that would be it.
-Andrea Giovino, Divorced from The Mob